The Battle of the Millers
By Dan Miller (Younger brother to Chris Miller)
To say my brother and I are competitive, that would be an understatement. Considering the race lasted
15 minutes, we had to have spent 20 times that writing harassing e-mails, trash talking or encouraging
our friends and co-workers to do likewise against the other brother. The stage was set for the ultimate
showdown – “The Brother Battle or the Battle of the Brands”.
With our current professions, my brother and are fortunate enough to meet in Salt Lake City, Utah for
the biannual Outdoor Retailer Trade Show. I am a Sales Representative for The North Face and Chris
is the National Sales Director for Vasque Footwear. The race was simple, 15 Minutes, 15% uphill grade
and nowhere to hide. Trail Runner Magazine sets a booth up each spring show for this challenge. The
racers consist of both trail runner and mountain running champions, to the road-warriors sales reps
(ourselves). The stage was set.
To understand the race is to understand the surroundings of the show. Imagine every single outdoor
brand crammed into a convention hall – acres upon acres of backpacking gear, canoes, kayaks, climbing
gear, stoves, food, dog treats, etc. (Heaven for the outdoor enthusiast). From the Sales Rep perspective,
it’s crunch time. Appointments booked by the half-hour, breathing recycled air for 10 hour blocks,
not seeing daylight for most of the day (if at all) and the only respite is for a quick burrito form the
concession stand or and anaerobic thrashing called the Treadmill Challenge.
Wednesday, August 4th. A good friend who has raced several Challenges made the comment that a
proper warm-up is crucial and make sure to eat a lighter breakfast. The warm-up to open my legs from
standing around the previous three days and the breakfast in case that meal wants to make another
appearance….. Needless to say, I was both excited and a little unsure about what to expect – “It can’t be
that bad…..Can it?”
12:20 Wednesday, August 4th. I finally had to excuse myself from a late running meeting to make a quick
apparel change in the booth and run down to the treadmill. I figured a 5 minute jog down the aisle was
adequate to jump into a 100% anaerobic effort. I arrived to wish my brother a quick high-five and wish
12:32 Wednesday, August 4th – Holy cow, my quads and calves are on fire!
12:45 Wednesday, August 4th. As the crowd roared one last time and a flurry of cowbells rang out, we
managed our last few strides of the fifteen minute effort. It was harder than most 5K’s I’ve down and
about as anaerobic as I have been in year. Thank heavens it’s over. I got the drop on my brother by
about 1/10 of a mile, but all I wanted then was a breath of air from sea level to relieve the tunnel vision
and cotton mouth occupying my mind. Definitely a unique experience and an experience that I hope will
be a brotherly tradition for seasons to come. Dan 1/Chris 0. See you next year.