Odds and ends

Been a busy week.  First week of no school for the kids.  Except of course I’m the mean mommy who makes them do homework all summer.  When your son who just finished second grade says, “Ummm what’s 6+7?”, you know you need to make him to math drills all summer.  We have to get into a new groove and routine for the summer….but I suppose that will take a few weeks.

Managed a few runs – including a group run today of 3.3 miles. (June lied and said we were only doing 3…she also burst off ahead of all of us turtles.)  At least I wasn’t alone in the back of the pack. And it’s been awhile since we had a group run (i.e. more than 2 people).  While I like being able to run with just me and my tunes, I also enjoy the time to talk, vent, and compare diets.  By the way, we are not talking about my weight loss challenge this week. Suffice it to say that my metabolism is not getting any of the memos I keep sending it.

We’re also working on getting healthier habits into the whole family. I refuse to allow the kids to keep grabbing juice boxes out of the fridge.  So we now each have our own water bottles – kept on the table from which to sip all day long.

Hydration!

Our son really likes the idea – despite a desperate need for a restroom while we were in line at the post office yesterday. Our daughter is coming around – as she does with everything that Mommy and Daddy suggest.  In fact, as I was typing this, she came up and declared “I’m thirsty.”  I pointed at the water bottle and she sighed, “oh I forgot.”  Ah six-year olds.

I’ve been eking out a few miles here and there in my Merrells.  Really really like the feel of the minimalist shoe.  I almost ran the group run in them today – but Steve reminded me I need to work up to longer distances.  But meanwhile I still love Merrells – and the fact that they have read this blog!!!  COOL!

Thank you Merrell!!

And sent me even more presents!  I really can’t say enough good things about this company!  I’ve started the Barefoot Running book.  It’s rather good – although some of the people in it – run barefoot.  Like really barefoot.  Like no shoes at all.  Ugh.  The summer I turned 9, I was running outside barefoot in my front yard.  Until I stepped on a piece of wire and had to go to the ER.  It was a really thick wire.  Hence, I’m rather fond of keeping my soles protected. But I’m encouraged by my, thus far, minimal strides into the minimalist world. And the book is encouraging.

 

You can do it!Speaking of encouragement – I saw this sign at Downtown Disney last weekend. I don’t recall any stories of Walt Disney being a runner. But as a visionary – he definitely knew how to put his efforts full force into something. If only we all could be so determined…….

Now – put down the computer/smartphone/tablet and go RUN!

 

 

Favorite company EVER

It pays to be nice.

Remember my post about our beach trip? It morphed into a post about our family’s extensive collection of Merrell shoes.  Quick recap – we are family of four with currently 10 pairs of Merrells among us.  My husband has transitioned to doing all his runs in his Road Gloves and wears his Tough Gloves to work. I’ve been adding a mile or so here and there in my Bare Access pair, run errands in my Pace Gloves and wear my sandals to church. Our kids love their new Merrells (claim they are speedier now).

When we had come to the realization that our collection was quite extensive, we snapped a picture for ourselves.

yup - 10 pairs of Merrells!

And then I had a quick thought to just sent it to Merrell themselves. To be a geek and show what fans we were.  Steve had a customer service email address from when they helped him with a flaw in one pair of his.  (Complete replacement – awesome customer service.)  I sent off the picture with just a short email saying how our family loves their products and that we might need some shoe addicts rehab or something.  I figured it would make people laugh at best. Be ignored more likely.

Well imagine my surprise when a few days later I got an email asking for my mailing address as they liked my picture and had something to mail me.  Wow.  I sent off the address and a link to my blog post about the shoes.  Independently, Steve and I both figured they might send us t-shirts or a bumper sticker or some nice Merrell trinket.  Our daughter figured they were mailing us all free shoes – which we explained was not going to happen.

Except she was pretty close to right.

Today in the mail we got the following letter and gift card.  WOW!  I was stunned. Not only are Merrell’s products comfy and well made. But they are clearly a company that cares about its customers and appreciates them.

Let me be clear – I didn’t ask for anything when I send off my email. I simply wanted to tell the company how much we like their products. I did joke about a loyalty program but that was it. They did not have to acknowledge my email never mind follow up with such a generous gift. But they did. And that is just old fashion “going above and beyond” business sense in my mind. And Merrell has gone up even more in my eyes.

The good retail companies understand that customers are the heart of what they do. And they care about what people think of their products AND the company as a whole.  Those are the ones who work hard to show that they stand behind their products and they work hard to make the customers happy. Simply put – Merrell has made me happy.

So what do I like about their shoes?

I love the lightweight feeling of the “barefoot” running shoes. In fact, after a few days of them, I went for a longer run in my usual running shoes and I felt like my feet were in blocks of cement.  Of course it could be that it was 85 degrees and 95% humidity too and it was just a lousy time to be out running in Florida weather.  But my feet are comfy in them, they feel more natural.  I like running errands in my Pace Gloves as they make me more aware of my feet and how I walk.

Will I transition to being an all “barefoot” runner?  I don’t know.  I’m not great yet at the mid foot strike so I’m not sure how well I’ll do on long distances. That and I’m a *ahem* slightly heavier curvaceous woman – so having some support might always be best for longer distances. When I get to be a thin, gazelle like runner that graces the covers of Runner’s World, I’ll let you know.  🙂  But I like that I think more about my posture even just walking around in them. But know that Merrell has a great deal of information on their site about barefoot running and an app to make it easier!  I’ve downloaded the app and watched the videos on it – very helpful!

However, you don’t need to just buy barefoot styles at Merrell. They have TONS of other shoes – hiking boots to water shoes and everything in-between.  Definitely check them out.  And you can tell them I sent you!

As for our gift card – it’s probably going to go to buy two more pairs of kid shoes. No matter how many bricks you put on their heads – darn kids just keep growing and growing – along with their feet. And they really love the fact that their Merrells earned them a lot of attention in school. Friends and even other teachers commented on them.  (Our daughter even went up to one teacher who was wearing Pace Gloves like mine and started a whole conversation about how great Merrells are. I think she’s angling for being a spokesperson for them!)

And me – once I start making more progress towards my goal – I’ll be adding more pairs to my Merrell wish list.

Now – go shop!  Or better yet – go RUN!  And if you have other companies that you want to rave about with regard to their customer attention and service – let me know your stories.