Running Insight

APRIL 16, 2018

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22 © 2018 Formula4media LLC. IT TOOK ME A LOT LONGER than expected to make it to Texas. My original plan had me arriving after a month and a half of steady walking. Yet here I am, 83 days into my transcontinental journey, and finally now crossing from New Mexico into El Paso. Nearly twice what I originally calculated. But this is how plans often shake out, isn't it? They change. Like, drastically. In ways we could never imagine. And if there's one thing I've (re)learned in my short time out here, it's that day-to-day flexibility is required for worthwhile progress. If I get too tied up with expectations, or if I am focused more on my itinerary than the moment, the journey may as well be over. In my case, I have two overuse injuries to thank for a couple major holdups. Thirty-three days worth of delays, to be exact. But without these pauses, I'd have missed many transformative interactions with random strangers along the way. The best gift is often disguised as a glitch. And it's up to me to reframe it as such. I hope I remember this lesson when the walk is over. So yeah, Texas. I will probably be here along the side of tumbleweeded secondary road for at least the next two months. But I can't, as the saying goes, "eat the whole elephant at once" (not that I'd want to eat an elephant, but you know what I mean). So probably best to just take a deep breath and consider this day. This hour. This particular sidewalk leading to the next specialty run shop. And in El Paso, Texas, a town nicknamed El Chuco and The Sun City, there is, quite literally, one and only place to get properly fit for a pair of shoes: Chris Rowley's, Up and Running. Up and Running: El Paso, Texas Chris Rowley hasn't always been a runner, but his innate hustle and unmatched work ethic is commensurate with any high-level competitor. Which is probably why he found early success in the food and beverage industry. Lied about his age to score his first job and began a race to the top. O n e o f C h r i s's e a r l y super visors was a r un ner. Told Chris about an event that offered free beer to finishers. That was all he needed to hear to lace up his Chuck Taylors and lumber across the line. Straight to the keg. Chris was smitten. Soon after, Chris paced a friend for the final miles of San Antonio's 1983 La Colonias ma rat hon. A f ter brea k i ng the tape, he com m itted to running the next year. He did, and busted out a 4-something. He's still got the event tee. In fact, his west side location is adorned by it and nearly every other race shirt he's earned since. Thirty-plus years of cotton memories draper around fiberglass ceiling panels. Customers bring in their own to add to the patchwork. But how does an F&B guy get into the run industry? Fact is, Chris's path wasn't a long-baked plan. Before it happened, he owned creative cuisine restaurants that, in his words, "came before their time." His culinary trailblazing predated the foodie movement yet, undoubtedly, was somehow part of the modern innovation. "Back then, El Paso wasn't ready. So I had to close up shop," he says. But he kept running. Kept racing. Chris remained in world of food. Honed his service skills in bowling alleys and nightclubs. Until one fateful night, after a typical shift ending at 4 a.m., he realized that he was getting off about the time he used to get up to go running. Knew right then it was time for a change. Time to make his passion for running his profession. In November 2006, Chris decided he'd open a run shop in Retail on the Road / Chapter3 22 © 2018 Formula4media LLC. RUNNING INSIGHT WALKING ACROSS AMERICA Retail on the Road Photo:

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