Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lulu Lessons

As you are all aware, I own a fair amount of Lululemon clothing. I have two pair of black running Capri pants that I wear interchangeably. The oldest pair goes to most events because they are the most comfortable, and I've been wearing them for about seven years. The second pair, I bought two years ago, and the quality is not as good as the first; I am seeing a lot of wear, and there is now a hole in the thigh area. I believe this newest pair was purchased before the "sheer" era, or at least no one has told me that they can see through them. (Or maybe I should say, "Thanks a lot, jerks!"). I may give Lulu's pants another chance, but I'm not going to complain too much about a hole in a pair of pants (on the seam) that I've worn twice a week for two years.

I also like their tops, bras, and my fall/spring jacket with the nifty built in gloves.

The controversies surrounding Lulu in the last few years are upsetting. Part of your job as a CEO or marketing professional is to keep your company profitable, manage customer's expectations, and sell your image. Clearly, they missed out on some opportunities to take some Lemons and make Lemonade.

Here are a few ideas they should have considered that may have helped their image, and their sales:

1.) Make pants with different thicknesses: Some women love sheer pants. We know this because we still see plenty of women wearing them! Why not give those women what they want? Sheer for those who want to show some skin, regular for those of us who want to be able to touch our toes without showing our butt crack, and maybe even a thick pant for those colder months.

2.) Be earth friendly: Lulu could have taken a more earth-mother approach to the sheer pants, and donated the fabric to a worthy organization. I'm sure there is a good humanitarian use for all of that Luon. Maybe mosquito nets for children in Africa?

3.) Don't blame shit on your customers: I see nothing wrong with saying, "We try to create clothing that will be comfortable for most women. We can not make clothing that will be perfect for everyone, but we have many satisfied customers. We are open to suggestions about how to make our clothing better." That's it. Don't mention thighs (especially if you are a male), or say there is nothing wrong with your product. Someone should have given the CEO a speech coach is ultimately the problem here.

4.) Don't let your douche CEO talk on TV: Maybe Chip Wilson is part of the image problem. (Well, he definitely is now, in light of his comments on Bloomberg.) You should get to know someone before you judge who they really are. But, there is truth in stereotypes. Doesn't anyone else think that purchasing women's yoga wear from Chip Wilson sounds a little funny... no? Yes?

5.) Hire Suzanne: These  people should hire me. I have some good ideas. Luon mosquito nets - um, genius. They've tried to get into cycling gear, and haven't made an impact yet. I have some ideas.

Ok Seriously though . . .

Lululemon's CEO, Chip Wilson, kind of seems like a douche. But, I still like LLL clothing. Michael Jackson's questionable lifestyle never deterred me from listening to his music, and I would be sad to lose "Bad" or "Smooth Criminal" on my iPod mix. I've decided to continue to wear luon.

Companies definitely need to keep their products awesome and their image clean in order to be popular with the public. But, ultimately, remember folks: Companies do NOT have an obligation to meet every person's fit criteria, or to fit every body type. They are out there to make money, and they have to pick a target market. If you don't like them, or they don't fit you - don't wear them.

Love your body. Find a brand that fits you well.

My thighs rub together too.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Reset button

There is a reason the reset button exists. The button was invented for your safety; it was invented so you don't electrocute or burn yourself. The reset button can be frustrating, and can cause panic. That moment of panic when you realize your appliance isn't working and you go through a moment of, "Why the hell isn't this thing working anymore!? It worked just fine yesterday!" before you realize with a gentle push of the button, things start working properly again.

Last Friday, I got out of the office for an hour to run 6 miles and felt like I was going to lose my lunch, or pop a knee cap or something. Maybe it was the gin martini (or two) I drank the night before, or the Chipotle burrito. Ugh. I felt so belch-y. It is amazing that you can spend months on building up your fitness, then it takes, er, about a month and you seem to lose it completely.

The past few weeks have been tough. Since February I've been on the up and up, improving weekly, feeling sore in a good way, and growing a lot. After the Chicago marathon I took a week off, and just haven't gotten back into things like I was hoping to. Problemo numero uno is that I have no immediate fitness goals this winter besides just keeping up with things so it's not too hard to kick butt early next spring. I don't feel it is necessary to be spending two or more hours a day training this winter. Second, I feel like I should be giving my body a break anyway. Third, it is darker and colder and I have less motivation. And finally . . .

I thought gluttony and lethargy was something people enjoy . . .

It feels pretty terrible.

I just returned from a few days visiting my parents in Arizona. I got in a 3 mile treadmill run, a little core workout, another 6 mile run outside in 83 degree heat (5:30 at night!), and a short swim. (Digression: I've been looking for help with my swim stroke, and guess who helped - my dad. Sheesh, he was right there the whole time!)

Now that I'm back in my routine at home - It is time to set the reset button. I'm not exactly sure what next year has in store for me, but I'm just happier when I'm moving. It's never too late to start training for Wildflower (in May). Maybe I'll do the long course . . .

Friday, November 1, 2013

Signs of Winter

New Calendar
Seriously, even with my job as a professional scheduler/organizer, I still can't get myself into the 21st century, and prefer to scratch personal meetings and other tidbits on a paper organizer. Typically not the flowery type, I received a Vera Bradley organizer for my birthday four years ago, and now I buy one every year. This year the store at Santana Row didn't have any!! I thought, "Clearly this is a sign that I should join the digital age." Disaster averted, I found one online (note the irony). Here's to another year on paper!

Closet Reorganization
Last Sunday I skipped the workout, and reorganized my closet. It is time to put the summer clothes away, and start a Goodwill bag for those items not used in the past season, or anything (mostly shoes) that are toast from over-wear. Then, it is time to assess if I am thrilled with any of my fall/winter clothes from last year. If I were to put as much effort into my regular clothing as I am in triathlon gear, we'd be in business. For some reason I am proud when I need a new pair of running shoes, but completely irritated when I have to buy a new pair of heels or ballet flats for work. I think it's because the length of my pant legs are dependent on the shoe and heel. So, new shoes might mean new pants. It's all downhill from there.

Speaking of shoes. I think my feet have shrunk. At least the right one. Is this possible, or are shoe sizes getting larger?

Bike Trainer
I bought a bike trainer - it's a contraption you hook to the back wheel of your bike so you an ride indoors. It's kind of like spin class on your own bike. Ok it is exactly like a spin class on your own bike without the features of an actual class: i.e. other people, an instructor, accountability. So, now I'm on the lookout for videos/apps/sheer motivation to ride this thing on my own as needed because it's too dark to ride at night. I will pray that the weather continues to be lovely on the weekends so I can ride for real . . .

3 hours on a trainer?? Shoot me now. Luckily Strava just introduced some training videos if you join their Premium plan. I'll take a chance on you for $59.99, Strava.

Stupid Treadmill/Headlamp
Darker nights means - it's treadmill time! I joined a new gym a few months ago, so now I have new faces to stare at while I'm running in place. Time to make winter friends at the gym! I also found my reflective running gear during the closet reorganization and just need to dig out that pesky headlamp.

Cold Swims
This is by far my biggest fear of winter. Swimming when it's cold. Sure, the pool is usually warm but the daunting thought of wearing a swimsuit outside when it's cold then jumping into a chlorinated vat is agonizing. I shouldn't complain - this is California after all. But, it's not easy to find an indoor pool here. And 40 degrees is still 40 degrees. Dark is still dark.

The Good News
Winter will give me some new things to work on. I've decided to NOT train for a marathon in January and focus on some technique, strength training, and doing core workouts until I have rock-hard abs . . . (Rock-hard abs! There I go, dreaming again!). It's time to break it down.