Wednesday, March 20, 2013

An App for the Traveling Athlete

Running across Rocky Mountain trails. Hiking up Vail Mountain or in Denali. Cycling through San Diego and along its beaches. Racing a marathon in New York or an Ironman in Coeur d'Alene--or better yet, Kona.

I can dream about visiting these destinations as much as I want, but there's always one looming question. Where am I going to stay when I get there? Hotels can get expensive. Lodging that meets my every desire can be tough to find. A kitchen. Close to the beach or trails. Ski in-ski out. A place that's almost as good as home. I can deal with making my bed and reusing towels. And I hate begging for a mini-fridge just to keep my water bottles ice cold--I tried the cooler method once and it didn't work. Picky, I know. My requests might seem like impossible demands, but they might be more attainable than I thought.

Meet Dwellable, a vacation rental website with a recently revamped iPhone/iPad app that could be the answer to many a traveling athlete's where-to-stay woes when it comes to dream destinations.

I'd hardly call myself a traveling athlete. Yes, I've run marathons in California (on a BQ quest) and Boston. But most of my races are a few hours drive from home. I'm more the runner who travels, with the running happening more by accident than on purpose. Except after flipping through the Dwellable app--an entire phone battery's worth because I got lost in the pictures--I want to become a traveling athlete, a frequent one.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

March Madness Comes to Fleet Feet

Credit: Kiwithing
Oh March Madness. There's the basketball variety, the annual NCAA tourney that gets even non-college-basketball followers like myself filling out brackets. And there's the running variety, the Cary, Ill., half marathon that I'll be running Sunday morning. But next week Chicago is going to see another Madness, a tasting variety that combines basketball and running. Except you don't have to run, be a runner or even like running to join the fun.

Fleet Feet Sports. You know them as running stores--there are outposts across the country, and Chicago has two, Old Town and Lincoln Square, soon-to-be three when South Loop opens. And if you're a Chicago runner, you also know them--and other stores like Running Away and Universal Sole--as pretty good party planners with their fun runs, shoe launches, fashion shows and more, all themed around running.

On March 21, the day the NCAA tournament affectionately known as March Madness begins, Fleet Feet Chicago is bringing those parties to anyone, not just runners--and not just guys--with their Taste the Madness event. There's no run to kick off the evening--that doesn't mean you can't organize a few friends and go out before the party starts at 7 p.m. But there will be plenty of basketball watching, food sampling and drink tasting. Fleet Feet teamed up with local vendors like Koval Distillery, Goose Island, Evolution Wine and Spirits, and Stu's Kitchen to offer almost anything the eyes could drink from bloody marys and cocktails to craft beer and whiskey. And you can sip them from the 5-ounce glass you'll receive for attending. If you're hungry, try the food pairings from Chef Ryan Hutmacher of The Centered Chef (his recipes make my mouth water!). If you're sore from sitting at a desk all day, grab a mini-massage from the Urban Wellness folks. And if you need some man-scaping, catch a neck shave from State Street Barber.

Running with the local theme, the ticket proceeds from this fun night out will benefit the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. Tickets cost $20 and can be purchased online or at the door, if space allows. Whether your brackets fall apart or you score big, the night is for the kids. It sounds like fun, too. I'll drink to that.

Photo grabbed from Kiwithing at flickr.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Top Workout Songs to Sweat to: March 2013

Workouts feeling a little stale? It could be your playlist that's leaving you uninspired. Power songs that really aren't giving you that extra push, a playlist that needs to be retired, hits that you're tired of listening to, a mix that no amount of shuffling can fix. 

Sure, assembling a playlist can be tricky especially when you account for a song's beats per minute. But Run Hundred's Top 10 lists help take some of that load off, mostly because they feature tried-and-true songs that became top workout hits by votes placed on the site, the web's most popular workout music blog. This month's top 10 is missing the plethora of pop stars we're used to seeing in the rankings--blame it on the lack of pop songs released in February--and instead features an eclectic bunch of tracks. Here are March's top hits according to Run Hundred:

Want more workout song suggestions? Check out the free database at where you can  browse song selections by genre, tempo and era. 

What's playing during your workouts this month?

Photo grabbed from ataraxis at flickr.


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