I Need To Rebuild My Fitness Rituals

There’s a terrible pattern I’ve gone through a bunch of times where I notice that I’m not working out as much as I’d like and I try to work with that rather than against it.

Like, after the re-open my work days took up 9am to 7pm with immovable schedule stuff. So not a lot of time before work and I found myself planning a lot of work outs and never doing them.

Then I was planning more, better stuff for the coming week. I became one of those people that was satisfied doing nothing because soon, so soon it’s basically now, I’d be more on track than ever.

And I read Body By Science. Curse that book.

When you find you’re work outs dwindling to a few times a week, a book that promises you you only need to work out once a week is just too damn tempting.

But really it’s like every other thing in life – a change in schedule became a change in routine became a change in lifestyle became a different person.

And I’ve written about this in the past – you can never go back. When people say they need to go back to the gym or they need to go to not smoking it never works. You need to go for the first time, as the person you are now rather than the former version you wish you still were.

You can try and get back old rituals but if they were actually strong enough for the current situation they wouldn’t have changed anyway, right?

When it came to work outs I was always planning the big stuff, the work out itself, the time, etc but I forgot to plan the little stuff that truly makes it happen.

When I took up running I did it right by laying out my clothes each night and putting them on first thing each morning – once the running clothes were on (and they were clothes that I only wore for running) the running became inevitable.

I don’t know how I lost that with strength training in this latest round of being a lapsed athlete but I’ve got to figure out some modern equivalent.

And it’s got to be every day. All the times in the past I’ve tried to have a plan anymore intricate than just do it everyday I’ve fallen off. Even in marathon training when I followed a great plan for months I didn’t set the weekly plan like ‘Thursday is speed work day’, my plan every day was open book, do as told.

Thinking back, there was a time that I was doing follow-along work out videos in the morning and that could be a good solution again. Open laptop (which I’m going to do everyday anyway), pick video, follow along. Sometimes you gotta put the training wheels back on I guess.

Really though I think it’s as simple as committing to something kindergarten-level, every morning, before coffee. Because my morning routine is so autopilot I suspect only a major interruption will work. And once I start checking the time, and doing the math backwards from have to leave to have to make lunch to have to get dressed to oh it’s right now and I’m on YouTube, I just emotionally shut down. The feeling of possibility goes away, I feel locked into the trajectory of the entire day. Which isn’t true or helpful – and your self-talk should always be at least one of those things, preferably both.

And if you’re not diligent about it then it won’t be. Most people’s self-talk veers negative when left on auto. Just like habits veer towards using the least amount of energy.

Bad habits have a gravity because they’re easy – even when they’re not fun and you hate them – they’re just going with the flow. And when you, when I, think about the whole day and my whole self and what is my life anyway there’s no point to anything… It feels too hard to go against all that flow.

But the truth is, I don’t have to. I have to start somewhere, with a small stone, and damn the flowing river of habit until it flows somewhere I do want it to be.

Follow Up To My Awful Company Post From Yesterday – It’s Still Awful

Got this gem of an email this morning.

From: Same fuckface @ My Work
Sent: Wednesday, August 19, 2020 11:47 AM
To: Me
Subject: RE: EPP Altras

An Ontario store just e-mailed me about your shoes – not sure how it ended up in Ontario but they are shipping it to you.
Thanks,

Andrew

Oh, you’re not sure, Andrew? How they ended up in Kingston is you mailed them there, Andrew.

And like, you have no idea? But… Shouldn’t you though? Something came through your work flow and got fucked up and you have no idea? I’d be trying fix that, my guy.

And btw, apology accepted. Way to take ownership.

What’s great is my email exchange with Shipping contains this exact phrase, as part of their telling me to fuck off and I copy/pasted it into my email with Andrew to be like, hey look how your staff are telling me to fuck off rather than helping:

we went and asked Andrew and he gave direction on what store it was for so that is where we sent the shoe

So Josh in shipping got a package, didn’t know what to do (great for someone who works in shipping), asked Andrew who told him to ship it to Ontario, then they both blew me off when I asked if they knew anything about this missing package saying there simply aren’t any missing packages and everything gets sent where it’s supposed to go. Only to have Ontario receive the package and email asking why they were being shipped a random pair of shoes and that they were sending them back.

So A) Thanks Ontario for not just keeping and selling my shoes at your location and B) Again, my own superiors at my company had no qualms about fucking me like that for no reason and had no intention of dealing with it.

Yet I’d be endangering my job if I pointed any of this out in official company channels.

Sweet world, thanks crony capitalism.

This Is Just Workplace Venting But Holy Fuck Is It Awful Dealing With My Own Company

Everyone at my work has a go-to horror story of emailing with the higher ups. Here’s my latest.

This is the end of an hour’s work on my part trying to track down a seemingly lost pair of shoes that are already paid for.

From: (Doucheydouchedouche @ My work)
Sent: Tuesday, August 18, 2020 1:13 PM
To: (sincere hard working me, also @ my work)
Subject: Re: EPP Altras

 

They had a packing slip with them, I said to ship to whatever store was listed there and that’s the extent I know about it.

That’s the whole email. Thanks top-of-the-food-chain, glad you’re the person I got directed to by everyone else who also didn’t give a shit to help.

Like, you’re not a surly teenager at a record store, you are a high up, central figure in the corporation.

And here’s a summary of the phone exchange with the shipping department from before that:

Shipping: If we got it on the 11th then we shipped it on the 11th

Me: Who did you ship it to?

Shipping: Whoever.

Me: Whoever? Whoever who?

Shipping: Whoever we were supposed to.

And I’m like no motherfucker because I’m who-supposed-to. Then he emails me the tracking info for a different company sending something to Kingston and says he hasn’t seen anything from yet a different company lately.

On the phone before Shipping I had talked to head office reception and even they had this same company-wide attitude of yeah, I probably did my job, who the fuck are you to ask.

They have this not-my-job-don’t-talk-to-me attitude about everything. Like, they have a not-my-job-attitude about things that are their exact job.

And it’s not that they are just not helping, it’s that they actively act like we – the employees on the ground level dealing with inventory and customers – need to fuck off.

Like, what do they think the company does? What is the point if not to enable us to do our jobs? Why aren’t they concerned when an issue’s been raised and supply chain has broken down?

And even still why be a dick about it? We’re on the same team. I’ve met city road crews that aspired to be harder working and more helpful.

I know that to you, dear reader (mostly Heather), this seems an over reaction to a single email but like I said, we all have these stories and stand around baffled by them whenever we have to interact with them.

Like [name]’s story is the time he got an email with a subject line like ‘this still isn’t right’ and then no body to the email just a chart we had no idea what to do with.

It’s like if your boss’ boss sent you a weather map for New Zealand and was like why is this wrong? Answer: I don’t fucking know, why don’t give me any clue as to what you’re actually asking me?

Or [other name]’s story about how he tried to helpfully tell a higher up that something we have a lot of in our inventory didn’t show up as being in our inventory on the public website. To which that higher replied with a screen shot of an actually not relevant page of the website and the words “Sure does” as if [other name] was doubting that the website itself existed I guess? I don’t know, I’m not such a fuckstick that I actively try not to figure out what someone is telling me when I pay them to help me run my business.

Like, we’re always doing the thing that you would punish us for not doing and yet you just act like we’re cunts. WTF? How do you have a business?

Fuck.

 

Author’s note: Still fuming, this was written as a brutal rant and then edited to not violate an NDA or anything. Fucking stupid Boomer company man bullshit.

YouTube Recommendation: JimmyTheGiant

Jimmy and I have something in common, something odd for dudes who don’t skateboard, we LOVE old school skate videos.

Also we’re into parkour and we’re not good at it but that’s actually less important than the skate videos.

So how I got into James’ channel is thus: I saw this video

And I was like, hey Liv, didn’t you tell me you saw some professional tag? Was this it?

And she was like, no, this is it

And then because I had both those things in my watched list YouTube introduced me to this video

And from there I ended up watching a bunch of videos because Jimmy, as he says in a video, is doing for parkour what those old California skate videos did – exploring the whole history and the culture rather than just showing dope clips.

I’ve love rockstar biographies and documentaries as well, for my whole life and I learned when I fell into the rabbit hole of watching Epicly Later’d (Vice’s series on skateboarder with addiction problems, bane of spellcheck) that I was like man, I’ll watch anything where young, go-nowhere dudes have a great group of friends and a get to hang out doing a thing they all love and then some of them get tragically famous and it all goes off the rails.

And we’re not the only ones who see a rhyme between how skate works and how parkour could work, and of course how business corrupts:

And how a group of dreamer kids thinking they can do better always learn it’s not that easy and purity doesn’t do good business:

It all comes from a desperation to belong. To belong to a band or a skate team or be some parkour bums, just anywhere super closeknit friends are all passionate about the same thing.

Otherwise you’re always in negotiation, getting to be a little bit of yourself sometimes only in exchange for being the person other people want you to be most of the time.

Thinking You’re Really Good At An Exercise Might Mean You Suck At That Exercise

For me it’s Clamshells. Every semi-literate and internet-accessing runner knows they need to clamshells and I hated clamshells. Not because they were hard but because they too fucking easy.

I would test myself – can I do a hundred, each side, unbroken? Yep. Then I’d do  three sets of a hundred.

Then I’d get bored and figure I graduated to the harder stuff. Single leg deadlifts, pistol squats, 30k long runs.

Now I’ve been to a physio with the aim of improving that running and he’s got me back struggling to do 2 sets of 8 clamshells. Why? Because my body was compensating and I didn’t know it.

I have a weak left glute and my hamstring takes over. Totally undetectable in normal life or in moderate running but training for an ultra marathon as I am is like UFC fighting – when you’re just highschool wrestling or doing kid’s karate or something you can have big holes in your fight game with no consequences but the UFC will expose every flaw you didn’t know you had and you better plug those leaks or you are going to get killed.

But, but, but… I’ve been doing all the exercises runners are supposed to do, I’m supposed to have plug those holes, I wasn’t negligent…

Nope, it just took someone outside of me, who really knew what they were looking for, to see how I was cheating the extremely simple exercises of the clamshell (and the bird dog) and now not only do I have to do them properly, I have to unlearn doing them wrongly.

Because if the body is getting the outcome it wants it does not care about long term sustainability. If you’re running then your body assumes you’re running away from a tiger and it gets you fucking running, if you eat a bazillion tons of sugar your body assumes this is the only food you’ve found and are going to find and it tries to store it all. Until it can’t do those things and that’s why North America is full of diabetics with fucked up hips.

As a metaphor: You’ve worked at a company where one or two people were doing 50% of their job, right? What happens? People around them end up doing 125 or 150 percent. And who gets burned out, maybe quits? Not the 50%ers. They’re just coasting, loving life. But who looks like the problem, who complains, who snaps at people? The actual backbone of the team.

You, as the executive of your body, don’t get feedback from the 50%er that’s chillin’, you hear from the overworked, bitchy, 125% bastard that’s trying, that wants to put in the work and can’t. And that’s why we end up playing wack-a-mole with illness and injuries.

Unless of course you find the, sometimes very quiet, upstream problem. And maybe it’s something you think you excel at…

What It’s Okay to Do In A Shoe Store

Twice a week I’ll get someone in the store who’s hilariously apologetic about the simplest things, this list is truly inspired by and dedicated to the women that I told to try a different shoe on each foot and she said “Can I? I didn’t know if that was okay”

So yeah, it’s okay to put a different shoe on each foot; It’s okay – even encouraged – to bring your insoles or orthopedics and take the stock insoles out; you can take the insoles out and stand on them like ski boots; you can keep trying on the same pair between every other pair if you feel like it’s the one to beat…

And you can come in with no intention to buy anything and still talk to us. What I see a few times a week is someone coming in, saying they’re fine just browsing, then they go stand at the shoe wall with no fucking clue what they’re looking at. It’s a menu they don’t know how to read.

I get it that customers have a feeling of guilt taking up a salespersons time, or a feeling of obligation that comes from taking up that time or a worry about being pressured into buying. But really, coming in to museum-stare at shoes then leaving with a cheery thanks makes us all feel stupid.

So I hereby declare that IT IS OKAY to tell us your concerns, your pains, your hopes and dreams, and pump us for ideas to look up on your own. It’s on the big, stone, OKAY tablets.

In fact, to a degree, to a fucking degree, it’s okay to come in just to feel heard. I use that phrase a lot at work and in life and it all starts with an old guy – Ed, I know him by name now – who came in and at first I was like, this is a talker, an old lonely coot who is not going to find anything he wants or needs at a store that sells 220 dollar hype shoes. But also, I had nothing else to do. I thought of it like sitting next to an old timer at the pub, you just hang out and listen and both have a pleasant time. So I just listened and listened and we came back to shoes a few times and then veered off again and when we came back I dug through the oldest, most neglected sales shoes to find him his grouchy old man wants and needs and he ended up buying them. Now whenever he comes in I’m thrilled to see him – because luckily he’s never come in when it’s busy.

And I even see it, and don’t mind it, when they aren’t fun and don’t buy anything. We had a woman come in – again, while there was nothing going on – and she was told by her doctor to an ankle-supportive hiking boot to protect a new injury. We have nothing like that and told her, sweetly and apologetically, that we had nothing like that and Atmosphere was the best nearby option. She still stayed and went over and over how she got the injury and what it was like to recover and she left visibly relieved. I’m certain from her husband to her doctor to her gal pals no one had just let her get it out that this sucked and I wish I wasn’t dealing with it. And we could have been guilty of the same thing if we’d been busy – we’d have shooed her out the door and even gotten pissy if sh’ed been upset or demanding about.

I’ve had customers get so shitty and livid because I’m not helping them when what I’m doing is trying to tell them that I can’t help them. At the same time I’ve gotten absolutely dug in trying to help people with insanely idiotic laughing-over-coffee-with-my-coworkers bullshit because I had no other priority at the time.

When I look back at any customer-interaction that went badly I can see a moment when they wanted to feel heard and I wanted to rush through the process because I’m busy, I know what all the steps are, let’s just get through this.

And when I look back at a great customer interaction, like a day-highlight home run, there’s always a moment when I was like k, c’mon, hurry up – no, there’s no where else I need to be, there’s nowhere else I can possibly be, so just be here, just listen – don’t wait just listen. Those end up being the people who email head office saying Allister-at-Westhills is just great, love him so much.

Actually, I was writing out my list of things to discuss with each Saturday employee and I put my own name down as well and wrote slowing down, resetting with each person, not rushing.

To bring this back to the title of the post, if not the spirit, it’s also okay not to be the priority. I know you’re the customer and you’re a middle-class white person who’s never been treated as off-center from the center of the universe – or always able to force yourself into being treated as the center of the universe – but man, I get one-a-week characters who come in the door with an about-me attitude like I’m supposed to have been expecting them; like this is their house and whoever is here is obviously a butler.

And you can guess what those people end up writing to head office about me.

There’s no way to bring this post back to the intent it was started with… so… [Sarah-Lynn gif]

Our Shoe Selection At The Store

Disclaimer again that this is going be a bit of a shoe-nerd post, I’m not going to take the time to explain each shoe and what each name means and blah blah blah. There will be context ques for people without this stupid hobsession.

So, shoes in the store:

From New Balance we carry the 840, 860, 880 and 1080 in the current generation and whatever’s left over from the old generations. There are, like, 6 shoes on each wall that are just the NB logo and then some numbers which are all, basically, variations on the same thing in the crowded middle of the shoe spectrum.

And in all the other brands it’s much the same. We carrying the center of the bell curve – which makes sense from a retail POV I know – but our stock space isn’t infinite.

It’s like filling your tiny bookstore with Clancy, and Grisham, and other airport novels at the expense of having any other sections. You fight for the biggest and most fought for piece of the pie for the most mundane of people and serve literally no one else.

It’s like offering someone a drink and having five different colas and barely a juice or a water to be found. So… America. Zing.

People who want a Coke will settle for a pepsi. You’re not serving two markets by offering coke and pepsi – you’re serving one market twice. Offer a soda, a water, a juice, and a beer and now you’re talking.

At the store I’m forced to apologetically turn away so many people with interesting and specific wants and needs, people I like and agree with.

I think it’s why every city has one thriving indie running store but not two (except Boulder of course). There is a market for people who really, really love running and love shoes and collect and experiment and want to talk about it all day but it’s a market you can’t split. You ration the water equally and dehydrate both plants.

But I’ve been trying to get some hardcore shoes into the store since, well, since the minute I got access to the computer. I did what I could do talking to other stores directly to bolster my supplies – like, I transferred-in some Altras under my name as a customer and they got transferred out again the next week for, presumably, a real customer at another location.

And the chain-of-command at The Running Room is fucked. Everyone I work with has had an email interaction with the higher-ups that’s been so brutally stupid and condescending and unhelpful and rude. The story is always the same: Customers want something, I talk to my area manager, he tells me to talk to any of these five people at headquarters, I email them one or two at a time and they all dismissively tell me not to talk to them and CC my area manager. As if to say, why is one of your peons talking to me. And nothing gets done. Nothing good happens for anybody.

My boss, who is a cool guy and wants things to work out for customers and employees alike, told me a story of a manager who put her own shoes on the store wall with a sign saying available for order so she could at least talk about them to people who came in for serious trail shoes.

Speaking of trail shoes, man our selection sucks. When someone comes in asking about them we just say man, sorry, our selection sucks. Our location is basically phasing them out. And it’s a clear story of what I’m talking about actually. We stock a few lame varieties and never restocked the common sizes. Therefore we don’t sell many. Therefore the higher ups think it isn’t worth stocking us with common sizes of the good shit. Have no [blank] to sell? Then your sales numbers for [blank] will be low, therefore you don’t have the sales numbers to justify stocking you with good [blank].

And customers who come in, ask a question, and leave without buying anything don’t show up in any system seen by the higher ups. But man are our sales high in the bloated middle of the spectrum so keep sending them those, boys. Sunglasses are a good example of this: We have Goodrs on display in a dozen colours, most of which we have 2, 3, or 0, but whenever we sell one we tend to get restocked with 3 so we’re overflowing with one or two specific colours.

Like I said, what’s really weird about it though is that they’re dicks about it. Like, if a Private gets in touch with a General (clearly I have no idea of other military ranks that would make a touch more sense but… follow) and says we have no bullets on the front fucking line the General should be like  oh shit, let me get you those because we have the same goal of winning the fucking war but instead it’s the Boer War and the higher ups are all like, drinking tea and reminding us to be courageous for Britain. Or, in the case of the one higher up who pops by the store, saying times are tough everywhere because of yada yada my three houses and my mustang. My mustang that’s never been rained on. What leadership.

Hmm, so it turned out this had nothing to do with shoes and all about just venting about work. Perhaps it’s all from an urge to apologize and rationalize to the people who leave the store unsatisfied everyday, with my face and my voice as the instrument of that dissatisfaction. And for those people I will keep working, keep trying, maybe those early martyrs will never come back and haunt me forever but for the heroes who come in their wake, by god, I will get them their shoes.

And the sunscreen you like. Or at least if I see it elsewhere in the world I’ll let you know. Probably London Drugs.

How Not To Buy Shoes At A Running Store

Don’t Bring Your Mom. This really means don’t bring anybody for ‘support’ but also literally don’t bring a parent -they’re the worst.

What happens is you get two people speaking as one then suddenly breaking to argue with each other then turn back to you as one again; or the parent interrupting you to pepper the kid with unhelpful questions; or acting like they’re a celebrity body guard with their kid as a client and insisting what they’re wants are.

Now oddly I’ve had the opposite situation – where an adult child has brought in their elderly parents and acted as a coach and translator and it’s worked out great – except for one time the child described herself as a professional movement specialist and shit-tested me constantly. Mostly though the dynamic works for elderly people who ‘don’t want to be a bother’ and don’t want their kid to spend money on them.

With parents and children though the parents are really controlling – of their kid and of me – out of a good place of wanting the best for their kid and of course the problem is they have no idea what’s best or how to act so they come off like an unbearable dick. Dads do it too and can be worse but dads taking their kids shopping is a blue moon compared to mom’s taking their kids shopping.

Come To The Running Store To Buy Running Shoes. I’m already fucking up my list here because this is a what-not-to-do list so I guess just don’t do anything other than this is my point.

The exception is that we get a lot of old people who need a comfortable supportive shoe or people fresh from the podiatrist or physio who got recommended a specific shoe for a specific injury or need and that’s fine.

My go-to hilarious example of this sin though is I had a girl come in – to The Running Room – and reject each option I brought out because it looked like a running shoe. But then wanted to keep trying stuff and acting a bit like I was letting her down.

And I was like, no bitch, you let me down. You let the whole store down.

And the criminal variation of this sin is the person who wants an everything shoe and then wants to just plow ahead when I tell them that’s a terrible idea. Because I’ve learned to clarify right at the start that you want a shoe specifically for running? and I sometimes get the reply yeah, running and walking and the gym and stuff.

The honest answer is that that shoe exists – just not here and you can’t handle it, suburban mom. In a perfect world I’d have access to a selection of zero-drop crosstrainers and you’d have a fully functioning achillies tendon but here we are.

A great running shoe is a terrible gym shoe – and vice versa – for 90% of the population and 100% of suburban moms. And I explain why using my years of study and insight just to be told it’s fine.

So now you have two different goals. That’s bad. My job, and truly my joy, is figuring out what your bio-mechanical needs are and what your goal is then eliminating all the shoes that aren’t it. And I have absolutely eliminated every shoe in my store and sent people off with a list of shoes that might suit them to find and try elsewhere.

But some people just want to buy shoes. Just one pair, today, and feel things about it. That is their goal. Not being better, not working towards something, just having new shoe day.

It’s something I saw when I worked at a video store, when I was a cook, when people ask me for romantic or life advice… Someone asks is this good and I say no and they say they’re gonna go with it anyway. Which only begs the question of why did you ask, why the little show of being interested in expertise or feedback? Why did you come to the running store if running isn’t your priority?

And of course the honest answer is we’ll listen. That’s why so much of our clientele is the elderly and the injured – they don’t even necessarily want their concerns assuaged, they just want them heard. They want to get to say what’s on their mind because their doctor and their friends won’t let them get all the way though it. As bartenders are to emotional issues so is the shoe salesman to physio.

Which, again, is fine when people who need to do that do that. People who are needy have needs and if I can meet those needs, great. It’s people who are wanty that I can’t fucking stand.

Shoe Rivalries

This one’s for my running shoe nerds. And no one else.

Seriously, I’m just going to write this as my internal monologue dictates and not explain a fucking thing.

I’d say my first shoe rivalry was between my Ghost 12s and my 1080v10s (Already, writing the names of shoes feels abstruse and annoying… let’s solider on). I had the Ghost 12 by Brooks as a comfortable daily trainer and at first I hated the 1080 for the way it looked. I thought it was too sneakerhead. Plus, at work we only had the single, horrible, blue version.

But then I tried it on and declared it incredible. The heel cup, the rocker, the cushion, the light weight, I was blown away. I was excited to go out and pay full retail for a non-ugly one outside the company but then I happen to talk to our New Balance rep and got a sick deal. I picked up a 1080, a Tempo, and a 1400 and the dawn of my collection was born.

The dawn was born? The fuck does that mean? Moving on…

Anyway, I was sure, I was assuming, that the 1080 would subsume the Ghost as my high mileage shoe. It’s just such a technically interesting, audacious shoe and the Ghost so dull, so unassuming. But nay. My early runs in the 1080 – admittedly on tired legs from previous day’s hard intervals – were sandy, lifeless, heavy heel-striking runs. Suddenly I feared the shoe was a bust. I only wore mine out to be sneakerhead, and/or hypebeast.

Those are real terms. For real.

Meanwhile the Ghost 12s and I were rolling along like a wonderful, low key loving marriage. Just simply, humbly, putting in the daily work; plowing the modest fields.

Now, I’ve since taken the 1080s out on my biggest run of the year so far – my 30k trip round the reservoir – and we had a wonderful time – but I still feel in my heart of hearts that the Brooks Ghost 12 is my go-to shoe. It’ll put in the work, it’ll get dirty, it’s good for any speed, all substance no flash.

Is there a winner here? Yeah. Me.

Next rivalry I’d say is the Brooks Levitate 3 versus the New Balance Tempo. Battle of the hybrids.

Hybrids because there’s a class of shoe now that’s the racing side of daily trainers but still distinctly not a racer. Like, cooler than a Subaru but still basically a Subaru. Anyway…

I got the Levitates right after my Ghosts and was like, I guess I’m a Brooks guy, they just put out really good shoes this year. And I got my Tempos alongside my sick deal on the 1080s and I was feeling pretty ride or die for New Balance.

So the Levitate and the Tempo both feel like edgy side kicks to the stars of their brands. Well… the Tempo really feels like a stripped away 1080, meanwhile Levitates are the only Brooks shoe with any flash or style. Like, the Levitate to the Ghost is like a Gambit to a Cyclops; the 1080 to the Tempo is a Wolverine to a smaller, more badass Wolverine.

Now there’s two kinds of nerd gibberish to alienate readers.

The glaring flaw with the Levitates is the laces. Period. So I switched those out but now they kind of feel like a Frankenshoe even though there’s nothing wrong with the aftermarket speed laces I put on there.

And the not so glaring flaw with the Tempo is the sizing. I dealt with it when Charles and I were testing them in-store, I deal with it every time I sell one, and I still just don’t know if true-to-size is too small.

Run in a New Balance Tempo in your size and in a half size up and they’ll feel like two different shoes that both work. It’s baffling.

Whenever I’m bringing one out for a customer I bring both sizes and whenever someone buys one I tell them not to hesitate bringing them back and exchanging them for the other size. Which happens.

It’s still a great run. It’s just that the whole run you’re thinking should I be running in the other size?

Now, I want to do some direct speed-work testing in the Levs and the Temps to see which is better but my internal impression right now is I like the Tempos more. I had the most joyful run in months in those shoes and felt like I was just flying. Whereas in the Levs I just felt like yeah, this is some nice running.

And the Tempo offers more on paper. It is lightweight and it is low drop whereas Levitates are merely like a lightweight, low drop shoe.

Levitates are the racing end of the daily trainer spectrum and Tempos are the daily trainer end of the racing spectrum. That’s what it is.

I was tempted to say that the rivalry was really between the Tempo and the 1400 – both by New Balance – because I got them at the same time and had dream-like, wonderful runs in both of them right away… but really the 1400 is just the odd man out, the 3rd wheel in a collection of eight things that come in pairs.

It’s a 10mm drop, who does that? To a racing shoe? Did we all use to do that, is it a relic of a bygone era?

Still an absolutely great run though, being clear. It’s just hard since I mentally organize my shoes into my training by heel drop and stack height and blah blah blah and the 14 can’t hang with the 1080 and the Ghost and it can’t hang with the hybrids and it can’t hang with the low boys like my Tracers and Altras.

Fuck, the straight up nonsense this is for my usual readers makes it so uncomfortable to write…

But one last thing so that I’ll have talked about everything and since I just mentioned them: my Hoka Tracers and my Altra Escalante 2.0s.

And when I said I’d talked about everything I thought wait, that’s seven. What am I missing…? My ASICS. Good old forgettable ASICS.

Anyway the Hoka Tracers are a 4mm drop and the Altras are, of course, zero.

Altra is changing their branding from saying Zero Drop to saying Balanced Cushioning which is, let me the first to be an ass about it, fucking awful. Zero Drop people take pride in being Zero Drop people. I encountered us douchebags at the store like once a month.

Anyway anyway, the Tracers become forgettable because they’re a stutter step to the Altras and it’s important to transistion wisely to ZD and blah blah blah not what this blogs about.

What Are The Next Steps In My Career

Things are rolling along at The Running Room, it’s not just putting out fires anymore and there’s time to plan ahead.

So of course I’m thinking about what I like about the job and what I don’t; what I want to learn here going forward and importantly – going forward to where?

Because I hope “managing a Running Room” isn’t my answer to what I’m doing at 40.

As for what I like about the job, it’s of course the teaching. It’s what got me started here in the first place. Fitness is my expertise and running is my specialty within that expertise.

When I imagine my dream job it’s more like working at a gait analysis place. So if I had to get some more education I’m sure it’d be kino or physio.

Which means I’d being going as far back as having to get Math 30. And I have no clue what math I topped out for maths at school but I feel like I sank below the pure math stream in like, the sixth grade.

So, a long term plan is what we’d have there. Good. Long term plans are comforting because there’s a ton of steps before you do any of the hard parts.

But really, since I’ve been dying to get some professional running analysis since before the lock down, the real first step is to go have conversations with people in the industry and ask what helped and what hurt on their path.

And then steal it ALL.