Thursday, February 25, 2010

Three Things To Do...

...Before the weekend ends. This week has flown by far faster than I expected. Actually, wait, I take that back, this month has flown by faster than expected, and I can hardly believe that we'll be ringing in March come Monday. But as February draws to a close, there are a few deadlines that have crept up on me that expire at 11:59 p.m. on Sunday night. And no, I'm not referring to the Olympic flame being extinguished--even though that's an event I'm sad to see come to a close, especially since it's meant something interesting to watch on TV at all hours of the day and lots of unique stories to follow.

Mark your calendars for these events that you don't want to miss:
  • Ironman Lottery. I blogged about this chance to win a spot to Kona, Hawaii, more in depth last year. And it's hard to believe that the deadline to enter this year's lottery rolls around on Sunday after being open shortly after the 2009 World Championships came to a close in October. Give yourself a chance to race this infamous Ironman course that started it all and features the best in the sport, pros and age-groupers, by entering the lottery here.
  • Greater Outdoors Project. Nominate, apply, or suggest an organization worthy of receiving a $50,000 grant courtesy of the Redwood Creek Greater Outdoors Project. Think about outdoor organizations that restore public parks, non-profits trying to complete river restorations and clean-ups, community groups that preserve, protect and provide access to the outdoors and get them listed on the ballot that the public will vote on April 1 through August 31.
  • Ironman 70.3 Racine. If you're planning on racing the Ironman 70.3 in Racine, Wis., come July 18, you might want to sign up sooner rather than later. This is my personal reminder too as I've been telling myself for at least the last month that I wanted to add this race to my 2010 calendar. Reason to sign up by Sunday? The race fee increases from $200 to $225 when March rolls around. Click here to register.
Know of any other important deadlines that come at the end of February? Add them to the comments as we'd love to hear them. Photo grabbed from TBA. Posted by Kate

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 2/24

Between the Olympics, a trip out to Colorado for some skiing and some coaching programs about to get underway when I return to reality in Chicago, it's easy for me to say I have my hands full this week. But that's not keeping me from staying connected and doing my usual online reading. To be honest, I'm probably reading more than I should since I have limited hours in front of my computer after long ski days and should really be sleeping to let my muscles recover. Here are some favorite reads that are keeping me up late at night:
  • What do those Olympians jam to when they're training and competing? Find out some of the top hits courtesy of the Fit-Bottomed Girls.
  • Yikes to the women's GS race that partially went down today. I feel for Julia Mancuso--check out one of the reports at
  • Hooray for the medal winners from the U.S. Ski Team for making the cover of Sports Illustrated.
  • I became a fan of the Nordic Combined team Tuesday night when they won silver. What an exciting race and I can totally see why Johnny Spillane would call it a fun sport to watch and not just because he races it. Exhilarating to the finish between Billy Demong and Austria's Mario Stecher.
  • I love watching this video from The Today Show about aerialist Emily Cook.
Photo grabbed from Sports Illustrated's March 1 cover. Posted by Kate

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fit-Event: Run for Water Brings Goucher, Lewis and Fletcher

Last year on April 18, Kara Goucher was prepping for one of the biggest run-downs of her life at the 113th Boston Marathon. But when April 18 rolls around this year, she won't be in Beantown prepping for the infamous race. She'll be running but for a difference cause: the Dow Live Earth Run for Water. Goucher joins nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis and model Jenny Fletcher as the latest famous faces to latch onto the largest global water initiative to help solve the world's water crisis. The trio will be participating in the April 18 events, which include several 6K run/walks--the average distance women and children travel daily to fetch water--and concerts and water education activities.

“I am honored to be taking part in the Dow Live Earth Run for Water event,” Goucher says. “As a woman, I find it distressing that millions of women and children around the world walk six kilometers each and every day to fetch safe, clean drinking water for their families. As a runner, I’m privileged to be able to share my talent and passion to raise awareness for such an important issue.”

It's easy for you to participate in the day's events and help the cause, too. Register to run through The Active Network and 10 percent of the registration fee goes directly to the NGO selected for their country. Participants receive a free ActiveTrainer plan to prepare for the race. Or you can step up and organize a Friends of Live Earth event in your community if one isn't already available, save water through conservation efforts at home and in the community, donate to water projects, or sign a petition to add water as a basic human right to the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights.

Even if you're going to miss Goucher's prowess in Beantown, she and others world wide will be making a difference that weekend. And the concerts in conjunction with the event--Rob Thomas, Collective Soul, Melissa Etheridge and Sam Moore are a few performers--will also be legendary.
Photo grabbed from Live Earth.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Olympic Favorites from the Sidelines

When it comes to the Olympics--summer and winter--I'm obsessed. A healthy obsession, at least in my mind, but you'll definitely find me glued to the TV for the two weeks of competition. And now in the electronic age, I'll also be online, hunting for any and everything related to the Games: gear, footage not televised on prime time, athlete bios, random facts, you name it. One thing that has been a favorite since I started tuning into the swimming events in 1992 is the Olympic fashions, especially those goods that Team USA sports during the two weeks of competition.

In 1992, it was the warm-up jacket the swim team sported atop the medal stand--don't laugh but I even tried to create the jacket myself with cloth-friendly markers and a Tyvex-like jacket that came in a kit. During the 1996 Atlanta Games, I had to have a set of warm-ups made famous by the women's gymnastics team when they won gold. Let's just say I was thrilled when I tracked down a replica at a Champion store near my aunt's house--still have the pants in my closet. And I bought some random Roots gear to support Team USA for Athens 2004. For Salt Lake in 2002, I managed to resist any purchases outside of Olympic pins but we might all remember how trendy those Roots berets were. The same holds true for 2006 and 2008, where I mostly ogled the designs and only wished for a reason to add them to my collection.

Not to bore you with all this history, but I thought it might help explain my shopping spree wish-list for the 2010 Games. When the Games opened last Friday, I was already pumped from some pre-Olympic goodies and gear information, but the opening ceremonies only fueled my fire. Here's some of my Olympic favorites, gold-medal worthy in my book:

Nike. I was hooked from the time they announced the medal stand look, but their Olympic collection has a few other favorites as well. The men's knit hat, the track jacket ($80) and the medal stand jacket ($175). Or the Zoom Fly Sister One+ ($110) with its special USA pattern unique to these Games and given to the athletes when they arrived in Vancouver.

Lululemon. It's not official Olympic gear, but the Lululemon hockey hat is one cool toque. It may look odd off the head, but it works. This Vancouver-based company almost had to come up with something to offer when the Olympics came to town, and they scored with this hat complete with tooth grease to make you grin like a hockey player. Also check out rest of the cheer gear that doesn't have to go into storage when the Games end.

Polo. Ralph Lauren is the official outfitter of Team USA for the opening and closing ceremonies and one look at the outfits Friday night and I'm hooked. For Torino, I was all about the Roots USA vest; this time I'm hooked on the Polo sweater and hat worn by the U.S. Olympians during their march into BC Place. The sweater is available online for $425 (a little out of range for my tastes unfortunately), but my eyes are still out for how to score the knit hat. It's not part of Polo's online collection of Olympic gear, but Meredith Vieira sported one on The Today Show, which leaves me hoping that they're out there somewhere.

Olympic Pins. Always favorites at the Games are the Olympic pins. From the basic to the unique, there's a pin that catches everyone's eye--or trade for one that does. Some of the best can be had at official Olympic stores especially those on-site in Vancouver, or check out what's available at this Canadian retailer.

Red mittens. The world is smitten with these mittens that made their debut during the Olympic torch relay. So much so that the media liked to report that they were flying off the shelves and hard to come by. These red mittens adorned with a white maple leaf in the palm and Olympic rings on the top of the palms are in high demand--already sold out online and hard to find in Vancouver--but available in vast quantities in other Canadian provinces. I should know--I desperately wanted to score a pair and lucked out when a family friend went shopping in Windsor, Ontario. Plus, what better way to help support Canadian athletes?

Olympic mascots gear. How can you not love the adorable mascots for the Vancouver Games? Quatchi the sasquatch, Miga the sea bear, Mukmuk the marmot and Sumi the animal guardian spirit are everywhere from T-shirts to plush toys to pins where they participate in Olympic sports. I love these guys!

It's a good thing I already purchased some pins and a mascot T-shirt when I visited Vancouver in October. Otherwise, I'd be rushing to purchase more than just those popular red mittens. What are some of your favorite 2010 souvenirs? Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

Thursday, February 18, 2010

They're Wearing What?

The Olympics isn't the Oscars or the Golden Globes, but when it comes to fashion, it almost starts to feel that way. The only differences? The athletes might not be announcing what they're wearing like the celebrities walking the red carpet, and they're certainly not sporting Dolce&Gabbana, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino, Armani, Carolina Herrera and more (forgive any key designers I'm missing, I only glance at this stuff at People, and would take a North Face over a dress any day). But for this gear freak--who loves me a Nike, North Face, Spyder, Under Armour and any brand involve a sport I'll try--it's fun tracking down who's outfitting what sport when it comes to Team USA. Here's what's been spotted so far:

When it comes to the U.S. Snowboard team, Shaun White, Hannah Teter, Gretchen Bleiler and company are outfitted by Burton. The same Burton designer who created the 2006 Torino gear, Greg Dacyshyn, developed this latest, low-key look. As for the pants? They're made to look like jeans, but they're really thin and hole-less. Click here to view a slideshow.

Not only did Nike design the medal stand look that the U.S. Olympians will be wearing when they receive their medals, but you'll also see the sportswear giant's Swoosh on both the long- and short-track speed skaters. The speedsuits are reminiscent of some of the outfits introduced at the Beijing Summer Olympics among the track and field athletes--but don't quote me on that because it's just appearance that I'm going by. Nike has also furnished the curling team, and the men's and women's hockey teams.

That spandex that the U.S. ski racers sport as they blaze down the hill? Spyder designed those and according to this story they are some of the fastest race suits out there--just think equivalent to the Speedo LZR racer that caused a commotion in the pool to the point of being outlawed. It's something in the fabric and are touted to reduce wind drag, which reminded me a bit of a story I wrote about technology back in Beijing. The Canadian alpine team is also sporting this high-tech design.

Who's behind those fiery speed suits among the U.S. lugers at the Whistler Sliding Centre? That would be Karbon, the manufacturer primarily known for outerwear on the ski hill, at least in this neck of the woods. You'll also spot the Canadian-based company sponsoring all of the gear sported by the Australia and New Zealand Olympic teams, as well as some sports-specific teams from Chile, Ireland, Slovenia and Canada.

As the freestyle skiers blazed down the moguls and helicoptered through the air earlier this week at Cypress Mountain, they wore the likes of Under Armour. Daredevil Evel Knievel provided the inspiration behind the speed suit, pants and jackets that both the U.S. Freestyle Skiing and Bobsled teams sport. The look has already turned a few heads when Hannah Kearney, Shannon Bahrke and Bryon Wilson stood on the medal stand after the mogul competitions. Only problem? You can't find a mock-up online, but you can score some Team USA gear (however it's a little buried at

No Olympics would be complete without a few call-outs to fashion designers. There's the obvious, unveiled at the opening ceremonies. Ralph Lauren designed the styles for Team USA that they'll be sporting at the opening and closing ceremonies, complete with the famous Polo horse. And then the not so obvious. Vera Wang designed Evan Lysacek's skating outfits appearing in Vancouver, from the feathered ensemble during the short program to the look he'll reveal for tonight's long program.

Lots of looks on the Olympics stage and not just among the U.S. team. I'm not even going to go into the fashions displayed during the opening ceremonies. However, NBC did--and found some atrocities during competition too--that you can check out at this entertaining slideshow. Photo grabbed from Michael Francis McCarthy at flickr. Posted by Kate

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 2/18

It's all about the Winter Olympics here at Fit-Ink. After last night's coverage on the women's downhill--go Julia and Lindsey!--and the men's snowboarding halfpipe--Shaun White's victory lap with the double McTwist 1260, anyone?--my fire is only fueled more for following the Olympics. Here's some favorites for the day to check out:
  • Excited after Lindsey Vonn and Julia Mancuso going 1-2 in the women's downhill? Check out Julia's blog for some cool interviews. My favorite: how an Olympian spends the night before her big race. Read here (if you get an internal server like I just did, just visit her blog and scroll down to Keeping It Loose the Night Before...).
  • The world seems to be obsessed with the Norwegian curling team's pants. I don't know if you can call these golfer Jon Daly look-alikes bad-ass but they sure live up to their label of psyching out the competition. Score a pair of your own at Loudmouth Golf.
  • Who doesn't want to watch Shaun White's halfpipe run again? Here's the link from NBC Olympics.
  • And same with Shani Davis's gold medal run in the 1000m skate on the long track that catapulted him into history as the first man to repeat as Olympic champion at the distance?
  • My friend tipped me off to this interactive New York Times section that gives you an inside look at the Olympic sports from the downhill to sliding a luge track.
  • If you want any spoilers for what's on tonight's Olympics coverage, check out King 5's Olympic Twitter page for the latest updates.
Have a site to recommend? Please share in the comments as I can use all the Olympic action I can get--take last night for example where I was typing away on my laptop, reading Team USA bios, watching races I had missed online and watching the 3.5 hours on NBC, while spouting random tidbits to my husband (poor guy!). Back to the action for me. Happy reading! Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Good as Gold...and Silver

Well, I couldn't resist: I had to post an update on the women's downhill now that the results are live at Vonn finally has that gold medal to hang around her neck, and Mancuso was the surprise of the day by grabbing the silver. Yay! The last time we saw a U.S. team double up in skiing medals was back in 1984 at the Sarajevo Games with brothers Phil and Steve Mahre going one-two in slalom and Debbie Armstrong and Christin Cooper taking gold and silver in giant slalom.

As Mancuso twittered (@JuliaMancuso): SILVER!!!!! feels like gold:) well, actually dont get to feel it till tonight!!!! so stoked!

And apparently today's race was filled with its fair share of crashes. Not that it's a good thing to hear about skiers crashing, especially when at those crazy fast speeds, but it will make for some entertainment tonight. I can't wait for the coverage to start at 8 p.m., 7 p.m. central. Check out the race report online, too. Photo to come. Posted by Kate

All Eyes on Whistler and Women's Downhill

If you want to wait for primetime to see the women's downhill race and not hear any details before, stop reading. For anyone who's been waiting in anticipation for this race to go off after all of the alpine delays due to weather, read on.

It's easy to say that weather was on Lindsey Vonn's side. For the last week, reports have provided daily updates on the U.S. Ski Teamer's shin--how it felt, how she felt, what might happen with her Olympics, and on and on and on--after she injured it during a training run earlier this month. After the injury reveal, the weather was quick to turn at Whistler--site of the alpine skiing events--thus postponing the downhill schedule and providing Vonn with more time to heal. She rested, she wrapped her shin in cheese, and she tested out her shin in hopes of making her Olympics dreams come true after failing to make the podium four years ago in Torino. It became a waiting game, both on the shin and the weather.

After the weather called off the men's super combined yesterday, one could only wonder what would happen to the women's race the next day. But the weather cooperated and made race day a go--just check out this picture Vonn tweeted earlier today. And when the women's downhill race finally went off, you can't help but cheer for Vonn, Julia Mancuso, Stacey Cook and Alice McKennis. Mancuso skied the No. 10 position and jumped into first place--this isn't even her strongest event as she medaled in Torino in the giant slalom race. Vonn was yet to come, having drawn No. 16.

And when you read about what happened (since we have yet to see the coverage), it leaves you wondering, what shin? Vonn skied as she has all winter at the World Cup races and leapt into the gold medal position. There's a blog post here that describes her as having tears in her eyes after finishing as she did. Talk about a great day for Team it stands with the top skiers having already taken to the course, Vonn could take home the gold and Mancuso the silver. Austrian Elisabeth Gorgl stands in third to take the bronze. While the difference between gold and bronze isn't as close at the men's downhill race--just nine hundredths of a second kept Bode Miller from gold--the competition is still tight. Vonn's time is 1:44.19, Mancuso's is 1:44.75 and Gorgl's is 1:45.65.

Time's like those (and the men too) help make information like this Fit-Ink worthy, at least in my opinion. Not because of my skiing love--although that helps since I can call the shots around here--but because I feel like I'm constantly justifying skiing's benefit for runners, cyclists and triathletes off Fit-Ink. And these feats on the hill coupled with the work these skiers put in off the hill proves you need to be one heck of an athlete, even if you're not as lean and toothpick like as the cross-country skiers--a sport that has been viewed by runners as great training minus the pavement pounding. But that's another story. Back to the skiers. Just think about what it takes to withstand the blistering speeds on the hill, holding up your body and keeping those skis carving the turns (look at the slow-motion TV clips tonight and you'll see how close a skier's ankles get to the snow to make those turns). Talk about strength and balance. It really brings home the stability ball exercises Mancuso practices regularly--she can balance atop the ball with her feet planted and her body in a skier's tuck position--and the late-night workout Vonn said she needed to do after throwing out the first pitch at Wrigley Field. And it makes me exhausted!

Congrats, ladies! Can't wait to check out the race tonight! Photo of Julia Mancuso grabbed from Posted by Kate

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gotta Love the Hometown Crowd

In case you can't tell already, I'm pretty much obsessed with the Olympics. It started off with all things summer--I like to say I perfected my swim strokes through the likes of Summer Sanders, Pablo Morales and Krisztina Egerszegi--with Barcelona in 1992, and only escalated from there. The winter obsession is a little newer--in part because my husband's even more tuned in than me--but still there. I won't bore you with the details.

Anyway, the point of all of this is to explain why no one should be surprised that I'd be one reading Olympics-focused websites, requesting to follow Games-specific peeps on Twitter and I hardly use the program, and becoming fans with athletes and the Olympics on Facebook. So my latest Games gotta-know-now info left me wondering more about the athletes and where they're from (no, I'm not stalking, really). More because I knew a few Olympians from the Windy City and some figure skaters who trained five minutes from where I grew up (1998 figure skating gold medalist Tara Lipinski being one of them). And also because I spent enough time on reading about the athletes. So without further ado, here's the local USA contingent we're cheering for...

Ben Agosto--Chicago. Partners with Tanith Belbin in the ice dancing competition.
Lisa Chesson--Plainfield, Ill. Will take to the ice with the women's hockey team.
Meryl Davis--She's not from Chicago but this half of a figure skating ice dance pair hails from West Bloomfield, Mich., five minutes from where I grew up.
Shani Davis--Chicago. He lives in Milwaukee now to be closer to training facilities, but this long track speed skater got his start on the ice at Robert Crown Ice Arena in Evanston, Ill.
Lana Gehring--Glenview, Ill. She'll be competing in short track speed skating and made the team in the 500m.
Brian Hansen--Glenview, Ill. He'll be at the Richmond Olympic Oval racing in long-track speed skating.
Jonathan Kuck--Champaign, Ill. This long-track speed skater hails from the same town as Bonnie Blair who won five medals competing on the long track.
Evan Lysacek--Naperville, Ill. He might live in California now to train with Frank Carroll, but this figure skating 2009 World Champion graduated high school at Neuqua Valley.
Jamie Moriarty--This football player turned bobsledder is either from Winnetka or Glencoe, depending on the list you look at.
Katherine Reutter--Champaign, Ill. Another speed skater from the land of Bonnie Blair, but Reutter competes on the short track. Random fact: Many Illinois speed skaters train in Wisconsin at the Pettit Ice Arena but Reutter used to shuttle between Champaign and St. Louis
before training in Salt Lake City.
Nancy Swider-Peltz, Jr.--Wheaton, Ill. She shares a name with her Olympian speed skating mom and now makes her Olympic debut in the same sport (long track).
Charlie White--He's Meryl Davis's skating partner and I had to include him as a shout out to my hometown before Chicago, Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

And for one more that doesn't really fit in, but got a nod in my book was luger Tony Benshoof from White Bear Lake, Minn., a hop, skip and a jump from where my husband grew up. There's lotsa hockey in Minnesota but the luge surprised me a bit. Why? I don't really have an answer for that one.

While this list makes it seem like I have a lot of time on my hands (not true as my husband can attest I'm up way past bedtime most nights) or I'm simply crazy for caring about who's from where (I might have to agree with that but it doesn't phase me), it keeps the Games interesting when you're watching for the locals. Maybe there's an athlete or two with a connection to your hometown? Find out here. Check out the athlete bios, too--some are pretty entertaining. And no, I have yet to read even a quarter of them. Photo grabbed from, by Matthew Stockman at Getty Images. Posted by Kate

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bode Blazes for Bronze

Warning: This post could possibly spoil any Olympics television you might be trying to watch tonight. But in the spirit of the Games--and my love of skiing--I couldn't help myself but share. So if you want to wait to watch tonight, stop reading. If not, continue on...

Facebook is usually pretty good at telling me information. I probably should visit the site less than I do--like when I should be carrying on a conversation with my husband before he falls asleep after a long day at work and not just half listening and half browsing status updates--but it's helped me track down athletes to profile, news, and random happenings of my friends. But lately I've been hooked on the fan pages related to the Olympics. I've friended just about everyone and everything from Julia Mancuso to Whistler Blackcomb. And as a result I've wanted to buy one of Mancuso's sweatshirts especially when she said they were traveling with her to Whistler--too bad the ordering system wasn't working last week when I tried--and I read about her Kiss My Tiara underwear before the Today Show shared its release. I've wanted to magically apparate Harry Potter style to Vancouver to chase the motorcade with Wayne Gretzky and the Olympic torch, and I wanted to be able to submit pictures from the Games in hopes of winning tickets to an event or two (wish I could remember which fan page that was a part of).

But my favorite news came just a few minutes ago courtesy of Whistler Blackcomb, informing me of the event updates from alpine ski central. After a couple of days of holding the ski runs due to pea-soup-like weather atop Whistler mountain, the men's downhill race took place earlier this afternoon with the results already announced online. It didn't surprise me that I didn't recognize the gold and silver winners--Didier Defago and Aksel Lund Svindal, respectively--because I haven't followed enough of the World Cup races on Universal Sports this season. But I was pleasantly surprised over Bode Miller taking home the bronze.

He was the name in skiing when the Salt Lake Games opened eight years ago. He was still the name in skiing four years ago in Torino. But when Bode returned to the World Cup tour this season, he shocked most skiers, me included. Known for a laissez-faire attitude when it comes to the sport, you'd almost expect a crash or mistake on the course that would cost him a medal, followed by a far-from-glamorous explanation for why it happened. And this time around it could easily have been blamed on taking a break from world competition and not being in shape for taking those jaw-dropping speeds and high-flying jumps on the downhill. After falling so short of expectations in Torino, he probably proved a lot of skiers and fans wrong by returning as he did and winning a medal. Maybe it's not so bad to go hide out in New Hampshire every once in a while. Photo grabbed from Vail Valley Foundation at flickr and taken by Jonathan Selkowitz. Posted by Kate

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Eye of the Tiger

Between the start of the Winter Olympics, Valentine's Day and extended weekend for those lucky enough to get President's Day off, it's easy to say there's a lot going on. But this February 14 doesn't only mark the holiday of St. Valentine but also the celebration of the Chinese New Year. And as the Chinese say goodbye to the year of the ox, it's time to welcome in the year of the tiger, and its accompanying traits of leadership, courage, adventure and strength. Like last year, I thought it'd be fun to take a look at the athletes born into this zodiac year. Not that the year in which you were born 100 percent correlates with any sort of athleticism and speed that you might associate with a tiger, but it was interesting to see the results. Especially since it's an Olympic year where even more athletes come to the forefront of my favorite sports to watch and follow.

So the quick requirements of this list: The athletes had to be born in the year of the tiger which includes 1950 (or early 1951), 1962 (or early 1963), 1974 (or early 1975), 1986 (or early 1987) depending on how the lunar calendar fell. They have to participate in running, cycling, triathlon, swimming or an Olympic sport (yes, I have the Olympics on the brain). And they could be from any nationality, but I blame that on Wikipedia--which largely aided in putting this list together--for including their names on the list of people born in that specific year.

  • Meryl Davis, January 1, 1987. Sliding in just before the end of the tiger year, she'll be skating in the ice dance competition at the 2010 Olympics.
  • Zhang Lin, January 6, 1987. Also on the cusp of the new zodiac year, he's touted as the most successful Chinese male in swimming.
  • Cesar Cielo, January 10, 1987. Sliding in just before the end of the tiger year, Cielo captured gold in the 50 free at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is the only Brazilian to win a gold medal in swimming.
  • Tsegaye Kebede, January 15, 1987. On the cusp of the Chinese New Year, Kebede took home the bronze medal in the marathon at the 2008 Olympics.
  • Steve Prefontaine, January 25, 1951, an American runner who tragically met his end too soon but not before leaving his mark at Oregon and a legacy.
  • Tim Montgomery, January 25, 1975. Sliding in before the New Year, Montgomery almost shouldn't make this list because he's known more for being charged with using performance-enhancing drugs and being linked to Marion Jones.
  • Hannah Teter, January 27, 1987. Just barely falling under the Tiger sign--the Chinese New Year fell on January 28 that year--Teter won gold at the 2006 Torino Games and takes to her snowboard again in Vancouver.
  • Aschwin Wildeboer Faber, February 14, 1986, a Spanish swimmer who competed in the backstroke at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics.
  • Hannah Kearney, February 26, 1986. Kearney won the U.S.'s first gold medal at the 2010 Olympics by overcoming a disappointing 2006 Olympics race and turning out an amazing performance in the freestyle moguls.
  • Jackie Joyner-Kersee, March 3, 1962. What's not to know about this track and field athlete who specialized in the long jump and heptathlon, winning a collection of medals? And just a random fact, footballer Herschel Walker shares her birthday.
  • Daisuke Takahashi, March 16, 1986. This Japanese figure skater competed in the 2006 Winter Olympics, won silver at the 2007 World Championships and plans to compete in Vancouver.
  • Lars Frolander, May 26, 1974, a Swedish swimmer who won gold in the 100m butterfly at the 2000 Sydney Games and competed in five Olympics--1992, 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008.
  • Robert Gesink, May 31, 1986, a Dutch cyclist who races for UCI ProTeam Rabobank.
  • Rafael Nadal, June 3, 1986, a Spanish tennis player who's been ranked No. 1 in the world, won six Grand Slams and won gold in mens singles at the 2008 Olympics.
  • Tomas Verner, June 3, 1986, this Czech Republic ice skater ranks first in the world among the men's competition as of January 2010.
  • Olga Charvátová, June 11, 1962, a Czech Republic alpine skier who took home the bronze medal in women's downhill at the 1984 Sarajevo Olympics.
  • Erika Salumäe, June 11, 1962, a track cyclist who brought home the first Olympic gold medal for Estonia after it gained independence (1992) and also won gold for the former Soviet Union (1988).
  • Lee Ho-Suk, June 25, 1986, the South Korean short-track speed skater who won gold in Torino and unfortunately disqualified himself in the final turn of the 1500m event on Saturday night
  • Michelle Ford, July 15, 1962, an Australian swimmer who won gold at the 1980 Olympics.
  • Maurice Greene, July 23, 1974, an American sprinter who medaled at the 2000 and 2004 Olympics in the 100m and 4 x 100 relay events.
  • Rik Verbrugghe, July 23, 1974, this Belgian made his mark as a road cyclist
  • Krisztina Egerszegi, August 16, 1974. She dominated the backstroke events at the Olympics and has won five gold medals, a feat that only Michael Phelps has topped.
  • Usain Bolt, August 21, 1986. Faster than a bolt of lightning? This Jamaican sprinter is dominating running after winning gold in Beijing.
  • Theresa Andrews, August 25, 1962, won two golds in swimming for the U.S. at the 1984 Summer Games.
  • Shaun White, September 3, 1986. We'll get to see the Flying Tomato unveil a new trick during the halfpipe snowboarding competition in Vancouver, but he's already known for setting the bar in snowboarding and taking home medals at the X Games and the 2006 Olympics.
  • Hicham El Guerrouj, September 14, 1974, a Moroccan middle distance runner who's set world records and won Olympic gold twice.
  • Gary Hall, Jr., September 26, 1974. An American swimmer (and one I loved to follow as a kid) who'd shadow box before his sprints and won a collection of medals, 10 in total, at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 Olympics.
  • Marianne Timmer, October 3, 1974, a Dutch speed skater who won gold on the long track at the 1998 Olympics.
  • Laure Manaudou, October 9, 1986, a French swimmer who took home gold, silver and bronze at the 2004 Olympics.
  • Penelope Heyns, November 8, 1974. Before speed suits took over, this South African made breaststroke look effortless--even racing without goggles--and won gold at the 1996 Olympics as the only woman to win the 100m and 200m breaststroke.
  • Oscar Pistorius, November 22, 1986, has made a name for himself as the fastest man with no legs, being so speedy on his artificial legs that it's been deemed an unfair advantage. Nevertheless, this South African won gold in three sprint events at the 2008 Paralympics.
  • Sylvie Daigle, December 1, 1962, a Canadian speed skater who competed in long track before medaling on the short track.
  • Arturo Barrios, December 12, 1962, a Mexican long-distance runner.
  • Roy Schuiten, December 16, 1950, competed for the Dutch track and road cycling teams.
Whew, what a list! Who knew so many famous athletes and Olympians were born under this Chinese sign? I guess Survivor didn't come up with Eye of the Tiger for nothing...

Oh and last year, I noted my inability to track down a triathlete born under the year of the Ox. Well, turns out I missed the complete obvious: Craig Alexander who's won the Ironman World Championships two years running was born June 22, 1973. Still trying to find other triathletes though to round out these lists. Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Fit-Pic: Welcome to Vancouver

Welcome to Vancouver! With the 2010 Winter Olympics underway, it only seemed fitting to track down a photo of the host city, especially since I've had the chance to visit it twice since it was selected. I only drove through in 2004 en route to Whistler--don't be surprised if some of those pictures show up over the next two weeks as it's pretty cool to see how the village looked before the Olympic explosion--but I had the opportunity to stay in Vancouver for a few days, check out some venues like the Richmond Olympic Oval and the Vancouver Olympic Centre, meet some Olympic hopefuls and flat-out get excited about the Games that were still months away.

Above you'll find one of the images I captured while on a run around the city and in my opinion captures some of the best aspects of Vancouver. You have the city--complete with a running path that makes me feel like I'm back at home--and you have the "country" or at least the closest thing to it with Stanley Park abutting the downtown, providing miles of greenery. And then there's the picture-perfect water complete with harbor, boats and (not pictured but they were out). Yes, it might be a far cry from the conditions the city could see at this time of the year, since you're more likely to find rain--like last night--but not completely. You'll still find the rich hues of the evergreens, crystal clear water and plenty of spots to run. The difference is the Olympic decor like the rings illuminated on the water, the torch along the riverfront, and the Vancouver Convention Centre (faintly visible as the white arced triangles) transformed into media central. But seeing this makes me wish I was back...pronto! Posted by Kate

Friday, February 12, 2010

Grab Your Moons Before They're Gone

I can't decide if blueberry or pomegranate is my fave.
Dear Luna,

You crushed my heart. Is the rumor true? No more Luna Moons? I don't think I was the only one who loved them. I know I wasn't the only coach who shared her love with her athletes.

As a newly minted member of Team Luna Chix, I thought I might be lucky enough to enjoy a year eating and promoting all the Moons my stomach could handle for the love of Luna. But alas, you sent me this news that made my heart sink. "We’re sad to let you know that we’re discontinuing production of LUNA Moons. We love LUNA Moons and know that there are many women out there who love them, too."

What? No Luna Moons? Well isn't that a knife stuck straight through my stomach. With the exception of the watermelon flavor (something about fake watermelon has never sat well with my taste buds), I gobbled moons at the race expos when Luna was sampling, snatched up packets when REI put them on sale and packed at least two pouches among my race day goods as my go-to before bonking. But now what am I supposed to do? You just took away my female friendly fruit snacks that psychologically made me feel like I was racing stronger, harder and faster than the grocery store substitutes. And in a format far handier--and friendlier on my tummy--than a Shot Blok. Yes, Shot Bloks are too big of a jolt for my stomach, so are gels, and I needed something I could pop like candy, like the jelly beans I didn't leave home without.

Luna, I'm confused. If you know that you love the moons and that other women love them too, why are you discontinuing them? I heard about the launch of Luna Protein but you can't say that's a substitute, not for me anyway. And I can't go cutting Shot Bloks into more manageable pieces before a race. Can you imagine how sticky that would be? And how would I get the sharp knife through security? I don't think the plastic variety would saw through those Bloks with any sort of ease.

I understand the need for change. Really, I do. But before those moons disappear from the shelves I can guarantee that I'll be buying bunches in bulk when I spot them. I need a Moon stash--even if that means eating them months from now when I'll be sucking instead of chewing. Isn't there a petition we can sign to save the Moons? Don't make them disappear from the shelves.

A Luna Lover

Photo grabbed from

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Three Cheers for the USA

When the Winter Olympics kick off tomorrow in Vancouver, you won't have to worry about missing the prime-time action on TV, buying a newspaper for the latest medal count or being tied to a computer all day to follow the action. You just need the inside scoop, direct from the Games. And Team USA wants to give it to you.

Sign up with your name, e-mail and phone number--if you'd like to receive text updates--at, and you'll be able to track all of your favorite athletes during the Games. We're talking exclusive updates, athlete bios, photos and video highlights--information often privy to media only--that you can access. Shop for Team USA gear, make a donation to help fund our team, interact with other fans. You'll even find a few athlete blogs, like one of my favorites from skeleton athlete Katie Uhlaender, to read in the off hours. Or if you want to show your support even more--share it on your website, blog, phone and more--check out the widgets listed at this interactive release.

Now there's really no excuse not to support Team USA throughout the 18 days of competition even if you can't be in Vancouver. Photo of Mirai Nagasu who will be competing, from Team USA. Posted by Kate

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 2/10

I can't believe it's already Wednesday this week. I should be relieved since it means the weekend is quickly approaching, but I'm still feeling a little sluggish from yesterday's snowfall. And I know I still have plenty to cross off my to-do list before the week is out. But I didn't let that stop me from some online reading. Get through your hump day with a few of my faves:
  • Biggest Loser alum Tara Costa recaps last night's visit to the Olympic Training Center on the latest season of the show.
  • Noooo! Lindsey Vonn reveals a shin injury that may keep her from a top-notch Olympic performance.
  • This 12-year-old makes me want to get out and run--even if the ground is covered in snow. I wish I thought like that at her age.
  • The East Coast shuts down again thanks to more snow and blizzard-like conditions. The same weather crossed Chicago--as did an earthquake although I slept through it--but no snow day for us.
  • Use these tips to run through the snow rather than let the latest blizzard put a damper on your running.
  • Need a race for the weekends ahead? Equinox members can participate in these upcoming indoor triathlons for a chance to earn a spot at the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in San Francisco.
  • The clock is counting down to the start of Self's Challenge Countdown. The exercise and eating plan kicks off on February 18.
Photo by Thomas Vonn and grabbed from Lindsey Is Epic at flickr. Posted by Kate

Fit-Q: What Winter Olympics Sports Feed Your Fancy?

We're in the final stretch before the 2010 Winter Olympics open in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on February 12. NBC has been reminding us for months of the number of days left before the 21st Olympiad kicks off. If you search Olympics on Twitter, you'll find several feeds, some of which provide enough daily updates to make you dizzy (but you can't complain when it helps you feel like you're there learning the inside scoop). And the Olympians are twittering their arrivals to the Olympic city.

While it's obvious fever over the Games is in the air, we all have our favorite moments to watch live, catch on TV or follow online. With all of the snow and ice action happening from the time the Olympic torch is lit Friday night until it's extinguished on February 28, the world tunes in to the competitions on snow and ice, what sports are you most looking forward to watching? Take our poll:

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Who Should Be on the Cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition?

Maybe I'm missing something, but with the timing of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition being just days before the Winter Olympics start in Vancouver, it almost seems more fitting for an Olympian to be on the cover over Brooklyn Decker. I totally understand that the Swimsuit edition audience varies from the Olympic crowd, but still it'd be cool to see one of the beauties that landed inside the magazine--Lindsey Vonn, Hannah Teter, Clair Bidez and Lacey Schnoor--on the outside.

True, Vonn landed the February 8 cover of Sports Illustrated--a salute to the best female downhill skier--but isn't the swimsuit edition a diverse enough crowd where she could be featured again (a little like the week in 1975 where Time and Newsweek ran Bruce Springsteen on their covers)? Or what about another Olympian like snowboarder Gretchen Bleiler who circuited magazines--covers, features and ads--following her silver-medal win in 2006? I'm just saying...

Where do you weigh in? Would you rather see any Olympian on the cover? Please share in the comments. Photos grabbed from and Posted by Kate

The Biggest Loser Goes for Gold

When it was the week of the Super Bowl, The Biggest Loser organized a football challenge (season 7). When it was the Oscars, the contestants received red-carpet-worthy makeovers (season 7). Now with the Olympics quickly approaching, it comes as no surprise that the preview for the February 9 episode features an Olympic spin. The Biggest Losers travel to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs to not only get worked by some of the best trainers and coaches in sport but also to get motivated by some Olympians. Check out the above video from NBC to see more of the preview.

It's a dream opportunity for any sports nut (me included) even if it does include a gut-busting workout. I say this because I got a sampling of the training rigors of an Olympian back in October thanks to Nike. It was only an hour training with a yoga mat, weights and body strength but I was sore for the next two days! I'm jealous that the contestants can partake and as a sidenote, hope it motivates me to finish up a post about said Olympic workout sooner rather than later.

Yes, the coaches are world-class--they'd have to be with all the medal winners that have come through the Training Center--but my eye will also be on the Olympians who surprise the Losers. Skier and Torino gold medalist Julia Mancuso is one of them--catch her in the preview above. One look at some of Mancuso's training exercises, like Mancuso balancing on the stability ball to strengthen her turns, and you know why she won gold.

Who's in for watching with me? Video grabbed from NBC. Posted by Kate

Monday, February 8, 2010

Score a Shamrock: 5,000 Spots Going Fast

It's an annual tradition in Chicago to start off the running season with the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle. With 36,000 spots available it's pretty difficult to turn down participating, unless you drag your feet like I did two years ago and miss registration by mere minutes (a press release hadn't even gone out yet announcing the race's closure). But those spots are going fast and it's expected that the race will close by the end of the week, if not earlier.

According to an e-mail that went to past participants, less than 5,000 of the 36,000 spots remained as of this morning. I guess it's a sign that many Chicagoans want revenge over last year's slushy "Snow Shuffle"? I know I would...the only problem is that I'm already signed up for the March Madness Half Marathon (boo to them being scheduled for the same day, Shamrock was bumped up a week--most likely a result of Easter Sunday on April 4). But even I don't run in Shamrock--yep, I was one of last year's no-shows--the Nike T-shirt is a must-have that I'll be sorry to be passing up this year.

Check out all of the Shamrock Shuffle's details and register by clicking here. Photo grabbed from Posted by Kate

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Race in the Saints' City

Super Bowl XLIV might be in the books but that doesn't mean the partying has to stop. The events may come to a close in Miami, which hosted the event, but they're just getting started in New Orleans where the Saints celebrate their first franchise win. And what better time than now to head to the Big Easy? And here at Fit-Ink, we're not talking about partying 24/7, although that's a definite bonus, but we're looking at active endeavors that can lure you in.

While you may not be able to make it to Bourbon Street tonight for the revelry, make your mark on the Super Bowl champions' city later this month at the Rock 'n' Roll Mardi Gras race. With half marathon and marathon options, you have no excuse for skipping this opportunity to run through the bayou on February 28. You'll be greeted with a Mardi Gras-like celebration upon completion but can avoid the crowds...what's not to love?

Or if a late February race isn't in the cards, consider the Ironman 70.3 New Orleans on April 18. Yes, it's a bit of a conflict for those running the Boston Marathon the following day, but many triathletes looking to start racing earlier in the season would take a half-Ironman over a marathon any day. Hot, even humid, but it's conditions many of us four-season folk wait until July or August to race, and it's keeps us on top of our conditioning when it's cold. And if you're lucky enough, you may even be able to boast that you raced the same course as Chris McCormack--he finished second here in 2009--and Natasha Badmann, who set the course record for the women.

Those are two of the big-name races for the year, but there are plenty of other events to register for in Cajun country. Check out some of these listings at to get you started. Or if you can't make an event weekend, a run along the riverwalk or through the French Quarter can be just as exciting. After all, that means more beignets, muffulettas and pralines. Yum! Photo grabbed from gnalnad at flickr. Posted by Kate

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Snow Way! Work Up a Sweat after the Snow Storm

Call it Snowpacalypse. Name it Snowmageddon. Dub it a blizzard that hit an area that might see three feet of snow across an entire winter--and even that's doubtful--not 30-plus inches of snow in 24 hours. But the snowfall doesn't have to mean you're cooped up indoors until the roads are cleared. Sure the snow puts a damper on grocery shopping--my brother-in-law reported that the shelves were bare on Friday--and may keep you from the gym for a day or two, but it only livens up the outdoor activities.

And it makes me jealous: Chicago's been pretty devoid of snow lately aside from a few flurries and I still have a few weeks before returning to ski country, so this powder hound was plotting how she'd spend a snow day. I'm big on lists these days, sorry, and almost set out to share my suggestions for activities that could give you a calorie burning workout without heading to the gym, stuff I wish I could be doing if I had snow to play in. But the D.C. peeps beat me to the punch as these pictures prove and were already making the most of the record snowfall. Even some of my seemingly far-fetched ideas were not so out there. The snowfall brought any and every pursuit out of the woodwork, including those that don't work as well in the snow:

Snowmen, snow forts and snowballs, oh my! It's almost too easy to hearken back to being a kid and making all three of these after a big snowfall. But back then you probably didn't think about their metabolic benefits. DuPont Circle hosted a snowball fight initially promoted through Facebook and other social networking sites. The chasing, dodging and tossing immediately gets the blood rushing. Rolling snowballs--the bigger the better--works the legs and the arms, especially when you have to push your entire body into it to get it to move.

Snowboarding. I couldn't believe this picture from Rock Creek Park: Mason Calhoun took his snowboard out for a ride in the park. It might not be the best vertical, but what is when you're in the capital and usually have to go to West Virginia or Pennsylvania for decent skiing and riding?

Nordic tour through the city. I always joke that I'll cross-country ski or snowshoe to the grocery store if the roads are bad and I don't want to walk on the unshoveled and unsalted sidewalk. While Chicago hasn't had the snowfall to let me do it, someone did use his skis to reach the White House. Cross-country skiing is always reported as being one of the best cardio exercises available and can torch more than 500 calories per hour. It's not every day that you can click into your skis or strap on your snowshoes at your front door and go for a tour--forget driving to a park.

Snow running. OK, there's really nothing special to snow running, I'm just giving running a fancy name because of the conditions endured. A little snow usually doesn't stop runners from getting outside too move the legs, often quoting it beats the treadmill. But many might agree that 30 inches is just too much. Alas, not true for the lululemon running group at the Logan Circle location. They left at 10 a.m. for a fun run through the snow and made the running look easy. It doesn't even look like they have grippers like Yaktrax over the soles to prevent slippage on the snow.

Snow biking. I hope this name isn't trademarked for the activity popularized at ski resorts--a bike-like frame where the wheels are replaced with skis--since that's the only way I can describe
pedaling mountain bikes through the snow. A Facebook friend found two to six inches of hard pack on the streets and said it was "So. Much. Fun." His status is awesome: "Those of you in the DC area of the two-wheeled persuasion, if you haven't gotten out yet, go grab your fat-tire bike. You won't regret it." 'Nuf said. (Note: this was added Feb. 7 after the snow had settled.)

Almost forgot the other winter favorite: sledding. It might not offer as much exercise as running or biking but it's just as fun--or more with the snow flying up around you. And you still have to run up the hill after each run--instant workout.

Make the most of a snowstorm and get outside. Your body will thank you for it. Or you could trek to the store to pillage for food...with an hour and a half line at one Whole Foods, that's easily an adventure in itself. Photos grabbed from theqspeaks and Kurlylox1 at, Elyse Braner and Bruce Buckley. Posted by Kate

Friday, February 5, 2010

Fit-Event: Home's Not Too Bad This Winter Weekend

Sorry, folks, I've got Chicago on the brain on this one. I've got a husband on call this weekend, a friend skiing in Park City (I'm so jealous), my first Saturday of the year where I finally have a less hectic schedule that allows for more play time, and there's no snow to keep me busy outside with my snowshoes. With a snowstorm in the east, the Olympics in preparations in the west, the Super Bowl in the south, it's easy to say there are many milestones in the two days ahead. Here in Chicago one would think there isn't much going on for the weekend since these other geographic corners of the continent are garnering far more attention. But on the contrary, there are plenty of activities to keep the body moving without straying too far from home.

Cycle for Survival. Grab your cycling shoes and head to Equinox in the Loop for this fundraiser running from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 6. The fitness center will turn into spin central with 100 teams of up to eight people pedaling to raise money for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Center. When participants aren't riding, they can enjoy yoga, stretching and more (Berry Chill will be on hand to help refuel the cyclists, too). Read more details about the event here or make a donation at

CorePower Yoga. Throughout the year, CorePower Yoga offers targeted programs from teacher training to yoga bootcamp. While Boot Camp gets underway on Sunday, Feb. 7, the Gold Coast location is previewing its Live Lean program on Saturday, Feb. 6, at 10:30 a.m. The 10:30 a.m. slot is usually reserved for a yoga sculpt class, but instead of paying for yoga, you can check out the Live Lean program for free. But check the schedule online before you go--earlier in the week the LiveLean session was listed but five minutes ago, the class appears to have switched back to yoga sculpt. If that's the case, stay tuned for other freebie previews.

lululemon athletica. Yoga, and now running, reigns supreme at Lululemon, not only with the clothes offered but within the store's community. At the four stores in Chicago--900 N. Michigan, Rush and Walton, Bucktown, and Lincoln Park--there's plenty to do all weekend. Check the stores' calendars for details but know that you can join the running club at 900 N. Michigan on Saturday mornings, participate in community yoga on Sundays, a cardio class at Rush and Walton.

Rowfit. This indoor rowing and training studio just opened on February 1 and provides a place to train in the West Town area of the city, 1064 N. Milwaukee. If you've never rowed before, don't despair. Not only is it easy to learn, but it's a great exercise that works the entire body. It's hard to pass up attending at least once--the first class is free. Also, stay tuned for more information about this new facility in an upcoming post.

These are only a few highlights to keep you busy before the Super Bowl rolls around Sunday night. Check out REI and Fleet Feet for a few other options, or this calendar of events. Photo provided by Equinox and Cycle for Survival. Posted by Kate

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Be Your Own Biggest Loser

Photo by Alan Cleaver
You don't have to tip the scales at Biggest Loser capacity to participate in this competition. In fact, you don't even need to be overweight. Whether you've abandoned your fitness goals shortly after the New Year, succumbed to work pressure and non-sweating social activities, or know you need motivation to keep you on the workout wagon, you're a prime candidate for the Core Fitness $1,000 Winter Challenge.

Give yourself 12 weeks and pay Core Fitness Chicago $50 for boot camp-style group fitness training sessions, a personal consultation to create a workout plan, a Core Fitness T-shirt and celebrations as you receive plan milestones, and you'll receive one of the best value packages training has to offer. The only thing better, and less intrusive on the wallet, might be winning an audition to land a spot at the Biggest Loser ranch. Core Fitness challenges you to make a lifestyle transformation that in turn improves your physical well-being, and they'll provide the structure and support to help make these improvements.

Here's one detail you can't turn down: You could walk away with $1,000 if you stick to your guns and work out. Seriously. Core Fitness offers up a grand prize of $1,000 to the grand champion of the program. Those competing for the cash prize will be selected from the four who are named most improve female and male, and leanest female and male. The most improved prize goes to the participant who shows the most improvement while the leanest prize goes to the participant with the lowest body fat at the end of the challenge. And these four go home with prizes too: six weeks of small group training.

Sign up by February 6 to participate--you'll be training into April. Talk about a simple fix for looking good in a swimsuit before the sun and swelter arrive. Photo grabbed from Alan Cleaver at flickr. Posted by Kate


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