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Posts by jmartin
It was one of those days. I sat at my desk on Tuesday afternoon and looked incredulously at the clock that said 4:36 p.m. It seemed like at least a half hour had passed since the last time I looked at the clock at 4:34 p.m. When time finally dragged itself to 5 p.m., I bundled up, went out in the already dark night, scraped the snow from my windshield using the only thing I had at my disposal (a tennis racket) and drove myself home. Every bone in my body said, “Hot bath, book, bed. Maybe wine.” But while my bones had their own plan, the calendar said “Tuesday,” and Tuesday said, “Run with the Heartland Road Runners After Dark.”
Since I began writing this blog, a frequent question from friends is, “How do you find the energy to do all of these activities?” And the truth is: it’s not easy. Everyone has days like I described above. A year ago, if my motivation and energy were completely gone, I would have probably just put on a sweatshirt, sat on my couch, and called it a night. These days though, I’ve been getting myself out the door even on nights like Tuesday. I’m about to share my secret of how I changed my attitude and learned to overcome crummy nights and get myself out the door.
I got a permanent marker and wrote the word “Adventure” on my foot. True story.
Why? Well, the truth is, I’ve always enjoyed being active. Kayaking, cycling, hiking, frisbee, swimming, running — every single time I try something new it’s been an adventure. And the only thing separating me from having an adventure is getting my foot out the door. The marker was just a way to remind myself that any kind of activity helps me to feel better about myself, improve my health, and make new friends. After an activity, I’ve never thought, “Dang, I totally should have just sat home and done nothing.”
So, though the marker has faded (and I’m still to chicken to get it tattooed), whenever I feel like I can’t Get Out to be active, I think of my foot. If I follow my “Adventure Foot” out the door even one step, I know I’m going to have a good time. One step is hard on days like Tuesday, but one step is all it takes.
I posted a question on Facebook asking some of my other active friends what they do for motivation. They had some great ideas to share. Wherever your motivation comes from, I hope you can harness it this winter and find great ways to Get Out.
Marinan Coons: I remember a cold day that I just didn’t want to run, so I told myself I would just do one lap around the block. Near the end, a guy in a wheel chair saw me jogging, and started to clap and cheer me on, like I was running a race or something. He got me so motivated that I did a second lap. I will pull that memory out when I need the extra kick in the pants.
Brian Pahlmann: I think about my long term goals and how this particular workout will help me to achieve them. I’ll also consider the blank spot in my training log if I don’t go. If that’s not enough, I convince myself to go out and at least do a little. After I get started, I almost always feel better and complete the entire planned workout.
Rodney Hart: If I don’t take my two dogs for their afternoon run, they’ll eat my living room. Plus I always feel better after a long walk. Finding my expensive Snark guitar tuner chewed to bits if I don’t walk the dogs is good motivation …
Justin Busen: ”Somewhere in the world someone is training when you are not. When you race him, he will win.”
Dave Poland: On days when I don’t feel like running (or at the very least taking a walk), I usually try and justify some lame reason for not going. Then I think back to the very first time I ran. It was only one block and I thought, “There is no way I will ever run a mile.” Now, I look at how far I have come and never want to get back to THAT starting line again.
Clinton Begley: Exercise is just a byproduct of passion for something; an activity I love and want to do better, a feeling of exhilaration, a drive to be healthy… When it’s for the sake of something one loves, motivation is never a question. And, I’m rarely passionate about my couch.
Sara Martin: I make myself go first thing in the morning and then I will never find an excuse to not do it. Also, I cannot tell you how good it feels to go through my day without constantly having the thought of “when am I going to make time to exercise” running through my brain!
Melissa James: I bring my gym bag with me in the morning so I don’t have to stop at home. I also like to think about how great I feel after a workout. I promise myself I’ll stay for at least 20 minutes – and it always turns into more.
Amy Salamon: I put my exercise clothes on. Doing that and beginning to stretch helps for me, because most days I DON’T want to go out. Actually getting in the gear and going through the motions helps prepare my mind for running.
Ali Berti: It does help to put on the workout gear and get yourself ready, because then you figure “as long as I’m dressed…” and you can get yourself out the door. Being committed to something with a group always helps (like Heartland Road Runners and Walkers Club!). Sometimes I have to “bribe” myself with a nap later or maybe a tasty coffee! I’ve also told myself, just do a mile, then it turns into more!
Jeremy Grootens: Each individual workout doesn’t mean too much by itself, but the continued accumulation of workouts is a great thing. So by thinking of where I want to be, instead of thinking of how I feel on that day, I usually get the workout done.
Adam Duesterhaus: An Active lifestyle is a happy lifestyle! Keeping the body in motion is as essential as keeping the mind and spirit moving as well! Never letting it fall into Limbo. When one fails, the others lack! Also, imagining where you want to be, is beneficial as well! Envisioning yourself on an open road, sun on your face, maybe a smile, it can help establish the right mindset, even though your present body is nowhere near that. Surrounding yourself with active peeps helps too!
Ryan Craven: The reason we love the outdoors is the beauty you see and the unexpected things that happen. You won’t see it or experience it if you don’t go out. That gets me up and about!
Jason Asmann: Personally, if I don’t feel like working out either due to a lack of motivation or that the weather is bad, I always remind myself that all the time and energy I’ve put into training this past year or two. It is the one motivating factor that tells me to put one foot in front of the other, get out there and just do it!!
A friend I knew from high school named Lydia Morris was in town last weekend for Thanksgiving and participated in the YMCA’s Turkey Run with me. I love hearing her story and seeing the positive affect being active has had on her life. Each time I go to a race, I’m amazedat the myriad reasons people run. Some people are working to get in shape or to lose weight. Some are taking positive steps to fight heart disease or diabetes. Many people enjoy the sense of accomplishment that running gives them and the camaraderie of the running community. Some, like Lydia, make running part of their life to have time to themselves, to fight stress and to gain energy. I know that my own motivation contains a little of all of these reasons. I hope you enjoy Lydia’s race recap, and I hope you each can find great reasons to Get Out and get active!
- Laura Sievert
A Newbie to Running Tells Her Story
By Lydia Morris
“This is the first time I’ve ever been able to see my breath when running.” I said to a fellow 5K jogger the morning of the Quincy Family YMCA Turkey Run. I made a commitment to running this past June, and where I live in Atlanta, GA, a typical summer day is pretty hot and humid. Thanksgiving morning was my first time running in sub 50 degree weather, and I loved every minute of it!I didn’t start running to get in shape or to lose weight. After high school, my history of working out had been sporadic at best. I just didn’t care much about physical activity. That changed when after six long years of graduate school with no end in sight, I had settled into a routine of too little sleep, an unhealthy diet and very little free time. Though I did carve out a little time for church activities, dinners with friends and play dates with my little cousins, I had mostly forgotten about the world outside of school and work. My life was completely unbalanced, I had no energy, and to say I was stressed out would be an understatement.
Completely overwhelmed and burned out, I was desperate to find a way to effectively relieve stress. I decided that whatever it was needed to be cheap, fun and not take up too much of my time. I did a little research and decided to start running because it isn’t expensive, it’s not very time-consuming, and I heard from others that it can be enjoyable.
I started out slowly with the popular 9-week long Couch to 5K (C25K) program, which allowed me to ease into the workouts without wanting to immediately give up as in the past. For three days a week I alternated between treadmill workouts and walking/running around my neighborhood in the evenings after it cooled down.
I did start to enjoy running, and I also began to do a little research. I read yoga would help to prevent injuries, so I started going to a yoga class on Saturday mornings. I also read that healthy eating, getting enough sleep and drinking plenty of water are also important habits for runners. As my running improved each week, I slowly adopted these habits and noticed a substantial difference. I dropped about ten pounds over the past five months, but I am also more focused, I have much more energy and I feel much happier. Running helped me make both my physical and my mental health priorities.
Just a few weeks of running had improved my mood and motivated me to make some healthy lifestyle changes. At that point I wanted to continue increasing my running distance, and I needed a goal other than just to finish the C25K program. It worked out that in August the cancer center at Emory University, where I go to school, announced it would holding its first annual 5K fundraiser (Winship Win the Fight 5K) in October. I formed a team with a few of my co-workers, signed us up, and continued to run weekly.
Before the race, I only made it through “week six” of C25K, which ended in a 20 minute run. For me, that’s about two miles. I figured if I could run two, I could run three. I tested my theory by looking up the course online and trying it out a week before race day. After about a mile of jogging I felt like I might pass out! It was much hillier than I was used to, so I ended up stopping and walk-running the rest of the way. It seemed the course was pretty much either flat or on a slight upward incline the whole 3.2 miles. Though I was pretty discouraged by all the hills, I set two goals for race day: to finish in 30 minutes and to not walk at all.
I noticed something interesting the morning of the race. The start/finish line was set up in the opposite direction from how I had practiced a week before. So the course would be mostly flat and downhill. Yes! With the excitement of the crowd (~2,000 runners and walkers) and my adrenaline going, I was sure I’d be able to accomplish my goals. I ended up running for the entire race with an unofficial time of 31:22, according to my wristwatch. I was really proud of what I accomplished in terms of running the whole race and contributing to a worthy cause (our team raised $1,250). I was actually happier than I’d been in a long time.
Getting back to the morning of the Turkey Run, in our family we usually hit a holiday trifecta every several years. I was born on November 24th, which is also my parents’ wedding anniversary. This year it was also Thanksgiving Day! I used this to my advantage when I signed up for the run and added my younger sister, Regina, to my team for the 5K leisure walk. I knew this was a little early for her, especially for a non- work day, but I figured I could convince her using the old “but it’s my birthday” line. It worked, and we were out of the house by 7:30 a.m. to go pick up our packets. I’m glad we arrived early because it gave us a chance to catch up on sister time since we don’t see each other very often. I also happened to see Laura who was running the 10K, and we chatted for a bit before the race started. She truly is an inspiration to anyone wanting to be more physically active!
Regina ran into a few of her friends — one was walking and the other was running the 5K. She‘d have a walking buddy and I’d have a running buddy! When the race started I was determined to beat my time of 31:22. My sister’s friend blew by me and as I watched her pass me up, but I decided to just go with my own speed. At my usual 10 min/ mile pace, and with some of my favorite tunes blasting in my ear buds, the first few miles were easy. I was reminded why I enjoyed my first race so much. I love jogging next to so many people who all have the same goal, and it’s nice that the traffic is cut off to allow us to do so.
Around mile three I got a pretty intense stomach cramp that didn’t go away with the controlled breathing I read about, so I walked for about half a minute. I quickly remember my goal of beating my previous finishing time so I started running again and managed to power myself up the last hill to the finish line. Gift to self: my official time was 31:09! On my 28th birthday I saw my breath while running for the first time, I ran my second 5K and I continued on my journey toward a healthier lifestyle initiated by a new found love of running.
My favorite running/fitness/motivation quote: “You have a choice. You can throw in the towel, or you can use it to wipe the sweat off of your face.”
I’d been meaning to Get Out to try a class at the NuFit for You facility at 4480 Broadway for a few months. Several of my friends from the Heartland Road Runners Club and the Quincy Bicycle Club take classes there, and they all have had very positive things to say, so I figured I’d go take a class and see for myself. I hopped on their website to look at a class schedule and one class name stood out: CycleLates. Moments later, my Facebook status read: “Going to CycleLates class Monday night. I can only assume we are making delicious espresso beverages on a machine powered by bicycles.”
The NuFit CycleLates class is actually a combo class with a half hour of indoor cycling (also called Spin Class) and a half hour of Pilates. The combination of the cardio workout of the cycling class and the core workout of the pilates class makes this one of the most balanced hour-long workouts a busy person could ask for. Personally, though I’m an avid cyclist, I’d never done an indoor spin class or a pilates class, so it was going to be a fitness adventure for me!
Your first class at NuFit is free, and you register online for the class you’d like to attend. The remaining open spots in the class are listed on the web, so you’ll know right away if there’s room. I showed up about 10 minutes before the scheduled start time, and was immediately greeted by owner Angie Asmann and my instructor for the night, Lindsay. They showed me around the immaculately-clean and inviting facility and I changed into my cycling shoes to get ready for the cycling part of the class.
Lindsay explained how the bikes work and how the class would progress. I was able to adjust my seat and handle bar height to fit the way I’m used to riding, and there was a small screen in front of me that displayed my cadence (strokes per minute) as well as the gear that my cycle was in. The class is tailored to your fitness level by the gear you choose. You start from a place called your Push Point. Your Push Point is the gear that feels most similar to a comfortable ride on a flat road. Everyone’s Push Point is different; therefore the class is individualized for each rider’s ability.
After a warm up, our instructor called out for us to shift up 3 gears above our push point and to try to maintain a cadence of about 75. Shifting on the bike is very easy and just consists of moving a small lever up or down. The music matched the intensity of the ride, and I was having a good time and quickly working up a sweat. We moved on to “rolling hills” where we would gradually increase our gear and hold it in intervals, and then we would move down gears to simulate the downhill portion of the ride. I kept imagining we were doing a real stretch of rolling hills out on Ellington Road. I know if I keep doing cycling classes at NuFit, the real Ellington Road will seem much easier on my real bike next year!
After a cool down on the bikes, our class of about 15 people all retrieved pilates mats. The facility has mats to use if you don’t have your own. The lights were turned down and the music shifted to mark the change from high-energy cycling to more focused pilates core work. Our instructor Lindsay did a wonderful job of explaining each exercise and demonstrating it before we started each set. Many of the names of exercises were at least vaguely familiar to me- exercises like scissors, planks, downward dog, etc.
I very much liked that some of the toughest moves could be modified for beginners. For example, one of the exercises called a “teaser” had 3 different ways of modifying where your legs were placed to make different difficulty levels. I started on the middle level, but on the last set I needed to drop my legs down to the third level to make it a little easier.
Many of the pilates moves emphasized balance- something I am certainly not known for- but I did my best to keep up and never felt self-conscious or behind the class. After the class was over, I said something about how tough some of the things were and our instructor said, “Good! It wouldn’t be much of a class if you could do all the moves your first day.” She was totally right, and I am actually looking forward to getting better at some of those core exercises. I can tell that no matter what activity I’m participating in, the strength and balance that you learn in a pilates class will be a huge advantage.
Overall, I very much enjoyed my class at NuFit. I’ve just scratched the surface of what the facility has to offer, and I think that the CycleLates class will be a wonderful cross-training piece for the half-marathon I am training to run in March.
Besides the CycleLates class, there are also Indo-Row Classes (Rowing machines), PowerCycle, Yoga, Pilates, Zumba, CrossFit, and more. They also offer classes at Quincy University and at Riverside Spa in Hannibal. In addition to fitness classes, you can sign up for individual nutrition counseling or group classes held at Steamboat Cooking Store that can help you get the most from your workouts. Most classes work on punch cards which are 5/$50, 10/$75 or 20/$120. Your first class is free and you can see the entire schedule by clicking here.
2011 has been a banner year for Quincy’s first all-female Roller Derby squad, the Dark River Derby Coalition. The team played its first official bouts this year, and earned its first victory. It’s also done a great job of raising awareness and money for some wonderful charities in the Quincy area. Despite having watched some derby though, I found myself a little confused at exactly how the game works. Lucky for me and the readers of Get Out, my friend Jessica (AKA Patella Crusher) was nice enough to write a guest blog today and explain the ins and outs of the game.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Dark River Derby Coalition as either a skater or a ref, they are holding recruitment sessions December 6th and December 8th from 7-9pm and December 11 from 10am-12pm, all at Scottie’s Fun Spot at 8000 Broadway in Quincy. Also, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/darkriverderby
- Laura Sievert
By Jessica “Patella Crusher” Snowden Patel
When I tell people that I play roller derby, their first reaction is complete shock. I think this has to do with stereotypes of what roller derby is and who plays this sport. After the shock subsides, I am always asked, what exactly is roller derby?
Roller derby is a sport played on quad roller skates. That may seem obvious, but many people remember roller derby from the 60′s and 70′s where it resembled more WWE than an actual sport. Now, roller derby is a real sport with real skaters, real rules, and unfortunately, real injuries. There are up to seven refs (or “zebras”) per bout to make sure those ladies don’t break the rules. Needless to say, you will see numerous skaters from both teams going to the penalty box. If you go to the box too many times, you will get a nice trip out of the rink on your 7th major penalty. If you get really into things and want to learn the zebra hand signals, you can do so here, but I recommend learning the basics first (http://wftda.com/rules/wftda-rules-appendix-c-referee-hand-signals.pdf).
Here are the basics: Each bout is made up of two 30 minute periods. Within those 30 minute periods, you have short matchups, called “jams.” Each jam starts with four blockers and one jammer from each team on the track (the jammer is identified by the star on her helmet cover). One blocker (“a pivot”) has a stripe on their helmet cover. The pivot is basically the leader of her blockers for that jam, and leads them by yelling out plays and setting the pace. It helps to almost think of the jammer as a ball (i.e., a point scoring agent).
The whistle blows and the pack (i.e., the blockers from both teams) take off. Once they cross a nifty line on the ground, the whistle is blown twice and the jammers take off. The whole goal is to get your jammer through the pack first, while keeping the opposing team’s jammer from making it through. This is where you will see a lot of blocking, assisting (maybe even a whip), and hitting. Remember, this is all real and very unpredictable.
The first jammer to make it through the pack legally is the lead jammer. The jammer then needs to get around the rink as fast as they can to make it back through the pack. On every pass through the pack (starting with the 2nd pass), the jammer can score up to 4 points for each blocker they pass from the opposing team. Any jammer, lead or not, can still score, but only the lead jammer can call off the jam. She can have the jam go for the full 2 minutes allowed, or she can call off the jam by putting her hands on her hips repeatedly. A lead jammer typically will call off the jam to prevent the other jammer from scoring or when she is just so worn out from being blocked by the other team. If a jammer goes to the box, they are no longer lead jammer and you will get to see a full 2 minute jam.
Once the jam is called off, the skaters have 30 seconds to reset. You’ll often see a whole new set of blockers and jammers in each jam. There are a total of 14 skaters per team allowed on the roster for a bout. Oftentimes, there are up to 40+ jams in a single bout.
The rest is simple. Whoever scores the most points wins! Roller derby is a high scoring game. It is typical to see scores upwards of 100-200+ per team.
While the basics of roller derby are fairly easy to understand, there are many misunderstandings of the sport. The biggest misunderstanding is that roller derby is fake. You can ask any of the ladies on the team who have been taken out with an injury, it is very real (and we have two very real EMT’s with an ambulance present at each bout). The second misunderstanding is that there is a certain “type” of person who plays roller derby. Our team is made up of ladies from all professions, including teachers, nurses, the executive director of a non-profit, a psychologist, artists, salespeople, managers, a librarian, other medical professionals, college and graduate students, and mothers (to name a few). There is no “typical” skater. All of our skaters are also dedicated to volunteering in the community and have raised money through our bouts, in partnership with Scotties Fun Spot, for local organizations including Honor Flight, Quanada, Paw Pals, Madonna House, and the Quincy Autism Support Group. The last major misunderstanding is that roller derby is violent. Roller derby is a full contact sport, much like football, although we have even more rules. There will be hits, but no elbows (unless you want to go to the box) and definitely no punching like movies such as Whip It would have you think. It is a family-friendly sport.
You can also find out more about roller derby at www.wftda.com.
Want to join the Dark River Derby Coalition for its 2012 season?
Come out to Scotties Fun Spot (8000 Broadway) from 7-9pm on December 6th or December 8th or on December 11th from 10am-noon. Skaters must be female, 21+ (by 5/1/12). Absolutely no experience is necessary. Just bring yourself, $7 (for rink and skate rental), any safety gear you possess, and a good attitude.
If you think you’d be better off keeping those skaters in line, you can also come out and learn about being a ref (refs can be male or female, 19+). We are also always looking for volunteers.
If you think that you’d rather stay on the sidelines, you can find out more about supporting the DRDC in its upcoming season on our website at www.darkriverderby.com or on facebook at www.facebook.com/darkriverderby.
Just this week, I saw a great blog from REI called “10 Weird Outdoor Words.” In their list was one of my favorite terms — “crepuscular.” It means an animal that’s active at dawn or dusk (as opposed to nocturnal or diurnal). Anywho, I loved the blog and decided to come up with 10 More Weird Outdoor Words for today’s “Get Out” blog post.
Spectre of brocken — This is a phenomenon that belongs as much on “The Other Side Blog” as it does on “Get Out.” The spectre of brocken is created when the sun is positioned up and behind a hiker and the hiker’s shadow is cast downward onto a cloud (so the hiker must be above a cloud; example: on a ridgeline) and the water particles in the cloud create a prismatic (rainbow) halo around the shadow of the person. This is clearly an easier thing to see a photo of than to describe. The ghostly phenomenon is rare and can inspire an interesting mixture of awe and fear in a person who views it.
Crepuscular rays — (Say it like crepe + muscular without the “m”) Since the REI blog already took “crepuscular” away from me, I thought an interesting phenomenon to discuss would be crepuscular rays. Have you ever seen dark rays extending up from the horizon at sunset or sunrise? Those little babies are crepuscular rays, and are created when the setting or rising sun shines through low clouds on the horizon and casts their shadow upward.
Glissade —(Gliss-ahhd) This is a word that I like because it sounds exactly like the action that it signifies. The verb means, “to slide down a slope covered in loose debris or snow on your feet without skis or other aids.” Say it out loud, “glissssssade.” It slides off your tongue, and you can see why we co-opted this French term to mean sliding down a mountainside.
Scree — If I ever write a fantasy novel, I think I’d call the monster or dragon or whatever a Scree. It just sounds like a big, bad, pseudo-avian dragon or something. The term actually refers to an accumulation of loose rocks or debris on a slope. When my husband and I climbed Mount St. Helens last year, we saw a lot of volcanic scree. As a matter of fact, we got a running start and glissaded down some volcanic scree. It was like surfing on pea-gravel.
Krummholz — (crumb-holts) The Germans are always coming up with such lovely words. You know when people say something is crummy? That phrase comes from the German word Krumm (crooked or inferior). Holz means wood. Krummholz is crooked wood. In mountaineering, krummholz is a generic term for any of the half-grown crooked trees that have managed to take root and eke out a living around the tree-line of a mountain.
Coprolite — (cop-pro-light) Because sometimes you just need to sound more erudite than if you were to use the phrase “fossilized poop.”
Orogeny — (or-o-genie) Do NOT type this word into your iPhone and send it, lest the Autocorrect feature guess that you mean a different word. This geologic term refers to tectonic movements like faults, folds and uplift, which lead to the formation of mountains.
Earthshine — You’ve got your sunshine and your moonshine — did you think that the earth couldn’t get in on that game? Earthshine is just what it sounds like: the glow of the reflection of the sun from the surface of the earth back into space. If you’ve ever looked up and seen the outline of the unlit side of the moon, that’s the illumination of earthshine.
Bivouac — (biv-wack) The term refers to a temporary camp devoid of shelter, usually overnight. You could throw your sleeping bag in your backyard and take a snooze and voilà — bivouac. But seriously, bivouac is often a last resort. Shelter is good.
Peloton — (pele-than) Unsurprisingly, I had to get a cycling term in here. The word peloton literally means “ball” in French, but in cycling refers to the main group of racers riding in a close-spaced pack. If you’ve watched any coverage of the Tour de France or other big bike races, you’ll hear this term fairly regularly, and now, because of the “Get Out” blog, you’ll know what it means.
There’s a national movement this weekend designed to bring attention to local retailers called “Shop Local Saturday.” Sure, the big-box retailers will bring you sales and $50 flat-screens this Black Friday, but spending your dollars locally can give you the warm-and-happy-holiday feeling that a cheap flat screen just isn’t going to match. We outdoor enthusiasts have a lot of options when it comes to purchasing gifts and gear, but this year, I suggest going local for your holiday purchases. Here are a few of my favorite stores.
Located at 912 South 8th Street, Madison-Davis Bicycle Shop has been in Quincy in some form or other since the 1930’s. Founder JW Madison started fixing bikes in his home as a hobby, later moved into a store on Kentucky street, then to its current location on South 8th. Current owner Greg Davis keeps the store stocked for everyone’s cycling needs. Whether you’re looking for a new bike for your kids, a commuter or recreational ride for a gift, or maybe a high-end
custom Trek for yourself, Madison-Davis has you covered. They also carry a wide selection of accessories including helmets, computers, gloves, clothes, shoes and more. It’s also a good time to see Ryan in the service department. He can winterize your bike and have it in good shape for next spring. Some sales this weekend will include Nike Cycling Shoes, Trek DraftPack seat bags, Team Jerseys (Livestrong, Radio Shack, Leopard) Sale for 30% – 50% off, and Quincy Bike Club jerseys for $59.95.
Great Debate Books is located in the Maine Center (6th and Maine) in Quincy and is one of the best local booksellers in the area. You’ll find me browsing the collection of outdoor books a couple of times a month, and I rarely leave empty handed. They’ve got a nice range of gift ideas- I especially like the bird and flower identification guides as stocking stuffers. Even better, if there is a book they don’t have in-stock, they can order for you and have in the store quite fast. The owners of the store, the Stoker Family, are big proponents of the “Live Local” movement, and they pride themselves on the section of the store devoted to showcasing local authors.
The size of the Game Master’s store at 5100 Broadway might belie the fact that it’s a locally owned and run store. The secret to the store offering so much merchandise and so many brands is that the store partners with a large group of independent outfitters called NBS (Nation’s Best Sports) who band together to leverage buying power the same way that big players in sporting goods do. The store has most everything an adventurer needs, and then some. Hunters have long known about the store’s selection, but have you been in the very back of the store to the Athletics department? They’ve got all the brands you’d expect from a big-store: Under Armor, Columbia, Nike, Wilson, Rawlings, etc. and lots of the brands you’d expect from a small specialty store like Amphipod and Pro-Form. The store also gets props from me for having a nice selection of Iowa Hawkeyes merchandise (hey, it’s my blog, I have to give my team some love).
This Quincy store has been in my life since my days as a goalie on a Quinsippi Soccer team. I still remember my first blue and white padded Puma jersey and matching gloves that my mom bought me there, and I remember the way they made me feel like I could stop any shot on goal that came my way. The store is located next to Subway at 936 Broadway, and is still probably the best place in town to shop for soccer accessories. Besides soccer items though, the store carries a good selection of football, baseball, and basketball merchandise, as well as general sporting goods, shoes and clothes. They also house a screen printing business, and have clothes with our local sports teams like the Quincy Blue Devils in stock.
So there you are. For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s no substitute for a knowledgeable store staff, and when you keep your spending in our community, it helps us all grow. Visit these stores for “Shop Local Saturday” this year or any day you’re looking for great customer service, a good selection and a happy feeling from supporting local business.
Author’s Note: None of the stores in my blog today gave any consideration to be part of my article. I just like to shop at these places. I didn’t call the stores to find out all of their individual sales, but I did link their websites so you can find all the best information there! Viva Local Businesses!
Two important seasons are already well underway in Illinois: the holiday donation season and deer hunting season. In October, I wrote about the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ effort to fight hunger through the Target Hunger Now Program. That program takes invasive species of Asian Carp out of our river and helps to feed the hungry in our state. The state is fortunate enough to have another well-established campaign that helps feed hungry families: The Illinois Sportsmen Against Hunger Program.
The Sportsmen Against Hunger Program is designed to encourage area hunters to donate their tagged deer to feed families in Illinois. This program was started in 1989, and since then has provided an estimated 1.8 million meals to needy families.There are 50 meat processors in the state that accept donations, including two facilities in our area. The Golden Locker in Golden, Illinois (217-696-4456) and The Butcher Block in Quincy, Illinois ((217) 222-6248) both can accept donations of tagged deer through the end of the season in mid-January. Through donations and sponsorship dollars, these two local processors are able to process donated meat free of charge. The donated venison is then distributed primarily through the Salvation Army.
Major local sponsors of the program include Rotary International, Key Outdoor Inc., Quincy Industrial Painting Company, Mays, Walden and Anastas PC, Farm and Home Supply, Independent’s Service Company, Gully Transportation, JH Concrete, Western Catholic Union, Autoshine Car Wash, Game Masters, Hilbing Autobody, and Peters Body Shop and Towing.
The Inaugural Veteran’s Day Run was held last Friday, 11/11/11, at the Quincy Soldiers and Sailors Home. The event was part of a larger national event that was organized to raise money for various military support groups including the Wounded Warrior Project. In a sign-up period of only 3 weeks, the Quincy chapter of the Veteran’s Day 11K run or 1 Mile walk had registered about 50 runners and a dozen walkers.
For me, the event was going to be a big challenge. I’d never entered a run that was more than 5K, and my recent training runs have only been around 3-4 miles. The 6.8 mile course would be a new personal distance record- if I could complete it.
The runners all gathered at the shelter house of the Soldiers and Sailors Home at about 7 am. A dozen dedicated volunteers, organized largely by Dave Ulrich of the organization “Fishing for Freedom” and Army SSG Aarron Patrick, helped to register all the participants and hand out race bibs.
Pre-race, I found myself in the corner of the building trying to stay warm and chatting with the three Koren War Veterans that had volunteered to present our flag during the opening of the event. Miss Quincy, Rachel Shriver, was also on-hand to help run the ceremonies.
Close to start time, the runners and walkers gathered by the flag-adorned fountain and the Koren War Vets brought out the flag. Veterans of all wars were recognized, the Pledge of Allegiance was recited, and then, rather than have someone sing the National Anthem, the entire group sang it together. I hope the group singing of the Star Spangled Banner is a tradition that sticks with this event, because the feeling of our voices raised to our country standing among friends and veterans in a crisp autumn morning was extraordinarily moving.
The runners huddled in a group around the starting line. I was standing near a group of friends from the Heartland Road Runners Club who I knew were ready to rock this race. I was nervous about the distance, but since it was 32 degrees outside, I was definitely ready to get moving when SSG Patrick pulled the trigger on the starting gun.
The group all started the course together and someone hollered a call and answer run chant of, “I don’t know but I’ve been told, the Veteran’s Run is mighty cold.” I was running pretty easy at the beginning, and it was nice to have my muscles start to warm up as we headed out on the course.
The run was designed such that the first section circled the perimeter of the military cemetery at the top of a hill on the campus of the home. I was in the back of the pack when we got to this point in the run, and it brought a tear to my eye to see the white tomb stones under clear blue skies and the watchful eye of a row of flags. The circle of runners was silent except for footfalls, and they became an honor guard to remember the heroes that were buried there.
The run then took us back to the main part of the Veteran’s Home campus and around the Quincy Deer Park. The five-acre fenced park at the center of the Veteran’s Home facility houses deer, goats, peafowl, and other animals. The timing was perfect for me because I was really starting to get winded, and watching the clearly bewildered deer watch us run around their fence was pretty funny. It took my mind off the burn and helped me to keep going.
I spent the rest of lap one of the two-lap course soaking up the scenery. There were veterans sitting on the stoops of buildings or in the windows of their rooms watching us pass, and I tried to wave to all of them. We passed the Eternal Flame Monument, the assorted tanks and military vehicles that are all over the facility, and the All-Wars Museum.
I was actually feeling pretty good by the beginning of the second lap. I navigated the uneven ground and just kept trucking. I’d see my friends that were ahead of me each time the course doubled back on itself, and we’d high-five or yell something encouraging to one another. I sort of zoned-out and kept right on going through the course. I passed the pen with the miniature horses and the emu, and I thought that I couldn’t be so close to the finish line. I assumed I’d be dying when I got into that 6th mile, since it was beyond anything I’ve run before. Sure enough though, I was already there and there was less than a mile to go.
I can tell you, I’m going to have a hard time putting the end of the race in words. Most of my friends had long since finished the course and were standing about a half mile from the end of the course. As I rounded the corner, my husband, then my friend Jeremy, then a whole group of runners from the Heartland Road Runners hopped back on the course and ran the last half mile with me. My super-speedy friend Jeff kept right in step with my pace (which was probably pretty darned slow for him) and Ali and Michelle shouted out encouragement and congratulations on my finish- which they knew was a personal distance record for me. It was so neat and encouraging to have them all join in, that I practically floated the last 200 yards.
I ended the race with a time of 1 hour and 11 minutes (and 18 seconds). That’s right. I did an 11K on 11/11/11 in 1:11. Best. Finish. Time. Ever.
I sincerely hope that the Veteran’s Day Run becomes a new Quincy tradition. It’s only going to get bigger and better, and I’m proud to have taken part in the first one. It was a great way for us all to remember our men and women in uniform on a holiday we too often take for granted.
For my part, finishing this personal long distance has given me a lot of confidence in my ability to learn to become a better runner. The support of friends in the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers Club has meant a lot to me, and in fact, has given me the motivation I needed to go ahead and sign up for my first half-marathon. I’d encourage any readers of Get Out to come check out the club. They’re such an inclusive group and will help you develop from “can’t run a mile” all the way to your personal goal for running and fitness.
And don’t forget that the annual Turkey Run and Jingle Bell Run are coming up. I’ll be there- and I’ll be finishing- with a little help from my friends!
*To find out more about the Heartland Road Runners and Walkers, visit http://hrrwc.com/
Are you a gadget-head? Are you excited about the next awesome piece of gear or are you the first to know about new upgrades for the latest products for your adventures?
For the last eight months of blogging about the outdoors, I’ve steered clear of gear reviews. However, I’ve dropped a few bucks here and there on some outdoor products that have been worth the money and others where I feel like I really could use a refund, so I thought I’d share them with you today. And since buying gear is all about the Benjamins, I included some wit and wisdom from Ben Franklin himself along with my thoughts.
“He that is good for making excuses is seldom good for anything else.”
I hear a lot of excuses for reasons people aren’t wearing bike helmets, but they’re all pretty stupid. It doesn’t matter how short the trip is, how safe you think the roads are, or how nice and sunny the day is, wear a helmet! It’s my #1 best purchase of the year. I think I paid $25 for my Bell-brand-dome-saver, and as you can see, my head is still a gray-matter-friendly shape.
“Old boys have their playthings as well as young ones; the difference is only in the price.”
I wrote a long blog about my search for a new bike that you can read here. All I have to say about that is getting a bike that fits is 100% worth the money! If you’re in the market for a new ride, go to a bike shop and skip the ‘Mart. You won’t regret it.
“A place for everything, everything in its place.”
Ah, it’s the oft-quoted backpacker’s mantra. Hiking supplies are one of the places that I’ve spent some money I’d like back. First rule: anything made by that ubiquitous company with the green packaging that you find in the sporting goods section of every mega-mart is much cheaper than the name brand. There’s good reason for that. It’s junk. It’s too big, it’s too heavy, and it’s too prone to failure. Less is more when it comes to camping and hiking supplies and buying quality items is paramount. My advice is to think long and hard about what you’re buying and what purpose it serves for your hike. Every ounce you add to your pack is an ounce you’ve got to tote around the woods. Buy items that are great multi-taskers. Buy items that are more durable than you think you’ll need. And plan your pack with the quote above this paragraph in the front of your mind.
“All mankind is divided into three classes: those that are immovable, those that are movable, and those that move.”
For those that move, let me recommend a great gift: Socks! Nothing will ruin an adventure faster than the wrong footwear. I now have special socks for hiking, biking, and running and I am a firm believer in the magic of sock technology. I just bought some poly-blend running socks made by Mizuno, and they’ve completely stopped the blisters I was getting, they keep my feet warm and dry, and they even have built-in arch support. The socks I have for hiking are tall, warm and use moisture-wicking technology. That amazing advance keeps my tootsies nice and comfy even on winter hikes. Forget stuffing my stocking this year- the stocking is what I really want!
“Diligence is the mother of good luck. By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail.”
When we were out biking on the Katy Trail this summer, we came across some people pushing a bike with a flat tire along a stretch of trail that was at least 10 miles from anything. It was also over 100 degrees outside at the time and they only had half of a small water bottle between them. Laura to the rescue! When I cycle, I bring a patch kit, a hand-pump, a tire tube and tire changing tools. I also always have flashlights and at least a minimal first aid kit. When it’s hot (and usually even when it’s not) I bring more water than I think I’ll need. You won’t regret the money you spend on preparedness, because in my experience, it’s not a matter of ‘if’ you need it, it’s a matter of when.
“The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself.”
If you’ve a mind to catch happiness, I suggest you start with a good pair of running shoes. I’m sure you’re sensing a theme here, but don’t go to super-mega-shoe- store! More often than not, small specialty stores have well-trained staff who will be happy to share their expertise and don’t mind spending extra time with each customer. I went to a running store in Bloomington, IL recently. There, I tried on a half-dozen pairs of running shoes and ran around the block in each before I decided which shoes to buy. Try running out of a department store to test shoes and see what happens! Wait… no, don’t try that. The point is, no matter what kind of gear you’re shopping for, you’re about to drop your hard-earned money, so don’t settle for sub-par service. Most specialty stores employ people who share the same interest as you do, and they can teach you a lot about how to select the right gear for your activity. (For those curious, I ended up buying Mizuno Wave 7s at Often Running in Bloomington, IL)
There are lots more great pieces of gear out there, but those are just a few of my thoughts from this year. What’s your favorite piece of gear? What gear do you wish you could return? Leave comments below!
This week, I put a playlist for running together on my iPod. It actually took quite a bit of time to decide which songs would make the cut. Each song had to pass a little test. It had to be upbeat (poor John Mayer). It couldn’t be a waltz (sorry Mumford and Sons). It had to have a positive or uplifting message (and there goes half of my music library; especially all of my Pink Floyd). I considered my favorite songs for working out, and even googled other people’s favorite songs for working out. After much consideration, I came up with about 2 hours of music suitable for running. I updated my status on Facebook declaring my intention to go for a 4 mile solo run to try my playlist, but then something interesting happened.
My friend Melissa replied to my status that she was also going for a run. I quickly ditched the ‘solo’ plan and suggested we meet up and hit the pavement together. So that’s what we did. We met down at the park by the river, and took off north down Bonansinga Drive.
The wind was blowing a cold front in to the area while we ran. Leaves rustled and twigs cracked under our shoes. We chatted at some points, but at other times, we just ran. At times our footfalls were synchronized, and I imagined that if a blind person were listening, they’d probably think there was only one runner there. As we approached our cars at the end of the run, a few fat rain drops started to fall from the swirling gray sky and I listened to them plop both on the ground and in the river. The whole run was a cacophony of sound, even though I never turned on my iPod.
That’s when lightning struck! Um… metaphorical lightning I mean. (If you saw the sky Wednesday night, you’d agree that I was lucky it was only metaphorical lightning.) Playing has its own soundtrack. It’s got its own Greatest Hits compilation. It’s got a Track (and Field?) List that just can’t be topped with anything that I can load on my iPod. So, in no particular order, here are the 10 Tracks of Play I like to listen to most. You can’t download them, but you can Get Out and enjoy them any time you like.
The Play List:
- Squeak! By: Tennis Shoes on Tennis Court
- Crack! By: Summertime Baseball
- Swoosh! By: Nothin but Net
- Crunch; Walking in an Autumn Wonderland By: Hiking, Running, and Walking
- Rhythm Section By: Shoes on Pavement
- Shhhhhhhh By: Bike Tires on Blacktop
- Ploomp! By: Soccer Ball On Foot
- Kapow!!! By: Football’s Greatest Hits
- Wzzzzzzz… Plink! By: Gone Fishin’
- LOL- By: How Friends Play
I’d like to hear more about your favorite sounds of sports or play too! Leave a comment below and tell me what your Get Out soundtrack is like!