Monday, November 29, 2010

Cyber Monday Shopping Steals

Whether you already braved the stores for Black Friday or you've been holding out until after the

Whether you already shopped to your heart's--and your wallet's--content on Black Friday or your holiday shopping is just getting started now that the family's cleared out of town, you're not going to want to skip the biggest online shopping day of the year. How can you go wrong with shopping in your pajamas, not worrying about what time the stores open and close, not complaining about your aching feet from standing in line (plus no line to begin with), and zero distractions like bumping into your neighbor or fighting over the last must-have item (at least online you don't know if you're nabbing it from someone)? You really can't, especially if you already bought your gifts and now you need retail therapy for yourself. Not only is today Cyber Monday, the biggest online shopping day of the year, but you're also bound to find something for everyone on your list and with savings, too. Here are some of the deals I dug up:
  • Skirt Sports. Save up to 60 percent on select items like the Tri Tank or the Gym Girl Ultra. And if you spend more than $125, you'll get your gifts without spending a penny on shipping, otherwise it's a flat $7.95.
  • Need a new pair of running shoes to get you through the winter? Spend $100 or more on non-outlet items at this shoe site and you'll save $25 on your purchase if you enter the code CYBER at step 3 of checkout. Some brands and styles don't apply but you'll have to check the site for those details.
  • Under Armour. Brr, it's getting cold outside and you're stuck hunting for more layers to keep the frostbite and chill out on your runs. That's where Under Armour's ColdGear comes in handy: lots of options for tops, bottoms and base layers, and plenty of colors too. And now you can order with free shipping--but it ends today. Use the code UAGIFT when you check out to get the savings.
  • Injinji. Some people swear by these socks with individual toe holes, calling them the perfect running socks especially for when the mileage adds up. Score some of these blister blockers at their online store for 15 percent off today--no coupon needed either.
  • Time to restock that triathlon gear after using it all season long. You can save 20 percent today at by entering THANKS20 at checkout. And the good news is that even if you don't finish all your shopping today, the deal is still good tomorrow.
  • Want some swimsuits that total two or three for the regular price of one? That's what you'll find today at where savings are up to 80 percent off. So it's on the clearance rack, but you can search by style, color and brand and still score plenty of swim favorites.
  • Adidas. Whether you're running and training this winter or need to stock up on gear you destroyed over the last season, you'll save through tomorrow at Not only do you get free shipping, but you can also save 30 percent on clothing.
  • The North Face. La Nina is dumping snow in ski country already and if you're hoping to get out there sometime this winter and need some warm outerwear, you can find it online at The North Face. Forget the crowds or lack of selection at the retail store and score free shipping at the online one.
All these sales have me yearning for some online shopping before all the deals disappear. Goal: track down a Denali fleece for my dad and not pay full price. What deals have you uncovered for today?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Fit-Pic: Ironman Arizona Pre-Game

Another day, another Ironman. That's how it's starting to feel when talking about Sundays in November. First I tracked Ironman Florida, then last weekend's 70.3 World Championship and now Ironman Arizona (after I get back from my minute-in-comparison workout). And then next weekend, I'll no doubt be watching Ironman Cozumel. Wow, I really don't have anything exciting to do on cold Sundays, do I? But the difference between this weekend and the other three is that I have visuals from Tempe, site of Ironman Arizona, which is about to get underway. Call it good timing (or poor since it didn't involve a stay through race day with the option to register for 2011), but these Fit-Pics were taken less than 24 hours ago on-site as triathletes checked in their gear and made final preparations before arriving with their game faces on this morning.

Looking down at the event area with the bikes on the right near the water.

Got bike? Got gear? Here's a racer heading to athlete check-in.

Hopefully it doesn't rain, those transition bags could get pretty wet.

A few thousand are piling into Town Lake to tackle that 2.4-mile swim.

There sure are a lot of bikes!

For more pictures, check out this slideshow. Then follow along with all the action at

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Oprah's Fit Ultimate Favorite Things

Either Oprah Winfrey has dreams of working out when her show's final season wraps in a few months, or she recognizes sporty comfort when she sees it. And with the media mogul's stamp of approval, two active brands, Lululemon and Nike, are only going to become more popular now that they've made her final Ultimate Favorite Things list (her show is going bye-bye next year). Among the 22 items guests received at the taping of her annual Favorite Things episode (part one was revealed on Friday and more are in store come Monday) were Lululemon's Relaxed Fit pants and pairs of Nike Free Run+ shoes. Let's just say BIG, GIANT LIKE.

I already went ga-ga over the Nike Free shoes earlier this year--I caught myself doing it again the other night when my friend wore hers. Minimalist design to mimic barefoot running builds running strength with compromising comfort, support and traction. And when you can choose from a variety of colors, you're bound to find a color combination you like enjoy to wear the Frees on and off the running route. Why does Oprah like them? "It's the next best thing to being barefoot," she says.

Now my eyes can spot the Lululemon insignia from a mile away and I'm surrounded by it--I swear--every time I go to yoga. I might feel like the odd woman out in since my down-dog go-to's consist of Nike, Under Armour, Adidas and Moving Comfort, and my only Lulu pants have probably been out of style for at least two years--a never-in-the-yoga-studio pair I snagged on sale before Lululemon expanded to within walking distance of my house. I only wish that my closet could handle more of their items (sorry but at $98 a pop, my wallet has to take a pass--it's cringing) like those drawstring pants or the Scuba Hoodie. But I've got one question: why did she choose the the Relaxed Fit Pant over the Still Pant? Same price, same four-way stretch fabric that's a Lululemon signature, same appealing drawstring. Must be the back zipper pocket to safe-hold keys and ID and the waist design that can flatter any rear. With the option to roll it low or wear it high, depending on your best assets, these pants apparently provide the illusion of a smaller behind. And what's not to love about that? And Oprah thought so too, saying, "Anything that cuts your butt in half should be your favorite thing too!"

OK, OK, so I ogled over the cruise trip and the big screen TV--and my mouth watered at the sight of the mac and cheese--but to see these fitness finds among the big ticket items was a huge plus. And a bit of a surprise to follow a panini press, a pan of decadent brownies and that so-called best mac and cheese, items that can pack on the pounds instead of parting with them. But if Oprah likes them, they must be good. Right?

Photo courtesy of Nike.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Snow Deals All Day Long

It snowed 20 inches in Breckenridge last night. Park City said it was firing up its snow machines to prep for its opening. Alta has a 41-inch base and plans to open Friday. Vail and Whistler are set to open on Friday, too. With all this snow celebration in the air, it's obvious it's time to pull the skis and boards out of the closets, or plan that next snow country vacay.

But if you're looking at those shreds and noticing a few base gouges--or you forgot you needed new goggles this season--or you simply need an excuse to shop, you want to head over the SteepandCheap for its snow only sale. Known for providing goods at discounts of 50 percent or more (most of the time), it's turning up the winter heat and offering the best from its ski closet all day long. Score new powder skis, a new softshell, warmer gloves or non-scratched goggles--and that's just for starters. The site refreshes frequently with new items but that means you have to act fast to get what you want, or hope it comes around again.

Check it out at or download the app to your smartphone to get the latest on the deals.

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 11/12

Talk about someone who wishes she was out in ski country right now. That's totally how I'm feeling today knowing that Keystone opened last week, Brighton opened yesterday, and Solitude and Breckenridge opened today. It's getting cold again--no more Indian summer-like temps that left us wondering if winter really was on its way--and there's snow predicted for the weekend (not in Chicago thank goodness, but my in-laws are expecting seven inches in Minnesota) so it almost seems too fitting that I be in a locale where I can play outside instead of shiver. I know, I know, you're probably thinking what's wrong with the Windy City but that's another discussion of its own.

But being that the shorter days and cooler temps find me indoors far more frequently, it seems that I'm all about online reading. And here's the list of links that attracted my eyes this time around.
  • Team Julia or Team Lindsey? Mancuso v. Vonn? Oh dear, I just wrote something that only feeds the subject of this New York Times article.
  • Need a new push-up? Check out this warrior version from Fitsugar.
  • Forget training plans for runners, Runner's World has one for spectators that you'll want to get to your cheering section when you start training for your next race. Watching a marathon can be just as much of an endurance event as running one.
  • With Thanksgiving just around the corner, SELF takes a look at four ways you can boost your metabolism to get it running full force before the big feast. We know you don't want to loosen those belt buckles from now until the New Year.
  • It sounds too good to be true: tours that double-up as workouts. Ah, yes, that's what Well and Good NYC found with City Running Tours. Lace up those sneaks to discover that new locale.
Have a link you'd like us to check out? Share it below in the comments. In the meantime, enjoy that weekend ahead!

Photo grabbed from SCA Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget at flickr.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Chicago Goes to New York

The Windy City's marquee race wasn't even a month ago, but Chicagoans who were either shut out of running on 10-10-10 in their hometown or wanted to run a fall 26.2 miler in a different state and on a different famed course took to the streets of New York City and its five boroughs on Sunday. Marking its 41st running--the first NYC Marathon was run in 1970 and cost $1--the Big Apple's fall classic didn't disappoint especially for any runner seeking cooler running temps, a lively crowd and a star-studded field.

The Land of Lincoln wasn't short of representation at this infamous race, and 511 finishers claimed Illinois as their state of residence among the results. And being that I'm located in the Land of Lincoln and tend to follow its runners (call me a race stalker since I recognize some of their names from Chicago races), I couldn't help but check the New York reports. And share a few of those race stories.

Take Dr. Brooke Jackson, a Chicagoan who was featured on banners across the city as part of the 10-10-10: The Date to Motivate campaign for the 33rd Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and her husband James Lackland. Both ran on Sunday with Jackson rectifying her Chicago experience across the streets of New York and bettering her time by 30 minutes.

Or Irina Reutovich who left New York with some bling--the 60-year-old Russian (according to race results) took third place in her age group with a 3:44:57.

Brian Grudowski can call himself the fastest Illinois male NYC Marathon finisher, running a 2:29:20 to finish 43rd overall. Meanwhile Elena Shemyakina, 51, claims the honor for the women, finishing third in her age group with a 3:08:49.

Tatyana McFadden races out of the University of Ilinois but she's among the wheeling leaders, not the running ones. And this year, she was the fastest wheelchair racer among the women, covering the course in 2:02:22. This wasn't the first time McFadden could claim victory...she won the 2009 Chicago Marathon and finished third in 2010.

At first I thought Matthew Ancona had a bad day out there, feeling the effects of racing the Ironman World Championship last month to turn in a 3:55 race. You'll usually find his name at the top of the race results--he won the Magellan Spring Half Marathon in Chicago back in May--not in the middle. But not so, at least if past NYC Marathons are any indication. In 2009, Ancona paced the four-hour group (the picture at left was snagged from Facebook), and my instinct tells me that he probably returned to do it again. How could you not want to run in New York for fun?

But not everyone had a good day out there. I really can't say who--as I pointed fingers at myself last month in Chicago--yet it's bound to happen over the course of 26.2 miles and 40,000-some runners. Does it really matter though? Sometimes it's all about crossing the finish line or helping someone else reach their time goal.

For more results from the 2010 New York City Marathon and to search for your friends and family running, click here. Do you have a race day story to share or a blog where you posted a race report? I'd love to read it!

Photo grabbed from puddy_uk at flickr.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Who's Getting Kicked Off The Biggest Loser?

If you've seen the previews on NBC, then you're familiar with tonight's live reveal of the Biggest Loser contestant who will be sent home at the end of the evening's episode. Trainer Bob Harper will be at said contestant's home to see what he/she looks like at the present day and how much weight he/she has lost since leaving the show.

I'm not trying to spoil any of the excitement, but I'm wondering who it is, especially since I happened to look up to the television (busy computer eyes) as Bob flashed a childhood photo of the contestant. My vote goes to Jesse. Here's the rationale:
  • The photo looked a little like him.
  • The climate appeared a little chilly but not as chilly as the temperatures I've heard about on the east coast like Massachusetts where Elizabeth and Brendan are from.
  • Jesse's bio says he's from St. Paul, which would cater to my weather assumption. 
  • I swear I saw Bob tweet that he was in Wausau, Wis., within the last few days. At first I wondered why and now I think Jesse is the answer.
  • Jesse even thought that he was being paired with Aaron because he's a big threat, suggesting that he thought he could get kicked off. 
Only minutes will tell. Are you tuning in? Follow the action via Twitter with the Fit Bottomed Girls!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Read This New York Race Report

I've never run the New York Marathon. I'm from New York--born and raised until I was seven and my parents uprooted my sister and I to Michigan--and love all too many things about it like the bagels, the pizza, the hot dog stands, the Yankees. But it's still one marathon that I've only been able to appreciate from afar--or live through the stories of others, like this one.

Take 2008 when Fit-Ink was still in its planning stages but Liz and I swapped race battle at Ironman Wisconsin and then Chicago (yes I did that funky double then, too), her at New York, and then me again at December's California International Marathon. We were both secretly on the quest for Boston Marathon berths--she got hers while I fell short. And well, I looked for every hint of race advice I could get for the December race since it'd be my last chance to join the 2009 Boston ranks.

Nothing was different in 2009--or 2010. When I wasn't running, I was reading others' tales, and when I was running, I'd scour the internet for experiences like my own. Like Sonja Wieck. Or Slater Fletcher. Or Weight In Vain. Or Adrienne Hengels. Or MJ the Ironman (MJ Slikas). Or Bree Wee. That's just internet cookies and random clicks kept my eyes busy.

But here's one recent race report (it's only maybe hours old) about the New York City Marathon that I was loving. Not because of who wrote it--my The Bachelor obsession, Dr. Andy Baldwin--but because it only solidifies my yen for marathon and testing my legs across New York's five boroughs. I'd trade the Windy City for the Big Apple any day to see those sleeping bags and herds gathered at the start on Staten Island, to listen to the crowds at the Central Park finish line, to spot celebrities like Trista and Ryan Sutter or Anthony Edwards, to hear the music playing through each neighborhood and engrave it to memory, to smell the familiar scents from the street carts and wish I could chow down, too.

Everyone's calling today Marathon Monday Mania, registering for their shot at admittance to the 2011 race--don't forget the lottery opened at noon--and parading their 2010 finisher medals around town. Call it the unseasonably warm weather we're having in Chicago, but I can see why. And no, I'm not talking about the chance to freely run with Yankees garb and avoid getting booed out of town. Chicago's full of medals and those limpers on Columbus Day, traditionally the day after the race, but minus the clamor for lottery slots. One thing is for sure: regardless of what marathon you run or watch, the day after leaves you wishing you could do it again or do your first. Did you register for a lottery spot or do you think you can gain guaranteed entrance with your speedy legs?

Photo grabbed from the NYC Marathon.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Star Studded Marathon Results

The finish line is torn down, the runners are resting their well-traveled feet, the medals are being worn around the necks of thousands all across New York City and probably the entire tri-state area. Race day still lingers on for more than a few hours--til the clock reaches midnight and November 8--but the ING New York City Marathon has its champions--Gebre Gebremariam and Edna Kiplagat--and its finishers, plus all the wannabes who'll be registering for lottery come tomorrow. But in the meantime, here's how some of those famous feet--from the celebrity runners--fared through New York's five boroughs to finish in Central Park.
  • Al Roker. He may have doubted himself at one point, but Roker proved that anything's possible. He crossed the finish line with a time of 7:09:44.
  • Meredith Vieira. She may have kept her marathon goals under wrap until days before the race--or at least to my ears, who only heard the news on Friday morning and is usually a pretty avid Today Show follower--but it wasn't so she could bow out gracefully from the competition. We'll see how Vieira manages tomorrow on The Today Show and how much she ribs Al for beating him. Just like Natalie Morales bested Hoda Kotb at last year's "Today Show Does a Triathlon," Vieira topped Roker with a 5:59:00. You go, girl!
  • Jared Fogle. My husband doubted Subway Jared's ability to run the marathon at more than a walk or shuffle after catching a commercial with Meb and Jared running where Meb looked like he was barely moving and Jared was ready to keel over. But he was eating his words when I checked the marathon results to find that Jared finished in 5:13:28.
  • Desiree Ficker. One would have expected Ficker toeing the line at Ironman Florida over the New York Marathon--or I did, recognizing her name as a triathlete before marathoner--but she returned to New York for the second year in a row. The only unfortunate part was she didn't have quite the day she was looking for, finishing with a 2:52:30, instead of the 2:39:30 she ran last year.
  • Andy Baldwin. Here's a reality TV who can run--and fundraise for a cause (not knocking anyone else out there at all but merely pointing out Baldwin's efforts). Baldwin was spreading the word on Orange Laces, the ING Run for Something Better program that's trying to fight childhood obesity. And after running Chicago not even a month ago, he turned out a 3:31:48.
  • Haile Gebrselassie. Even if you're not a marathoner you've probably heard of Haile, perhaps expecting a win and a world record, or at least a blistering half on the front or back ends. But the shocker came when he dropped out at mile 16--and then his announced his retirement. I guess you could say he was using the race as a way to say good-bye to the sport and turn a bum knee into a more eye-catching headline? Nah, the tears say it all...he wanted to go out with a better bang.
  • Shalane Flanagan. Making her marathon debut and recovering from a slow 6:51 mile, she still managed to take second place, finishing just 20 seconds behind the winner with her 2:28:40. Stay tuned for more on Flanagan--I was trying to write it earlier but kept getting booted off the internet (had to be honest there).
  • Meb Keflezighi. OK, so I became obsessed (only mildly, I swear) with this runner after reading his feature in Runner's World a few years back and was so elated over his 2009 marathon win, despite what all those Meb haters said about him not being a true American. But try as he might, he couldn't repeat today, finishing with 2:11:38 to take sixth place. If it counts for anything he did finish first among 35-year-olds.
  • Ryan Sutter and Ethan Zohn. These two reality stars--Sutter from The Bachelorette and Zohn from Survivor--had a friendly battle going to see who could run faster to earn bragging rights and more money for their charities. Sutter took home the title with his 3:20:39, over Zohn's 4:16:20. But Zohn could argue that Sutter had an unfair advantage with some Rocky Mountain altitude training--and the fact that a year ago he couldn't compete because he was undergoing cancer treatments.
  • Robin Quivers. Howard Stern's sidekick would have been a unlikely marathon runner before losing 80 pounds. But she went from barely able to walk to running 26.2 in 6:09:00.
  • Amani Toomer. This former New York Giants football player became the first footballer to run the NYC Marathon in 17 years (who is the last NFL player to do so? I'm going to get my research guns out for that trivia bit). He trained for five months with Team Timex and Facebook pictures showed him starting dead last. But he passed a lot of feet to finish with a 4:13:45.
  • Edison Pena. So we all know the story of the Chilean miner who trained roughly six miles a day (give or take) while trapped underground. His persistence paid off and he crossed the finish line in 5:40:51.
  • Anthony Edwards. I always forget that this former ER star and Top Gun sidekick is a marathon runner. Edwards is almost becoming a regular on the marathon course, he ran last year and ran Chicago's race in 2003. This time around he ran a 4:04:45.
For more results from today's race, check them out here at the ING New York City Marathon website.

Photo grabbed from the ING New York City Marathon celebrity section, capturing Ethan Zohn starting his race alongside one of Sutter's First Descents teammates.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Big Apple's Marathon Stars

Meb Keflezighi 2009 London MarathonIt runs through five boroughs, including two islands and two bridges, with a finish line in one of the most spectacular spots in the Big Apple. It welcomes at least 45,000 runners and has held the honor of being the U.S. marathon with the most finishers in recent years--with 43,660 finishers in 2009, it has the most finishers ever in a marathon. And as it celebrates it's 40th anniversary this year, the ING New York City Marathon is pulling out all the stops with a star-studded field.

I would have said this months ago when the race announced that Meb Keflezighi and Deena Kastor would be two elite front runners come November...Keflezighi to defend his title and Kastor to shoot for her first NYC win. But I still have to stand by the assertion months later, even with Kastor pulling out after announcing her pregnancy. Why? Because not only are there a handful of famous names and faces toeing the line, but there are also some famous running faces embracing the "city that never sleeps" as the calendar to race day counts down.

For starters, Ryan Hall and Deena Kastor can be found at the marathon expo. These two may not be running much lately--between Hall first dropping out of Chicago, then dropping his coach Terence Mahon, and Kastor due in a few months-but they're out to support the runners. And so is Josh Cox, a Meb training buddy in Mammoth (check out this funny video from last winter) and close friends with former The Bachelor Andy Baldwin.

As for those toeing the line on Sunday, November 7, here are a few of the recognizable names among the 45,000 or so expected runners.
  • Al Roker. This Today Show weatherman alluded to running his first marathon earlier this year but made his goal sound like more of a pipe dream than a reality. He's already notched a half marathon, completing August's Rock 'n' Roll Chicago, and his somewhat slimmer shape only further indicates that he's ready to chug through 26.2.
  • Meredith Vieira. Maybe the Today Show likes running races in pairs? Hoda and Natalie did their first triathlon together last summer, and now it's Al and Meredith's turn. She predicted a 6-hour finish--or thereabouts--on Friday's show.
  • Andy Baldwin. This Bachelor ran the Comrades Marathon in May--a 56-mile trek across South Africa--and now will be taking to the streets of New York.
  • Shalane Flanagan. The last time an American woman won the NYC Marathon was 1977. And while Flanagan may be making her marathon debut on Sunday--following in the footsteps of Deena Kastor and Kara Goucher--many are thinking she could break the drought and become the top American marathoner.
  • Desiree Ficker. I keep thinking of Ficker as the dark horse in this competiton. Because she's more known among the Ironman circuit--she finished second to Michellie Jones in Kona in 2006--but even more so because her running strength helped her achieve that runner-up slot. I can only imagine how fast her legs could potentially go when she doesn't have a 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike ride before the marathon.
  • Subway Jared. Is the famous sandwich-dieter now adding the same flair to marathoning? Maybe so as Jared Fogle takes on New York's 26.2 in hopes of inspiring others to get off the couch and get running--no matter the speed.
  • Ethan Zohn and Ryan Sutter. You remember Sutter from The Bachelorette and Zohn from Survivor, but these two are more than reality TV stars. They're friends...but at this race they're friends racing within the race to see who can best whom to earn more money for their charities.
  • Edison Pena. He's the Chilean miner who's also a marathoner and has been making the headlines since the 32 miners were rescued from the mine. Pena kept up with his training while underground, just a little modified.
  • Haile Gebrselassie. Possibly the best part about Sunday's race will be the showdown between this speedster and defending champion Meb. It's been labeled Geb versus Meb and rightly so...these two could go stride from stride all the way to Central Park.
Know someone who's running and needs to make this list? Will you be watching or following on Sunday? Check for more details and be sure to tune in Sunday.

Photo by Julian Mason from London, UK (Crop of London Marathon 26.04.09 (3)) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


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