Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Tell us your story!!

So many of you have an incredible story to tell. A journey you've been on and running or walking has been an important part of that journey. We LOVE hearing these stories - it's actually one of the favorite parts of our job! Knowing that Fleet Feet Sports and what we love to do has helped transform someone's life or make a difference in some way, shape or form is truly an incredible feeling.

We want to hear your story. We want everyone else to hear your story. Stories are meant to be told and shared and used to inspire and motivate others. Whether you want to believe it or not, YOUR story - yes you - can help someone. So whether you've gone from couch potato to marathoner, or you've shed pounds or you've gained self-esteem - we want to hear from you.

We'll select our favorites, and post to this blog.

If you're interested in sharing your story, please do the following:

1. Put together a piece that tells your story - it can be as long or as short as you wish!
2. Find a picture - whether it's of yourself or something else - that captures your story best!
3. Email both of these to - ATTN: BLOG POST!

We'll be sure to contact you if we have any questions & we'll let you know when/if your story gets selected!

Here's an awesome example from Thai - that shows what type of submissions we are looking for:



It's been a little over a year since I started running with Fleet Feet (since the summer of 2013). I repeated No Boundaries I twice at the time because, even though I completed my 5K race, I wasn't comfortable with the distance. Once No Boundaries II was created I signed up for that and like an avalanche I took the 10K program twice and just now completed the 10-Miler program - successfully running the Army 10 Miler.

Thai with his new Fleet Feet/Fitness friends!

In addition to running, thanks to the Ton of Fun program, I've also signed on with Foundry Fitness. I've lost a total of 55 pounds since I've started this healthier living. It hasn't been easy; there have been walls and plateaus almost every week it seems. But with the help of all of my new friends that I've made over this past year I've been able to stay on track.

Come join me as I help assistant coach the No Boundaries II program or wave and say "Hi" if you see me running around the area or in a class at Foundry. I'll be taking the Half Marathon training program starting in 2015, as I aim to take down my first half in March!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Day in the Life of Kanayo...

Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg first opened its doors on May 19, 2005.  That’s nine amazing years that Chris and Robyn have been changing people’s lives!
One of their early hires was Kanayo Anekwe.  He first reported to Fleet Feet on November 15, 2005.  So Kanayo has practically been here from the very beginning.
Here’s a picture of Kanayo on his first day.

Just kidding.
For the record, Kanayo’s name is pronounced /KAA-NAA-Yō/.  But here are the top 5 ways people have butchered his name:

1. Kayano (like the ASICS running shoe)
2. Canoe
3. Keanu
4. Kanye
5. Mayo (my kids affectionately
       refer to him as “Uncle Mayo”)

As the longest serving-employee at Fleet Feet, Kanayo has assumed a great number of duties; he’s a man who wears many hats.  (Figuratively.  Not literally.  Because he looks “turrible” in a hat.)

His official job title is Director of Special Events and Operations.  Let’s take a closer look at what Kanayo does at Fleet Feet on any given day.

Kanayo oversees the Fleet Feet Sports Run/Walk Club every Thursday evening at 6:30 PM and Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.  If it’s sponsored by one of our wonderful vendors, Kanayo works with the rep to line up food, drinks and prizes for our participants.  (No Jack E., you didn’t miss the raffle.)  Ultimately, it’s about the run/walk, and to assure that everyone has an enjoyable experience, Kanayo herds the cats runners into their respective pace groups.
Kanayo likewise lends a hand with our fundraisers such as the Annual Charity Fashion Show, Diva/Dude Nights, and the upcoming Fleet Feet Sports Idol Night + Silent Auction on August 8th.  He secures donations for the event and coordinates with vendor-reps who take part.  At Diva Night, you should have heard him killing it at karaoke.  By “killing it,” I mean killing any semblance of singing.

At our monthly Running Clinics, Kanayo--along with other experts--will assess your stride, form and biomechanics to help improve your running efficiency and minimize the possibility of injuries.  Who doesn’t want that?
Fleet Feet is the official running store training partner and sponsor of some fantastic local races such as Jeremy’s Run 5K/10K, Kentlands/Lakelands 5K and The Rockville Home Run 5K/10K.  Kanayo collaborates with the race directors to work out the logistics of packet pick-up at the store and race day participation.  If that wasn’t enough, you’ll see him staffing the Fleet Feet race day table as well as cheering on our Training Program runners.  Whew!  *Panting*

On the Operations side of Fleet Feet, Kanayo is responsible for the general overall running (pun intended) of the store--from opening to closing and everything in between.  He is the most seasoned FIT Professional here, and ensures that each sales associate is well trained and informed of everything that happens at Fleet Feet.
As you can see, Kanayo does a lot.  But the most important thing I’ve learned about Kanayo is that he truly loves what he’s doing.  And at the end of the day, it’s about helping people.  Helping people lead healthier lives.
Your faithful friend,

Lagniappe (a little something extra):  Kanayo has a fondness for cheesecake and chicken strips, and can be found frequenting the Golden Corral® on occasion.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Where Are They Now: Pete!

I learned a lot about running (and life) from Pete Goetsch.  He was a Manager and FIT Specialist at Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg from March 2011 to June 2013, and I’m certain he’s left quite an impact on the people he’s met and helped while he was here.

Pete Fun Fact:  He calls Cornell, Wisconsin his hometown, and has lived in Calgary and Victoria on Vancouver Island for 4 and 6 years, respectively.  (That’s in Canada for the geographically-challenged.)
Let’s find out what Pete’s been up to.
You’re now working at Fleet Feet Sports Severna Park.  How’d you end up there?
When I moved to the Annapolis area in 2013, Scott--the owner of Fleet Feet Annapolis--mentioned opening a new store very near where I was living.  The timing was great for me to work for a few months in the Annapolis store and then transition to helping open the new store in Severna Park.
How do you fill your days there?
I manage the store.  I get to hire new staff, order cool new shoes, fit guests for shoes and inserts, and coach 5k'ers and half marathoners.
What did you like about your time at Fleet Feet Sports Gaithersburg?
My favorite things included the busy Saturdays because I got to help so many people with their challenges.  The half marathon group holds a special place in my heart.  And most of all I was around GREAT people.
Speaking of GREAT people, do you miss me?  *Holding breath*
Sure! (Editorial Note: I added the exclamation point!)
Tell us about your recent trip to Jerusalem and running the Jerusalem Marathon.
An amazing experience.  I ran with Team Just One Life and toured their office before the race to see how they were helping expectant mothers.  The marathon course was the most challenging I have ever run.  Hilly from the very beginning, we ran up Mt. Scopus late in the first half and had a magnificent view over the old city.  Coming down the hill, I realized we were only half done.  A quick jog into the old city made it worthwhile again, and we even had a few miles of flat (roads).  At 36k, we hit a big hill and most of us were walking.  Finishing was a huge accomplishment.  By the next day I was recovered enough to scale the Mount of Olives and catch the sunrise over the Dome of the Rock on the Temple Mount.  Inspiring.  I would love to return for the race next year.

Mazol tov!  What's the rest of your race calendar look like?
You know me.  Nothing planned.  Something will happen, but most of the time I am just happy to be out there running on any given morning.  For that I am very grateful.
I know the answer to this, but tell us what you like to drink.
Coffee in the morning.  A nice IPA in the evening.  And lots of water to balance it out.  Life is good.
Canada, eh?  Why?
Why NOT Canada?  I moved to Calgary in 2001 as a pastor to help start a new church.  In 2004, I switched over to a different Sunday morning passion--running!
Amen Petey!  So if you ever find yourself in his neck of the woods, be sure to say hello and chat over a cup of coffee.  Pete would like that.  And so would you.
Pete’s Favorite Fleet Feet Colleague,

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Q&A: Brian Sandusky on Being a Runner, and Wearing What He Wears

If you haven’t had the chance to meet and run with Brian Sandusky, you should!  You can find him at a Fun Run/Walk or possibly in one of Fleet Feet Sports’ many, fantastic Training Programs.

Brian embodies everything that we hope to achieve at Fleet Feet Sports--to inspire others to lead a more healthy, active lifestyle.  Brian reflected on it all during a one-on-one chat.

How did you start running?

I started running two-and-a-half years ago when Lisa (Wilcox) suggested that I try the No Boundaries (NOBO) Training Program.

What other Training Programs have you been a part of?

After that (NOBO), I took a summer of running 5Ks besting my time at each one and PRing at every following one.  This built my confidence greatly to lead me into making the decision to join the Beyond Boundaries 10K Training Program.  The opportunity unfolded for me to dovetail that 10K training almost immediately into the Half Marathon Training Program to complete the Rock’n’Roll Half Marathon in March of 2012.

And then you trained for and finished the 2013 Marine Corps Marathon, right?

The goal of a marathon was not one I had in any capacity beforehand, but there was a great support system of friends who we sort of made the decision together to do it.  And thus, I put in my bid to get into the Marine Corps Marathon and then signed up for the Full Marathon Training Program to be able to follow through.

[Sidebar]  Just curious, what do you like to drink?

I guess that depends on my mood.  Beer works, but I am kinda’ picky about what type with different seasons.

Best piece of running advice?

The major thing I can say is this--don't sell yourself short on what you can and can't do. The mind is as awesome and strong-willed as the body, and can be a determining factor as much - if not more so - than anything else when it comes to any running experience.

Tell me about your *ahem* unique running apparel?

Well, I guess I can say lots of things.  From a safety standpoint, it stands me out from the backdrop to keep from getting run over.  From a personal standpoint, it stands me out from the crowd as the extrovert I tend to be.  From a philosophical standpoint, running isn't uniform, so why should my outfit/ensemble be?  From a point of self, that is just what makes me feel comfortable and makes me happy, and in the end, a happy runner is a continuous runner.

How has running changed your life?

I have said it before and I will repeat it as it applies as the strongest answer--I like the people I have met and the relationships I have forged through these programs.  These are people and friendships that I can honestly say I would not have made otherwise. While running is an individual solo thing, the experience is a very shared thing.

Good on you Brian!  

Cheers, Joel

Friday, November 8, 2013

6 Things You Need

Why do you want to work at Fleet Feet?  That’s the first thing Chris and Robyn wanted to know when I first met them.  (Or was it Have you liked us on Facebook yet?)

By working at Fleet Feet, I could help others achieve their running and fitness goals (of course!).  I also told them that I hoped to become a better runner.  And I have.

I’m Better.  Faster.  Stronger.  *playing Kanye West in the background*

To run better now and take your training to the next level (up to eleven for you Spinal Tap groupies), the following are 6 Things You Need:

1.         Technical Socks
For running, cotton is, indeed, rotten.  Synthetic fibers wick moisture away from your foot to keep you dry and comfortable as you sweat--minimizing blisters.

I love my synthetic socks so much that if I ever get a dog that my kids have been hounding me for, I’m going to name him balega®.  (I’ll probably get overruled, and we’d end up naming him Squishy.)

2.         Technical Apparel
I’m guilty of wearing cotton t-shirts and ratty gym shorts in the past to run.  (Don’t judge me.  I grew up in the 80’s.)  Really messy and uncomfortable, right?  Wearing cotton apparel to run, that is.  Not the 80’s.

As with socks, your apparel should be constructed with moisture-wicking, synthetic fabric that pulls sweat away from your body to keep you dry.  Lightweight and breathable apparel improves performance.

3.         Self-Massage
Muscle flexibility and elasticity enhances fluid movement, and hence, performance.  I use (and swear by) Trigger Point Performance Therapy and the addaday Ultra Roller to roll out muscle tightness.

Public Service Announcement:  Do not confuse self-massage with self-message.  I only self-message myself when I feel lonely and have no one to talk to.

4.         Inserts/SuperFeet
I’ve been running for over twenty-two (22) years.  And for the past year I’ve been using SuperFeet inserts, and it’s been a game-changer.  (I kid you not!)

Inserts puts the foot in the proper position, and improves the efficiency of your foot--promoting alignment, maintaining stability, and reducing fatigue.  I was skeptical at first, but this is one product that I’ve incorporated in the my running that has changed everything.

5.         Compression Socks/Sleeves
Consider using compression socks or sleeves to improve performance and reduce injury.  It does so by increasing blood flow to the muscles--supplying it with oxygen and nutrients, and thereby reducing muscle strain and helping rebuild damaged tissue.

I used CEP Progressive+ Calf Sleeves in my training for the recent Army 10-Miler, and finished in 1:23:34 according to my Nike+ SportWatch GPS.  (nice, right!?!?)

6.         GPS Watch
A GPS enabled watch offers a great range of features to better track pace, distance, time and other run data.  You can then plug this into your computer to analyze your data, set goals and map new routes.

As opposed to using an app and running with your smartphone (which can be burdensome), I highly recommend using a GPS watch.  I find it easier to manage my training, and set and achieve new goals.

I turned forty-four (44) this year, and I can honestly say that I’m running better now--with the help of the above-mentioned things--than I have been in my thirties.  It’s a new and improved Joel.  (I apologize for referring to myself in the third person.)  I miss some people, but not the old me.

Photo Credit: Melissa "Swole" B.

I miss you Shoo,