Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 9/30

I know this is supposed to be more of a daily collection of links, but I have to go with calling this one the week of the run. As if cooler weather (in this neck of the woods anyway) didn't already have me forgoing triathlon thoughts--yes, I know I have to to finish that darn Ironman race report--and focusing more on running, this week has been almost too full of running-related headlines to preoccupy my mind.

Unsure of what news I'm talking about? Here's the running news that dizzied my eyes since Sunday.
  • My late-night browsing spotted the release that Kara and Adam Goucher's baby, Colton Mirko, arrived on Saturday. Then Kara posted Colt's baby pictures on her blog. So cute!
  • Joan Benoit Samuelson announced that she'll be running the Chicago Marathon on Sunday, October 10. Samuelson won the gold medal in the women's marathon at the 1984 Olympics and has some high goals for herself in a week and a half: to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Trials at age 53, and break her American record for the 50-54 age group. She's also celebrating the 25th anniversary of her 1985 Chicago Marathon victory where she set the course and American records and finished just 13 seconds shy of the world record.
  • As if Joanie's news wasn't enough, another runner will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of his 1985 Chicago Marathon win by racing. Steve Jones, who also won in 1984 in world-record fashion, returned to defend his title and reclaim his world record. He missed by one second but had a course record that still stands as the British marathon record.
  • Rather than hear about more runners entering the race, we then heard about one major runner dropping out. Ryan Hall had his eyes set on excelling in Chicago with the potential to break the American record and notch a personal best. But between fatigue and a lackluster performance at the Rock 'N' Roll Philadelphia Half, Hall put his Chicago dreams on hold, postponing until he's prepared and ready to race his best.
  • With a September 29 due date, congratulatory remarks appeared online for Paula Radcliffe, whose son Raphael arrived right on time. He joins big sister Isla (3) to the Radcliffe clan. With birthdays so close, can we expect Raphael and Colt to be as close of friends as Radcliffe and Goucher?
  • I'm hooked on the latest running-related articles at Master the Shift. It's not hard to grab my interest, but there are too many good topics on the site right now. Check out Ryan Hall's September 27 entry about his taper activities. Or read Rita Klabacha's tips to avoid the all-too-common taper weight gain from September 29.
  • And for one more bit of news on the Chicago Marathon: Even without Ryan Hall's participation, the race promises one heck of a fast field come race day. Sammy Wanjiru is back to defend his 2009 Chicago Marathon title, but he'll be challenged by Deriba Merga, 2009 Boston Marathon winner; Feyisa Lilesa, whose best is 2:05:23; Robert Kiprono Cheruiyot, Boston Marathon champion; and Tsegaye Kebede, London Marathon champion. For the women, Liliya Shobukhova is back to defend her title. But she's going to be challenged by Irina Mikitenko, London and Berlin Marathon champion, fast American Magdalena Lewy-Boulet, Astede Baysa who's won Paris twice, Askale Tafa Magarsa who finished second at the 2008 Berlin Marathon, and Mamitu Daksa who won the 2010 Dubai Marathon.
I know I have running on the brain between reading these and planning for a marathon-related event tonight. It's just too bad I can't get my feet to pound the pavement as often as my eyes read about running.

Photo grabbed from Bowdoin Athletics.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Oh No, Say It Ain't So

Ryan Hall's not running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon? My first thought: No, it can't be true. But the truth: It is. Hall decided that 10-10-10 was not his day to try to break the American marathon record.

I thought I was seeing things when I was scrolling through my Facebook feed last night. I was tired, it was late, and I was distracted as I tried to eat, read, talk to my husband and listen to the Terry Fox story on ESPN. But my eyes weren't deceiving me on the information shared by Runner's World and local multisport store Running Away. The Chicago Marathon event office released a statement from Ryan Hall, detailing his reasons for dropping Chicago from his schedule, and it hit my inbox this morning.

So why'd he do it? Like any runner training for a marathon, the poor guy is tired. He ran the Philadelphia Half Marathon on September 19, but instead of leading the pack to the finish line as he did last year, he finished 13th (according to results), two minutes off the time that won it for him and nearly four minutes off his record at that distance. After the race, he had a week of what he called sub-par efforts and decided fatigue was the culprit and could keep him from accomplishing his goals in Chicago.

"I have made the very difficult decision to withdraw from the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon," Hall says. "Perhaps I was a bit too eager to capitalize on the lightning fast course, atmosphere and history of the event in my race preparations, causing me to over-train and suffer from perpetual fatigue."

While this is definitely not news I wanted to read, especially because have a fast phenom on the course race-day inspires me just a little more to do my best, it's easy to tell that Hall thought long and hard about his decision. And that he's totally in tune with his body and what it can and can't handle, something I know I've lacked more than once (I'm not even going to begin telling those stories here).

But don't think that Hall won't be coming to Chicago for race weekend. He might not be racing, but he'll still be here to support his Hall Steps Foundation and other charities. Keep your eyes peeled for Hall sights, just not on the race course.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rise to Chicago's Tallest Wonder

If you live in the city, namely Chicago, chances are you either fall into one of three categories when describing your home to work--and back again--transition. Choice one: You live and work in a high-rise, but you'll skip the steps and hop in the elevator. Choice two: You're not complaining but you use the stairs--and a lot of them--day in and day out to go to and from home and to and from work. Choice three: You're not a stair lover or hater, but you climb them regularly, and opt for the elevator just as often.

Identify with choices two or three? You're off the hook--you're a routine stair climber. Identify with choice one? Keep reading for details on an event you can't mimic during your daily commute to your desk (that includes me, a work-from-homer). But it's one of those workouts your body will thank you for afterward.

Legs: meet the stair climb. Specifically, meet SkyRise Chicago, the stair climbing event that takes you to the top of the tallest building in the United States, the Willis Tower, formerly known--and still called by some of us Chicagoans--the Sears Tower. On November 14, you'll ascend the 103 floors of the tower and climb its 2,109 steps to go from the ground level up to a breathtaking finish line at the Skydeck Chicago. This iconic landmark, or maybe I should say 'airmark' since it's 1,353 feet up into the sky--one that attracts tourists and locals alike--boasts panoramic views of the city, even four states if it's a clear day. Or check out The Ledge, a new attraction with glass boxes that jut out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck where many a visitor has snapped a photo. I can only imagine the views are as good or better than those seen from the John Hancock Observatory after climbing to the top at February's Hustle Up the Hancock. Yes, it's sad but true: this Chicagoan has only run by Willis and never inside.

And have no fear if you're doubting your abilities to climb to the top--bad knees, arthritis, ankles and the like--or physically cannot do it. You can still participate with a second option that's unique to SkyRise Chicago--using a hand-cycle that's mathematically calibrated to match the distance and resistance to ascend the 103 floors.

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago hosts this second-year event which starts at 7 a.m. and runs until approximately 12 p.m. Proceeds benefit RIC and its world-class rehabilitation care and cutting-edge research. In the event's first year, it saw 1,800 participants and raised more than $650,000 for RIC.

Interested in participating this year? Registration costs $50 and all participants are also required to raise at least $100 in addition to the registration fee. But you only have until October 20 to get signed up--that's the date by which all participants need to be pre-registered. Click here to register at

Video grabbed from AbilityRIC on Footage is from the 2009 event.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

It's a Boy! Kara and Adam Goucher have their baby

And baby makes three for elite runners Adam and Kara Goucher (one of our Fit-Ink faves). Kara gave birth to a boy early in the day on Saturday, September 25. Talk about a surprise find for me--thank you, insomnia--especially considering I was still engrossed by last Monday's Runner's World interview with Kara and Paula Radcliffe, and considering her due date was September 29. I should know better that a fast runner would more than likely have an early delivery...and two running parents would more than likely breed a little speed-racer.

The New York Road Runners were the first to tweet the news, which was in turn spotted by Runner's World and announced on their Facebook page. But it was the Duluth New Tribune, the paper in Kara's hometown, that had all the news. According to this article, the Gouchers named their son Colton Mirko, the middle name after Kara's late father, and the little Colton weighed in at seven pounds, one ounce and measured 19.5 inches. 

Here's a little recap on how we've followed Kara's pregnancy--or tried. Baby news didn't break until she was already far enough along to be showing a baby bump and knew the baby's sex. Back in early May, it was announced that both Goucher and Radcliffe were due on September 29. In June, the two made appearances and ran the New York Mini 10K, and then Goucher spoke at Grandma's Marathon in Duluth, Minn. But news on these two stayed pretty low-key during the rest of the summer, especially after Deena Kastor announced her pregnancy. That is, of course, until early last week when Runner's World released that video interview. But did I really think the baby would arrive four days early? No way!

Congrats to the new family! Do you think it's safe to say there might be an Olympic hopeful in that household? And who guessed the baby would arrive on the 25th?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fit-Pic: Faster Delivery to Fresh Powder

If you needed proof--beyond words and reports, that is--that you'd have faster access to some of Vail Mountain's Back Bowls when the snow falls this season, here it is. On Friday, a crew was busy at work on Vail's back side to install the 20 towers by helicopter, replacing the old High Noon lift--a fixed-grip triple that had a ride time close to 15 minutes long--with a high-speed quad come the 2010-11 season.

With the new lift calculated to carrying 70 percent more riders per hour in almost half the time, you might be more willing to venture into the Sun Up and Sun Down bowls and stay for more than one run. I know I will be, especially on the chillier days when the last thing I want to do is freeze on a chair lift or the powder days when I only want to rip through the powder. And I know I've definitely found some good stashes back in those bowls, but hate the line that I have to wait in at the bottom when the rest of the powder hounds decide that's the place to be, too. At least we all spread out once we hit the slopes on runs like Forever, Wow, Apres Vous, Windows and Cow's Face. Before we paid the price for the pristine powder and sun-soaked bumps with a long recovery time on the lift. Not anymore.

Want to read more about the installation? Click here. Photo courtesy of Vail Resorts and Cody Downard.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Seven Ways to Stay Sporty on the Autumnal Equinox

With temperatures topping 80 degrees yesterday, you can't exactly say that fall is in the air. But tonight at 10:09 p.m., it is the official end of summer and start of the autumnal equinox. With school in full swing, the leaves changing colors, the nights growing longer and the days shorter, and the temperatures cooling (eventually), it doesn't necessarily mean that you have to batten down the hatches and go into hibernation until the mercury heats up instead of cools down. Here's a list of ways to stay active on the first day of fall:
  1. Open water swimming. The Chicago Park District may say that the beaches are closed--and I'm definitely not condoning any unfavorable, frowned-upon behavior--but there are still chances to hop into Lake Michigan before the whitecaps, chilly temps and icy shards arrive. Open Water Chicago is still swimming in the lake at the spot they call L1, the orange ladder close to the Lakefront Path's curve between North Avenue Beach and Oak Street Beach, and reporting some pristine lake conditions. While you may want to tote a wetsuit along to brave the 64 degree waters (as reported earlier today), you won't be sorry you felt a chill after swimming in what looks almost as still as a mirror. That's my kinda morning.
  2. Masters swimming. OK, so the weather's not exactly inducing a craving for outdoor pursuits (gray, a little gloomy and not too warm), but as I mentioned earlier, that doesn't mean you have to sit on your couch in front of the TV. Hop in the pool instead and go for a structured workout with like-minded fishes of the sea at one of the Masters groups around the city. You can sign up to swim with Max Multisport at Northside College Preparatory School and Northeastern Illinois University, Vision Quest and Well Fit at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and the Chicago Blue Dolphins at UIC or Moody Bible Institute. That's not even counting the Masters programs available at many fitness centers across the city, making it almost too hard to avoid getting wet.
  3. Running. Sure, it's the obvious sport to pursue regardless of the weather and conditions because you can run pretty much anywhere as long as you bring your gear. But in the summer, your run workout is most often dictated the temperatures outside. How many of you skipped a run because it got too darn hot too darn fast on those 90 degree days? Or shortened it because the heat was just too much to endure during a 10, 13 or 15-plus miler? Unless you encounter an Indian Summer day, you can forget about timing your run to tolerate the temperatures. Or you may even find yourself waiting to run in the middle of the day because it's warmer and you don't have to worry about layering.
  4. Race time. Following along with the running theme comes the need for speed. Around Chicago, you'll rarely find a weekend where there isn't at least one running race taking place. While you won't be able to check your run time against the clock tonight, you can hold off until tomorrow night's Strike Out ALS 5K at U.S. Cellular Field or Saturday's Park Ridge Charity Classic, deemed to be a fast footrace. And keep checking the calendar...there are plenty of races of all distances as fall stretches on.
  5. Cycling. The marathoners are tapering, the kids are in school, the beach traffic is at a minimum. That only means one's the time to take your two-wheeler out for some miles on the Lakefront and squeeze them in before the ice hits. Tonight would be a perfect night for a pedal too, with volleyball matches filling the sand, ideal temperatures and weather that promises to perk up before the sun sets.
  6. Cyclocross. Obstacles, mud, crazy terrain. That's just some of what you'll encounter on a cyclocross course, a sport that can be described as a hybrid of mountain biking, road biking and steeplechase. And tonight you can join Mox Multisport at 5:45 p.m. for cyclocross practice. The catch? You have to arrive on time or you'll miss the secret location the group will be visiting.
  7. Kayaking. The water might be a little chilly for swimming--if you don't have a wetsuit--but that doesn't mean you have to stay off the lake or beg your boat-owning friend for a cruise. Sign up for one of the many kayak tours offered by Kayak Chicago. Tonight you'll find their weekly Wednesday paddle--a good bet for enjoying the Navy Pier fireworks, just not tonight when you enjoy a city lights tour that coincides with the harvest moon. And keep in mind that they paddle into October with a number of tours so there are plenty of fall days to head onto the river and lake--and work your core at the same time.
Not that you want to hear about how much I dislike fall--even with my constant marathon running, I can't come around on this changing time and parting with summer--but I'm hoping to convince myself that losing summer isn't necessarily a bad thing. And reminding myself to get out and attempt to enjoy the season before I'm really stuck indoors during the Chicago winter. It's working...a little. But I'm still counting the days until a ski country escape (Keystone opens November 5!)--hey, it keeps me sane in winter--and a mid-October escapade to San Diego, which reminds me not to pack away summer even if everyone else is pulling out their fleeces and Uggs.

Photo grabbed from Mal B at flickr.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 9/21

Yikes on tomorrow marking the official start to the autumnal equinox, even if the temperatures don't 100 percent match the fact that fall is on the horizon. I'd like to say the sites that caught my eye for The Daily Feed pays homage to summer, but unfortunately there's no rhyme or reason to what you'll find below. Just some reads that fired me up--enough to want to share.
  • You know Mike Reilly as the Voice of Ironman. But at LAVA magazine's site, he's not writing about his Ironman personality, but that of the two most recent races in Wisconsin and Louisville. For this Wisconsin finisher who's considered racing Louisville in the future, it was all too interesting of a comparison.
  • How many times do we have to remind you that we're obsessed with Kara Goucher? Hopefully none since we're all too quick to find out her latest news. This time Runner's World sat down with Goucher and Paula Radcliffe, who are about to give birth any day now, to talk pregnancy and running. You have to watch this video, especially if you're hoping to keep up with your exercise routine while pregnant.
  • You don't have to be a fan of fall to appreciate this seasonal welcome on Heavenly Mountain Resort's blog. You just have to be looking forward to the skiing and snowboarding season that's quickly approaching.
  • The Biggest Loser's new season premiered tonight and that also marks the return of one of my favorite BL competitors. Not on TV but online--check out Tara Costa's first entry to her Biggest Loser blog
Are there any reads that have caught your interest today? Do share!

The Biggest Loser is Back!

Whether it feels like just yesterday or ages ago that Michael was stepping atop the Biggest Loser scale to be crowned the season 9 winner, another season of the hit weight-loss show kicks off tonight on NBC. Bob, Jillian and Alison Sweeney are back for the 10th Biggest Loser season, along with 21 overweight Americans vying for a spot on the ranch and the chance to change their lives.

But in Biggest Loser fashion, there's a twist. Tonight's premiere is not just about those 21 individuals but it is meant to inspire and encourage neighbors from the contestants' hometowns to participate off the ranch. I'm foreseeing a challenge that brings some of these hometown Losers to the ranch later in the season--looks like I'm right too, according to That's Fit. I wouldn't place any bets on my guesses though as I've been known to choose the wrong overall loser--and winner of $250,000--more than once. For example, I never expected Helen to take the title over Tara (season 7) or Danny to best Rudy (season 8). And while I knew Michael could easily win last season, I never thought the contestants would keep him over kicking him to the curb as a threat.

It's safe to say that I haven't watched enough NBC this summer to catch any previews of the season, but nevertheless it's one I'll inevitably become attached to (it's happened since season 2) for the stories, the endurance challenges, the voting and everything else that unfolds. Will there be a marathon to run or a triathlon? Will they cycle round the clock or complete a half marathon halfway through? And more importantly for tonight, how are the ranch contestants finalized beyond the season's Pay It Forward theme that sent Bob and Jillian to seven cities across the nation?  I know part of the answer to that one--Biggest Loser meets American Idol in terms of a selected city search that stopped in Detroit, Atlanta, Portland, Oklahoma City, Boston, Los Angeles and Phoenix and made BL wannabes compete in a 500-step contest and one-mile race. And like American Idol, these cities must have been filled with folks bearing local and out-of-state licenses or why else would you not see a Detroiter or a Phoenician among the competition?

You will however find an "unhealthy" mix of people from some of the country's fattest metro areas as deemed by Men's Health earlier this year. And a few who could be considered the ones dragging down their "super-fit" city. Take Oklahoma City, Okla., which received a D, and Tulsa, Okla., which received a D+ among the rankings, and you'll find two competitors from the surrounding area, Allie and Lisa. Or D- Houston has competitor Montina among its residents. Or there are the C- grades for Anchorage, Alaska, Jackson, Miss., and Newark, N.J., the Cs for Boston and select cities in California, and another handful of racers hailing from those states. But then you have the anomalies, the ones practically dragging down the fit aspects in some of the cities receiving top fit-factor grades. While San Francisco receives an A+ as a fit city, the Biggest Loser's Ada hails from San Jose--close enough for this comparison, plus San Jose received a B. The Twin Cities both come in with B+ grades, yet Jesse tips the scales in a staggering hefty direction. And then you'll find competitors who reside near Salt Lake City (B+), Portland, Ore. (A-), and Washington, D.C. (A-).

Who do you think is going to take it all? Make your assessment after watching tonight at 8 p.m., 7 p.m. central time.

Photo grabbed from

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fit-Pic: Inline Skating, Alive and Kicking

I'm not trying to offend anyone with the title of this picture. And please ignore the far from spectacular imagery. It's just that I remember one-time reading and/or hearing somewhere along the lines that inline skating was a fast-fading sport, at least on a general fitness level around home. And to be honest, I even believed it for a time too. Roller skates were back for roller derby. The summer inline rink at North Avenue Beach wasn't as hopping as I remembered it in years past (or I was missing the action). And the Lakefront skaters that made me cringe at my decision to take my bike or my running legs onto to the path when the leisure users were already out and about--causing me to swerve around the skating legs that left me thinking I could get kicked at any unexpected moment. Instead I'd see them cruising at night, in the dark, late evening hours when the police cars and random wanderers cruise the path more frequently than the runners and cyclists.

But today's Mad Dash to Madison race, a 10K skate and 5K run, definitely pushed those extinction thoughts out of my mind. Especially after I woke up and realized the inline skate at a hockey-focused race made total sense: ice skating, inline skating, inline skaters like Chad Hedrick picking up speed skating to win Olympic gold. And there were plenty of Chicagoans lacing up their skates for the 10K. Those donning full-on uniforms for Team Rainbo and other teams who made the skating look easy and fast (something I could never do), leisure skaters like those pictured above, and others who looked like they hadn't worn inline skates in a long time--or ever. Even so, it was finally a race where the skates were welcomed and not banned, and with relatively smooth roads to skate on, too.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Media Mayhem at Blackhawks 5K

Chicago is all about its sports, whether it be baseball, basketball, football or hockey, and the city gets even more into them during a championship year. Or so I've noticed after living here going on eight years (yikes, that makes me feel really old!). I remember pictures of the Bulls championships plastered across the newspapers and the parades. When the White Sox won the World Series, it's almost safe to say that most of the city played hooky from work, school and other obligations to line the streets downtown. And while I never got into following the Blackhawks' Stanley Cup win a few months ago, the pictures from that post-win parade made the turnout appear even larger than who cheered for the Sox, not to mention a Michigan Avenue shut down over a State Street one.

Whether you're a hockey fan, a die-hard Blackhawks' follower, or just a runner looking for a local 5K to log on a Saturday morning, tomorrow you'll want to be at the United Center for the Mad Dash to Madison, a 5K run/walk and 10K skate that kicks off the Chicago Blackhawks Training Camp Festival and benefits the Blackhawks. But if you aren't already signed up, the only way you'll get to participate in this event is from the sidelines. My best guess is that the Stanley Cup win popularized this event even more than the notoriety it already had.

And I guess you could say that's part of the reason for why I'm checking out this 5K--to share in a part of Blackhawks' history after missing the big ticket earlier in the year--plus the invitation to be a part of a team with many more Chicago media, especially some famous names and faces like Amy Freeze, John Garcia, Anthony Ponce, Dina Bair, Billy Dec and Jimmy Greenfield. While most would say they're there to run, walk, or finish their first or fastest 5K, that's certainly not the case for me. I'm going for experience only, not so much caring about the clock--a vast difference from my usual race-day outlook. But I'm not even a week out from completing an Ironman, and one where I struggled on the run like you wouldn't believe (darn leg spasms), so it would almost be stupid of me to even attempt to go all-out in this effort. Don't you think? Regardless, I'm all about survival come tomorrow, and knowing that I'm OK with walking if I have to or feeling totally off my normal 5K pace.

Who else is running tomorrow? Or what other ways are you staying active this weekend?

Photo grabbed from

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Can Still Register for Ironman

So you didn't wait in line at Madison's Monona Terrace Convention Center to register for Ironman Wisconsin 2011. You didn't volunteer and have a volunteer shirt and wristband in hand to wait in what should have been the shorter of two lines (the volunteer line looked pretty darn long, even at 7:15 a.m.). You skipped the regular registration line figuring it would be just too darn long to wait in. But instead you went online, hoping to score a spot into this roughly 3,000-person event only to find that couldn't handle the registration load and the system crashed--or rather "experienced technical difficulties" according to a release sent out by

Whether you were inspired by some of the participants at Sunday's Ironman Wisconsin or you have "complete an Ironman" on your bucket list, you can still sign up for the 2011 Ironman Wisconsin, which will be held on Sunday, September 11, in Madison, Wis. Registration will reopen today at 1 p.m. EST, noon CST, for Ironman wannabes to register for this popular race, which also will be celebrating its 10th running in 2011 (as a side note: I wish I hadn't figured that out the other night as now I'm tempted to sign up again even though I told myself to take a break after Sunday).

Yesterday Ironman posted this message on Facebook: "Due to high demand, experienced technical difficulties during the initial 2011 Ford Ironman Wisconsin registration opening. Online registration for the event will re-open tomorrow, Sept. 15, at noon CT (1 p.m. ET). Visit to sign up or learn more." The glitch on has since been fixed and registration will open shortly. Registration costs $600 plus any processing fees, but the experience and crossing the finish line is priceless. Don't I sound a bit like the Mastercard commercial?

For more information, check out or And stay tuned...I promise to write a race report about Sunday's Ironman before more than two years elapse. Yes, it's true, I never finished documenting my first experience and have only relied on the pictures and random memories instead.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fit-Pic: Swimming or Surfing?

Whitecaps? Really? I know I live in the Windy City, but sometimes even the best of us know when to stay out of the water. Take today, where the wind is just too much and it's looking more like December than early September (minus the blue sky and sun). Thanks Wind, you spoiled my swim for the day. No way I wanted to slosh around in that for two miles. And apparently, no one wanted to sit on the beach in these less-than-perfect conditions: It was empty too. But that only means there's more room for my beach blanket. Or that I needed to borrow my husband's surf board and ride the waves.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Find Your Inner Yogi

School starting, kids flooding into classrooms. Leaves changing colors, a yellowish tinge in the air. Cooler mornings, later sunrises, earlier sunsets, harvest moons. September spells out the start of fall and the new school year, summer's last hoorah over Labor Day, and too many of summer's favorite activities winding to a close as winter looms closer. But on the fitness front, September does have one reason to celebrate all month long: it's National Yoga Month.

So while you're packing away those wetsuits, winterizing those boats, minimizing the bike and run miles, yoga's one activity that you may want to amp up the intensity on this month. With more than 1,200 yoga studios around the country participating in this month-long campaign to raise awareness about yoga's benefits and living a healthy and happy life, you'd be hard-pressed not to find a spot to roll out your mat and embrace a few asanas, sun salutations and vinyasas during a free week. Or if you can't make it to a site, it's just as easy to practice at home with a DVD (my personal fave is an Iron Yoga DVD I reviewed for Windy City Sports a few years back) or Yogis Anonymous, a Santa Monica studio that also provides on-demand and live class broadcasts online.

If you told me a year ago I'd be posting this Fit-Ink entry to kick off September, I would have shaken my head in disbelief. While I most certainly wouldn't hesitate to share the latest and greatest among fitness finds, you honestly wouldn't find me participating in those that had anything to do with yoga. That is, until about 11 months ago when I finally found a yoga I could identify with, boasting a studio that was too close to home to avoid, and a format where it didn't seem to matter that I couldn't stretch as far as other attendees or get the poses correct on the first, second or third try (yes, that's just how uncoordinated and unflexible I am). It's reasons like this that make months like Yoga Month worthwhile. And well, the money saved on the free classes across the country helps too. Time to get out and yoga--and watch for additional events happening this month!

Photo grabbed from lululemon athletica at flickr.


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