Category Archives: Kit Review

Fartlek’n good shoes

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I had to ditch my ancient Salomon trail running shoes as they were giving me blisters on the arch of my foot. I bought my new Asics Lahar 4′s from Go Outdoors in Gloucester for a bargain price of £50 (they’re priced at £85 on John Lewis’ online store). They sport the Goretex tag, are fully waterproof, and nice and warm for the coming winter months. I’m sure I don’t need all these winter features for the Stroud Half-Marathon, but I have my eyes on the Bristol Off-Road 10k at the end of October, and I’m sure the trainers will then come in handy in the Alps this winter.

I had planned a monumentous 10 mile run this weekend, from Gloucester’s Warehouse Climbing Centre back to Cheltenham, however my schedule has quickly filled up and I had to resort to a shorter session. I have been reading about “Fartlek training” and am intrigued to see if it can improve my running pace. After a 10 minute jog to warm up, I alternated between a 1 minute walk to 30 second sprint until 15 minutes later when I thought I was having a heart attack. and jogged back to the house.

It’s a short and intense training method and can quite easily be squeezed around my hectic regime of working and rock climbing. The proof will be in the pudding. I’d like to see my average speed on a longer training run move above 6.5 mph. In the mean time, I can confirm that my new shoes haven’t hurt my feet, or knees for that matter. Quite a delightful revelation.

Camcorder Review- Panasonic SDR-SW20

Farewell waterproof camcorder. I knew you well!

The above photo is that of the Panasonic SDR-SW20, an ebay bargain that unfortunately failed me a few months ago.

I discovered this beauty at the Argos Clearance shop on ebay.co.uk back in September 2009 and was drawn to it not only because it was a bargain at £120 but because it boasted waterproofness to 2 meters. This feature was pure peace of mind for the ski teaching job when I may be filming in bad weather, definitely snow and occasionally rain (yes, sometimes even in Tignes).
This light-weight little camera helped me put together some of my first you-tube films such as <a title=”Extreme Ania” href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0v3LlmW87rs”>Extreme Ania- Cliff Drop</a>
<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”480″ height=”385″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”src” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/0v3LlmW87rs?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US” /><param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”480″ height=”385″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/0v3LlmW87rs?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed></object>
and <a title=”Stewart Eats Snow” href=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=955BfYG0mnk”>Stewart Eat Snow </a>
<object classid=”clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000″ width=”480″ height=”385″ codebase=”http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=6,0,40,0″><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true” /><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always” /><param name=”src” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/955BfYG0mnk?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US” /><param name=”allowfullscreen” value=”true” /><embed type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” width=”480″ height=”385″ src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/955BfYG0mnk?fs=1&amp;hl=en_US” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true”></embed></object>
The image quality issues are more obvious in the video of Stewart. In bad light I found that the film was very ‘shaky’ even when digital zoom was deactivated. The still photos also left little to be desired.

I discovered this beauty at the Argos Clearance shop on ebay.co.uk back in September 2009 and was drawn to it not only because it was a bargain at £120 but because it boasted waterproofness to 2 meters. This feature was pure peace of mind for the ski teaching job when I may be filming in bad weather, definitely snow and occasionally rain (yes, sometimes even in Tignes).

This light-weight little camera helped me put together some of my first you-tube films such as Extreme Ania- Cliff Drop

and Stewart Eats Snow

The image quality issues are more obvious in the video of Stewart. In bad light I found that the film was very ‘shaky’ even when digital zoom was deactivated. The still photos also left little to be desired.

I can’t say it was all bad though. The easy convenience of the USB connection or SD card made films easy to sync with my computer and opened my eyes to the functions of modern camcorders and their use as a technical analysis tool.

The SDR-SW20 failed the ultimate waterproofing test as it didn’t survive a two week trip to St Tropez. Ebay has helped me find a far more suitable replacement and some of the work is already out there in the cloud. Raisa Tackle Tignes and Christmas Came Early are two great examples of the new camera: the Canon FS100. I hope to feature many for videos on the blog before drawing a final conclusion on this powerful piece of kit!