Reset! Reset!

Woah, it’s May. Sorry, I didn’t get the memo. Has it really been over a month? Hey May is national runners month! Everybody get your run on!!! Speaking of running…..when last we left our hero his ankle was the size of a grapefruit and not nearly as tasty. Things have improved, albeit uncharacteristically slowly. I tend to bounce back from things relatively quickly and easily which is my one big advantage as a runner. I can take a lot of pain and damage and keep on going. You see, I’m not particularly fast, or strong, I can just take a pounding. Remarkably though, this sprained ankle business has actually taken longer to recover from then surgery! This marks the third time that I have been totally reset due to an injury, and with each time, I’m noting that it’s becoming more and more difficult to get back up to speed as it were.

Though, I am relatively happy with my fitness level. Since I haven’t been able to run much I’ve spent most of my time on the bike, and I feel very good. Weekly, I’m logging about 150-200 miles a week, with 70-80 of those miles being from commuting to work, and then the rest are from longer rides on the weekends. By commuting to work I’m able to get in about 15 miles a day, and save a ton in gas. Oh, and speaking of gasoline…I bought a new car. Yes, me of all people.

Buying a car was one of the most frustrating and stress laden ordeals I’ve ever had the displeasure of experiencing. It was straight up awful. It’s definitely not the experience I had buying my commuter and road bike. I dealt with some of the most shifty slimey dealers. Eventually I settled on a 2008 Toyota Rav4, and I actually really like it.

Originally I had not planned to go so new with a car. Afterall, I really don’t drive that much. I had a 10 year plan which essentially entailed spending less than $10,000 on two used cars, and when ten years was up, I would go out and buy something newer that I actually wanted. But that planned change. I started to think about where my life was and what my needs are right now. I basically don’t drive for two major reasons. One, I genuinely hate driving. I would much rather be in my running shoes, or on my bike. Second, I really don’t….er….didn’t have a reliable car to drive. Don’t get me wrong, my little blue Dodge Dakota has served me well over the past 5 years, and it really shouldn’t have considering the abuse I put it through, but that was kind of the plan. I only paid about $3,000 for the thing and I just tried to put in as little $ as possible, and just drive it into the ground. Mission accomplished.

About a month ago I started shopping around hardcore for used cars. I wanted to get away from trucks and into something like a compact suv or sports wagon. I found a couple of things, including an 01 Subaru Forester for only $4000 with only 119,000 miles. For various reasons, none of them panned out. As I continued to search I began to contemplate the idea of going newer and possibly financing. The idea of taking on another loan was less than appealing, but after looking at my budget, I decided I could handle it if I wanted to. After thinking it over for a few days, I decided to go the financing route for a very simple reason. As I said before, one reason I don’t drive much is because i simply don’t have something super reliable to drive, especially long distances, and my next car was going to have to be reliable as I’ve got some travel plans in the works. In other words, I’m going to be using it more. I basically approached it the same I way I approach my road bike. When it comes to blumoly, I don’t skimp. I put hundreds of miles a week on her and thus I need quality wheels, tires, components, etc… You get what you pay for. I looked at buying a new car the same way and decided that where my life is right now and where it’s going, I was going to be spending a little more time in the steel box.

I looked at a bunch of different options and spent countless hours researching vehicles and dealers. Last week I had it basically narrowed down to a Kia Sportage, Honda CRV, and Toyota Rav4.

I liked the Sportage well enough, and it was reasonably priced with some features, but the Dealers at Kia managed to be such over aggressive un-accomodating, and unwelcoming pricks that I just wasn’t comfortable buying from them. They pulled out every single dealer tactic in the book. I think these guys are used to dealing with a certain type of customer, and I guess I just don’t fit that mold. They tried their best to be all buddy buddy with me and relate to me on some level but it just didn’t happen. The funniest moment happened when they commented on my bike. Of course I rode to all of the different dealers, and the guys at Kia promised they would find a car for me and get me off that bike. They really didn’t get it. It’s a shame, because like I said, it was a nice little car being sold by some unscrupulous folk. I think my mother had a similar experience with Kia dealers when she bought her car at a dealer in Ohio. No good.

Dear Kia,

QUIT ASKING WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO TO GET ME TO WALK AWAY WITH THE CAR TONIGHT!

Love, Glenn.

I looked at a 2006 Rav4 at a dealer in West Ashley, but encountered a similar experience, though not nearly as bad as what I had been through at Kia. Overall I really liked the Rav4, but it was dramatically over priced. It had 68,000 miles on it and those miles were spent in New York, and I knew what northern winters due to vehicles, having spent nearly 20 years up north. They were asking close to $17,000 They tried to tempt me by offering me $1,500 on my trade in. With the condition my truck is in it’s not nearly worth that much, so it might have almost been a good deal if they hadn’t inflated the price of the car by nearly that much.

Dear Used Car Dealers,

WE HAVE THE INTERNET!

Love, Glenn.

It’s like these guys just assume you know nothing and try to scam you in any way they can. I had done my research and probably knew more about the cars I was after than the sales guys did.

Finally I ended up over at Honda. I explained to the sales guy that outside of a good reliable car that fit my criteria, what I was really looking for was a good buying experience. I come from the running and cycling world, and when you go into any “good” shop, everyone there is just so excited and stoked that your buying a bike or shoes or whatever. They’ll do everything they can to get you in what it is right for you. They’ll even suggest and encourage you to look else where and shop around and to make sure you get the right product. I realize that buying a bike is not exactly the same as buying a car because salesman are working off of commission, but I would just like to see a little bit of that honesty and integrity carry over. Fortunately, Honda was right on the money. I talked with a guy named Alex for over an hour about the different options that might work me and we test drove a couple of CRV’s. Overall I liked it, but surprisingly, not as much as the Rav4. The CRV was a bit of a rougher ride and it felt more like driving a truck. The Rav4 had more a car feel to it, while still being a compact SUV. Both get great gas mileage and have decent cargo space, but the RAV4 beat the CRV on this feature because it’s seats fold down flat and the CRV’s folds up in a 2 step process. The RAV4 is great because you just pull on a small lever in the back and the seats just fall down. Honda was also kind of pricey.

So I basically knew I wanted the RAV4, it was just a question of finding a place to buy it from. I finally had some luck with a small private Dealership called Carolina Cars of Mount Pleasant. I dealt with a guy named Kevin, who as honestly one of the most forthcoming, upfront, honest, down to earth dealers, or just person in general, that I had ever dealt with. He was offering a 2008 Rav4 that I hadn’t seen northern snow with far less miles, for far less money. Basically at cost. Plus it was also a limited edition and it was blue, and blue and I have a history.

Growing up, one of my heroes was Sonic the Hedgehog. I was obsessed with the song “Blue” by eiffel 65. My Dodge Dakota was blue, and the one and only time I have ever won any kind of prize or contest was to due to the color blue. We had a little easter egg contest on Army Wives, and I picked a blue egg out of the basket which just happened to be the “golden egg” and as a result I won $300. It was fate.

So my new Rav4 is sitting outside. She still doesn’t have a name, but I’m working on that. Suggestions welcome.

I’ve started getting miles under my legs AGAIN. I should be injury free now as my bike wreck last week makes three and they say that bad things happen in “3’s. No worries about the wreck. Nothing to major. I was taken down by a set of railroad tracks. I scraped up my right knee, but that was about it. My bike looked worse than I did. I ended up bending the front wheel, damaging the derailuer, and left shifter. Fortunately blumoly is fine. She spent a week in the hospital, but she’s all good. Again, I wish just for once I could have a cool story to tell. It actually could have been a lot worse considering that for the first time in my life, I did not have my helmet on. I was riding to work in the early morning hours and it was a little chilly out so I put my skull-cap on and I guess I just felt like something was on my head and totally forgot about my helmet. It wasn’t until I was nearly at set that I reached up and realized it wasn’t there. Figures that I go down the day I don’t have it on.

So anyhow, all that’s behind me. Moving on. I’ve got about 5 1/2 months before the Mt Lemmons marathon in Tuscon Arizona. Check this race out, it’s going to be awesome. 26.2 miles straight up hill! My very good friend Kathy happens to live in Tuscon, so I’m going to stay with her. I’m still trying to convince her to do at least the half. Please feel free to pressure her into doing. Go to her site, http://kathyredden.blogspot.com/ and tell her to man up!

There’s also a marathon coming up in September in my birth town of Akron Ohio. Who knew? A world-class marathon in Akron Ohio. Sure why not. My grandma lives in Akron, so I’m going to try to make it up for that one so she can see me do my thing. http://www.akronmarathon.org/

This weekend I have the HellHole 10k in Jamestown SC. http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=5077 It’s the oldest 10k in South Carolina. I’m doing with my friends Anne and Sarah. Should be great fun.

You know, running for me has always just been about the joy of running. It’s my serenity. It makes me who I am. I never really saw it as a competition. But all of these injuries are really starting to piss me off so I think when I’m back at %100, I might start winning a race or three.

See you at the starting line.

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~ by glennikin on May 3, 2010.

One Response to “Reset! Reset!”

  1. LOL! I would rather man-up and do an olympic triathlon because then I would only have to run 10k. The catch is all that swimming and biking beforehand… humph. I’m working on it!

    Nice car! I think you made a good choice and I am happy that it looks safe and reliable. Maybe you should start wearing your helmet 24/7? Just a suggestion šŸ˜‰

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