September 30, 2014

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Living to Run: Meet Kristin

New Orleans has never really cared about running. In a city known for its mayo-drenched fried oyster poboys, and oil-thick Southern specialties, living a healthy lifestyle can be an uphill battle. Salads are far from being acceptable entrees. Gym memberships are not something to be boasted about. Runners are practically social outcasts.

But then there are people like Kristin who choose to confront New Orleans’s social norms and bring running into the lime light. She dons her sneakers proudly and stands firm despite the stigma the city has given running. At her shop, Southern Runner, she enlightens and educates nervous newbies about the shoes that will most perfectly match their unique gait. Kirstin also provides sound coaching advice; she can get anyone to complete their first 5K.

Most importantly, she knows that besides the obvious health benefits of getting in a few miles under your belt each week, the psychological benefits of running are priceless. And then there is the sheer joy of jogging between oaks in Audubon Park or passing lumbering Street Cars on Saint Charles. While New Orleans may not match the physical beauty of Yosemite, the city does manage to offer some pretty amazing scenery and a healthy dose of natural splendor, especially along the levees and in the numerous parks crisscrossing the landscape.

Kristin gives a damn about all this and wants the average beignets-binging Joe to get these same damn kicks she gets out of spending a solid hour on the road running. She has these words of wisdom to turn you from a couch potato to a road hog:

There is no excuse: Kristin works as a middle school cross country coach when she is not sizing up feet at Southern Runner, and has witnessed kids who have never walked around the block become athletes regardless of their body type. She firmly believes that age is not limiting factor either; her own mother began sporting sneakers and going for jogs at the age of 71. Kristin states that running is, “a pretty natural motion of our bodies” and that anybody can become a runner. 

Just start: Many people are nervous at the beginning about running and think that completing their first five mile race is an impossible feat. But Kristin’s preaches that all that needs to be done is to simply start running. When you get tired, you take a small walking break, and then start running again when you can. Over time, your body will naturally respond, and you will become less reliant on walking breaks. Kristin feels that anyone can go from zero to their first 5K in about 10-12 weeks.

Don’t over analyze: We live in a world where there is a GPS in almost everything, bracelet pedometers are practically fashion accessories, shoes and shorts are super high tech, and for every proper running form theory there is an equally powerful one stating the exact opposite. It is easy to get overwhelmed and caught up in all the hype. Kristin sees it every day in her store. People question what sort of sports goo will keep them properly nourished. They ask if their pace and posture is perfect. They debate about which is the right app to log their miles with. Instead, Kristin insists on focusing on actually getting out the door and getting your feet moving. So many adults who want to begin running get caught up in the research and end up bailing before they even do their first lap around the block. It’s important not to get ahead of oneself: with time you can analyze all the fun running gear and worry if your form is flawless.

At DamnDog, we give a damn about getting people to carry the best damn bags possible. At Southern Runner, they give a damn about getting people to carry themselves out the door and get moving, a noble feat in this deep-fired city!

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