I may have been in runner's Disneyland today but after 14 hours of meetings and meals, I can assure you that it wasn't just another vacation. I did manage a short run around the awesome 2+ mile wood chip trail before lunch, but it was pretty much business all day. That said, it wasn't that tough of business. It's always educational to exchange ideas with vendors as well as your peers at other running shops.
Today was very positive on many levels as those with Nike were very open and receptive to what we had to say. In fact, it was encouraging to see that our message(s) were being listened to with the intent to find ways to enhance business for all. As I said yesterday Nike must be doing some things very well to have the impressive headquarters the Campus is situated on. From the chip trails, to the buildings and immaculately maintained grounds, it is a beautiful place.
The Nike Team Cross Country Nationals are here in town this Saturday and 44 teams and 90 individuals from around the country are here for the races. All credit due to Nike for going to the huge effort to promote, accommodate and put on such a large event. It's also a great investment in the future of distance running beyond the possible benefit to Nike, though it can't hurt.
Because of the event Nike also brought to Portland their top distance runners. At our small group lunch we were joined by Shalane Flanigan, Beijing 10K Bronze Medalist, Dathan Ritzenhein, 9th in the Beijing marathon and Matt Tegenkamp, 4th in the 5K at last year's World Championships.
I sat in the empty seat available which was next to Chris Solinsky and directly across from Dathan. Dathan sticks his hand across and says "Hi, I'm Dathan." It was all I could do to keep from saying "Uh, yeah, I know who you are." Like most runners, Chris and Dathan are great guys and we talked about running in the snow, the Anchorage Dome and the Olympic marathon. Dathan is running the London Marathon this year and when I told him I ran this past spring he was asking me about the course.
Dathan and Chris will hopefully be contacting me about sending the screws we use in Anchorage for shoes as they are going back to Michigan and Wisconsin for Christmas. Maybe Skinny Raven will be able to help these top American runners get a little bit more out of their training this winter.
Today's run began at the Lance Armstrong fitness center and I leave you with a photo of me and the man I have never lost to. I currently have a 2-0 record against the Lance. I think his failures against me spurred him to go back to cycling again.