Shoe salesman with an agenda and other things

Okay, I’ll try to keep this in nuggets because I feel like I have a lot of nothing to say. …

Triathlon training update:

= Swim: So, I found out my friend Sally used to be a swim coach. Told you about that the other day when I mentioned our relay team. She had me over the other day to swim in her pool and gave me good tips about how to correct form. She’s nice enough to only hand out a couple of tips at a time so I don’t forget! I already feel more comfortable in the water. I’m going to start going over there once a week to practice and to watch her baby while she practices for our relay.

= Bike: Kevin and I cycled the course of the Tri at Baxter in Fort Mill on Sunday. It was a good challenge but definitely doable. I’m still slow on the bike. And the last part of the course is a lot of uphill. Hard to imagine running after! I’ll keep practicing.

= Run: Still doing my thing with running. My tri training program officially started this week, and the 5K training portion of that incorporates speedwork. More intervals, more hill runs. For the triathlon, my goal will be just to survive the run. But I’m thinking ahead to the July tri where I’m doing the run relay portion. Also, marathon training starts next month! I’ve decided I love distance running the most. So I’m super-excited about that.

I have until the end of the month to sign up for the tri before the next price jump. Will keep practicing, but as long as all goes well between now and then, I’m in!

Running a 5K while stressed

Last week I ran the Twilight Moves for Youth 5K. There were about 3,000 runners there. I’d had a stressful day anyway, and upon arrival my stress level went through the roof. I joked to Jeff and Scott that I felt like I was wearing an invisibility cloak as people kept walking right into me. Lines were long to get what we needed, walking to the bathroom was a madhouse, and I got thrown off my game by a shoe salesman* with an agenda.

Bottom line: Race started, first two miles were pretty much all downhill (awesome!) but the crowds were still crazy and I was still carrying the stress with me. I ended up with the worst race time I’ve had in more than a year. It should have been much better. Stress really can mess you up. I have to learn how to not let things affect me.

*Shoe salesman with an agenda

So, I shop at TrySports. The whole world likely knows that by now, as I’m constantly talking about how awesome they are. However, they aren’t the only running store in town. There are a few others, one in particular I’ll call “R.”

I shopped at R twice for running shoes, before TrySports opened up a few years ago. The difference between the two stores is small – R is a running store, TrySports is a triathlon store. R has a “fitting” process similar to TrySports in that they watch you run and make a recommendation.

Some differences:
= TrySports actually has a software program to measure angles with knees, ankles, hips, etc (I won’t pretend to really understand it), and their fit process is two-fold. They eyeball it, and they measure it. R only eyeballs it. TrySports just goes that extra mile (no pun intended) – and I’ve been told by them to do a variety of tests while shoe shopping – including wearing different socks, wearing different shoes (one on each foot), standing on my head (okay, not literally – but they do cover everything).
= TrySports has a larger selection of tri gear. Even though I’m just now getting into triathlons, I have always felt that they have a better selection of clothes and other exercise goodies.
= I just had the right feeling when I found TrySports. Kinda like meeting “the one.” You just know. Okay, not really like meeting the one. But I still like the store and the people a lot.

So, I was wearing my Mizunos with my Yankz the other day before the race, and the Yankz have a very prominent “TrySports” logo on them. I’m lazy and don’t want to go get the camera to show you, so I’m going to post a pic of my Asics which have the same Yankz and logo, just so you’ll see how prominent it is:

So, I stopped by the R tent to ask a question (completely unrelated to any shoewear.) Keep in mind this was at 6:40 p.m. and the race started at 7 p.m. When I asked said random question, I was asked for my bib number. I explained that I did not have my bib number yet because I had not yet found my friend who had registered me. Yes, 2o minutes before race time and I still hadn’t found my friend. So yeah, I was a little stressed. …

So, amid trying to help me with said question, the R employee picked up a scrap piece of paper to write down some information. The scrap piece of paper happened to be a $10 off a pair of shoes coupon for the R store. He then looked down at my shoes. Took a hard look.  A close look. Then said, “looks like you’re in need of new shoes.” (True. I am.) Then said, “Those are clearly not the right shoes for you. You were not fitted for them were you?”

I looked at him in shock and answered, “Yeah, I was.” Knowing he’d seen the TrySports logo – he clearly already knew the answer to that. And given that I was standing still and not running or even walking – I’m fairly certain he had no way to know whether those were the right shoes or not!

He then had me walk up and down the expo floor while he could look at me and assess what type of shoe I would need. Twenty minutes before race time and this dude is telling me I’m in the wrong shoes. He knows I need to find my bib number and he’s making me walk the floor.

Not cool. So not cool.

He wrote me a note saying I could get free socks in addition to my $10 off shoes. Not worth it.

Sure, I’m biased. I love TrySports. But I don’t think you throw your competitor under the bus like that. You know what? He could be right. I was fitted for those shoes right before the marathon. I’m running differently right now, I’m sure. Maybe I do need different shoes. But I’ll let TrySports tell me that. Not some guy with a marketing agenda.

Ok, I’ve rambled enough for today. More tomorrow!