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  • Day 2 - Running as a friend

    "My relationship with running has been off and on. We've always gotten along, but sometimes I forget about running because she feels high maintenance. What I've noticed about running is that when she and I are on good terms-- she's a very loyal friend; she reminds me of my confidence and self worth... she also helps me become closer with other people who get along well with her. Through the Gazelle Sports Run Camp and the whole community of runners in Holland, I have seen running benefit many people; she's a good one, that running. Running and I are becoming closer as I grow to remember that I am worth her investment." - Kessie, Gazelle Sports Holland

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  • Day 1 - Move together!

    The best way to get moving and stay motivated is to find a group to move with! They keep you accountable on days you just want to skip and encourage you in your goals. When you sign up for one of our training camps, you'll meet the absolute nicest people and train for anything from a 5k to a full marathon with a dedicated, fun group, including experiences leaders to get you to the finish line.

    Learn more about our training programs here. 

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  • MI movement - a team sport

    by Eric Gollannek

    For Alyssa Neumen, ‘Michigan movement’ has always been a team sport.  She’s lived the role of student athlete since elementary school, first as a gymnast and then as a founding member of the Rockford lacrosse team.  She went on to excel on the women’s lacrosse team at Grand Valley State University and as a recent graduate, she’s continued to keep herself in the game, serving as an assistant coach for the women’s team this year.  Her role in building traditions at Rockford and GVSU embodies the values of care as does her work supporting and advocating for student athletes as a coach and mentor.

    Alyssa’s active living story, not surprisingly, starts close to home; her family always placed importance on the student athlete experience.  While Alyssa spent eight years deeply immersed in gymnastics, it was her dad’s influence that led her to lacrosse.  Her dad grew up in Long Island and played lacrosse there prior to resettling in West Michigan.  As a 6th grader in Rockford, she found herself in the right place at just the right time as lacrosse took off as a ‘new’ sport in Michigan. She earned her spot on the 7th-8th grade team as a young athlete and enjoyed the experience of playing on the first state championship team for Rockford!  As the sport has taken root, it’s become a family affair.  Her mother (Sarah) and father (Mark) are both immersed in the sport with Mark serving as the JV coach for Rockford and Sarah running the middle school program.  All four of her younger sisters have also played on the Rockford team: her sister Erica is currently on the team at GVSU; Becky recently graduated after playing for Rockford; Brooklyn currently plays for Rockford and is committed to play at UNC; and Alexis (in 6th grade) currently plays for Rockford.

    Though lacrosse has experienced rapid growth in popularity in Michigan only recently, lacrosse is an ancient game, played for hundreds of years in the Great Lakes region by ‘First Nations’ people, especially among the Iroquois.  The sport took shape in its modern form by the late nineteenth century across a territory overlapping that of the historic areas of the Iroquois confederation: northern New England, Quebec, and Ontario.  Often referred to as ‘the fastest game on two feet,’ women’s lacrosse is a game of finesse and teamwork.  Alyssa describes it as a blend of basketball, hockey, and soccer with notable differences in physical contact between the men’s and women’s games.

    Nevertheless, the intensity of year-round elite level play can take its toll and a back injury in high school impacted Alyssa’s ambitions.  After her recovery, she found a home at Grand Valley where she enrolled as a Biomedical Science major with an eye towards medical school.  The program is one of the most rigorous at GV and she balanced that with lacrosse.  “College was extremely challenging as a student athlete,” Alyssa says.  “I always wanted a career helping people but by my junior year I didn’t see becoming an MD as my next step.”  She completed her Biomedical Sciences degree along with an Anthropology minor this past spring and took stock of her life’s journey. “I always thought life moved in a straight line but I’ve learned it’s not so straightforward.”   With her passions for public health, mental health, and nutrition, she sees a future for herself as a coach and mentor “giving back to the student athletes and helping players on and off the field.”  She could also see herself as an administrator in an athletic department, continuing her work in “building up a tradition of excellence” in women’s sports.

    Alyssa credits her time at Gazelle with giving her balance between lacrosse and a broader view of healthy lifestyle in her community.  Her sister Erika recently joined the Gazelle Sports team, ‘making movement across the Mitten’ even more of a family affair.  Learning the culture of running and helping a broad spectrum of customers has helped her in her own running goals.  “It’s helped me explore running for enjoyment rather than as punishment,” she smiled.  Alyssa has marathon training on her list of personal goals, building on her two-time success in the Bridge Run.  Thinking about her compact schedule as an assistant coach, she observed that “If the weekends line up right, I think I can run the Gazelle Girl half marathon this spring.”

    Reflecting on her journey and asked what wisdom she shares with student athletes and customers alike, Alyssa didn’t hesitate. “Enjoy the process,” she says. It can be easy to get locked into a goal or outcome, but it’s often the ride more than the destination that creates our most lasting memories and accomplishments.

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  • Running for all the Right Reasons

    We here at Gazelle Sports believe that running can change a person’s life, altering it  so drastically that you’d never believe there was a “before,” only an “after.” And that “after” is something so very amazing. Allison Land, one of our training program coordinators, is an amazing “after.”

    Her “before” story really starts on the shores of Lake Superior. While attending Northern Michigan University, Allison experienced what many of us experience when we go off to college, and often experience during the rest of our life: weight gain.

    “I gained the freshman fifteen, and then some,” Allison said. “At college and after I graduated, I was largely inactive. In August of 2012, I was the heaviest I’d ever been and I didn’t like it. I didn’t feel
    good and I didn’t feel like me, at least not the me I wanted to be. I felt lazy.”

    So, Allison turned to a solution that was relatively inexpensive and would end up changing her life. She started running.

    Allison had never been a runner. She was mildly traumatized by the torture of the mile run in those physical fitness tests during middle and high school gym class, and basically had avoided running ever since. However, eventually a Couch to 5k program got her running along beautiful Lake Superior.

    She would plod through those first runs, wishing with every fiber of her being to quit, but somehow making it through. The runs got longer and Allison got stronger. She started to see changes in herself, both mentally and physically.

    “I felt better,” Allison said. “I felt more like myself. And then I signed up for my first 5k, a trail run called The Firecracker in Ishpeming.”

    Allison is not the first person, and certainly won’t be the last, to underestimate the difference between road running and trail running.

    “There were hills, rocks, roots, twists, turns, stinging branches and myriad other things I’d never encountered before,” Allison said.

    “It would have been easy to quit. It would have been easy to just stop. I remember a man in the final stretch wondering aloud if the stupid race was ever going to be over as he walked, slumped forward, toward the finish line. Instead of dropping to my knees right there, crying and yelling, ‘No! This race will never end!’ I laughed. I laughed and slowly shuffled past the man towards the finish line. I crossed that stupid finish line and learned that ‘quit’ was a word that should not be included in my vocabulary.”

    Allison has continued to run the past four years, increasing from the 5k to the 10k distance, then from 10ks to half and full marathons. That freshman fifteen, and then some, are long gone. She’s since moved to Holland and now facilitates Gazelle Sports’ training programs there.

    “I’ve accomplished some crazy things in the four years I’ve been running, but only because I learned from that first race how to keep moving, even when the will isn’t always there to do so,” Allison said. “Running has given me so much - confidence, health, friends, a job - and I wanted to give something back to the sport.”

    Allison chose to run her tenth marathon, the 2016 Chicago Marathon, in support of the Gazelle Sports Foundation. 

    “It was my way of giving back,” Allison said. “I decided to raise money for this amazing cause because the mission aligns with what I so strongly believe in. Running, in many ways, saved my life. It certainly changed it for the better, and if I can help make that happen for others, that is everything.”

    Allison finished her tenth marathon in two years on October 9 with a PR of 3:59:00 and raised $210 for the Gazelle Sports Foundation. In her role at Gazelle Sports, she’s also helped more than 175 other runners cross the finish line.

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  • Thank you and don't for get to shop small!

     

    We have a lot to be thankful for here at Gazelle Sports. We're thankful for our co-workers, who we're lucky enough to count as friends. We're thankful for our mission to bring movement across the Mitten, which allows us to help others live a healthy lifestyle. And we're thankful for you, the community that supports us and allows our business to thrive.

    When you're done with your Thanksgiving feast and you've had a good night's sleep fueled by tryptophan and too much pie, and you're up on Friday and considering your shopping options, we hope you'll take a moment and contemplate this:

    Small, local businesses like Gazelle Sports are where it's at! We strongly believe (and we've got the data to back this up!) that small businesses are essential for healthy, vibrant local communities. When you shop small this weekend and every day, you help keep money filtering through the local economy, helping our community thrive.

    Did you know that for every $100 spent at a local small business, $68 returns to the community? Compare that to the less than $14 that would return if you were shopping at a chain store.

    And according to the Small Business Administration, since 1995, small business have generated 66% of all new jobs in the U.S. Small businesses also give on average 250% more support to non-profit organizations than their big box counterparts.

    If those pretty compelling numbers won't convince you to shop small, how about this: small local businesses can often provide the same access to product but with at least one added benefit – superior customer service.

    Gazelle Sports is committed to providing you with the best possible service and care. Our single goal when you walk through our doors is to provide you with an exemplary experience.

    This holiday, and every day, remember to shop locally. In a world of big box sameness, small business are a breath of fresh air. They are the place where people know your name, work to help you and truly care about you. They are what makes a community strong and unique. They make it home.

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  • Weather the Weather with GORE-TEX® Footwear

    shopgtxWe all know the winters in Michigan can be intense. From snow banks to slushy puddles, there are many ways for your feet to get wet and cold - making the rest of your run miserable.

    I don’t know about you, but I despise having wet feet when I run. The squish, squish, squish with every step is uncomfortable. Peeling off sloppy, wet socks only to reveal pruny, blistered feet is the last thing I want after logging mileage on a snowy, slushy day. And the alternative - running inside on a treadmill for the entire winter season? I’d rather watch paint dry.

    What if I told you there was a way to skip all of that? That you didn’t have to return from a winter sweat session feeling miserable because your feet are wet, frozen and blistered? Sidestep the discomfort this winter by checking out our selection of GORE-TEX® lined running shoes. Here at Gazelle Sports, we have expert knowledge on how to keep your feet warm and dry this winter, and GORE-TEX® plays a big part in that.

    GORE-TEX® is a thin membrane inside the shoe that is waterproof, windproof, and yet, still breathable. There are over 9 billion pores per square inch of GORE-TEX® in a product. This is what gives the shoe its waterproofness while still allowing sweat to escape. The pores are small enough that water molecules cannot get in, but water vapor (sweat) can still escape. All GORE-TEX® products also meet the standard for being truly windproof. The lining is thin enough that it takes up very little space in the shoe, so your favorite pair of running shoes should still fit as normal. Of course, you should still try the shoe on and test it out for proper fit - which we can definitely help you with.

    The GORE-TEX® implications? Dry feet. With a GORE-TEX® shoe, when you step in a puddle, a snow drift, or a pile of slush, your feet stay dry. Dry feet mean warmer feet. Warm, dry feet mean a happy run!I’ve been running in GORE-TEX® lined shoes for three winters now. I’ve never had to skip a run due to slushy or snowy conditions, and my feet have stayed warm, dry and blister-free all winter long, mile after mile! So, winter warrior, continue to run outside through the slush, sleet, snow and rain. Own the run, and keep your feet warm, dry and happy this winter with GORE-TEX®.

    -Allison Land, Gazelle Sports Holland

    You can find more information about the GORE-TEX® membrane here. 

     

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  • Service With So Much More than a Smile

    Evan Groendyk is the embodiment of all the things most people think a Gazelle Sports employee probably is. He’s a wicked fast, vegan runner who lives in Patagonia button-downs and split shorts. He believes that movement can change people’s lives, and he’s right about that. He’s been dubbed the Positive Vibes Liaison at Gazelle Sports, and he takes that role very seriously. He takes great joy in caring for customers and sharing his passions with them.

    What makes Evan a bit more unique, beyond his dedication to providing exceptional care and service, is what he no longer is. In the past, Evan was a long-time smoker who struggled to quit and didn’t do himself any favors by treating himself right or eating well. Though he grew up with a father who was doing ultra-marathons long before it was cool, Evan himself was not much of a runner.

    While attending Northwestern Michigan College, Evan made a decision to take better care of himself, in part thanks to the influence of a woman who would one day become his wife. He quit smoking, started running, and has been a vegan for nine years.

    “Running helps me be my best self,” Evan said. “Now, a healthy lifestyle for me is all about balance.
    I say everything in moderation, including moderation.”

    After transferring to Western Michigan University and graduating with a degree in Spanish and environgmental studies, Evan worked at an environmental consulting firm in Grand Rapids. Quickly realizing a desk job was not for him, Evan found his way to Gazelle Sports and has never looked back.

    “Working at Gazelle Sports allows me to surround myself with like-minded people on a daily basis,” Evan said. “It’s a motivating, fun place to work.”

    Evan gets motivation from his fellow co-workers, but also the customers he meets every day.

    “It’s amazing, the stories you hear and sometimes get to become a part of,” Evan said. “It’s not just about the transaction. We help people every day and are building relationships so we can continue to help them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at a race and people yell ‘Hey shoe guy! You got me in these shoes and they’re awesome!’ Then I’ll see them back in the store or out in the community again and it gives me a chance to further solidify our relationship.”

    It’s through leadership from people like Evan that Gazelle Sports can offer exemplary service and focus on customer care.

    “Service these days is kind of a lost art in our society,” Evan said. “So many places don’t care one way or the other if you leave happy, as long as you’ve spent some money. The thing is, helping others and making sure they’re happy and satisfied, in turn, makes me feel good. It’s a symbiotic relationship,
    one that continues to grow.”

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  • MI Movement from the soccer fields of Caledonia to the Chicago Marathon

    by Eric Gollannek

    If you’ve stopped in to check out the latest boots in the ‘soccer cave’ in Grand Rapids over the last year, it’s likely you’ve met Nick Knowles, perhaps wearing his Chelsea jersey and sharing his deep knowledge of the game with wisecracking style. Nick has a passion for soccer and for staying active as a way of life, running back to his roots in Caledonia. His story embodies the importance of relationships in inspiring us keep moving and the lessons that come from pushing beyond our limits.

    nick-nIn listening to Nick tell his story, it’s clear how the longest journeys often start close to home. Like most who grew up in Michigan, Nick spent lots of time outdoors and near the water as a kid. His grandparents’ cottage on Gun Lake served as the setting for family gatherings nearly every weekend. Asked what makes Michigan distinctive, Nick agreed that it’s definitely the seasons, fall and winter, that bring out his love of the Mitten.  “I’m outside more in the winter than the summer with skiing and snowboarding,” he said.  Like most of us who enjoy staying active, he gives two thumbs down to the heat and humidity that comes with summer in the Great Lakes state.

    Still, Nick says he loves playing soccer regardless of the weather.  Nick discovered his passion for soccer early, playing AYSO soccer as a young kid and he eventually joined the high school squad at Caledonia. Surgery and a long recovery left him sidelined for his senior year, but he sees the game as a lifelong pursuit. “I’m better now than in high school,” he explained, revealing the wisdom of perspective and hallmark positivity that carries him forward. Playing rec league soccer now, he enjoys keeping his skills sharp as well as dedicating time and passion to coaching. His childhood friend from Caledonia and fellow Gazelllian, Sam Stearns, describes his passion for nurturing others as a coach and friend: ”Nick is one of those people who has that ability to recognize the potential in others. The best part about him is that he will never hold that potential over your head. Instead, he wants to find a way to help you reach it, even if that means he has to sacrifice something of himself along the way.”

    Relationships from close to home in Caledonia run through his story. Sam encouraged Nick to apply for a job at Gazelle and also joined him in his newest personal challenge: running.  While Nick had competed in track and field in high school as a thrower, he shared that the soccer field more than satisfied his desire to run.  But that was before arriving at Gazelle Sports in the summer of 2015; a little more than a year later he would be well on his way to running the Chicago Marathon!  He credits the support of the Gazelle community in getting him ‘up and running’ with the Priority Health Run Camp last summer when he trained for his first 10k.  The first time Nick hit five miles was a breakthrough: “I wanted to go home and eat a whole pizza!” Nick built upon that success and set out to conquer the 25K of the River Bank Run running alongside Sam and his fellow Run Campers.  Then Paul Hamilton approached him about the next step. (If you know Paul, he is a master of persuasion.)  “If you’re going to train for a marathon someday, there’s no better time than now!”  A few weeks later they entered the lottery for the Chicago Marathon and through a combination of good fortune and drive, Nick and Paul will run 26.2 miles through the Windy City next month.

    Asked about what he’s learned on this journey, Nick shared that “you’re capable of more than you think you are in life.”  Sometimes we have to set audacious goals and push on beyond our perceived limits.  Relationships nurture us by lifting us up and in turn through our actions we inspire others.


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    Eric Gollanek is a Sales Associate at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids.

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  • Active Living in the Great Lakes State

    by Eric GollannekEric post-Bayshore half

    Working at Gazelle Sports has helped me see how ‘movement across the Mitten’ defines my story. Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan is a place I’ve always called home, even as a long-time resident on the East Coast and living abroad in England and France. Circling back to West Michigan eight years ago, I immediately felt reconnected to the mitten state,  where I bonded with my new friends through stories of trips ‘up north’ and obscure home places immediately made known through a raising of the palm and a pointing finger.

    What is it that makes a place distinctive?  Given my passion for history, I am drawn to context as a way to feel grounded in life.  Through my travels across the Mitten, I have come to better understand myself as well as what makes this place special.  Experiencing the land in all its layered complexity requires movement and contemplation.

    I became interested in running and cycling about the time I moved back to Michigan in 2008. That wasn’t coincidence. Landing in East Grand Rapids, I fell in love with the 4.5 mile trail around Reeds Lake. That spring, with some encouragement from my friends, I went to Gazelle Sports to get fitted for my first pair of running shoes (a red and white pair of Nike Structures) and started training with a couch to 5k program I copied out of a book from the Kent District Library. As the running segments grew longer and walks shorter, I began to contemplate my long term goals. Somewhere around Reeds Lake, I dreamed that someday I might obtain a level of fitness so I could run five miles with ease at any time. Not on a treadmill but on the rolling hills on the north side of the lake as well as the steep climbs at Hall Street Hill and Hodenpyl Woods.  This was my training course; could it be a yardstick of my success for the long term as well?

    The trail, however, offered more than just miles of asphalt and topographic challenges. The variety of the course sustained me through those run/walks: red wing blackbirds and painted turtles in the reedy lowlands, picturesque stands of maples and oak on higher ground. As I ran through late spring, the hot humid days of July made those hills feel higher and longer just like the days themselves. I found myself running at five in the morning with purple and pink skies overhead and often ended my day riding my bike for one last look at dusk near the ten o’clock hour. The trail offered variety and subtle beauty right outside my door, open 24/7, 365 days a year.

    Running cleared my head, figuratively putting out a do-not-disturb sign as I strapped on those Nikes and headed out the door. Running forced me to think about my breathing and my feet, my body in space in that moment. My body served as an index for every change in grade and the distance around this place. My pace (slow!) also afforded me lots of time to look around, to see the trees and not just the forest speeding by at 25 or 55 miles per hour.  Taking in the varieties of house types, road and trail features, the trees and landscaping, my learning to look became a full body, multisensory experience!

    In the years that followed, I spent two glorious summers in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula conducting historic preservation fieldwork. My experience running and cycling came back to me as a stress-reliever for sure, but also as a way of understanding Michigan’s history. I ran over the dense basalt that gave clues to the origins of Michigan’s rich veins of copper; running on those roads in Vibram Five-Fingers also gave visceral understanding of the hardness of mine rock! The rugged topography that made the Keweenaw one continuous hill workout allowed me to understand the lives of miners who lived in a landscape defined by its vertical dimensions as they climbed hills on their walk to work and then traveled as much a mile underground to get to their dark and dangerous worksites.

    I biked and ran trails for the first time that summer at Swedetown, Maasto Hiihto, and Copper Harbor. I fell in love with the quiet of the north woods, the sound of wind rustling through maple forests. I saw wildlife up close and on their terms: great owls, pileated woodpeckers, raccoons, and deer far from paved roads. I took in the distinctive sounds and textures of streams and rivers, rushing water over rocks, edged with carpets of ferns and moss. Passing into a stand of white pine, greeted by the sweetness of the air from trees bathed in sun along the forest’s edge.

    I joined the team at Gazelle Sports one year ago, in need of reconnection to these passions. While my earlier movements across the Mitten had been a solitary journey, I found renewed energy as part of a community committed to healthy and active living. This past spring I trained for and completed my first half-marathon at Bayshore in Traverse City. Recently, I have thought a lot about the distances I’ve traveled over the last eight years. I appreciate how fortunate I am to have my health and the support of so many to get out and run whether it’s one mile or ten. I think back to the hope I had that I might achieve a level of fitness to run that Reeds Lake Trail with confidence whenever I choose. I’m proud beyond words to say I have met those personal goals.

    Reflecting on the journey itself, however, reveals the interconnectedness of our lives and the power of place in it. My adventures and successes came from the support of many people in ways most of us acknowledge. The notion that ‘events take place’ is a common expression, though few of us stop to reflect on the ways that ‘place matters’ in our life story.  As an historian with a deep love of context, it’s second nature to me that the details of place profoundly affects who we are and how we live our lives.  It took the training and discipline of active living for me to truly feel what that means on a physical and emotional level. Michigan is my physical home, but the experiences of the land and its people have shaped me and continue to inspire movement and contemplation every day.


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    Eric Gollanek is a Sales Associate at Gazelle Sports Grand Rapids.

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  • Banish the blister

    The bane of many runner's existence is the dreaded blister, and this can be especially true in the summer where sweat can cause even more chafing and friction. We feel your pain, your puffy, fluid-filled flap of skin pain. And we're here to help.

    The best way to banish the blister is prevention. There are a few key tools in any runner's arsenal to help with this. The perennial favorite is Body Glide's original anti-chafing, anti-blister balm. The balm forms a dry, invisible barrier, effective wherever skin is rubbed by clothing, footwear or skin. Never wet or greasy, this stuff is fantastic. It's sweat-resistant, provides all-day protection and is made with allergen-free and vegan approved!

    The majority of blisters for runners occur on the feet, and while Body Glide balm is fantastic to put on wherever you know you get some chafing, the real key here is wearing the right kind of socks.  Cotton is not your friend here. Cotton is evil. Cotton is to be avoided at all costs. Cotton won't wick a drop of sweat away from your feet and will turn them into a swampy, blistery mess. You're going to want to look for some polyester or wool socks (or a blend) that will help wick moisture away from your skin.

    Personally, I'm a huge fan of Wrightsock socks. Wrightsock socks have a double layer anti-blister system and actually offer a Blister Free Guarantee. They come in various thicknesses, so you can get a super thin pair even with the double-layer anti-blister action that keeps feet happy. You can grab a pair of these babies, rub the layers between your fingers, and actually feel the dual layers glide against each other. Made in North Carolina, you can also feel good about supporting this family-owned company.

    DLU339-WH

    Others have found amazing success with Smartwool socks. With fun colors, variable thicknesses and ankle height, these socks pack a lot of awesome tech in some very cool design. They use a 4-degree fit system that keeps the sock in place and reduces friction. Their ReliaWool technology in high impact areas provides superior durability. Also made in the USA, these socks provide the ultimate temperature and moisture regulation.

    sw0sw211044-1-pThere are plenty of awesome options out there that will keep you running blister-free. Our expert staff will get you in the right product for your unique needs, and our Moving Matters Guarantee means you can take it all for a test drive with the comfort of knowing we'll take it back if you have any issues. After all, you need to run (or walk) some real miles before you know if those blisters will be a problem. We're looking forward to helping you find a solution that works for your body!

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  • What's your hydration plan?

    Gazelle Sports was born and raised in Michigan. We’ve spent summers slogging our way through long runs on humid Saturday mornings (it’s basically swimming, right?). And we’ve wiled away sunny afternoons on the shores of Lake Michigan. When it gets hot, we get out, but we also remember to stay hydrated! We’re happy to share our collective water wisdom with you and maybe learn a thing or two from your experiences in return.

    When summer comes to Michigan, hydration becomes even more important when you're training. Your level of hydration impacts your whole body - heartbeat, bloodflow, temperature regulation, delivery of nutrients to cells, muscle function and joint cushioning to name a few - and therefore impacts your performance and ability to run. Dehydration is also the leading cause of training injuries.

    We have a number of products, like the Nathan Trail Mix Plus belt featured here, that will help you stay hydrated. This fully-adjustable, bounce-free, two-flask hydration belt now includes a larger storage pocket to hold all of your running essentials and smartphones up to iPhone 6 Plus.

    4637nmbo_trailmixplus_methylblue_nwYou can also hydrate more effectively by adding an electrolyte-replacement drink to the water you're drinking. Electrolyte drinks like Nuun and GU Hydration Drink Tabs contain sodium and potassium to enhance water absorption and retention. Nuun tabs are gluten-, dairy- and soy-free and made from plant-based ingredients. They contain an optimal blend of electrolytes that keep you hydrated for all levels of activities - whether you are running a marathon or a marathon of errands.

    NuunCome see us today to find the right products for you, including electrolyte replacement drinks which are key in keeping your body functioning at its best. Our staff is excited to help you stay hydrated and moving all summer long!

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  • Chaco brings shoemaking to the mitten

    If there's one thing that is a sure-sign summer has found it's way to Michigan, it's when the boots get put away and the sandals come out.

    For me, those sandals are my myriad pair of Chacos. High in the arch, completely customizable to my feet and up for anything from taking our new puppy for a walk through the neighborhood to hiking in Manistee National Forest, there's a ton of reasons these are my go-to summer footwear.

    One of the reasons that I tend to forget about as my feet glory in the Chaco-goodness is that Chaco may have their roots in Colorado, but they're making (and re-making) sandals right here in Michigan.

    Below is a story about just this from Footwear Plus Magazine. It helped remind me that when I buy another pair of Chaco's (because there's bound to be a new design I just have to have), I'm supporting a company creating jobs right here in Michigan.

    Enjoy! And come see us at Gazelle Sports to get your own pair!

    Chaco Story

    IF YOU LIKE beer, perhaps you’ve heard of Grand Rapids, MI, a.k.a. “Beer City, USA.” With multiple breweries dotting the charming town, the local community is awash in the fermented favorite. But Grand Rapids is home to more than just tasty brews—a mere 10 miles away in the suburb of Rockford lies the headquarters of Wolverine Worldwide and its Chaco sandals and accessories factory.

    Chaco, born in Colorado in 1989, began by making sandals stateside before transferring production overseas in 2008. When Wolverine purchased the brand in 2009, it brought part of its manufacturing back to the U.S., beginning in 2012 with the introduction of MyChacos (customized) and the continuation of ReChaco (repaired) sandals along with capsule collections and accessories. Since the inception of the MyChacos designyour- own program (with over a trillion combinations to choose from!), tens of thousands of custom sandals have been made in Michigan. In addition, many thousands more have been repaired with the ReChaco renewal program, which launched more than 10 years ago.

    “We wanted to give consumers a choice in where their products were produced,” says Colin Butts, director of marketing. “Having a local factory opens up a lot of interesting opportunities for the brand, from rapid prototyping to personalization to accessory creation to limited-edition products.” Logistically speaking, producing in Michigan allows for shorter lead times, local material sourcing and lightening the carbon footprint related to manufacturing and shipping. And, let’s not forget the U.S. job-generating aspect.

    Currently, the Chaco factory employs 25 full-time workers and 20 temps, all performing skills ranging from sewing to buffing to trimming to lacing. And customers, despite paying a 25 percent premium, are responding positively to the made-in-the-U.S.A. goods. In fact, the Rockford factory is set to expand for the second time in March. “The Michigan-based team has picked up the torch and run the brand further than ever before into accessories for pets and people and into customizable products,” Butts says. He hints at additional customization opportunities to come in the future, too.

    Butts attributes the success of the MyChacos and ReChaco programs, in large part, to their Rockford workforce. He cites the Midwestern labor traits of being dedicated and hard-working as special. “It’s the people here that make the difference,” he says, noting such attributes are worth funding long-term. “The brand will keep investing in ways to make domestic production possible and exciting for our community,” he adds.

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