Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Grinning and Bearing It

Last Saturday was the kick-off race to the 2008 Central Oregon Running Schedule. The Grin and Bear It 5k/10k, hosted by Healthy Beginnings, held it's 6th annual event. Cracking the 200 runner barrier shows that not only was this running community ready to get out for their first race of the year, but also that Healthy Beginnings puts on a quality event.

Amongst the masses, four runners showed up sporting their cool new Fleet Feet Bend shirts: Jenn Shelton, Carly (last name?), Billy Barnett, and me. Rod and fam were going to come out and do the Family Fun Walk. Katie was hoping it would help her go into labor. No help was necessary, as the Biens were absent for the race. I knew why, and later got the good news: Noah Kent Bien, 9lbs, 6oz! Big boy in that little woman. Congratulations, my friends!

Although we didn't win the biggest-team award, we had some solid races. After starting out WAY too fast, Billy, Jenn, and I all faded in the second half, but still placed well. Billy got 2nd, I was 4th, and Jenn was 7th/1st girl. Results aren't posted yet, so I don't know how Carly's race went. But she was smiling at the finish - so that's a good thing!

It was fun to see so many smiling faces out there, enjoying the cool morning with friends, and helping out a great charity.

Upcoming events on the Central Oregon calendar:
Apr. 6, Horse Butte 10 miler
Apr. 13, Peterson Ridge Rumble 30k/60k
Apr. 20, Light of Hope 5k

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Who, What, When, Where, and Why?

Its always funny writing a first post for a blog.  So, let's cut to the chase!  I'll answer all the W's (not that you asked) and hopefully that will tell you a little bit about what Fleet Feet is going to be about.  
Rod Bien and Sean Meissner will be the faces you most likely will come in contact with when coming into the shop.  Our basic link is our true love of running and fitness.  We definitely come from different backgrounds that brought about our love of running.  Sean ran cross country in both high school and college while I (Rod Bien) began running after getting a little "chunkier" than I was happy with after leaving behind the good times of my college experience!  However, we have now both been logging lots of miles both on the roads and on pretty much every trail in Central Oregon (try us....).  We definitely have the most experience in terms of time on the trail and roads and would love to have the opportunity to share our passion with you.
Fleet Feet Inc is a locally owned franchise that sells running and walking footwear and clothing.  I have gotten (and I understand why) a few questions asking things like, "do you have to carry certain products?" or "do all stores look the same".  "No" is my resounding answer to both.  This is no Subway sandwich shop :)  What all Fleet Feet stores do have in common is our fit process.  With over 80 stores nationwide, the advantage that we have is a fit process that truly works.  It is not one stores' idea of what 'fit' should be.  Fleet Feet have fit literally millions of customers and have the advantage of being able to have local owners who are constantly perfecting the craft of fitting feet.  It is a major advantage to have the input of 80+ stores, millions of customers, and a corporate team that devotes all their time to creating a great network of stores.  As owners, we talk and email daily about how to improve our process.   In my opinion, it is unparalleled.  
As a shop owner, no one tells me which shoes to carry, how my store should look, etc.  You can blame that all on me.  
I will tell you this.  As an avid runner, I have been fit by stores all over the country.  I have been diagnosed all sorts of things that have not been correct...I have found that traveling to Fleet Feet stores across the west coast has been the only time I have gotten a consistent diagnosis and the one that works for me.
Well, we sure are shooting for the first weekend in April.  We have two races that will be  having their "packet pickup" in our store in our first three weekends open.  They are the Light of Hope 5K and the Peterson Ridge Rumble.  Come on in and check out the shop and support these great races!  We'll sure keep you all informed of when we open up for sure!
We've got a great location.  We are located at 1320 NW Galveston, sandwiched between Blue and Ariana.  We would only look at one street when considering this venture.  We wanted to be tucked into the community, offer plenty and easy parking, and be right on your way traveling to and from in your day to day life.  We know you've got lots going on and buying new shoes should be easy.  We're centrally located but set up to serve you, the local Bendite.
Because this is what I want to do more than anything in the world.  I truly just love to run and am hoping to inspire others: whether it is running, walking, or getting the dog out of the house for a stroll around the block.  Now, I sure do realize that not all or even most people who enter our store will be walkers or runners.  However, what I hope to give them is our passion for our craft.  Here's what I mean... Whenever I buy flowers or a new plant for the garden, I go to Moon, Fire, and Sun.  Now, I'm no pro gardener.  In fact, you could make a real compelling argument that I have a black thumb!  And, I also realize that I could buy those same plants somewhere else.  I go there because I have always loved how passionate and in depth they are in the world of gardening.  Yeah, I usually just nod my head as I don't know half of the terms they are throwing around but I love how passionate they are about their craft.  I always come home and am "fired up" to hit the garden!  That is what we hope to do for you when you enter our little walking and running store.  We hope our passion for our craft is palpable.