New year, new shoes

Scratch the resolution pressure and see where things take you

I have never been one for New Year’s resolutions. Mostly because by this point in January, I’ve already been too undisciplined to keep up with any of my goals and have rationalized that they were all ridiculous to begin with. No one needs a clean office to be productive. And it is far too cold to start an exercise regime this time of year—even if you’re only walking from the parking lot to the gym entrance.

In spite of my apathy toward resolutions, last year I ended up in Fleet Feet in downtown Chico on New Year’s Eve, buying shoes with some Christmas gift cards. I hadn’t planned it that way, but I had the day off and in my quest to participate in a 5k race a friend had organized in November, I had finally worn out my 4-year-old tennis shoes.

The experience at Fleet Feet rivaled that of buying a wedding dress a few months earlier. After a series of measurements, parading around in each shoe option and a test lap around the store merchandise, I walked out with a new pair of shoes.

There were no resolutions to go along with my new shoes, but buying them at the start of a new year was more of a milestone marker for me. I slipped on my pink Sauconys the day before my wedding in June to get in a quick nerve-releasing run with my maid of honor along Trinity Lake. I wore them up the drive to Crescent City to spend my grandmother’s last remaining days by her side. They were the same shoes that crossed the Almond Bowl finish line with me in November, equipping me to run the farthest distance I ever had, alongside some great friends in a half-marathon relay.

If you haven’t been to Fleet Feet for a while, you may notice some new faces next time you visit. Chico residents Paul and Kristina Smith, and Kristina’s mother, Carol Esparza, took over ownership on Oct. 1. Paul and Kristina met while attending college in Chico and have been active members of the local running community for years. Kristina even worked at Fleet Feet for a few years, under previous owners Alan Rice and Susan Zepernick, and Paul has been coaching in Fleet Feet’s training programs since 2006.

When I spoke with Kristina last week, she mentioned that this upcoming weekend (Jan. 9-11) the store is having a sale on their 2014 merchandise to make way for 2015 shoes and apparel. If you haven’t made any resolutions yet, it’s not too late to start a fresh year with new footwear.

You don’t have to commit to running in them five times a week, or resolve to reach 300 miles in them by the end of 2015. Like me, it may just be comforting to share your year with a new pair of kicks and see where they take you.