Two things I don’t get

Forgive me for being cranky this week. Thunderstorms have been taking a daily crap on my outdoor workout plans…and also, apparently, pouring water into the walls of our house.

Oh hey kitty…I put that there to keep the floor dry, not to collect cat hair, but whatever floats your boat. Or should I say your freighter, Sir Fatty Pants.

So I’m dealing with the roofers again and throwing around terms like “reworked scuppers” and “proper flashing” and “commercial grade sealant that could hold back the Hoover dam” and “tell me where to send this painfully large check.”


Also, I was attempting to do some yard work yesterday (or rather: chop down enormous weeds with Home Depot Garden Center’s version of a machete, because the landscaping fund has now been swallowed by the roofers) and acquired no fewer than 50 mosquito bites. And I’m one of those lucky people who is super allergic, I guess. So basically, I’m an itchy and irritable mess.

Whine, bitch, moan…I know. Life could be worse. But that doesn’t mean it’s not taking every ounce of willpower I have not to rake my fingernails across my welt-pocked calves right now. Oh god, how good would that feel? No, no, nooooo….

Um, where were we?

Oh right, I was going to complain about a couple of (rather meaningless) things that I don’t get.

1) Color Runs. 

(sources: top, Color Me Rad; bottom, The Color Run)

So as I understand it, you pay a bunch of money to walk/jog an untimed 5K, get pelted with dyed cornstarch, and finish looking like a clown has sharted on you.

Am I the only one who is thinking: WTF?

The marketing of these events seems to be a feel-good, happy-dippy take on the hard-core, obstacle/mud run trend (“look how filthy we are! our clothes are ruined!”) but without, you know, the actual obstacles or running.

“The happiest 5K on the planet!” claims The Color Run. “When Zoloft and balloon animals can’t seem to raise your spirits, the best way to brighten your life is to run the Color Me Rad 5K!” counters its competitor.

I get that these things are perhaps aimed at non-runners. People who need a gimmick or a “wheeeeeee, togetherness!” experience in order to motivate themselves to complete 3.1. And I’m all for encouraging people to exercise. But I still just don’t understand how making a total pointless mess out of yourself, your clothing, and a public space accomplishes that.

And these things sell out. Color me baffled.

But if you’ve been shut out of your local color run, feel free to send your $40 to me. You can come to my house and walk around my yard and I’ll squirt food coloring-tinted vodka at you with my Super Soaker.

Actually, never mind the registration fee…I’ll do it for free.

2) Brooks Ambassadors.

If you’ve read this blog for a while, you probably know that Brooks have been my shoe brand of choice for a while. I’ve run in and (and blogged about) their traditional trainers (Ghost, Ravenna, Adrenaline), trail shoes (AdrenalineGTX), racing flats (ST4 and ST5), and of course the PureProject, as the PureFlow (pictured above) is currently my preferred everyday running shoe.

While I’ll continue to sing praises about the people that make the shoes, I’m giving the side eye to Brooks’ marketing department on this whole Run Happy Ambassador thing that seems to be popping up all over blogs lately.

Bloggers getting in bed with brands is annoying to begin with, but it’s a thousand times worse when it’s obvious that the blogger (1) doesn’t know shit about what they’re trying to review and (2) is parroting (and misinterpreting) marketing materials that the company is feeding them.

Take just one example. Really, Brooks? This the sort of post you want as the face of your brand?

Never mind the misguided discussion of running mechanics (uh, “toe-striking?”). Unless Brooks has drastically changed their PureProject strategy in the last few months, it’s not a “minimalist” or “barefoot” shoe line. (In fact, when the line was launched, the literature Brooks provided to running store employees on the PureProject pointedly discouraged the use of those words when selling them.) But OMG! They come in bright neon colors, y’all!

Page views > relevant information and accuracy.

And yes, I know it sounds like I’m a FATTY JEALOUS HATER and I’ll freely admit that I am. In the past, I’ve approached Brooks’ PR people about doing a shoe giveaway for you guys (not even asking for a free pair for myself! just to give away!) and was turned down. It kind of stung; I know my blog is small, but I’ve given Brooks quite a bit of (free!) space on this blog over the last couple of years, simply because I genuinely love their product and I like writing about running shoes.

I’m sure there are Run Happy Ambassadors out there who know what they’re taking about and can competently represent the brand, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s kind of a joke.

Anyway. As expected, this post turned into a rambly rant. Who needs some calamine lotion and a cocktail? THIS GIRL.

Much more effective than dyed cornstarch.

140 responses to “Two things I don’t get

  1. Completely off topic, but can I just say that I love your writing style?? You keep me so entertained (plus the Paint pictures, hilarious)! Your blog is awesome :)
    P.S. Been to Atlanta many times, it has its moments (traffic WTF) but it is a great city!

    • Thanks! And I think it’s a great city too, I really like it here, crazy traffic and all!

  2. Love this post. From the vodka gun (can I just open my mouth like at the arcade?) to the honesty re: shoe reviews.


    That’s what you wanted me to take away from this, right?

  4. I don’t get the color run or the obstacle course phenomenon. When I’m running, all I want to do is run. I don’t want to deal with barbed wire or monkey bars or whatever else they put in your way. And if I get muddy, I’d rather it come from a muddy trail than a mud pit. I am a fan of people getting off the couch though, so I guess whatever motivates you. It just seems like a way to make running “fun,” but if you don’t like the activity on its own then I think you should go find something you do like.

  5. … there are COMPETING BRANDS of color runs? Oh my.

  6. So I stopped reading That Blog that you linked to long ago, but had to read that post. It has 1015 comments!?!?

    Oh Mugatu. So HAPPY. I was going to do the Color Run here as my first race back after being immobilized since some friends were going to do it, and I figured it would be chill. It sold out back in March I think? Race was a week ago. That alone was a turn off. I think you are on to something with the booze squirt gun race. See how many shots you can take whilst running a 5k without puking!!!!!!!!!

    • That’s crazy. I think that’s the thing that’s most WTF about them…why are so many people DYING to do this?! Someone is laughing all the way to the bank here.

    • She only has so many comments because she offered a give away.

      • True. It still baffles me that posts with only OMG OATZ get hundreds of comments. What is there to discuss!?!?

        • Well, she won’t publish my comment, which is that it seems like she copied and pasted large parts of that from promotional material. (The writing is far better than normal.)

          So I guess that’s one thing they’re NOT discussing.

  7. wait … toestriking? what?

    Anyway, you’re not a jealous hater. I’d rather see people as ambassadors who actually run in the brand’s shoes and are knowledgeable (ie. YOU), rather than those who seem to change running shoe brands according to who sent them something for free this month. Doesn’t seem right.

  8. Haha… that’s pretty funny. I got invited to a Color Run last year and thought the concept was not my cup of tea. I did one mud run (the famous Camp Pendleton one) and refuse to do any more of those, either. I have enough issues with my sweat and don’t want more gunk in my eyes.

    And I’m pretty sure ambassador-ship is only cool for the free stuff, though Brooks never quite suited my needs anyway.

  9. 1) I like the idea of a Color Run but have never done one but I’m also a little bit gay like that. I just think it would be kind of fun with a big group of friends and an excuse to act like an ass without (too much) judgment.
    2) That Ambassador project (and others similar) make me ragey. I am going to take it as a good sign that none of my regular blogs are Ambassadors. Brooks says on the shoe description that the Pure line is a balance between minimalistic and cushion shoes… which every other brand just markets as “lightweight”, right? Whatevs. I am so tired of the d-baggery of the big bloggers.

  10. Make it gin instead of vodka and I’ll bring the bottle, you bring the squirt gun. Though I’m more inclined to do a beer mile…

    As for the colour run – I really can’t imagine it being all that fun. But maybe it is because the idea of inhaling coloured corn starch makes me cough.

  11. I’m doing the Boston color run next weekend….. Let’s just say it sounded more appealing before i realized that I would be a hot sweaty mess when someone would be throwing cornstarch at me. Now it sounds … Clumpy?

    Also I’m similarly disappointed with Brooks choice of bloggers. Two I browse regularly and I think they didn’t actually run in Brooks before this. (I may be wrong on that…)

  12. It is glaringly obvious that That Blogger copied and pasted press releases to make up 90% of that blog. That or she finally learned how to structure a gramatically correct sentence, found out how to use her spellchecker and actually proofread for once.
    I don’t understand why any brands would want to associate with that car-crash.

    • 100% agree on this. She is usually such a train wreck that it is glaringly obviously someone had to tell her what to say so she wouldn’t butcher the spelling/grammar.

    • hahah BURN.

  13. I think mud runs are stupid but I confess (embarrassed face) that a color run sounds fun (ugh rhyme)…just like a long Holi celebration. But your second point? Absolutely. It’s just so ridiculous.

    • MissPinkkate

      The thing that blows my mind about “color runs” is that they’re a total cultural appropriation of Holi, and nobody says anything about that, and nobody seems to care. I can’t decide if it’s appropriate to turn another culture’s festival into something silly hipsters do. Although I guess that’s what makes them silly hipsters.

  14. Thank you! I’m so sick of these companies flying these bloggers around, having them attend awesome events, sending them home with armfuls of free stuff, and then what does this one do? Whines that she wasn’t given the PINK shoe.

    It seems as though Brooks has partnered with her based on pageviews, not because of her interest in the brand or her willingness to do legitimate research. They’re paying her to misinform their customers. Lame.

  15. Love. Just love. I agree with both points whole heartedly. I’m not a Brooks girl, but I used to think of them as a “serious running brand” you know, like Mizuno (my shoe love), but now picking the bloggers they picked makes them look like a silly girl brand like Oiselle. I guess that’s the idea, appeal to the masses or whatever, but I don’t like it.

    Also, my boyfriend told me he wanted to do a color run, and I just felt sad for him. So lame.

  16. So I read the vent about the color run and I thought.. damn, I know why I read this blog. This chick is awesome. Then I read the 2nd vent and I freaking love you. Creepy, probably.

    • Aw, thanks!

      • Agree with Kelly!
        I actually did the Color Run in SF last weekend. I didn’t really look into it at all beforehand and signed up at the last minute because some of my clients were doing it. I guess they added a second running here, so spaces were open, though it certainly didn’t feel that way at the race. There was a RIDICULOUS amount of people. I didn’t realize it wasn’t timed and didn’t know to wear a white shirt, just to give you an idea of how unprepared I was. It was definitely a joke. Basically a walking party. I’d never do it again!
        Also, my (bootcamp) company in SF is quite large and we’ve been pushing our clients to wear Brooks for, oh, TEN YEARS. They’ve ignored us too when inquiring if there was any way we could simply just get a discount for our clients or try to get kicks for our trainers who promote them. So yeah, I kind of know how you feel when I see posts like the aforementioned.

  17. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of bloggers that sell their souls for a brand. I don’t mind if a blogger honestly reviews something, or tells me about something they really enjoy b/c they use it all the time–I’ve found helpful items/food/products that way. But there’s a line . . .

    And I’m with you and needing the pain relievers . . . currently mine would be tiger’s balm and a cocktail! :)

  18. Could not agree more on both accounts!
    In fact, I have been wondering for a pretty long time why any companies would pay someone who is SUCH a terrible writer to promote their brand through WRITING.

  19. I don’t think you are a big fat jelly hater, and this post made me like you even more!
    Philly had The Color Run last weekend. It was annoying. I am tired of people telling me I am no fun because I thought it was stupid. And I think people only want to run it so they can take pictures of themselves.
    And brands and bloggers. Ugh. I don’t even know what to say, except it makes me have a lot less respect for certain brands.

  20. It’s like you took a peek inside my mind before writing that. Could not agree more.

  21. Wow! Fortunately the Color Run hasn’t made it over to Deutschland yet. This is the first I’ve heard of it. Sounds dumb and pointless.

    And omg the blogger shilling thing. I am so over it. But it clearly works like whoa. The companies don’t care what the blogger says as long as it includes the name of their product and some colorful photos, and gets a ton of page views. As far as Brooks is concerned, they have now reached at least 1015 Meals&Miles readers who are like OMG PINK SHOES SQUEEEEEE! Another case in point: the only reason I know anything about Oiselle is via bloggers. We don’t have that brand in Germany! And I still know way too much about it! If I lived in the US I would probably have bought at least one Oiselle product by now, just because these people I read on a regular basis are all “OMGYOUGUIIISSSSE! ROGA SHORTS! #TOTALLYTRIALSTEEHEE” (See, I even remember the name of the gd shorts! Judging by the photos, they’re not even cute!) Same with Nuun, cute Under Armour gym outfits, and I’m sure the list is a lot longer but I’ve now managed to depress myself.

    What, you don’t toe strike? Well, speak for yourself. It really is a preference of experience.

    • True, it’s all about exposure and clearly it works.

      Doesn’t make the sour grapes any sweeter though. :)

      • Oh definitely not. It’s just sort of incredible how blogs turned out to be the ultimate advertising tool: cheap and effective.

        Still pondering the phrase “preference of experience.” How can someone write like that? You don’t get points for using multi-syllable words unless they are in some sort of recognizable order.

  22. Yes, and yes.

    I love you.

  23. I dont get the color run or the obstacle runs. I get dirty enough as it is, I’m certainly not going to pay someone to throw shit at me, and I dont need to trip over things. I fall on my own, thanks.

    I’ve deleted so many blogs because of the whole blog pimping ambassador bs. Most of the time it’s not genuine. I appreciate bloggers who recommend products because they actually like and use them, not bc they’re just getting free stuff. And that blog post…appalling. Brooks should be embarrassed.

  24. look, I live in Atlanta too and I like running but it’s hot and I’m lazy so I like drinking more. can I come over for the aforementioned booze fight? I’m more of a gin gal, so I’ll even BYO (BMO?) ammo.

    • I see that there could be an actual thing here. Everyone bring your favorite booze and a squirt gun! And, go!

  25. How could you possibly compete in a Color Run when OHMYGOD IT WILL RUIN THE COLOR OF YOUR PERFECT NEON PINK SHOEEEEEES?

    When brands partner with idiots, it makes me like the brand less. Do a little diligence before you shack up with some blogger — just because they have a large following doesn’t mean that they’re going to do a good job. (And in a lot of cases, it means that they won’t.)

    Here is my post on my Pure Flows: Do you think that Brooks will make me a brand ambassador? “Running like an asshole” would make a great new tag line for their target customer.

  26. I actually bought a pair of pureflow shoes because of a post you wrote on them. I read your blog all the time but I am too lazy to comment. . . . . You seem to know your stuff when it comes to running so I figured if you were wearing them they must be good. I love them! and I owe it all to you :)

    I will not be wasting my money on a color run. I have done the dirty dash once and I won’t be doing that again. I would consider a race that involves beer, but I live in Utah and I don’t see that happening here!

    • Hey, you guys have Uinta out there! They make some good beers!

      Glad you like the PureFlows too!

  27. Personally I find that I run much better when I’m striking with my toes…

    Thank you for writing this. I clearly am not above partnering with brands for things (seeing as I’m running HTC with Nuun in a month), but I think there’s a huge difference between promoting a product you believe in and blogging about anything you can get for free. And lately, the amount of product that companies have been giving to bloggers simply because of their large readership is sickening. I guess I can sort of understand it from a marketing standpoint – you want to reach the largest audience possible, and these girls definitely have the numbers. But you’d think that if a company had any interest in actually being respected in the running community, they would be just a bit more discerning about who they have representing their products…or at least make sure the “ambassadors” know what they’re talking about.

    And in terms of those color runs….the other day I saw a wedding blog post where the couple basically threw colored cornstarch at each other for their engagement photo shoot. Ummm…? The whole world has gone crazy.

  28. That Pure Project description was painful, and I don’t understand how these brands are picking ambassadors (duh, pageviews). There are so many better informed, better spoken (written?) potential spokespeople out there, but they wouldn’t market to the “Healthy Living” internet mass market, I guess.

    Related: I have a small blog, too, and sometimes get offers to review stuff. If I like it, I take it and review it, but it’s never anything all that great – at least, not as great as a pair of shoes or something. Recently a ton of blogs I read have been pimping the new project from Mizuno. The Mizuno people sent me an email basically asking me to advertise for them for free for no reason. I wrote back asking what it is they were trying to achieve through our “partnership”, that is, did they want me to do a giveaway? Were they offering shoes to review? And they responded, no, we’re not looking to give you anything, we just want you to shill for us. Screw that. That pretty much guaranteed I’ll never try Mizuno.

    In other words, internet marketing is stupid, but I liked Brooks before M&M told me what a “toestrike” is, and I’m willing to overlook their poor choice of spokeswomen if they keep making the Ravennas the way I like. I feel like they wouldn’t kick you down a free pair because you’re already singing their praises.

    Gah, it’s 97 degrees here today, I stopped making sense around 11 am.

    • I get companies who want me to review their ass lube! Hooray.

      I also recently got some hangover prevention potion that I still need to properly try out and review.

      Clearly I’m a respected and reputable member of this community.

  29. I don’t get mud runs nor color runs. I have friends and family who participate in the former. Some do work out and prep for the events, but a lot seem to spend more time coming up with cute costumes than actually training to run the distance or tackle the obstacles. I’m sure a good trail run could be enough of an obstacle course and way less expensive. I also tend to run shorter distance races with non-profits or someone holding it as part of a fundraiser.

    FYI, one of your reviews of Brooks Adrenalines was very useful. I admit, they caught my eye because of the color (love that they had a teal/purple combination). Once I looked them up, they seemed to meet my needs. I’ve been running in them over a year and haven’t had any problems.

    I got some free stuff via Brooks’ Run Happy campaign. I guess they saw that I was buying several pairs through Zappos. It wasn’t anything like a trip to NY or free shoes, just a Run Happy reusable bag.

    • One other reason to hate on mud runs: They charge admission for spectators (at least the one my cousin did in the Inland Empire somewhere). Not cool. I’ll just like your photo on FB.

      • Yep, and the races themselves are so freakin’ expensive, too.

        Glad you have had good luck with the Adrenalines! It really is a great all-around shoe that works for so many people.

  30. I’m glad I’m not the only one tired of these Ambassadorships. Whether it’s Reebok or Brooks, I’m tired of people getting and endorsing products they wouldn’t use without getting free shill. It’s not honest, many of them don’t properly disclose, or even know the quality/nature of the product their advertising. I see it as a very dangerous road for health/fitness blogging to go down, and I wish more people would speak up, or at least refuse to read blogs who don’t follow ethical practices.

  31. Tee Hee! Using Brains is too hard! Im suppose, to think about these things? :) !

  32. A new reader and I have to confess that I will love you forever for this one post alone.

    I just don’t understand the thinking behind companies that use these bloggers as their “ambassadors”. I sure as hell would not want my brand in any way, shape or form associated with that nightmare! Obviously, page views is worth more to them than quality of content. Unfortunately for them, it makes me give them the side eye and reconsider using their products now.

  33. I don’t see any point to the color runs either. Why do they sell-out when there are so many nice local races supporting good causes that cost less? Because people are sheep. Baa.

  34. I hadn’t planned on running in my local Color Run, but I was lucky enough to win a free entry to the race. It was all right. The shirt is adorable, but the running wasn’t as much fun with having to anticipate the color throws. For a 5k, it’s a bit pricey too.

  35. Makes me cranky that bloggers with poor writing skills and virtually no personal knowledge or experience with products are shilling Brooks and other products I enjoy. Brooks doesn’t need to pay me to give an analysis of my Ravenna 2 or Cascadia 6 shoes. I’ll gladly type that baby up for free.

    My thoughts on color runs are “that’s $45 I could spend on an actual race!” I love that trail races are fairly cheap in my neck of the woods.

  36. I think we need to buy super soakers, hit up Green’s, and have our own atlanta booze dash! Booze battle? Vodka mile? I’m totally down!

  37. Laurenonymous

    I don’t think the color runs (and maybe the mud runs) would be nearly as popular if people didn’t get to take pictures to post on Facebook for everyone to see. If there were no Facebook, I’m not so sure anyone would do some of these types of runs. No one to brag to or show craaaazay pictures of their wacky antics. My news feed was jampacked with people talking about the Color Run for days.

    • This is so very true. Colormud Runs: second only to Halloween as an excuse to post half naked pictures on FB!

  38. You had me at colored vodka. I’ll be right over. (I’m sorry, I paid attention to nothing after that- I’m having a pretty powerful daydream about having vodka launched at me out of a watergun and I LIKE IT.)

  39. I have nothing to contribute. I just wanted to say that I’m also sick of the brand pimping. It’s ridiculous, and SOO obvious that some of these bloggers have NO CLUE. At least choose someone that actually runs in Brooks.. geez.

    also. i have the pure cadence. i hate them. they suck.

  40. Blog post of the year so far… The blog brand ambassador crap has me on my last nerve, thank god I found away to block out #fitfluential from my Twitter feed (that was on my last nerve last week).

  41. From The Blogger you linked to.

    Basically, the PureProject line is about as close as you can get to barefoot running in the terms of feeling the ground without needing to change your strike or, you know, run barefoot. “Feel more with less” is the tagline.

    But I thought we were supposed to change to toe-striking! I am so confused.

  42. freakin’ thank you!!!!!!!! my god, i hate when people are picked as so-called ambassadors purely on page views. i love brooks and applied to be a “tester” (not sure if that’s exactly what it’s called) but never heard back from them. and i won’t even approach them about a giveaway or anything of that sort because i know my blog isn’t one of the “popular ones”. pisses me off.

    • I’ve been a wear tester for Brooks once. I think a crapton of people apply, and it just depends on your size and luck of the draw. Theoretically I’m still in their bank of testers but I haven’t been selected in a couple of years.

  43. The fact that they chose That Blogger over you makes me hate the fact that I wear Brooks. Not the gimmicky Pure Flows, but some clunkier, cushioned shoes that aren’t in vogue right now so will probably be discontinued.

    Color runs are definitely for non-runners, or at least those who won’t even run in the rain and need to feel like badasses somehow.

    • These comments are cracking me up. I feel like we are talking about Voldemort.

      Also, LOLZ at your URL. Hope you are doing well!

  44. Toe-striking… you know, like ballet? In toe shoes? That’s all I can think of.

  45. oh my God, thank you!! I’ve been stewing about this Brooks “Ambassador” stuff for a few weeks now. It really bothers me how they just seem to have picked the most “popular” blogger peoples to use, which would make total sense from a marketing perspective… But, like you point out, a lot of them haven’t even taken the time to learn about the products (or running, for that matter…). Brooks is also my favorite shoe brand and I really respect them, but I also looked at them as being focused on “serious” running and runners before this whole thing. Their decisions on who to use for their program is so disappointing.

  46. I think someone like you is way more deserving of an ambassadorship than someone that calls it “toe-striking”… I’m far from a running expert, but come on! I love reading your shoe reviews, I feel like I actually learn something , instead of feeling like I’m reading poorly written marketing materials with the ZOMG chance once in a lifetime chance to win a pair of the shoes… I’ll just buy them myself!

  47. I guess I’m a jealous hater too, then. I was beyond annoyed when another blogger became a Polar ambassador. I’ve been a huge Polar fan for years, I’ve given them TONS of free advertising (um, most of my posts feature at least one photo of my beloved hrm) and I contacted them several times (never heard anything). Really? But this blogger that loved her Garmin and never even used a Polar was an ambassador? So baffling (not really, it’s a popularity contest)! Yes, I’m a hater too!

    • That sucks. I’ve seen that too…people get these free gadgets and its obvious they only use them like once. That’s fine if you prefer your other stuff, but don’t cream yourself over the thing you’re reviewing if you don’t like it enough to actually use it yourself.

  48. I think certain bright-colored-shoe-wearers should be a part of the color run while opening their mouths for free cornstarch.
    I’ll agree with another in what I noticed: toe-striking? really? What could be a more “active experience” than running, period? Oh, pink shoes! And you cannot possibly compare the Adrenaline with Pure. Nav-band, whatever-whatever to help, but if you are a 300-lb. person wearing the Adrenaline with insoles, please-please-please don’t buy a Pure. And…. 4 miles? Didn’t she say to ease into it SLOWLY? stupid. End-rant comment!

  49. And that is why I didn’t schill cookbooks when I was actively blogging. I’m a hobby cook/baker, so I’m not really qualified to talk about the technical aspects of well-written recipes. I mean, I adore my Mizunos, have run since I could walk, and know more than most of the “brand ambassadors” I see in the blog world. And I *still* wouldn’t want to be a Mizuno brand ambassador. I really wonder what sort of payback Brooks will see with this sort of marketing strategy, to be perfectly honest.

    As for the Color Runs, blech. No other words necessary.

  50. I personally am a toe striker and resent your implication that this is not a good way to run. Or do ballet.

    Oddly a color run sounds fun to me, but I’d like to join you in the super soaker event you propose.

    I don’t mind schilling for Mizuno because I love their shit and would buy it anyways. But I the end of the day, a shoe is a shoe, and I’m still a not-even-locally-relevant runner no matter what I’m running in.

  51. New reader and there is nothing about this post that I don’t love – definitely laughing out loud over here.

  52. I wanted to do the color run here. Mostly because it was a different twist on the same ol’ 3.1. But it sold out within a day. So your rant makes me feel better. :)

  53. Look at you, publicly shaming a ridiculous blog post by a popular blogger <3 <3 <3 a girl after my own heart! Brooks, you made a fucking biiiig mistake. But you knew I would agree with that, right?

    Any thoughts on the Mizuno mizamishimizisha "project" that just about any blogger can pounce on? It seems somewhat good-hearted. Better than selecting certain ginormous kinda sorta runner bloggers as your selling face…

    • Hmm, I don’t know much about it, other than they contacted a whole bunch of bloggers big and small and offered free gear (or discounts?) to some of them? I like the idea of spending a smaller amount on a larger and more diverse group of ambassadors, rather than lavishing trips and gear and who knows what else on a handful. Seems like more potential for honest feedback that way.

      But if I’m being perfectly honest here, I think the reason the Brooks thing bugs me so much is that it’s “my” brand, you know? And everyone thinks that companies they like are above this sort of thing, but of course they aren’t. They want to make money, I don’t blame them for that, and reaching a large audience is effective advertising, even if it’s couched in nonsense writing.

      Blah, still bugs the hell out of me though.

      • Totally feel you on why you are bugged. I swear I thought I “discovered” Oiselle, by finding my perfect running shorts about a year ago in a small running store. Not that it makes me an Oiselle expert, but just like when your favorite small band starts playing on the top 10 radio, it was gagadocious when Oiselle began pandering to the blog popularity show.

        Anyway, I can only think of a small handful of runner-bloggers I read who could post valuable reviews about running gear. I know I couldn’t (I’m a shoe idiot). For most bloggers, if it’s free, it’s AWESOME. Review, done.

        • I consider myself THE most pathetic “running” blogger there is, in the categories of both page views and pace, and I even I got an email from Mizuno, which proves they’re not at all particular about who’s marketing their shit. LOLZ.

  54. Brooks Fanatic

    THANK YOU. I’m a big Brooks fan (and am in their Fanatic program, which I like a lot- you get a discount on shoes and you have a good Facebook group which is a mix of super hardcore runners and hobbyists that is a good place to ask your dumb shoe/running questions if you’re a loner runner like myself) and I am WTFing all over the Ambassador posts.

  55. I’ve put the Color Run/Color Me Rad races in the same category as Warrior Dashes and the like…if its your thing then great, but personally I don’t get it. Now, the Zombie Buffet 5k (aka a whole race being chased by zombies trying to eat my brains…I mean, snag the flags attached to my waist)? That’s something I can get behind! 😉

    And yeah, most of the Ambassador posts I’ve seen have made me me raise an eyebrow (though I’ll admit to entering the giveaway mentioned in the post you linked, because I’m going to have to get a new pair of Pure Cadences before the end of the summer…and that hot pink color IS awfully pretty ;D)

  56. 1. We both used Mugatu pics on our most recent posts. Did we just become best friends?

    2. If anyone threw anything at me during a race other than a million dollars I would throat chop them. The end.

  57. I just stumbled onto your blog…and I think I’m going to be staying a while!

    I don’t understand the color runs either, but I do understand the mud runs.

  58. KEWL… I want running advice from a barely cracked 4 hour marathoner! Perhaps one should spend some more time pounding the pavement than pounding the keyboard and churning out 3 blog updates a day. Which is why I WILL. NEVER. UNDERSTAND. WHY Brooks would represent a mediocre, at best, runner. I don’t have room to speak from my races but I like giving my opinion. Can’t wait till some of these broads start sporting the running dresses!

    M4M …. GOMI – yesterday.

  59. Every time I read “toe strike” I cringed. There are so many effing made up words in that blog- WTF is “pivot center?!” Argh! They need to give more shoes to their “sponsored” athletes like Gian, who has to go through 2 people with a 2 month notice when he needs new shoes. It is such a pain that he often orders them himself (at discount, but still).

    • The fact that so many sponsored – or semi sponsored – athletes struggle to get anything on their stipends/contracts while bloggers who can’t construct sentences get endless free shit never fails to amaze and stupify me. “GIVE FREE STUFF TO THE PEOPLE THAT GET THE MOST BLOG TRAFFIC” can’t truly be a sustainable marketing plan, right?


  60. I just heard about color runs this past weekend. Your post echoed my sentiments exactly. And don’t even get me started on the whole “ambassador” BS….

  61. I am so with you on not getting the Color Run. The one in Chicago sold out, and I read the posts from the bloggers who did it, and I just don’t get it. I’m also not a fan of obstacle races. I did one last fall, turned my ankle funny jumping off a hay bale, and realized it wasn’t my thing. However … I did do the Glo Run last month. It was at night, and you adorn yourself in glow sticks. It was timed though. And you didn’t get messy. And I never went to a rave in the 90s, so I figured this was a good way to make up for that.

  62. Whew, glad I’m not the only un-fun person who think the color run sounds absurd.

    I wish Brooks (and other brands) would recognize good bloggers (aka Shelby) to write & giveaway stuff and stay away from crappy bloggers. So it goes though. Back when I ran in New Balance I tried to get a free pair of shoes to giveaway to help me fundraise for my World Vision marathon. I was also… denied.

  63. I like getting free shit as much as the next person, but it’s starting to bug me. And I’m starting to feel like it isn’t worth it and I’m not that strapped for cash that I really need it. I also find it annoying that Brooks is not selecting people based on their love and *knowledge* of the product. I have been running in Brooks shoes since 2002. Yeah. 10 fucking years. Sure, I have other shoes (right now, rotating 5 pairs for varied purposes, 3 of which are Brooks) but I have been very loyal to the brand. But I’m not sure they give a rat’s ass about people who are loyal to their brand unless they have lots of page views. So, yeah, I have lost some respect for the brand. Mizuno seems a little less shitty about it but, they all kind of suck to me, equally, at this point.

  64. I think I love you. Truly. Girl crush, right here. In other news, a vodka super soaker party sounds like way too much fun. You should follow through.

  65. I don’t get why I didn’t get an invite to USL2012 :(

    No I agree on both points. But on the other hand…Brooks and New Balance (who have also participated in questionable blogging-related marketing) are brands I use and generally respect. Obviously I would prefer that they give their shoes and money to people like me and you and Gian, but you just can’t expect a global (or semi-global) brand to pander only to the nerdiest of running nerds. The Letsrun crew isn’t going to abandon Brooks any time soon, but if a few extra hundred page views help the company continue to sponsor Amy Hastings then…well…okay?

    I know! An obnoxiously noncommital answer. I suck.



      Yes, no, yes, you make a very good point. Andplusalso, I realize the shoes that they're pushing here (minimal, trendy, bright colors) are meant to have broad appeal (even though I happen to think they're pretty good shoes, technically). But still. Hrmph.

    • Well, no – they don’t have to pander. But is it really necessary to have the lowest common denominator shill shit? I think that within marking/SEO whatever there is this culture that MORE HITS = MORE DOLLARS. And that may very well be true.

      However, the bottom line is that sort of cheap promotion dilutes the brand. I mean, Per Se doesn’t put coupons in the New York Times, does it? That sort of shit would sure as hell bring in a ton more people (because who the fuck can afford Per Se), but it’d turn off their base. It’s a calculated risk and companies can certainly run shit however they want, but they do so knowing they could very well alienate their base customers by trying new, broader marketing approaches.

      Okay, right now: ULS 13: YOU’RE IN, right?

  66. Found you through GOMI. Thank you for what you are doing, truly.

    I have to agree with the approach Brooks is using right now to market their minimalist (is it just minimalist?) shoes. First off, I don’t run in Brooks. I never have and have switch between Asics and New Balance during my running career. I transitioned to minimalist running (not quite sure if I am bandwagoning or not) over a period of time and have settled in with the New Balance Minimus

    Anyways, the Minimus gets wet pretty easily (i.e., I run barefoot in them & the western PA humidity makes my feet sweat) and I went to a local Sporting Goods Store to get another pair so I can switch between the two and I just absolutely refused to try the Brooks because I completely disagree with their marketing technique right now.

    Sorry to hear your brand is using that approach. & like I wrote before, please keep up the good work! Cheers!

  67. The thing I don’t get about color in mud runs is that most the people I know who run them aren’t runners! They’re just semi-fit people that work out a few days a week and are looking to have fun. Most runners don’t want obstacles as aren’t we always chasing SOME sort of PR (even if it’s “fastest 5k at 100 degrees?).

    My second point, (and I’m sure I’ll be tarred and feathered) is that a lot of these sponsored runners just aren’t really good runners :/ Take this from an average runner who wouldn’t dare push a product because running is just some hobby I happened to stumble upon and love. I see all these Snickers Marathon singlets (is that what those tops are called?) lately and I am running a whole hell of a lot faster than these sponsored runners. If you’re going to “inspire” me to purchase your product, you’d better be an awesome ass runner that I can look up to. Not just another hobbyist like myself.

  68. I will join the chorus of folks who are thanking you for this post. I hate-read the blogger in question – I can’t help myself! – and while the Brooks thing is ill-advised and silly, the Whole Foods partnership is the one that really makes me crazy. The blogger doesn’t seem to fit the Whole Foods persona at all, and I can’t figure out why they sent her, of all people, on a helicopter ride through the cherry fields of Washington. SEND ME INSTEAD! SERIOUSLY!

    Also, I haven’t been commenting on your blog (or any blogs, for that matter) these last few weeks, because I’ve been covertly reading them on my phone at work when it’s slow. But you are still one of my favorite reads, so keep on keeping on. :)

  69. EPIC callout re: Brooks. Toe striking. Bad writing. Love the critique of the blogger linked to your post. Homegirl can’t write, doesn’t know what protein is, and has been running in MIZUNO WAVE RIDERS for the past few months.

  70. As a Brooks “fanatic” (aka I’m involved in my local running community and get a discount on Brooks stuff), I was HORRIFIED by that post. Granted, I’m a slow runner, but I’m dedicated and apparently, I know WAY more about running, mechanics, and Brooks apparel and design than she does. I might need to write Brooks a letter.

    • And to continue my rant, I’m concerned about the direction that Brooks is heading with discontinuing the Launch (a shoe that they never even marketed) and partnering with bloggers. It seems like they’re going in a more populist direction that has the potential to water down the brand, which I always saw as a more “serious runner” kind of brand.

  71. Wow, color you cranky! I think the point of a color run is a fun way for people to get out and do a 5k. If you don’t like it or don’t agree with it, you don’t have to do it but I wouldn’t complain about other people doing it.

    Once a week I go running with a group of people and we drink halfway through the run and then again at the end. This is much more about having fun than it is about getting in a good run. Sometimes you need to be reminded that running is fun and doesn’t always have to be serious. I think the color run seeks to accomplish the same thing. Plus, I’ll gladly support an event that gets people off their asses and out the door, even if they’re not sprinting through the 5k they’re at least walking.

    • The point is, I don’t get why a color run would be fun! I just don’t. But obviously lots of other people do, and that’s fine. Doesn’t make me any less confused though.

      A drinking run, however? Sounds like tons of fun!

  72. The Run Happy Ambassadors is a total joke. I have yet to see one entry about it that wasn’t a total embarrassment. The few people that are actually decent runners are total sellouts who shill for a different brand every single week. I am so over it all.

  73. Also when I started running with the PureCadence I started running like crap. It took me a month to figure it out and I was back to normal within a week. I do like the PureConnects though.

  74. Yep, it just doesn’t seem fair. I initially investigated the PureFlows because YOU shared your inisght about them on ED&R. I didn’t end up buying them once I got to the running store because I tend to go a long time between shoes and didn’t think I’d be able to squeeze 6+ months of miles out of those wimpy-looking soles… but still.

    All this brand-pimping noise makes me want to retreat permanently to the woods and construct my own clothing out of bark and reeds and make my own electrolyte drinks with salt collected from seashore rocks. Of course I will never do that because I like hot showers and the internetz far too much, but I’m still finding the sheep-like shill/consumer attitude to be enormously grating.

    Mud runs and color runs make me want to permanently disable my Facebook account. Maybe they’re fun, but as far as I can tell they’re an excuse for the clamoring lemmings to clutter the internet with instagrammed pictorial accounts of all the exciting hardcore shit they do with their lives. LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME!!!!!!!

  75. Totally feel you on both accounts.

    Funny I was looking up the Color Run today actually. A friend is coming in town and I was looking for ANY type of race. I’m not a fan, though. And my warrior dash experience was totally tragical. I don’t look at those races as races. I look at them as a group activity to do something.

    I decided to stop reading the really popular running/ healthy living blogs. They don’t feel real to me. That one in particular is pretty bad but there are a ton more. Not cool, Brooks.

  76. I love the crap out of this post. I can’t stand those stupid gimmicky runs (not that I have a problem with people doing them, I just never will) and I cannot STAND the “big bloggers” switching allegiances every 2 seconds.
    ZOMG Reebok gave me piles of free shit but I SWEAR I love them best. Oh wait, now Brooks is giving me tons of free shit and they are the besssst.

    It also makes me stabby when moderately decent age grouper triathletes get free bikes and free gu and free everything and their blogs are nothing more than boasting about how awesome their training is and then whining when they blow up at races. I mean to an extent I realize that’s what blogging is, but come on, why are you so special that you get literally THOUSANDS of dollars of free crap?!

    OK rant over.

    Love your blog; keep doing what you do.

  77. Thanks for keeping it real. I was starting to wonder if I was the only person who thought brands (some of which I like) were selling out. I realize they are profit driven companies and can reach so many people through the blog world but still…..have a little dignity….

    I recently trimmed my blog following list waaaaay back because I was so sick of reading one ad-in-diguise after another. Your blog is still on the list, of course. Sometimes, I like to kick my feet up, crack open a beer, and read your blog. Always good for a laugh…even today because I can totally imagine getting my panties in a twist because of itchy skin from hell. Cheers!

  78. You may or may not have a very good point here.

    ps: i like your cats.

  79. Me too!! I am agreeing with you so hard right now!! You have given me the courage to speak out.

  80. Nancy Dickison

    I liked this post. You keep a good edge of upbeat energy towards running but with the perfect amount of sass. That woman’s blog linked for the Brooks review is awful, like a train wreck with typos.

  81. I stopped ready brandy blogs a while ago, all they did was piss me off!
    I’ve heard that clear nail polish will stop mosquito bites from itching.

  82. can I just say +1 instead of adding my own identical rant about how much I hate that kind of crap? ok good.

  83. I did the color run with a friend who wanted to get into running. She had fun but I would never recommend it to people, especially anyone already into running.

  84. What, you don’t toe-strike? I strike my toe all the time…must be a guy thing.

    By the way, I finally got a pair of Wave Precisions after like a year after I found your post, and I love them…thanks!

  85. You might be a big fatty jealous hater but I want to be your friend, so I consider that to be a win! :)

    And I’m not very smart but even I know its supposed to be mid-strike rather than toe-strike, right?! Mostly I just try not to talk about stuff that makes me sound dumber than I really am!

  86. Found your blog through GOMI. Just wanted to say that your writing is awesome, and so is Sir Fatty Pants. :) Keep up the good work, and definitely SOMI.

  87. I’m jumping on a bit late, but the whole ambassador-thing has me scratching my head. How do, in some cases, novice runners (or whatevers) suddenly become spokesmen and “experts”? I love my local running store and trust them. If they were all ambassadors, I’d say “Hell yeah, that’s great!”
    The other thing I don’t get – running skirts.

  88. As a running shoe geek/running store employee, I cringe when I read some bloggers’ reviews and “informative” posts on shoes. Love that your blog is so real. And your artwork is amazing 😉

  89. Candice ozborne

    I almost choked on my rum reading your color run commentary! I will be doing my first one next month, and will be thinking of the posts i read tonight. Sweet Baby Jesus, you are a riot!!!’n

  90. Shawnee Ashly

    Baby shoes are in great demand, now more than ever. From styles and colors to shapes and design, just about everything is available in the new, booming baby footwear market. It is important however, to choose the shoes that best suit your baby to ensure that your bundle of joy experiences no discomfort or pain at any point of time.;

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  92. I recognize that this post is super old, and maybe you don’t feel this way anymore, but this post came across as SUPER judgmental and mean.

    I’m sure you’re really nice, and you said that you were really cranky when this was written, but linking your post to another bloggers post? Not sure if
    that was necessary. My feelings would be hurt if that was done to me.
    I too, work in a well-known running retail store, and yes, I sometimes cringe when folks consider themselves shoe experts after they get a few free pairs, but I gently point it out in the comments, and then leave it alone. There’s a lot of bad info out there, and I don’t have the magic want to take it all down.

    All of that said, good luck with your pregnancy, and hope that you get back to running soon! I will be reading along to hear how everything goes!