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Categories: Good Form Stories

My Good Form Story

By Kellee Donovan

I wasn’t always a runner. I was always in sports, but not really a runner. I tried pretty much everything growing up; soccer, basketball, dance, volleyball. Gymnastics was my favorite as a child, though. I did it for 8 years but developed Sever’s Disease so bad that I had to quit. If you’re unfamiliar with Sever’s (formally known as Calcaneal Apophysitis), it’s most commonly found in children ages 10-14, when the growth plates in your heels become incredibly swollen. Now I don’t blame gymnastics, I was also playing basketball at the same time this was happening and I’m sure the combination of unsupportive basketball shoes and bare feet in gymnastics wasn’t exactly the best for me. So my parents took me to a podiatrist, I went through the whole custom made orthotics process, set my parents back quite a bit of money (thanks mom and dad!), then eventually grew out of it, common with Sever’s. Many years later when I started working at Playmakers, I had an epiphany about that experience. Was there something I could have done differently that could have saved me time, money, and pain? I realized the answer was a resounding YES, and that’s where my Good Form Story begins.

I didn’t start running until high school. My sister was a great sprinter during her time at our high school, so I knew I wanted to follow in her footsteps and run track, but my fall sport at the time was volleyball. I was good, but not great, and several of my girlfriends ran cross country and convinced me to switch. It ended up being the best decision I made in my high school career. I stayed in shape for track (where I ended up switching to distance running) and my teammates turned into lifelong friends. One of the girls I served with as captain even ended up being a bridesmaid in my wedding last fall! There were so many great things about running year round, but my pitfall was all my injuries. I would run for a season, strain or pull something, go to physical therapy to be back just in time for the next season, then the cycle would start all over again. Plantar fasciitis, IT band syndrome, shin splints. You name it, I’ve had it. By the time I graduated high school I was so tired of this cycle I stopped running for almost an entire year. Enter, Playmakers.

I started working at Playmakers my sophomore year at Michigan State. There are so many inspiring athletes that work here, from elite collegiate runners to 65 year olds whose marathon tallies are in the double digits. I felt inspired by them, so I picked running back up again and decided I would start training for the Grand Rapids Half Marathon. The farthest I had ever run was 9 miles, so I figured, how hard could it be? Somehow forgetting about my injury history in the process. Once again, I started to train and couldn’t finish because of an injury. Motivated by frustration, I turned to one of the Good Form Running coaches and told him what was happening. Since I was at the store almost everyday I had certainly seen people attending the classes, but it never actually occurred to me that GFR could help me. I had been an athlete my whole life so I had great form, right?! WRONG. I had a coworker take me through the Playmakers Fit Process and saw myself run on video for the first time, and it was completely eye opening. There it was, clear as day right in the video, I was CRUSHING my right hip every single stride. So much suddenly made sense to me in that moment - it was my epiphany. All this time I thought these injuries were part of the process. Heck, I took pride in them thinking that was just part of being an athlete. In that moment though, all I could think was, “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”

I spent the next year working hard to improve my form. Not only would I go on to run a half marathon, but I would eventually run two full marathons two years later. It’s true that I had great gear, a solid training plan, a supportive group of people in my corner, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that I never would have been able to accomplish those goals I set without Good Form. You can have the best shoes, the best uniform, ideal conditions, but they don’t do you any good if you have to stop running. I’ve had minor aches and pains since then of course, but I can say with confidence that the old cycle has been broken and that is such a liberating feeling! Good Form may not click for every single person out there, but it doesn’t hurt to work on it and see if it could be something that could help you! If your story is like mine I would highly recommend taking the class and experiencing what this truly life-changing method is all about. Who knows, you may just exceed your own expectations! Happy Good Form Month!

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