Monthly Archives: November 2012

Will I Still Be a Poser if I Actually Run the Race?

Part 2 in the development of my soon to be famous Poser Principle and the story of how I might actually become a real trail runner.

Development Milestone 5:  Nov 3, 2012  After some research I find a park not too far from my house with trail running routes.  When I finish my Saturday morning chores, off to Arbor Hills I go for my first official trail run.  The parking lot is crowded, this is a good sign.  I’m excited!  I start out on a concrete path but soon find signs for smaller dirt paths around the park.  I don’t have a clue where I’m going.  The paths are made up of a network of different small trails that seem more like a maze.  But I don’t care.  It’s exciting not knowing where I’m going or what is around the corner.  I feel like Phoebe in Friends running through Central Park. (watch)   Not only are the new routes fun but the scenery is great.  I’m surrounded by leaves turning colors, hills to climb and tree roots to dodge.   Deep down I know I’m in the middle of the city but this beats my normal sidewalk neighborhood route any day!  I am hooked but my feet aren’t.  No doubt, this time I have a blister.

Development Milestone 6:  Nov 3, 2012 Not only do I have a blister on my right foot but my feet are sore.  There now is a need vs. want for trail running shoes.  I go to REI and I take one look at the selection in the women’s area, they average $110! Ouch – I have tuition and the bills are coming in from my recent retail-therapy binge.  Big sigh – I really shouldn’t spend $110.  I then glance over at the kids section and see some pretty sweet looking North Faces, just as a saleslady asks me if I need any help.  I tell her I think I need some trail shoes.  And quickly follow with – I have a small foot and I’m not too proud to wear kid’s shoes.  She measures me and cha ching!  I walk out of there sporting my new  North Faces for only $55!  AND I’m on my way to looking like the Athleta models!!!  STAGE FOUR:   PURCHASE

Development Milestone 7: Nov 10, 2012 Three weeks until the race, I need to make sure I break in the new shoes.  I head out to Arbor Hills, this time with my friend Diane.   She’s a walker so we take different routes.  Again – I love the freedom of the trails and now know to stay on the outer loop to avoid the network of mazes.   The weather was perfect and the shoes felt great!!!  See Exhibit 2 below.  STAGE FIVE:  CONSUMPTION

In comparison to my normal running shoes, I can tell I have more support and no blisters.  Plus I just look cool…or at least I think I do.  STAGE SIX: POST CONNSUMPTION EVALUATION

Development Milestone 8: Nov 17/18, 2012 Two weeks until the race.  I have different things planned off and on throughout the weekend so I don’t head out to Arbor Hills.  Instead I run my normal routes in the neighborhood ending with faster times.  This cross training might be working!

Development Milestone 9: Nov 24, 2012 One week away from the race.  This weekend I head out to Grapevine to my sister Dana’s to run the trails near her house.  Again, love the change in scenery and this time I have a lake to look at.  On my way home I stop to run a few errands.  I have to say I just felt cool walking around in my running clothes and North Face shoes.  I’m sure Athleta is tracking down me down now and I’ll be asked to be in next year’s catalog.

Development Milestone 10:  Nov 24, 2012 Later that day I get a text… SANDY CAN’T RUN THE RACE!   We have been texting back and forth about the run over the past 2 days.  We planned to register today but she just realized she will be out of town next weekend.  Ahhhhh!!!  The stakes have been raised and the pressure is on!  If I don’t run the race I’ll remain a poser.  Do I really have it in me to go run this thing alone???

Development Milestone 11:  Nov 28, 2012  I have registered for the race!



Can a Poser Become A Real Trail Runner?

My next several posts will document the creation of The Poser Principle, a marketing principle developed my none other than….me!

Poser – One who attempts to appear to others as something they are not.

A little historyI run.  I’m not coordinated enough for team sports that involve catching, throwing or kicking; so I run.  Running is easy.  The way I see it running is a good solo sport. I can walk out my front door and get a good 3-4 miles in or I can join my friends for a fun, non-competitive race.

Before I get started explaining the development of my Poser Principle, I need to briefly explain the already developed, Consumer Decision Process (CDP).   It is a seven stage roadmap of consumers’ minds that marketers use to help guide product mix, communication and sales strategies.   At the end of each development milestone I’ll note the stage of my CDP.

Development Milestone 1:  Mid-October 2012 The Winter edition of the Athleta catalog (direct mail marketing) hits my mailbox.  Since I don’t live in the mountains for skiing, the closest sport I can relate to is trail running.  I see the models running in their cool trail running clothes and I think… I want to look that cool.  I bet if I buy those clothes I’ll look as cool and fit as they do.  Isn’t that how it works?  See Exhibit 1 below.    STAGE ONE: NEED RECOGNITION

Development Milestone 2:  Oct 25, 2012  I receive an email from a local running store (direct email marketing) for a trail run in the DFW area.  I reach out to my friend Sandy to see if she has ever done any trail running.  Her immediate reply is – “Yes!  I’ll sign up now.”  Ahhhhhh – panic sets in!!  I was just asking about it,(information gathering) – nowhere did I say – “Let’s do it”.   I’m a poser – I’m not a trail runner.  STAGE TWO: SEARCH FOR INFORMATION  

Development Milestone 3:  Oct 28, 2012 I decide I’m going to give this a try.  BUT I’m a poor college student so I can’t just go out and buy all new running gear.  I’ve got to research this and try it out some before I spend money on a sport I’m not going to stick to.  I continue my external research on the differences between road running vs. trail running.  The benefits sound great!

  1. Fewer Injuries: Trail running is on softer surfaces which reduces impact forces but also builds strength in your stabilizer muscles.
  2. Improved Technique: the adjustments trail runners make due to the uneven terrain are helpful in improving acceleration for running on any surface.
  3. Mental Break: (This already sounds promising for a worn out grad student working full time).  Trail running allows you to enjoy different scenery, breaking up the monotonous asphalt jungle around town.
  4. Breathe Easier:  No carbon monoxide from nearby cars and the abundance of trees provides a more oxygen-rich environment.
  5. Get Faster: (who needs to know why – I just like the sound of that) Trails usually involve hills, running hills can make a runner faster.  One theory on the Kenyan runner’s speed is due to the fact they run hills and soft surfaces every day.

I’m sold!!!  I’ve committed to give this a try but I’ve not committed to the race just yet.  I have one month before the run.  I decided I would wait until the run gets closer to commit.  In true poser fashion, I’m not going to run in the cold rain…the race is in December; there could be a number of bad weather elements going on come race day.

Forth Milestone:  Oct 30, 2012  I get home from work, put on my (said with annoyed tone) “normal running clothes” and head out the front door.  Where does one trail run in the middle of the city in the middle of the week?  Heeelllllooooo – the nearby park!  I ran 2 1/2 miles in the rugged terrain of the nearby elementary school while the 8 yr old soccer practice took place.  There may not have been tree roots and limbs for me to dodge but there were divits in the ground for me to watch for and I definitely had to put forth a little extra effort in my stride than I do on my normal sidewalk route.  Plus I could feel some blisters coming on.  Maybe trail running shoes are needed…      STAGE THREE: PREPURCHASE EVALUATION OF ALTERNATIVES

Stay tuned to find out if I buy new running shoes.  If buy the cool outfit to match the girls in the Athleta catalog.  AND if I run my first trail race next weekend.


Mobile Money

Mobile money is coming!!  No that doesn’t mean you can download an App so your mobile phone will start spitting out cash as your own personal ATM.  It means you can soon use your mobile phone to pay for things.  That’s right, our cell phones just got even more personal.  (Think about it – who likes to share their cell phone???)

Mobile payment is just around the corner, but what is mobile payment?  It is another option for making payments just like cash, check or credit cards.

Most everything I’m learning right now talks about how “Mobile” is about to break the sound barrier with how fast it’s going to transform the normal retail environment.  One aspect of the revolution we’re about to embark on is mobile payment.  And right now it race to see what app is going to claim the #1 slot with most retailers and users.

  • Square  – Seems to be one of the leaders right now.  Starbucks uses this system and it’s rumored to be coming soon to New York’s cabs.  It is available on Apple & Android (not sure about Blackberry)
  • Paypal – Square has a head start on the technology and user base but Paypal has stronger brand recognition.  The transactions are not processed the same as scanning like with Square, Paypal process uses conventional touch screen steps.  Available on Apple, Android & Blackberry
  • Google Wallet – Yes, it wouldn’t be the right if Google wasn’t involved.   This is app, just like Square that uses wireless technology to let users pay for things by waving their phones in front of compatible terminals at retailers.  Available on Android

So what does all this mean to consumers and retailers?

As a consumer, you can consolidate your reward cards to your account, it will now be part of your payment process.   Retailers will be able to learn more about you, their consumer.  What you buy, how much you spend, when you shop, etc.  With this information they can create direct marketing campaigns to target you, their existing customer and send you more personalized promotions.

So yes, as the Holiday madness approaches and you have to decide what to take to Aunt Sally’s for Turkey Day and what to buy Cousin Millie for the family Secret Santa gift, now you may get an added option thrown at you by your favorite retailer,  another option to pay.


Mid-Week Break

Volkswagen did it again!  I’ve had some rough times this Fall in my personal life  and every time this commercial comes on it just makes me smile.  I think Volkswagen knows I’m a sucker for just about anything dealing with a dog.

Here’s my favorite commercial for the Fall of 2012!


I know Joe…Trader Joe’s that is


Trader Joe’s has been a bit of a retail mystery for me.  My friends that are West Coast transplants have raved about the stores for years.  Then rumor has it Trader Joe’s is coming to the DFW area.  I couldn’t wait to check it out.  But I did wait…I waited for those crazy crowds to pass.

So just last weekend I joined some of my friends that were doing their hostess party shopping.  To be honest I was a little surprised at first it was just a grocery store.  For some reason I thought it was going to be more like World Market but with more grocery items.  Once I got past the difference in reality vs. expectations I was experiencing, I got into all the fun products.  I followed my friends around but soon bailed on them to get my own cart to do my own shopping.

I liked the natural feel of the store and the products, mainly the colorful chalkboard signs.  As far as prices, some were the same as where I normally shop.  I quickly moved passed those items and on to the Trader Joe’s branded items not found at Kroger or Whole Foods.  I couldn’t pass up some of the dark chocolates, nut mixes for salads, teriyaki Just Chicken that Diane recommended and a bag of herb flavored popcorn that I ended up inhaling in less than 2 days.  I passed on the Charles Shaw wine (aka Two Buck Chuck) and the wide variety of cheeses thinking I would have some at my friends’ party the next weekend.

All in all I think I did pretty well for my first Trader Joe’s visit.  Here’s my take home haul!

Sadly later that weekend I came down with a horrid case of the stomach flu (not sure if any stomach flu isn’t horrid to be honest).  So I haven’t been able to try much of loot.  But don’t you worry Trader Joe’s I’ll be back for more Just Chicken, dark chocolates, popcorn and this time I’ll pick up some wine and cheese since I didn’t get to eat any at the party.

Speaking of the wine – here’s an interesting little tidbit I came across online.  Who isn’t going to like a grocery store that was built first on wine???

Trader Joe’s is the exclusive retailer of Charles Shaw wine, popularly known as Two Buck Chuck[11] because of its $1.99 price tag in California; in some locales, it sells for more than $3 a bottle due to varying state liquor taxes and transportation costs. Of the wine selection at Trader Joe’s, Coloumbe has said, “We built Trader Joe’s on wine first, then food. I tasted 100,000 wines, and most weren’t wonderful. They were submitted to us by desperate vintners.” Along with Charles Shaw, Trader Joe’s is known for stocking a very large selection of California and New-World wine.

Mid-Week Break

As a runner, not a hard-core runner but still a runner I followed the controversy around the cancelling the New York City Marathon last week.

I travel with my close friends, Julie & Keith every year to a different half-marathon.  I know what is involved in the planning of the trip, coordinating schedules and the training.   Training is all about timing, when do you run your longest run before race day, how far, etc.  For our races we pick ones that are small and usually involve wine tasting in the nearby area.  To get into the New York City Marathon, you not only have to plan your trip and your training but how you actually get a slot into the race.  To get into the marathon you can either go through their lottery, guaranteed entry or the charity programs.  Point is it takes a lot of planning.  So to have something you been training and planning for cancelled (which I believe was the right thing to do), a runner has to be left with a lot of empty feelings and energy.  I absolutely love how hundreds of the runners spent their Sunday, volunteering in Staten Island.

This link shares how the word of volunteering was spread through social media. NY Runners Volunteer  

Below is a copy of the “About” page from the  New York Runners in Support of Staten Island Facebook page created.  This is what got it all started.

Group of New York area runners who are running and delivering aid on Sunday morning in Staten Island. #SupportStatenIsland
I am a sports medicine doctor and avid runner and triathlete. Saddened by the events of hurricane Sandy, I decided to help form a group of like minded runners who are interested in helping others in need.The idea is to run in Staten Island and use our legs to help distribute food and products to those who need help the most.
Now that the NYC marathon is cancelled, let’s put these legs and healthy spirit to good use! We are organizing an impromptu group of NYC marathon runners (and friends) to head over to Staten Island to run and distribute food and helpful items. All levels welcome! 

We plan to meet en masse at the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, 8:30 AM on Sunday morning. Please wear something with Orange if you have 

it so we can all identify each other (if you have it). 
Runners and the NYC running community has always been about helping those in need. This is our chance to deliver help on our doorstep.

If you each could bring a backpack that you can run with that could include:

Non-perishable food
Pet food
Trash bags
Infant Formula
Warm Clothing
Baby wipes
Pre-paid cell phones

We will plan on running through Staten Island (routes to be determined) and distributing our supplies both in relief centers and door to door. My guess is the centers will be well stocked but there are many door to door people that will be in need of help.

Any food or clothing companies who might want to help us by donating would be great.

If you have any media contacts that might be interested in this story that will help draw attention as well, please forward. That will result in more help and focus for Staten Island. 

I think I was negatively reinforced…but I’m not going to complain

A few weeks ago while studying the Post Purchase Process in my Consumer Behavior class I learned a new term.

Negative Reinforcement: When consumption helps a person avoid a negative outcome.

Not long after learning this term, I experienced my new term first hand.

Here’s a little history. I have recently been forced to face my immortality and accepted that maybe my eyes just aren’t as perfect as the rest of me. (I won’t dare say I’m getting old!) As I read for school I have noticed my eyes get tired so I made an appointment with my eye doctor for a check up. I already wear glasses but I only actually wear them at work even though I’m supposed to wear them all the time. The prescription was for a for a slight correction for distance.

Sure enough I’m told I need a slight correction for reading. Since my existing correction was already mild, I figured instead of correcting both problems, I’d just ignore my existing one and opt for correcting the new issue. In order to save money…because after all I do have tuition hanging over me…I decided to keep my existing frames and just change out the lenses to correct for nearsightedness vs farsightedness. As I make my request to Steven who works for my eye doctor, he tried ever so politely to convince me otherwise. He said “Why don’t you keep the glasses you have with the lenses you have and get a new pair for reading. I just hate you wasting the good lenses that are in there now.” All I could think was – I have tuition bills coming in. Plus I don’t need 2 pairs of glasses, Steven’s just trying to make a sale off of me. So I reply, “I’ll just change out my lenses for reading and that’s all I need.”

Well….this is what my world looked like unless you were 12-18″ in front of me.

I was constantly getting up from my desk at work and getting dizzy. Raising my glasses to my forehead to talk to people as they stood in the blurry zone (see blurry Katie above). Or worse, sitting in scheduling meetings with the glasses low on my nose so I could easily look above them to see the people talking but also be able to use the new improved lenses to read my paper. NIGHTMARE!!!!!!

After a week or so of battling the internal turmoil of telling myself – “It just takes getting to used to”, I folded and picked up the phone. I called Steven and said the words no one likes to say…”You were right”. I was soo frustrated that I spent money changing out the lenses thinking I was saving money but would now have to get a whole new pair of glasses; in reality spending more. Again, ever so politely, Steven told me to come back in and we would figure out what to do.

Let me remind you of the new term:

Negative Reinforcement: When consumption helps a person avoid a negative outcome.

Let’s now put in in a formula:

NR (Negative Reinforcement) = C (Consumption) – NO (Negative Outcome)

NR = Admitting I need 2 pairs of glasses
C= Wearing only my reading glasses all the time
NO = Life in a dizzy blurry world.

End of the story – I did spend more money in the long run but Steven’s great customer service made it much less painful than expected. He was able to work with me on the costs and I now have 2 pairs of very stylish glasses.

AND most of all I can now see Katie clearly when she comes to see me at my desk.