Written by Amber Martens
In the beginning,
The truth is, I never considered myself an athlete. As a teenager, I was not good at sports. I didn’t feel passionate about them, I have never been very coordinated, and I was not competitive enough. Someone could just ask me for the ball, and I would probably give it to them just to be nice.
I still never considered myself an athlete when I started running because it was pretty casual. I did it whenever and for however long, and I didn’t have any big goals. I thought someone had to run insane amounts of miles or have a certain body type to be considered an athlete. I obsessed with trying to become one.
The “casual” running (never more than 6 miles) went on for years until, in 2017, I decided I wanted to run a half marathon. I was determined to keep high mileage up in the dead of Minnesota winter, so I brought my pounding the pavement indoors onto the treadmill. I wore my shoes out, bought some new ones, and ran some more.
A cycle of improvement & injury
In March of 2018, I felt some aching in my right shin. I desperately googled how to fix the issue but ignored all the advice to stop running and rest. I knew it was the dreaded shin splints, but by then, I was so addicted to the runners high that I didn’t know what else to do with myself if I wasn’t running. So the weeks and months that followed were a cycle of run… pain… walk… run… pain… rest… run… but I never rested long enough for the pain to go away. I thought shin splints were there to plague me forever as a committed runner.
Discovering LightSpeed Lift
I ran my first half marathon in fall 2018 and realized I loved long-distance running. But as sure as the sun rises and sets… winter came again, and I was worried about shin splints on the treadmill. Around that same time, a trainer at the YMCA told me about the LightSpeed Lift: there were 2 set up over in the corner. I had thought it was for rehab purposes and that those using it were injured and trying to get back to running. I was scared to try it, not knowing what I was doing, so I watched curiously as others would hop on and strap in. It never occurred to me that it also could be used to PREVENT injury.
The gym was about to close, and I was supposed to leave, but I didn’t want to. Eventually, when the gym was quiet, I asked for help. I strapped in and started running. I ran faster and faster. It felt like I was flying! A run hadn’t felt so great in forever. It was 7 miles in 60-something minutes, totally pain-free, and I was hooked.
From then on, I looked forward to every treadmill run on the LightSpeed. I started avoiding “plain” treadmills unless someone was already using the LightSpeed. I used it in the name of less impact on my body, running faster and avoiding shin splints, but it was also just more fun. I ran on it for so long people would come and go from the treadmill next to me. Sometimes we just ran quietly side by side, and sometimes we would strike up a conversation.
One time a guy next to me said he was almost done with running his 18 miles for the day. 18 miles??? I thought to myself. You are crazy, man. Who would run 18 miles on a treadmill? The memory makes me laugh because I ran 18 miles on the LightSpeed for fun and for no other specific reason a few months ago.
Made in Duluth, Minnesota
At some point, I saw a sticker that LightSpeed was made in Duluth, MN. I had never realized it was in the same town as me! I was lucky enough to meet the masterminds in person and loved it even more. It continued to be an integral part of my training while I prepared for my first full marathon, and I bounced between running outside when it was nice and running at the YMCA or the LightSpeed Lift Center for the treadmill runs.
The more I ran, I realized how LightSpeed helped my training. I didn’t need anything to make me more addicted, but there it was. I could even run on it half asleep after a night shift and not fall off. I never had shin pain. It was so great! I told everyone about it, sure that anyone who tried it would become an avid runner. Then I decided I had to have my own. And just like that- at Christmas time, the LightSpeed Lift elf came to set one up at my house. In the first three weeks of having it, I ran 85 miles. My kids were shocked and kept asking me, “Is this ours to KEEP, mom?!” I proudly said yes.
Stay running, Stay happy!
I still don’t know if being an athlete is a feeling or what, but I don’t care anymore. What I do know is that I’m a runner. And that is quite simple: if you want to be a runner, you just need to start running. It’s that simple. Anything you need to learn, you will learn along the way. Running has changed my life. It’s changed what I believe I’m capable of. One of my biggest goals is to do it safely and prevent injury so that I can continue to run until I am 100 years old (maybe by then I would win my age group in a race!), and I believe the LightSpeed Lift has made that goal into what can actually be a reality.
I genuinely believe LightSpeed Lift is for everyone. But don’t just take my word for it - try it out for yourself. You just might realize you’re a runner!
Thank you, Amber!
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