Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Who's Ready to Run?

Grab your running shoes. Grab your favorite summer running gear. Grab your Garmins, Nike+, Polars and other mileage logging devices. Tomorrow not only marks the start of June (yikes, where did the last five months go?) but it also marks the third annual National Running Day.

You may not need an actual holiday to go for a run but Competitor Group, Inc. (CGI) wants to help you make the day even more worthwhile. When you're grabbing your must-have running items, you'll also want to grab your credit cards and computers. CGI is offering a one-day registration discount for its Rock 'n' Roll Marathon series, Muddy Buddy and TriRock events. Can we just say awesome?

Basically any CGI event--and there are a lot roaming the country throughout the year--are discounted. Running, run/bike/obstacle relay, and triathlon (with music along the course, a rarity in the sport)--all your active bases are covered. The savings include $26 off a Rock 'n' Roll Marathon, $13 off a Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon, $10 off a Rock 'n' Roll 10K, $5 off a Rock 'n' Roll 5K, $20 off a Muddy Buddy race, and $20 off a TriRock event. Now you can run the Las Vegas strip for $26 less, or the Virginia Beach boardwalk for $13 less. Or you'll save when you romp through the mud pit before crossing a Muddy Buddy finish line or rock out to a triathlon near a Civil War battleground.

Ah, but wait, there's more. CGI also invites runners to log the miles they run today at competitor.com. Share your miles, share a story about why you run, download a badge to post on your Facebook page. Their goal is to hit 500,000 miles over these 24 hours of June 1. With marathoning and half marathoning participation numbers continually on the rise, that can't be too hard to hit. Who's going to get running?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Are You Ready for the Beach? This Class Might Help

Katie Morse leads a workout for The Regimen.
OK, so where did today's 90-degree weather come from? Yesterday it was pouring, and the day before it was frigid and I was ready to turn the heat on. And now I've scoped out the weather forecast for the rest of the week and seeing another round of warm weather, which only leaves me hoping that we really have banished winter for good this time.

But there's one problem. While everyone else was sporting their bikinis, bare midriffs and the like, all for the sake of staying cool, I was hiding under a baggy T-shirt and shorts. Or maybe the better word would be concealing. I wasn't trying to dodge the fact that I'm still pasty white, but I'd be lying if I said that I was bikini ready--it was bad enough wearing my Speedo to swim laps at the pool.

If this sounds similar to a situation you've found yourself in after layering on the sweats and coats all winter and what was supposed to be our spring, there is a solution to our workout woes. It's a core cross-training class led by Katie Morse, a Chicago-based (for now) personal trainer who's also working to be a professional triathlete. Don't believe me? You can follow along with her race adventures at triingforpro.wordpress.com--it'll make you want to get moving immediately if you'd been lazing around all day. Morse is motivational, knowledgeable and no-nonsense, but in a way that's not going to intimidate you but produce results instead. And she definitely knows what she's talking about: She told me last fall, on an unrelated note, that she tries a lot of the workouts she leads on herself before presenting them to a group.

Morse's latest round-up will either get you out of bed early or provide the perfect outlet for post-work tension. She offers her core cross-training at Lincoln Park, Monday through Friday with morning and evening options every day but Thursday when two sessions are offered at night. Class lasts 45 minutes per session, which may not seem like a long time for melting calories (at least for this endurance athlete, if I can even call myself that these days), but it sure will when you factor in summer's heat and humidity and Morse's routines that get you moving in a hurry. Plus as it says on the class information sheet, you're paying less for one-on-one attention--think personal trainer session--that also gives you peer motivation. Who couldn't use a few extra pushes to grind out some push-ups or more seconds in plank position?

I'm late in sharing the news on the class Morse offered today, perfect to get moving before hitting the beach or enjoying a Memorial Day barbecue, but there are still plenty of days left to get training. These outdoor classes started in May and run through October and until recently--or well, today--you really didn't have much of a reason to be outside anyway thanks to all our cold, rain and bad weather. But as long as what we have sticks around, you can enjoy the outdoors and squeeze in a workout, too. Or if this isn't an option, you can always check out Morse's workouts online at The Regimen. That deserves a post all to itself, but I guarantee it's a great way to get fit, sore and even a little out of breath without leaving the house--or chasing around a three-year-old.

For more details about the Core Cross-Training Class, contact Katie at katie@ktfitness.com.

Photo grabbed from The Regimen.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Beating Cheer Fear

Lately I’ve found myself in a spot that’s typically reserved for my parents when they watch me run marathons and do Ironmans: the sidelines. I’m still injured and recovering and while I’m trying not to let it get the best of me (I had a near melt-down yesterday but can’t explain why), I’m still showing up at the races. Except instead of having the goal of finishing said race, I’m there to cheer and fulfill my duties for FFCheer while my teammates are out running. The name alone, FFCheer, connotes cheering and lots of it, but I realized yesterday that I’m really bad at cheering. And I mean really bad. Before I thought it was because I was too busy racing—eye on the prize, head down, barreling toward the finish line in hopes of reaching whatever goal was lingering in the back of my head for the day. You don’t really cheer for your competitors, especially when they’re passing you or you’re passing them. At least I don’t. I feel like I’m being taunted by a five-year-old sticking her tongue out, waving her hands and saying, “Nanny-nanny boo-boo, you can’t catch me.”


With this extended time on the sidelines, I’m noticing that I don’t say anything when I’m watching the runners go by. Nothing. Dead air. Crickets. I’ll snap tons of pictures, but I can’t seem to utter a word out of my mouth, nor do I whistle or clap.

Reflecting back on other experiences, it occurred to me that this is nothing new. I did it more than five years ago when my friend was running her first Army 10-Miler and I tried registering too late to gain an entry—I stood outside the Smithsonian, never saw her run by, but never cheered for the runners that did pass. I did it at Ironman Wisconsin when the runners battled through the heat and the mental challenge of being 26.2 miles away from a 140.6-mile goal. I did it a few weeks ago at the Ravenswood Run. And I did it again at the Soldier Field 10. Yes, I was the girl in all black standing along the road about a half-mile from the finish (or so the race announcer said), likely with a scowl on her face. The scowl wasn’t on purpose, it’s just the look I lapse into when I’m deep in thought or watching intensely. I swear.

But I think it’s far from inviting to a racer. Correct me if I’m wrong but who’d really want to see a spectator just standing on the sidelines, especially when you needed a little kick to the finish and your power song wasn’t cutting it? The only problem is I don’t know what to shout or what runners want to hear. Yay, runners! Keep it up! You’re almost finished! Less than a mile to go! I never liked it when I heard the shouts of being five miles from beer along the Chicago Marathon course, partially because my stomach can’t tolerate beer after a race and partially because they underestimated the mileage, the toughest mileage, we had left to encounter on the course. But maybe I should have gone with the obvious and read the names on the bibs and shouted, “Go so-and-so,” as they ran by. The only problem with that is I would have yelled, “Go Jeff!” to a girl. Oops.

What cheers do you want to hear from the spectators when you’re in the final mile of the race? I’m all for suggestions, I could use them for next time because I’ll still be on the sidelines (my tip: try as hard as you can to avoid injury cause when it happens it more than messes with your race schedule and fun running). And I’m tired—and embarrassed—to be a silent spectator. 

Photo grabbed from prc1333 at flickr. 

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Fit-Pic: Soldier Field Finish on the 50


Doesn't this make you want to get out and run? A picture might be worth a thousand words but this one needs more of an explanation before that inspiration sets in. Ten miles along Chicago's Lakefront. A start outside Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears. A finish inside Soldier Field on the 50-yard line with a run around the concourse. Watching yourself run on the stadium's JumboTron. Fifteen thousand runners. A sweet Adidas climalite tee for all registrants, and a football-themed stadium blanket and medal for all finishers. First-timers, seasoned runners, all paces fast and slow. That's the Soldier Field 10 Mile race for you.

A Chicago favorite way to start off Memorial Day weekend, even when the weather decides not to cooperate and throw conditions more worthy of Shamrock Shuffle weekend than now. Speaking of which, it was close to 30 degrees warmer Shamrock morning than it was SF10 morning. Go figure. But that didn't stop the runners nor did the semi-strong headwind I felt as I rode my bike to the race site--12,275 finished the race according to the race results. There would have been one more, me, but it's probably not a wise decision to walk 10 miles when you've been advised not to run for at least three more weeks to heal a stress fracture. Right?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Freebie Friday: Score a Clif Gift

I can't decide if I'm more excited about the arrival of Memorial Day weekend--because around here it's really easy to stay active outdoors the entire weekend--or the announcement of Fit-Ink's first-ever giveaway. Judging from the weather report I saw earlier this morning (rain and cold--again--followed by temps nearing 90), I'm going with the latter. Once you read more about this giveaway, I think you'll agree that I made the right choice.

Thanks to our friends at CLIF Bar and their Meet the Moment celebration of adventures, we're giving away our first item, two years in the making you could say, at Fit-Ink. Maybe I shouldn't be making such a big deal about it because in the grand scheme of things that probably seems pathetic to only be offering up a giveaway now. But hey, no complaints from us--we love freebies especially when we can share them with others. And we love CLIF--I can't leave for a hiking trip without a supply of Oatmeal Raisin Walnut bars--so it's a win-win.

But before everyone starts clamoring for their chance to win this prize pack--a caddy with a package of 12 CLIF bars, a marathon hat or water bottle, and a CLIF T-shirt--here are the details to make this a fun contest of sorts. Call it my race instinct--and I don't mean it as a turn-off--but the giveaway was begging to be earned like you earn a medal at the end of a running race. But unlike a marathon or triathlon or stair climb, you won't be huffing and puffing, figuratively speaking, to reach the finish line.

Remember the Meet the Moment information unveiled a week ago? Whether you created a moment on the site--uploaded your picture and added a statement--or you've been pondering what you'd add, we want to hear about your adventures. Add your Moment--the place where you like to play or your dream adventure location--in the comments section below by Friday, June 3, then we'll randomly select a winner and announce it on Saturday, June 4. It's as easy as saying you want to heliski or visit Alaska, those are two moments I'd take if I could. Simple enough, right?

If you need help on choosing a moment to enter Clif's contest, check out this one at My Life Outdoors. Even if you think you lack creativity or a good image (two items I'm questioning about an entry for myself), it's still fun to see how another person's adventures can differ from your own--or change your mind about your all-time favorite.

What's your Meet the Moment? Where do you want to adventure? Share it below for a chance to win.

Photo grabbed from wellsphere.com.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Got Colorado Cycling on My Mind

Not that it's easy to ride a bike in Chicago, but here the challenge comes more from the planning around traffic than the terrain itself. Our hills are nonexistent unless we drive out to the suburbs or Wisconsin, and even there you're talking about climbing rollers and the coasting you do on a downhill will work to power you up the next one. I'm certainly not crabbing about our flatlands, I love them for riding and keeping the same cadence and speed. But move me out of the city and I'm a scaredy cat on a bike. Not good if I ever want to explore elsewhere, race an Ironman on an unseen and unpracticed course before race day (trainers don't count), or get faster on my bike, something I'm sure we all struggle with time and again. I think I may have found the answer to my problems: a cycling camp in one of my favorite places on Earth.

Four days on a bike? Awesome. Challenging climbs and descents coupled with flat vistas? I'm scared but up for the challenge. Riding with Carmichael Training Systems and Chris Carmichael who's probably most famous for coaching Lance Armstrong and knows his bike schtick? Even better and totally worth whatever fears I have. Recovering after a day of riding in the comfort of the Vail Mountain Lodge & Spa? Just look at that website and you'd be dreaming of Colorado cycling, too.

But you'll have to read more about it here at buzz.snow.com. It's my latest summer installment and makes me want to beg and plead with my poor injured leg (as if you haven't heard that enough already this month) to get back on my bike and graduate off the stationary number.


Photo courtesy of Vail's summer newsroom.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Best of the Biggest Loser Transformations

Champion or not of $250,000 or the $100,000 at-home prize, the contestants on the Biggest Loser always look pretty darn amazing on finale night. And if this Season 11 cast keeps up with their impressive weight loss streak--didn't Irene, Hannah, Olivia and Jay already look good when they left the ranch?--they're really going to blow the scales out of the water. As you watch tonight's season finale, weigh in your favorite transformation. Who's shocking you on the stage (and you can vote more than once)? I'm having a tough time deciding--there are so many skinny bodies strutting the stage! And go top three!

Run With a Chicago Bear

What's better than running on an ideal weekday evening, one where the weather is already begging for an evening spent outside sans massive sweating? Running with Chicago Bear Charles Tillman outside on an evening that couldn't be more perfect for running (watch the temperature drop as the day wears on, just my luck). I'm already hyped up for the Soldier Field 10, a favorite among Chicagoans who run to start off their Memorial Day, but that doesn't mean I won't welcome the excuse to think Bears and football ahead of time. Even if I still can't run. Plus the 5:30 p.m. start for the event--6:30 p.m. for the run portion--means there's still plenty of time to make it back home to watch the end of the Biggest Loser finale, if you're like me and anxiously waiting to see if the winner will be Hannah, Irene, Jay or Olivia. Or set the DVR and watch it later because this run party's going to last far longer than that 2-hour show.

If you're ready to lace up your running shoes tonight, you'll want to head up to Universal Sole's Lakeview location at 3052 N. Lincoln to run with Peanut, the nickname affectionately given to Tillman by his aunt when he was an infant. Run With Peanut! is presented by the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, which helps improves the lives of kids in Chicago who are critically and chronically ill. Tillman will be signing autographs at the store beginning at 5:30 p.m., and then he'll be running a 5K around Lakeview with the group at 6:30 p.m. But the party only gets better:
  • You'll get to hear Tillman speak about his foundation, which he started in 2005 after his youngest daughter was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy.
  • You'll learn about the reasons to run for The Cornerstone Foundation as a fundraising runner. Good to know considering the Cornerstone Foundation has hard-to-grab Chicago Marathon entries, either for those who want to run for a charity and missed registering for the race, or who are running but still want to select a charity to run for. 
  • You'll learn about the training benefits and prizes and perks you can receive for running on behalf of The Cornerstone Foundation for the Chicago Marathon.
  • You'll learn about what raising money can mean for the foundation's efforts to help the ill kids in Chicago.
  • You can bring your best Bears gear for Tillman to sign (within reason according to the invite).
  • You'll party after the run at Fizz Bar and Grill for a pint of beer thanks to Goose Island Brewery.
  • You could a raffle prize and go home with an item signed by Tillman--expect other prizes, too.
  • A $5 minimum suggested donation will go directly to the Cornerstone Foundation, which you probably wouldn't feel bad about handing over after hearing their story.
If you are running tonight, have fun and enjoy the festivities. I'm jealous to say the least since I thought I'd be able to test my recovered leg at this 3.1-miler. Not going to happen since I won't get the doc's prognosis for another 48 hours. But that's not to say I don't want to hear about the event. Pictures, stories, you name it--because Tillman is one Bear I'd want to meet.

Photo grabbed from Jeffrey Beall at flickr.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Sharpen the Skis for Memorial Day Weekend

I think Squaw has more snow now than it did in January.
Snow or sun? Ski or surf? Can't this girl make up her mind? I know, I know. Yesterday I'm writing about summer and I'm back to the skiing. And it's May. And you packed your skis in the closet (that's what I did over the weekend...finally!) and hung up your ski pass until next season. And you're thinking riding, running, hiking, golfing, tramming--all the activities you can do in ski country once the snow melts.

But one thing is for sure, this season is far from over at some places in the states. Not only do you still have places to ski because they've had plenty of snow to stay open at near-full capacity, but some of these spots are re-opening because they have too much snow not to. I guess you could say that's one of the sure-fire signs of a good snow season. Get your skis out of storage if you've already stashed them and plan to head to one of these spots to get your snow on:
  • The Ski Channel was all over this awesome news: Aspen Mountain is re-opening for Memorial Day Weekend. Most of the terrain will be served by the Ajax chairlift, but that still means 71 inches of snow and 25 runs. And if the weather holds out, the mountain has plans to stay open additional weekends in June.
  • Squaw Valley USA has one final weekend left of its momentous season--guess that's what happens when you get a 7-foot snowfall, roughly, in a short period, and then the clouds continued to open and leave snow dumps. Squaw is open May 27-30 and conditions will hopefully allow skiing from KT-22, Headwall and High Camp. Plus the Tour of California has cleared out of the area so you really don't have an excuse not to go. And if the rest of the fam or group doesn't want to ski, book lodging through the Resort at Squaw Creek and they'll have plenty of activities to keep them busy (or three hot tubs to soak in) while you're on the slopes.
  • Plenty of folks who live in the L.A. area who ski are likely planning Memorial Day weekends in Mammoth--the rain that's been falling along the California coast can only signal snow for Mammoth Mountain, adding even more to the already huge snow total for the year.
  • I've seen people skiing in the Tetons on July 1, but that required arising early and hiking to the top of the trail with skis in tow. Forget the hike and the one run and make it a day on the mountain at Alpine Meadows, which is reopening specially for the Fourth of July weekend. Buy lift tickets in advance and you can save $10 off the ticket window price--and score entrance to skiing plus plenty of parties, base activities and Independence Day fun.
  • Arapahoe Basin is showing no signs of slowing down for the season. They have a 105-inch base, snow in the forecast and nearly two feet of snow in the last few days. And what's better than The Beach when it's almost summer?
  • Snowbird's still been seeing snow, too. In fact, they had so much snow the other day that they actually couldn't open the mountain because the snow coupled with warm temperatures made it dangerous for skiers and snowboarders. The 'Bird is closed thru Thursday, May 26, but they'll reopen for Memorial Day Weekend on Friday, weather dependent. Not too bad considering other Utah resorts nearby are closed, some for more than a month.
  • If you thought Vancouver was beautiful this time of year, Blackcomb's open terrain is another reason to head to British Columbia. Operations at Blackcomb usually stay open later than its connected neighbor Whistler but this year they extended the season longer to max out the ski conditions. But you'll have to ski before you hike and bike in Stanley Park--Blackcomb closes on May 30. 
  • I guess it helps when a ski resort is planted near Mt. Rainier--Crystal Mountain is open on weekends until the snow melts (their words, not mine). That might take a while too--the mountain weather is still in the 30s and 40s and the snow base totals are at 92 inches at the base and 140 inches at the summit.
  • Ah, Oregon, why do you always have ski operations that continue through the summer? What does a dormant volcano that other ski spots don't have? I'll take it though because it means Mt. Bachelor and Timberline are still open for taking turns. Bachelor closes on May 29, but Timberline closes full-time operations on May 30 and then has its summer ski season May 31 through Labor Day. Can I just say that's where I'd want to be a camper, forget canoeing and swimming.
See? There really is reason to keep with the skiing. That is if you're not battered and bruised like I am--likely worsened by my last ski trip to Vail on its closing weekend, but a weekend I wouldn't trade for a second.

    Sunday, May 22, 2011

    Is Spring Here to Stay?

    I must have said something right in yesterday's post to activate the weather gods. Apparently they listened to my subliminal request for nice weather and obliged this morning. Gone was the funky fog that had been lingering over the city, rolling in just around the time I'm ready to go to the gym for a workout. Gone was the cold that we couldn't seem to kick. Gone was the constant threat of rain--at least for a few hours on the weather forecast.

    It's about darn time. Finally, I could bring out the shorts. Finally, I could break a sweat on a bike commute. Finally, I could ride my bike to my destination instead of dragging out the car (and with gas prices the way they are, I really hated doing that). Finally, I could get some much-needed vitamin D. And sweat, too much even, in a yoga class when the heat and humidity stood at zero. And not have an excuse to skip a pool workout, which I had been doing because it was too cold outside to tolerate the cold water inside. I did all of these today, except the swim (once again) but that's because the gym closed on me. Felt. So. Good. Pretty good considering the world was supposed to end yesterday.

    And I thought I was going to have to write another letter to Mother Nature asking for mercy. I really didn't want to have to wear a fleece to stay warm come June...again. But if I could make one request, I'd ask for the snow to stop in the Colorado mountains (saw a picture of a snow-covered subdivision near Keystone)--save it for November when we can enjoy it. Plus I want to be able to ride my bike in the vicinity next month and I'd prefer to look less like a pack mule when pedaling.

    How did you spend your most recent sunny day?

    Photo grabbed from Steven Vance at flickr via creativecommons.org.

    Saturday, May 21, 2011

    Fit-Pic: Ravenswood Run


    I wish I could say these runners raced this morning, but alas this event actually happened almost three weeks ago on May 1. With the exception of the week after Mother's Day, May 1 was the last day we saw sun on the weekend and ideal racing weather. Runners couldn't have asked for better conditions for the 15th running of the Ravenswood Run, a 5K held in Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood. I had to remind myself of the sun today because our promise of a nice weekend still hasn't happened. Warmer, yes, but sunny, no. Maybe tomorrow?

    Friday, May 20, 2011

    Clif Bar's Meet the Moment

    Have you ever wanted to take an adventure of a lifetime but couldn't seem to find the time or resources? Clif Bar wants to help you out with the chance to win that dream adventure. And they'll be helping out five non-profit organizations that protect the outdoors in the process.

    On Monday the California-based company launched Meet the Moment, a celebration of athletic adventures and the places they happen. Um, OK, but what does that mean? They want all of us to share our awe-inspiring adventurous moments, images and stories and upload them to their Meet the Moment website. The three people with the most inspirational and creative Moments, uploaded by July 31 (provided that the world doesn't end tomorrow as rumored), will be rewarded by Clif with the chance to pursue their adventure. Any dream goes as long as it doesn't exceed $12,000--chasing down the professionals at the Tour de France, riding waves at Maverick's, trekking the Amazon, cruising the Nile.

    The idea behind these momentous occasions is to protect these places that we dream to explore or have been so lucky to experience already. So for each first Moment that's uploaded, Clif Bar will donate $5 to one of five non-profit organizations that are dedicated to protecting the outdoor environs. Clif will make the donation on behalf of the person who uploaded the moment and that person can choose his favorite of the five:
    These five organizations were selected as beneficiaries because they focus on protecting several Meet the Moment places both now and for generations to come. But here's where we come in: if people create 10,000 Moments by July 31, Clif will double its contributions to each non-profit.

    How it works
    Visit www.meethemoment.com, Clif's specially created site for the project, to get started. You'll be asked to sign in either via Facebook or with a unique log-in, and then you can start creating your electronic postcard for the site. Upload a photo and then use the sites magnetic poetry feature to add text--or if you're a wordsmith, you can craft your own caption. Once you're satisfied with your creation you can submit it to the gallery to appear in the visual community. Really, it's simple. The hardest part is tracking down a worthy contest-winning image--that was my problem.

    Need some ideas for your Moment? Check out the Moment Gallery, which is already gathering tons of action shots among its postcards, or watch the video montage of Clif athletes out and about pursuing their moments.

    As for me, I either need to track down a good heli-skiing image that I can borrow for my adventure or peruse my photo albums for something scenic enough to exhibit my moment. And there's always Photoshop. A girl can dream, right?

    What's your worthy moment? Come back here next week to share yours and you might be in for a surprise--I'm super excited about this one!


    Photo provided by Clif Bar.

    Thursday, May 19, 2011

    How Are You Going to Spend Walk-It Day?

    One of the easiest ways to incorporate physical activity into a relatively sedentary lifestyle is to walk. We do it every day as it is: treading from your desk to the restroom, pacing the hallway, or stepping from door to driveway. But do you really think those steps total the recommended 10,000 you want to get in a day? Probably not. But it's a start.

    And you can always work your way up to taking more steps throughout the day. "I always tell people to work the hardest and best that you can and over time you'll progress to a more advanced pace," says Jennifer Cohen, a personal trainer you might remember from Shedding for the Wedding who's working with Weight Watchers to promote its Walk-It Challenge and Walk-It Day.

    Half the battle though is just getting out there and taking those steps. Dealing with the rain, tolerating the cold, convincing someone else to join you. But that's me making excuses, exactly what Cohen doesn't want you to do when you're walking. "You can do it any time, any where, no excuses," she says. She suggests that we incorporate some type of activity in our daily routines, one of the easiest being walking. "Health should be your No. 1 priority and you should make it part of your routine and put it in your calendar just like you would any other appointment," she says.

    The good news is that this is nothing to stress over, really. That daily activity can be as easy as taking a walk after dinner. If your path includes a hill or a sandy beach, you're upping the intensity even more--Cohen reminds that added resistance can strengthen your muscles and your cardio system. Cohen offers more walking tips on this video at fitperez.com--good stuff (you can also view it below). Let's just say I wish I had opted for the video and sound byte option when I was talking to Cohen about her involvement with the Walk-It Challenge, my interview would have been less of a sad, tongue-tied flub. Or maybe I should have taken a walk before speaking with Cohen...physical activity is supposed to be good for the noggin'.
     


    Need an excuse to go for a walk? You can on Sunday thanks to Walk-It Day, a day where Weight Watchers to encourage any and everyone to go walking either on your own or at one of its more than 50 5K walks/runs organized through RRCA. Maybe you've been training for the day for the last six weeks, or maybe you know you can handle the distance and want to tackle it on May 22. Whatever your motivation, it's a good way to get off the couch.

    Video grabbed from fitperez.com and photo grabbed from dreamstime.com.

    Wednesday, May 18, 2011

    Hurry Up to Run the Soldier Field 10

    Maybe you didn't think that 10 miles was possible for your running legs to handle back in January. Maybe you once thought that you'd be out of town for Memorial Day Weekend. Maybe you recovered faster from that last race than you thought and now you're on the hunt for your next adventure. Maybe you thought that the Soldier Field 10, a race that has quickly become a Memorial Day Weekend tradition around Chicago--and starts off that weekend of barbecuing and beaching--had already sold out. Now's your chance to grab one of the 1,000 spots--or less considering it was Monday when I heard 1,000 were available--that are left in this race that finishes on the 50-yard line at Soldier Field. The race is expected to close before the week is out, and do you really want to be SOL from one of the city's favorite races on the weekend that kicks off summer?

    Probably not. Unless of course, you've injured yourself. In that case, you could always volunteer, an option I wish I had remembered for myself when I showed up to watch the Ravenswood Run on May 1. And an option I may very well have to do, depending on what my healing stress fracture looks like when I return to the doctor later this week.

    But if I can run, I will. I love running this race, even when I sleep through my alarm and barely arrive before the race start or when I take the first half too quickly and get slammed with a slowing wind on the route back. And the goodie bag perks are pretty nice, too--they justify what many would consider a hefty registration fee ($80 if you registered after January 31) for a 10-miler. Here are my reasons for why you should run:
    • That $80 registration fee, or $65 if you registered before February 1 and took advantage of the early-bird special, gets you a lot more than entry into this race. You also get an Adidas technical T-shirt, and finishers will go home with a special Soldier Field 10 stadium blanket and medal.
    • This year's Adidas tech tee is one you'll want to sport on your runs like you chose it off the store rack--I think it might even match the 2010 Boston Marathon women's jacket if you're looking to color coordinate. 
    • The 7:30 a.m. start means you can avoid the heat, if Chicago finally decides to get warm and stay warm, or get a hearty workout in before beginning the rest of your day. Or if you were going to escape the city for the weekend with a Saturday departure, you may as well run and hit the road later--you might even miss some of our dreaded traffic.
    • Ten milers aren't as taxing on the body as say a marathon. You could even double up and do another workout later in the day. But you still get the awesome calorie burn and rev to the metabolism that any run will give you.
    • You can meet--and run with--the FFCheer Team. Yes, a little plug for me and my running buddies, but five of the six of us will be there on May 28--our capit├ín is out of town but there in spirit.
    • You can see some familiar faces from Chicago area media outlets who will be running on the Media Team. I'm not sure who will be running, but media teammates include John Garcia, Lauren Jiggetts, Dina Bair and Amy Freeze (even if she's now reporting weather in New York).
    • You can run for the reason you have a three-day weekend in the first place: Memorial Day. That's a huge draw for the participants and the organizers. "I love working the starting ceremony and honoring the men and women who have served our country," says Dave Zimmer, president and owner of Fleet Feet Sports Chicago, which puts on the race. 
    • You can experience Soldier Field in a way that you can't at a Bears football game, from the field finish to watching yourself on the Jumbotron, sprinting those final steps.
    • My personal favorite: This race brings all sorts of runners together, beyond the basics of never-run-10-miles and routine-runner. "People are truly excited to run this event and finish inside Soldier Field and they do it for so many different reasons," Zimmer says. "Bears fans, football fans, the excitement of finishing on the field of this historic stadium and now raising money for the American Cancer Society and Team Salute."
    • Ah yes, this race benefits the above two charities, the American Cancer Society--you'll likely see some of its DetermiNation runners racing--and Salute, Inc., which provides financial support for military men and women.
    Who's in? If you're not yet registered, but this convinced you to sign up, head over to soldierfield10.com for all the details.

    Photo provided by Fleet Feet Chicago.

      Tuesday, May 17, 2011

      Happy Birthday to Our Favorite Fit Friends

      Yesterday, I forgot to wish two people happy birthday. Oops. So rather than do that again, I'm not going to wait until the actual day of this birthday. It's always an easy one for me to remember too, I think because my wedding anniversary is on the day of their first post back on May 19, 2008. And lucky for me, the Fit Bottomed Girls don't want me to either--they've been hinting at their birthday celebration since last week, if not earlier, and started celebrating on Monday.

      What that means is a week of best-of's and giveaways from the Fit Bottomed Girls of all things fitness related. So far they've had an impromptu workout DVD giveaway, two workout outfits from ALO, and other workout DVDs--and that was Monday and only part of Tuesday. Now the latest is they're offering up what they deem the perfect gym bag--and three can win. See? I told you it was good--if you have a lucky strike in you, that is (I never win anything, I swear)--and it's only supposed to get better during the week with even more giveaways.

      The reason I'm getting excited about this birthday is not entirely because the FBGs are turning three--which is pretty darn cool--or that they have all of these options to at-random win something. Nor is it because I've had the privilege of meeting three of the FBGs--Erin, Jenn and Tish--at two Nike events and a Luna Chix summit. Privilege, I say, because they were nice enough to talk to me, even after they learned that I run marathons on a regular basis, did an Ironman a month before (and then had finished two when I saw Tish last October), and probably knew too many random facts about female Winter Olympic athletes (yes, the skier in me came out in Vancouver). And that I squeezed in a run before we were supposed to catch the bus to dinner--in my defense, I had a marathon to run a few days later, which I PR'd.

      The answer to my excitement is that in celebrating their triumph, I feel like I have a little victory of my own. Excuse the sentimentality, but Liz and I probably never would have started Fit-Ink if we hadn't met the Fit Bottomed Girls because they proved to us, or me anyway, that this dream could become a reality. Even though they do share one word--fit--the sites certainly aren't the same, but that's a good thing. I love the Fit Bottomed Girls content because it always brings me back to Earth from my crazy endurance bubble--I'd rather read first-timer triathlon stories or conquests of the road bike before the sad state of my Facebook feed with its training ruminations.

      But, I digress. Happy Birthday to the Fit Bottomed Girls and to many more! Off to read the Fitties.


      Photo grabbed from synx508 at flickr.

      Monday, May 16, 2011

      The Daily Feed: Sites We're Searching 5/16

      The running world was rocked yet again this year (Sally Meyerhoff's and Grete Waitz's deaths came first) with the news of Sammy Wanjiru's death last night or early this morning, depending on the time zone you're in. The only problem was that there wasn't much reported when the news first broke. Check out these links to fill in the missing pieces to the story and remember this fast marathoner who ran out too early:
      • I first read the news on Universal Sports last night, but now that same story has more details about the balcony-falling incident.
      • Runner's World's Racing News published even more details on the events that unfolded in Wanjiru's home.
      • Competitor.com also had news of the situation.
      • Amby Burfoot, Runner's World's editor-at-large, paid tribute to Wanjiru and recounted some of his marathon memories that you'd have to read to believe.
      Want to share a story that you've read about Sammy Wanjiru? Share the link in the comments!

        Sunday, May 15, 2011

        So Long, Sammy: The Sammy Wanjiru Shocker

        Wow. I'm almost wishing I hadn't just scanned my newsfeed. Because then I wouldn't have read a news report that needed a dislike button next to it. The worst part is that it's already the second time this year that I've had to be the bearer of bad news among the running community.

        It was a Universal Sports report that a friend shared that caught my attention and now it's spreading like wildfire online. Sammy Wanjiru, one of the fastest distance runners in the world, has died. If that's not a shock to runners, especially marathon runners, then I'm speechless. Actually, I'm speechless anyway--Wanjiru was only 24 and his death follows on the heels of the untimely accident that killed Sally Meyerhoff in March. The cause? It's not exactly known at this time, but Universal Sports is reporting that Wanjiru died after falling from a balcony at his home.

        Need more of a biographical refresher? He's the 24-year-old Kenyan runner who burst onto the running scene big time by winning gold at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing and saw fleet feet twice in Chicago, winning the 2009 and 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathons.

        The unfortunate part about this accident is that it comes on the heels of some other troubles Wanjiru has found himself in since his sprint to the finish line to beat Tesgaye Kebede at the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. In December, he was arrested in his home and charged with three counts. In January, he was in a car accident that luckily wasn't too serious but may have been the cause behind his withdrawal from April's London Marathon.

        Here are a few things we'll remember--and miss--about Sammy Wanjiru:
        • His fastest marathon time was 2:05:10.
        • He once held the half marathon world record with his personal best 58:33.
        • He won the gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing with a time of 2:06:32.
        • His other victories include the 2009 and 2010 Chicago Marathons, the 2009 London Marathon, and the 2007 Fukuoka Marathon.
        • He led the point totals among the men for the World Marathon Majors competition for the 2008/2009 and 2009/2010 competitive cycle.
        • He had a vivacious personality when speaking to a crowd. Or at least he made me laugh when he was among the elite runners interviewed during the press conferences leading up the Chicago Marathon. Wanjiru spoke at press conferences for both the 2009 and 2010 Chicago Marathons and knew how to captivate an audience with his words and race strategy explanation. If only I could remember where I stowed those notes, I jotted down during his interview.
        In the meantime, I'll have to remember how relaxed he looked in front of the Chicago media crowd, almost like running 26.2 miles--and running it consistently under 2 hours and 10 minutes (and I'm low-balling)--at the front of the pack wasn't that hard. What are you going to best remember Wanjiru for?

        Photo grabbed from Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

        Saturday, May 14, 2011

        The Saucony Shoe That Started a Conversation

        I am addicted to minimalist shoes. Not the hard core ones like Vibram's Five Fingers because the pair of those that I own are more for protecting my feet from rocks when I'm near water. Instead it's the two pairs that are minimal but still oddly supportive that I've been lucky enough to have find their way into my possession in the last month.

        Their names? The Nike Free Run+ 2, which have been my walking saviors for the last month when I started feeling the aches of my oncoming injury, and the Saucony ProGrid Kinvara 2, which I only started sporting a week ago. Now I alternate wearing each--gotta share the love--usually opting to wear the Frees when the weather looks iffy and the Kinvaras when the sun is shining. Yes, call me a shoe dork, but I will prolong the white shoe look for as long as possible if I can help it, and the Free gray is better at absorbing the dirt--I know because I already dropped something on them and I can barely see the mark. 

        Their results? I'll be wearing these pairs until they wear out. They look cool, they weigh practically nothing and they squeeze really easily into a bag. They also make me feel like I'm padding around in my bare feet, but I can head outside and maintain some semblance of normalcy in my injured state.  

        But here's the kicker on the Kinvaras, all whites aside: They apparently are pretty eye-catching, enough to start a conversation with a complete stranger. By Thursday, not even a week since I brought them home from Fleet Feet, I had already received three compliments on the shoes, the latest coming at the grocery store of all places. I could have been wearing a new pair of Uggs or some flashy Jimmy Choos that everyone wanted to have. But, no, I was wearing running shoes, and couldn't even brag about the run I took on one of the nicest days Chicago had seen all year. I guess the Kinvara is the equivalent among the running set?

        That was news to me. But I'll take it if it means I can talk running when I can't even run, or finally feel  comfort in a pair of shoes that don't have a swoosh on the side, or think I'm wearing "magic shoes" that are going to make my stress fracture disappear and return me to the roads faster because I see improvement in my walk every day.

        The roads better watch out for my return, that's all I'm saying. If I can like these two minimal shoes without using them for their main purpose--my current highlights include pairing them with jeans and yoga pants--then what's going to happen when I ease back into running and try them on the grass and then the pavement? I'm hoping for magic, but right now I'll even take a simple sweat session that doesn't involve a stationary bike.

        To read more about the Saucony Kinvara, check out my take for FFCheer.

        Friday, May 13, 2011

        Fit-Ink, Meet FFCheer

        Remember how excited I was to spread the Luna Love last spring? Probably not, because shortly after sharing my elation, the local Luna group was stopped dead in its tracks. I'm not here to gripe and whine about the long lost Luna Chix I was supposed to be a part of last year instead of the Lone Luna I actually was--I'm not going to even try to explain.

        So Fit-Ink (that means you, dear readers), I want you to meet FFCheer. Call it my 2011 obsession, this is one running team that's going to exceed my expectations. I've applied and been accepted to teams that either disbanded before my eyes or were national, which really meant a lot of me doing my normal Chicago activities and then reporting back to the group. But when I read about FFCheer, before it had an official name and was simply called Fleet Feet's Cheer Team, I was immediately intrigued. On screen it sounded similar to the other teams but the first group meeting proved otherwise. And that's a good thing.

        If I wanted running buddies, I found them. If I wanted to learn more about a race, I had advisers. If I wanted to hear about first-time race experiences and personal bests, I could. If I wanted to know more than two people (as I did at three Fleet Feet/Nike hosted fun runs I attended in the last year), I would. If I wanted injury recovery stories and encouragement--and get talked out of the things I'd likely attempt when I knew I should be taking it slow--I got them.

        Yes, this is a shameless plug for my new running team, but it's because it's more than being about the racing. I didn't know it until recently, but Fleet Feet promotes a statement that all of us who are part of FFCheer stand for: running changes everything. As the phrase implies, running's not just about racing, besting your time on the clock and logging miles. It's finally starting to click in, or maybe I just forgot after countless races in the last decade (more if you count the 5Ks I ran before I started marathoning), that running's almost more about the social aspect and interaction. FFCheer will remind me, and likely make me better at it, too, from the roads all the way back to my computer.

        So if you see me write #ffcheer on Twitter or if you stumble upon ffcheer.posterous.com, this is my explanation. Still confused? Click here to read more. Oh, and see that funky graphic next to #ffcheer in the photo? Give your best guess as to what it might be--it's emblazoned on the tees and hoodies we've sported since the Ravenswood Run on May 1. I don't know either, but your guess could help you (or me, depending on the details) win a TBD contest down the road.

        Wednesday, May 11, 2011

        Fitness Finds in Summer Vail

        Love Vail in the winter? You have to try it in summer. You might never want to leave. If, that is, you fall prey like several other mountain lovers, and now Coloradoans (is that how you say it, or is it Coloradans?) who embody the phrase, "come for the winter, stay for the summer."

        You can't ski until next season--unless you're late spring skiing at A Basin, Loveland, Snowbird, Blackcomb, Mt. Hood or Tahoe--but don't let that stop you from visiting once mud season subsides. OK so it might be awhile considering that Vail was still getting snow on April 25, the day after the mountain closed for the season, and Denver's temperatures are in the 30s today, which can only mean it must be colder in the mountains. But I think it's safe to say it's worth waiting for, especially if you're like me and searching for that golden opportunity for summer sporting.

        I always knew that Vail, Colo., turned into a hiker's haven and a mountain bike mecca when the snow melted. It's practically a given provided all the ski trails on the mountain. But what these Top 10 Fitness Finds in Vail helped me find was there was a whole lot more than hiking and biking. And for someone who dreams far too often of moving out there, the other eight activities helped provide some bargaining chips to sway the other party in my direction. If you thought you could burn calories all day skiing on the mountain, you'll have to check those top 10 from buzz.snow.com. Maybe then you'll be planning a vacation or escape out to ski country in the summer, too.

        Photo grabbed from Vail

        Monday, May 9, 2011

        Chicago's Best Spring Workout

        Excuse 1: You spent the last 24 hours awake and the only thing keeping you from a usual Saturday workout is sleep--all day. Excuse 2: You're not going to be in Chicago on May 21. Excuse 3: You have a wedding, or wedding-related event, to attend and the plans can't be changed until another day or moved to outside the 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Unless you're sleeping in on a Saturday, and really dragging your feet on leaving the house, you want to make your way to Grant Park and SELF's Workout in the Park.

        You won't want to miss the 2011 rendition of this event, which only seems to grow bigger and better year after year. The new and unique workouts that can give you that change in the routine to rev your metabolism. Moving from Lincoln Park to a larger space at Butler Field in Grant Park. Bringing A-list--or maybe I should title it Fit-list--celebrities like Maria Menounos and Jillian Michaels. And now this year, Chicago is matching that with Ali Sweeney, host of The Biggest Loser and author of The Mommy Diet, making a special guest appearance. Biggest Loser fans can rejoice now and get excited for Sweeney to share her eating tips and how she makes exercise fun.

        Chicago is the last stop on the 2011 Workout in the Park tour and it hosts the event on Saturday, May 21. If you've ever wanted to see what it's like to have the pages of SELF magazine unfold before your eyes in live-action form, now's your chance.

        The health, wellness and fitness festival lands at Butler Field, 300 East Monroe if you need an address, in Grant Park, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I know what you might be thinking: four hours is a long time to be working out especially if I don't have an Ironman, half Ironman or marathon on the docket. But honestly, this four hours is so jam-packed, you'll wish you had more time to cruise the beauty booths, snag some samples, break a sweat at the fitness classes, or rejuvenate body and mind in the quiet zone.

        Even if I trip over my own two feet when I try choreographed group fitness classes, Workout in the Park's highlights are its fitness classes. With 17 to choose from running throughout the day and featuring top-notch instruction from Crunch trainers, it's hard to want to sit them out--even the ones that were so popular in the past that they're back on the schedule like Retro-Robics, Masala Bhangra and Beach Body. Among the class offerings and experiences, here are four to check out:
        • LaBlast. Do your best Dancing with the Stars moves at this cardio fat-burning dance class that involves ballroom dance genres. Its combination of body movements and creative routines will make you sweat!
        • Glee. Who knew that a sing-and-dance TV show could be transformed into exercise? Not me. But in this class where you're the star, you'll learn songs and dances from the show.
        • Kama Strength. Strengthen now, prep for later? This class also takes on another meaning: Kama sutra fitness. Externally it'll strengthen the muscles, and internally it'll boost your libido.
        • Reebok Toning Zone. If you've wanted to know how toning shoes, one of today's biggest fitness trends, compare to your usual sneaks, you can witness it first-hand here where you'll perform unique total-body exercises inspired by Reebok's EasyTone shoes from core tightening to strengthening.
        Good news in Chicago is you can plan ahead or make it a spur-of-the-moment decision to attend. The $20 per-person tickets include a subscription to SELF as well as the events for the day and you can score them by purchasing in advance online or pay cash at the door. But don't bring a suitcase for all the samples you can take home with you or you won't be allowed in. Who's ready to work out?

        Friday, May 6, 2011

        Have Stroller, Will Travel?

        My old college and post-college roommate had a baby girl earlier this week. My childhood friend had a baby boy at the end of March. My training buddy had twins, a boy and a girl, on the vernal equinox. Needless to say, I've been thrown into all things baby full-throttle between their updates and reading the news about which Hollywood celebrity is about to pop next. So when my eyes scanned across The Daily Stroll starting up at Universal Sole in June, I immediately thought of these friends and their newborns. The only problem is that only one of them (my Chicago training bud) can try this class that gets you exercising with your stroller and baby in tow.

        The Daily Stroll offers a mid-day workout in a family friendly Chicago neighborhood that gets you moving with the kiddos in tow. No babysitter to borrow, no nanny needed. You just need to bring yourself, your babes as long as they're at least five months old and can sit up in a stroller, and a stroller, preferably one that can handle the city sidewalks and can be used in "athletic activity." Prepare yourself for a power hour that not only revs your cardiovascular system with walking but also strength trains while using your stroller or your baby or both.

        Class is by Jennifer Dixon of You Grow Girl! Fitness and brought to you in part by Universal Sole. With classes starting up on June 7 and running through October 4, every Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. is baby day at 'da Sole. And you won't have to sacrifice any of that college fund you just started saving for--class is free and you only need to contact the store and sign a waiver to start participating. Then you're on your way to sculpting yourself back to pre-baby shape or fine-tuning those muscles with a new method. How many times have you heard you need to switch up the routine to see results? Now's your chance.

        Click here to read more about The Daily Stroll and all of its registration details.

        Baby not ready to join the group in June? You can follow this routine and do it on your own to reap the stroller's upper body benefits.


        Photo grabbed from Serge Melki at flickr.

        Wednesday, May 4, 2011

        Beantown's New Addition

        First there was the Boston Marathon. More than 100 years later came the BAA Half Marathon. Then came the BAA 5K and the Invitational Mile. Now the Boston Athletic Association has a new race for its calendar, filling the void at the 10K distance. It's the BAA 10K, to be held for the first time on Sunday, June 26, and joining the Boston Athletic Association's event series.

        But if other BAA races--like April's Boston Marathon and BAA 5K, and October's BAA Half Marathon--are any indication, you're going to have to hurry and register for this 6.2 miler before the 5,000 spots are taken. Registration opened today at 10 a.m., Boston local time, for a race that offers runners the chance to run through the Back Bay, out toward Boston University and past the Boston Public Garden. With sites like that and a city that loves its distance running--remember how fast the Boston Marathon sold out in October?--this 10K could go fast, much like the clamoring that happens for the half marathon, which doesn't open registration until July. And its $30,000 prize purse will likely be a draw for some fast feet both local and international.

        So you won't be able to pull up a stool next to Norm at the Bull and Finch Pub made famous by Cheers. Big deal. The 10K will give you a tour of some of Boston's best sites, a finisher's medal, event T-shirt from Adidas, and a race vibe in Boston Common where the race starts and finishes. But you'll be without all the soreness that tends to follow after conquering, or getting beat, on the Boston Marathon's famous hills. You start earlier too, at 8 a.m., maybe in hopes of beating summer's heat. And your $55 entry fee will also grant you entry into two pre-race training clinics courtesy of Adidas. Designed to help you run your best 10K, the clinics will be held on May 16 and June 13.

        For more details and to register for the race, check out the Boston Athletic Association.

        Photo grabbed from baa.org.

        Monday, May 2, 2011

        Work Out in Central Park...with SELF

        Working out with SELF in San Francisco on April 30
        Maybe your New Year's resolutions to get fit in 2011 went out the window months ago and you've been trying to jump back on the fit wagon. Maybe you're a gym junkie and you're ready and willing to try anything when it comes to fitness. Maybe you need an activity to do with Mom or the girls and want to give it an active spin. Whatever the case, if you're in need of a little fitness and you're going to be in the Big Apple--or close enough to Manhattan to venture in on a Saturday--you won't want to miss the 2011 rendition of SELF Magazine's Workout in the Park.

        I'm unfortunately too late in sharing the details on the San Francisco edition that took place this Saturday, but I'm just in time--barely I'll admit (sorry!)--for the two that follow in New York and Chicago this month. New York is up first on Saturday, May 7, and then Chicago gets the Workout in the Park next on Saturday, May 21. If you've ever wanted to see what it's like to have the pages of SELF magazine unfold before your eyes in live-action form, now's your chance.

        Each city's event varies a little bit and this time around I've got the details on what's happening in New York on May 7. The 18th annual health, wellness and fitness festival lands in Central Park, at Rumsey Playfield to be exact, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. I know what you might be thinking: four hours is a long time to be working out especially if I don't have an Ironman, half Ironman or marathon on the docket. But honestly, this four hours is so jam-packed, you'll wish you had more time to cruise the beauty booths, snag some samples, break a sweat at the fitness classes, or rejuvenate body and mind in the quiet zone.

        The highlight? For this workout enthusiast--even if I do trip over my own two feet when you stick me in an unfamiliar group fitness class--it's all about Workout in the Park's fitness classes. With 17 to choose from running throughout the day and featuring top-notch instruction from Crunch trainers, it's hard to want to sit them out--even the ones that were so popular in the past that they're back on the schedule like Retro-Robics, Masala Bhangra and Beach Body. Among the class offerings and experiences, here are four to check out:
        • LaBlast. Do your best Dancing with the Stars moves at this cardio fat-burning dance class that involves ballroom dance genres. Its combination of body movements and creative routines will make you sweat!
        • Glee. Who knew that a sing-and-dance TV show could be transformed into exercise? Not me. But in this class where you're the star, you'll learn songs and dances from the show.
        • Kama Strength. Strengthen now, prep for later? This class also takes on another meaning: Kama sutra fitness. Externally it'll strengthen the muscles, and internally it'll boost your libido.
        • Reebok Toning Zone. If you've wanted to know how toning shoes, one of today's biggest fitness trends, compare to your usual sneaks, you can witness it first-hand here where you'll perform unique total-body exercises inspired by Reebok's EasyTone shoes.
        Leading you with plenty of energy is Danielle Monaro from Z100's Elvis Duran and The Morning Show. She'll be hosting the day's festivities with that same spunk you hear on the radio, perfect for when you're feeling a sugar low or pooped out from the last activity.

        But if you want to attend the New York City event, you have to plan ahead. Unlike in San Francisco and Chicago, you won't be able to pay cash for on-site tickets. The $20 per-person tickets include a subscription to SELF as well as the events for the day--plus almost half of the ticket cost goes toward Cancer and Careers, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure. You can score them by purchasing in advance online. Who's ready to work out?

        Photo grabbed from Everyday Socialite at flickr.

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