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Unreal runs like the wind (in our new support hose)

"Highway 40 Insight"

Author: Jason Hunt

About the blogger: "Highway 40 Insight analyzes the Highway 40 construction project from the perspective of an everyday driver. Entries are written by Jason Hunt, who has no education in traffic engineering, but finds the topic quite fascinating."

Recent Highlight (June 16): Lane Shifts and the Loss of Common Sense

You can't drive far on St. Louis highways today without encountering a lane shift due to construction. On Highway 40 alone, there are 3 lane shifts from Kingshighway to I-170. As I drive through these lane shifts, I can't help but notice just how challenging it is for many motorists to stay in their lane. I suspected that if you were to watch traffic at one of these lane shifts, you would see many dangerous situations in a short time. Little did I know how true that would be.

It seems that drivers are just not paying attention. They're zipping down the road, following the car ahead of them, unaware of the signs for the upcoming lane shift. The next thing they know, they're across the dotted line. We tend to assume that the lanes follow the seams in the concrete and asphalt — which typically do line up with the painted lines — but can we not pay a little closer attention? Unreal may have been the last local athlete to learn that the totally awesome Joker's Wild Half Marathon takes place this Saturday (July 7) at Creve Coeur Lake. Even more pathetic, we found out from an Asheboro, North Carolina-based company that makes support hose!

This product, however, could potentially improve our long trek to the finish line — indeed, our running life. Paul Amatangelo, compression legwear specialist and executive vice president of, agreed to explain.

Unreal: So Unreal's "marathon training" regimen involves daily shots of Patrón tequila, sporadic bowling outings and thrice-weekly massages from Per, our Swedish houseboy. You mean to tell us we can chuck all that and buy support hose?

Paul Amatangelo: [Laughs] I totally agree.

How so?

Graduated support hosiery are great for the legs. They improve circulation. Because of that, they should move lactic acid out of muscles and into the bloodstream faster, which helps the training. I do think proper marathon training — fewer tequila shots — would help as well, but the support hosiery would definitely help flush the hangover out of your system.

Hmm. Could they work for other sports, like vacuuming, or wrestling, or golf?

I don't know about wrestling. Golf, yes, any place if you're going to be on your legs a lot, where you might get sore, achy legs. Somebody cutting hair all day certainly can benefit.

Is there a weight limit?

No. In fact, there are a lot of obese people who end up with circulation problems.

Thing is, they don't strike me as very...attractive.

Actually they've come a very long way. We sell a very broad range of products. You can get compression hosiery that's sheer, and very attractive socks for men and women. Our travel socks look like regular knee socks. If you haven't gotten a pair, we'd be happy to send you one.

Could I wear them with high heels?

You could. Absolutely.

Screw the marathon!

Just Call Him Skipper
As part of his instruction at the Northwest Outdoor Leadership School, twenty-year-old Van Kenyon of University City, along with eleven fellow students and four instructors, recently spent seventy-seven days in the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico and the Sea of Cortez, learning skills for outdoor survival, backpacking, rock climbing and kayaking.

Unreal quizzed the Vanmeister on his readjustment to life in the urban jungle.

Unreal: How can you apply what you learned to daily life in St. Louis?

Van Kenyon: It's definitely helped me. It's helped me to deal with hardship in a certain way, especially if something unexpected comes up. A lot of it was training for leadership, where you're in a position that comes up, like bad weather or equipment failure. It really has helped applying that to everyday situations and stresses of everyday life.

I was thinking more in terms of finding north by the way a branch is pointing.

Yeah, I can tell direction pretty easily by the position of the sun. I've not been lost in terms of finding a friend's house because of that, when I've needed to get somewhere. We did that a lot. You're in one part and have to find your way: Here's Point A, here's Point B, find your way. It's good for urban exploration.

So if I blindfolded you and left you in the middle of Forest Park with just your clothes on your back, you could survive?

[Laughs] I'm pretty sure I could do that before the course, but I'm sure some of that training would help.

You mastered paddle strokes. Bet that conjures Catholic-school memories...

I do have about twelve years of Catholic-school experience. I went to Catholic grade school in University City and four years of St. Louis U. High School. That was in the kayaking section, though; there were no nuns. We had to learn that because sometimes we were paddling for five hours a day.

There was no paddling for five hours a day at SLUH?

No, the Jesuits were nice and kind. Grade school was a little more strict.

What were the best and worst parts of the trip?

No homework for four months was really, really nice. For least favorite it's a tie between being caught in a hailstorm, almost getting struck by lightning and 4 a.m. weather checks during kayaking.

You paid money for this?

Yeah, it was fun.

If you were on Gilligan's Island now, which character would you be?

Definitely the Skipper. He's like the father figure, but he's got that edge to him, he's kind of cool. Gilligan is too much of a tool to be an enjoyable person. The Skipper? He had his shit together.

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