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February 7, 2017 | Issue 65
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Oiselle
Kaiser 1/2 Marathon
This Boston-bound train charged through San Francisco on Sunday at the Kaiser Permanente 1/2 Marathon. Follow the rest of my journey on Strava over the next 10 weeks if you're so inclined. 
Photo:
Camron Shahmirzadi

Good morning! I’m munching on dark chocolate peanut butter cups and sipping a glass of red as I sit here tapping out this week’s edition of the morning shakeout just a few hours before it lands in your inbox. It’s not quite Hunter S. Thompson’s pre-writing concoction of Chartreuse, cocaine and grass, but right now it’s doing the job just fine. 

Before I start trying to make sense of the things I’ve read, listened to or want to talk about from the past week, I’d first like to thank this month’s sponsor, Oiselle. I’m thrilled to be partnering with this pioneering women’s brand, one that I’ve held in high regard for quite some time now. Not only does Oiselle make ridiculously comfortable women’s running apparel (that’s per my wife, pictured here on the right in one of the five pairs of Roga shorts I’ve bought for her over the years), but they’re a scrappy brand that stands up for their values and embraces the competitive spirit of the sport, all of which I respect and appreciate. If you’re a woman whose running wardrobe needs a few more items in it, or a guy looking to get your girl something nice for Valentine’s Day, check out what Oiselle's website and support the brand that is helping keep your favorite email newsletter running strong this month.  

Also, a quick shoutout and massive thank you to my great friend and former colleague Scott Cropper, who helped give the morning shakeout’s website a fresh new look this week. Lord knows it was long overdue. Scott is my go-to guy for a lot of things in life and I’m grateful for his help with this project. He’s done some excellent work for a number of different clients, including Slipstream Sports, 5280 Magazine, and others. He also has great taste in coffee.  

So what’s up with the new look? As mentioned back in Issue 50, I wanted a cleaner site, along with a blog that lives on it, and that’s exactly what I got. We’re still tweaking a few different elements but I’m happy with the new setup, which will allow me to re-post individual items from archived newsletters directly to the site for wider distribution. (Don’t worry, I’ll always serve it fresh here first!) A logo is also in the works, along with a web store where you’ll be able to purchase all sorts of morning shakeout-branded paraphernalia. I've also got a couple cool collaborations in the pipeline. Stay tuned for all those details!

Alright, let’s get to it.

Elimination miles and hurdle relays, oh my!

Despite my well-documented lack of excitement for fabricated sub-2 hour marathon attempts, I am interested in (and supportive of) outside-the-box attempts to generate interest in the sport of athletics and running in general. (Yes, I fully realize the contradiction lacing that statement. We can argue about it another time.) Last weekend’s debut of the Nitro Athletics series in Australia caught my eye, and not just because Usain Bolt was competing in it. If anyone can generate buzz in track and field, it’s the sport’s greatest entertainer, but more interesting to me was the actual format of the meet. Rather than a long, drawn out, single-day program, each installment of the three-meet Nitro series only lasts a tight 2 hours and 45 minutes. They’re all preceded by an entertainment hour, and feature a nice balance of traditional and innovative events. That’s digestible—and appealing, whether you’re a diehard track fan or not. I like that there’s a classic mile race for both men and women, but I also love the idea of a 3-minute race for distance, hurdle relays and elimination miles. There’s also a team aspect to the whole deal, which I’ve long felt the sport needs more of to generate fan interest and excitement. I hope the series catches on globally, generates some stoke around the sport and the athletes who compete in it, and can survive through the next Olympic year and beyond. If it doesn’t, well then I don’t know what to tell you. At least Usain is optimistic about it. "We'll just figure out a few things,” Bolt, who has a stake in the company, told the AFP. "But the key thing is we're enjoying ourselves, we're fairly competitive, and we're trying to get the crowd engaged.”

+ I don’t know about you but I’ve been seeing a lot of chatter around The Speed Project 3.0 of late. So what is it? Good question, as there’s not a lot of information that’s readily available, but here’s a visual primer I found on @thespeedproject’s Instagram profile page and an interview with its founder from Tracksmith’s Meter magazine in late 2015. In short, it’s a relatively rule-less 340-mile relay from L.A. to Las Vegas on March 10 that’s primarily promoted on—and driven by—Instagram. Oiselle is fielding a squad, as is Strava (and you can join their team!), along with other brands, run crews, clubs and the like (I’ll assume, but then again, it’s hard to know for sure who’s running). The whole thing sounds pretty gnarly but it’s got this underground vibe and mystique to it that’s really interesting and we’re seeing more and more of as the social circles of running continue to evolve. “I know we are entering a new area within the sport of running,” Nils Arend said in the Meter piece. “You can see a lot of new people in the sport and the non-traditional race concepts get a lot of traction through that. Naturally while this is further progressing we will see “new concept races” also catering to the competitive runner. I am sure we will experience a further shift in racing but races which have huge crowds won’t ever die out.” I do know a few folks participating in this year’s edition, so I’ll see what more I can learn and share it with you here in the coming weeks.

Quick Splits 

— In Issue 53, I wrote about the supposed struggles of The Ringer, Bill Simmons’ latest digital venture, which, it turns out, is apparently doing just fine. “The one thing that’s not a problem for us is money,” he told Peter Kafka in a lengthy interview for recode.net. As those of you who have been reading the morning shakeout for at least a few weeks know by now, I’m a sucker for longform interviews (see: here and here), and I suggest checking this one out if you’re into the business and mechanics of media. It covers a wide range of topics from the evolving world of digital media, to monetization strategies—“You can’t monetize a site with just writing,” Simmons says. “You have to have multiple things.”—to launching The Ringer’s site on Medium, to how Simmons’ own relationship with writing has evolved after burning out on it at ESPN. “It’s just fun to do it,” Simmons says of writing. “I’ve been writing since I was eight years old. I just like it. I think you hit a point where you start getting in your own head a little bit when you’re a writer, no matter what you’re doing. I hit a point the last few years at Grantland where you feel you can’t win and you have to just keep topping yourself, and I was writing these 9,000-word mailbags. It was just stupid. There were so many things I would do differently.” 

— Resilience is a topic I’ve touched on once or twice here before and it’s one I’ll likely keep coming back to from time to time. What is resilience exactly? It depends on the situation but for our purposes, resilience is the ability to keep your shit together when it starts to hit the fan and overwhelm you in different ways. It’s a skill I’m constantly trying to improve through a combination of experience and deliberate practice with suggestions such as these. “When times get tough and you don’t know how you’re going to stay resilient, remember not to trust the doom and gloom coming from that voice in your head,” writes Eric Barker. “The voice is an overconfident storyteller who exaggerates, not the ‘truth.’”

— I was only able to listen to a couple podcasts last week but this interview with Anil Dash, tech entrepreneur and one the internet’s earliest bloggers, was super interesting given the current political climate in the United States, along with the ever-growing influence of technology on various aspects of our culture. I recommend checking it out. “The single industry that is more responsible for creating culture today than any other, even entertainment or media, is tech. And part of it is because we're the mediators for the entertainment and media world,” Dash told Debbie Milliman recently on her popular Design Matters podcast, in which they discussed politics, technology and culture. “It used to be the front page of The New York Times or Dan Rather doing the evening news or the movie that was opening in the cineplexes would affect culture. But you won’t even see that story on the front page of The New York Times unless Facebook decides you will, right? The majority of people’s consumption of media is at least majority moderated through technology platforms today.”

That’s it for Issue 65. If you enjoy what you’re reading in the morning shakeout, please forward this email to a friend and encourage him or her to subscribe. If you’ve got something to share with me, you can always just reply to this email or shout at me via the Twitter machine. At some point, I’ll yell back to you.  

Thanks for reading, 

Mario

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