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Frozen Feet Half Marathon short and sweet

Since I don’t have the writing skills that my comrades do…here is the Frozen Feet Half Marathon report short and sweet… from my phone.

Where was everyone else?

Where was everyone else?

The race started for me in the 9:30 pace group.  I really didn’t know what my pace would be so I opted for a slower paced start group.   The first mile or so ticked off and I felt great.   We got to the first “trail” section and I found a burst of energy.   I was having a blast and had a smile on my face the whole time.   The tunes were jamming in my ear and my legs felt great.   People probably thought I was nuts as I passed them on the trail.

Elevation profile of the Frozen Feet Half Marathon

Elevation profile of the Frozen Feet Half Marathon

As we came out of the single track it started to rain but I really didn’t mind.   I had water and tunes and my legs still felt great.   Then came mile 7-9.

The gradual hill was fun for the first mile and sucked/blew balls at the end.  I was very happy when we got to the top.  There was an aid station there but thanks to the Ultimate Direction vest I was wearing I didn’t stop.   I passed so many people who stopped for water at the aid stations.

Easy access to water.

Easy access to water.

The downhill was a blast.   When I got to mile 11 I thought the worst was done, and I tried for a second gear.   But my lungs said, “No way, son!”  I struggled through that mile and again tried to reach for the second and third gear.  But the head wind and 12 miles behind said, “Nope…. not today.” I kept my sights on people ahead of me and pushed to the end.


Clock Time is not accurate. Official Time was 1:52:11

My finishing time was 1:52 something which was around 8:34 pace.   Not bad but I feel I could have gone harder.

It was a great race and I would like to do it again.

Thanks to Kate, Adam, and Michelle for getting me out there and for just being awesome.

Kate's official time was 2:01:43

Kate’s official time was 2:01:43.  Doesn’t she look happy?

Adam set a PR with a time of 2:03:48.

Adam set a PR with a time of 2:03:48.

"The DARKNESS doesn't need darkness for slumber." - BLD

“The DARKNESS doesn’t need darkness for slumber.” – BLD


Shoe Reviews

Shoes. With all the different brands, styles and fads, it’s hard to figure out which shoe is the right one for you.  Over the past few years I’ve tried out a few different lines of trail shoes, and I thought It’d be fun to share my thoughts on them. I’ve never been the kind of person who buys things simply because it’s “what the cool kids are doing“, so I’ve been hesitant to spend the money on Salomons. I really wanted to do my own thinking and come up with that awesome shoe that noone knew about.

Strike One: the Asics Trail Shoe:

I was pretty excited when I bought these shoes, paying over $120 for them. They looked cool, had good ventilation and seemed lightweight.  Well, to make a long story short..they sucked. The laces didn’t stay tied, they held water and I got a lot of blisters. Running in wet conditions was like wearing roller skates. 

Strike Two: The Hi-Tec Infinity-Lite

At first, I LOVED these shoes. Never before had I experienced so much traction and breathability. While running in these shoes, you can literally feel the air moving through them. They drain water very efficiently, the laces stay tied and they’ve got that handy hoop on the back so you can clip them to your pack while cycling.  All this, AND you can find them at steeply discounted prices on ebay.

The one major problem with this shoe is its lack of durability.  I’ve owned 3 pair of these shoes, and they all fell apart in nearly the exact same way. Before the 2012 Berryman 24 hour race, I bought a brand new pair of these, and the tread literally fell off halfway through the race.  I was understandably pissed off, so I called their customer service people later in the week. Their response: “Wow, that sucks. ” Thanks, Hi-Tec..thanks a lot.

Then one day I got lucky and found a Merrell outlet having a clearance sale…

Big success! – The Merrell Mix Master

What a great shoe. I found these babies on sale for $40. They drain water wonderfully, breathe magnificently, are durable and they look cool .  Win-win, especially for $40. If I could own 10 pairs of them, I would.

My only issue is that since the sole is so thin, I can “feel” the trail a little too well. I suspect this has more to do with my body-weight than anything, so we’ll overlook that. These are excellent shoes for adventure racing, no doubt about it.

The Hoka One One Stinson Trail Shoe.

Best purchase of 2013

Best purchase of 2013

If I could describe the Hoka trail shoe in two words, those words  would be “Holy Shit”. These shoes have literally solved 95% of my running problems, with the other 5% being comprised of obesity and lack of motivation. Shinsplints..gone. Uber painful calf cramps…gone. Knee pain..gone. Shit, I think my teeth have even gotten whiter since I started wearing these shoes.

 My one and only complaint is that they don’t really shed water very well. But seriously, these are the best and lightest  trail shoes you’ll find. You can step on rocks and never feel them! These shoes have given me the ability to run downhill, and that’s not something I’ve been able to do until now.  I seriously think these skins are some gonna be a major game-changer for me.

So…those are my thoughts on AR-specific trail shoes. Someday I’ll own a pair of Salomons, but for now I’m a Merrell/Hoka man.  Feel free to call me a dumbass in the comments section and/or share your own opinions.

The Ava Brown Memorial 5K

Our friend and Teammate, Robby Brown, and his wife, Sarah, are putting on The Ava Brown Memorial 5K here in Jefferson City on April 14th in honor and memory of their daughter, Ava, who was tragically lost to SIDS in 2009 at just 8 weeks old.  Last year for this race, I wrote one of the most difficult blog posts I’ve ever written, and after re-reading it just now, I’m not ashamed to admit that I broke down and shed a few tears all over again.  For the full story of why this race is so important to us, please read why we Ran for a Reason last year.  We were completely humbled and blown away by everyone’s generosity, and we raised over $1,000 last year as a team.

Ava Brown

We would love to see you and your families join us at this year’s race.  There is a 5K Run/Walk, and there’s also Ava’s Amble, a non-competetive, non-timed, fun run for kids.  Proceeds from the event go to First Candle, a wonderful organization dedicated to advancing infant health and survival.

I will be walking at this year’s race since I will be running the GO! St. Louis Half Marathon the next morning.  However, that doesn’t mean that this race means any less to me.  With every step, I’ll be thinking of Ava and my nephew Benji.  I’ll be thinking of Robby and his family, and I’ll be thinking of my brother, Casey, and his family.

If you can’t make it to the race but would still like to donate to such a worthy cause, you can do so right here.  Every little bit helps.  Thanks, and we hope to see you on the 14th!


No pain, no gain

When I first joined Team Virtus, I was a cripple.  I had recently had ankle surgery and was unsure of my cycling and running future.  Back in November of 2009 I was playing a simple pickup game of basketball when I came down on someone’s foot.  My foot instantly bent out and I was in immediate pain.  I felt my ankle pop and as I was rolling around on the ground in pain, I thought…”SHIT…I hope I did not break anything!”

Bad sprain my ass

The dr. said that nothing was broken and that it was just a bad sprain.  But as the months went on and the pain did not subside, I went back for another look.  Long story short I had an avulsion fracture and minor tears of my ligaments.  I wore a boot for 6 weeks before starting PT.  After 1 month of PT my ankle was feeling better, but not 100 % by any means.  I just decided to see what would happen and gave it some time.  By September of 2010 things were not better and not getting better.  I made an appointment to see an ankle specialist.

An x-ray revealed an OCD lesion.  Basically the avulsion fracture broke off and needed to be taken out.  They wanted to do the surgery right away, but I pushed it off till November 1st.

This was the first look I had after the bandages came off.

From what I was told the surgery was a complete success and now it was time to heal.  However the healing process has slowed for me.  After 2 weeks off work of doing nothing but sitting on the couch with my foot up in the air I headed back to work.  For those of you who have not been on crutches lately….THEY SUCK!  My wife was basically doing everything for me and I could not drive.  2 more weeks went by and the doctor let me put my boot back in with crutches.  After a month of the boot and putting no weight on my foot the dr. finally said I could start walking with the boot.  Let me tell you….that first step was PAINFUL!  But no pain, no gain.

A couple more weeks went by and I got better and better with walking I was ready to start therapy.  My wife is a physical therapist, so I already know that PT stands for Pain and Torture.  I was very tight so getting my ankle loosened up was the #1 priority.  Pain and torture is not exactly how I would describe PT.  I would describe PT with a bunch of 4 letter words that are not good to hear.

Therapy went on for a little over a month and I started feeling better and better.  My last dr. appointment went like this:  Me: “So doc, is it healed?”  Dr.:  “Well, not exactly, but it will just take some time.”  Me:  “How long?”  Dr.: “Not sure, it is different for everyone.”  What I wanted to say was…”Thanks asshole!”, but I didn’t.

So now here I am.  Cycling is great.  I don’t feel any pain.  Walking is great as long as my foot doesn’t go down.  Thanks to my teammates I have started running again.  I have had to adapt my running style a little, because running is still a little painful.  I am wearing a brace, so time will tell.  I just need to push through and slowly work my way back.  No pain, no gain. STRENGTH AND HONOR!

Running for a Reason

Hello once again to all of you Virtusites, both new and old. This blog post will not be the typical Team Virtus post full of really bad jokes and silly photos of husky, hairy men. I’m writing this today for a reason… A very important reason. You see, we need your help.

My friend and teammate, Robby Brown, and his wife, Sarah suffered a terrible tragedy back in 2009. They lost their beautiful 8 week-old daughter, Ava, to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Ava Brown Memorial

Ava Brown

At the time, I barely knew Robby, but I remember seeing him in the bike shop shortly after the tragedy.  I remember seeing the pain and sadness in Robby’s eyes, and that will stay with me for the rest of my life.  I didn’t know what to say or do.  I felt helpless.  I wanted to give him a hug, but we were not as close then as we are now.  I’m sure it was a dark, sad time for Robby and his family.

Last year, to remember and honor Ava, Robby and Sarah put on a 5K race.  It was a wonderful event, and it was a smashing success.  On April 9th, the second annual Ava Brown Memorial 5K Run/Walk will be held here in Jefferson City, MO.  If you can make it, we’d love to see you there.  You can even bring the kids for “Ava’s Amble,” an untimed and unmeasured fun-run/walk through the park.  Proceeds will benefit First Candle, a nonprofit organization doing great work to advance infant health and survival.

First Candle

For those of you that can’t make it, we’d still like you to help.  Drew West, Bob Jenkins and I are looking for pledges to help raise more money for this great cause. Here’s the deal… We’d like you to pledge a certain amount of money for every person that we finish ahead of at the race.  You can pledge a penny, three cents, a nickel, a dime or whatever for every person we beat.

For example, if there are 200 racers and I finish in 100th place, Drew finishes in 75th place, and Bob finishes in 25th place, then we beat a combined 300 racers (100 that I beat + 125 that Drew beat + 175 that Bob beat = 400).  If you pledged a penny per racer, then you’d owe Four Dollars.  If you pledged three cents, then you’d owe Twelve Bucks.  Got it?  It will motivate us to know that the harder we run and the more people we beat, the more money we raise.

You can post your pledge in a comment on this blog post, on facebook or twitter, or you can use the contact link to email us your pledge.  And if that’s not your cup of tea, then you can also make donations simply by going here .

Our goal is to raise at least $100 (We already smashed this goal thanks to everyone’s amazing generosity) $500 as a team .  We know money is tight.  Every little bit adds up, though.  If everyone reading this would just pledge a penny per person we beat, then we can easily reach that goal.  And if you can’t make a monetary donation, then please help us spread the word.  Share this on facebook and twitter .  Tell your friends, family members, and co-workers.  Please help us out.

I hope and pray that none of you reading this have to experience this kind of loss.  Losing an infant is heartbreaking, but unfortunately, a tragedy like Robby’s happens more frequently than you might think.  It can happen to anyone.

Back in 2005, my brother, Casey, and his wife, Lauren, lost their son, Benjamin Casey Lamb, to a staph infection.  Born 3 months early, he lived for just fifteen days.  Benjamin’s death profoundly affected our entire family.  It was incredibly hard for me to deal with losing my nephew… My nephew that I never even had the chance to meet.  I can’t even imagine how devastating it must have been for Casey and Lauren.

Benjamin Casey Lamb

Benjamin Lamb

I’ll never get to wrestle with Benji (that’s my nickname for him).  I’ll never get to give him too much candy like a good uncle is supposed to do.  I’ll never get to hug him and kiss him.  I’ll never get to hold him.  I won’t get to see him grow up.  It hurts me deeply to know that such a precious life, Benji’s life, was cut so tragically short.  Although I never knew Benji, I will always love him, and I will never forget him.

So on April 9th, I’ll be running for First Candle.  I’ll be running for Robby and his family.  I’ll be running for Ava.  I’ll be running for my family.  I’ll be running for Benji.  I’ll be running for a reason.

Will you help us?

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