Ali Martell: From Hemlines to Heels


New Balance and I Run For the Cure

kicking my ass into gear, kicking cancer's ass too

Three years ago I signed up to run a half marathon. 

Yes. It's true. I even trained for it. I was to get out there and run all 13.1 miles with my sister, husband, and sister-in-law. I bought shorts and skirts and tank tops and t-shirts and sports bras. I bought a belt that had four tiny water bottles on it. I bought new shoes. I clocked miles and miles on the treadmill, and even more miles on the pavement outside. I got myself a lovely case of shin splints and heels that would bleed if I ran anything more than three miles. 

But I was going to run the half marathon. 

And then I never ran it. 

I lost my drive somewhere along the way. I stood at the finish line with my three kids and we watched in awe as my sister, husband, and sister-in-law proudly crossed that finish line. I didn't cross it, and I was 100% okay with it. I'm not a runner; I'm not meant to be one. I'm good at a lot of things, but running? It's not one of them. 

And then my boss (you may have heard of her—her name is Erica Ehm) decided that for her birthday this year, she wanted those close to her to help her celebrate by running 5k at the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation CIBC Run for the Cure. Now I don't know if you know Erica, but it's 100% impossible to say no to her. But the truth was, I didn't want to say no. Things have changed since I didn't run that half marathon. I am not that person anymore. 

In the last three years I have watched family members have health problems; I sat in hospital waiting rooms wishing, hoping, praying that my loved ones would come out on the other end with good news.

In the last three years I have decided that I am in control of my body and I want to be strong for my three little ones. I don't want them to have to sit in hospital waiting rooms wishing, hoping, praying that I would come out on the other end with good news. I have joined a gym, I have committed to getting fit, I have hired a personal trainer, I have changed everything.


I signed up. 

I started to run. 

I showed up on the day of the race. 


I didn't run.

But I did something much, much better.

I walked the 5K—with my three little ones beside me. 

(photo credit: Evelyn Hannon)

I was so proud of them.

I was so proud of me. 

We did it. 

And I was lucky enough to have been given a pair of these for my run.

The Lace Up for the Cure collection 860 running shoe.

The funny thing is that while I didn't use these shoes for running, I have basically not taken them off since race day. I wear them to the gym for training.  I wear them while I do burpees and lunges and push-ups and squats. I wear them while ellipticizing or stair climbing. I wear them while working on my core. I wear them when I walk my dog. I wear them to take my kids to school every day and to pick them up from school every day.

And I can't help but feel like—in some little way—that while I'm out there exercising my body, running around, climbing, lifting, pushing myself, kicking my ass into gear, that I'm somehow kicking cancer's ass too.

New Balance Canada continues its support of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation with the latest Lace Up for the Cure collection 860 running shoe. The program enters into its tenth year in 2012 and aims to drive awareness of the benefits of an active lifestyle in reducing the risk of developing breast cancer. 15% of net proceeds, with a minimum of $25,000 and maximum of $40,000, will be donated to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Since the program's inception and New Balance Canada's partnership with the foundation in 2003, the Lace Up for the Cure program has raised over $230,000 for CBCF.

You can buy them at New Balance Canada and at The Running Room

You may ask: What does this have to do with fashion, Ali? 

And I will tell you. 

I'm now sort of expert on workout clothing. I have spent months trying out different kinds of yoga pants and skirts and shorts and leggings. I have tried out different bras and tanks and combinations of both. I have tried out different running shoes. I have tried them all out, so you don't have to. Come back later this week for my top ten recommendations in workout gear.