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!