Thursday, July 25, 2013

Meet Dean Karnazes, the Ultramarathon Man

Karnazes, right, ran the 2009 Chicago Marathon twice!

 In the running community, Dean Karnazes, the self-titled ultra-marathon man who’s run countless miles and long-distance races, is a popular guy. So popular among Chicagoans that when they hear he’s coming to the Windy City, they flock to meet him. Karnazes currently is touring the country and spreading the word about The North Face Endurance Challenge Series, which hosts trail races of varying distances including one in Wisconsin in September.

Last night, Running Away Multisport hosted Karnazes at their Chicago store at 2219 N. Clybourn. It was a packed house with Karnazes running three to five miles with the group and then answering questions about running, ultramarathons and more.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Fit-Pic: After the Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon

The VIP tent at today's Rock 'N' Roll Chicago Half Marathon never disappoints. Last year, I got to chat with Dr. Andy Baldwin after he left me in the dust at mile 2. And look who we ran into this year: Danni, Francelina and Jeff from season 14 of The Biggest Loser. Danni finished the race in 1:53 and Francelina finished in 2:42, but they don't even look tired. Neither does my friend (in green) who ran her first half marathon. I guess Danni can't be tired...she still has 13.1 more miles to prepare for when she runs the Chicago Marathon in October.

Friday, July 19, 2013

A Rock 'n' Roll Running Giveaway

The best things in life are free, right? So how's this for a Friday freebie: a race giveaway!

Yes, you read that correctly, we're giving away an entry to Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon that includes a pretty awesome VIP package that turns a race morning into a race weekend.

Our friends at Team Refuel have offered up these sweet VIP perks that include:

  • A half marathon entry, which would currently cost $150 at the expo. If you want less mileage, there's a 5K mini marathon ($50 at expo, if available).
  • A REFUEL visor
  • Entry to a pre-race cocktail party that's tonight at theWit hotel's ROOF bar. 
  • Access to the VIP area at Sunday's race. Grant Park will be buzzing with runners, but with this pass, you can avoid most of the craziness. The tent has chairs, snacks, drinks, a place to stash your gear (I swear it had one last year), and it's a great place to watch the post-race concert. 

OK, OK, so this is an extension of yesterday's giveaway, but no one entered (where is everyone? too last minute? too hot from these temperatures to think about racing a run?) and we wanted to extend the giveaway for a few more hours.

To enter: leave us a comment saying you want to be entered in this giveaway. If you're the solo commenter, congrats, you win, otherwise we'll choose a winner at random later today. And if you have trouble commenting, just email us at But we'll have to cut this off pretty soon to make sure you can get registered to run (as in, the first person who comments WINS).

Who's ready for an awesome weekend of running after this heat wave supposedly vanishes?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Win a Run Rock 'n' Roll Chicago VIP Package

You could run under this rocker at Sunday's race.
Who's racing this weekend? There's the Ironman 70.3 in Racine, the half Ironman distance and sprint distance triathlons in Door County, Wis., the Muddy Buddy, the Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon. If you're signed up for one of these, you couldn't have asked for better summer racing weather with a forecast showing cooler temperatures and sunny days. But you also probably registered, suspecting you might have a hot day to contend with. Lucky you for taking that risk.

Remember how hot and humid it was last year? Yeah, me and my heat-induced puffy fingers do. And I suffered through two too many runs in 90 degree temperatures (Really? At 6:30 p.m.?) earlier this week and don't dare go for a third today. So registering for races that occur during weeks that are historically hot, isn't exactly my MO. Unless I have a specific reason, like doing Racine last year to get a half Ironman under my belt before Ironman Wisconsin or running Rock 'n' Roll to meet Dr. Andy Baldwin (which turned into more of a chase), I'm going to wait on registering until the weather turns. If it doesn't, which is usually the case, I'm out. But if it does, I'm paying a pretty expensive registration fee. Darn you, weather.

My friends at Team Refuel were already kind enough to give me an entry to this Sunday's Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon, so I can run on what's sounding like a perfect summer morning. And the good news for one lucky Fit-Ink reader is that you can run, too. We're giving away a VIP entry to this race on July 21 plus some other cool perks thanks to Team Refuel! Yes, it's last minute, but if you've been training for the Chicago Marathon or another long-distance race, you're already logging that mileage.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Go, Go Gadget! An Activity Tracker Guide

Basic sketches for the pedometer appear in Leonardo Da Vinci’s work from the 15th century. Fortunately, design and technology have come a long way since then. Today’s activity trackers offer far more than the counting of steps, and they’re no longer clunky, pager-like devices that you have to clip to your belt. They’re wearable technology: light, sleek, and ultra portable. But with so many options available, finding the best tracker for your needs can be tricky. To save you time reading lots of product reviews, here’s a brief guide to the best activity trackers.

For those who are on the go
If you’re always on the move balancing work, home, and travel, an added personal device is the last thing you need, right? Maybe not. Some companies have designed activity trackers to suit the needs of the busiest user. For an activity tracker you can carry without worrying that it’ll get damaged or lost, a wrist based device is your best option. The Fitbit Flex and Jawbone UP are two activity trackers that come in a sleek bracelet form. However, there are some notable differences between the two.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Fit-Pic: Yoga at Oak Street Beach

Ah summer in Chicago. Warm days and nights, clear skies, refreshing breezes, a cooling lake that's not as frigid as it usually is. And then there are the activities that happen on said lakefront at any given time. Running, cycling, inline skating, beach volleyball, swimming (OK, so that's in the water), or as tonight would have it: yoga.

Oak Street Beach, technically the Levy Restaurants' food and drink outpost any Chicagoan would recognize at the south end of that beach, was the site of this semi-sweaty session--I broke into a sweat though I don't know if everyone did--of sun salutations, stretches and asanas led by Equinox instructor Stacy Levy Mann. What's not to love about staring at Lake Michigan and having the city's skyscrapers rising up behind you while working out? I loved it-- and I can't wait to get back next week.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Surf, Sand and Yoga

How's that for a workout view?
Running on the sand feels about 10 times harder than it does on the pavement or trail. A beach boot camp seems about 10 times more difficult than it does at the gym—maybe it was all the sprinting? I can only imagine that doing yoga on the beach would be more challenging, in a good way, than it is in the studio—even if it’s a heated room and I’m dripping sweat all over my mat. You have the sand’s uneven surface that even a yoga mat can’t completely flatten out to challenge your balance. You have the sun radiating its summer heat to challenge your temperature acclimation. You have the wind’s cool breezes and the city’s humidity to mess with your body’s cooling system. You have the yoga itself to challenge your mind-body connection and any uber-tight muscles.

There will be plenty of yogis taking their practice to Chicago’s Oak Street Beach this month. Every Tuesday (except for July 2), Equinox is bringing yoga to the beach for ‘Find Your Chi,” a four-week series of exclusive yoga classes. These sweat sessions happen from 6:15 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at Oak Street Beach Food + Drink (1001 North Lake Shore Drive), the city’s go-to beach bar that’s just steps from Lake Michigan, and are led by Equinox instructor Stacy Levy Mann.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Top 10 Songs to Sweat to: July 2013

What's blasting through your headphones this month? Whether you're running, cycling, hitting the beach, or tearing up in the gym to shed that winter layer and get more bikini ready (yeah, I'm still working on mine even if it is almost the 4th of July), you know you need some tunes to power that sweat session.

And to keep that playlist from hitting repeat more times than you'd like, Run Hundred recently unveiled its top 10 songs for July based on votes received on the site. You'll find a lot of fast beats, remixes and hits you might not be able to get enough of when you hear them on the radio. Here are this month's hits:

Want more workout songs for your playlist? Check out the free database at where you can browse song selections by genre, tempo and era to find music that's best suited for your workout.

What songs are currently on your playlist that you can't stop listening to?

Monday, July 1, 2013

What's The Run Project All About?

We run to stay in shape. We run to lose weight. We run to push ourselves to our mental and physical maximums. We run raise funds for a cause. We run to support someone else or someone who can't. We all have our different reasons for running, right? And if we all had to answer a question as simple as "Why do you run?" we'd hear several different answers.

If you ask Jon Rankin, an elite runner who made the 2008 U.S. Olympic Team as an alternate in the 1500-meter run, that question, he'd likely say that he's running to save the world. He'd also probably tell you that he runs to beat his kidney disease and that running saved his life after he was diagnosed with a terminal kidney disease; that diagnosis gave his running a different purpose. Rankin and Benjamin Auerbach are co-founders of The Run Project, a company that started all because of a 2011 conversation the duo had about how running could save the world. The sport can save those who run, or runners can save others by lacing up their shoes for a charitable cause.

The Run Project is the online community for sharing those stories. As its site says, The Run Project is "home of the 60-second running story." The idea is to create one-minute videos as a way to connect runners, the charities and causes they run and fundraise for, and donors. And those videos can also serve as inspiration, help find causes worth supporting, connect runners and their stories, and aid in using running to save the world. Cool stuff, right?


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