Archive for November, 2012

A Run on the Wild Side – Arctic Style

// November 29th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Events, Reflections

Polar bear crossing

I am used to undertaking challenges in the vertical realm which require patience and endurance, but had not really ever embraced one on the horizontal plane.  Albert Martens presented me the opportunity to run a marathon in the land of the polar bear as the arctic freeze would hold our 26 mile route in it’s clutches.  The idea sounded just crazy enough to be fun and memorable for my first ever marathon run.  It certainly met my expectations as a difficult endeavor with sports drinks turning to slushies as I ran, my legs going numb not only from fatigue but from the cold.  While the run was exhilarating out in the cold, it couldn’t compare with the warmth that I received from the team of runners and that given by the town of Churchill and the volunteers who made it possible for us to complete the effort safely.  This run serves as an example of how we all must keep striving for goals, looking towards the finish line and beyond.  Just being part of a group running like this taught me lessons about community, leadership, patience and perseverance.  It could be looked at as a run through a national treasure, but the treasure was far greater and deeper than the completion of a tough run.

Polar Bear near the marathon route

I will have a memory to last the rest of my life, new friends, and a new respect for an organization – Athletes in Action – that is working with the First Nations peoples lending support, resources, love and kindness in the name of Jesus to help them with alcoholism, poverty, health and depression.  A new journey has begun in my heart and mind as I now look forward to one day going back.

I/O Merino Wool Baselayer Test

// November 13th, 2012 // 2 Comments » // Climbing, Gear, Skiing

What do you wear when the warm weather has wandered away ? That warmth you wish to retain may be worn from clothes of a critter sheared and shorn.

Wool could well be the answer.

Wearing wool often conjures up memories of big and heavy itchy and scratchy rag wool sweaters and socks. Well, thankfully those days are gone (for smart shoppers anyway) and recent developments in the weaving of fine merino wool have made this a very comfortable and functional option for active outdoor enthusiasts.

I/O Merino, a new company out of Australia, recently sent me a few pieces from their line to use and review. Now having put them to the test trail running, cycling, and even the most rigorous of all tests – the sleep test, I have something to report.

From Alaska to Argentina, Everest to Australia I have been using both synthetic and wool clothing for some years and the one thing I must say is that no matter what, I like my clothes to disappear – from my mind at least. There is nothing like being on a climb, or ski tour with layers that bind, run short, lack breathability and are slow to dry. Before long these qualities will command your attention and possibly ruin a trip. At times my life can depend on the clothes I wear so I am very selective and discriminating.

I/O Merino Contact Euro T – Large: My first thought was that this shirt was nice and light, good looking, subdued but colorful. Then I slipped it on and found that the athletic fit would work well alone or under other layers. I wore it all day and even slept in it that night. This is definitely when you will discover if a wool garment is well made or not – if it itches or not. I am pleased to say that there was no itch and that I forgot all about the shirt and long johns as I slept. The only gripe I have of the shirt is that the collar hit me just a tad high, but since it was not overly tight this was not a problem.

I/O Merino Contact full Tight 160 wt – Medium: At nearly 6’2″ with a 33″ waist I always struggle with sizing. Either baggy and long or a good fit but too short. This base layer fit and was just long enough – a pleasant surprise indeed. With a bit of stretch and a nice weight I was comfortable with these on many trail runs especially the other morning when the temp was a meager 3 degrees f. Alone or combined under other layers these bottoms offer the flexibility to go light or layer up, and will be great for ski tours, snowshoeing and skate skiing. With such flexibility, comfort, odor resistance and the ability to maintain loft and warmth when wet, wool has become my base layer of choice especially from the waist down. The downfall of some lesser quality wool products may be itch, and the downfall of synthetics can be that sticky, clammy feeling when wet, however with these there is neither.

I/O Merino Contact Boxer Brief Med: of the three pieces these are my favorite. I know what you’re thinking “you’d wear wool there?!” Absolutely. It’s soft, dries quickly and fights odor. They fit and function well and are not what I am thinking about when my climbing harness is holding me high above the ground. For a multi-day ski tour, hut trip or backpack these are the undies of choice.

Lastly all of these garments survived a machine wash and dry. I always try my best to keep wool out of the dryer, but when my wife accidentally ran them through I was pleased to find no shrinkage.
They are all natural and will please your “Eco conscience”.
Overall I can say that I highly recommend these base layers and will be wearing the tights against my skin next week as I head to the arctic to run a marathon in 85% humidity and single digit temps.

To check out the entire line go to they have many other great items.


P vs p a Strategy for Success

// November 2nd, 2012 // 3 Comments » // Advice, Leadership, Reflections

David Baker mile 70 of 100 on White Rim Trail Utah.

What makes a person successful?  What is success?  Is it achieving a goal which has been set? Perhaps this is a good place to start but it is not the end-all.  I think success and its definition run through deeper waters, but for today’s thought I will keep it parked here.  Pondering this perplexing question recently, looking at people whom I respect and whom I consider successful as measured by a variety of criteria, I came up with 6 powerful precepts for success:

1. Passion – a person must possess passion for what he or she is doing and plans to pursue.  My pastor is a great example of this as he is so passionate about serving the                      Lord and serving others that it just bubbles out in an uncontainable manner.  It is contagious and gets others motivated to live out their faith as well.  We’ve all seen burnouts who seem to suck the life out of others instead of giving it.  We must have and exude passion.

2. Purpose – If the question why poses a problem and you are perplexed, perhaps it is time to reexamine what it is you are doing.  The purpose for which one begins the journey can get lost and muddied along the way – don’t forget why you started.  A runner runs a race to win the prize.  If the race is long and difficult and the competition stiff, maintaining that starting attitude is a challenge, so we must run the race with endurance while seeing the purpose for which we started.

3. Practice – nobody is going to win the New York marathon or the Olympic 100M dash by just showing up with a positive attitude and a passion for winning.  It takes practice.  Even the most naturally gifted among us need to polish that gift and work hard to train the mind and body to be prepared for the rigors of one’s chosen race. Elite athletes train a minimum of 24 hours a week, not to mention nutrition, study, visualization and other techniques they employ to have a winning edge.

4. Prudence – This comes down to having a little wisdom and the ability to see yourself for who you are and the gifts that have been bestowed upon you.  I can’t sing.  No amount of passion, purpose, practice or perseverance is going to change that.  I won’t quit singing, especially in the shower, because it brings me joy, but I certainly am self-aware enough to know that this should not be something the public should need to endure as I pursue it as a profession.  If you can pass this test move on to the next bullet point.

5. Possibility – Believe in the possibilities that exist for you and seek them out: Join a band, enter a race, submit a resume, apply to that school, get creative and do that thing you have always dreamed of doing.  It won’t be easy so be ready for…

6. Perseverance – maintaining the mental stamina to persist in that which you have passion and in which you see purpose.  Don’t give up, don’t let obstacles turn you around, instead use them as steps to lift you higher (unless of course you can’t sing, run, dance, play music, read, write, think, move, breathe…).

What will bring you down in this pursuit? Aiming at the wrong target.  Looking for position, power, or mere possessions.  Essentially it is pride, or these symbols of pride and vain glory that will turn that original passion into merely a pursuit.

As the apostle Paul said “…let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” Hebrews 12:1

we rejoice in our sufferings for we know that suffering leads to perseverance; perseverance character, and character hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.” Romans 5:3