For the record, HOO=Hoka One One, I love a good acronym.
2015 is now 2016, and I wish I had a kickass year of races to recap, but since I don’t, we’ll just go ahead and skip to the now.
A year ago is definitely a world away from now: at no point 365 days ago would I have envisioned myself a couple of states away (although it is Texas, so it may as well be a country away), doing something totally different than anything I’d done the previous several years before that. A bit over a month into a new job in a new place, and there’s definitely been a pretty big learning curve and some things that have taken and will continue to take some getting used to, but mostly good things.
I will admit that leading up to moving down here I had a million second thoughts and second-guessed myself more times than I can count right up till my last day in Colorado. I’ve really never lived outside of a 60-ish mile radius in Colorado, and it is and will always be home, my niche, and is a place I’ll never get tired of, with plenty of people who, while they might not technically be my biological family, may as well be. So needless to say, it was super tough to leave when it actually came down to it—even if only for a while and not far away—but sometimes you just kind of know you need to do a particular something. Being in a running/injury slump for a year seemed like the opportune time to get my foot in the door on an actual job path that I think I legitimately want to be on, and even though it may not have been exactly how I wanted it to pan out…sometimes it’s just like what the hell, just try something.
Back in mid-November, the first Hoka duty on the docket was a trip out to Goleta, CA for a week of a giant Deckers sales meeting and “on-boarding.” After that it was down to Texas for a couple of days. Before leaving for Ohio to shadow for a few days, the first week on the job consisted of going down to Austin for The Running Event. For those who don’t know, it’s basically a giant convention for running gear-nerds, retailers, and vendors to convene and check out or show all the new and existing products in the running world. It’s also the venue for the “World Beer Mile Championships,” entertaining to say the least. The whole thing is pretty awesome actually. So I worked the Hoka booth there with all the Important People from Hoka. However, while there I second-guessed my decision again when I met several of my accounts (all great people) and upon making introductions throughout both days, all of them (and I mean ALL of them) joked,
“You’re moving to Texas, from Colorado, on purpose?” I know they were joking, but I just about cried every time, but I didn’t because that would make a pretty crappy first impression. Too soon guys. WAY too soon. Way to rip the Band-Aid right off, scab and all. But yeah, other than that it was awesome. Later, Hoka hosted a party wherein it required no less than 4 amaretto sours consumed in rapid succession for me to break out of my introversion enough to mingle with large numbers of people somewhat effectively, but I did! For at least 15 minutes! Winning.
Anyway, fast forward a month that I have no idea where it disappeared to, and I have certainly learned there is no typical day in rep life. You’re definitely never bored and there is always something to plan or something to do or something to figure out or look forward to or some place to go and sometimes you lose track of what city you woke up in and where you’ll be tonight, a lot of life is spent behind the windshield of the HOKAmobile, and it’s all taken some getting used to, but it’s definitely always interesting and an adventure to say the very least. You meet a ton of people every single day, your inbox explodes every few hours, you see some super cool running stores, find yourself in some really cool (and occasionally sort of sketchy) places, give a lot of presentations (it’s already broken me of my terror of public speaking), and work some awesome events, this weekend for instance, will be the Houston Marathon Expo.
So overall, it’s been a great experience for the most part, just a whole lot to learn early on. If I were to sum up the job in a word it would be…spazzy? But in a mostly good way.
What has sort of surprised me is that everyone told me that “you’ll be so busy that you’ll never ever have any time to train, blah blah blah,” and I don’t really get why people say that. I’d say it wouldn’t be an ideal job for trying to adhere to the schedule of a training group where you’d have to be in a certain location at a certain time on certain days, but really you kind of just have to manage time pretty effectively to fit stuff in and do a good job at it, but it’s very do-able: when the alarm starts squawking at 5 a.m. get your butt out of bed and in the pool and get the workout stuff and rehab stuff out of the way before you have too much time to think about it, and you’re good before any running store is even open, so even if you’re legitimately training quite a bit there isn’t really a reason that you can’t do it unless you’re working a huge expo for 12 hours a day for a few consecutive days or something. Another surprising thing that’s come along with that is that I used to pencil in these arbitrary (and rather large) amounts of cross training that I “needed” to do when I was injured and if I even fell one hour short by the end of the week you’d think someone shot my dog. Or, I’d have these really meticulous interval sessions on the bike or in the pool or on the elliptical and if I did it wrong it was like the sky was falling. I wouldn’t say that weird form of anxiety/neuroses seems to exist anymore and instead it’s just like WTF was wrong with me?! Just do it and do it well and get it out of the way and move on with your life. The end.
When there is free time on my hands and I’m in a different place, I’ve spent most it scoping out the good running routes. I know, priorities, but I’m planning ahead for being back out there. So far, Austin is admittedly winning by a large margin, although Dallas has quite a few cool looking routes: I live in running distance of White Rock Lake which is apparently the place to run, Katy Trail isn’t very far away, the Trinity River Corridor is about 20+ miles of dirt but is mostly flooded right now, and Cedar Ridge Nature preserve has a lot of acres with some legit looking trails which I was shocked to find existed here. In Houston, so far I’ve found Hermann Park, Memorial Park and a 5k loop around the Rice University Campus that all look like they need to have some miles put in on them. San Antonio had a pretty neat looking trail along the river walk that’s next to the San Antonio River, but I haven’t gotten to spend much time there yet. Aaaaand that just leaves the rest of Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana that I need to explore, so this probably warrants its own post. I’m told it’s impossible to run in Amarillo without having objects and/or obscenities hurled at you, so I’m really looking forward to that.
The biggest challenge is sort of what I more or less expected it to be. In a rep job you make a ton of acquaintances every day, but you’re not really in one place long enough to really foster very many actual friendships, so being in a place where you know nobody (yet), there is a certain feeling of being somewhat isolated. Being pretty much one of the most introverted humans on planet earth, I get by totally fine with–and even prefer–pretty limited social interaction outside of a work context with the exception of a few close friends, but even I’ve found myself sometimes really itching to see a familiar face or be in a familiar place every now and then. But I think a lot of that will get better when I get healthy and back to actual running and being out there every day with some non-work-related goals to chase again, and I cannot wait for that day. Running serves more than one purpose in that it’s how I’ve always ended up making some of my best friends and runners always find each other, not to mention the routine of running is really comforting and always seems to add familiarity to any place for whatever reason. I have a few tentative race goals deep in my pocket, but I’m not letting myself give too much–or any–thought to them till I get 100% back in the saddle. So, crossing the fingers for a healthier and much more running-full 2016!