Winter Must-Haves for Female Runners

With temperatures dropping and days getting shorter, it is important to remember that running essentials change as the seasons do. To stay safe, comfortable, and healthy, consider investing in a few of these items to keep your runs enjoyable.

  1. BUFF Headwear $25.00


Dubbed “the original multifunctional headwear”, BUFF headbands are a really unique way to stay warm and protected. The circular piece of stretchy, comfortable fabric is thick enough to wear as a neck-warmer, cute enough for a headband, warm enough for an ear-warmer, and has 95% ultraviolet protection. Stop by to check them out!

2. Bitchstix Lip Balm $10.00


Your skin takes a beating against cold air and wind during chilly runs, so don’t forget to apply lip balm before you leave. Bitchtix offers moisture and SPF 30 protection, and all net proceeds go to domestic violence and sexual assault prevention programs.

3. Base Layer- Swift Long Sleeve $58.00


Layers become important in cooler temperatures because you are often much colder when starting a walk or run than when finishing. Wearing a warm base layer is a good start, allowing you to add jackets on top that you can remove later. This long sleeve from Saucony is soft, flattering, and keeps you warm by trapping body heat. It’s also reversible!

4. Lights- Nathan StrobeLight $10.00


With less daylight, it is very important for runners to be visible to cars and bikes. This strobe light clips on to waistbands or shirts and can be programmed to be either a steady light or a strobe. It is bright, but very tiny and versatile.

5. Pullover- Element Sphere Half-Zip $85.00


Warm sweatshirts are perfect for layering, and this one from Nike has soft little beads on the inside to keep you warm, without weighing you down. Thumb holes and a small collar add warmth and style. In addition to this pullover, we have tons more in store in other colors, styles, and brands.

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Marathon Training Week 5 – 22 of 21 miles down!

Last week I announced I was training to run the Austin Marathon.  I’m excited to get to share this experience with anyone who cares to read it, but please know that I am not an elite.  No where close.  I’m not even what I would consider mediocrely quick.  I have run two marathons.  My first went fine, my second went poorly.  My goal for the third is just to finish and feel good.  If you are reading this in the hopes of learning to be elite, you will be very disappointed.  If you are curious, however, how a very normal person with two young kids and a full time job can train for a marathon, then perhaps you should come along for the adventure.

For this marathon I’ve scaled back to the Hal Higdon Novice program.  I’ll break down for you what week five looked like, and how it worked!

Monday – scheduled rest day.  On Mondays and Fridays I coach Girls on the Run at the school where I teach, so rest day isn’t really something that works on Mondays and Fridays.  We are starting to prepare for our 5k race next Sunday the 21st, so instead of nothing I ended up running 2 miles at about an 11:30 pace with some of my girls.

Tuesday – 3 miles scheduled.  While I don’t love running on a treadmill, I do love running with friends.  Today after work I headed to the gym with a fellow teacher (who doesn’t run, but is happy to walk next to me on a treadmill).  With two kiddos, it isn’t always easy to find time to run, but thankfully my gym has a daycare that my son LOVES.  Finished my three miles in 28:51.

Wednesday – 5 miles scheduled.  Today didn’t go well.  I had a bit of a midweek lag, and my daughter had rehearsal for the Robinson area elementary orchestra.  By the time we got home and had dinner I was exhausted and burnt out – something I am sure many parents can commiserate with!  While I didn’t want to run at all, I am in the middle of my attempted 100 day running streak, so I made myself head out.  I ran my one mile route that I run on all my typical days off, and called it a day.  While it was disappointing to miss my five miler, I just needed to call it a day.

Thursday – 3 miles scheduled.  Tonight was much better than yesterday.  Headed out after dinner and ran it as an even 5k in 30:35.

Friday – rest day.  Yet again, today was our Girls on the Run practice.  Today we were practicing under race conditions and running with our “buddies.”  My buddy and I finished our 2.75 miles in 35:22, which was very rewarding as the kiddo I was running with was working hard to accomplish her laps.

Saturday – My12242997_525910176339_8257915551147926218_n current plan has me spending one day of the weekend cross training and one day doing my long run.  I had intended to run my ten mile long run on Saturday morning.  I headed out to take our dog for his morning walk and we were joined by a very big, very sweet dog.  The only problem was we didn’t know the dog and it very nearly got hit by a car.  Little did I know that the next two hours of my morning would be spent hauling around this probably 80 pound dog, trying to track down his owner.  Thank goodness he was friendly and my little guy got to spend some quality time with a big new dog friend.  Unfortunately, this ate into a lot of my running time.  The rest of Saturday was fully booked, so I had to count this time of walking around a very large dog as my cross training.  My afternoon was spent learning how to make paella (I basically run so that I can eat), and after my class I ran my single mile to keep my streak going, and moved my ten miler to Sunday.

Sunday – long run day!  I headed out for my ten miler with my husband.  He planned to only run half of it with me, so after our first five miles he split off home and I ran the last five on my own.  Unfortunately (and due to my own poor planning), my garmin died at mile 7.  Luckily I run Burke Centre Parkway so frequently that I know different mile marks.  I know my ten miler was much slower than next week, which was disappointing, but I feel good that I got it done.  I’m not sure on my exact time given my garmin dying, but at the end of the day, I got in my miles for the week and am feeling strong!

Til next week!

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Back on the Emotional Roller Coaster of Marathon Training

Those of you who have followed this blog for a while have heard about my training (and lackluster performance) for Marine Corps in 2014, and earlier this summer I had started up on my training blog again with the intention of running Marine Corps in 2015.  Then I allowed life to get in the way, and I had to defer to next year.  The focus on this blog switched over to things like safety, goal setting, motivation, and race recaps.  Today I am ready to admit that I officially am marathon training again.

Actually – tomorrow will be the beginning of week five of marathon training.  It has taken me these last four weeks to check in with myself and make sure I was really in it.  My husband and I picked a late winter race in a destination not so cold (Austin, Texas, to be exact), and will be headed out there for our race.  This will be the farthest I have ever traveled for a race, the first marathon I’ve done outside of the area I live, and hopefully will help me regain the confidence I lost after Marine Corps last year.

I’ve talked a lot on this blog about motivation – and my frequent lack of it.  Recently I’ve been working harder and harder to square in my mind the things that are important to me, the goals I have for myself, and the amount of effort and time I’m willing to put into them.  Today is the day I feel confident enough to publicly declare I am marathon training again, because today was a day it would have been easy to not run.

My weekend, like many weekends for busy parents, was FULL.  Yesterday I had to wake up early to take my cub scout son out “Scouting for Food”.  Next was a flurry of laundry and shopping to be ready for the housewarming party and baby shower we were also fitting into our Saturday.  I am a person who likes rest.  I like sleep.  I am also a teacher with two kids, which means sleep is not always a luxury I am afforded much of.  This morning I had great intentions of meeting up with the store training group to run my nine mile long run.  I begrudgingly set my alarm clock for 6:30, and after a 10pm single mile run (to keep up on my 100 day running streak – today was day 62!!), found myself in bed, exhausted.  Around 4am a car smacked into a street sign right outside my bedroom window, jarring me wide awake.  It was in that moment I thought to myself – I cannot wake up early EVERY SINGLE DAY.  When my 6:30 alarm went off I sent a message off to one of my running friends and went back to sleep, slightly sad to be missing the camaraderie of the group run, but resigned that I would never succeed in training if I always felt like I was missing out on having a solid night’s rest.

At 8:30 I woke up and started to go about my day.  The dog went out for a walk.  Laundry was started and folded.  Bathrooms were clean.  Refrigerators were cleaned and emptied in anticipation of this week’s groceries.  I eyed the clock, knowing that at 1pm we would need to leave to head to our running coach’s birthday party.  It was a few minutes before 11 when I realized I couldn’t let myself slip back into this.  Slip back into giving up all of my time, not devoting time to things I had hopes for, but then feeling frustrated and sad about not achieving those goals.  I let my husband know I was going out to run my nine miles solo, and out the door I ran.

Running alone always feels longer than running with the group.  There’s no one else to distract you, but lucky enough I had the chance to listen to MY music without gripes from the pre-teen that finds everything I enjoy so painfully uncool.  I had a route all mapped out, but had to make an unexpected detour when I headed home to drop back off my cell phone (I have recently lost about ten pounds and due to the slightly too large pants, my phone was literally trying to pull my pants off as I ran).  I didn’t think about how my altered route would change my total distance and I kept trotting along, feeling great, enjoying the sunshine, and dodging the two cars that nearly hit me (we MUST get better as drivers at checking crosswalks!!).  When I reached the point that I knew was exactly two miles from home I checked my watch and was slightly shocked – how was I already at 7.68???  I had totally forgotten about my detour and how it would add to my distance, but felt great and decided to make it a clean ten miles instead.  When all was said and done I finished my ten miles only a minute slower than I finished the Army 10 Miler last month – complete with hills and slowing down for traffic.

I am looking forward to training for my first destination race.  I’ve never been to Austin and am looking forward for the new sights, good food, bats, and a break from the winter weather.  I’ll be checking in again next Sunday to let you know about week five!  I’d love to hear from anyone that has ever run the Austin Marathon – I hear I am in for some hills!

Til next time!

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Tales of an Unmotivated Runner – How Bribery Makes Me Go!

I aspire to be an amazing runner.  I want to place in my age group at a race (I’ve come close twice, but never made it).  I dream of qualifying for Boston!  My reality, however, is that I am a runner who very easily loses motivation.  I think I like running.  Like, I am pretty positive that I find running generally enjoyable.  At the very least I really like being outside, I LOVE it when I have time just to do nothing but chat with friendly folks moving in a forward fashion, I adore the satisfaction after a race, and I get giddy when I add my run to myfitnesspal and see that I can now eat ALL of the brownies.  Damn, I really love those brownies.

Knowing all of these benefits – the camaraderie, the pride, the delicious baked goods – you would think that I would just be ultra motivated.  This just isn’t the case.  I register for monthly races, not out of passion for racing, but because I know that if I have paid for a race, I am much more likely to at least do SOME training for it, and therefore not totally lose all my base as a casual runner.  This tendency towards loafing made one of my current goals a difficult one to undertake – running 100 consecutive days, at least one mile a day, at a pace that can be considered, at least somewhat generously, a jog.

I know myself and I knew that if I really wanted to succeed at this, I had to make it somehow worth more than just a happy clap from myself and a big pat on the back from my husband.  The pride of achieving a goal is a wonderful motivator – just not necessarily for 100 straight days.  I thought about what I might need to help myself motivate, and I thought about what sometimes children need to get on the right path to something.  PRIZES!

And so, the prize box was born.  Ridiculous?  Absolutely.  Effective?  Today will be day 46 straight, so I feel like it is going pretty well!  The prize box is nothing fancy, just a humble plastic basket that was sitting around the house, full of folded over index cards.  Before setting out for my 100 days, I came up with different prizes of various degrees of cost or time.  Some are tiny little self indulgent things – like having my husband take the kids to a movie so I can lay in bed and watch Netflix for two hours, or having a mid-afternoon nap on a Sunday.  Some have higher personal value – like allowing myself a day free from calorie counting or the whole family having to indulge me in a trip to the zoo.  Some have a cash value that is relatively small – a new pair of super fuzzy socks, or new body scrub (coupled with the time to use it and soak in a long bath!!).  Some even venture into more financially impactful – like a new dress from my favorite online store, or finally getting that next tattoo I have been wanting.  I came up with around 15 prizes, more prizes than I would actually get over the course of 100 days, so that I wouldn’t end up knowing exactly what prize I would get on any given day.

Then I started off – the idea being that every ten days I would get a prize.  On day 10 I got to go buy a new jigsaw puzzles that I got to get the whole family (my parents included!) to help me with.  On day 20 I was rewarded with that new good smelly body scrub and a ridiculously long bath in a jacuzzi tub with a book.  Day 30 was registering for a race I had been eyeing (Thanksgiving Day 5K to benefit So Others Might Eat).  Day 40 was absolutely the biggest and best prize so far – I indeed got to make that appointment for my next tattoo!

As I reflect on the last 45 days of daily running, I realize a few things.  One is that once you really get into this streak thing (maybe around day 15), it becomes almost second nature to leave the house at 9pm to get in that one mile.  I feel like it is going to be kind of odd after I hit day 100 and I just take a day off.  I realize how much I miss the feeling of totally fresh, well rested legs (I am generally a person who really respects rest days).  I’ve noticed that some days are good and some are bad and it frequently has nothing to do with the day before, but good company and great music can make or break a run.  I also realize that I am indeed just an overgrown child, because on those days where I really just don’t want to move off the couch, I can remind myself that I am only a few more days away from a prize – and out the door I go.

What motivates YOU to run?  What is the silliest thing you have done to make sure you achieve your goals?

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My First Army 10 Miler

The Army 10 Miler is one of those races where just about anyone in the DC area that likes to run, has done.  As the Cherry Blossom 10-Miler bills itself as the “Runner’s Rite of Spring,” the Army 10 might as well usher in the season of jackets and gloves.  Somehow, in my five years as a person who runs (I don’t love calling myself a runner), I have managed to never run this race.  Sometimes it was too close to Marine Corps for my liking.  Twice it was in a time period where I was taking a hiatus from running.  Last year it was the day after my wedding.  Finally – this year – the stars aligned and I had my chance.  On my first wedding anniversary no less!!

I had been warned it would be just as crowded as Cherry Blossom and there is no way to PR on the course.  I wasn’t terribly worried about this.  While I have been working hard and reaching my goal of a 100 day running streak (when I go run this evening I will officially be at day 38), I have found myself more interested in consistency than distance or speed.   I run every day, but at least three or four days a week that run is only a mile long, and rarely are any of them longer than four miles.  I wasn’t sure what ten miles would look like, or feel like, or how long it would take.  I decided to not worry about it and just go and have fun with my husband.

Chilly Metro Stop Waiters!!

Chilly Metro Stop Waiters!!

We woke up early (for the record, I don’t love getting up in the dark), with the plans of picking up our friend in Alexandria and driving over to park at Pentagon City.  We felt like we were doing great on time, having left our house a little after 6:30 on the way to drop our dog with my mom so we could race and have a leisurely brunch afterwards.  On our way to Alexandria, however, we got a text letting us know that it was already a bit of a madhouse trying to park, and we hadn’t even made it to Alexandria yet.  We abandoned that plan and headed for the metro in Alexandria instead, where we were all able to meet up.  It was absolutely freezing.  Okay, I realize that it probably wasn’t THAT freezing, but given that we have not yet adjusted into full winter, it felt freezing.  We huddled together and were grateful for the fairly frequent trains.  I am happy to report that the metro did its job, got us safely and quickly to the Pentagon metro station, where we hopped off with the rest of the sea of runners to find our starting corral.  I was really impressed with how well organized the start was.  If you haven’t run it before – there are eight starting corrals with different bib colors, and all the corrals are designated at the start by an arch of colored balloons.  As each corral moves forward, the balloons all bunch together at the start line.  I don’t think there was anyone policing the corrals, but I will say that folks seemed to be following the rules for the most part, which is a huge help when you are trying for a certain pace!

My husband and I went out as part of the third wave of runners.  By the time we crossed the starting line we had already

Half way mark!

Half way mark!

wrapped our jackets around our waists.  The sun was shining and the weather was absolutely beautiful to be out running.  We trotted along not really paying attention to pace, but enjoying the time together.  It was our anniversary after all, and given that we have two kids and three jobs between the two of us, having time alone that isn’t filled up with some kind of child or domestic related task is a bit of a treat.  There was certainly a lot of folks on the course, but I rarely felt like it was TOO crowded, and to be honest I only really remember one moment of bottlenecking on the entire course.  Anytime I felt like I needed to pass someone I had plenty of space, and we moved along the course nicely.  Speaking of the course – man is it a great one!  Very scenic and lovely.  I snapped a mid run picture of us at mile five, still looking happy and perky (as I wasn’t sure if at some point my legs would decide that running ten sounded awful).  Somewhere around seven or eight miles in the course takes you across THE BRIDGE.  Anyone that has ever run Marine Corps knows this bridge.  It is the worst bridge.  It is a bridge that breaks spirits.  As we started to approach the bridge I actually found myself giving myself a little pep-talk about the bridge.  How it wouldn’t get me this time.

As we started across the bridge, the crowd grew suspiciously quiet.  Silently I remembered my last time on this bridge.  How I stopped, walked, sat down on the side, and nearly burst into tears because my legs just didn’t want to go anymore and I knew I had six more miles.  I remember seeing other people break down on the bridge.  It seems to go on forever, somehow ALL uphill, and without a single spectator to keep you going.  As we trotted along with our relatively fresh legs, I wondered how many other people around me were also reliving their own personal nightmares with this bridge, or plotting how they would absolutely crush it at Marine Corps in a few weeks time.

Thankfully, we made it over the bridge and started wrapping closer to the end.  Around mile nine I felt my calves start to cramp.  Not bad enough for me to need to stop, but enough for me to know I wouldn’t be turning on any heat for this last mile.  I told my husband that if he had anything in the tank and wanted to speed up he should head on out while I trotted behind.  Off he went – his last mile being his fastest by nearly a minute (I realize I may have been holding him back, but he was an awfully nice sport about it).  I made it through that last mile with no great problems, and even though I had done very little in the way of training, I managed to finish only three minutes slower than my previous PR for a ten miler.



For Sean, it was a PR, as it was his first official ten miler (we ran Cherry Blossom in the Spring, but the course had been shortened due to an accident).  I told him I can forgive that he beat me at the race today (by about 48 seconds), because he still hasn’t beaten my PR.  I may need him to lose interest in running soon so as to preserve that relationship.  We spent the next 30 or so minutes hanging out on the course cheering for others and waiting to see friends.  If you heard a crazy person screaming about the chocolate chip muffins available at the finish – that was me.  We had a blast encouraging others to finish strong before heading off for a lovely anniversary brunch.

It was a great race and I hope it wasn’t my last.  If you are hesitant to sign up due to crowd size, I would say go for it anyway.  Even if it isn’t a great PR course (which I personally disagree with – our corral certainly wasn’t crowded), it’s a very well organized race with a lot of friendly folks!!

Til next time!

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5 Before 35 – One Month Later

About a month ago I shared how I fell apart when I turned 30, and shared the running goals I had given myself before I turned 35.  It has been a month since I really decided to work on those goals, and I thought I’d quickly check back in.

Goal #1 – Run a 4:30 marathon.  This is absolutely a long range goal for me, and I don’t expect to get there this year (also, I’m not running a marathon in the next two months).  I am currently making plans to run the Austin Marathon in February, but that will be more of an effort of getting my distance back up, and not a race I want to focus on my time.  It doesn’t help that it is a particularly hilly race.  Thanks to my deferral this year, I have a guaranteed spot in the 2016 Marine Corps Marathon – where I hope to hit this time goal.  In the meantime I am getting back on the road, regaining the habit of running, and rebuilding distances.

Goal #2 –  Run an ultra.  See goal #1.  Pretty sure this is a long way off, but I’m on the right track!

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.03.26 PM

Safe Wake!

Goal #3 – Race with my dog.  This one I have been making some progress towards!  This is my dog Wake.  He was a rescue pup that we had thought was a border collie mix.  He’s about nine months old now, and we are starting to doubt our original thoughts, given he has seemingly stopped growing and is only a touch over 25 pounds.  One thing about Wake, however, is that he does LOVE to run.  Due to the fact that he is still a pup, I can’t take him on terribly long runs, but on the days when I do just a short evening one miler to keep up on my streak (that’s the next goal!), Wake is my buddy.  Our runs aren’t always very pretty – sometimes Wake decides it would be more fun to run in crazy circles around me or pull the leash – but he LOVES them.  We tend to only run at night, so I put my amphipod reflective magnets on the sides of his harness, and he has come to realize that those magnets mean it is go time.  He’s a pretty happy guy!

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 9.10.09 PMGoal #4 – 100 Day Running Streak.  I am happy to report that I have finished the first 26 days of this (and as soon as this post is written and my daughter is tucked in – I will head out with Mr. Wake for day number 27!).  Now, I know there are some holes in the calendar to the left, but those are the days when I have found myself running on a treadmill instead of outside.  You may notice many of my runs are not very long, and most are very slow, but I’m proud of my consistency!  There has been a day or two where it has been a challenge to convince myself to head out, and if you look close you will see a great many of those runs are happening after 9pm (which will happen again tonight, and I talked about in the running on a schedule post from last week!).  I have been bribing myself along the way with little rewards, but I’ll tell you more about that another day.

Goal #5 – 1,000 mile year.  Look at 2016.  The plan is two marathons, and between training for those races, and hoping to get back to a few of my favorite races in the DC area (Frederick Running Festival has a special place in my heart), I think it may be my year!

What running goals do you have for yourself?  How do you plan to achieve them?  Til next time!

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Running on a Schedule

My kids in their obligatory first day of school picture.  Marking a return to normal and running!

My kids in their obligatory first day of school picture. Marking a return to normal and running!

One of the most common rationales I hear from people about why they don’t run is regarding time.  I have no argument for this reason.  I understand how easy it is to put running aside, but I tend to have a fairly backwards habit when it comes to running.  The more free time I have, the less likely I am to run.

Let me explain that a bit.  I am a fairly booked up person.  As far as employment goes – I teach 5th grade and work occasional shifts at the running store.  My house involves a 6th grade daughter that participates in girl scouts and orchestra, and a 3rd grade son in cub scouts and after school science clubs.  We also have a nine month old puppy dog.  After school, on top of the kid’s activities, I coach Girls on the Run and am a building supervisor for an afternoon Spanish language program.  I am also the one who cooks, and we do make attempts to eat exclusively home cooked meals during the week (though we have our occasional Chipotle breaks).  Between all of this, and because of all of this, I MUST run.

During the summer I work very little.  My days are blissfully my own to spend however I want, and more often than not, I end up forgetting to run or making excuses.  The heat is at a dangerous level, or I can go later, or I need to make sure to make dinner before it gets too late, or I just ate, or I spent too long at the pool and now I’m just too sleepy.  I can be the queen of excuses.  But not during the school year.  That is because during the school year, my google calendar looks like this:

My October.  Jealous?

My October. Jealous?

Yes, those are three different layers of a google calendar you see in front of you.  One that takes care of most of the kid activity and is shared with my ex-husband in order to make sure we know what weekend the kids are where, and what activities the kids have going on.  The blue ones apply just to me – classes I need to attend, knowing when my mom is out of town, when I’m coaching.  Lastly, the green – my running calendar.  Possibly the most respected of the bunch.  During the school year, there is something blissfully selfish about going for a run.  Spending my day surrounded by children (both at work and at home) is an amazing thing, and I adore teaching, but it means that a HUGE chunk of my life is spent with people near me really, truly needing me.  Needing my attention, needing me to focus on them.  Obviously, anyone that goes to work has to focus on their work, but it is a unique kind of need when it is a ten year old standing in front of you frustrated because they still can’t quite grasp this whole fraction to decimal thing.

Running isn’t always easy during the school year.  I am frequently tired.  I am overbooked.  My legs are sore from being on my feet all day at work.  The need to have some privacy, however, is strong.  To have some time all to myself to work through my day.  Sometimes I plan lessons.  Sometimes I think about a student and how I might be able to work through something with them.  I write grant proposals in my head and try to come up with a way to connect with my 6th grade daughter that keeps becoming more and more of an adult.  I feel like, to be honest, I don’t have time NOT to run.

I’m not a morning person.  Some days I am able to go run right after school while my kids work on their homework, so long as I’m not going too far.  Some nights we go to the track where I can run intervals while the kids read books or run up and down the bleachers.  On the weekends I will run in the middle of the day when my husband can be home with the kids, or I will suck it up and meet up with our training group to knock my miles out early enough to not miss the scout activity of the day.  Many nights I head out at 9pm, after the older kiddo has been tucked into bed.  I’m currently 16 days into what I hope will become my 100 day running streak, so every day, every night, I check in with myself and my day.  Then I make it happen.

I completely empathize with and understand when people say they are just too busy to run, but maybe, when you really are so busy that adding one more thing sounds like an absolute nightmare – maybe that is the time you need it the most.

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FAQ Series: General Questions


Welcome to the first installment of the FAQ series at Metro Run and Walk! We have written up some answers to the most common questions that we get from customers. If you’re a seasoned customer, or just looking to stop in for your first time, your questions may be answered here!

  • What makes your store special?

Service! We take the time to work one-on-one with each customer to find the perfect shoe, insert, bra, or other item. We are happy to listen to your concerns and questions and to problem solve with you.

  • What is the purpose of a gait analysis for fitting me for shoes? Do you have a treadmill for me to run on?

We perform gait analyses in order to observe how flexible your arch is, how your foot behaves when bearing weight, and how you move. We use this visual analysis to assess how much arch support you need from a shoe, which makes a big difference in the shoes we will select for you. We do not have a treadmill, as we believe that people tend to change their gait slightly on a treadmill versus on the ground. We normally have people walk and run on the floor inside the store or outside on the sidewalk in front of the door.

  • I have orthotics. Can you still help me find a shoe?

Yes! Many of our customers have orthotics, both custom and over-the-counter (such as Superfeet) that they use in their shoes. We take the time to determine what type of support the orthotic is providing you, and use this information to determine how much support you need from a shoe itself. Most commonly, people with orthotics that provide significant arch support to treat flat feet, plantar fasciitis, and other conditions are placed into a neutral shoe. These shoes do not have additional posting through the arch because the orthotic is providing sufficient support. Every case is different, but we will always work with you to find the best solution.

  • Do you carry extended widths?

Yes. We offer men’s shoes in B, D, 2E, and 4E. We offer women’s shoes in 2A, B, D, and selected 2E.

  • My friend/neighbor/etc has X shoe and loves it. Will it work for me?

The answer to this question is possibly. Since each person has a different arch, foot shape, size, and width, just because one shoe works well for someone does not mean it is perfect for everyone. This also applies to reviews written online or in magazines regarding shoes. Trying on the shoe and finding one that matches your arch shape is the best option.

  • Which shoe is the best one? Are some shoes higher quality than others?

All of the shoes that we stock and sell are high quality. Among the shoes that we select for you, one will never be simply “better” than another. There are certain shoes that are considered “premium”, but this simply means that they have additional cushioning added, which increases their lifespan and feels more soft. Examples of these shoes are the Asics Nimbus or Brooks Glycerin. With any shoe you leave the store in, however, your shoes will be high quality.

  • How often should I replace my shoes?

The short answer to this question is every 6 months to 1 year, or every 300-500 miles. The long answer is that it depends on how often you wear the shoe, what activity you wear the shoe for, and how heavy you are on your feet. Wearing your shoe all day, every day usually pushes you toward needing a new shoe after 4-6 months. Wearing your shoe for excessive weight bearing activity, long runs, or training sessions puts you into around 6 months. Heavier-set people will need to replace their shoes after 5-6 months. Efficient, light runners, or those wearing premium cushioned shoes can usually wear their shoes for 600-800 miles or closer to 1 year.

  • What is the difference between a “walking shoe” and a “running shoe”?

“Walking shoes”, by definition, are usually leather, sturdy, black or white, and supportive. “Running shoes”, on the other hand, are mesh, lighter, colorful, and cushioned. We put fitness walkers, or those who will be using their shoe for any physical activity, into “running shoes”, unless they specifically ask for the walking shoe styles. “Running shoes”, therefore, can be used for both walking and running. While walkers would certainly be okay in a “walking shoe”, most prefer the running shoe styles for comfort, breathability, and weight.

  • When is the best time of day to get fitted?

Most people will experience up to a 5 millimeter swelling in their feet after a long walk, run, or other workout. Because of this, we recommend coming to get fitted later in the day or after a workout to accommodate for the swelling you are bound to experience. If you get fitted for a shoe first thing in the morning, your foot will likely be smaller than it will be after a run.

  • Why is my size larger for running shoes than for everyday shoes?

Due to the swelling that occurs during physical activity in your feet, we recommend going ½ to 1 full size up in a running shoe. Excessive rubbing, toenails hitting the end of the shoe, and general swelling can make for some sore, painful feet, so it is much better to allow some extra space.

  • Do you carry kids shoes?

We carry kids shoes in sizes 1-7.

  • How do you pronounce the word “Saucony”?


If you have any other questions that were not answered here, leave us a comment on this post or on our Facebook page!

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Running Unplugged – A Runner Experiences Digital Detox

I tend to be a very “plugged in” runner.  My garmin is almost always on my wrist, and if for some reason the battery is dead I hop onto the google pedometer and map out my run before I go so I make sure to run exactly the right distance and check the clock right before I go and as soon as I am home so I know how long it took.  I plug my ears into my ipod and count the number of songs I believe each mile should take and check my wrist after that many songs to see how close I was.  If I need a certain pace of a run I make sure it is on a treadmill so that I can hit it on the nose.  While running is a hobby, I tend to micromanage it in the way someone might manage their job.  My training plan is on my google calendar, and I can tell you every mile I am “supposed” to run between now and Thanksgiving.

Last week, however, things got shaken up.  I found myself in Hendersonville, North Carolina at Camp Grounded – a “digital detox” adult summer camp.  Upon check in you had to go through “tech check” in which anything electronic you have have had – phones, ipods, even any kind of time piece – was put into a plastic bag and locked up in a box where they would remain for four days.  Hell bent on sticking to my goal of a 100 day running streak (and heading to camp on only about six days into it), I brought running gear (meaning just shoes, shorts, and some sports bras) and decided I would make it work.


The ladies of the Bobcat Village. The author in the sports bra after a run.

Camp Grounded was an amazing experience.  I would like to say it was exactly like summer camp as a kid, and in many ways that is true, but in many ways it doesn’t work that way at all.  We were divided into our gender segregated villages (I was a bobcat – my husband a grasshopper), and we played getting to know you games and created village cheers.  This was between things like yoga, meditation, and sweat lodge opportunities.  We swam in the lake, went off ziplines, and took hip hop dance workshops to perform at the Talent Show.  During the day we had a lot of free time – and I used this time to run.  The camp was covered in trails that criss-crossed throughout the woods and to the different sections of camp.  Every day I pulled on my running clothes and hit the trails, hoping that I made it to the couple mile mark, and knowing that I would have no idea how far I went.  The first day it was hard.  My husband came along with me and I kept questioning how far we had gone.  How fast we were going.  If we turn back now, will I have gotten in at least a mile?  It made me crazy.

The second and third days I headed out alone, listening to squealing campers play kickball and try to steal the flags from the other villages (mind you – all of the campers are adults, most in their late 20s-30s, many older).  These days were easier – I let myself sink into the woods.  I found myself far enough away from camp to where I couldn’t hear the sound effects anymore, and enjoyed my time in the woods.  I really don’t know how long I ran.  It may have been 10 minutes and it may have been 40.  The trails were meant for mountain bikes, full of hills and curves and roots, so while I am certain the runs were slow, they were steady and beautiful.  I stopped wanting to look at my wrist and founds that I was okay being “done” running without knowing what I had done.

Now that I’m back in the real world, I realize what an unusual gift having a totally unplugged run is.  Anywhere I run near home I have an approximate idea of the distance.  I know the trail around Burke Lake by heart.  Most of our big and wonderful trails have mile markers making sure you know your distance, and our days aren’t always so open that we can run until we are done and not worry about any kind of schedule for the rest of the day.  It wasn’t perfect running.  I won’t ever know how far I ran or even how long I was out (clocks of any kind were banned at camp), but it felt good.  I felt like I was running for the run, and not to log the miles, and that was an uncommon gift for me.

If you find that you are an overly plugged in runner like me, take my advice.  Next time you are on vacation – give it a try.  Find a park and hit the trails totally unplugged.  No music, no garmin, no attention to anything except the scenery, the sounds, and yourself moving forward through the world.

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5 Before 35 – Mid-Life Running Goals


30 wasn’t ALL bad. I got to marry this guy..

About 18 months ago, I turned 30.  It would be fair to say that I did not handle this new decade gracefully.  Don’t get me wrong, on all accounts the year that I spent being 30 years old was monumental.  I got married, I bought a house, I spent a month in Central America taking surfing lessons.  I ran my second full marathon and hit my first ever sub 2 hour half marathon.  None of that, however, could fight my feeling that I was old and life was almost over.

I am very well aware how ridiculous that last statement is.  Logic just doesn’t always have a place inside of a brain that has decided to go sliding down a particular wormhole.  I struggled with all manner of bothersome bad habits.  I let running lose importance and value, put on 15 pounds, and fought off my occasional panic attacks by staying up too late watching 30 Rock on Netflix before having to wake up early for work.

Recently I decided that enough was enough.  I needed to shake myself out of my 18 month slide into funk and regain some control in life, and remind myself that I still have LOTS of things to do!!  I sat down and wrote out a list of 35 things I would like to accomplish by the time I turn 35.  As I wrote and re-read my list, I noticed that my goals fell into very distinct categories – travel, personal well being, doing things that I felt could make the world a better place, silly adventures, and running.  While I will spare you all the full list, I thought I would share with you my five most pressing running goals.

Goal #1 – Run a 4:30 Marathon

Some of you may have been following along my adventures of training for and running the Marine Corps Marathon last year.  I have run two marathons – MCM 2011 and 2014.  I was also slated to run it in 2015, but due to my concerns over lack of a base and overall loss of fitness from yeas past.  Now I have deferred to MCM 2016, which was sad, but also empowering as it gives me a solid year to get my act together.  I am not a runner who is fast.  I am a runner who goes out there, exhausts myself, and still finishes midpack, but that is okay!!  I may never qualify for Boston, but I think the 4:30 is totally doable, and I look forward to getting myself there.


Marine Corps Marathon 2011


Running the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015

Goal #2 – Run an Ultra

The idea of an ultra marathon sounds insane.  I fully acknowledge this, but in true to myself form, I struggle to care too much.  I don’t want to run a 100 miler.  I don’t even want to run a 50 miler.  I have the utmost respect for the people that run those distances.  The level of commitment is incredible, and the time management skill of those that manage to train for those events and still juggle lives is astonishing to me.  I know that for myself, my time management skills aren’t quite there yet – at least not while my kids are still young – but I do feel that if I can find time to train for a marathon, I should be able to train to go five miles farther!  There are so many really cool sounding 50ks that it is hard to not be attracted to the distance, and knowing that I wouldn’t be worried about time feels like a nice change of pace from my usual running focus.

Goal #3 – Run a Race with the Dog

If you are someone who frequently comes out to our community races, there is a good chance you have met Mr. Wake!  My husband and I adopted Wake in April with the hopes of getting me a running partner when the border collie mix had a chance to grow up some.  In the meantime I have been bringing him to a lot of running events to get him used to crowds and noise and distraction.  We have worked several water stops and worked as sweepers at several races.  I can’t wait until I get a chance to run a race with him – even if it ends up being the slowest race ever.


Wake’s ears will help him to flap his way to the finish line.

Goal #4 – 100 Day Running Streak

When I am in the habit of running, it becomes automatic.  I don’t have to think about it, I don’t have to drag myself out of bed, I don’t have to worry about scheduling in my runs.  Somehow it becomes just like breathing.  It becomes part of my day, just like eating food or brushing my teeth.  When I am out of the habit of running – I have a million things that keep me from running.  I need more sleep, the dog needs me to nap with him, the kids need me to help with their homework RIGHT NOW and clearly now is the only possible time to run, and on and on.  I have never been one to worry about streaks – I just make a plan and stick to it.  I think keeping up 100 straight days of running at least a mile every day would be an awesome challenge for me, and would lead well into goal #5….

Goal #5 – Have a 1,000 Mile Year

Back in 2014, I thought I would get this.  I was on track thanks to monthly races and marathon training.  Unfortunately, after my dismal performance at the Marine Corps Marathon, I found myself so disenchanted that I believe I ran something like 20 miles over the rest of the calendar year.  As I type it is August and I haven’t tracked my miles this year, but I can tell you they are probably less than 100.  I have my eye on 2016 as “my year.”

That’s what I’ve got.  I plan on checking in on how my progress towards these goals are going, and hopefully this will keep me accountable.  Nothing feels worse than when I have to write the “well, that didn’t work out” blog posts!  I’d love to hear your running goals too!  I am always inspired by the folks I chat with at the store and the different things they are working towards, whether it is their first 5k or their 5th Ironman!

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