Jenn and I were honored to be invited to Nike’s 2009 Women’s Media Summit last week in Portland, Ore. After flipping a coin—and our day planners—I was the lucky one who headed to the event. It was two days of fitness fun. Just check out the colorful line of spring apparel.
I heard Olympic athletes talk about their training and how apparel makes a difference on the field. I learned a lot about the research and innovation that goes into the products from passionate employees. A tour of the Nike campus made me both want to work and work out there—the grounds are fabulous and I found myself day dreaming about hitting their Lance Armstrong gym over a lunch hour or walking around their amazing track in the woods to start off my day.
During the event, I, along with other media outlets, got to hear about the design and innovation that goes into each and every product the company makes. Each detail is carefully considered, down to the seam of a sports bra or the tongue of a cross-training shoe. Each Nike representative’s enthusiasm and passion for his or her job was obvious—and contagious. It seemed that almost everyone who talked to us said roughly the same thing: “I have the best job at Nike.” And they really mean it.
We also got a tour of the Nike Sports Research Lab, which shows how much research goes into the products. An environmental chamber can be adjusted for temperature and humidity, so the company can test how apparel works in various climates. A mini basketball court with a high-speed camera is available, so they can slow images down to see exactly what’s happening to the shoes as they support feet on the court. We got to see soccer goalie, Hope Solo, do training drills with high-tech motion sensors attached to various points of her body and see how her movements translated to the computer screen.
The Nike athletes were truly an inspiration. From Olympic soccer player Carli Lloyd—who kicked the winning goal for the U.S to win gold—to triathlete Sarah Reinersten—who has completed the IronMan on a prosthetic leg—each of them had a story to tell. It was lovely to hear that sprinter Sanya Richards hates to run long distances, and that even elite athletes like basketball player Sue Bird want to look good on the court—and doesn’t want any “whack shoes” making her uncomfortable. (Below is Sue on the right, basketball player Candice Wiggins, left.)
Getting an inside look at how hard these ladies train to meet their goals definitely gave me a reminder to push myself just a tad harder in my everyday workouts, even though I’m not necessarily trying to win Olympic gold.
I got to test out my newfound inspiration on Thursday when the group was led through a workout at the Lance Armstrong Gym. In addition to the awesome workout, it gave us the opportunity to try Nike’s new cross-training shoe (more on those in a future post). After a quick warm-up, we were led through some killer floor work, working the rear end, upper body and core with dozens of variations of planks and rear-leg lifts. Adding dozens of lunges—forward, side and turning to the back, while lifting weights—definitely had me feeling it. I’m actually more sore now, two days later, but will try to remember as much of the workout as possible so I can repeat it. I know I’m in good shape, but it’s fun to get put through the paces in an unfamiliar class and rediscover muscles you’d forgotten were there.
Oh, and remember how I’m not a morning workout person nor do I consider myself a runner? I actually got up to run 3 miles with the group at 6:30 a.m. the first morning. Only for Nike. —Erin
Let me know if you have any questions about Nike headquarters. I’ll try to answer in a future post!