Remember how last year I was an ambassador for Coeur Sports? I bet they loved that choice, signing on a girl who had the skill to manage two hip surgeries in one year. Sorry about that, Coeur.
I didn't reapply for the ambassadorship this year, because I knew during the application window that I would be having hip surgery and miss half of 2015. But I do want to talk about the company a little bit, anyway.
I waited to write this post, because I wanted to not only be honest, but be perceived as honest - and neither is easy when you are receiving free clothes from a company! Now that my ambassadorship is over, I'm sharing the whole scoop - what I think about the ambassadorship, the clothes, the company.
First up, the ambassadorship.
You might have noticed that I don't have a lot of brand loyalty. I buy lots of different products, and even try the clothes and shoes of companies whose marketing I roll my eyes at (for example, Brooks lost sight of serious running and got into a lot of silly tutu nonsense, but let's face it - that's where the money was at. I still wore Brooks Pure Cadence for over a year). For me to want an ambassadorship with a company, there would need to be a strong reason - and that reason was that I got a very good recommendation from a friend who works in athletic clothing sales. She raved about what she saw (at a trade show, if I remember correctly), so I applied. As an ambassador, I got a great discount plus a "kit" - which was really a huge box of great clothes. They gave you a set dollar amount and told you to order what you want, which is great! Now, I actually never got all my clothes. I would have gotten two bras, two shorts, and a tank - but I never got the second pair of shorts. I didn't mention it, because - free, you know? But it was a great program, and we never had obnoxious, restrictive rules about other clothes. We were just asked once that if we had a profile picture of us racing/on a podium/with a medal, it would be nice if it were in Coeur. A big benefit to the ambassadorship was that we made a Facebook group, and it was fun to keep up with everyone's training and racing. It was a very positive experience, and I was happy I'd applied and was accepted.
Second, the clothes.
Two words: run shorts. Fell in love. I didn't expect this, but they are perfect for me - stretchy, short, vented but modest, pockets, flattering (I know. Leave me alone, I need flattering now. I'm getting old). In general, I liked the clothes for attention to detail (obviously designed by athletes - seam placement, pockets, material, etc all point to this), the fact that they're made in America, and that they aren't neon (petty, but I'm sick of neon). I didn't actually like the run shirt, because it was more like a triathlon top - tighter, thicker. It's too hot here for tight and thick, and honestly, I run in jog bras most of the summer because it's ten billion degrees on an average early morning. But the bras - POCKETS - and shorts were really awesome. Great fit, great comfort, great performance. The bras are a nice in-between of comfort and restriction. To me, Target bras are too stretchy - comfortable, but useless. And some high-impact bras (a Brooks bra I have comes to mind) are so tight and inflexible that I can barely breath, and the straps cut into my shoulders. Coeur managed to make a bra that moves comfortably with you, but holds your boobs in place without bounce.
Third, the company.
If I'm going to support a company, I want to agree with its major tenets. During my year of ambassadorship, I learned a lot about Coeur from their blog. Here's what I really liked:
- The personal touch: handwritten notes in your order; free returns (no questions); personal emails.
- The pursuit of excellence. This isn't a company taking on runners who want to sit around and run the same 5k time for 5 years, or athletes on the decline, or people who do the Color Run (sorry, my bias, not theirs!). They encourage hard work and impressive results.
- The interest in issues in athletics, without being pompous jerks about it. Well-thought out articles on gender equality at Kona interest me, even though I wouldn't know a triathlon from the Trianon. It's not a "girl power" rant, it's smart thinking.
- Their ability to support female athletes without what I call "minimizing to feminism". I find so many companies or events take a male or gender-neutral thing, minimize it, and call it female. For example, all-girl races that have lipstick stations, or women's running clothing advertised primarily for its pink color scheme rather than performance design. When you do that, you are implying that women require modifications to reduce challenges in order to perform or compete. That bothers me, especially when the same event or company proclaims that it is feminist or supports women. Maybe you stereotype women...that's not the same thing.
- The don't take themselves too seriously, they have a sense of humor, and they're intelligent. And the vague "they" refers to whoever writes the Coeur blog, which is good reading whether you're an ambassador or not.
Thanks for reading this long post. I just wanted to put into words why I enjoyed my ambassadorship with Coeur, and why I continue to enjoy the company and the clothes.