Monday, October 7, 2013

Training Update and Jaybird Earbuds: Confidence and Customer Service

The last few weeks have brought a breakthrough in training. I feel like I breached the initial obstacle of regaining my aerobic and muscular endurance. In the weeks since Tamalpa Headlands 50k I have steadily increased my volume, and after training racing a half marathon yesterday, I feel like I am healthy and fit enough to pursue some more quality workouts.

That said, it has been a bumpy ride. A few weeks ago I had to abandon a tempo run halfway through. My tempo pace (8:00/mile) should produce a heart rate between 150-160, but after ten minutes ~95% (177), I felt like my chest was going to explode. I scaled it back to a cool down jog and commenced the pity party. I talked to the coach, and he prescribed base pace running for three weeks, with the exception of the hill workouts. This was disappointing, as I had signed up for the Rock n Roll San Jose Half Marathon to simulate a hard tempo run on the schedule, and now I was back to the basics.

Fortunately, I ran a MAF test a few days prior to the race, and my pace settled in around 9:0x, which duplicated a test I performed in February in the midst of preparing for the American Canyon 50k. I bounced it off Tim, and we came up with a decent race strategy: run MAF effort for the first ten miles, then hammer the final 5k as hard as I want. In retrospect, that strategy should be the framework for every race! I was very happy with my performance. It left me with a renewed confidence that I can continue to improve as a runner.

While at the race expo on Saturday, Twirly and I shopped a bit. I picked up some inserts with the hope that I can get more than 500 miles out of my daily trainers (Mizuno Wave Riders), and I spotted a booth slinging wireless ear buds designed for endurance athletes. My wired headphones had just begun shorting out on one side a few days prior, so I stopped and checked them out. Jaybird ear buds are sweat proof (lifetime warranty) and have a little rubber fin that locks them into your ear holes, making them perfect for running, and an 8 hour battery life sounded adequate. My wired pair had a ring that went round my ear, keeping them stable, but the wire always required attention to keep it out of the way. Jaybird also touts itself as the official training headphones for the USA Triathlon, so I knew they would be a good product.

I purchased a pair of the Blue Buds X, at an expo discounted price of $40 off. Twirly and I finished foraging for swag and went to meet a friend for lunch at Rock Bottom Brewery. On our way home, I went into my swag bag to get the ear buds, only to discover that I had been given the "Freedom Sprint" model instead. These were a little bulkier, had a 4.5 hour battery life and retailed for the same amount I had actually paid at the expo.

Monday morning I called the company and explained what had happened. Low and behold, Pete told me he would replace them without hesitation. We set up an RMA, and he told me he would send me the correct ear buds without delay. I was to put the "Freedom Sprints" in the box and mail them back. No Problem. Easy peasy.

An hour later I get an email from Pete. I figured it was just confirmation of our conversation and maybe the RMA code, but what I read was totally unexpected:

"Since we gave you the wrong headset, I am going to send you the Blue Buds and have you keep the Freedom Sprints.  We don't want you to have to go through the hassle of sending the wrong headphones back to us.  Once again, we are sorry for our mistake.  Have a great day."

Once again, my faith in humanity capitalism has been restored, and Jaybird has gained an advocate, marketing asset, and customer for life. So go check these ear buds out, they rock!

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