Tuesday night was my first official group run of the season. I took a big, 5-month break from group runs after my Running Room clinic ended last October culminating with the ScotiaBank half-marathon and a super-stressed out achilles tendon.
Instead of the tuesday night RR group, this time I hooked up with the Parkdale Runners who have a nice instagram feed; proof that I at least left with them. I had read an article about them competing in the the ragnar rally. It actually felt like I had stepped into the article. They were actively discussing their plans. I overheard one runner mention his diet plans swearing that the best thing for him was blending beets into in his smoothies; that if they were good enough olympics athletics then surely they’d also propel him forward, risking a bout of the am-I-dying-oh-right-I-ate-beets beaturia.
With this new group, I worried a bit if I would able to keep up or would they leave me in the dust? Fortunately, for me and my well-rested, fully recovered limbs, they settled on a decent pace of around 5:30/km which still allowed for light conversation.
The pack was led by the alpha dog owner of 416 Snack Bar, a definite favourite local watering hole. Along the run, I asked him about a bit about the nights, and he told me the group is open to all types of runners and usually attracts a group of 30 people. They also run through all seasons. I’ve done winter running in the past but simply over did it last year probably combining what I’d normally do over 2 years into 4-5 months. Joining running groups tend to increase your running schedule through planning and promoting running several times a week. With sports, I could manage twice – one short and one long run a week. This season, along with Ultimate, I have a personal goal to double up my short runs (5-10K) and keep the long sunday run (15-20+K), and pray that my ankles hold up for the full marathon in October.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out a few people at the Mascots run shared this same personal goal to run their first marathon; not everyone was a hardened veteran returning with tales of horror of the Boston bombing.
Since I was meeting new people for the first time, the conversation inevitably arrived at “So what do you do?” After the first one, I realized that I really need to work on introducing and reducing that down to 20 words or less. My current pitch is that I work at Intelliresponse which provides a service that allows you to visit any website and ask a question as you normally would and unlike traditional search engines where you get thousands of results, we provide you with the best possible answer. Yeah, a mouthful. I’d like to distill that down further to perhaps two parts. Personally, I like answering a question with a question:
“What do you do?”
“Well have you ever had trouble finding what you’re looking for on a website?”
I’ll assume the answer will most likely be yes but my response should also work with no.
“Sure,” they’d say and most likely tune back into their inner running mantra.
or better yet… I’ll make one this up and apologize to Best Buy for being my guinea pig.
“Yes, I was on Best Buy website and typed in, ‘how do I return my broken iphone?’ but got back 6,000 results and the top three were some terrible blue ray movies”.
“So”, I’d say hopefully without a hint of smugness, “if they had our service, you would get back one article about iPhone repair”.
Actually, I just tried the same question of Amazon.com with much better results. They provided 5 with the last one about Apple Care Protection probably being the best possible answered. We aim to make it the first. To me, the metaphor of a website as a window to your business is obviously fascinating, and, after years in advertising trying to dazzle people with a complicated conteet experience that coughs up a coupon, I find this focus on simple text and natural language refreshing. It’s more about enabling meaningful conversations over side show distractions. But, to any of my advertising friends reading this, I believe these two worlds could work well together. I think there are ways we can bring the oracle to the coliseum.
If I visit Nike.com, why can’t I simply ask something like “why are compression socks good for me?”. Here are the results or lack thereof:
But not to pick on Nike too much. I’m a big fan of Nike+; wouldn’t leave without my satellite watch nor my pair of last year’s Pegasus. Nike also sponsors several running groups in my area organizing four groups.
Anyways, work-related tangent aside, that’s basically what I’ve been doing lately and sums up some of the thinking. It’s much easier to explain than what my wife does. She’s an Actuary, which was recently voted top job. If anyone asks, I like to start by saying she’s in “re-insurance” just to watch their brains scramble to grasp that, and then let them off by adding, “she helps manage the risk involved with insuring large pools of money”. And then, depending on the person, I might make a joke about Scrooge McDuck but it’s really nothing like that at all.
As we ran the 6K along the waterfront, I met two radically different PHD students; one working on sustainable fashion and the other studying the displacement problems faced by our native american who as very young children had been separated from their parents and shipped off to boarding schools and also suffered from diabetes.
I used this opportunity to slide in a reference to Born to Run, which is currently sitting on my night stand but I’ve only read the first chapter which tells the story of these Native American “super athlete” kids who would flee their boarding schools and run back to the reserves over several days!
Our group would only be out for 30 minutes though. We basically formed a train; two loose groups with ragged sprinters (sub 5) at the lead and the slow and steady at the back. Like the running room, it’s a pace where you can run and talk freely but unlike RR they don’t frown on headphones if you desire to lone wolf for a bit.
After I accidentally stood up too fast without realizing my Yurbuds cable were wrapped around my chair, I decided to replace them with this Sennheiser set which are far superior in both sound and price; a real steal right now since the new model is out. I highly recommend them if you’re looking for comfortable, clean sound. While staying true to their word about not ever falling out while running, the Yurbuds had too much distortion. I wish ear buds had a break away system like my Bose headphones which I managed not to learn my lesson and did the same thing; snapping them but instead of replacing the entire set for $200, I only had to order a new cable for $30.
I plan to run again with the Mascots but next Tuesday will most likely be my last time. Not because I didn’t enjoy it but simply because my wonderful wife has opted to play Ultimate on Tuesday night instead, and after having our first child we quickly tossed out the idea of playing on the same night and bringing her to the games; at least until she get can get her flick on.
My plan now is to replace that tuesday night run with a pre-work run; something I’ve never be able to do in the past but I think I’m up for it now. Wish me luck. It looks good on the screen. This is actually something I admire; people who can get up by 5 or 6 am start their day and practice this early to rise philosophy. Now, if I only I can find an 7:30 am running group starting from a nearby coffee shop; thoughts white squirrel?