Saturday, March 31, 2012

Race Deals That Expire March 31

Running Soldier Field 10 in 2011
Who doesn’t love to save a little dough (even if it’s only a couple of dollars) on race registrations? I know I fall into that category time and again. I’m still kicking myself for missing the early registration deadline for Ironman 70.3 Racine—and as a result, have yet to actually sign up and cough up an extra $50 I could have saved myself if I had just remembered to visit the website before January 14. Maybe it’s just me, but once you miss out on one deadline for savings, you’re likely to do whatever you can to avoid missing the next one whether that means scouting out races that are less expensive to begin with, purchasing those awesome new Active Schwaggle deals or marking price increases on your calendar.

If you’re contemplating a race-filled summer, you might want to spend Saturday registering for those events. Come Sunday, the joke’s on us when the fees jump for some of our favorite races.

But which races am I referring to? Three come to mind:

Friday, March 30, 2012

Ready to rock—and run—a Chicago Half Marathon?

Faces from RnR Chicago, Credit: NVitkus
Forget the earbuds, the iPods and the prearranged playlists. If you’re big on running half marathons, especially entertaining ones, and you’re looking to possibly PR on a course that’s flatter than most, then you won’t want to miss this summer’s XSport Fitness Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon or the registration deal that ends March 31 (keep reading to see what I'm talking about).

It’s on July 22, which for once doesn’t conflict with a Chicago area triathlon or the Air and Water Show or anything else that spells summer in the Windy City. It’s 13.1 miles that covers portions of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon’s course (albeit in the opposite direction at some points) and cruises along the Lakefront Path—provided the 2011 map holds semi-true for 2012. It’s filled with runners—and walkers—of all ages who range from your average joe to the people you watch, or watched, on TV regularly (like Al Roker, Giuliana Rancic, Dan Evans from The Biggest Loser and Kelly Bensimon from the Real Housewives of New York City to name a few). It’s filled with bands who’ll be performing at every mile, giving runners on-course entertainment and music to power through those miles. It culminates with a post-race concert that promises not to disappoint—Bret Michaels was the headliner last year.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Tickets for Sale: SELF Workout in the Park NYC

It doesn't matter if it's in New York, San Francisco, Chicago or any other city. SELF Magazine's Workout in the Park will always have a special place in my heart and not only for the fitness festivities. Forget Vegas or a girls weekend getaway, I had part of my bachelorette party at the Chicago edition, thanks to my friends who know all too well that a fitness component was a near-necessity in the party-planning process (and I'm so thankful that they played along). So when Fit-Ink received news about tickets for the New York event going on sale on March 15, I wasn't about to ignore the request to talk about it. And before I forget, I should also mention that this year's events are happening in San Francisco on May 5, New York on May 12 and Chicago on June 2, and all the details and ticket information is available at

It doesn't matter if you've sweat through a SELF Workout in the Park before, this day of fitness is far from a "been there, done that" event. Organizers are quick to flex their exercise expertise to offer new and different workouts, celebrity hosts and perks from year to year. New Yorkers, here are just a few reasons to clear your calendar and make May 12 all about you and your health:

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Shamrock's Running Reporters

The media team before the 2011 Shamrock Shuffle
You watch the local news. You read the local papers. You listen to the local radio stations. You (maybe) read Fit-Ink or The Rundown or a local magazine where you'd find my name. But what you may not know about these recognizable (or not-so-recognizable in my case) names, faces and voices are that many of them are runners just like the rest of us. And even if they're not all runners of the hard-core variety--you know, the ones that sign up for at least one race every weekend and can sprint to the top of the leaderboard--they'll be coming out in full force at this year's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K on Sunday, March 25. Me included, lucky me considering I desperately need some running redemption after the half marathon I'd like to forget from the weekend. But anyway...

The race recently announced a unique feature that will be part of the Shuffle's 33rd running and will involve any interested members of the media. It's a charitable challenge among media members who will team up to compete for bragging rights, team prizes and a monetary award to be donated in the winning team's name to support the Chicago Park District's youth running programs. The Shamrock Shuffle Media Challenge runners don't have to be fast or fierce or even race regulars--and you don't have to feel like your far-from-fast pace, if you fall into that category, would deem you undesirable as a teammate. The draft will attempt to evenly divide runners to avoid stacking by pace, which could make winning the title even tougher. The winning team will be determined by the lowest cumulative team time which will be calculated by adding together each team member's 8K finish time.

Friday, March 16, 2012

More Fast Feet Commit to Shamrock Shuffle

Credit: Uwe Hermann at Flickr
And I thought this year's Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle was going to be plenty exciting with Abdi Abdirahman running it. But it's even better than a runner could imagine--and at 33 years young, it's not even a special anniversary for Shamrock like the Chicago Marathon will be when it turns 35 in October. Liliya Shobukhova, the fast female who has won the Bank of America Chicago Marathon the last three years, signed on. And then the female field only got faster and more competitive.

Who are some of those runners? Take a read:
  • Tera Moody. Originally from St. Charles, Ill., Moody is returning to the Windy City from Colorado Springs, Colo., to run the Shamrock Shuffle 8K. Moody is no stranger to the race--she's won it twice. She was also a star performer at St. Charles High School, a two-time Illinois state champion in the 1,600 meters, and placed 10th at the 2010 Bank of America Chicago Marathon with a personal best 2:30:53. Moody unfortunately missed January's U.S. Olympic Trials due to injury, but she's on the comeback trail and could find herself becoming a three-time Shuffle champion.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Top 10 Workout Songs for March

The weather's getting warmer, the days are growing longer, our training schedules are becoming more defined as those races we signed up for months ago are looming closer. I don't know about you, but that means a little switch up to the old workout playlist. Maybe it's because my old list reminds me of indoor workouts and I'm ready to transition outside, or maybe it's because I'm ready to push the pace and increase my current beats per minute that get me moving.

Run Hundred shared its top songs for March according to votes placed at its website, the most popular workout music site online. One of the songs is already on my playlist, added after I heard it on Grey's Anatomy so for once I feel less clueless about hits other exercisers are listening to. As for the list, here are the 10 hits Run Hundred found for March.
Not finding your favorites listed? To find more workout songs--and hear next month's contenders--check out Run Hundred's free database where you can browse songs by genre, tempo and era to build a workout playlist. Or check out the lists they shared with us in January and February.

What songs are you listening to this month?

Photo grabbed from Andrew Stawarz at flickr.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Fit-Pic: Sunday Funday

From the looks of the above photo and the date that I'm posting it (it is March, after all), you'd think that I was reminiscing about summer, counting down the days until I could find beachcombers, volleyballers, cyclists and more scattered across the sand on any given Sunday.

But no, this was actually snapped earlier today. It's March 11. We just sacrificed an hour of sleep thanks to Daylight Savings Time. Except I think everyone in Chicago forgot about that lost hour with our weekend weather. No heavy layers. No umbrellas (though Mother Nature is supposed to bring rain on Monday, but do we really care since we'll be back in the office?). No crowding into the gym to fight over treadmills and spinning bikes. Instead, we got a taste of summer: the hot runs (accompanied by the wish to have water with), the crowded Lakefront Path, the shirtless beach volleyball players, the sun tinting our skin. Oh yes, my face is showing a much rosier shade than it's sported all winter--sans goggle tans--and I even forgot about skiing for a while.

The one downfall to all this outdoor activity on a 23-hour day? I'm exhausted, and it's barely dinner time.

How did you spend your Sunday? Outside, I hope.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Skiing Face Off: Corduroy v. Powder

Tearing up some corduroy in Colorado
Untouched corduroy, calling to you to tear it up. Pristine powder that’s yearning for your skis to run through. Groomers that you can rip down again and again. Tracked up powder that’s not quite ready to fall into the crud category. You’ll ski it all because skiing is skiing whether you’re faced with an icy sheath, the mapped-out groomers or the best powder dump you could ask for. But if corduroy (aka smooth terrain) and powder were to face off, does one offer a tougher workout than the other?

That's what this exercise nerd thinks about when she can't go skiing--and when she sees pictures of smooth corduroy begging for her skis to take some quick, fast slalom turns, or the powder shots that everyone else is taking and posting to Facebook. It's a way to get my mind on skiing, but off the fact that I'm not out there (sigh). But what's interesting is the lack of concrete research to support which terrain reigns supreme. Do you have to work harder to ski powder or groomers? I took a look at the perks of each in this latest post at

So what's your take? Is it powder or corduroy that gives your the greater workout?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You Know You're a Skier When...

Skiing Vail's bowls in 2010.
I know that I like a lot of sports--and that I like to participate in a lot of sports. But there's no doubting the fact that I am a skier. I married a skier. I haven't gone a single season since 1992, if not 1987 when I was out with a broken leg (thanks to sledding into a fence), without skiing. And right now I'm trying to make myself feel better about the fact that it dumped in ski country and I can't be there to partake in it. So I'm thinking skiing, and what can maybe make some of us skiers.

You know you're a skier when...
  • Your Twitter feed is literally a string of posts about white-outs, snow conditions and powder days to be had. 
  • Your Facebook news contains picture upon picture of powdery action shots or snow-covered mountains.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Freebie Fitness Flywheel

You won't want to use this gearing at Flywheel. Credit
Try saying the first three words of this post's title five times fast. Freebie fitness Friday. Freebie fitness Friday. Then add one more word to the tongue twister, Flywheel, and see if it gets even harder to spit out of your mouth. The words might trip you up but it's worth it for free fitness on Friday at Flywheel Sports. That is, if you live or work in Chicago and can get yourself to the River North indoor cycling studio before 12:30 p.m. on Fridays.

The journalist in me knows that I should be sharing this news, but the cyclist in me is apprehensive about hitting publish. I love the word free when it's tacked onto a workout (that's how I found Flywheel in the first place). I love the 45-minute adrenaline-inducing, cardio-blasting workout that leaves my legs feeling limp and my arms turning to Jell-O with exercises that shouldn't feel as tough as they do. I love the loud music that drowns out the pain and makes my legs spin faster, perfect for this gal who always needs to work on her quick cadence. I love searching for my name on the torque board and pushing to get a higher power number to raise my ranking. I love that Flywheel is only a quick bike ride or short walk for me, and I can get there regardless of the weather Mother Nature throws at us.


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