Fleet Feet Sports
Thursday was an especially busy day for Fleet Feet Sports' Encino location; so busy that Trey Barnes, the store owner, had only eaten one meal in the whole day. And that meal was breakfast. Now here he was, at almost 7 p.m., near closing time, still enthusiastically attending to two customers- a high school teen seeking some advice on his running program as he prepared to join the Marines, and his proud and supportive mother.
Although Barnes was admittedly famished and a bit tired, he did not rush the mother and son in any way as he helped them. He thoroughly answered all the questions they asked about the shoes the son was trying on and would eventually buy. He gave advice on comfortable attire for the teen's training activity, and even answered the mother's questions about proper food and nutrition, as hungry as he was! Barnes went to levels not necessarily expected from a shoe salesman.
But Barnes is not just a shoe salesman, and he wants the community to know that Fleet Feet Sports is not just a store that sells running shoes. "Most people who come to our store aren't runners," Barnes stated. "Most are people that just want comfortable shoes. Also they are people that medical professionals send us; (professionals) like podiatrists, orthopedic doctors and chiropractors, who have patients with sore feet, sore hips, sore backs, knee pain... and even different kinds of injuries, so they can get the right type of footwear."
Barnes described himself as a runner who does "mostly trails." He said he "went from marathons, to fifty-milers, to one-hundred-milers," getting started in running just over eight years ago, after someone told him he "couldn't do it." Barnes said his sport of extreme endurance is called, "ultra-running."
Barnes took over this Ventura Boulevard location about two-and-a-half years ago, and expanded the store's square footage to accommodate the community-focused activities. Barnes liked that the added space is "great for the on-going clinics and educational classes we offer the community."
Fleet Feet Sports offers beginner's training programs for the 5k, 10k, on up to marathons. They also offer a walk program, an interval run/walk program, and a run program. "We have something for everybody." Barnes said. (With these various programs) "we can help people achieve stuff they thought they couldn't do."
Barnes said footwear isn't the sole "fix" for better performance or a better life. He said that "balance" in training and lifestyle, which includes "strength training, core training, proper eating and nutrition" will give a person more "energy and make (a person) more efficient, and burn more calories."
"Nutrition and fitness activity helps re-energize the body... instead of pounding down a 'Rock Star' (energy drink)," Barnes remarked.
Barnes said he wanted to offer classes in yoga because it helps "restore" the body, and it provides "balance" to a participant's life. Yoga also provides diversity in activities at Fleet Feet Sports and another perspective to strength and flexibilty training.
Yoga 4 Runners
Every Thursday night, starting at 7:30 p.m., Fleet Feet Sports offers a special class: "Yoga 4 Runners." It is taught by Ko Ohka, a longtime customer of the store location, who teaches "Hatha Yoga," which emphasizes alignment and building strength with flexibility. Ohka has a BA in Biology, and is a long distance runner.
From Fleet Feet's event announcement: "As you run, about four times the amount of your body weight is forced on to each foot. It is no wonder that many runners suffer from bad knees and backs, tight hamstrings, and sore feet. By practicing Yoga, runners bring balance to their body. Let us help you increase your strength and flexibility that will allow you to run for many years."
Barnes said he enjoys knowing that Fleet Feet Sports is a place where people from "all walks of life" are welcome, and can participate in open activities that keep them active, healthy and inspired.
Barnes said he looks forward to Fleet Feet Sports introducing more training clinics, activities, and educational classes with partners in other areas of the San Fernando Valley in the near future.
After he graciously answered numerous questions, Barnes was happy to finally go home so he could eat a big meal!