As the weather changes, (this would be the 17th year that I have run in shorts during the winter). I have run in shorts through blizzards, wind advisories, temperature advisories, sleet, and snow. Wearing shorts in subzero temperatures has become a stupid symbol of my refusal to compromise with Mother Nature –something that I am proud of.
So, why do I do this? Well, it started out because I hated running in pants. I know the technology has improved tremendously since the last time I ran in long pants. But I cannot erase the constraining feeling of those itchy pants. I refuse for something as trivial as pants to take away my enjoyment of running. After I made this vow to myself to only run in shorts I have learned many important lessons. However, if I decide to share some of my tips for running in the cold, and they inspire you to join me on this chilly voyage, you have to give me some credit. Deal?
The first thing I discovered about running in the cold was that as long as my core and fingers were warm, the rest of my body would stay warm too. To compensate for my chilly legs, I usually wear two pairs of gloves and a base layer top with a t-shirt on top. Having a shirt that is tight allows my body heat to stay close to me and keeps me cozy and warm. My other secret is that I like to do some pushups right before I head out. If try to get my heart rate up, and get the blood flowing it can help me stay warm throughout the entire run.
A wise man once told me that you do not need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows… but I am pretty sure there is an app for that. Regardless, when I leave the house I get a feel for the wind, and pick routes that would push against the wind as to run with the wind at my back on the way home. I believe that one of the worst things you can do is start with the wind behind you, get a little sweat going, only to have the sweat freeze onto your body on the way back.
My last tip I learned is from my experience with chest cramps on cold days. I’ve tried everything from inhaling/exhaling exclusively when my foot hits the ground to taking big, deep breaths to help expand my lungs. Nothing seemed to work for me, and I was worried that my days running in the cold would have to end. Finally, one day I tried drinking a hot beverage as I was heading out for my run and boom –no cramps. Now when I am walking out the door I am usually sipping a hot mug of coffee or tea. It seems like if I can get that warmth inside my chest when it starts it keeps me warm my whole run.
There may be a day in the future when I have to end my streak and try running tights or something else, but for now, these tips seem to be working just fine. I am planning another winter of weird looks from people passing by and red, ashy kneecaps. Hopefully, after this article, I will see others taking on the shorts look with me this winter.
Last year I made my plans to go with the sole purpose of showing the brands that have failed to bring us on board that we were a serious business with the great potential. I wanted to walk up to the head honcho of Brand: “_____” and tell them they were missing out by not giving Run Moore a chance to sell their product. I wanted to poke someone in the chest and show them my cool new Run Moore shirt and tell them who we were. I assumed I would leave the conference with relationships and contracts from every shoe brand who attended and I figured within a month, I would have them all available for purchase at the shop. Turns out it did not quite happen that way. While I did speak to a few big scary people who would smile and put my business card in a stack of 50 other cards… I felt like no one really cared who I was, or why I was there.
This year – things are different. I went in last year almost apologetic that Run Moore was there. I walked around the convention center like an outsider and while I took in everything I could, I really did not talk to other store owners or get involved with the breakout discussions. My mindset this year is to catch up with my reps and see what’s new for 2017. I am happy to go and learn and listen and if I get the stink eye from other shops, oh well. Run Moore has proved time and time again that this community is here to support us and we are here to support this community. I don’t need to make apologies for what we carry or what we do.
I can’t wait to get down to Orlando and see all the new stuff coming out next year. I’m excited to learn new and exciting information about running an efficient business. More importantly, I can’t wait to walk in with my head held high and not only represent my shop but the wonderful community we serve.
I love Seinfeld. I don’t know if there is a show I’ve re-watched more than Seinfeld. There was an episode when George was trying to think of a new career. George mentioned that he enjoyed sports thought that he could make a good announcer or color man for professional baseball. Jerry burst his bubble when he reminded him that broadcasters tended to be ex-ballplayers. George replied that he did not think it was very fair. This joke was made fifteen years ago, and it tends to hold pretty true across the board in sports. When I tune into watch an NFL game I expect to hear Troy Aikman or Brian Billick breaking down and analyzing the events that are transpiring on the field. What I don’t expect to hear is my local weatherman, who has never taken a snap at even the high school level, telling me why the Ravens are playing in Tampa 2 coverage.
For some reason, when races like the marathon or the Baltimore 10 Miler air the local news team that I watch for traffic are providing the analysis. While they are great at what they do, they usually are not knowledgeable in competitive running. Why put them in that spot? Why not use, I don’t know… professional runners to announce a running event? Within five minutes of my shop, we have a guy who has qualified for the Olympic Trials in various distances for multiple Olympic games. We also have a running author and coach who have assisted runners in the area for years. We even have a college coach who has helped not just collegiate runners, but post-collegiate runners achieve their full potential. I would imagine that any of those guys would do a great job breaking down strategy and form from their unique perspective, providing excellent coverage for viewers.
I do enjoy the feel and the personal stories of the runners who are not going to win but are out there giving it their all. I like seeing the oldest entry (93 years old!) in the half marathon line with his family to tackle the distance together. However, I get frustrated with comments like “well, this marathon is 26.2 miles” and little details such as when they fail to update the women’s race for the first two hours. I don’t enjoy seeing non-runners on camera trying GU Energy and making faces about how weird it tastes. I especially get ticked when the runner who eventually wins was announced as a relay participant for the first half of the race and therefore not a factor. I don’t fault the anchors at all – they are simply doing their job and trying to report the race to the best of their abilities. I just wish they used people in the community who could use their expertise to present the event as an important sporting event, not as an event where 25,000 weirdos show up to jog around downtown Baltimore.
I understand that I am probably a part of the minority as I can watch a marathon and be interested the entire time. I totally get that the network is trying to fill hours and hours of coverage and maybe it is easier to keep non-runners tuned in by having familiar faces of their daily news to provide information. Maybe next year the news team can just handle the inspirational and human pieces and let the runners manage the race updates? Post your thoughts below on our blog, I would love to hear your opinion!
Sharing the Burden
I don’t sleep. This fact goes back for years and years but I have never been a person who can get their head down for seven hours of peaceful and necessary rest. I am almost always awake between 2:00-3:00am and sometimes, if I am lucky, I can get back to sleep relatively easy. But some nights I end up going downstairs and staring at the wall for a few hours. I relate this restlessness to stress and anxiety. I used to justify my insomnia by bragging that staying awake provided me the time to work out my daily problems, or prepare myself for possible pitfalls. Lately, I have been trying to alleviate some of the factors that prevent my nightly rest, but I have come to the realization that at the crux of my problem is a simple explanation – I don’t know how to ask for help.
As long as I can remember, I have struggled sharing the burden on helping with tasks for fear of putting out a subpar product. I often think that’s why I got into running to begin with. I have the control to achieve exactly what I want from running, it all depends on the amount of effort I put in. There is no nepotism, favoritism or shortcuts. If I put in the work and train correctly, I can push through any obstacle, and see a positive outcome. I don’t need to worry at night how to get better at running; I just need to run more. The amount of work that comes from operating a business is overwhelming, but unlike running I cannot just power through on my own. After years of living this way I am lately starting to show the cracks in my armor. It is almost as if I can no longer carry all this weight on my shoulders. My sleepless nights and additional stress are affecting my family, my running and the business. So, what can I do to fix this? I need to learn to ask for help.
This is not the easiest thing to practice, but I am willing to try. To take some of the weight off my shoulders I am learning to share my responsibilities. Today, I am having my new intern from McDaniel College make a post for me and I am not going to even double check it. I have another new hire that will be here later today, and he will be putting inventory away and checking on stock and I have to trust that he will do it to the best of his ability. If I can’t allow people that are here to be my support, which is what that they were hired brought here to do than I might as well just work alone and continue to stay up all night. After all, despite all of my training, sometimes what makes the difference in a race is the unexpected support of a fellow competitor or a cheer from a spectator.
I bring this up as we prepare for a big race this Friday night. The Chase the Light 5k is a race in honor of my friend’s son who took his own life in early 2015. I only met Chase once or twice but I’ve been friends with the family for several years. They are some of my favorite people, and I don’t know, or can’t begin to know, what it is like to be in their position. But, I do think that on a personal perspective that I will be thinking of them this week as we organize the race, and I will try to avoid finding myself becoming overwhelmed in any of life’s challenges.
I don’t know why we have such a stigma over mental health and openly discussing it. I had Chase’s family on my radio show two weeks ago and it was still very difficult for them to talk about it. Mental health disease should be recognized and talked about in the same way as any other disease. No one should feel guilty or ashamed for having depression the same way as no one should feel ashamed for having Lyme’s disease. Both diseases need treatment, support, love and attention, which is why this event on Friday is so important.
For anyone looking for a great event raising money for a great cause then I invite you to join us Friday for the race. A link to the register is below, and all funds will stay in Carroll County, going toward suicide prevention. There is live music, free beer and all the Fall Fest activities following the race. Bring your whole family and come run/walk or cheer everyone on.
It’s been a weird summer. I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like this has been one of the stranger seasons and it’s caused us to change how we do things around here. Let me try to explain and as usual, my ramblings will most likely end up going somewhere.
Last month a running shop a half an hour away from us closed its doors. While they were not close in proximity, they were still technically our competition. I had known the owner from a charity race I put on and he always seemed like a very nice guy so I was sorry to hear he was closing. I went up on his last day to wish him well and try to get a sense of what he felt happened over the past few years to his business. A lot of what he felt was interfering with his growth were things that we deal with here. I left feeling pretty darn freaked out and I vowed that I would not let us fall into the same pitfalls.
Since then we’ve have been out and about in the community pretty much weekly. This week I was in Mt Airy, the week before Hanover, and before that Gettysburg. We have been really trying to get out and say hello to fellow runners and make sure everyone knows that there is a place in Westminster that is a friend to all runners. Just because stores like Dick’s are much larger than ours, current shoe models cost the same as dictated by the manufacturer. But, with us, you get a shoe recommendation based on injury history, goals, gait, and the other pieces of information that we try to take into consideration when helping you choose a shoe.
We recently have had a few people that have stopped in and asked us to give them our help and have had us record them walking, running, and suggest shoes only to pull their phone out and go online to shop for older models on discount in front of us. It truly is a changing landscape and I could not imagine going into a small business and treating people that way. It would be like going to a restaurant and asking what the special was for the night, the recipe, directions on how to prepare it from the chef and then going home and trying to mimic it using ingredients from McDonalds. I just don’t think I could ever do it to a small business. When we sell a pair of shoes for $120 I think people think we made $120 on the sale. Unfortunately, the jerks that manufacture them want a lot of that. In fact, they want most of that $120.
I feel that what sets us apart is the service and knowledge. It’s always touching when people take the time to review us and give us feedback on their progress after we work with them. It feels like too often in life people want to go online when they have a bad experience somewhere and voice their feelings. We are fortunate enough to have a tremendously positive rating on all social media and review platforms. We don’t take that for granted and if anything, we want to continue to improve on it.
So, to my point – we want your vote. We try so hard here to differentiate ourselves from big box stores out there and if you appreciate the time and energy we give to our customers, please take a minute and vote for us for Best Shoe Store and Best Sporting Goods Store in Carroll County. We won Best Shoe Store last year and finished just behind a major chain store for Best Sporting Goods Store. We want to win both this year. “Shop Local” is not a phrase we take lightly here and I really try my best to buy from one of my neighboring business as much as I can. In fact, last year I can almost guarantee Run Moore donated more to local charities than the box stores in the area that are 10X our size. We give back as much as we can to the community that supports us. Now I want your help to win an award that has no prize other than bragging rights. It’s also more proof that as larger chains continue to expand their reach in smaller communities that at the root of every good business is good customer service and even better knowledge and that we can go toe to toe with the big guy. Thank you for your support!
Click HERE to vote for Run Moore!
I admit it, I am one of those guys. A guy who runs with music. I don’t know why there is such a stigma with running with tunes but I know two of my favorite running buddies openly mock me for going for the MP3 player on solo runs (I am looking at you Dave and Steve). My relationship with tunes and running go back to the Sony Sport Walkman in the early 90’s and have has included stops along the way with portable CD players that skipped every nine seconds, the original Ipod that was more valuable than anything else I owned and thus brought terror on every run, Ipod shuffles that broke once they got wet to now a little MP3 player I found on a running message board. Adding new songs on my running playlists is a delightful pleasure that is almost as enjoyable as picking up a new pair of shoes. On a run a few weeks ago I had one of those running moments that make my decision to run with music on solo runs so amazing and also verifies my belief that my friends that won’t run with music are in fact aliens.
I am once again attempting to run a fall marathon and am slowly building my base back up. On a rainy Wednesday I hit the road for an easy 5 mile run. I was feeling tired and sore from some of the recent miles I had put in and within a few minutes was in a crappy mood because I had managed to leave all my running caps at the house and I was leaving from the shop. It was also a very humid day so I was sweating and struggling to breath despite the rain and I had no hat to keep the rain out of my eyes. I did a loop around downtown and headed to the track to do a few boring laps around the track to help freshen up the legs a bit. I was pretty miserable and just was putting in the miles when that perfect song came on at that exact perfect moment. The second I hit the track On the Road to Find Out by Cat Stevens came on the headphones and I was instantaneously transformed.
There are so many great lines in that song that are so relatable to running and even though I have heard the song a thousand times it hit right when I needed it and before I knew it I was running hard. The soreness in my legs was gone and I found myself zipping around the track while smiling like an idiot. My millionth comeback attempt from my latest injury is essentially just leading me On a Road to Find Out. Find out if I still can do it, if I still want to do it, find out how hard I can push and find out what I will find on the journey. As the song came to an end and I thought about slowing down AC/DC Thunderstuck came on and I ended up pounding the last bit of the run with no intention of slowing down. Nothing could stop me at that point.
I am not saying you should race with tunes or even in areas you don’t know. I’m just saying that there are times that I think music can take you to a different mental state and maybe give you the kick in the butt when you need it, or even slow you down when you need it. If you are already a music runner you don’t need to be ashamed anymore. Listen loud and be proud!