We have a WINNER! A huge congratulations to Don Campbell on winning the Sports 4 $50 gift card! Many thanks to all who entered!
I have to admit that I was in a workout rut over the winter. I found it next to impossible to motivate myself to hit the gym regularly during the winter months. Running on the treadmill just doesn’t do it for me all the time. All that running only to get nowhere made curling up in front of Netflix with a glass of wine that much more appealing. It didn’t help that my local GoodLife Fitness would play Diners, Drive-ins and Dives on repeat. I always felt like I was running towards a greasy burger or deep fried Mars Bar.
Now that the sun is shining and it’s finally warm outside, I’ve got that fitness bug back! I’m back into my running routine, savouring the fresh air as I run around my beautiful neighbourhood in the sunshine.
Every year, I get fitted for a new pair of running shoes. I’m Queen of the Supinators (running on the outside of your feet), so it’s really important to me to get a sturdy running shoe that properly supports my feet and balances out that issue. I usually overlook the big athletic wear stores because I basically need to be told by someone educated in running what type of shoe is right for me. That’s where Sports 4 comes in.
I’ve shopped at this great little independent athletic wear store for years. The personal, friendly service always stood out from others. From ordering in your favourite pair of shoes to just being able to speak to someone who knew running inside and out, it’s been my go-to for the best service, myriad of options and great prices.
Last week I had the pleasure of visiting the store and interviewing Pete, Sports 4’s longest serving employee, a no-nonsense, walking encyclopedia of running facts. At 65 years of age, Pete looked much younger and was full of energy. With more marathons under his belt than he could count, I was startled when he told me that he never trains for races, that he runs for fun. My jaw is still on the floor.
I told Pete of my love for running and how I’d participated in several local 5K and 10K runs over the years. I soon learned that Pete, an avid runner, started running after becoming a little burned out. It was suggested to him that running would be a great outlet to relieve stress and boost energy. I also learned that Pete started the running the same way I did – too fast and too soon. After his initial run, his wife asked him if she should call an ambulance. I could relate.
Within a few minutes of Pete listening to me recount old and new running injuries including a nagging, tight IT band, he suggested several pairs of shoes that would help me from “over -supinating”, and gave me some sage stretching advice. He also suggested that I might suffer from an “all over imbalance” that might be throwing my running off. He was right – all words that I’d heard before from my physiotherapist. He even asked if I was a former ballerina. I said yes as I stared at him in shock. He said he could tell by the supination, way I walked and little knee and ankle issues I had described. Incredible.
We talked some more about how to choose the correct gear and Pete explained the importance of finding a great store with knowledgeable people to assist with finding the right running shoe. Reviews in revered magazines such as Runner’s World are great, but they are subjective and won’t be of help to every single person out there. Running shoe reviews don’t necessarily take into account the height and weight of a runner, etc. You have to go in and try several pairs on to make an informed choice.
Another thing I admired about Pete was the pride he took in making people feel at ease and empowering customers to be confident enough to make their own decisions. He laughed when I was adamant about picking the “prettiest shoe”, and was gentle about steering me towards the best option while saying “Forget about the label, Dom.” Thanks, Pete – you’re the best. He also conveys to the customer to go with the option that felt the must natural and comfortable and to not get overwhelmed by the huge wall of shoes. “Have fun with it – take your time and enjoy the process of finding the perfect shoe.” Such a common sense notion that we all seem to forget!
After about an hour of chatting with Pete, I chose an amazing pair of Brooks Ghost 8 running shoes that felt like they were made for me. Coincidentally, they were Pete’s first choice for me. I poked around the great selection of running gear too, such as water bottles, clothing, socks and more blister remedies than I’d ever seen in my life.
To really get into the swing of things, I’ll be joining Sports 4 and Run Ottawa’s 5K Free Saturday 5K Series that gathers ever first Saturday of the month at the Experimental Farm bright an early at 8:30am. I couldn’t think of a prettier venue than the Experimental Farm for a morning run!
I left Sports 4 feeling energized about running and marvelled at the sense of camraderie that the Sports 4 team had. My visit was Pete was so enlightening – I left with new tips and tricks to better my running and can’t wait to shave a few more minutes off my 10K PR!
So, to top things off – I have a little surprise for you! I’ll be giving away a $50 Sports 4 gift card! Here’s your chance to treat yourself to some awesome gear!
- This giveaway is open to those living in Ottawa only.
- This giveaway will run for one week and end on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 11:59pm EST.
- In order to enter the contest, tell me in the comments section below how you like to exercise, or visit the Style Domination Facebook page and leave me a comment what you would buy with a Sports 4 gift card.
- Have fun and good luck!
A huge thank you to Jim and to Pete for the stellar service, and good luck to all who enter!
*Outdoor photography courtesy of www.paremilie.com.