In September, I will be going to a fitness retreat entitled “Unleash Your Champion”, which is going to be lead by Carter Hays, along with Olivia Ward (winner of the Biggest Loser), her sister, Hannah and some other amazing inspirational people who will be sharing all that they have learned with us, from fitness to nutrition, etc. I am both excited and petrified to go. One of the things I know that I will need are great sneakers. I emailed Carter to ask him what he recommended, and he told me that he really liked New Balance, and suggested that I go to a place that really fits me the right way. I kept this in the back of my mind, and knew that it would be on my “to do” list as I got closer to the retreat, but then the other night we ended up having dinner in a place that was actually next door to a New Balance store.
After dinner, I walked over to check out the store. When I walked in, I noticed right away that they had one of “those fancy foot measuring machines” on the far back wall. I stopped as I walked in and saw the machine. On one hand, I was excited that I was actually in a New Balance store that had the machine to measure me, on the other hand, as I saw the big flat screen TV on the wall over the foot machine on the floor, my very first thought was….does my weight come up on that screen? Do they have to know my weight in order to fit me for sneakers? (those tough times of being measured for skis went through my mind, where you have to give your weight in order to rent or buy skis).
As all of this was going through my mind, and I was already thinking of heading for the door, a salesman walked up to me and asked if he could help me. I hesitated as my eyes were fixed on that TV on the wall, and then I explained that I had never been properly fitted for sneakers, I was headed to a week of “boot camp”, and I needed great sneakers that would be comfortable for working out. “However,” I said to him, “can I ask you a question?”, will my weight come up on that machine, or do you have to know my weight in order for me to be fitted for sneakers?” When he answered, “absolutely not”, my whole body relaxed in relief. I know it may sound like the stupidest thing ever, but that is what I was concerned about, and pretty much willing to walk out if they needed that information.
Once I could relax, he asked me if I had any problems with my feet, what kind of exercise I was doing, etc…I was able to share with him that I have a lot of pain in my right foot due to a Mortons Neuroma, and he said he had the same thing and completely understood. With all of the measurements he took, along with listening to my exercise regimen, he brought out 3 boxes. He knew from the beginning which ones I would end up with, but he let me make the decision. He also placed special inserts in, which he cut specifically to alleviate the pressure on my neuroma. He was so knowledgable and so kind and so patient. My husband and daughter were with me and helped me make the decision. I actually had my husband take pictures to document another “first”…mainly because I wanted to write and share with all the other women who are apprehensive about walking in a store and being fitted for sneakers.
As the salesman rang me up, I had the chance to thank him so much for making it such a nice experience. I shared a little bit with him about just losing 70 pounds, and told him a little bit about the Dr. Oz challenge. Then I was really honest and told him all that I was thinking when I walked through those doors that evening. He had no idea that someone would worry about their weight being on the machine, or for someone to be a bit nervous to go through the whole fitting process.
I told him how much it meant to me that he walked over to me right away as I was standing there, and in such a kind way, put me at ease, and made the whole process easy and enjoyable, and believe it or not, special for me. It was another ‘first’, and just as I felt months ago walking into the gym…walking into a fancy sneaker store was a bit intimidating…it’s one of “those” stores for ‘”real athletes”. And he went on to assure me this store was for anyone who needed great sneakers to keep you comfortable and fit you the right way to that you can do what you want to do, and that he really loved being able to help people find exactly what they needed.
We exchanged our business cards, as he wanted to read about my story, and I told him I might even be back to buy some running shoes one day….who knows? For now, I walked out with comfortable sneakers which were cross fit shoes to handle the different work outs I am doing, along with started to jog a bit. I told him that one of my next goals was to jog the “Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving, which is 5 miles, so he made sure my sneakers would be great for that also.
The next night, which was the night of the finale of the 2012 summer Olympics, my daughter and I went up to the track, and we jogged 4 times around..1 mile….without stopping. My brother believed that I could do it, and just kept telling me to just do it…so we did! It was another unbelievable achievement..Grace and I high fived at the finish line, and went home to watch the Olympics, feeling ourselves like awesome athletes…I guess I did belong in that store!!!….and…my feet felt great! I can check sneakers off of my packing list….ready to go and learn how to “Unleash my inner Champion”.