Tag Archives: brooks

Warning! Read Before Running!

When my wife and I were expecting our first child I’m pretty sure we read just about every book and magazine article we could find on being a parent, the baby, the birth, the months leading up to, the months immediately after, the must have products, the must nots, and so much more that I can’t even remember. We were not nervous. We were not ignorant. We were just excited. Almost all the information was bunk, as it usually is, but we did enjoy reading about it all. Over the last 11 years I have joked with my wife, half-joked really, that we should write a book about what really happens when you become a parent. Guaranteed best seller.


For now I am content with writing something for those people out there contemplating becoming a runner. So I asked myself what a non-runner needs to expect if he or she takes those first steps, if she does, in fact, become a runner. I’m going to steer clear of post-long-run-endorphin-crazed ramblings or talk of running highs or magical final straightaways right now. I believe it is best for newbies to experience those in the moment, in shock. I think it is best to let them know what happens, really happens, to all of us runners when we are not floating through glorious sun-drenched trail runs. If they think they can stomach this kick-ass sport after reading what comes next then give them their star and deputize.

They obviously could have taken on a far easier sport but have chosen instead to run. At least they will have been warned.

Here we go:

Sometimes people will crap themselves when they run. That person may be you.

Your new shoes will get dirty. Dodging puddles is a waste of time. Get your shoes dirty. Be done with it. This is not a Road Runner Sports Catalogue.

This is not a fashion show. That being said, it is also not a basketball game or the family backyard Thanksgiving touch football game. Buy some running shoes – real ones, from a running store for crying out loud. And ditch the knee length shorts. If you want to be a runner then be a runner! There are some really great companies out there that make some really great running clothes. They can make you look as cool as you can possibly look while basically suffering for extended period of time. You will feel better about yourself and you will feel like a runner when you wear the clothes made for runners by companies that cater to runners. Buy from those companies and from those stores.

So you may need to change your shopping and viewing habits. Support the sport by supporting those that support the sport. Universal Sports. Oiselle. New Balance. Brooks. Nike. Running Times. Track & Field News. Balega. Flotrack. Running Specialty Stores. They have all stepped up to help running and Track & Field. By paying them back you will be paying your sport back and in turn yourself. Champion and Wilson and Izod can have your business when they start doing business with your sport.

You will get aches and pains. Alot of them. Actually, it is rare that you will not have something bothering you at least a little bit. You don’t always have to take off because something is hurting either. Remember, there is a difference between hurting and being hurt. Knowing the difference is essential. So, realize now that YOU know yourself better than anyone else. Use running to learn about your body.

It’s usually your inability to understand yourself that gets you injured. It’s probably not the shoes, or the road, or the trail or the pace or Alberto Salazar or the hill or the wind or rain or snow or the article or the song that was on while you were running on the treadmill. Getting hurt is usually because of you. Staying healthy? You can take credit for that too.

A good massage for almost anyone other than a runner feels good. A good massage for a runner hurts. It does not hurt good no matter what John Cougar Mellencamp says. It is deep and painful and does not involve the massage therapist talking about Odwalla drinks while Enya is being played.

Sometimes you will pull a muscle except you won’t. It will only be a cramp. You will scream and embarrass yourself. You will be carried back to your car. You will contemplate quitting the sport. You will sheepishly be back running with the crew in a few days.

Ice baths are not fun. If the water is the correct temperature then your toes should feel like they are about to explode until they go numb. Ice baths may not be fun but they are worth taking.

You will get in shape to get in shape quicker than you will get in shape.

When you are finally in shape you will have runs that make you feel like you are in the worst shape of your life.

You will have a hard time dealing with the fact that improvement should be measured by the improvement on your crappy days and not the improvement on your good days.

Don’t run to lose weight. At least not the weight you measure on a scale. Running will not work for you unless you love it and if you are running for any other reason other than your love for it then running just won’t love you back. Try to use running to be a better runner. Believe me, you will become a better person in the process. And if that happens then those weights you want to lose both on the scale and off will disappear. Jacob Marley was not a runner. He should have been.

When you at your best you will be running on a thin line between greatness and sickness/injury.

Many of the runs you go on you will not want to do.

Many of the runs you want to go on will become runs you don’t want to finish.

Still want to be a runner? After all of this? Do ya?

I hope you do

We runners know these things because we learned these things over miles and miles and through aches and pains and the flu and bad races and terrible runs and goals not met. We’ve been through all of this. We kept running. We want you to know that we kept running. You need to know that. And if you really, truly want to be a runner, then you will need to learn these things yourself as you run your own miles.

No one said it would be easy. That was the one thing about running you already knew.

And isn’t that why you showed up in the first place?

Sympathy for the Devil

Shouted out who killed the Kennedys?

When after all

It was You and Me

-Sympathy for the Devil, Rolling Stones

If you count yourself as a fan in any way, shape or form then you probably have heard about the controversy at the USATF Indoor Track Championships surrounding the Women’s 3000m. Gabe Grunewald of Brooks Running won the race after some seemingly innocuous contact with Jordan Hasay with 170m to go. A yellow flag went up meaning the official on the turn saw contact. The head official discussed the call with the turn official and they agreed it was not worthy of a DQ. Anyone who has ever raced, especially indoors, already knew that. Grunewald was clearly the class of the field over the last 200m contact or not. Long story short as many of you I’m sure already know (and those that don’t can do your due diligence here and here and here) Grunewald’s victory was then protested by Alberto Salazar and the protest was denied. Somehow a third protest was made and the DQ was handed down to Grunewald.

I don’t want to write about yesterday. What I really want to do is make the point that yesterday was merely the harvest coming in. We have sown this crop over decades and now we are dealing with it. We, the fans, are to blame. So, I would like to apologize to Gabe. It has been year after year of apathy by all of us that has led to this.

We bitch to each other about TV coverage and never call or email anyone who can do something.

We complain that the Millrose Games left MSG but we did that from our couch instead of from a seat in MSG.

We complained about Americans never being any good on the World stage but we never thought to help fund the few teams that existed in the 90’s to support them.

Now we are good on the World stage and we question every fast time that gets run.

We want more coverage online but we scream in protest when someone lays the money down to do that coverage and has the audacity to charge us to watch.

We scream when we find out someone is guilty of PED use but we stay silent when they coach the next generation.

We wonder why past generations had the Jim Ryuns and Steve Prefontaines on magazine covers but we are too cheap to subscribe to a magazine like Track & Field News that actually covers the sport and too lazy to write to a magazine like Sports Illustrated and tell them to cover the sport.

We sat back and watched the sport die. We watched and we did nothing. We never gave a sponsor a good reason to be involved.

So, Nike stepped up. They became the lifeline because there was no one else who could, because no one else wanted to. Without them we would not even have a sport to bitch about. Then we handed them the keys because we no longer cared to drive the sport ourselves. Soon, we were not even sitting shotgun. We’re hitch hiking now.

All of this is our fault.

But, now, we need to get up off our asses and do something.

The USATF has always been a JV organization tasked with doing a Varsity job. They need to be held accountable. Now is not the time to let that USATF membership lapse. Now is the time to renew or join. Then open your mouth as a member.

Now is not the time to throw away your Nikes. Now is the time to let Nike know that if they want to keep you in the swoosh they need to change the way they wield their power. Let them know they have the power to fix so much of this and if they do, well, they will have your continued loyalty. If not….

Now is also the time to see if Brooks Running or New Balance or upstart Oiselle are willing to take on a larger role. Are they? If the last twelve months indicate anything it is that they are.

Now is not the time to turn off your TV set. Now is the time to watch the coverage and then email, tweet, write, call NBC and truly voice what is wrong with the broadcast.

But before all of that, NOW is the time to apologize, all of us, the fans. We’re sorry. We have let this sport suffer. We fell asleep.

But, now we’re awake.

Let Him Go! Let Him Go! Let Him Go?

It’s going to be weird seeing Nick Symmonds in Brooks gear. It’s going to be odd not having him anchor the OTC team this Spring and Summer. And it’s going to be interesting seeing the Hayward reaction to Symmonds when he returns for the Prefontaine Classic. Will he still be the beloved (adopted) son? Will he be the prodigal son? And if so, is he returning or leaving? Even worse, for Eugene, Symmonds and all of us fans will he be ignored? And if that happens who deserves the blame? Nick, Nike, Brooks, or all of us?

Hopefully, you know what I am talking about. If not, you have either already left or are patiently waiting for this, the recap.

Symmonds recently announced that he would be signing with and running for Brooks. This is after competing for Nike through the Oregon Track Club Elite (OTC Elite) since 2006. These last 7 years have seen Symmonds establish himself as not only the preeminent American 800m runner but also one of the Worlds’ best. He was 4th in the 2012 Olympics with a PB 1:42 and won his first medal on the World stage, a silver, at this past summer’s World Championships in Russia. Along the way he became the face of the OTC Elite team and the most consistent American middle distance runner at the World level in over a generation.

So, two questions arise. How could Nike let Symmonds leave and how could Brooks afford to match or beat Nike’s offer? From the sound of this interview with Symmonds from Flotrack, it seems that some major shifts may be about to take place with elite athletes and their relationships with shoe companies. Nick has mentioned in his interviews that his departure from Nike has quite a bit to do with the ability or lack of ability he had to represent non-competing companies in addition to Nike.

It is no secret that elite runners benefit from the sponsorships coming from the major shoe companies. As it stands now, without those shoe companies what little professional sport we have would be gone. It is also no secret that the elite athletes, as a result of this, are at the complete and total mercy of these shoe companies.

There has never been a viable second or third option for elite runners when it came to sponsorship. The runner either signed with a major shoe company or took a second full time job.

Symmonds has often stated that he feels track and field should be more like NASCAR – athletes should be bedecked with as many sponsor tags as possible. The shoe companies and more importantly, the IAAF has worked diligently to block that from happening.

Here is a blog written by Symmonds on just that topic.

In signing with Brooks, Symmonds has hinted that he has their blessing and support to pursue non-competing sponsors. That is something he said Nike was not willing to afford him. Of course, one has to also mention that Nike has paid Nick for 7 plus years and I imagine they could make the case that one would be hard pressed to show that Nike sold enough shoes because of Nick to pay for Nick.

That is an entirely other topic. We’ll get to that one in due time. I digress.

It will be interesting if Nick can take this freedom and actually convince someone other than a shoe company to pay him. Will a car company or fast food chain or beer company pay Nick Symmonds to run 2 or 4 laps around a track as fast as he can? Will they feel that paying Nick Symmonds in some way benefits their brand? The answer to that question may be the most important event of the 2014 Track & Field season. If the answer is yes, then it reaffirms to all the shoe companies, and especially Nike who is the primary benefactor of elite Track & Field in the US, that sponsoring runners can help their brand. It may also open the door for athletes to look for non-traditional sponsors.

If the answer is no, well, then back to the shoe companies they all go, hat in hand. And guess what fellas, they may not take you back. They are not obligated to. If it makes business sense they will. If it does not, and let’s make sure it does, but if it does not…

Let’s hope that this starts a new chapter in Track & Field.

If nothing else, it has started a new chapter in Eugene, at Nike Running, at Brooks and in Nick Symmonds’ life. And I am looking forward to the Prefontaine Classic already…