I was out running early this morning after teaching my 5:30am class at Gold's. As my friend and I ran by my old "gym" that's about half a mile from my house, I thought about something that speaks volumes: there were more people at my 5:30am class than will go to that "gym" all day.
Not saying that to be spiteful. It really got me thinking. I honestly wonder how a place keeps its doors open with such a small clientele. (Other than the obvious: an outrageous fee structure. But even 20 members at $140 a pop doesn't add up to much.) I understand that the start-up franchise can be slow to grow, but it's been over two years now that they've been in operation, and for every one warm body that's walked in the door, two have left. Gone elsewhere, lost interest, didn't like the staff, got injured, got too broke to keep going, moved away...whatever the case may be, it's a revolving door. That's fine for a business owner if he's doing that as a side-job, or as a hobby job for someone with too much time and/or money on his hands, but if you're trying to make a living off training 20+/- folks each week plus the operations costs of paying rent, utilities, equipment ...yikes.
I imagine that some people will read this and roll their eyes. But, as far as locally-owned gyms with national brand names go, Gold's Douglasville certainly has more participants who attend each day. The spread is huge. Folks who have been going for 20 years and counting, and bringing their friends so they can share the fun! Bottom line: the participants come out of there fit and happy. (And sweaty.) And they spend less each month than a small tank of gas in doing so! Haters can hate, but numbers don't lie. And I don't just mean attendance numbers. By numbers, I mean: inches lost, friends gained, national rankings, professional polling responses, pounds of muscle added, certifications acquired, staff training hours, availability of necessary equipment....
I hate to see local businesses fail. And what I hate more is the absence of options. Shop around, don't let the brainwash get to you, and find your niche in the workout world. That might mean you do your own thing. Whatever it is, make sure it makes you feel fulfilled.
Saturday: 20 miles with the interval gals! (I got a late start with our group because of some gastrointestinal - TMI - issues that kept me in a sketch bathroom for 20 minutes :( seems that it's been happening only on Saturday mornings...I think it's nerves about having to see my stalker :( But, I caught up to two awesome women and we stuck together for the rest of the 18! 2 on my own after. Perfect weather for it.)
I took my first ice bath today. Totally needed it. You see, when I decided to try out the Hoka One Ones, I failed to realize that running in zero drop shoes makes you run incredibly differently. Everything from my hips down just hurts. (I also ended up with blisters, which has absolutely never happened with me and running shoes, so no hate, but the Hokas aren't for me. I took them back and got the old faithfuls, Brooks Ghost.)
My plan was 18 miles today, but the blisters made me reconsider, once I got back to the start/finish area where our group met. I totaled out at 17 for the day. Hopefully next week's 20 will be much better with the right shoes for me. (Last week felt pretty darn good despite the heat!) Anyway, I got to run with some awesome and tough women today, which was a treat!
I've found myself in a small town this afternoon, and as I was walking around on the sidewalk I received some catcalls (typical behavior anywhere, and unnecessary), some friendly hellos from fellow walkers, and even an offer from a woman to give me a ride. (She asked me if I was walking for exercise or did I need a lift. And somehow didn't come off as creepy!) Nah, I was just enjoying a recovery stroll. :) But I think it's so telling of our society that people worry when they see others walking somewhere, as if I'd have to be stranded in order to "have" to walk anywhere, or that I must be one of those weird "exercisers." Hell, I know people who live right next to a restaurant but they drive there. Dude, it's less than a mile round trip! 35 minutes total of walking. Hoof it!
...then you'll want to get out and run in them more.
This is what David at Big Peach Midtown said to me today, and he was so right, in a few ways, really.
I had been putting aside some cash for new running shoes. For about the past year I've been kind of wearing whatever shoes - cheap, free from training groups, etc. - so I'd been thinking it was high time I went back to the local running store and got back to what I really need.
My Reebok One Cushions were/are great, but the "cushion" part of that equation was not helping on my long runs. No knee pain, no hip pain - just the general soreness after lots of miles - but I felt like the impact was a bit "hard" though. Since I'm 6 weeks out from the marathon and still building mileage, I figured now was a great time to work in some new kicks.
So, after the run today, I went to BPRC and said I had been wanting to try some Hokas. I have heard great things about the cushion so I wanted to give them a shot. The first pair I tried felt clunky, unnatural. But the second pair were much lighter and seemed to fit better. I sat and chatted with David about shoes and running habits for a while, and he noted that I hadn't wanted to take the shoes off yet, which was a good sign. Then he made the comment about how when we feel confident in our shoes, we want to spend more time in them, running and improving, and that resonated with me.
I always say that you don't have to spend a lot to get a good pair of running shoes, but, since I've been essentially unintentional and apathetic about what shoes I've worn in the past year, maybe that's part of why I haven't felt super excited about running during that time either. Whatever gives you that extra boost to get out the door :)
The other, more hidden meaning I derived from his statement was just the overall confidence factor, that is, being confident as you are and loving yourself. It really makes all the difference in the world!
Here's to new shoes and a renewed appreciation for running!