"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Gear: a Blessing and a Curse

There is one constant in the world of endurance sports, GEAR.  No matter what sport/sports you are into you can end up paying a small fortune for the tools (toys) of the trade.  I have heard people exclaim that running is the least expensive because all you need are a good pair of shoes.  Now ask yourself how many runners do I know that just buy shoes?  I'll bet the answer is none.  In fact last winter I was out on a run and started to add up the dollar value of everything I was wearing and had with me, and was surprised to find that the grand total was close to $1000 (shoes, garmin, iPod, etc).  Yeah running is cheap!

Awesome light but out of my price range...or is it?
Gear can be very expensive whether it be for running, cycling, paddling, and the list goes on.  I always look for deals, and sales.  One website that I am always checking is Gear Trade.  This site has everything.  The interface isn't that great the deals are out of this world.  My biggest score from Gear Trade was my bike light that I purchased as part of my required gear for the Berryman 36hour adventure race.  The light is a Princeton Tech Switchback 3 and Gear Trade said it retailed for $350 but it was being sold for $102, that's a 71% discount.  There was a small problem with the light when I received it though.  The screws holding the mounting bracket were stripped.  I solved this with a little epoxy and you would never know anything was amiss.  The light worked so well I was able to provide enough light for 8riders on the gravel roads during the race.  I couldn't be more pleased about my purchase.  
There is no way I would have paid $350 for a bike light, so had I not found this deal I would have been stuck with the crappy light I already had.  

Gear Trade works in one of two ways.  A person like you or I has something to sell, puts it on the site and when it sells Gear Trade takes its cut.  I don't know what their cut is because I have never sold anything through them since I am a gear hoarder.  The other way it works is as follows.  John Q. Public buys something from a retailer, like Back Country and finds for whatever reason that the item is not what he wanted and returns it.  Now Back Country cannot sell the item as new if it has been used or the tags are missing so they offer it for sale on Gear Trade at a steep discount.

I prefer to buy items through the second method because Back Country does a really great job with the descriptions to give you a good sense of what you are buying and why it is being offered so inexpensively.  I feel as though buying from an individual is more of a crap shoot.  There is a 72hour period to inspect the gear and report any issues, but who wants to hassle with all that?  

The next time you are looking for some new gear do what I do and check Gear Trade first.  Just think of all the gear you can buy with the money you will save.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

In The News!

The Red9Runners, a local running club I belong to was featured in an article that appeared on the Suburban Journal website.  It is good to get some publicity for the club.  I was also thankful to be mentioned specifically even though it wasn't for running.

Below is the article:

Madison County runners compete in events across region

Posted: Thursday, December 9, 2010 12:00 am
Members of the red9runners run club from the Collinsville Maryville Troy YMCA have been busy going the distance. Twenty members of the club decided to take on the challenge of a fall marathon or half marathon.
Dan Keeton, Jeremie Lavrack and Holly Lavrack traveled to Dayton, Ohio, for the Air Force Marathon. Holly Lavrack competed in the half marathon while Keeton and Jeremie Lavrack ran their first marathon, completing the distance in under four hours.
Fifteen red9runners were at the Lewis and Clark Full and Half Marathon in St. Charles, Mo., with two tackling the 26.2 mile full marathon and 13 red9'ers putting in 13.1 miles in the half marathon. Thirteen of the 15 runners set personal records that morning. The other two red9'ers were first-time half-marathon runners Jeremy Jones and Sheila Acuncius who set a great pace to beat in the future. Completing the full marathon were Darrell Meek and Miriam Bell. Half marathon runners were Brandon Bell, Chuck Toennies, Chris Muenter, Debbie Sury, Erick Larson, Gloria Jones, Jeremy Jones, Julie Schottel, Kari Ulrich, Melissa Schmitt, Sarah Williams, Sheila Acuncius, Stephanie Renner and Tiffany Jenkins.
Cheri Becker and Donna Polinske took a road trip to Ashland, Wis., to take on 26.2 miles of the Whistle Stop Marathon.
To finish off the fall distance season, Chuck Toennies competed in the Monumental Half Marathon in Indianapolis on Nov. 6.
While many in the club were busy with long-distance, our multi-sport adventure racer, Patrick Albert, completed the Berryman 36 Hour Adventure Race in September as part of Team POW/MIA. This was his first year on the race and Team POW/MIA finished very well. In October, Albert successfully finished the BT Epic 50 Mile Mountain Bike Race. Both events were held in and around the Berryman Trail in Potosi, Mo.
The red9runners Run Club at the Collinsville Maryville Troy YMCA has a thriving group of more than 40 runners of all abilities and who run varying different paces and distances.
The club meets four time each week to run together. They also host regular meetings and social gatherings as well as run races together. The club volunteers at the YMCA and for other community activities and charities. The group is lead by personal trainer and member of PowerBar Team Elite, Cheri Becker.
The red9runners are made up of regular people not elite athletes and truly has runners and run/walkers of all paces. Everyone is encouraged to run at their ownĂ‚ level with members running everything from 6 minute miles to 13-plus minute mile run/walk. While some members prefer not to race, other members run races varying in distance from the 5K (3.1 miles) all the way up to the full marathon (26.2 miles) and beyond.
The red9runners did their first triathlon as a team in August 2010 and have planned future multisport events for 2011. The club sponsors a First 5K Program and Young Runners Club at the YMCA where kids and adults are coached to run the 5k distance. There is also a marathon and half marathon training program which fully prepares runners to take on an endurance event.
The Collinsville Maryville Troy YMCA started a new marathon training program on Dec. 4 geared toward the Go! St. Louis Marathon and Half Marathon on April 10, 2011, or another spring distance event.
For more information about the club or to participate in a training program, please contact the Collinsville Maryville Troy YMCA at 618-346-5600.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Bagged and Tagged

OK so Kate from "What's on my mind today" tagged me to answer these questions.  I thought about not doing it but figured what the hell.
Here goes...
1. What's your favorite race and why? What's your dream race?
My favorite race is actually the Wild in the Woods series.  Four races in the awesome St Charles County Parks.  I didn't get to do them this year and it bummed me out.  
My dream race would have to be something in the amazon.  I have always wanted have an adventure in the jungle especially after reading the Lost City of Z.  

2. What's your favorite running tip?
I have two bits of running advice that if I know you long enough you will inevitably hear.  You won't hear these because I think I am some sort of expert on running, you will hear them because they are really great pieces of advice.  The first is "never make a decision on an uphill".  I don't know how many times I have been working my way up a hill struggling, in pain, exhausted, and all I wanted to do was stop.  Hills are where the demons get inside your head, probably because your pace slows down just enough for them to latch on.  Whenever I get those feelings like I want to quit I always wait until I get to the top of the hill just to make sure I don't do anything I will regret.
The second piece of advice is "if you want to run faster, run faster".  I don't do speed work and the simplicity of this makes too much sense (at least to me anyway).

3. Which reality show is your guilty pleasure?
Hands down Survivor.  Although if my team gets selected for "Expedition Impossible" I think I might have a new favorite.

4.  What is your power song, the song that takes your running to another level?
Bawitdaba by Kid Rock.  This song works so good I will only listen to it when I need an extra boost while running.

5.  What is your secret to balance in your life?
The 4 Noble Truths.
Life is Suffering
The origin of suffering is attachment
Suffering can end
To end suffering follow the eightfold path

6. What are you most looking forward to in the new year?
I have so many things planned for 2011 it is hard to pick one.  The MR340 is near the top of the list because I will be so far out of my element.  I am not the best paddler.  Ok now I know the thing I am most looking forward to.  Spending time training for the MR340.  I love being out on the water in my kayak.

1) Do you prefer winter or summer running?

3) What are your running goals for 2011?
I will refer you to the master plan.  They aren't all running goals but I do more than run.  I have some other races that I plan to do, the master plan just hits the big ones.

4) Do you have any other passions in life?
Passions is a funny word.  I have a lot of other things that I like to do but none are on the same level as endurance sports.  I have been thinking about skateboarding lately (my first love).  Maybe when the weather gets warmer I will head out to my local skatepark and see what happens.

5) If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
To be honest I love living here in the St Louis Metro area.  I was in the Army for 8years and I couldn't wait to get back.  But if I had the opportunity to live anywhere in the world I would choose Australia.  I am a fan of many things Australian.  Midnight Oil, Steve Irwin, AC/DC, digeridoos, dream time, Ned Kelly, Great Barrier Reef, etc.  

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Snow

So there I was at 3:45am asleep in my bed toasty and warm under the covers minding my own business when I felt Atticus our most neurotic dog hop up on to the bed.  At first I tried to ignore her but she is very persistent when she wants something.  Of the many things she could have wanted it turns out that she had to go outside.  The snow was a welcome surprise and as I was standing out in the in the cold in my shorts and sandals I decided I would go for a trail run in the morning (?) actually later in the morning.  Upon returning to bed I set my alarm to wake up early but not before posting my intentions on facebook and sending an email out to the Metro Tri Club. Since the Pere Marquette race was yesterday, and because it was only a few hours notice I didn't really expect anyone to join me.

I got to the trail on time and waited until 7am to see if anyone got the message and decided to join me.  Promptly at seven I took off (fyi- I will not wait for you if you are running late unless you contact me somehow to let me know).  Running down the gravel road less than a tenth of a mile I hit some ice covered by the snow and went down, in doing so I spooked a bunch of deer and they ran away.  I got back up and continued to run.  When I got to the trailhead I was happy to see that I was the first person out there.  There were plenty of animal tracks out there though.

It was a great run and I was glad to have gotten out there.  I even stretched a little after.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


So lately I have been seriously lacking motivation.  I have been taking a lot of time off and when I do get off my butt and do something I feel like I am just going through the motions.  My recent bought of Toxic Malaise may be spurred on by my constant nagging back pain.  The pain is not debilitating like it used to be but I would welcome an occasional flare up that takes me out of commission for a week at a time over the constant low level pain that is always there reminding me that something is not right.

My Chiropractor told me that my pelvis is out of alignment because my hamstrings are too tight.  I need to stretch to increase my flexibility so that my pelvis will get back where it belongs.

At Thanksgiving dinner I made a wager with my Sister-in-Law that I could lose 20lbs before she lost her final 7lbs.  I was doing ok until I got sidetracked.  Currently she has 4lbs to go and after initially dropping 4lbs I gained it back.  Since then I am back down a couple.  If I win she has to run the St Louis Rock-n-Roll Marathon if she wins I have to pay her entry fee.  The stakes are higher for her, either way she will be running her first marathon.

Tonight I went downstairs into the dungeon and put in one of my Insanity work out DVDs.  I was ok at first but about halfway through my back started to hurt more so I just did what I could and tried to modify the rest.  When the work out was over I skipped their stretching and did my own routine focusing on my hamstrings hopefully if I keep this up I will drop down to my racing weight, and fix my back problem at the same time.

So I have been slacking quite a bit but not for the sake of being lazy.  Hopefully I will be able to turn things around.  I have a great support system between the Red9Runners and the Metro Tri Club, not to mention my ROCK Racing team mates.

Now it is time to go eat a sensible dinner.
Wish Me Luck!