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For those who don’t know, I am a pretty big advocate for running in the community. I am an assistant coach at a very successful high school here in Ocala, I am the founder of a web site that promotes local fitness events, I am the race director of this year’s Reindeer Run, I am one of the few people trying to rekindle the Ocala Runners Club, and I am someone who FREELY volunteers my time to help grow numerous events in the area. In addition to being vary involved in the local running scene, I have done various projects outside of Ocala in hope of making the sport better. Below is a list of things I’ve done in the past few years to help promote my sport.
- Multiple Time FHSAA State Track and Field Meet Announcer
- NCAA Championship Announcer (East Preliminary Rounds)
- 2x ASUN Conference Championship Track and Field Announcer
- Freelancer to multiple running web sites
- Past Store Manager for one of America’s top running stores
- USATF Level 1 Coach
- the list goes on……………………..
As much as it pains me to say it, I am NOT a supporter of Ocala’s newest running store.
A few months ago, the store manager asked me to come work at his store. After explaining to him that I had my own hopes of opening a store, and my employment with him would be a conflict of interest, he has made it his mission to destroy my reputation in the community. It is to the point that I get sick to my stomach when mentions his name or his business around me.
My side of things
Employment– Even if I didn’t wish to open my own store, I still would have had to turn down the offer. I am college educated and have experience managing a store that won multiple top 50 store awards while I was employed there. The offer I was given was $10 and hour with the opportunity to be assistant manager after 1-2 years of training. I know my worth. I currently have a web site that gets 1000’s of hits a week, I coach 45+ athletes, and I have relationships with many of the local businesses that are involved in the local running community. By accepting a $10 and hour position, my efforts in the community would only stand to make someone else rich.
4 on the 4th – It has been expressed to me that I am the reason that the new running store was not allowed to participate in the race. 1) I am not the race director, and do not have the capacity to make those decisions. I merely helped promote the race, as it is one that I have run multiple times and I wanted to help it grow, 2) I did promote the person who came down and sold shoes. At the time, THERE WAS NO RUNNING STORE IN OCALA, and the person who came down was a good friend of mine. He paid money to sponsor the race, and has sponsored multiple events that the race timing company has put on. 3) From my understanding, the new store could have participated in the race, but did not want to come to the table with sponsorship money. 4) The manager of the store had been promoting the watermelon run in Gainesville, and had posted that his store would be hosting its own 4th of July race in 2015. He was not interested in the 4 on the 4th until he found out that someone would be there selling shoes.
Making Money – In the last week I have had multiple people ask me about why my web site charges a processing fee for people who register for races. The running store’s manager has been trying to leverage the processing fee as a way of me taking advantage of the running community. 1) I created a web site that offers an alternative to some of the pricier registration web sites. The most popular site charges $1.25 more per registration than what I currently charge. 2) Maintaining multiple web sites is not cheap. I need nearly 1,000 registrants to merely break even with the site. 3) I am a local company that promotes local events. Any money that my company will eventually make, will be reinvested into the community.
Speaking of Local- This is more of a pet peeve than anything else. Just because there is a store here, doesn’t make it local. The managers and investors are from and live out of town. For a store to be local one would imagine that the majority of the payroll would be to local employees. He cries that people need to support their local store, but he is not a local supporter. I know a bunch of races that were given a list of demands for him to become a sponsor. The #1 being their store being the “exclusive” running store sponsor. In the races I have been involved in, $$$ were never things offered as sponsorship. Instead the package he offers consists of a lot of stuff other entities do for free. Including race bibs, and bags.
Harassment – I am consistently the victim of harassment by ambassadors of this store. I have been repeatedly put down by my action of leaving of the Jingle Bell Run from my web sites calendar. The thing that most of the harassers didn’t realize was that we were specifically told not to include their events. 1 Day we were asked to take their stuff off our calendar, the very next day I was personally singled out as not being a true supporter of the running community. The comments made caused an uproar that I had to spend hours defending.
The Newest Campaign – The newest round of attacks comes at the expense of my event calendar and registration system. As mentioned above, I have had multiple people tell me that the manager of the store is bad mouthing the fact that my site charges an event processing fee. Little does he realize, I am charged a fee per person. I not only have to pay a processing fee myself, I have to pay for the program that registers the runners, the programs that are used to create the graphics, and the hosting of the site. Why all the trouble? I see it as an investment in the community’s future. Someday the web site might make money. But today it freely promotes a great number of events. Although I can’t add a value, I can say that there are a lot of organizations that are getting free promotion off the back of $1,000’s of dollars in student loan debt. My degree, resume, and web site viewership has to ad some sort of value to my marketing efforts………..Right?
For non-believers – If you don’t believe the store is singling out me or my business, then check out their Facebook page. In the past few days I have seen more posts about the “EXCLUSIVE” event calendar then I have about the state of the art fit process, their weekly group run, or their sponsored Jingle Bell Event. In turn look at my page or my business page. I am promoting events. I have always promoted events.
If you are reading this please do me a favor; Stop trying to hurt me and my passion for the sport. Concentrate on making the community a better place for all of us. Train your employees on proper fitting techniques. Support local races regardless of exclusivity. Create new business for yourself. You are obviously passionate about the sport, inspire others to be the same way. Leave me out of it as I am not currently your competitor, and you only stand to be more successful with my success. More participants = More potential customers.
Local Running Enthusiast
Small Business Owner
High School XC Coach
This post is more out of frustration than anything else. I have been unemployed since July with no visible light at the end of the tunnel.
Where have I gone wrong?
I did as instructed in life, I got good grades in high school, I stayed out of trouble, I went to college, I got a degree, and I’ve met many different people in varying positions. I have participated in internships, I have worked for free, and I have even tried to create my own opportunities in life. I volunteer in the community, I help others when asked, and in everything I do I give my all.
Really though, something has to budge. I have applied to multiple jobs that I should be a shoe in for. Take for example the Entry Level Account Executive I applied for at an ad firm. The job listing advertised that it was a perfect position for new college graduates looking to gain experience in the industry. After the interview I was told I was unqualified for the position, as I had no experience in the CRM tools they use……….Something not taught in any college class.
How about the job selling shoes at Dicks Sporting Goods. I have a college degree, sales experience, and was a manager at a top 50 running specialty store. I really shouldn’t have to apply for a job like this, but I did. Did I get a call back? Hell no. How about an e-mail? Nope! Yet, they have employees on the floor called Running Specialists with PRs of 28 minutes in the 5k who can be quoted as saying that the Brooks Adrenaline is one of the worst selling shoes on the market……………Really?
How about the job as a sales rep for a vary well known compression company. I came highly recommended by the person who previously held the position, the one they begged to stay. Without even an interview, I was told I didn’t fit the mold they look for in an employee. The fact that I had experience in the market that they cater to was immaterial. Instead they wanted sharks. I was told that unless I had experience selling payment processing systems, employee uniforms, or fax and copy machines to businesses then I didn’t qualify to work for their company. Not sure how the ability to sell a fax machine relates to selling compression apparel to businesses in the sports industry.
I’m running short on places to apply. I have applied to places that don’t require a high school diploma, I have applied to places that do, I have applied to places that require experience that I possess and places that don’t require experience. I have applied to positions in the health industry, to positions in advertising and marketing, to positions in retail, and to positions in manufacturing. I have opened search to positions well out of the realm of my comfort zone. No bites, no nibbles, no nothing.
I keep being told to be patient, that my big break will come. I keep doing things for free hoping that eventually it will pay off in the long run. Unfortunately patience doesn’t pay rent, car payments, or health insurance. I’m tired of working for free, and not being able to do anything. I’m tired of calculating whether it’ll be this month, or the next, that my bank account will finally run dry. I’m tired of listening to everyone version of sunshine while I am standing here in the dark.
Sorry for all the bitching, but really I am ready for a break. I have done so much to set myself up for success that doesn’t seem to be coming.
Dear Winn Dixie,
I am disturbed by a recent experience I had in one of your Ocala locations. I was in the store to purchase some items for dinner which included a bottle of wine. Upon check out I was asked to furnish an ID. I was happy to do so and the cashier swiped it through the system. I was a little irked, however, that she did not do the same thing to the person ahead of me who was purchasing a carton of cigarettes. Although I believe the women was of age to purchase tobacco, I think this is a very dangerous practice.
Marion county currently has a rate of underage smokers that is higher than the state average (14.8 vs 10.1) Tobacco us is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and devastates families with its affects. We recently lost my grandfather due to causes related to years of tobacco use, and my grandmother is lost without him. I only tell you about my grandfather because I want you to see that products you sell directly impact your customers.
With all that has been said I am not asking for you to stop selling these products, it would be great but is very unrealistic. I am asking you to change you policy regarding tobacco sales and require an ID for every purchase. As one of the top grocers in our area I think a strict tobacco policy would help influence other retailers and possibly help prevent youth tobacco use.
I have recently started working with this start up company to create a social media / e-mail campaign in order to raise awareness about their growing business. We have had great success in the beginning due to the fact that the first e-mail campaign sent out generated business and caused the company to launch over a month earlier than expected!
Those of you taking the time to read this probably know that I just recently lost my grandfather, who lived in Ocala. He and my grandmother have had custody of my two younger siblings (9 years old and 15 years old) for the past 4 or 5 years and because of his death I feel I need to move closer in order to make things easier on my grandmother. Wednesday, November 23rd will be my last day, so now is as good a time as any to say farewell. In order to keep things easy I’m dedicating a paragraph to each group I feel I need to say goodbye to. (Co-workers, Bosses, Resolution, Training partners, Coaches, and high school runners)
Guys we’ve all had our ups and downs these past 2 years and I realize I sometimes can be a pain in the ass. Thanks for always putting up with me regardless of what was going on at the time. We’ve all had the moments at work where we’ve thought “whats the point?” But for every one of those we’ve had 100 more that makes us happy to be there. There is no doubt in my mind that the store and its employees will have a lasting impact on the Jacksonville Running Community and I’m happy to say that I’ve got to be a part of that.
Jo, Owen, and Ted
Thanks for bringing me on and letting me be part of the JRC family. Ted-we didn’t always agree on how things should be done but I appreciate you always letting me give input into things and respecting my opinions even though you didn’t have to. I look forward to helping you guys at the Ocala Marathon, so make sure you call me up! Jo and Owen, I feel I’m a better person by simply knowing both of you. Jo- Thanks for being such a good training partner and friend. Owen- Thank you for always pushing me to be better and supporting me in my plight, you are doing a great thing for Jacksonville and when its all said and done I hope your enthusiasm for the sport is able to spread throughout the state.
Training Partners/Fellow Club Members/ Running Family
Without you guys I no doubt would probably weigh 300 lbs. I appreciate every phone call, wall post, and text message that forced me out the door to put in the miles. Thank you for putting up with my off color humor, my repetitive stories, and my complaints about the little things. Make sure you keep putting in the work and enjoying every step.
Thanks to all of you for taking me in and treating me as if I was part of the team. I have the utmost respect for each and everyone of you and hope that I will someday join your ranks in changing peoples lives. I had a rough home life in high school and without my xc family and coaches I think I would be much worse off. So make sure you continue staying positive and keep the kids wanting more, you never know the lasting impact you might have on your runner’s lives.
High School Runner’s
I am no doubt blessed to be able to watch you grow as not only runners but also as people. Continue listening to your coaches, working hard, and chasing your dreams. I will continue to work with DistancePreps with the hope that we will continue to cross each others paths. If any of you need any advice on college or need help figuring out the paperwork feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com and I will help out to the best of my ability.
Thanks for constantly inviting me out and never judging me on my beliefs. You guys/girls have made me feel better about going to church again. The trip to North Carolina opened my eyes to things and has changed certain aspects of my life. If I’m ever back in Jax on a Tuesday night I hope I’ll still be welcome to attend the service.
To Everyone Else
Its been fun……….
For those of you wondering I most likely will be going back to work for Sprint until everything gets figured out. I will also be trying to build my Social Marketing business, so if you subscribe to JRC’s e-mail or any of their FB pages and feel I can help someone you know a referral will be appreciated!
I will continue to train for the 1/2 marathon in Ocala on January 22nd. If you haven’t run this race, it’s a definite must. I will also be back up in Jacksonville on February 4th for the Step Up 5k. If you are free that day make sure to come out and support the event, it’s FREE and helps raise money for a good cause.
Thanks again everyone who has made my time in Jacksonville a good one. Ocala is only 2 hours away, so make sure not to be strangers!
Last night I was able to mark down my very first brick workout of the new year. The day started out pretty poorly, I woke up in time for the mile repeat workout I had on the schedule but didn’t go because I had trouble walking down the stairs. I then overslept my scheduled swim. After such a poor start I decided that I would just spin on my trainer after work.
When I got off of work I jumped on the trainer and decided to go for 45 minutes and then try for an easy 2 mile run afterwards. The 45 minute ride was fairly easy and the last minute was spent with me practicing getting out of my shoes before dismount. I immediately ran down stairs and put on my shoes, total transition time about a minute and a half. When I started my run I kept telling myself to relax, I had just run 1:26:23 for my half marathon and my legs were super sore. Relax, relax, relax was all I kept thinking and I hit the mile and turned around. I didn’t check myh split at this time and just kept going. On my second mile I was a little more aggressive. I was fighting the wind but I wanted to make sure I had a quality run. With 4 blocks remaining I started to break down. The last 4 blocks I concentrated on my form and my breathing, upon completion I clicked my watch……..6:04, the first mile being 6:28.
For this being my first brick and one of the very few I have ever done I was ecstatic with the time. I truely believe that if I can improve my cycling and my swim by September I can have a pretty legit time in Augusta.
Today marked our first day of training with a business license. Thank you Beverly for bearing with us as we work out the kinks.
For those who don’t know Jason, Ryan, and I started a coaching service that will be taking place in select St. Johns areas. We are set to start group coaching on September 20th and will be coaching people to become more injury free, stronger and faster.
Most coaching programs throw people into mileage and workouts without ever letting the runner build his/her athletic foundation. At Evolved Runner we take a little different of an approach. Our goal is to make runners more athletic. A study on pponline.co.uk suggests that 65% of all runners experience some sort of minor injury during the year. A lot of these injuries can be prevented through improved running form and strengthening the stabilizer muscles. We aim to strengthen our clients through drills and exercises early on in the program helping them to evolve as better runners and better athletes.
If you have any interest in improving your performance and becoming a better runner please e-mail us firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website Evolved Runner.
Set our for another day of my tri training yesterday and started it off with a quick 10 miler in between classes during the hottest part of the day. I was in the saddle for 32 min and that includes all the stops I had to make for traffic. I really don’t know what to expect from the bike portion of the race. I can average about 18-19 mph on the bike without proper shoes and without being properly fit for a bike. Currently I wear my running shoes while I cycle so I am only able to push and not pull while spinning. If I can get a pair of cycling shoes I might do decent on this portion.
After cycling I went to class and when i finished I went to the place that runners hat the most……….the pool. I have been trying to hit up the pool 2 times a week just to build up my endurance in the water and become comfortable while swimming. On Tuesday I swam 1000m and thought I was going to die when I finished, Thursday was a little different. I went into Thursday’s swim with the mentality that I was swimming 1000m and I wasn’t going home until I was done. I was able to swim in 100m increments with more ease than I was able to swim 25m when I first started. My breathing is almost at a pattern of every third stroke and I am even getting better at bringing my self up high enough for sighting purposes. If I can keep with it I might be able to get the swim portion down.
After swimming I went to the running store and did an easy 3 miles with a few friends. The running portion should be my bread and butter as long as I am able to do it after cycling. More will come about my training in a few days.
Just in case you read this and are wondering what I am doing, I am running the Ameliaman on October 17th. Anyone who wants to race against me can sign up at http://ameliaman.com/