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December 4, 2011

13.1 Los Angeles Entry Giveaway; GU Roctane Drink Mix Giveaway; Random Shots of Beauty

Last Friday afternoon I received two opportunities to offer cool prizes for the right kind of readers - the trouble is, I have no idea who those readers might be. Furthermore, I have no experience with either product to tell you anything insightful about them, although in one case I’m going to be quite envious of the winner.

But first, since I was a slacker on my normal weekend posting, here’s a quick Random Shot of Beauty:

An evergreen vista in the Santa Cruz Mountains, as seen from the Christmas tree farm our family has been patronizing for 30 years. As usual, we came home with a tree that looked significantly bigger in the back of the truck than it did when it was still standing in the forest. As to how it looks when it’s decorated, perhaps that will be the subject of an upcoming RSOB.

On to the giveaways …

The first offer is a free entry to the 13.1 Marathon (kind of a confusing name, but it is indeed a half-marathon) taking place in Los Angeles on January 15, 2012. A PR person offered me an entry, but considering that 1) road races aren’t really my thing nowadays, and 2) I don’t live in Los Angeles anymore, I figured the opportunity was better suited for somebody else. When I suggested as much to the contact person, we worked out a scenario for a giveaway.

Here’s the deal: if you want a free entry to this race, leave a comment below this post and I’ll pick somebody at random as my winner. I’ll send you a code for free online registration, and all of the other logistics are up to you. After the race, you agree to write a brief race report and/or offer some constructive feedback for the race committee about your experience at the event.

I don’t endorse or promote races I’ve never done, so I have no idea whether this event will be a bust or a smashing success.  (On a related note, if you win the contest and the race turns out to suck, don't complain to me.)  I do know that 2012 marks the third year for this particular race, and that it’s part of a larger half marathon series with eight events nationwide. The course traverses a quintessential Southern California backdrop, starting in Venice Beach and looping around Marina Del Rey before taking a long out and back down the coastline and finishing in Playa Del Rey. It’s also pancake flat, so it would make a great course for a first-time half-marathoner or anyone looking to blaze a new PR.

I figure I must have some readers in SoCal who might be interested - or some non-SoCal runners who would be interested in visiting LA in the middle of winter - so if you’re one of them, let me know in the comments, and I’ll announce the winner here next Saturday night.

This next contest is the one I’m envious of, because you’ll get the opportunity to test an as-yet-unreleased product that I haven’t even laid eyes on yet. What’s more, it’s from one of my favorite companies, GU Energy.

Their PR person sent me a surprise e-mail announcing GU’s Roctane Drink mix, which apparently is to standard GU Brew what GU Roctane is to standard GU energy gels: a unique formulation specifically designed for long aerobic endurance activities. Because I train with GU Brew on a daily basis, and since I’ve used Roctane gel for virtually every long run and ultra I’ve done over the past year or two, the rep pretty much had me at hello.

Sorry the pic is so small ... they only sent me a lo-res thumbnail

And then … well, I’m not really in the mood to talk about it, so I’ll just copy excerpts from her e-mail here:

Sounds great, right? Well … sorry, it’s not for you. It’s for your readers. Specifically, it’s for your Reader of the Year.

Roctane Drink isn’t available to the general public yet, but in the company’s tradition of hands-on athlete development, we would like to extend an exclusive product testing opportunity for one lucky reader.

We’d love to reward your most loyal fan and send one tub of the drink to them, as well as a complimentary GU Sample Pack for them to test out. There are only 29 sample tubs of the powdered drink mix in existence; you announce the giveaway, and we’ll handle all of the fulfillment from here.

Needless to say, this bums me out a little bit – not only because I don’t get to try any for myself, but also because I have no Earthly idea how to determine who my most loyal reader might be. I actually made an argument to the rep that I could be considered my own most loyal reader – after all, I've read every single one of my own posts, something that probably nobody else can claim – but my pleas fell on deaf ears.

So congratulations, everybody but me: you have an opportunity to test a sweet new product from perhaps the best sports nutrition company around. Meanwhile, I’m going to keep reminding myself to handle this situation gracefully.

As for how we run this contest, I’m not really interested in having anyone prove their loyalty or otherwise suck up to me in any way. Therefore, I’m leaving the creative aspect up to you, and making one simple ground rule: if you want to win a sample tub of Roctane drink mix, tell me why I should pick you. Maybe you have a big event coming up, maybe you have some special dietary concern, or maybe you can just make me laugh somehow. I have no idea what I’m looking for, really – but hopefully I’ll know it when I see it.

Leave a comment stating your case below this post, and I’ll choose the answer I like the best to receive the prize. The winner will be announced next Saturday night along with the race contest winner above. (In case you’re wondering: yes, it’s OK to enter both contests at once.) Thanks very much to sponsors GU Company and US Road Sports & Entertainment Group, and good luck to everyone!

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Scotty,  12/4/11, 10:12 PM  

Please enter me for both...because I'm broke.

krystyna47 12/4/11, 11:43 PM  

Here's my plea for the Gu Roctane Brew:

Although I haven't been a reader for years and years, as I'm sure other people can attest to, I've been a passionate follower of your blog for the last couple months to upwards of 1 year. I love that your posts vary from informative reviews of running products that help all of us become better runners, to the "random shot of beauty", which really remind us of why we get out there and run: to see beauty in its most natural form. Every aspect of running is definitely covered in this blog, and I think that's refreshing to see. Also... YOU AND I LOVE GU AND CLIF PRODUCTS EQUALLY, IF YOU CAN BELIEVE IT!! I am a huuuuuge fan of both of these companies, and it kills me a little inside when I see these companies either not offered in NZ/Australia or offered at ridiculously high prices.

Donald Piret 12/5/11, 1:07 AM  

Here is why you should pick me for the Roctane Brew:

I'll send you half..

Jayne 12/5/11, 5:21 AM  

Pick me for the 13.1 Marathon Entry giveaway. I've just recently become a runner and in the past 11 months have run almost 1500 miles. Starting out the new year with a half marathon is a great way to start off my running adventures (or obsession) for 2012.
I've actually never run a flat half marathon course and would love to see how "fast" I can go without the thought of any daunting hills. Perhaps I would PR the race for the PR person who is giving the entry. Also, I live in Nebraska and would love an excuse to travel to CA in January.

Emily 12/5/11, 5:27 AM  

Here is why you should pick me for the Roctane Brew:

I live in Denmark and I never get to try fancy nutrition products. In fact, I've never managed to locate any GU products here :(. *I'm also working towards a half marathon (hopefully PR) in April!

Adam B. 12/5/11, 5:48 AM  

Hey Donald,

I'm not sure that I can top the "I'll send you half comment," but I wanted to throw my name in the hat for the Gu Roctane Drink Mix. I want to do so as I'm starting to push myself distance wise in my "training." I've been a minimalist convert for over a year now, and it took me this long to get into double digit miles on a run (would have done this much earlier had it not been for strange circumstances and life being a pain). Anyway, I could always use something to keep me going on my runs, and possibly to help sooth the calf soreness I have right now.

Adam B.

Richard 12/5/11, 6:13 AM  

well obviously you should pick me :). First I've been following R&R for years and second because I'm training for the Iceland ultra (Laugavegur) and for the CCC and still have no idea what I'm gonna use for nutrition. I used to drink Extran for my IM but am now looking for something else. So I qualify as a fan of your site, and am not a current GU customer so it's a great opportunity for them to win a new fan that will promote it's product in his community.

wes 12/5/11, 6:24 AM  

I would say pick me for the GU, but let's face it I won the last give away :)

Anonymous,  12/5/11, 6:27 AM  

Hey Don,

Please include me in the 13.1 Giveaway. I've just learned that my company will be relocating and this might be my last race in CA for a while.

Michael Shane Helton 12/5/11, 6:50 AM  

Donald, If I win the Gu Roctane I will split it with you.

Wait...what is that smell? Is that a faint smell of bribery in the air?!

Michael Shane Helton 12/5/11, 6:53 AM  

Damn...reading the comments I see that Donald Piret beat me to the punch. ;-(

RD Jim 12/5/11, 7:40 AM  


gwopr 12/5/11, 9:34 AM  

OMG, check out RD Jim!!

JimDog 12/5/11, 11:24 AM  

Uh, yeah, Donald I think you pretty much have to pick RD Jim.

For the record, I'm not entering either one....my vote is for RD Jim (seriously)!!!

Benjammin' 12/5/11, 11:43 AM  

Last Febuary I was pushing what I consider to be my maximum density. At 6' 2" and 300lbs I was having trouble finding a "bro" (Seinfeld) in my size. Since that time I have done a couple mud runs, started to run 3 times a week and bike 2 times a week. I have gotten down to 260, lost the bro, and have set my sights on completing a GORUCK challenge in Baltimore, MD this Febuary. In training for the GORUCK, I have taken it upon myself to complete a 1/2 marathon. The GU fuel would go long way in aiding my training and completing the GORUCK in Febuary. If it will convince you to chose me I can send you a video of me doing the "truffle shuffle" (Goonies) or maybe I can channel my inner Frank Berry and send you some of the "What's Happening" dance moves, or better yet what about a Chris Farley inspired flash dance number. Pick your poison, it's up to you, but just please pick me.

bernie 12/5/11, 1:53 PM  

Pick me for the 13.1 Marathon entry! I would like to write my race account and have somebody actually read it!

Justin 12/5/11, 3:01 PM  

Would love the race entry. I just moved to San Diego from the east coast so this would be my first race out here and I have some unfinished business with the half marathon distance. Thanks!

Ziggy 12/5/11, 5:24 PM  

Pick me. Pick me for the 13.1 marathon. After a 2.5 year hiatus because of grad school I just ran a new marathon (Sacramento over the weekend). I want to feel like I'm back to being a real runner. I'd love to do this run and while I finish grad school, I have over $100k in student loans. :( Thanks!

gregory boytos 12/5/11, 5:25 PM  

i am not the most loyal reader, as i am new to the site. love it btw. i am however, quite cheap and in los angeles - running distance to the start line of the 13.1 LA half which i would love to check out gratis... with your help of course.

otherwise, thanks for the blog.

Anonymous,  12/5/11, 6:08 PM  

Hey I love reading your blog, but I mostly do so on mobile devices. After reading an article on Cnet about it, I thought maybe you could check out http://mobile.conduit.com/.
It helps you make mobile sites without using any complicated code. If you decide to try it, please post a link so I can find the mobile site.
Anthony B

Rob 12/5/11, 6:28 PM  

For you:

Running is a gift

Our travels guide our direction

Roctane fuels my heart

A Haiku for you. Please choose me for the Roctane giveaway. I'm running the Vermont 100 next summer and I can use any help that I can get.


runningfarmer 12/5/11, 8:37 PM  

Gu is my mainstay for on the go energy. The gels are smaller and so much more affordable than Vespa. Not to mention the new peanut butter flavor is insane. And for hydration Nuun taste ok, Nathan is better but Gu Brew is hands down the best tasting.
I am currently training for my first "real" ultra next February, the Rocky Raccoon down in Texas. I would love to share the rare tub of Roctane with my two partners for the race. Both are ultra veterans and one is the owner of Rush Running in Bentonville, Arkansas. Would love to see the looks on the other Rocky participants as we bust out the giant tub of Roctane at the main aid station. Think of it as getting three reviews for the price of one at one of the best known ultras in existence.

tdomina 12/6/11, 9:49 AM  

I'd be up for a free half-marathon in LA this January!

Alberto 12/6/11, 1:05 PM  

You got to pick me for the Roctane Brew, because clearly RD Jim is over qualified for this contest, if some illiterate viewed that video, they wouldn't know what it was about.

Thanks in advance, I'll send you a copy of my review of the product.


Josh 12/6/11, 4:12 PM  

Put me in for the 13.1. It would be a great tune up for my early spring road marathon! thanks! Josh S

Chad 12/8/11, 2:20 PM  

I have two choices for the holidays, Eat Chocolate Chip Cookies or Drink GU Roctance.

If you want to save my marathon training, please Help!

Adelyn 12/8/11, 9:07 PM  

I'd love to be entered in the half marathon pool. It would give me the perfect excuse to go visit my incredibly precious niece in L.A.!

Rebecca 12/9/11, 2:48 PM  

I'd like to be considered for the 13.1 LA 1/2 entry. Thanks in advance for your consideration

Lauren L,  12/9/11, 7:09 PM  

I'd love to be entered in your 13.1 Los Angeles Entry Giveaway. I just recently moved to LA, and live right in the area! I've done a few races out here, but they are always logistically tricky for me to get to. This is a perfect half marathon course for me to do since it's right near my 'hood (one of my favorite runs near me). Also, I'm training for the LA Marathon, so this will be a great tune up race and awesome way to kick off 2012.

Looking forward to it!!! Fingers crossed...


shel 12/10/11, 9:28 AM  

i take long distance running to newer better ultimate levels of slowness, and in my slowness i have reached awesomeness. i am also an outstanding race director, friend, humanitarian, mountain hiker, and blogger. (okay, i am only a moderately skilled mountain hiker and an even less skilled blogger.and i can be a crummy friend sometimes...but other times i rock!) also, i really like free stuff. and i am in the market for a new race sponsor i believe in. unfortunately the other guy's products don't "do it" for me anymore and i am fixing to break up with them. maybe gu roctane will be it? i will only know if you choose me. and i really like you. and you're really nice and talented. in fact, you're my best friend.

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