Monday, November 15, 2010

Running Form by Wendi Pearson

Running form is something every runner wonders about sometime in their active life whether they are a beginning runner wanting to start out right, a regular runner who has some aches and pains, an advanced runner who wants to improve performance or someone who just doesn’t want to have to stop the sport they love due to chronic physical problems. Good running form is not something we are born with as once believed back in the 1970’s and it is not something that necessarily just comes about by running miles and miles until your body just gives in to efficiency as believed in the 1980’s. Running form has to be practiced just like shooting form in basketball, poses in karate or tae kwon do, or throwing a spiral in football.

One of the best ways to practice good running form is to run barefoot on a firmer surface and feel what your body does. Running barefoot will force your body into protecting and propelling itself in its most efficient form without having to think about it, this is the body’s natural ability to survive. You will notice that your feet land closer together almost at midline, you will run more toward the balls of your feet, land softer, take your feet off the ground quicker, take shorter strides to keep your feet and legs underneath your body instead of in front, and run more up-right aligning your ear, shoulder, hip, and ankle. These are the things you should think about when you put on your running shoes to go out for a run.

To improve running form I tell people to envision running on a balance beam. If you were to run on a balance beam you would keep your feet landing and taking off at midline, you would have very little vertical bounce, and you would keep your head up aligning your entire body so that you don’t lose your balance and fall off the balance beam.

Why is it so important to run on the midline? Think about what you would do if I handed you a jump rope and told you to jump rope with one leg. You wouldn’t keep your leg to the side directly under the hip because all of the stress would vibrate in your lower body joints and use a whole lot of muscle to balance. You would bring the leg to the center so that the whole body distributes the shock for you and the muscles can conserve energy.

The upper body is also very important for good running form. The right arm controls the left leg movement and the left arm controls the right leg movement. If your elbows swing side to side like a linebacker ready to block someone then your throwing a lot of your weight side to side on your legs putting stress on the outside of the knees and hips. If one arm swings different than the other arm then your legs aren’t symmetrical either. Your arms should be bent about ninety degrees and your elbows should swing straight forward and back while your shoulders are back and relaxed. I tell people to imagine that someone is too close behind them and to swing their elbows back like they’re elbowing them.

What about Vibram Five Fingers and minimalist shoes? For the right person these are great shoes to use as tools to improve form and efficiency. I say “tools” because that is how you should start out thinking of them – a tool to use once or twice a week for one to two miles as a strength day or a form day. Many people have been in stable shoes all of their life and need to start out slow and build all those little muscles that have maybe never been used. Gradually you can increase the amount of miles run in minimalist shoes but be sure you have a strong base so you don’t get injured. Once you can run more miles on two days a week, you can increase the number of days run in them or decide that you just want to use them solely as a training tool and continue to alternate with your regular running shoes. The advantage of wearing a minimalist shoes like the Vibram’s is that you are mimicking what it’s like to run barefoot so you can become stronger, more efficient, and learn better form. Racing flats (minimalist shoes) are similar but not quite as precise, you can still get away with heel striking and not quite as efficient form so you need to think about running with good form.

A few of the Vibram Five Finger models we carry:
Sprint – open top Vibram with a strap across. Best for spring and summer running.

KSO – (Keep Stuff Out) has a covered top for people who want to keep rocks out on trails. Great for running roads and trails in the spring, summer, and fall.

Bikila – has a little cushion on the bottom for those not quite ready to go without. A great transition shoe from regular running shoes or to protect the feet a little extra from small rocks. Road and trail running in the spring, summer, and fall.

Trek – a leather version made for trails. Extra traction with a soft kangaroo upper. Trail running in the spring, summer, and fall.

Treksport – a sporty shoe with extra traction originally made for trails but some people like it on the roads as well. Running in the spring, summer, and fall.

Flow – a Vibram made for cold weather and wet or snow type conditions. Made with a neoprene upper for those wanting a late fall and winter barefoot shoe to keep running through the year. Will work with some of the short gaitors to keep snow out and ankles warmer. Injinji socks (with individual toes) are also available for extra warmth to wear with Vibram’s.

Performa – a women’s indoor barefoot shoe to wear around the house or for yoga.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Brodie "Employee of the Moment"

Full Name: Brodie
Age (optional): 34yrs.
GW Position: Mail Order Manager
Weight (optional): 160lbs. (although I’ve gone and busted up my foot so now it’s like 165 lbs)
Height (optional): 5'11"
Athletic Ability: advanced, athletic, competitive, weekend warrior

Is Brodie your REAL name, or your stage name?
Brodie is my given middle name. My stage name is Mr. Wonderful.

Mr. & Mrs. Wonderful!

Well Mr. Wonderful, What are you wonderful at?
I’m wonderful at a whole slew of things. Just look 2 questions down for this answer.

Where did you grow up? Hometown?
Lander, Wyoming

Gear West must be pretty special!

What childhood sports did you or didn’t you do?
I played anything as a child.

I do not like them,
I do not like
green eggs and ham.

Any sweet sports achievements or personal victories?
I was the 5th best Nordic skier in Wyoming way back when. 10th best my senior year (don’t ask but the lower number did involve a girl....). JO Alternate my junior year in high school. I suppose my personal victory would be the sweet fire pit/patio I built this summer. Oh and beating all the Halo games on Legendary (well, still attempting the new one.)

College/Secondary Education/Degrees/Philosophies?
BS in Agroecology (it’s a growing things degree)

What did you grow in Wyoming?
Well, I personally didn’t grow anything in Wyoming. I just learned how to grow things in Wyoming. Here’s the deal, I was fixin’ on being a golf course superintendent at the time.

Through your life experiences, how did you find your way to Gear West?
Internet--ordered skis on closeout from!

It seems you selected the in-store pickup!

How did those skis work out for you?
These were some pretty kickin’ skis. I achieved a top ten finish at the West Yellowstone Rendezvous race on the closeout RCS Skate skis.

Was it the SELECTION or VALUE that sold it…Or was it the WISDOM?
Well, if you must know, it was the Selection of great skis, the value for which I could buy from the selection of great skis, and the wisdom of the fine folks in mail order for being able to fit my greatly selected skis!


How long have you been working at Gear West?
7 years

What is the most interesting aspect of working at Gear West?
Waiting to hear what will be played in the mail order room.

What do you hear?
Musically there’s everything played in our hovel from The Statler Brothers to that screaming and yelling music Sven makes us listen too. My fav. is the Hair Band days.

What drives you in this business?
The Barth, baby, The Barth! And the challenge of using my knowledge finding that great ski from our great selection of skis at great value!

The Barth is FANTASTIC! Coming to a race near you!

What do you do at Gear West?
Wasn't this answered in the 'GW Position' section?

Maybe. OK! What are your day-to-day activities?
Do you really have the space for what I do? Okay here goes: process order, run around the store picking items for the orders, boxing up the orders for shipping, staying on top of our V2 inventory, picking and fitting skis (with Sven’s great help), taking orders on the phone, catching fraud orders online, drinking way too much coffee, providing general surliness to balance out Lynne’s general joyness, and I could go on.

Do you have any strengths/weaknesses?
I have a weakness of admitting to my weaknesses, but I'm strong at not admitting to my weaknesses so it all balances out!

Kinda like 1 + -1=0?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Plantar Fasciitis By Wendi Pearson

Plantar Fasciitis can strike anyone whether you’re active or sedentary, young or old, in the best shape of your life or the worst, and it can be relentless. Plantar Fasciitis is an injury that classically feels like a badly bruised heel or pain just in front of the heel, but can also be felt as a strain in the arch or a pull just behind the ball of the foot. The pain is usually worse in the morning when you take those first couple of steps out of bed or after you’ve been on your feet for an extended period of time. The pain is made worse by running and walking fast, especially when they require quick starts, speedwork, jumping, or hills.

What are the traditional treatments? Ice, stretch, rest, orthotics, heel lifts, heel cushions, massage, Ibuprofen, and rolling your foot on a ball or frozen can. How many of these treatments have you tried? How many times has your Plantar Fasciitis come back? How many years have you had it while trying these very things? Well I’m here to tell you that many of these things are the EXACT OPPOSITE of what really gets rid of Plantar Fasciitis for good and/or improves it a lot sooner. Why? Because what causes Plantar Fasciitis is the plantar tendons that run from the ball of the foot, underneath the arch, connect to the front of the heel, the fascia runs under the heel and around to where it connects to the Achilles tendon and when the arch gets stressed from overload (excess weight, workouts, standing on feet lengthy amounts of time, age, change, pregnancy, wrong shoes, etc…) it can start to get weaker and fall. Tendons are not meant to have much stretch, and the tendons in the arch are mainly our shock absorbers that stretch just enough to buffer each foot landing so when they are asked to stretch more than that they start to pull apart causing micro tears in the tissue. These micro tears are what you feel as a heal bruise or soreness in the foot or arch. Plantar Fasciitis is not caused by impact and that’s important to know in understanding the healing process. Heel cushions don’t help it heal nor does raising the heal with heel lifts, they only take the stress off and heal the tendons in a shortened position making them more susceptible to other problems.

The plantar tendons are made up of white tendons (low blood supply), whereas other areas of the body have red tendons (high blood supply) so icing and Ibuprofen will only take more blood supply away from the area and make it slower to heal. Massage and rolling the foot on a ball relaxes the tendons into a lengthened position and allow the arch to further fall and tear. Orthotics are an option that helps some people as long as their fitted in a manner that keeps the whole body aligned not just bracing the feet.

What REALLY helps heel Plantar Fasciitis?
#1 The most important thing is to strengthen the arch so it comes back up into the proper position. Use a sock or a golf ball (if you have longer toes) and sit with your legs bent at a 90 degree angle. Pick up the sock with all five toes curled around it and hold two to three inches high for a slow count of three. Set down and repeat. Do at least 25 reps on each foot (always do both feet). The more you do the faster you will heal.

#2 Wear a Strasburg Sock at night, this will help the tissues heal in the lengthened position and stop the cycle of tearing the fascia when you step on the floor each morning. Otherwise, you heal in a shortened, relaxed position and have to start over with the healing process each morning.
#3 Soak in a really warm Epsom Salt bath for 20 minutes each night. This will take away the excess swelling without taking away the blood supply that you need to heal the tissues.

#4 Cross-train. Exercise brings blood flow and helps heal injuries and using a stationary bike gives the plantar fascia a break.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

USATF City of Lakes 25K at Lakes Harriet Race Summary

On Sunday, the Gear West Racing Team competed in their final USATF Team Circuit race of the season, the City of Lakes 25K at Lakes Harriet and Calhoun in Minneapolis. With a couple of injuries, the team was down to only 3 runners but all of them competed well and helped the team to a 4th place finish out of 9 teams. Chad Ernst again led the way, finishing 9th in 1:25:45, a pace of 5:31 per mile. Kyle Donovan ran a great race as well coming in 22nd overall in a time of 1:31:02, a pace of 5:52 per mile. Brandon Heebink rounded out the team coming in 53rd place in a time of 1:40:19, a 6:28 pace. With the team racing season winding down, one big event for the fall remains in Minnesota road racing and that is the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and TC 10 Mile on Sunday, October 3rd. Gear West will be well represented as Kyle and Brandon will be competing in the full marathon, both looking for new personal best times, while Jason Quarford will be joining in on the fun for the weekend by running the 10 Mile. Be sure to check out the Gear West booth and Barth at the Twin Cities Marathon Expo at the St. Paul Rivercentre on Friday, Oct. 1st and Saturday, Oct. 2nd!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Pig Out Sale Events

The Gear West Ski & Run Pig Out Sale is fast approaching and it is the place to be for first hand knowledge and equipment. For 9 DAYS Gear West will be offering store wide sale pricing. Expect to see team pricing on all skis, boots, and poles. In addition to extremely great pricing, Gear West will be hosting a number wax clinics, industry meet and greets, fit clinics, and a book signing. Everyone here is excited about the lineup of events that are schedule and are looking forward to kicking off the ski season the right way.



6:00pm Toko Wax Clinic

Mike Lundeen will be at Gear West to answer any technical question you might have about the Toko and Madshus brands.
Mike will also be holding a Toko Wax Clinic Friday evening.

Mike Lundeen - For the past 7 years, Mike has been the Midwest Sales Representative for Toko, as well as a Toko Tech Team Member. As a tech team member, Mike has conducted race services and Toko Wax Clinics throughout the Midwest. Mike is also the Madshus Midwest sales Representative.



7:00am - 8:00am Start

Train for the upcoming marathon season with runners just like you! Bring friends!

The out and back course starts at Gear West and goes down the Luce line. You can start anytime between 7-8:00a.m.

Run as far as you want (6 - 20 miles)
There will be support along the trail (water, energy drinks, etc.) and Aid Stations will be set-up along the course every three miles (bandaids, vaseline, etc.).

Join us for treats afterward at Gear West

If you have any questions about the Gear West Marathon Training Runs contact Speedy: 952-473-0377


Peter Ashley and Chris Hall will be at Gear West to answer any technical question you might have about the Fischer brand. They will also be on hand to fit Fischer ski and boots. As you can tell, both are very capable of fitting world class skis. We hope to see everyone here for this event.

Peter Ashley
- VP of Nordic Division, Fischer Skis USA
Peter is in charge of the Nordic Division for Fischer Skis USA. Peter's responsibilities include sales, marketi
ng, product and brand management for Fischer cross country skis, boots, bindings and poles through out the US. He has been with Fischer since 1995.

Before coming to Fischer, Peter was with the US Ski Team, serving as the Head Women's Coach for the USST and was on the US Ski Team coaching staff for the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Originally from Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Peter was instrumental in organizing the first cross country Junior Olympics held in Jackson in the late 1970's.

Chris Hall - Nordic Race Director, Fischer Skis USA
Chris is in charge of Nordic race management for Fischer Skis USA. Chris works with US Ski Team and other top US athletes in ski selection and management to equip these skiers with the best possible skis for their racing. He has been with Fischer since 2005.

Prior to working at Fischer, Chris was with the US Ski Team, employed as the Head Service Technician for the USST. He worked at the 2002 and 2006 Winter Olympics for the team and spent 6 years on the World Cup with the USST. Originally from Sun Valley, Idaho, Chris worked for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation as a coach before joining the USST.


1:00-3:00pm Chris Cook: sign posters visit with customers

Robert will be at Gear West to answer any technical question you might have about the Rossignol brand. He will also be on hand to fit the new Rossignol WCS skis and boots. If you have any questions about the new Rossignol WC Skate Ski Package, he's the one to ask.


Van Brinkerhoff will be at Gear West to answer any technical question you might have about the Madshus brand.

Van Brinkerhoff - For the past 4 years, Van has been the national sales manager for Madshus USA, K2 Outdoor. For over 30 years, Van has been involved in the industry as a Nordic skier, retailer, sales rep. and manager for over 30 years.



10:00am – 4:00pm Roman Toferer: The Gold Metal Slide Show presentation at 1:00 pm with ski fitting before and after

Roman Toferer will be at Gear West to answer any technical question you might have about the Atomic brand. He will also be on hand to fit Atomic skis and boot. Roman is well known for picking top World Cup skis for the “Thin Red Line.”

Roman Toferer - The 2010 Olympics served as concrete proof that Roman Toferer of Atomic is unequalled when it comes to picking skis and making them go fast. The man from the little village of Eben, Austria proved to be a virtual miracle worker on the trails at Whister. If you watched Claudia Nystad take Gold it was obvious her skis were running at speeds far greater than her competition. The Teutonic blonde looked like something out of a Wagnerian opera as she pulled away from the competition. Anna Haag of Sweden had the best races of her career as she dropped the pack on virtual rockets picked and tuned by Roman. And of course, Roman’s close work with Billy Demong, Johnny Spillane and Todd Lodwick led to Gold and Silver medals for America’s best Nordic skiers.



5:00pm Run from the Bookcase in Wayzata
6:30pm Meet and greet with Chris Mcdougall at Gear West

Meet Christopher McDougall at The Bookcase at 5:00 p.m. for a fun
run (barefoot or not) to the "Born to Run" event at Gear West in
Long Lake. We'll be leaving at 5:15 sharp, following the Dakota Trail
and the Luce Line into Long Lake. Call (952) 473-8341 or (952)
473-0377 with questions or to purchase tickets.

*No day of ticket sales



Leena Peltonen and Silvano Barco will be at Gear West to answer any technical question you might have about the Rex brand. They will also be offering a Rex Wax clinic. Interesting note. Silvano is the assistant coach to the Swiss Ski Team and won the 1996 Birkie.



2010 brings with it the second year of the CXC/SALOMON SUPER FIT PROGRAM. We want to bring you the latest and greatest technology, knowledge, and skis we can. With Salomon and your local retailer behind us, we are committed to sharing the knowledge we gained. The CXC 3D Flex Mat and Salomon Flex Table will be on hand to help show you how pressure is being distributed to the snow under your skis. Knowledgeable industry partners will be able to answer any specific questions you have, and our CXC TEAM VERTICAL LIMIT athletes and coaches will be around to answer questions and sign autographs.

“SUPER FIT” is a weekend sale program filled with seminars, presentations and store specials. Get your equipment fit by CXC Team Vertical Limit professional athletes and coaches using state of the art 3D ski pressure mat. Bring your old skis to test if they have a good fit for you, and get an independent opinion.

10:00AM to 6:00PM - 3D Ski Flex Mat Testing
5:00PM to 6:00PM - Glide and Kick Waxing Seminar (Jason Cork)
8:00AM to 9:30 AM - "Tast of Nordic" Free Dryland and Rollerski
Technique Clinic (Garrott Kuzzy & Jessie Diggins)
8:00AM to 9:30AM - USSA Level 100 Coaches Certification Technique Clinic (Jason Cork)
10:00AM to 5:00PM - 3D Ski Flex Mat Testing
4:00PM to 5:00PM - Optimal Training for Maximum Results Seminar (Brian Gregg)

12:00PM to 4:00PM - 3D Ski Flex Mat TestingSee More

Excitement Development Team (CXC Team Vertical Limit): Jessie Diggins, Brian Gregg, Garrott Kuzzy, Matt Liebsch, Yuriy Gusev, Jason Cork

10:00AM to 6:00PM - 3D Ski Flex Mat Testing
5:00PM to 6:00PM - Glide and Kick Waxing Seminar (Jason Cork)
8:00AM to 9:30 AM - "Tast of Nordic" Free Dryland and Rollerski
Technique Clinic (Garrott Kuzzy & Jessie Diggins)
8:00AM to 9:30AM - USSA Level 100 Coaches Certification Technique Clinic (Jason Cork)
10:00AM to 5:00PM - 3D Ski Flex Mat Testing
4:00PM to 5:00PM - Optimal Training for Maximum Results Seminar (Brian Gregg)

12:00PM to 4:00PM - 3D Ski Flex Mat TestingSee More

Anders "Employee of the Moment"

Full Name: Anders Bowman
Age(optional): 20yrs
GW Position: Mail Order Help
Weight(optional): 200lbs.
Height(optional): 6’ 4”
Athletic Ability: Ummmm, yes? I don’t really know how to answer that… 8.5?

Where did you grow up? Hometown?
Wayzata, MN

What childhood sports did you or didn’t you do?
Baseball, Nordic Skiing, Soccer, Running, Football, Basketball (Did)
Cricket, Rugby, Curling, Figure Skating, Chess (Didn’t)

Some say he's Norwegian, other say Swedish...Anders prefers Norwedish

Did you have to sacrifice any sports for Nordic Skiing or running?
Not really, I obviously don’t do the sports that I did when I was a little kid, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a sacrifice because skiing and running is what I love.

Any sweet sports achievements or personal victories?
A few Nordic wins, and a fun trip out to Nike Team Nationals for the National High School Cross Country Championships.

Nike Cross Country Nationals: "That's going to stain..."

Are there any goals for the upcoming season?
I want to run pretty fast this fall hopefully faster than 26:30 (for 8k). This winter, there’s an outside shot at NCAA’s for skiing always in the back of my mind, but if that doesn’t pan out then I will be hoping to ski a fast Birkie.

College/Secondary Education/Degrees/Philosophies?
Gustavus Adolphus College

What are you studying at Gustavus Adolphus College?
I’m very excited to be starting the Nursing Program in the next couple of weeks!

Through your life experiences, how did you find your way to Gear West?
I like skiing and running so it turned out to be a really good fit.

"Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound."

How long have you been working at Gear West?
3 years

Why did you choose to apply at Gear West?
Right before the move I contacted Jan because I figured there would be plenty of work to go around, and also it just seemed like the perfect job for a young Nordic fanatic!

"Hello, my name is Anders Bowman and I am a junior, and a skier for Wayzata. I have been skiing for most of my life, and am involved in the skiing community. I am aware that you will be moving soon, and if you need any help during the move, after the move, or anytime really, I would love to work for Gear West."
- Anders Bowman, March 9, 2007

What is the most interesting aspect of working at Gear West?
The people interactions are always fun!

Can you expound on that?
It is a lot of fun being able to explain different technologies to people, to explain to them what the advantages are for product X in comparison to those of product Y. The Ski and Run world are constantly evolving, and it’s hard to keep up, so having a shop like Gear West to bring your questions to can be incredibly beneficial. So I guess basically I like helping people.
What drives you in this business? On top of helping people, learning about new products and technologies is really interesting.

Are there any products that you are excited about or like?
Obviously the entire Fischer “Hole Ski” lineup, but on top of that I would have to say the BARTH!!!!

Interestingly, The Barth is stocked with the Fischer Hole Skis

What do you do at Gear West?
I work on the web page and data base while attempting to keep everything up to date which is a CONTINUOUS process!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fundraise for Clean Water Project in Kenya

Team World Vision allows runners to dedicate ANY event they run to raising funds for clean water projects in Kenya. We do not have a minimum fundraising requirement, and you can STILL register for Twin Cities Marathon with us! Simply visit THIS LINK and use the code CHPTWV10M to register. Registration CLOSES FRIDAY, SO HURRY!

Visit to set up your fundraising page or find out more about Team World Vision. Contact Bradley Hofbauer at or 612.217.2723 for more details. See you on October 3rd!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Gear West Minneapolis 13.1 Marathon Race Recap

On Sunday, August 22nd, the inaugural Minneapolis 13.1 Marathon was held. The race ran from St. Anthony Main along the Mississippi River down to the finish at Lake Nokomis. Almost 1,900 runners completed the half marathon on a beautiful morning and the winner of the entire race was Chad Ernst of the Gear West Racing Team. Chad, from Richfield, MN, had a great performance leading nearly the entire race and crossing the finish line in a winning time of 1:13:50, a pace of 5:39 per mile. His time was good enough to win the race by nearly 3 minutes over second place!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Jenny "Employee of the Moment"

Full Name: Jenny Beckman
Age(optional): 21 years
GW Position: Part Timer
Weight (optional):
Height (optional): 5’ 11”
Athletic Ability: I like to think I have some

Where did you grow up? Hometown?

Maple Grove, MN

How long have you been working at Gear West?

A little over a year

What do you do at Gear West?
Whatever I’m asked to do? Primarily on the sales floor

What is the most interesting aspect of working at Gear West?
Getting to know the products better, and seeing all of the new innovations and changes in technology.

Not the people?
The people here definitely make it an interesting job, it’s a very friendly, fun working environment.

What drives you in this business?
The fact that I am a part of the active community that uses the products we sell. Because I am passionate about the sports we cater to, I can better relate the customer and help them to find a product that will best suit his/her needs.

Color coordination is key to any great racer

Through your life experiences, how d
id you find your way to Gear West?
When I was 14 I (or should I say my parents) purchased my first pair of race skis, fit by Speedy. The same year I had some troubles finding a good pair of running shoes for track, I had a gait analysis done by Wendi and I haven’t had any running related injuries since. After experiencing the superior level of service provided by the staff here, I can remember wishing that someday I could have the knowledge that they did, and thinking that working here would be the best job ever. Livin’ the dream.

I think that it is safe to say that Gear West helped make the dream come alive. Is it the BEST job ever?

For me at this point, absolutely.

Was this the first time on skinny skis?

Not even close. I’ve been on skis since I could stand. My parents would take us (my older siblings and I) out to Elm Creek often, the Northern Lights loop was our favorite. It was hard work for us when we were small, but we enjoyed it because we knew our parents would let us have hot chocolate when we got home. When I was really little (3 years old or so) my mom would keep M&M’s in her pockets and share them with me as long as kept moving. I started racing when I was in 8th grade.

At 3yrs old, Jenny demonstrates the M&M No-Pole Training Method

Were there any other childhood sports that you participated in?

Basketball, Soccer, Swimming, Dance, Cross-Country, Track, Cycling, and Nordic Skiing

Wow!! That is impressive. How did you manage to keep it all straight? Did you ever show up to basketball in a swim cap?
Haha…thankfully no. I owe it to my very, very organized mother.

Maple Grove Senior Photo: Skis...check. letters of achievement...check. Smile...check.

Any sweet sports achievements or personal victories?

I’ve won a couple Elm Creek time trials, does that count? MVP of the SCSU Nordic team for both 2008-09 and 2009-10.

Elm Creek victories are just a stepping stone to something greater. Do you have any major goals for the season or beyond?
This being my final year at the collegiate level I’m hoping to stay healthy. The goal is always the same, improve from last year’s results and of course, have fun.

If you are a prospective student/athlete please contact Jeremy Frost at SCSU

Do you have any strengths/weaknesses?
In relation to what? I have weak arms and pretty strong legs? A little better classic skier than skater?

Well, I meant it as a general question to see your response. Are you a better classic skier than a skater? Do you have weak arms and strong legs?
Yes. When it comes to my schedule I’m generally pretty organized, however if you saw my room, you might think otherwise.

Where are you attending college? What are you majoring in?
Currently attending Saint Cloud State University, will be graduating in May 2011 with a degree in communication studies with an emphasis on leadership and organization with minors in marketing and intercultural communication.

Do you have an idea of what you would like to do with your major? It’s ok to say NO. I majored in Economics and work at a ski shop, soooo…
I’m not entirely sure, I do know that I’d like to stay in this industry, I love being able to tie my favorite activities with my work.

Family supported

Monday, August 2, 2010

Lynne "Employee of the Moment"

Full Name: Lynne Joy Cecil
Age (optional): no way... 48
GW Position: sales
Weight (optional):125lbs.
Height (optional):5’4"
Athletic Ability: above average... and stealing from Leibsch - DEPENDS ON THE SPORT

Where did you grow up? Hometown?

I was born in Montana…yeah, that's the Wild West, and raised in Plymouth. I went to Wayzata High School. I currently live in Bloomington. There were a few years when I lived in Crested Butte, CO; telemark skiing, mountain biking and running wild.

Why would you ever want to move from the Wild West to Plymouth, MN?
I played and experimented a little too hard… it was the wild part that got the best of me

What childhood sports did you or didn’t you do?
CHEERLEADING... is that a sport??

OOOh…pom-poms and everything! Where were you in the Cheerleader pyramid?

No pyramid back then. I think we were called “unathletic big mouths.”

Where's Lynne?

Any sweet sports achievements or personal victories?
I had a blast on the Fischer/Salomon Marathon Team for years (a long time ago) and won several marathons in the US: the California Gold Rush, the Tour of Anchorage, 1990 Birkie, overall Great American Ski Chase winner.... Mora 58K, 42K, 35K winner. I can sprint when there is money on the line, winning 5 Birkie Sprints!! I also have run several road and trail marathons and very successfully participate in the Tri Loppet every year with my ole pal Speedy. My biggest victory is bringing my 3 beautiful daughters into this world who continue to challenge and push me and bring me great joy.

"Cecil, who won the pre-race sprints for the third straight year, said ' I didn't even have a beer after winning the sprints this week,' she said. 'I was more serious.'" - Star Tribune

Unfortunately, I am relatively not-so-fast now. I highly recommend not completely losing your base! Haha. I am getting more fit now, and just want to bridge the gap with Jan a little more…bahahahahahah… but seriously, it’s just fun to get some fitness back and I enjoy racing enough and LOVE to feel good while racing… and I can’t say enough about how much I enjoy the camaraderie and atmosphere of racing!

Lynne racing on custom cut-off classic skis and boots

College/Secondary Education/Degrees/Philosophies?
U of MN graduate, Elementary Education, LA School of Joyology, certified Joyologist

Is that Los Angeles School of Joyology?
Yes, I went to school in LA and studied with Jason Mraz to spread love, joy and gratitude on the planet. I am working to become a world class Joyologist. I am a work in progress as my sarcastic side continues to show up…

Through your life experiences, how did you find your way to Gear West?
My parents owned BJ's Bike & Ski for 20 years and BK was the "ski guy" there... I met Jan at the Dachsten Glacier... children came...we raced together (skiing, trail running...) kids grew up and I’ve always loved retail... so it was an easy path to GW.

The Daughters - photo by Mike Krieter:

How long have you been working at Gear West?
I’ve been at GW for 4 years, some part-time.

What is the most interesting aspect of working at Gear West?
Oskar, the people, the enthusiasm, the fitness, the motivation, the new equipment, the cute clothes, the dogs, and the events….the variety, the energy.

Have you learned anything or grown as a person while at Gear West?
Yes, most definitely. Ask anyone here… I have more gratitude every day.

What drives you in this business?
The people....

What about the people drive you?
Every person that walks in the door has a story along with athletic goals… and I find them all fascinating… what motivates people and how different people find happiness and balance and how the role of fitness serves them in their lives.

Speedy driving Lynne at the Tri-Loppet

What do you do at Gear West?
Sell, Sell, Sell… and work with warranties and some ordering.

How about spreading Joy to all?
Well, when I answer the phone Gear West, this is Joy… it helps me to get out of myself and show up in a happier, more joyful way…

Do you have any strengths/weaknesses?

Umm…is that yes or no? Duh is not exactly what I was looking for.
Strengths – yes! Weaknesses – yes! I’m working on time management now and BALANCE in all my affairs… more Joy, less sarcasm, more focus…

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Lumberjack Days Race Recap - July 24, 2010

Wyatt Doop - Runner/Student/Part-Time Model

This year the annual Lumberjack Days 5K was host to the USATF Minnesota state 5K championship and one of the USATF Minnesota Team Circuit races. The Gear West Racing Team made its debut in the race and performed quite well in its first event. On a cool cloudy morning, times were very fast for everyone in the race.

For Gear West, all 4 runners in the 5K ran new personal best times. Kyle Donovan of River Falls, WI led the team by finishing in 15:38.5 to place 19th overall. Close behind was Matt Liebsch of Orono, MN in a time of 15:40.8 in 21st place. Matt and Kyle went back and forth leading the team throughout the race and both ran their best times by over 40 seconds. Third on the team was Wyatt Doop of Wayzata, MN in a new best time of 15:48.8, good enough for 27th place and the final finisher for the team was Brandon Heebink of Plymouth, MN in a time of 16:43.1 to place 61st overall. In the race there were 1,370 finishers total. The winning time overall was 14:41.4.

Gear West also had one representative in the Lumberjack Days 10 Mile race. Jason Quarford of Rosemount, MN came in with a strong performance of 55:55 to place 6th overall in a race of 1,077 finishers.

The team will be performing next as a full team on Sunday, August 15th at the MDRA 15K in Edina, MN, which is the next race in the USATF Minnesota Team Circuit presented by Twin Cities in Motion. Be on the lookout for the Gear West Racing Team members at this race and at other races throughout the Twin Cities area this summer and fall!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Speedy "Employee of the Moment"

Full Name: Brian "Speedy" McCollor
Age (optional): 43
GW Position: Run Manager, Ski Fitter
Weight (optional): 159lbs.
Height (optional): 5' 9"
Athletic Ability: Gifted, just under trained and under appreciated.

Under Appreciated? Do you have some hidden talent that no one is aware of?

I have under appreciated my own god given ability. I believe you can do most anything you put your mind to. The hard part is deciding what you want and then being willing to work for a long enough time to achieve the goal. Finding the right coach, mentor or training group is also very important to reaching your potential.

Where did you grow up? Hometown?
South Minneapolis

So you had a hard knock life in South MPLS?
I don’t like to say it, but I did come from a broken home in the inner city. This is a little misleading; I think I had a great childhood experience. Both of my parents are close to me and have been very supportive through out my life. They showed me how to work hard for what I want and stay true to my values. I have two older brothers that set a high standard for me and I have rarely reached their level. So some would say I was disadvantaged but as I said before I thought I had a great childhood.

It seems that your family is important to you. How does your family influence your career or goals in life?
My family got me started, my dad would take us to the track sometimes and my older brother paved the way into high school track and cross country. They have been super supportive. My wife and I met through running and we have already introduced our kids to track and road racing. I don’t compete at the same level but the family keeps everything in perspective.

Speedy running in jeans

What childhood sports did you or did not you do?
Tried - Soccer, Softball, Basketball
Loved - Running, Biking, Swimming, Skiing (Both kinds).

Any particular reason why you prefer individual sports over team sports?
I felt I had control of the outcomes. In team sports you were at the mercy of your teammates or worse they were depending on you. In individual sports you can control level of effort and it is easier to see progression. I have always liked the idea of a personal best and then getting better.

Any sweet sports achievements or personal victories?Some think Top H.S. Runner 3rd in CC, 2nd in 3200, 6th in 1600 at State as a senior. Some think a 31:43 10K in college that placed 2nd in MIAC or a 2:24:43 Marathoner, or 16:09:47 for 100 miles that was a state record at the time. What could have been achieved with proper training and diet we'll never know…?

Roosevelt High School Runner

Sounds like you have some hidden resentment or regrets. What were your major goals during this time period?
I think I was pushed hard in high school and reached a high level and just stayed at that level through college and beyond. I think with a little different type of coach I may have run a little faster, on the other hand I may have gotten injured and quit competing a lot earlier. I would not say resentment or regret but I do sometimes wonder what would have happened had I done things differently. Don’t we all?

Drake Relays - Marathon Champion

College/Secondary Education/Degrees/Philosophies
Attended The University of St. Thomas, graduated with a degree in math and secondary education. Soon learned that I didn't like "judging" kids. I didn't do my student teaching, started selling running shoes and enjoying retail. I have coached H.S. Track and CC for 11 years and really enjoy sharing my enjoyment of running.

So you just did not show up for student teaching?
More or less. I just did not see myself teaching in an effective manner. So I chose not to do my student teaching.

Through your life experiences, how did you find your way to Gear West?
I first became aware of G.W. while I was working at Runners Edge in Long Lake and when Jan and Brian decided to get into running shoes I became part of the G.W. team.

Was there something different about Jan & BK that took you away from Runners Edge?At runners edge there were three main employees and it seemed a little over staffed. Also it was a little stagnant, the same thing year round. At Gear West there is all of the ski stuff, as well Brian and Jan are always looking for new ways to improve so I would say it is much more fluid.

How long have you been working at Gear West?
I started in spring of 1997. But took a Rep. job for a year and a half.

Who was your rep. job with?
I was the Saucony shoe and Hind clothing sales rep.

What is the most interesting aspect of working at Gear West?
At Gear West we keep trying to stay on top of what's going on in the industry whether it's running or skiing. I really enjoy working with the new skiers and new runners especially H.S. students. They are just getting started and I want to give information but not overwhelm them.

What drives you in this business?
My enjoyment of both running and skiing and wanting to share it with others.

Grandmas Marathon

What do you do at Gear West?
Pure and simple, move product. I order running shoes. I sell running shoes and skis and clothes and wax and accessories and watches and sandals and anything else we carry.

So…bottom line…it’s all about profit?
I did not say anything about profit. Everyone knows that we need to sell a certain amount to stay in business. I try to meet and exceed that level every day. This is what allows us to try new things and keep growing.

Do you have any strengths/weaknesses?
I have lots of strengths and weaknesses; biggest strength is enjoyment of sports and wanting to share that with people. Biggest weaknesses lack of organization, this hinders me in all aspects of life.

Would you say that this is an important qualification for working at GW?
You have to have a passion for the sports that we cater to. Weather you’re a skier or runner or soccer player; you need to learn the products and help inform the customers on how to enjoy their sport more.

Speedy demonstrating proper run form

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Matt Liebsch Joins the Full-Time Staff of Gear West

Long Lake, MN Gear West is pleased to announce the addition of Matt Liebsch as a full-time staff member. Matt has been a part time employee of Gear West and a Gear West sponsored athlete for several years. Many folks might already be aware of Matt Liebsch's talents as he is the winner of the 2009 American Birkebeiner, the largest cross country ski marathon in North America. He was also a CXC Team Vertical Limit elite level cross country athlete vying for a coveted spot on the 2010 United States Winter Olympic team which competed in Vancouver. While he didn’t garner one of those spots he had a great year of XC ski racing and has established himself as one of the pre-eminent XC ski racers in North America.

Matt plans on continuing to race at a very high level but has chosen to limit his traveling to spend more time at home with his family and add technical depth to one of the most knowledgeable and professional Cross Country Ski retailers in North America. “Matt has worked part time for Gear West and his abilities as a ski technician really impressed us. Matt’s understanding of ski construction and how it relates to ski performance and human physiology is a great asset to Gear West and our many ski customers.” stated Gear West co-owner Brian Knutson.

Matt personally selects some of his race skis and frequently tests multiple pairs of skis to develop his seasonal quiver of skis. “I can sometimes tell in as little as 5 seconds if a ski was suitable for me or not” commented Liebsch in a recent interview. Matt is excited to bring his keen sense for ski selection and his technical background to Gear West.

Jan Guenther, Gear West co-owner recently commented, “As of now, Matt Liebsch plans to continue racing and training at a high level and Gear West will be supporting him. In return Matt adds his race and ski wisdom to the already talented group of Gear West ski fitters. Matt will be one of the pillars of Gear West’s commitment to continue to provide our customers: Wisdom, Selection and Value”.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Fargo Marathon by Wendi Pearson

Well, I survived the Fargo Marathon - the hardest and most boring marathon I've ever run. The course is through neighborhoods with great spectators, but you run on concrete streets and turn every two blocks. The half marathon and marathon run into each other twice, causing the police to push the marathoners to the left to make a small opening for the half marathoners, and the only wheelchair athlete worked his way on the opposite side of the street against marathon traffic with a biker leading him.

The marathon started with rain and cool temperatures and ended with steamy, humid, sunny temperatures around 81 and a 30 mph wind. I committed the cardinal sin of marathoning; I went out way too fast for the first 10k, faster than any of my training runs because it felt "easy" at the time. I decided I better slow down at mile 7 and at mile 8 I crashed and burned and was in trouble for the next 18 miles. OUCH!!!! My legs were like cement, my heart rate wouldn't come down, and I tore part of a calf muscle that left blood pooled behind my knee and down my leg. I kept thinking I have to finish this darn thing for two reasons: 1- I don't ever want to have to run this again (I need to do all 50 states), 2- The finishers shirt is great.

Things seemed a little off balance through my eyes as I ran from mile 10 on but I finished with a cute guy on each side of me - and I'm pretty sure they were real, not imagined. A friend and my boyfriend saw my distant eyes when I came across the finish line and thought I should get checked out at the medical tent, but I'm as stubborn as the next gal and decided I was going to be fine. BIG mistake!!!!!! I started getting really nauseous and there was no electrolyte drinks to be found, just food, and I couldn't eat. Menstrual cramps had started throughout the marathon and were roaring now, I felt like throwing up, I was freezing cold, dehydrated, and had to go to the bathroom not sure which end would relieve itself first.

While in the bathroom stall I realized I was too dizzy and sick to move. I tried to call my boyfriend but he didn't hear me. I reached under the stall to wave at the person next to me to let my boyfriend know I need medical help. 5 nurses and my boyfriend hauled me out of the bathroom stall in a wheelchair and from there it was like bodyguards (nurses) shoving crowds of runners to the side to get to the medical tent fast.

I was pale and had a purple nose and lips. I had two bags of I.V fluid; nurses taking rectal temperatures of 94 degrees and more blankets than an entire Bed, Bath, & Beyond probably carry. But Fargo was great!