ON YOUR LEFT: A Fleet Feet Menlo Park blog
It wasn't until recently that I began figuring out what running really means to me. As a kid, I ran to "fit in," ironically! It was something that came easy to me because I didn't have to think too much about it. My dad and I would take long 3-mile runs around our rural neighborhood in Maine and while some of these efforts left me feeling wiped out after the first 30 minutes, I took great joy in exercise and began setting goals.
First, it was to run after school with other kids my age who liked chasing each other through the woods; then it was to enter a local 5K; then do a 5 miler; then run cross country in high school and track; and then run the Beach to Beacon 10K; and then run a half marathon; and then win a half marathon; and then train for a marathon.
Eventually, obsessive overtraining and injuries put dents in my plans and goals for six months. I finally found myself reflecting on this question of, why the hell do I run?
After running a PR at a half marathon in Marin County, I felt limitless in terms of reaching my running goals.
Unfortunately, the next week, I had plantar fasciitis and could barely walk to the living room or the kitchen to pour myself hot tea (probably a good thing as I was very vulnerable to injury then).
Man oh man, was I losing sight of the "why do I run" question. I think Conan O'Brien must have felt the same way after losing the Tonight Show and then finding himself in a Marie Calender's the following week trying to figure out what to do with his life. I got depressed, anxious, and irritable because I could not just go out and run.
It took lots of courage to simply go to the local outdoor pool to give swimming a try. When the one thing you know you are decent at is no longer an option for you to try or "lose yourself in," it gets very tricky redefining your purpose. But after every down moment comes a bit of respite ... right?
I've realized through this time that I have a lot to be thankful for. For instance, ever since starting here at Fleet Feet, I have been fortunate to be surrounded by very knowledgeable people who take initiative and are really caring. I took all the energy I had left over from not running as much and started focusing on my health.
I did research and learned how to care for my injuries. I started massaging my feet and calves every day. It got to a point where this effort helped me run responsibly six days a week again and I got swept up in the energy of this great store, its mission, and its people. I also found I could help others with plantar pain find peace and options for healing.
I'm beginning to find balance in my life for the first time and not getting too caught up in a competitive spirit. I am "feeling" more and know when to back off from an intense workout and when to pull out all the stops. My goal now is to work toward staying injury free and to regain my running voice. You know, the one that says, "You need to change your shoes now!" and "Whoa! do you need some Nuun raspberry lemonade here at mile 13 of your LSD day," or even, "Hey, this race is benefiting Crone's disease and colitis! I can run and help people at the same time!"
With Fleet Feet, you will definitely find everything you need to make your running journey pleasant and uniquely yours :). I know I have!
Happy Trails and Happy Holidays!
This is the latest installment of On Your Left, a Fleet Feet Menlo Park blog. Look for new posts every Wednesday.
Previous posts from On Your Left:
December 19, 2012
Gift ideas from David
So, you have a runner in your life ... We're sorry. We sympathize. You probably spend too much time hearing about mileage, splits, pacing, foot-strike patterns ... or at the very least dodging invitations to go for a nice pre-dawn 7-mile run.
The holidays are coming up and that can present some gifting challenges. So here are some suggestions to keep runners happy and healthy! (Plus, you'll be happiest keeping your pal out on the road and thus not bugging you about oxygen uptake and metabolic conversion.)
When you're a kid, being given socks as a present is the epitome of the disappointing Christmas present. When you're a runner, new running socks are a dream come true. Form fitting and highly wicking, good socks make runners' feet happy and runners can ALWAYS use a fresh pair (or three). A nice Balega or Drymax synthetic running sock is top notch and you can even get holiday packs, now with fun colors!
The winter season is upon us, time for hot cocoa, fireplaces, and snuggling in for winter hibernation. Runners will still be out in all weather, so keep them warm! In all weather conditions, nothing beats merino wool for warmth and comfort. If you want to give your runner a truly special gift, give an Icebreaker running top or mid-weight layer. David's favorites are the Icebreaker Tech Shirt, Icebreaker Quest Zip, and the Icebreaker Quantum Hoody.
Does your runner have every piece of gear needed? (Us gear-heads would declare that situation not possible.) Regardless, distance runners will appreciate a text that can teach them more about the activity they love. Jeff Galloway's Marathon is a classic. As well, Danny Dreyer's Chi Running, about form and mindfulness, has gained a following.
Lastly, keep your runner safe on those dark nights and dim mornings. Lights and reflective gear are a necessity when on the roads after dark. Check out our Petzl headlamps and our wide variety of reflective gear and blinky lights!