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Gazelle Sports

  • Day 11 - Feel the yoga love

    As a part of our 31 Days of Fitness, Aleksandra, our Northville store manager, has some yoga love to share with everyone:

    "I love YOGA! I have been practicing this beautiful art form for many years..and never get tired of it. The very best thing about yoga of any kind is that you can do whatever YOU want with it! If you want it to be a very hard physical activity, it's there for you. If you want it to be relaxing and de-stressing, then that is what is waiting for you on your mat. If you want it to be spiritual, boom, you can have that too! Whatever YOU make out of it, it's waiting for you. It can be practiced at home, studios, gyms, alone or with your favorite community.

    I am very excited because here at Gazelle Sports Northville we are collaborating with community studios to bring all kinds of different styles to you for FREE with the opportunity to donate to Girls On The Run.

    Starting Jan 8th at 6:30pm, every Monday we've got something different for you! Sign up on our Facebook page. Space is very limited! We can't wait to have some fun with you!" -Aleksandra S., Gazelle Sports Northville

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  • Day 10 - Hit the Trails

    Today, Megan from our Holland store shares a short video for our 31 Days of Fitness:

    "I love local trails. This video is from Riley Trail in Holland, but it's easy to find beautiful trails in every part of Michigan. Get out there and enjoy them!" -Megan L., Gazelle Sports Holland

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  • Day 9 - A running story

    Today, Dan from our Holland store shares his running story and a little advice for new runners:

    "In High School (1998-2002) I was a wrestler. I was in the heavyweight weight class (203+ lbs) and had to take frequent walk breaks during our 3-mile conditioning runs. After High School, I joined the Marine Corps, dramatically increasing the volume of my running. Unfortunately, I had no idea what I was doing and had also started smoking at that point in my life. Running was MISERABLE!

    Eventually, despite my best efforts to keep away, a good buddy of mine talked me into running my first 10k while I was still in Iraq in the spring of 2008.

    For reasons I can't explain, that race really hooked me, and I have been ramping up my running ever since. I eventually quit smoking after a low point of 2 packs a day (gross, I know) and got serious about training for longer distances. My first half marathon was the Great Turtle half on Mackinac Island with my future wife and her family, a running tradition that prompted a marriage proposal.

    I think running quite literally saved my life and led to my marriage. Without the drive to improve my running, I would have never worked hard to quit smoking. My wife and I reconnected because we both love distance running.

    I would tell someone who is thinking about running that it is one of the greatest ways to get fit and explore the world around them." -Dan K., Gazelle Sports Holland

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  • Day 8 - New year, new goals

    Continuing our 31 Days of Fitness, Andrew, one of our merchandise managers, shares how the new year brings him back to running:

    "I'm not certain what it is about the new year, but like clockwork, a part of me always gets excited about running again. I love our winters for alpine sports, don't get me wrong. But it's the thought of dirt-covered, sunny trails that brings me back to the Dirty Herd and West Michigan Trail Runners events to tune-up for spring races. Come join us out there!" -Andrew H., Gazelle Sports DC

    Click here to learn more about the Dirty Herd running group: http://gazellesports.com/…/the-dirty-herd-trail-running-gr…/

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  • Day 7 - Make fitness about the family!

    Today's 31 Days post comes from Malak at Born Yoga in Birmingham:

    "Healthy mom equals healthy family! Mom and baby workouts are a great way to take care of yourself while connecting with your little one. Place baby on shins for flying tummy time and get the benefits of ab work. Hold on to baby's arms or torso as you extend your legs away with an inhale. On the exhale draw the knees in towards the chest, crunch up and give your baby a kiss! Repeat multiple times and take a supported bridge pose to stretch between reps.

    Find a goddess squat with your toes facing out and heels facing in. Hold your baby facing outwards, squat and then lift your baby to face another baby. This is a great leg, ab and arm strengthener and allows yourself and baby to connect with other moms and babies.

    Don't forget to take a well deserved rest in savasana. Namaste!"

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  • Day 6 - The search for the perfect running shoe

    By Brittany Wortley

    What if the perfect shoe is an illusion? Some people swear by a certain brand like Brooks or a certain style like the GT-2000, but I have yet to find a pair of shoes to swear by. In my eight or so years of running, I haven’t tied myself down to a single brand or type of shoe. Of all the shoes I’ve tried, nothing stands out as something I want to get over and over again.

    When I started running my first year of high school track, I learned the hard way what an important piece of equipment shoes are to the sport. The training shoes I used during the short three-month season ended up injuring me. I tried to ice 20 minutes on and 20 minutes off as soon as I got home from practice, but I’d still be limping the next day.

    It wasn’t until a few years later as I was getting fitted for shoes that I learned the injury from high school track was a result of the shoes I had worn. When I began running more regularly, and by “regularly” I mean two to three times a week, I began wearing a supportive shoe for which I had been properly fit. However, the supportive shoe did not stop my calves from getting tight, keep my feet from going numb or my knee from giving me pain. I was convinced that in spite of the fitting that I still didn’t have the “right” shoes since I was still experiencing those things, however this didn’t stop me from doing all my half marathon training in those same shoes.

    After completing my first half marathon in 2013 and then a 10k a few months later with quite a bit of knee pain, I called it good and didn’t train for anything for the next two years. I planned to run the Riverbank Run 25k in 2015 and started to train for it around the end of 2014. The beginning of this journey came with another new pair of shoes, but no knowledge gained from the mistakes I’d made during my half marathon training. I encountered the same problems I had experienced during my last big race training and did little to nothing to correct them. After completing the 25k, I had still learned nothing from the process.

    I kept running, trying to build on what fitness I had gained, but it fizzled as the weather cooled and I went back to not training for anything at all. As 2016 came around my family was planning a trip to hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim, so my training began again with two more pairs of shoes added to my arsenal. This time I was looking to learn from what I’d been doing wrong for the last seven years. How do I keep my calves from getting so tight that it’s uncomfortable to keep moving? How do I keep my knee from giving out? Why are my feet going numb? I began to learn that shoes aren’t always the answer to these types of problems as long as you’ve been fitted well, and I knew I had been.

    I was told to stretch to keep my calves from getting so tight. Stretch before a run, after a run, on a day you aren’t running, and use a foam roller as well. I was also introduced to calf sleeves. Wearing these during a workout or a long run help keep the blood flowing, speed up post-run recovery and reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. These tools have not made this problem go away completely, my calves still get tight, but not so tight that I find it hard to walk or run. When looking for help with my ongoing knee problem I was told that if I wasn’t working on strengthening as I was running this would continue to be be a problem.

    Again, I learned that my shoes had little to do with my injury. It’s more how you take care of your body in addition to running. I began to do strengthening days at least once a week. After looking up types of exercises to help strengthen knees, one-legged squats and calf raises quickly became my favorite exercises. By adding strength training to my running schedule I began to experience less pain in my knee.

    Since I knew I had been fitted well for my shoes, I knew that the fit wasn’t the issue that was making my feet go numb. I researched different ways to tie shoelaces in order to alleviate the tightness around my feet. I tried some new lacing methods, ran with those, and discovered one that worked!

    I’ve found it freeing to know that I have the ability to wear a new shoe without it being a big deal. I used to agonize over what shoe to purchase, but now I’m eager to try what I haven’t worn before. I may find a shoe that works well on long mileage days and use it for long runs, another shoe for speed days, and another for the middle mileage range. At this point I haven’t found a shoe I don’t like or can’t use.

    To go from always worrying about the shoe to taking care of my entire body so that I can wear many kinds of shoes is better than finding just one shoe. In fact, there is no magic bullet. Shoes are important, and proper fit for your feet vital to running comfortably, but learning to read your body and provide what it needs is instrumental in continuing to pursue your movement goals while staying injury-free.

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  • Day 5 - Love and an active lifestyle

    Today, as a part of our 31 Days of Fitness, Kelsey from our marketing team share a little story about her own fitness journey:

    "Movement really did change my life, in a way I never expected! About four years ago I started CrossFit as a way to cross train for running. I wound up getting addicted and soon was training for my first CrossFit competition instead of my next half marathon. The thought of competing made me nervous, but I had plenty of encouragement from my coaches, friends and gym "family."

    It was at that competition where I met a guy I had only seen around the gym maybe once or twice beforehand. We started chatting and it wasn't long before he asked me on a date. A couple years and lots of dates later he asked me to marry him on a beautiful hike in Sleeping Bear Dunes!

    I am so excited to get to spend my life with someone who values an active lifestyle as much as I do. And I am so thankful to everyone I've met along the way as I've explored running and CrossFit. Maybe my fiance and I would have met all on our own one day. But if you ask me, it's thanks to the awesome people who've continued to inspire and push me on my fitness journey that I met the love of my life!" -Kelsey B., Gazelle Sports DC

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  • Day 4 - Inspirational quote

    As a part of our 31 Days of Fitness, Mike L. from our Kalamazoo store shared an inspirational quote:

    "'You only fail when you stop trying.' It's my favorite quote. It keeps me going!" -Mike L., Gazelle Sports Kalamazoo

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  • Day 3 - Independence as a motivator

    Today's 31 Days of Fitness nugget of wisdom comes to us from Eddie of CrossFit Soaring Ledge in Holland:

    "Fitness and being 'fit' sound great but why does it matter? Independence can be a sufficient motivator. Can you alone open that jar of pickles or run through the airport with baggage trying to catch a connecting flight? What about being independent as you go into your retirement years? Having friends and family to help is nice, but they may not always be around. Fitness, however, is something that will stay with you as long as you are committed to it. So make a practice of lifting something heavy and getting out of breath a few times each week. Eat real food and be consistent with your exercise and nutrition. Independence will find you in 2018 and fitness will be your new companion." -Eddie

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  • Day 2 - Don't forget your speed work

    The 31 Days of Fitness continues, with today's tip coming from Caroline C. in our GR store:

    "This is the time of year when many of us are thinking about those long-distance races in the spring. What we sometimes forget about in logging mile after mile in preparation is the importance of speed workouts for distance training. Speed workouts improve your running economy (shorter, faster repeats train your body to burn less fuel while going further, like getting better gas mileage for your legs), they break up some of the boredom and monotony of long run after long run, and short, fast repeats allow you to add some volume of running at a pace that is significantly faster than race pace (which will help get you to your goal race pace). If you're in Grand Rapids, consider joining the Rapid Herd, which has been running year-round in the best and worst of weather since 2012 on Tuesdays at noon. The workouts are cleverly disguised speed workouts that incorporate fun into the science of training."

    Learn more at http://gazellesports.com/wp/the-rapid-herd-speed-training-groups/

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  • Day 1 - Gazelle Sports Giveaway

    To help get you motivated, we’re starting our 31 Days of Fitness off with a giveaway so you can get the gear you need to move all year long! Show us how you started 2018 with movement and you could WIN A $50 GAZELLE SPORTS GIFT CARD! Just post a photo on Jan. 1 to Facebook or Instagram of yourself moving into the new year with #GazelleSports31.

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  • Our Story

    To say Gazelle Sports sells high quality running, soccer and athletic lifestyle apparel and footwear would certainly be true, but that hardly tells the whole story. Each and every day, we strive to provide the best customer care, building relationships and empowering and inspiring others to move. Our mission is to foster and support an active community in every place we call home, giving back more than we take. This was true when we opened our first store in downtown Kalamazoo back in 1985, and it’s still true today with our five stores across Michigan. At the start of it, there were just two guys who were working at a local Kalamazoo running specialty store. The year was 1983. The hair was big, the apparel colors garishly bright and the shorts were super short (for the men anyway). Chris Lampen-Crowell and Bruce Johnson were having a ball – two young guys hanging with like-minded people, selling running gear and, mostly unbeknownst to them, learning the importance of exceptional customer care and relationship-building.

    Co-owner Chris Lampen-Crowell welcomes guests at the Kalamazoo Grand Opening in 1985. Co-owner Chris Lampen-Crowell welcomes guests at the Kalamazoo Grand Opening in 1985.

     

    A change in ownership caused Bruce and Chris to develop a plan to buy the store themselves. With bank support to buy the existing business, they ran into a wall when the current owner decided to raise the price at the last minute. Undeterred, Bruce and Chris decided to start a store of their own. Thus was born the dream of Gazelle Sports. But Chris and Bruce couldn’t find a bank to buy into the dream. Seven different banks were unwilling to loan the duo start-up funds. In a time before Kickstarter, this should have been the death knell of the dream. Chris and Bruce, however, knew that they had something to offer the Kalamazoo community and were not ready to give up. They were smart enough to know the value of all of the relationships they had built over the years, and reached out to family and friends for support. They were men on a mission. And other people started buying into that mission, literally. In short order, they raised just over $60,000 to start their running store. To say that everything went smoothly from here on out would not be an entirely true statement. The two found an 1,800 square foot space in downtown Kalamazoo in July 1985 that would become the home of Gazelle Sports. Thanks to timing constraints that involved the landlord needing to sell off some fur coats, plus an over-eager postcard mailing promising a December 7 grand opening (to a mailing list of their former employer that just happened to find its way into Chris and Bruce’s hands), the duo found themselves taking occupancy of the space on December 1 with one week to prepare for the promised grand opening. It was within this timeframe that they had to demolish and rebuild just about everything in the store. But once again, friends and family – the community that Chris and Bruce had started to nurture – rose to the challenge. By the Thursday before the Saturday grand opening they had 30 people helping. On Friday, that number doubled, and they were ready to open their doors the following day to welcome the Kalamazoo community to Gazelle Sports with open arms.

    Working hard to get the store ready in time for the grand opening! Working hard to get the store ready in time for the grand opening!

     

    There were certainly bumps in the road. For a while, it was a monthly toss up on who they were going to pay. The utility company? The insurance company? Or the vendors so that there was product to sell? But all the while they were building relationships with their customers, creating value with exceptional customer care and product knowledge. Even in 1985, it was a tough retail landscape. A discount shoe store was operating not two blocks away. So from the beginning Chris and Bruce emphasized that what they were doing was so much more than a transactional business. They were there to foster and inspire a healthy lifestyle in the Kalamazoo community. And they discovered that people wanted to shop with them for that reason. They brought that same philosophy to Grand Rapids in 1989, and added a new partner Ken Sung. Ken had been around from the beginning, as a friend and fellow running enthusiast working at Playmakers in Lansing and later as a vendor rep for Hind, one of the brands Gazelle Sports carried from the start. Ken knew the guys at Gazelle Sports were on to something and wanted to bring it to Grand Rapids. In 1990, Gazelle Sports was going strong with a staff of 15 in two cities, but the accounting was still being done by Chris, a biomedical science major with a chemistry minor. Chris and Bruce were both good at knowing what they didn’t know. And Chris did not know accounting. So they brought Jean Sequite onto the team, guru of all things financial at Gazelle Sports.

    Original Kalamazoo store cash wrap. Original Kalamazoo store cash wrap.

     

    And they kept on growing, adding stores and staff to help spread their movement mission across Michigan. Gazelle Sports added a store in downtown Holland in 1994, a retail website in 2008, and then expanded to the east side of the state in 2015, adding a store in Northville and shortly after that, downtown Birmingham. Bruce has since moved on from Gazelle Sports, but Chris, Ken and Jean remain, keeping the herd on the path of providing not only the best in running and soccer gear, but exceptional customer care, building lasting relationships and inspiring movement in others. They also never forgot their commitment to giving back to the community. In 2012, the Gazelle Sports Foundation was brought to life. Starting with the very first One One Run 32 years ago, all of the proceeds from any Gazelle Sports owned event have been given back to charity partners. The Gazelle Sports Foundation was founded as a way to focus these efforts in fostering movement and a healthy lifestyle in underserved parts of the communities we call home. The Foundation is dedicated to assisting Michigan in becoming one of the nation’s healthiest states through movement and encouraging active living. As we continue to grow and navigate the admittedly tough retail landscape, we look back on all that we’ve learned through the years. We are not new to battling discount and big box retailers. Nor are we the kind to back down from a challenge. We believe wholeheartedly in what we’re doing: we exist to inspire others to move. And we’re proud of that. We’re proud that every day we help break down barriers to movement. Whether that’s fitting customers for quality footwear designed to meet their unique needs, providing training programs that get people through their first or fiftieth 5k, getting folks geared up in the latest footwear, apparel and electronic technology, supporting an active lifestyle at an early age through Girls on the Run, or just being willing to have a conversation about what’s going on in your fitness journey. We believe movement can change your life. And we’re here to help make that happen!

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