Last Wednesday I started a new Job with New Balance and immediately jumped on a train to head to NYC for a Marketing Campaign launch that was happening. It didn't really feel like I was starting a new job because it was all so familiar except I was really happy. Not that I hated Reebok or anything, I just lost all passion for the brand and working there. The friends will last forever but going into work and feeling like I was completely different from almost everyone was a real struggle. Reebok has hedged the core of its positioning on the current fitness craze - CrossFit. It makes sense for the brand to carve out a new direction, it certainly wasn't working in the running space and seeing how passionate the company is for this "sport of fitness"it makes sense they get after it in a big way. The issue is that I don't like CrossFit. People working out is great and I've seen friends transform themselves by getting involved. But I've see a lot more people transformed by going for a jog or riding a bike. CrossFit preaches a philosophy that is based on short intense exercise routines that change everyday. They believe Routine and Aerobic exercise a major problem. They also preach a Paelo Diet is the way we should eat. Basically lots of lofty claims. I once asked a CrossFit instructor if he considered Lance Armstrong or Paula Radcliffe to be Fit people. He never heard of Paula and he said that Lance is not generally fit, he is good at riding a bike. It was after this conversation that I concluded the program is like a cult. You may be fit but your nothing if your not CrossFit. Going to work became painful because I'd feel like an outsider going for a Jog at lunch time. I was asked every day why I didn't do CrossFit and if you didn't do it there was definitely a feeling of being left out. I loved the people I worked with but thats not enough. You have to believe in what you do when you get up. I have always applied this philosophy to my sport and I used to apply it to work until it was sucked out of me. I love that friends of mine have bought into CrossFit and now they feel really healthy and years younger. But I don't love that CrossFit tells me I'm not Fit. I believe I was the fittest person in Reebok. I imagine my V02 max is higher than everyone in the building and on a stress test of endurance I imagine no one would come close - but I can't do 10 pull ups nor can I do a standing handstand push up. Why in the world would I want to? I race a bike, I need to train for racing a bike, not for dealing with an unfortunate situation I may find myself in that requires me to do a handstand.
I decided I needed to leave and let someone who was passionate about Reebok and CrossFit to take over. I still meet my buddies Thommo, Bryan, and Ben for pints once a week - along with some assorted Reebok crew that come along. My mates know and respect my position. Without blowing my own horn I felt I did the admirable thing. I could still be at Reebok, faking it, taking home a paycheck and laughing but thats not me. I want to live and breath my Job in a healthy way. I believe that at New Balance I'll be able to do that.
When I graduated I signed a small but very meaningful contract with NB. They stood by me through all the injuries - believing that I'd come good. In the end like I did with Reebok I told John Evans that I couldn't be on contract anymore. I needed to move on with my life and the few dollars I was getting would be better off with a new up and comer who needed support. I wanted a Job and in 2006 I started with Reebok. Leaving the world of professional running wasn't hard but leaving NB was. I missed the brand and always wished it well on my travels with Reebok. Now to be back in the NB is really uplifting. I don't believe in fate but this comes close to whatever that word means.
My new boss Josh is fantastic and my co-workers Patrick and Ali have youthful exuberance and energy that makes me feel old! And they are dialed in. Patrick has a big future ahead of him given the breath of ideas and boundless desire to make them come to life. Being in NYC was inspiring. We hosted the launch of our British Milers program, a 12 week TV show in the UK that will follow 7 of our athletes as they chase one of the 3 spots on the Olympic team for London. I used to think I was inspired by the big Marketing presentations at Reebok - and some of them were really inspiring - but by Monday morning reality would kick in. Running is not a priority. At NB the talk of trying to be the best running brand on the planet is real. Full teams dedicated to this goal with a relentless passion to achieve it. Walking in to meet retailers was such an eye opener. They love what we are doing and the product is cranking. Tom Carleo must be the best footwear guy in the business and he is the captain of our ship. Thats what gets me fired up in the morning to go to work. It will be a big year ahead. Very busy and challenging for sure but all in the ways that challenging is great. I am diving in and not looking back. My two previous bosses are at NB too along with a former co-worker and now we are all peers committed to this team and committed to being number one. Exactly the way work should be.
Another highlight of the weekend was some good music talk with Harry Norton. I was pretty down about not riding my bike but now I get to look forward to trainer sessions with new bands to listen to. Harry is into similar music to me so he gave me some suggestions of older bands I might like - Built To Spill and The Microphones. I have heard of them but never gave them a shake so I'll delve into their work this week and report back.
OK thats the buzz. Peace and Love,
PS - I really miss this guy and need to hear something from him soon.