Sunday, December 28, 2008


Today after our weekly Sunday morning run, Fleet Feet proudly presented three Winter Warriors with their official Winter Warrior shirts! These shirts cannot be must earn them!

Since the WW program started in early December, Laura Kantor, Darla Askew, and Chris Askew have each attended 15 workout, and amassed 75 points, to earn their coveted shirts (Biener also now has 75 points, but he's shy and didn't want to be in the picture) . That's right, 15 Fleet Feet workouts in less than 4 weeks! In the dark, through the snow, in the slush, on the ice, doing their downward dog, push ups, sit ups, kettle belles, balance boards, and on and on and on they go.

Others approaching the magical 75 points needed to earn their limited edition Winter Warrior shirt are: Serena, Roger, Josh, Jody, Jenny, April, Chris W, Sean Mary David, Steve, Christy, and Chad. There are another 45 people with Warrior points who could all easily get to 75 just need to show up for workouts. And of course, it's never too late to join us and start accruing your points. As you can see from Laura, Darla, and Chris, points add up fast.

Come a Winter Warrior! You Can Do It!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How the Grinch Got Fit

How the Grinch Got Fit

Every Who down in Whoville liked Running a lot...
But the Grinch, who lived just north of Whoville, did NOT!
The Grinch hated Running! The whole Running season!
Would you like to know why? Well, I might know the reason.
It could be his head wasn't screwed on just right,
But it could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.
Yes, I think that the most likely reason of all
Is that his running shoes were two sizes too small.
Whatever the reason, his head or his shoes,
He stood there all brooding and hating the Whos,
Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown,
At the runners all running about in their town.
For he knew every Who down in Whoville below,
Was busy now, jogging around in the snow."
And they're running in comfort!" he snarled with a glare.
For the Whos shopped at FLEET FEET (and Fitlosophy's there).
Then he growled, with his Grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find some way to stop Whoville from running!"
For tomorrow, he knew, all those ridiculous Whos
Would wake bright and early. They'd rush for their shoes!
And then! Oh, the fun! Oh, the fun!
Fun! Fun! Fun!
That's the one thing he hated! The FUN!
Then the Whos, young and old, would go out for a run!
And they'd run! And they'd run! And they'd run!
They would run down the road, they would run up the streets,
Which was something the Grinch couldn't stand in the least!
And THEN they'd do something he liked least of all!
Every Who down in Whoville, the tall and the small,
Would all run together and all have a ball!
And they'd jog and they'd laugh and then run some more!"
It must be," he thought, "because of that store."
And the more the Grinch thought of the Fitlosophy bit,
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop that FIT!
For fifteen years I've put up with this now!
I must stop Whoville from Running! But HOW?"
Then he got an idea! An awful idea!
"I know just what to do," the Grinch laughed as he grabbed
A white little label to use as a tag.
And he chuckled and clucked, "This will cause quite a stir!
I'll be Whoville's first phony Fitlosopher!
I'll provide the wrong fit! The Whos won't know
What caused the big blister on Whoville's big toe!
All I need is an S3..." The Grinch looked around,
But, since S3's were scarce, there were none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch? No! The Grinch simply said,
"If I can't find an S3, I'll make one instead!"
So he found an old calculator, some plastic and glue,
"It isn't quite right... but I suppose it'll do."
Then at night that old Grinch in disguise headed down
Toward the store while the Whos lay asnooze in their town.
The windows were dark, quiet snow filled the air,
When he came to the dear little store on the square.
He sneaked into the shop with a wink and a pinch,
For he was a sly one, that awful, sneaky Grinch.
He saw all the shoes on the wall in a row.
"These shoes," he grinned, "are the first things to go!"
And he mixed up the shoes-stability and style-
And then what he did, with a terrible smile,
Was fill all the FLEET FEET water bottles with rocks!
And replace the synthetic with all COTTON socks!
He created new flavors of Sport Beans and GU-
Like Monkey Brain Punch and Swamp Water Stew!
Then he snatched all the Garmins (and in this he found pleasure)
And replaced those devices with a simple tape measure!
He knocked down the books that were tidy and stacked
And took the reflective gear-and painted it black!
Then he viewed all the damage and cackled with glee,
"This will stop the Whos from running. I did it! ME!
PoohPooh to the Whos!" he was Grinchishly humming,
"They're finding out now there will be no more Running!
They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
Their mouths will hang open a minute or two,
Then the Whos down in Whoville will all cry BooHoo!
That's a noise," grinned the Grinch, "That I simply MUST hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put his hand to his ear.
But the sound wasn't sad! Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so! But it WAS merry! VERY!
He stared down at Whoville! The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook! What he saw was a shocking surprise!
Every Fitlosopher was there, busily cleaning
And re-organizing the store-from the floor to the ceiling.
They were fitting for socks! They were fitting for shoes!
They were fitting for running! They were fitting the Whos!
The store was wide open! And the talk of the town
Was how even a Grinch couldn't keep FLEET FEET-ers down!
And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling, "How could it be so?"
And he puzzled three hours, till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe FLEET FEET," he thought, "is more than a store.
Maybe FLEET FEET... perhaps... means a little bit more!
"And what happened then? Well, in Whoville they say
That the Grinch's small shoes grew three sizes that day!
He went to be fitted-yes, the Grinch! Got fitted! It's true!
The Grinch went to FLEET FEET to find the right shoe!
He sat on the bench and had his feet evaluated.
Then he ran on the sidewalk... and over-pronated!
He was given a shoe with the proper stability and fit
(And it's a good thing, too, for he hurt quite a bit).
Yes, the Grinch overcame his chronic Grinch-itis
And even bought inserts for his plantar fasciitis.
And the minute the old Grinch's feet stopped their aching,
Every Who in Whoville's hand the Grinch started shaking.
"Who would have thought I'd be FIT?" he asked. "Who would have thought I'd have fun?"
And then HE, HE HIMSELF! The Grinch went for a run!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Wonderland!

Winter hit Central Oregon with a vengance last Friday night and it's been coming straight at us ever since. We started with snow and slick roads, then rolled into less snow but very cold weather (even some negatives in there), had a sunny day - but cold, and now are warmer but it's snowing lots today.

All of the light snow we received last weekend and earlier this week was great for running and playing in. My dog Sascha is going absolutely crazy! This is definitely her favorite time of year...she would absolutely love to be running 100 mile weeks right now. Unfortunately for her (and fortunately for me), that's not happening.

If you're having trouble motivating yourself to get in a workout in these conditions, please join us for our weekly workouts. We have four:
Sundays, 8:30 a.m., 5-10 miles, varying paces
Mondays, 6 p.m., Strength Training, $5
Wednesdays, 6 p.m., Headlamp Run, 3-5 miles, varying paces
Wednesdays, 7 p.m., Yoga for Athletes, $5
All of the above workouts start at Fleet Feet.

Also, when you come to any of our workouts, you automatically get signed up for our Winter Warriors program. Winter Warriors is basically a program designed to keep you active in the winter months while providing you with rewards along the way, and even a little bit of competition for the Warrior with the most points.

In addition to the above 4 weekly workouts, we'll occasionally have special events where you can earn more points - and get in a great workout. A couple in the near future are:
Dec. 31, Bend's First 1000 Lights Community Walk
Jan. 3, BadAss

So far, we've had over 50 people sign up to be a warrior. Please come join the fun!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Weekend Skinny....

Another big week of activities and results over here at Fleet Feet. Here is the Weekly Update:
Kami Semick of Bend, Oregon won The North Face Trail Running championships in Marin this weekend. A tough trail 50 miler with over 10,000 feet of climbing. It assembled the deepest field in an ultramarathon race this year and Kami won, pursing the $10,000 winner's award. So, if you see her, make her buy you a drink or something!
Sean Meissner, manager of our Fleet Feet store, went down to California International Marathon and took care of business by running a 2:39 marathon (50th overall). Also, big congrats to Jeff Caba (35th overall) who posted a personal PR of 2:36, and Glenn Miller who ran a 3:26... not quite the time he was looking for but a solid result, nonetheless.
Fleet Feet also started our Sunday morning runs. We will meet every Sunday at 8:30 a.m. and run approximately 5-10 miles (depending what group you are paired with). Lots of people and different paces so no one should feel intimidated! Come check it out. We'll reward you with some hot chocolate or a cup of coffee when you finish up!
On Monday nights at 6:00 PM, we'll continue our new strength program with Cynthia Ratzman. It is an amazing class. Lots of different stations and we have room to spread out in the shop and really get an amazing workout. Its only $5.00 and if you come once, I guarantee you will be hooked!
On Wednesday nights we have our "headlamp run" at 6:00 PM followed by yoga at 7 PM. Don't have a headlamp? Don't worry, we'll let you borrow one or we have them in stock to purchase!
For more info on our programs and runs, click here
If you come to any of these events, you are automatically entered in our Winter Warrior Program. This is where you get points for each workout and can earn gift certificates, T-Shirts, bags, etc. For more info, click here
Lastly, don't forget your friends and family members who are runners this Christmas. We are stocked with lots of fun goodies and ideas for the stocking and under the tree. Need some ideas? Click here.
All right, we've done our part. Lots of events and runs for you to stay in shape this winter. All you need to do is show up and join in on the fun.
See you soon!
Rod B.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Real Deal

Well, we just had our first session of strength training at Fleet Feet on Monday night. It was the real deal! You get who I consider the best personal trainer in Bend, Cynthia Ratzman of Accelerated Fitness, for $5.00! The workout was tough... no doubt about it. But Cynthia is such a great motivator that the hour session just flew by. The two comments I heard most often was "wow, that was tough" and "the hour is over already?"
We had a great initial turnout of more than a dozen and when word gets out, we are going to have to put a cap on how many people can attend. Our space is great for really spreading out and we had 13 different stations to work from. From Kettle ball lifts to jump ropes to reverse pull ups. This is a great workout whether you are a casual walker or an elite athlete. We had folks from all walks of life but one thing was for sure... several folks who work out with Cynthia regularly seriously kicked the rest of our butts!
Again, all ages and abilities are encouraged to come. For $5.00, it is the best deal in town. Give it a shot!
Monday nights at 6 PM!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Three Buttes, Sore Butts, Tough runners!

the sign says it all
Well, leave it to Sean Meissner to come up with just about the toughest possible run in the city limits of Bend.  He decided to call it the "Three Butte Butt Buster".  The run would entail running all three prominent buttes in Bend:  Overturf, Pilot, and Awbrey.  Not only that but just getting to and from the buttes was going to make it at least a half marathon.  When Sean suggested it to me I said, "Sean, no one is going to come.  Its going to be you and me looking at each others' butts for 13 miles... "
He thoughtfully took a breath and stated eloquently, "if we run it, they will come...".  Okay, he didn't really say that but it sounded pretty funny didn't it?  
The day before the event he called me and said, "I think we're going to have a pretty good turnout!".  "What, like three?", I responded.
But, as usual (unfortunately) he was right and I was shocked to see the cars pulling in early on Sunday morning to go tackle the three buttes.

Ready for battle!

In all, we had 23 people join us on a SPECTACULAR morning and take on the challenge. First we headed west and climbed up ole Overturf Butte. Ah, that was a nice way to get the morning started and we bombed down the hill and back to Fleet Feet for our first aid station. M&M's, some old Halloween candy, and a chance to fill up our water bottles before heading eastside to tackle the formidable Pilot Butte. Everyone was in good spirits as we motored up Pilot Butte. Sean is in great shape right now and took advantage of the situation to blaze up the road and try and sucker us into tiring ourselves out before heading to Awbrey. Only Matt Lieto took the bait.... and paid for it later!

We were treated to some amazing views and actually warm weather up top. We took our time, enjoyed the sights and then headed to Fleet Feet friends' Chris and Darla's house for our second aid station. We fueled up and "pulled up our big kid pants" as we got ready for our biggest climb of the day! Another nice cool down until we hit the base of Awbrey and started panting and pushing up to the top! One more aid station half way up to fill our water bottles (along with some strange cheerleader chants from our employee Christy) and we headed as far as you can go to the top of Awbrey. Only that stinking new fence kept us from the radioactive cell phone towers!
With all the work behind us, we savored the long downhill back to Fleet Feet. Man, it felt good to finish that one off! 13+ miles 1,700 feet of climbing. All I know is that we have some very tough hombres and hombrettes here in Bend. At the finish, we were treated to some sun, the grass in front of the store, doughnuts, chips, and our Official Sponsor: PBR.
All in all an amazing way to start a Sunday. Thanks to everyone for coming out and making sure that I didn't just have to look at Sean's butt or butte all by myself.

Until next time!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Road Trip Racing

A handful of central Oregonians hit the road (or sky) last weekend for a bit of racing in lands far, far away (well, at least for the one that hit the sky).

Kami Semick, featured speaker at our Marathon Night a few weeks ago, hammered out an impressive 2nd place at the World Championship 100k in Tuscania, Italy. She finished in 7:33:58, which translates into a blazing 7:18 per mile for 62.2 miles. That's fast! She also helped the US women to a second place finish in the team race. For her tremendous run, Kami was then named USATF's Athlete of the Week. Congratulations, Kami! We're very proud of you.

Road tripping down to Ashland for the weekend to participate in Rogue Valley Runners' inaugural Lithia Loop Trail Marathon were locals Katie Caba, Jeff Caba, Krissy Moehl, and Sean Meissner. Jeff took the lead about the 1/2 mile mark and never looked back, winning and establishing an impressive course record in a mighty fine time of 2:47:31. Chasing Jeff all day, but coming up short, was Sean, who managed 2nd in 2:53:09. On the girl's side, Katie, the better looking Caba, ran strong over the entire course, posting a solid 2nd place in 3:09:26. Moving down in distance and course technicality, Krissy Moehl proved she's an all-around trail runner, posting a solid 3:24:54 for 7th girl. Krissy was all smiles at the finish with her new marathon p.r.!

Ian and Hal really know how to put on a great event. Lithia is challenging - it has 4,700' of climbing and descending, beautiful, has great volunteers and aid stations, and the post-race meal was delicious. If you're looking for an excuse to road trip to Ashland next November, I highly recommend using the Lithia Loop Trail Marathon as that excuse. You'll come home with sore quads, a great t-shirt, and great memories of a great event!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Marathon Night at Fleet Feet!

On Tuesday night, Fleet Feet was filled with lots of marathoners. Some are aspiring to run their first, many recently finished Portland as their first, while a few were marathon vets. We really just wanted a night to celebrate everyone's marathoning accomplishments and aspirations. 50 people who showed up and the night was a success.

After some mingling and war-story sharing, 2008 Portland Marathon Champion Kami Semick and 2008 Spokane Marathon Champion Sean Meissner gave an informative q&a session to the group. Topics ranged from training and nutrition, to shoe selection and pacing. Of particular interest regarding Kami and Sean is that they both train mainly on trails, yet they are still able to race well at road marathons. This was good for the group to hear, as the majority of central Oregonian runners definitely put lots of time
in on the dirt. One of the highlights, especially for the, uh, more mature runners, was learning that, at 42 years old, Kami continues to improve each year and is still setting p.r.'s.

Thanks to Mark Dejohn for volunteering to give some "active release" massage to our guests and of course to Kami Semick and Sean Meissner for coming down and joining the fun.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

3 Butte Butt Buster Fun Run

As those of you who attend our Wednesday night fun runs know, when I'm there, I usually like to take the group uphill. Around here, that means either Overturf or Awbrey Butte. And when we gather as a group on top of one of those buttes, I often think out loud about holding a 3 Buttes Fun Run (Overturf, Awbrey, and Pilot). Well, the talk is about to come to a stop and the action is about to begin.

Sunday, November 16, 2008, at 9 a.m., will be the inaugural 3 Butte Butt Buster Fun Run. We'll start at Fleet Feet, head up Overturf, and run back by FF for some refreshments. Then it's across town to Pilot, up the road, down the trail, and to Chris and Darla's house for another aid station. Make sure you fuel up here so you're ready for another flat couple miles before tackling the biggie, Awbrey. You will pass your last aid station climbing Awbrey, then reach your final summit around 11.5 miles. Now all you have to do is lean forward and let gravity take you back to Fleet Feet.

Oh yeah, the distance: 13.5 miles of heavenly, hilly bliss! Got vert? 1,700' of it...both up and down! There will be shorter options, climbing one or two buttes, for those not quite up to fully busting their butts.

Please note that this will be a fun run and not a timed event. So bring some friends, your dog, and your climbing legs for a little masochistic butt busting fun with the Fleet Feet gang.

Click here to see the route map.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Know What You Want

Know what kind of shoe you like and want it fast? Try out our new "Know What You Want" Program. Just click here to tell us your shoe order and we'll deliver or ship your shoes to you for free! Website address is, or you can call us at (541) 389-1601.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Portland Marathon Finishers

On Tuesday, October 28, Fleet Feet is holding a Portland Marathon Finisher's Appreciation Night. So, if you ran the Portland Marathon this year, please join us. You'll get to meet other finishers, share war stories, and enjoy some snacks. Hopefully this will be a great way for you to connect with other runners in the area.

You will also get the chance to ask questions and listen to running tips by two of the top marathoners in Central Oregon! Portland Marathon Champion Kami Semick will be on hand to answer questions on how she trains, what she eats, and what workouts enable her to compete at such an extraordinary level. Spokane Marathon Champion (and Fleet Feet employee) Sean Meissner will also be on hand to give tips on his training regimen and how he prepares to race at a high level. This is a great chance to ask some questions of two of Central Oregon's top runners.

The festivities will start at 7 p.m. Please RSVP at 389-1601 so we know how many beers to keep cold for you.

P.S. If you are a Central Oregon 2008 Portland Finisher, you should have also gotten an invitation in the mail with a little something extra. If you didn't receive this, please let us know.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Marathon Month

In many running circles around the country, October is known as Marathon Month. In a quick count on the Marathon Maniacs website, there are 63 marathons this month in the United States. That's a lot of marathons.

Of course, the big one for many Central Oregonians is the Portland Marathon tomorrow, in, well, Portland. We've seen lots of you in the 6 months that we've been open (today is our 6 month anniversary!), diligently following your training schedules. We have enjoyed following all of your stories, and we absolutely love it when you stop by. Whether it's to get fit for new shoes, talk about the lastest nutrition stuff on the market, pick our brains about training, tell us about little (and sometimes, not-so-little) niggles and injuries, or to share with us that awesome training run you just did in a new p.r., we love it all.

So when you get done with Portland (or any other marathon), and your legs are able to function enough so you can walk into the store, please stop by and tell us your Portland war story. We're excited to hear it.

And if you bring in a picture of you at your marathon wearing a Fleet Feet shirt, you'll get $10 off your next pair of running shoes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Fleetfeet on a rainy Sunday

What a perfect time to get a new pair of running shoes. Come on in and we will get you fit... for the perfect pair of shoes and you catch us up on the football scores!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pine Mountain Hill Climb Results and Report

Pine Mountain Hill Climb, 10.7 miles, 2,500' of climbing
Sept. 14, 2008

1. Patrick Widmer, 47, Bend 1:28:38 2. Kami Semick (1F), 42, Bend 1:30:22 3. Jace Ives, 24, Bend 1:31:30 4. Kurt Eisele, 29, Eugene 1:32:31 5. Glenn Miller, 48, Bend 1:38:11 6. Owen Sutton, 39, Bend 1:42:53 7. Scott Abrams, 52, La Pine 1:43:42 8. Scott Mercer, 40, Bend 1:44:14 9. Stephanie Hackbarth (2F), 23, Bend 1:46:08 10. Steve Morse & Chloe the dog, 51, Bend 1:46:49 11. Andy Schob, 60, Bend 1:47:14 12. Darla Brader (3F), 35, Bend 1:47:44 13. Jane Cleavenger (4F), 50, Bend 1:49:20 14. Laura Nice (5F), 27, Bend 1:50:52 15. Paul Stevenson, 33, Bend 1:55:37 16. Roger Daniels, 72, Bend 2:01:30 17. Bob Reininger, 42, Bend 2:08:13 18. Tim Zook, 53, Powell Butte 2:10:34 19. Stephen Waite, 25, Bend 2:10:58 20. Todd Chester, 34, Bend 2:14:54 21. Ron Kastberg, 55, Powell Butte 2:17:11 22. Roy Reisinger, 67, Bend 2:17:20 23. Steve Greening, 60, Bend 2:24:35 24. Tyson Pardue, 43, Bend 2:25:02 25. Tonya Olson (sweeper), almost 40, Bend 2:36:45

Thank you very much to everyone who came out and played on Pine Mountain for the day or weekend. I had a complete blast out there. We started off the festivities with camping out on Saturday night, and as we all know, crazy things can happen while camping. A good size group of us roasted weenies over the fire, gorged on Tonya's famous s'mores delux, enjoyed some tasty beverages, saw Jupiter through a really big telescope, and watched the always-popular sci-fi thriller The Man Who Changed His Mind. Definite pre-race evening good times!

Race morning was beautiful. Sunny, no wind, not hot...pretty perfect conditions for running up a mountain. Shortly after 9 a.m., 25 runners and 2 dogs began their ascent in the inaugural Pine Mtn. Hill Climb. About one hour and 15 minutes later, the finish line crew extraordinaires Gina and Chris, and I, spotted the first runner on the road really far away. Who was it?? Soon enough, Patrick Widmer was powering up the final steep 200 meters to the finish, establing a mighty-fine course record of 1:28:38 (and getting his first-ever win in a race...yay, Pat!). Less than 2 minutes later, Kami Semick trotted up the last painful climb, smiling her way across the line in 1:30:22, for 2nd overall and the women's course record. After the master's 1-2 punch, finally some of the young bucks finished. Rounding out the top-3 for the boys, Jace Ives was 2nd in 1:31:30, and Kurt Eisele was 3rd in 1:32:31. For the girls, Stephanie Hackbarth finished 2nd in 1:46:08, and Darla Brader was 3rd in 1:47:44.

After finishing, everyone made their way back down to the campground for a bbq, lots of refreshing beverages, tasty Nancy P's treats, and to swap war stories of the day.

I think everyone enjoyed the course. It really is beautiful, and it's not easy. Runnable? Yes...well, for the most part, anyway. But it does take some effort to run uphill for over 7 miles and 2,500' vertical, with only two little downhills that weren't easy, either. Everyone agreed that the highlight of the race (besides finishing) was the out-and-back section where volunteer-chick Whitney was stationed. The view from up there is the best!

My original thought to having this race was because I loved the area the first time I ran out there (just May of this year), and I love hill climbs. I knew immediately during that first run out there, I would have a race on Pine Mtn. I wanted it to be challenging, as hill climbs are by nature, but I wanted it more runnable than the uber-challenging Sunrise to Summit, and I wanted it longer than the Pilot Butte Challenge. I love both of those races, but thought we needed something different. Pine Mountain Hill Climb is different.

A special thank you to the following people for volunteering their time: Owen, Chris, Darla, Tonya, Tate, Gina, Gary, Jeannie, Whitney, Rob's truck (that pulled Whitney's Jeep out from being stuck), Judy, Chad, and the random guy who hauled the finish line water up the hill for us. The runners and I all really appreciate your help!

I'm look forward to next year's hill climb already. I believe it has the makings to be a long-term classic.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Lots o' Happenings

Congratulations to our own resident tri-geek Ironman Chad in winning the inaugural MAC Dash Sprint Triathlon last weekend in Madras. Chad swam 500 yards in the new Madras Aquatic Center, then rode his fully decked out tri-geek bike 12 hilly miles, and finished with a speedy 3 mile run to win in 1:03:56. Get this: this was IM's (what we affectionately refer to Chad as) first race of the year! Yes, he has been sandbagging for quite some time. So if you get a chance, stop by the shop and give IM an attaboy.

Head Honcho and Friend of FF Prudence are heading down to southern California this weekend to run the Angeles Crest 100 (as in miles!). They have both been training lots and lots and lots over the summer, and are ready to kick it. How do I know they're ready to kick it? Because the past week, during their tapers, they have both been a bit on the, oh, shall we say, edgy side. This is good. It means they're rested and have lots of energy just waiting to explode at 5:00 a.m. in Wrightwood. Go Rod! Go Prudence!

Also this weekend, happening right here in central Oregon, is the inaugural Pine Mountain Hill Climb! I'm very excited about this race. I love hill climbs and think there just aren't enough of them around Bend. So I was out running at Pine Mountain in May and within a couple of miles, I knew I wanted to hold a race there. Thus, the hill climb was born.

The course is an 11.5 miler with 2,500' of climbing. There are 8 miles of uphill and, to add a little recovery and / or leg speed into the race, 3.5 miles of downhill. It is 100% on dirt, mostly double track jeep roads, with a little gravel road and even a small bit of single track. There are awesome views of the Cascades at a few spots, including the finish on top. It is a very runnable course, but walkers are welcome to join the fun.

There is also free camping right near the observatory on Saturday night. So bring your Coleman stove and enjoy the company of your fellow runners before the big race on Sunday morning. Rumor has it that Tonya may bring the fixings for her famous Deluxe S'mores...mmmm... And just when you thought it couldn't get any better, the Observatory staff are going to show a really cool, B-grade, sci-fi movie on Saturday night. Can you say sweet?? Come join the fun. You won't be disappointed.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Scouting the bandit run!

My wife, Katie, always laughs at me as I try to show people some of my favorite runs and while doing so, I ruin them for myself because I run them so many times before we put on the event! Well, it would be hard to try and spoil this next months' run. Running along Swede Ridge is a favorite of mine as it ALWAYS culminates with a brief stop at Swede Shelter where I soak in the unobstructed views of Broken Top and as I gaze into the valley below. Those with sharp eyes can even spy the rushing waters of Tumalo Falls way below.
So, the course this month.... I had a few people call and email me that they really wanted to run the Bandit runs but the distance was a little daunting. So, this month you have no excuse. The 7.5 mile will challenge the casual runner with its trails that constantly roll up and down but they will be more than rewarded with the views of Swampy Lakes, the meadows, quick stream hops, and the big views at the end of Swede Ridge.
I ran there this evening at about 8 PM and was pleased to see that there was no snow and the wildflowers were popping up all around the trail. Doesn't sound horrible, does it?
Is it a difficult run? No, but I wouldn't label it as an easy run either. You will start with a 3/4 mile uphill that will then gently lead down all the way to "Swampy Shelter". From there, you'll make a right hand turn and cruise the ups and downs for about 2 miles until you hit Swede Shelter and the trail back to the start. After a mile or so of cruising an easy dirt road, you'll hit more single track where, yes, you'll probably curse my name as you do a short but grinding climb back up to a cool little clearing. From there, you'll retrace your first mile back to the car.... including be able to bomb down the first climb.
It is about 7.5 miles and it will be a great new trail for you to tackle anytime. As usual, it is 100% free and we will have the course marked for you. My guess is that we will not be able to have water on the course unless I can gain (legally) access to the dirt road that leads to Swede Shelter. If not, plan on carrying at least one water bottle and we will have refreshments for you at the finish.
We'll provide a trail that is marked well, you just provide your bright eyed, bushy tailed self to the Swampy Lakes Parking lot this Sunday at 8 a.m.
I took some pictures of my run tonight and will post some pictures on this blog tomorrow. Thanks for visiting and feel free to post any questions or concerns you have about the run!
Rod B.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bronco and Bighorn

For the 2nd time this month, a Fleet Feet friend has won a 100 miler! Jeff Browning battled hard at the Bighorn Mountain Wild and Scenic 100 miler yesterday, winning against the deepest field in the history of the event. He ran 18:56; Seattle's Justin Angle was 2nd in 19:20-something, while Ty Draney from Afton, WY rounded out the podium in 19:56. Three sub-20s at Bighorn means it was, indeed, a good, fast field.

Jeff was also victorius at Bighorn in 2005 & 2006, so he has now completed a hat trick there. Nice job, my friend! Including his 3 wins at Bighorn, Jeff also won the Arkansas Traveller 100 last year, giving him 4, 100-mile victories in 7 starts/finishes. Yep, he's a pretty darn good 100-miler.

On the women's side, Ronda Sundermeier from Tigard ran to a strong victory in 25:10. Team Oregon continues to rock at ultras of all distances across the country.

Congratulations Rooster and Bronco!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Kickin' it at Kettle!

Fleet Feet friends and Bendites Darla Brader and Chris Askew ran their first 100 miler yesterday in Wisconsin, the Kettle Moraine 100. After an incredible spring of hard, smart training, I knew they were fit, fast, and ready to rip it up. But, it is 100 miles, and anything can happen.

They played it smart all day long, not running too hard too soon. As the day wore on and eventually turned to night, our heroes just kept passing people and moving up in the field. We, their anxious fans, were getting updates from the webcast and their crew.

Darla did have a dark moment around the 100 km mark and contemplated dropping. But she decided to go on 7 miles to the next aid station and see if things would turn around. By 69 miles, she was pepping up again.

I went to bed last night and could hardly sleep...I was so excited to hear how they were doing. Then, finally, at about 2:20 a.m., the phone rang. By the time I woke up and realized it was ringing, it had stopped. Crap! Was it Tate calling to give me an update...was it Darla and Chris calling to say they had finished...was it their crew calling to give other news??? I didn't know, but wanted to, and could hardly get back to sleep.

Finally when I woke up I checked the webcast. This is what it showed:

Joel Eckberg 31 M 18:10:07 10:54
Mark Tanaka 41 M 20:39:37 12:24
Rick Gaston 36 M 20:40:38 12:24
Darla Brader 35 F 22:04:50 13:15
Chris Askew 37 M 22:04:50 13:15
(full results)

Yes, they kicked ass! Tied for 4th and Darla was first girl!! I was so excited when I saw it, I had to call them immediately. A quick run-down said what I thought: Darla pulled out of her funk and the two of them just kicked it in to the finish. Then, as is common at 100 mile finishes, within 2 minutes of finishing, they both completely seized up.

Chris and Darla...we are so PROUD! Congratulations! We can hardly wait to hear the blow-by-blow story.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Two New Challenges

Last night while running up and over Awbrey Butte, I came up with 2 new, local challenges. I must admit that I got the idea for these from our friends at Rogue Valley Runners in Ashland and their Park Street Challenge.

The first challenge is running up Archie Briggs Canyon on the trail on the north side of Awbrey Butte. Begin at the bottom where the Canyon Trail starts at the First Street Rapids River Trail. Go up all 5 sections of this canyon, then stop your watch when your foot touches pavement at the end of the 5th section. Rod and I agree that sub-8 is fast.

The second challenge is also a hill climb up Awbrey Butte, but this time on the road. Start at the intersection of 9th and Portland. Run up 9th and keep going as it curves around onto 12th. When you get to Summit, cross the road, get on the small bike path straight ahead and keep going up. When the short bike path ends at Promontory, cross over to Gill Court and go up Gill, continuing past the end of the cul-de-sac, past the vehicle gate, and finish when you touch the chain link fence at the top (it's the fence that keeps you from going to the towers).

Let us know what your times are and we'll keep a tally. No prizes for either, but you may just get an atta-girl or atta-boy, and, of course, the admiration of all your running peers.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Laying Down The Gauntlet on the River Trail

Well, since Andy Martin has a broken leg and can barely play "Pickle Ball" at the moment, I figured it was time to throw down again on the River Trail.  My last time on it I kind of bonked in the heat, no GUs, etc.  
Sean has been proud as a little peacock around the store so it was time to bring out the big guns.  No more clunky road shoes for the trail.  I busted out a shoe that would give me a little more pep.  Bring on the Brooks Racer ST.  I had a bottle, a cool day, and some Hammer Gel to fuel me along the way.  I decided to take it out reasonably hard, hopefully get to Benham Falls pretty quickly to gain a cushion and then just bring it home.
It was Memorial Day Weekend so I underestimated the the amount of people on the trail.  I probably came into contact with at least 50 people on the trail.  Bikers, walkers, sitters, I saw it all.  Everyone seemed very nice and gave me the right of way.... I guess some bow legged, slow guy who looks like he is racing is enough incentive to just let this crazy guy go through.  I got to Dillon Falls in just over 30 minutes and Benham Falls in 54 minutes.  However, I probably should have run in the shoes ONCE before I heading out for 16 or so miles.  I started getting a sharp, blister like pain on the bottom of my foot.  However, Sean's snug little mug stayed ingrained in my head and that was motivation enough to keep going as strong as I could.  My downhills were a little weak but I felt good on the flats and uphills.  
As I hit "Aspen" junction, I knew I had it in the bag and let myself mellow out my stride a little bit.  I finally hit the finish, giant crowd, and and elaborate finish line (oops, sorry I need to wake up from dreaming) in 1:48:02.  
To be honest, I think I can run it a little quicker as I never pushed excessively hard after the first few miles but I'm retiring.  I haven't enjoyed the beauty of the river trail as much as I should .  Or maybe I am just saying that because Jeff Caba and Andy Martin are licking their chops to beat up on an old ultra guy and make me look really bad.  
Regardless, and true to form, I came home from dinner last night with one message on my cell phone.
"Hey Rod, I have a new challenge.  Double out and back to Benham Fall and back in under four hours."--- Sean Meissner.
Oh man.......

Thursday, May 22, 2008

River Trail Record

Rod's pretty cool (or so he thinks:). He runs the river trail from Meadow Camp to Benham Falls once a week. This has turned into a great 17 mile roundtrip tempo run for us. I'm not quite as geeky as Rod, so I only do it a few times a year.

It took a few years of Rod geeking out, but finally a couple years ago, he broke 2 hours. So I gave it a go last spring and, despite getting lost (lame, but true), I also broke 2.

This spring, Rod started upping the ante a bit. About a month ago, he clocked a 1:53:30ish. Wow, that was definitely a fast one. So a week and a half ago, I decided to give it a go. Of course, I lost the main trail again a couple times (there really are quite a few zigzagging trails out there). But, I still was happy with my solid 1:54:40.

So Rod ran it again last week. He completely geeked out this time; no bottles, no gu...light and fast. He bonked, but still ran 1:53:40ish. Attaboy, Rod, but maybe next time you'll carry a bottle and a carmel powergel.

Today I decided to run it. I have lots of miles in the old legs; 450 in the last 26 days. I really was just looking to cruise it comfortably hard in right around 2. My time to the first check point confirmed this, as I was easily 1:30 slower than what Rod usually runs for that 1.3 mile section. But then I felt warmed up, so decided to tempo it the last 15.7 miles. I hit the turn around in 58:30 and knew a sub-1:53 was possible (the course is gentle uphill out and downhill back).

My check points all the rest of the way were keeping me on schedule for a barely 1:52-something. Then came the last section. I was at 1:45:03. A sub-8 means you're moving really well here. I was moving really well and knew I could get a sub-8. Then, as usual in this section, I took a wrong cross trail. Doh! I was climbing up onto a ridge instead of staying down by the river. So I bushwhacked back down, losing probably 30 seconds. Yep, it was definitely going to be tight.

Back on the right trail, I pushed a bit harder. With about 1/3 of a mile to go, on the rocky section, I came up fast on a couple. I slowed down and politely said "excuse me, on your left". They looked back, were caught off guard, and completely froze. They looked at each other and me, and just didn't know what to do. So I stood there for 15 seconds (yes, I checked), anxiously, but trying to look patient, waiting for them to take one step to the side.

They finally stepped aside, I graciously (I hope) thanked them, and continued on. Around the bend, I could see the car. I just ran as hard as I could. 1:53:09. Doh! Mixed blessings. Although I didn't get that coveted sub-1:53, I did whoop up on Biener's soft little p.r. So for that, I was happy.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Masks, PBR, and some serious Bandits

Well, we hosted the first ever trail bandit race! The flavor of these "races" or "runs" are to be pure fun and hopefully get people on some new trails that are not Shevlin Park proper or Phil's trail.... I think those have been more than covered!

The first course started off of Skyliner at the backside of Shevlin park. Runners headed up the gentle Mrazek trail and came back via the very, very rough Tumalo Creek trail. We were thrilled to have 31 participants since I only came up with this idea less than two weeks before the event. We had a nice cool start and some quick runners blazed up the trail for the first five miles before hitting the aid station hosted by our own "Ironman", Chad Baker!

After filling up with some water and treats, runners tiptoed through the rocks and boulders, climbed through a rock tunnel, and navigated some serious terrain before finishing off back at the start/finish and earning their bandit mask and an ice cold PBR.

The men's top three were: Jeff Caba, Steve "I can bake some kick ass pastries and still run fast" Morse, and Billy "Bonehead" Barnett *** who also climbed a tree mid-way in the race.

The top three women were: Kami "of course she won" Semick, Tate "Pandora's Backpack" Kelley, and Heather Vihstadt! All earned the VERY elaborate prizes of a Powerbar necklace. Does it get any better than that????

We hope you'll join us next time on a new trail.... not sure of location yet but a guarantee that it won't be at Shevlin or Phil's!!! It'll be REAL trails and beautiful views. Remember, these are not competitive and ALL are welcome! No secret "runner" handshake necessary..... Just good times, bad beer, and a mask for you. We hope to see some new bandits next month.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Trail Bandit Series

Fleet Feet is proud to announce our monthly “Trail Bandit” series. These are trail runs that will hopefully introduce people to some new trails in the area and get you off of the “same old trails” that we find ourselves running all the time. There is no fee for these trail runs. And, while they are not technically “races”, we will time the runs, add a trail marker or two so you don’t get lost, have some water and electrolyte drink for ya if the distance warrants it, and throw in a few prizes, not necessarily for the fastest runner. We’ll also post the times on our website the day after the event.

These are definitely no fee, pure fun events. So bring your sense of adventure, some sturdy shoes, and get ready for a good time with good people.

Event #1, Shevlin Creek Crunch:
This run starts from the dirt road off of Skyliners Drive that circles Shevlin Park. This run could be labeled “heaven and hell.” We will start by climbing a quick dirt road and jumping on the Mrazek Trail (think Heaven). This is a nice mellow uphill trail that will head up about 4 miles until our aid station and then we’ll send you back via the Shevlin Creek trail. This trail is as tough as Central Oregon has to offer. Roots, rocks, downed trees, this is REAL trail running. After 4 miles (trust me, you’ll have enough) you’ll finish back up where you started. We’ll then have our elaborate awards ceremony (can you sense the sarcasm) and you’ll have have seen some great trails along the way.
TIME: 8:00 a.m., Sunday, May 11th (don’t worry, you can still get mom breakfast afterwards)

Directions to the start: Head west on Galveston from the flaming chicken. At the roundabout at Mt. Washington, continue straight (Galveston turns to Skyliner). After 2.5 miles, make a right on a gravel road (there is a brown hike/bike sign). Then, after 100 yards or so, make your first left hand turn onto another gravel road and follow this gravel road for 1.4 miles. Once you cross a bridge, park on the right hand side of the road.
Summer Bandit Trail Series Schedule:
May 11
June 15
July 20
August 17
September 14

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rumble Recap

WOW! The 6th annual Peterson Ridge Rumble 60k/30k rocked! There were about 270 finishers and 24 dogs. The races were all stacked with guys and gals of all abilities; from the weekend warriors, to the "doing it for fun", to the fast folks up front.

In the 30k, the men's lead pack consisted of the defending champ from Bend, Andy Martin, Richard Bolt from Portland, and Jeff Caba and Dameon Kluck of Bend. For the 3rd time, Bend's Andy Martin won the 30k (he was also the inaugural Rumble champ). He was taking it easy for most of the race, before pulling away towards the end to win in 2:03:27. In the women's division, Emily Kalenius came over from Corvallis with her husband Will and their dog Aslan. They were all running together until Aslan started to slow with a couple miles to go. Will took over doggie duty and Emily cruised on to victory in 2:28:15. For the 2nd year in a row, Bend's Amy Petersen ran a solid 2nd. In the doggie division, Chili came down for Campbell River, BC, for the 2nd year in a row, and for the 2nd year in a row, he won, this year clocking a 2:19:12.

In the 60k, the men's race was hot from the start. A lead pack of 5 included defending champ Rod Bien, Bend's Billy Barnett and Paul Saladino, and Eugene's Scott Wolfe and Dan Olmstead. About mile 11, Billy and Dan gapped the field. Eventually, Dan gapped everyone and went on to a convincing victory in 3:51:25. In the women's race, Bend's 3-time champ Kami Semick and one-week-post-American River 50 mile champ Jenn Shelton set a speedy pace not too far behind the boys. At the 8 mile a.s., Jenn's flu caught up to her and she stepped out of the race. She did, however, stick around to cheer on many other runners. Kami hit her stride and flew on to her 4th Rumble victory. She's poised to rock at Miwok!

It was a great day for all and raised lots of money for the Sisters High School Cross Country Team. Thank you all who came out to run, volunteer, cheerlead, or just hang out.

Bend Bulletin article
Glenn Tachiyama's pictures
Full Results

Friday, April 11, 2008

It's Rumble Time, Baby!

The 6th annual Peterson Ridge Rumble is this Sunday, April 13th. With 312 entrants, this is by far the largest field ever (170 in the 30k and 142 in the 60k). In the 30k, defending champ, champ of the inaugural Rumble in 2003, c.r. holder, Olympic Marathon Trials runner, and nice guy Andy Martin is easily the favorite on the men's side. I expect Steve Larsen, Matt Lieto, and Joel Wirtz to be duking it out in the chase pack. I'm sorry that I'm not too familiar with the women's 30k field, but Tonya Olson should be in the mix. In the 30k doggie division, defending champ Chili, from Campbell River, BC, is expected to be challenged by Piper from Seattle. That, folks, might just be the race of the day. Seriously. On a side note, there are currently 31 dogs registered, which just happens to be the number of runners in the inaugural Rumble - that's awesome!

In the 60k, defending champ Rod Bien has been a bit behind in his preparation, as he's been busy having a third kid and opening a new running store. But he's fit and he'll run his heart out; plus, he'll be pinning on that #1 bib, which is always good for 10 minutes. I expect Eugene's Dan Olmstead and Scott Wolfe, and Bend's Billy Barnett and Paul Saladino to be trying to take down Rod. On the women's side, the Rumble's only three-time champ ('04, '05, '07) Kami Semick is looking fit and fast after a winter of injuries. She might be challenged by the whipper-snapper Jenn Shelton. However, Jenn did just win AR50 last Saturday so she may be a bit tired; but, as mentioned above, she is a whipper-snapper, so I'm sure she'll bounce back and give it all she's got. Also expected to be in the mix is another Bendite, Prudence L'Heureux. Along with Jenn, she recently moved to Bend and has definitely proven her toughness at Smith Rock.

With temps. in the 70s, 300 runners, and 31 wagging tails, it's going to be a great weekend for Rumbling!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Feeling the love!

Wow.  That was a cool way to start the opening of our shop.  We really did essentially no advertising other than one ad in a weekly paper but we had a great turnout.  From Dan and Kathy Harshburger sitting in front of the door (photos coming soon!) for an hour before we opened to all the new friends we have already made. It was awesome.  It caught me a little off guard how busy we got but we adjusted to the action quickly and loved every minute of it.  People seemed to like the space and really seemed to like our gait analysis.  Our system is pretty darn sweet.  Split screens, super slo-mo, we can really get to the bottom of a persons stride when they come in to get fit.  But, more than anything, what I took away from the weekend is how much I love working in a running/walking store.  Each person coming in to get fit is a little personal puzzle to figure out... and I loved it.   
And, just getting to hang out and talk, well, about running is what I do all the time anyway, so its really fun to be doing it in the new shop.  Lastly, I just feel very lucky with the staff I have assembled.  Not only do I have amazing athletes working at the shop but just great people who really thrive while providing customer service.   We hope to see some of you soon.  Come on in and say "hello".  And good luck to everyone running the Horse Butte race tomorrow!  I wish I could be out there but someone has to watch the shop!
Rod B.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grinning and Bearing It

Last Saturday was the kick-off race to the 2008 Central Oregon Running Schedule. The Grin and Bear It 5k/10k, hosted by Healthy Beginnings, held it's 6th annual event. Cracking the 200 runner barrier shows that not only was this running community ready to get out for their first race of the year, but also that Healthy Beginnings puts on a quality event.

Amongst the masses, four runners showed up sporting their cool new Fleet Feet Bend shirts: Jenn Shelton, Carly (last name?), Billy Barnett, and me. Rod and fam were going to come out and do the Family Fun Walk. Katie was hoping it would help her go into labor. No help was necessary, as the Biens were absent for the race. I knew why, and later got the good news: Noah Kent Bien, 9lbs, 6oz! Big boy in that little woman. Congratulations, my friends!

Although we didn't win the biggest-team award, we had some solid races. After starting out WAY too fast, Billy, Jenn, and I all faded in the second half, but still placed well. Billy got 2nd, I was 4th, and Jenn was 7th/1st girl. Results aren't posted yet, so I don't know how Carly's race went. But she was smiling at the finish - so that's a good thing!

It was fun to see so many smiling faces out there, enjoying the cool morning with friends, and helping out a great charity.

Upcoming events on the Central Oregon calendar:
Apr. 6, Horse Butte 10 miler
Apr. 13, Peterson Ridge Rumble 30k/60k
Apr. 20, Light of Hope 5k

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

Its always funny writing a first post for a blog.  So, let's cut to the chase!  I'll answer all the W's (not that you asked) and hopefully that will tell you a little bit about what Fleet Feet is going to be about.  
Rod Bien and Sean Meissner will be the faces you most likely will come in contact with when coming into the shop.  Our basic link is our true love of running and fitness.  We definitely come from different backgrounds that brought about our love of running.  Sean ran cross country in both high school and college while I (Rod Bien) began running after getting a little "chunkier" than I was happy with after leaving behind the good times of my college experience!  However, we have now both been logging lots of miles both on the roads and on pretty much every trail in Central Oregon (try us....).  We definitely have the most experience in terms of time on the trail and roads and would love to have the opportunity to share our passion with you.
Fleet Feet Inc is a locally owned franchise that sells running and walking footwear and clothing.  I have gotten (and I understand why) a few questions asking things like, "do you have to carry certain products?" or "do all stores look the same".  "No" is my resounding answer to both.  This is no Subway sandwich shop :)  What all Fleet Feet stores do have in common is our fit process.  With over 80 stores nationwide, the advantage that we have is a fit process that truly works.  It is not one stores' idea of what 'fit' should be.  Fleet Feet have fit literally millions of customers and have the advantage of being able to have local owners who are constantly perfecting the craft of fitting feet.  It is a major advantage to have the input of 80+ stores, millions of customers, and a corporate team that devotes all their time to creating a great network of stores.  As owners, we talk and email daily about how to improve our process.   In my opinion, it is unparalleled.  
As a shop owner, no one tells me which shoes to carry, how my store should look, etc.  You can blame that all on me.  
I will tell you this.  As an avid runner, I have been fit by stores all over the country.  I have been diagnosed all sorts of things that have not been correct...I have found that traveling to Fleet Feet stores across the west coast has been the only time I have gotten a consistent diagnosis and the one that works for me.
Well, we sure are shooting for the first weekend in April.  We have two races that will be  having their "packet pickup" in our store in our first three weekends open.  They are the Light of Hope 5K and the Peterson Ridge Rumble.  Come on in and check out the shop and support these great races!  We'll sure keep you all informed of when we open up for sure!
We've got a great location.  We are located at 1320 NW Galveston, sandwiched between Blue and Ariana.  We would only look at one street when considering this venture.  We wanted to be tucked into the community, offer plenty and easy parking, and be right on your way traveling to and from in your day to day life.  We know you've got lots going on and buying new shoes should be easy.  We're centrally located but set up to serve you, the local Bendite.
Because this is what I want to do more than anything in the world.  I truly just love to run and am hoping to inspire others: whether it is running, walking, or getting the dog out of the house for a stroll around the block.  Now, I sure do realize that not all or even most people who enter our store will be walkers or runners.  However, what I hope to give them is our passion for our craft.  Here's what I mean... Whenever I buy flowers or a new plant for the garden, I go to Moon, Fire, and Sun.  Now, I'm no pro gardener.  In fact, you could make a real compelling argument that I have a black thumb!  And, I also realize that I could buy those same plants somewhere else.  I go there because I have always loved how passionate and in depth they are in the world of gardening.  Yeah, I usually just nod my head as I don't know half of the terms they are throwing around but I love how passionate they are about their craft.  I always come home and am "fired up" to hit the garden!  That is what we hope to do for you when you enter our little walking and running store.  We hope our passion for our craft is palpable.