Point Blank - natural energy drink
I first tried Point Blank during the Shine Walk, a marathon walk through London to raise money for Cancer Research UK. I was given it by Miranda Markham of Action PR, one of the people I was walking with. Point Blank is a client of the agency. Walking a marathon is tougher than running one, it takes a long time. Walking one at night after you have completed a full Tough Mudder that day is even tougher and I was feeling a bit tired at mile 20. The Point Blank perked me up and I finished feeling strong and awake.
A week or so later Miranda kindly sent me a case of Point Blank to try. I was intrigued by the blurb on the bottle. 'Natural energy, no sugar, no fat, 1 calorie'. When I looked at the nutritional information there were more zeros than a list of the UKs Eurovision scores. The product doesn't contain any energy; the energy comes from your body as the result of the caffeine in Point Blank - 65mg per 100ml. I won't go into the science behind the effects of caffeine - there is plenty of published research.
The product works for me, although the weight is a problem. I will only use it in races where I can leave it in a drop bag or have a second who can hand it to me when needed. I imagine it would be great for sports where the weight isn't an issue, cycling, kayaking and perhaps hiking. I am keeping a few bottles in my car for when I feel tired driving, although if I am very tired I will stop for a sleep. Better to arrive late in the morning than in the morgue. You need to experiment to find out how caffeine works best for you.
I like the taste (much better than those awful gels), but sought out the opinion of an expert, Emma Sabin of Sabins Coffee. Her opinion "Good coffee, but not great coffee". Sabins is a small batch roaster, Emma sources coffee from small producers and her husband lovingly roasts them to perfection. Currently (November 2017) they have a great coffee from Myanmar, but only have two sacks of it. Obviously Point Blank need to source coffee where there will be a regular supply (not just two sacks) so a "Good" from Emma is probably as good as they can get.
Aquapure Traveller from Pure Hydration
The great thing about this water filter is that as it is totally mechanical with no chemicals the water is available straight away - just squeeze the bottle and drink. The filter removes all the nasty stuff, including heavy metals, leaving just pure water. I have used these filters for quite a few years on long runs when I know I'll find a water source and on wild camping trips and have never suffered any stomach upsets. I normally try and find water that is relatively clean as this prolongs the life of the filter, but on occasions I've had to get water from puddles full of sheep's droppings or very unpleasant looking cattle troughs. I'm still here to tell the tale.
My only criticism is that the flow through the filter can be variable. Some I have bought just require a gentle squeeze of the bottle while others have required quite a strong squeeze. The filters are fail safe; when they stop working you cannot get any water through them. Buy from Amazon.
Before I tried Runderwear briefs I used to just wear normal pants, except on desert races when I used X-Bionic moisture management underwear. Now having tried a pair of Runderwear briefs I have bought more. They are very comfortable to wear and do not chafe due to the 360-degree seamless construction and flatlock edging. The technical fabric wicks moisture away and micro-perforations assist airflow. They work so well that I now use them in desert races (they are lighter than x-bionic). Previously, when running in cold weather, my bum would be cold once I got home and showered. This doesn't happen when wearing Runderwear. I know some people don't wear any underwear beneath lycra tights, or similar items, which can be embarrassing if you need medical attention which requires removing the tights. Give Runderwear a try to save embarrassment. Available from good independent sports shops. Or direct from the company.