Thursday, April 28, 2011

When the going gets tough

Hello my faithful group of fitness enthusiasts.
It's time for a bit of a personal blog entry.  I was feeling a little blah-say yesterday and because of my current lack of work I have copious amounts of time to reflect on my life.  Today I will share some of these reflections with you.  I am currently in a transitional period in my life.  I have come to the end of my season of full  time work at Sigge's.  This is always an exciting but also very challenging time for me. For one thing it gives me an immense sense of freedom but on the other hand, I am confined by my lack of income.  As you all may know, I own and operate a mobile Thai Massage business here in Vancouver.  This is a time where I seriously vamp up my marketing and push hard to get my name out there and gain new clients.  Last year was my first year here in Vancouver doing this.  It was a very difficult and somewhat depressing summer.  After weeks on end of hand delivering flyers and posting ads and posters and dropping off cards, I would have not one call.  Since then I have made a lot of new friends and contacts and there are some very exciting things on the horizon for Mind Body Mobile Thai Massage.  I plan on bringing my massage to the beaches of this fine city this summer and capitalizing on the vast amount of clients looking to relax even more as they enjoy the beautiful beaches of Vancouver.  This may be an idea that solidifies next summer as it will take some capitol to purchase a tent and a wireless Visa terminal.  So far I have a small client base.  I am looking forward to building that to a level where it starts working for itself.  Once people realize how effective my Thai massage is they will spread the good word to their friends and then business will really take off.  I am also getting a new number from my school which will be fully recognized by insurance companies here in the province of BC.  This is exciting because it means that people won't have to pay for the full amount of their massages if they have a health plan through their work. I'm hoping that this summer gives me enough growth to sustain myself fully by next year.  I plan on working at least one more season at Sigge's as I really enjoy letting them take the reigns for a few months so I can have a steady income.  Not to mention they are very kind and great to work for as they let me work my racing and training schedule into my work schedule.  So there goes my rant about work.

The next thing that has been on my mind has been my running career. (If you can call it that)  I some times wonder why I wasn't given the gift of some other sport which would pay me millions of dollars per year.  I feel like I have to sell my soul just to get a new pair of running shoes!  I have been trying pretty darn hard to train and excel at this sport in hopes of getting some company to recognize me. My first sponsor Monavie was a great experience but as it now seems has turned out to be a bit of a flop.  They were overly kind and supportive in the beginning and helped me out with running equipment and sent me lots of their wonderful products every month.  I really benefited from drinking that juice and having them supply me with my racing kit made it much easier for me to perform to my fullest without having the burden of the costs involved in constantly wearing through my equipment.  As time went on, their level of support completely dropped out from under me and communications ceased.  I think they were hoping that I was going to become a Monavie sales rep.  I did try to sell their product and attended several of their functions.  The feedback I received was that their product was rather expensive for the average person.  I am now certain that they are no longer supporting me as it has been a few months since I've received any product and I had no reply for my request for equipment assistance.  I did get official confirmation from Icebreaker that I am officially a sponsored Icebreaker athlete.  They were kind enough to send me a running singlet and shorts with a pair of socks.  I have sent them an email asking what kind of help they are willing to provide as my sponsor but to no prevail.  What the hell is wrong with these big companies?? I worship Icebreaker and have spent a lot of my own money and time trying to make them look good.  You think the least they could do to show some appreciation is reply to my god damn emails!  I try to be respectful and professional all the time but why is it that us runners are constantly getting the cold shoulders from these million dollar companies?  Throw me a friggin bone here please.  I may be a little assuming, but I have seen how well some of my running colleges have been taken care of by their sponsors.  I am fully attempting to make running my full time job, but currently it's a full time job trying to get any help from these large companies.  It seems as though they are only interested in runners who are setting world records and running on an international level.  They give you a morsel of hope and you get excited and therein promote them to no end and then what? No reply, no reply! Is that any way to treat your athletes?  In my opinion, the local age groupers and runners who are consistently at the top of their field and winning local races are viewed highly in the community and therefore should be well taken care of.  There are masses of runners who do this recreationally and support the industry by buying up all of the running products these companies have to offer.  The few at the top deserve support if needed in order to excel. At my current income I am a starving athlete and it still is my passion and my only real focus in life. I work so that I can eat well, have a roof over my head and support myself with the products I need to run competitively.  Recently I have been let down by the running community.  I am not talking about the local runners, but the companies who pretend to be there for us.  I understand fully the dynamics of the politics involved between local running stores and shoe companies, but seriously, have these reps or executives ever put there ass on the line for the sake of the sport, the brand or self excellence?  If they could see past the dollar signs and realize their support would directly create sales then we would have a system that works to create world class athletes.  I'm pretty sure Asics and Icebreaker aren't wondering if they will be able to scrape together enough money to pay rent or where their next meal will come from so why not give back to the community that supports you?

Ugggghhhh if that rant hasn't tired you out it sure has me.  So when the going gets tough, the tough pull up their compression socks and dig deep to keep their heads above the raging waters of this stormy sea called life.  So back into the depths of this raging water I will plunge until someone notices my flailing arms and comes to my aid.  I'm not one to say "I can't" do this on my own, but I haven't been blessed with a sheltered life and haven't always made the best choices.  My choices now are to hold my head high and put in a whole hearted effort and present to the world that it can be done even if only by one man.  Perseverance will put me on top at some point and I will not stop trying until I am.  The frustrations of life can often get oneself down but I am glad to have outlets which enable me the strength needed to continue.  I was turned down for my request at getting travel assistance and accommodation at the TC 10k in Victoria. Therefore I will not be going. No fault but my own for leaving it fairly late. I was also turned down a complementary entry to this years BMO 8k race which I placed second in last year.  This was an upset to me because I had left plenty of time for that request.  Out of sheer rage I payed the outrageous price of $47.04 so that I can claim my victory and when I get up on stage to collect my puny trophy and my zero dollars prize money I will certainly ask for my money back.  I am pissed off that the largest marathon in Canada can not take the time or energy to accommodate a local elite.  I am certainly no superstar, but I try very hard and wear my heart on my sleeve asking only  for little in return.  As I read in the Canadian Running Magazine this month on how the Vancouver Marathon was started, it was never originally about making money but for the love of the sport.  I understand there are massive costs involved to organize and put on a race of this size, but between the three races their costs are more than covered.  If not why don't you just ask BMO to print some money and send over a couple wheelbarrows full? Lord knows I could sure use a couple bucks.  For the rest of you starving athletes out there, keep your head up, there is light at the end of the tunnel.  This sport has grown triumphantly over the years and I am certain that we will one day get a slice of the growing pie.  After all without us as one of the key ingredients, the pie would be nothing but a circus with no direction. Or is it already? We shall see.  Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.  I will be back in a few days to report the BMO experience.  Until then I wish all who are running their spring marathons the best of luck and the elites at the TC 10k smokin' fast times.

Things I hate: Empty promises             
Things I love: The constant ability to improve.

8 comments:

  1. I hear a lot of frustration, but turn that around and make it into determination. It's hard to make a living off of running, so I hope your massage business takes off. In the meantime, keep running hard-- you've made great improvements and I'm confident you'll find a new sponsor.

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  2. Thanks Jen. It's just a rant, which I feel the need to let off my chest in order to continue with a positive attitude. Thanks for your support and stay tuned for the great things that are surely coming. Even if it's just a matter of staying healthy and injury free, I will be satisfied. There must always be a balance in life and my focus will be split between running and work. Happy training:) DP

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  3. It is a far more challenging financial environment than in the 80s/90s for sponsored athletes, which is so unfortunate for someone as driven and talented as yourself. Keep training hard, keep focused, and as you reach the 31m 10 km realm and then then 30min, there will be much more visibility. I am excited for you! You are young and determined!

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  4. Sometimes runners get faster as they age or so I've heard. Maybe you're one of those guys...guys like Vanderlei de Lima or Stefano Baldini...all older guys but 2004 Olympic champions in the marathon nonetheless. The big money is in the marathon. It is harder these days though..the competition is growing as more runners in Africa and elsewhere enter the scene. But do keep writing...it's nice to see what it's really like to be in your shoes (no pun intended)

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  5. Oh and what about your swimming and cycling? After Simon Whitfield, we really need some top notch triathletes especially with the likes of Javier Gomez and Alistair Brownlee around...

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  6. Was that an impostor David Palermo racing out there today?

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