Friday, November 21, 2014

Skiing's Open Season: Where to Ski This Weekend

If there's one thing that makes cold weather and snow tolerable, it's skiing. You won't find me layered head to toe running on the Lakefront Path very often (I'm a mostly treadmill girl once it dips below 30), but I will bundle up--handwarmers, four shirts and all--to carve turns on the snow. The ski season may have started off slow with Keystone and Breckenridge having to postpone their opening dates, but it's certainly getting into full swing now.

Skiers were treated to epic conditions at Breckenridge, Winter Park and Wolf Creek (we heard Sunshine Village in Banff, Alberta, Canada, was pretty good too). You can thank the storm that blanketed ski country with much-needed snow in time for last weekend's resort openings. But lucky for you (and me since I think I'm hitting up one of Colorado's finest on Sunday), the colder weather that stuck around is making this weekend's openings equally as amazing.

Here's where you'll want to make some tracks before the family comes to town for Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

One Day, One Low Price: Rock 'n' Roll Running Series Offers Discount Today Only

Faces from the race - Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Chicago
What's a common complaint among runners? That race registration fees can get expensive. Multiple 5Ks, 10-milers and half marathons that are creeping toward $100 (or more), marathons that are at least $100 (or more than $200 if you're running NYC).  When you run a lot of races, you start to feel like you're getting bled dry on the fees alone. So if you could save some dough and not pay top dollar for a race you think you'll run next year, wouldn't you take it? Of course! Here's your chance.

Today the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series launched #MyRnRTour, a new interactive race calendar planning tool for its 2015 races. To celebrate, the series is giving runners a hefty one-day discount on its race registrations where runners can register for Rock 'n' Roll series races for as low as $59 in select cities. Instead of costing upwards of $100 (if you drag your feet on registering, that is), the 2015 HumanaVitality Rock 'n' Roll Chicago Half Marathon costs $70 while its accompanying 5K costs $35--an offer good only on November 20. The 2015 race will be held the weekend of July 18-19 in downtown Chicago featuring local bands blasting tunes along the course and concluding with a headliner concert at the finish line.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fit-Pic: Winter is Coming!

Snow on the peaks of Crested Butte? Sure, it's only October (barely), but three inches of fresh snow this time of year is not an un-welcome sight in Colorado. When the rest of the country curses the snow, Colorado, its Rocky Mountain towns especially, embrace it.

And why? Because it means that winter--and skiing all that snow--is coming. Fall colors might be lovely to look at (this coming from the girl who wasn't even a fan of the rich yellow, orange and red hues until a weekend in Aspen changed that), but bare trees and snow piled as high as the rooftops signal a season that's more fun to play in. And knowing that Crested Butte Mountain Resort, and other Colorado resorts who shared pictures on social media, got some snow makes the cooler weather and switch from shorts to pants more tolerable for this girl. I might savor every last bit of summer, but skiing keeps me sane in winter.

Who else is ready to hit the slopes? Fifty-four days and counting if you're waiting for Crested Butte's free skiing when it opens on November 26, the day before Thanksgiving.

Photo looking at Paradise Divide shot by Chris Segal and provided by Crested Butte Mountain Resort.

Monday, August 11, 2014

A New Kinda Girls' Night Out...with New Balance

Better get these laced and ready for Wednesday!
There are a lot of things I could be doing on a Wednesday night...actually cooking dinner for once instead of tossing together a salad (or grabbing something at the store), watching the new Top Chef Duels, catching up on the ever-growing errand list, or putting in some QT in the pool, on the bike or out on the trail.

But what's unfortunate about these options is that they're all activities I'd be doing alone. And while sometimes we all like a little alone time, I get enough of that other times of the year--like nights when my husband's on call. Besides, it doesn't take much arm-twisting when a night out involves fitness. Maybe when I have to drive there, but not when it's only a short bike ride away.

So when I heard about New Balance Chicago's new Girls' Night Out, I knew what I'd be doing on Wednesday, August 13. Question is: who wants to join me?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fit-Pic: The Green Miles

I wish I could say that this trail blazer was me, but I can only dream of tackling this trail--a gem of one, if I might add--in Crested Butte, Colorado. You see, it was my husband who texted me this photo from the mountain town we fell in love with back in March during a ski weekend (as for the trail name, I'm drawing a complete blank on what he called it.) He was doing the mountain biking, and he "kindly" wanted to show me what I was missing as I chugged along on the trainer logging those Ironman miles. Judging from the picture, CB is as awesome in the summer as it is in the winter.

Jealous? Absolutely. Not only does the greenery stretch for miles, but the trail doesn't look too rugged for these terrible-at-mountain-biking legs. Even though the saddle on my mountain bike is about the most uncomfortable thing ever (that's what a bike upgrade complete with new Adamo saddle will teach you), I probably would have sucked it up just to avoid the hours I was pedaling...indoors. Not by choice on that trainer sesh, mind you, but it was the best option I had in southeast Michigan where I was spending the weekend. And I definitely could have taken a slice, or two or three, of pizza from The Secret Stash after my ride. There's always next year. That's what I'm telling myself anyway.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Take Me Out to the Ball Game--and Score an Entry to Strike Out ALS 5K

Just me and my media team buds after last year's race.
Baseball and beer? They go together: You’re most likely going to sip—or slam—a brew when you’re at the ballpark. Baseball and brats? Maybe it’s a brat or maybe it’s a hot dog, but it’s the meat in a bun that you’re ordering at the concession stand before the 7th inning stretch. But baseball and running? Sure, there’s plenty of running on the field between rounding the bases and sprinting for fly balls. But if you really want a connection between the two sports, or just run a 5K anywhere besides the lakefront or Lincoln Park, you’ll find it at the Strike Out ALS 5K, which does a riff on Take Me Out to the Ballgame that any runner can appreciate.

The Strike Out ALS 5K trades the typical Chicago 5K backdrop—the lakefront, the park, the city streets—for one of the ballpark variety with a course that starts outside U.S. Cellular Field, home of the White Sox, and finishes inside with a loop around the warning track (or at least that's how the course flowed in 2012 and 2013, but more to come on that.) And as its name would imply, it’s a race that sticks with the baseball theme from its location to its beneficiary. The 5K serves as a fundraiser for the Les Turner ALS Foundation, which is “Chicago’s leader in research, patient care, and education about ALS,” according to its website. ALS, short for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, and Gehrig was one of the most iconic and respected players in baseball who unfortunately had to quit the game far too soon.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Fit-Pic: The Calm Before the 70.3 Storm

Nothing like 1,500 or so bikes racked in transition at the Boulder Reservoir before tomorrow's Ironman 70.3 Boulder. Also known as the Pro Town Showdown, it's the one race on the circuit where not only most of the pro triathletes who call Boulder home come to toe the line but also where they can sleep in their own beds the night before the race. If only I could be so lucky....

Who wants to guess how much that transition area is worth with so many primo rides parked there for the night?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fit-Pic: What Your Legs Look Like After a Trail Run

It was a tough choice, but my dirty legs won over my Tyrannosaurus Rex-looking arms (apparently my arms don't look normal when I run trails) when it comes to the image I'd prefer to remember in conjunction with today's 10K Spring Runoff. Not that I expected to be clean after running 6.8 miles across Vail's trails, but I never thought my legs would be covered with so much dirt. That was what last week's Mudderella was for--when I still found mud all over my body after splashing into the Hat Trick obstacle's pool and after showering in the Rinse & Revive area.

The Runoff's course didn't even seem that muddy, dusty or dirty--plus I'm so slow when it comes to running down the trail that I couldn't have been kicking up that much dirt. But one glance at my lower half at the finish line and I was sorely mistaken. Instead of being sweaty, and caked in the white salty residue I'm accustomed to after most warm-day races, my legs had acquired a shade of brown that no summer tan could ever match.

Do your legs look this dirty after you've been running on the trail?

As for my T-Rex arms, I'm the poster child for those T-Rex Hates Pushups T-shirts. You'll have to come back to see those because I'm too embarrassed to post them anywhere but a race report.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Fit-Pic: Vail Pass Here We Come

Talk about some serious bragging rights these runners are attempting to earn. They're just steps into the Vail Pass Half Marathon, one of the three running-centered events--the Badass Dash and the Spring Run-off are the others--that takes place during the GoPro Mountain Games, held at Vail from June 5 to 8, 2014. With a name like the Vail Pass Half Marathon, you'd be correct if you guessed runners would be running (or walking, stumbling, dragging their legs, etc.) up Vail Pass, whose summit is roughly 13 miles east of the Golden Peak start line.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Fit-Pic: Udder Century 2014

This is far from a glamour shot of the annual Udder Century Ride (Liz's first 100-miler way back when!) organized by the McHenry County Bicycle Club. But it's pretty much all I have to offer from the Sunday ride given that I should have taken pictures of the bikes and cyclists en masse at the rest stops and I wish I were talented enough to snap photos while pedaling (GoSonja: what's your trick?).

Had I done either of these, you'd get to see more bike traffic--the rest stop that does double-duty as stops 2 and 4 was hopping--and the craziest parade of tractors I've ever seen while traveling through farm country (the Ironman Wisconsin bike course in all its farm glory had nothing on this). There had to be at least 10 tractors in different colors, including hot pink, and sizes, from the petite to the monster truck variety, rolling down the road and even holding up some fellow riders. Apparently a course marshall for a time trial that was sharing part of our route thought it was a good idea to let the tractors roll through their stop sign and make the cyclists stop and wait.

One thing is always guaranteed at the Udder: It's a perennial favorite of Chicago-area cyclists. We come out in droves to ride, rain or shine (we had both today), and smooth sailing or holy headwind. These are just a small handful of the bikes scattered about Donley's Wild West Town, where the ride starts and finishes. The rest were either still on the course battling those darn headwinds--they were rough--or already stored in the cars as we noshed on the endless pasta and salad each participant is treated to at the end of the ride. Texas toast-style garlic bread never tasted so good!

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Fit-Pic: Mudderella's Wheels in Motion

If you ever want to test your balance and core strength, this obstacle, one of the 13 (or was it 14?) obstacles Mudderella participants faced earlier today on the Chicago course, is where you can do it.

Wheels in Motion looks like something you'd find on a playground--and probably was a recess activity you'd leap at doing when you were eight. But maybe it's the added height and weight I've acquired since I was in elementary school (and the fear of falling I've gained as I've grown older and have more distance between my body and the ground): Crossing those tires is challenging. More than I thought it'd be.

Step too quickly and you're flipping the tire; step too slow and you're freaking about the line forming behind you while trying to grab the rope for your next move. Or at least that was what rolled through my brain on this obstacle that looked easier than it actually felt. Unless that was just my core telling me I ignored it all winter. Every time I thought I had the tire-crossing figured out, between engaging my core, getting my balance in check and finding the sweet spot on the tire, I'd be thrown for a loop. The tire would start to flip, I couldn't reach the rope, and I felt like the one fool up there who could make a seemingly less daunting challenge, compared to the mud pools we tackled earlier in the course anyway, that much more difficult. But hey, that was just part of the fun, challenge and skill of Mudderella--and I'd do all again. When's the next race?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

May's going out with a bang

You know it’s summer when it’s not a question of how you can workout, train or race without spending a Saturday and Sunday in the gym, but how you can cram all of those outdoor activities into your already busy weekend. Memorial Day Weekend has nothing on this coming weekend, which signals the end of May and the beginning of June.

Even with last weekend’s arsenal of perennial favorites, the Soldier Field 10, Bike the Drive and the Ridge Run, to get you outside, Saturday, May 31, promises to be even more action packed. Check out these four events that’ll get you running, sweating, stretching and putting all those winter workouts to the test come the weekend. Just think: At least you have Sunday to sleep them off!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Lindsey Vonn supports Wings for Life World Run May 4

Wings for Life World Run logo,
PRNewsFoto/Wings for Life World Run
She didn't race most of the World Cup ski season. She missed the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Lindsey Vonn may have been absent from the skiing action we followed this winter as she underwent knee surgery, again, and rehab, but she's not letting a bum knee keep her from participating in the Wings for Life World Run on May 4. In March, Vonn vowed her support of the first-time event even though she won't be able to run it because of her knee.

"I'm inspired by the Wings for Life World Run and what they are trying to accomplish, which is finding a cure for spinal cord injuries," said Vonn, a Wings for Life Ambassador. "This is an opportunity for everyone to be part of a global race - and run for those who can't."

The Wings for Life World Run is a running race that was organized to raise awareness and funds for spinal cord injury research. All of the registration fees ($50 at the Denver event) go directly to the Wings for Life Foundation to fund research to find a cure for spinal cord injuries.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Crested Butte Reopens for the Weekend

Bonus ski weekends are the best. OK, so maybe I've only skied one of them--last year when Vail had so much snow on its official closing day on April 14 that it reopened a good portion of the mountain the following weekend--but it was pretty amazing, and I'd do it again without thinking twice.

So when I heard that Crested Butte was reopening for one final hoo-rah of the season, I was giddy. I skied there for the first time this season, and on a weekend where freshies were nowhere to be found, yet you wouldn't find me hesitating to go again, powder stashes or not. It also helps that we found some of the best pizza west of the Mississippi and the closest thing to Joy Yee's Governor's Chicken outside Chicago.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Act Fast! Register Before the Chicago Marathon Lottery Closes

Tomorrow's not tax day. Nor is it Marathon Monday where we'll all be watching the 118th running of the Boston Marathon. But Monday, April 7, is a special Monday if you are in the market for running a fall marathon, specifically the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. It's the Monday when registration closes for the October 12 race.

Sure, it seems odd to be announcing that a race's registration is closing. Usually we're waiting in anticipation for registration's to open (hello Ironman) so we can grab one of the coveted spots before they're gone. But after last year's Chicago Marathon registration debacle where runners flooded the registration system and caused it to crash, the race turned to a lottery system to randomly select entrants who weren't running with a charity partner, had completed the race multiple times in recent years, or were fast enough to use a qualifying time to enter.

At noon central time tomorrow, the registration period will end for those runners who'd wish to enter the marathon's lottery system or register as a legacy finisher or time qualifier. Lottery entries are not guaranteed, but those entrants will be notified of their status on April 14. Time qualifiers need to have run verifiable races after Jan. 1, 2012, of sub 3:15:00 for men and sub 3:45:00 for women. Legacy finishers need to have finished the Chicago Marathon five or more times within the last 10 years (2004-2013).

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Fit-Pic: My Happy Place...on Skis

Everyone has their happy place. The fantasy land Happy Gilmore imagined. Cruising the Queen K on a bike. Scuba diving off the gulf of Thailand--or maybe in Banff, which I didn't know was even an option until last fall.  Running the trails outside your house. Swimming in the open water of an ocean or lake.

It's the place that puts a smile on your face even when the conditions might not be optimum. It's the spot you want to go to again and again. It's where you plain and simple just feel happy.

Here's mine: Bolshoi Ballroom (or at least what I think is Bolshoi Ballroom if I'm reading the trail signs correctly) at Vail. Located in Siberia Bowl in Vail's Back Bowls, it's easily my go-to ski run.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

I Want America's Best Summer Job in Vail!

Hanging creekside at the 2013 GoPro Mountain Games
It might be one of the most overused phrases about Vail: "You come for the winters but stay for the summers." I've heard it, I've had it repeated to me at media events, I've read it, I've even experienced a weekend of it at last summer's GoPro Mountain Games. But what's so appealing about a place that was built specifically for skiing during the one season that's not for skiing?

There must be something special about that mountain flora and fauna that makes those snow seekers stay. And Vail wants one person to find out this summer and share those experiences--and get paid for it--in 10 weeks at America's Best Summer Job.

Monday, March 31, 2014

6 Chicago Races Whose Fees Go Up at Midnight

Finish on the 50-yard line at the Soldier Field 10
on Saturday, May 24. 
I hate (big bold hate here) paying full price for race registrations. And when you participate in a lot of runs and triathlons like I do, especially those half- and full-Ironmans, your wallet takes a huge hit.

I'm still in the process of finishing my 2013 taxes, and itemizing everything that can't be written off, but I don't want to even think about how much money I spent on races in the last year. Or how much I could have saved if I didn't wait until the last-minute to sign-up for some races because I didn't know if my body would hold up to be able to cross the finish line.

Surely, I'm not alone here. Who doesn't wait until the weather gets warmer or the first race of the season has been completed before plotting out the rest of your running and racing season? OK, so I have a friend who might sign up for everything and then bail on all those races that sounded pretty exciting in January but lost their luster come June and July. For the rest of us, we weren't ready to pull the trigger in the middle of winter, but we're ready to add some races to the calendar now before we're paying full price (or watching the race fill).

Tomorrow might be April Fool's Day, but it's no joke that some race registrations will rise with the start of a new month. No fooling here: The clock's counting down to save on these six Chicago races.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Fit-Pic: Up Close with a Sochi Paralympics Medal

When the 2014 Olympians and Paralympians won medals in Sochi at the Winter Games, they really won some hardware. Not that I'd expect anything less, but let's just say that Keith Gabel's bronze medal, which he won in para-snowboard cross, was H-E-A-V-Y. According to details about the medals presented in Sochi, it should be.
  • Each medal is 10mm thick and has a diameter of 100mm.
  • While the Olympic medals weigh between 460 and 531 grams, the Paralympic medals weigh between 585 and 686 grams. 
  • The metals used to make these medals come from Russia. 
  • The bronze medal, which I got to check out in more detail courtesy of Keith Gabel, is made of 585 grams of bronze. 
  • The Paralympic medals are designed in the same style as the Olympic medals, but they also have inscriptions written in Braille. 
  • It takes roughly 18 hours to make one medal--and 1,300 were produced for the Games!
I got up close and personal with the bronze medal Keith Gabel won in para snowboard cross at an event Thursday night in Colorado Springs (so glad I randomly found out about that one!). But I didn't dare wear it around my neck after he gave the OK to look at it. Gabel said the medal could get tarnished if it touched a zipper, so I kept it as far away from my jacket as I could.

After listening to Gabel speak about how his road to the 2014 Paralympic Games, I still had one question: How did he wear this hardware around his neck for his hour-long presentation and not show any signs of it weighing him down? He must have gotten used to wearing it for long hours celebrating post-race in Sochi!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Fit-Pic: Crested Butte

Skiing, anyone? There's always a first time for everything, and this weekend marked my first time skiing Crested Butte in Colorado. Going in, I admittedly only knew a few things about the resort.

  • My dad skied there in 1986 and loved it.
  • I watch too much reality TV and still remember scenes from town when The Hills' Heidi, who was from Crested Butte, and Spencer Pratt would visit her family. Did I take note of where they dined for some post-ski eats? Nope. 
  • While you'd find plenty of terrain for skiers of all abilities, Crested Butte primarily catered to the expert crowd. That might not be the reputation the mountain is going for, but it's what was pushing my husband and I to head west and check it out--him especially. 
  • And that peak in the background? It's the resort's namesake, Mt. Crested Butte.
But what a place! Off the beaten--and heavily trafficked--Interstate 70, Crested Butte is a happy place for weekend ski warriors. That's code for minimal lines on a Saturday coupled with awesome terrain to tackle. Hopefully Sunday brings more of the same--and maybe even some freshies.

Disclaimer: lift tickets to Crested Butte Mountain Resort were provided by CBMR.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Why You'll Want to Run With Nike Tonight

Run with Nike and meet Matt Forte, #22
for the Chicago Bears, March 13. Credit

Two Chicago Bears who are invested in the Chicago running community? And the opportunity to meet them in the same week? I'm more of a fair-weather Bears fan (I've never been to Soldier Field for a football game but I've been there countless times for running events), but even I know this is too good to be true. It's just too bad the weather can't seem to cooperate and throw us a bone with warmer temperatures and less of a wintry mix on the ground. Or as Charles Tillman said on Saturday at his inaugural Peanut Tillman 5K, "It's Bears weather!"

One look outside your window--or one step outside--and you know that spring is far from springing. It's snowy, it's cloudy, it's cold. Daylight savings may have ended over the weekend, but the weather is frightful more than it is delightful.

We're still running in our winter layers and Yaktrax--or abandoning the outdoors for the treadmill. But whether our running bodies like it or not, the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle, the Chicago race that kicks off the unofficial start to the city's running season, is a little more than two weeks away on Sunday, March 30. Hard to believe the running season will be starting soon when winter seems so never-ending.

Who doesn't need a little shove out the door when running conditions are far from ideal? Nike Running Bucktown has some of that running motivation...especially tonight. The store's Run Club, which meets every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at 1640 N. Damen, will host Matt Forte, a running back for the Chicago Bears, and Carey Pinkowski, executive race director for the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle and Bank of America Chicago Marathon. After runners return to the store, Forte will host a short Q&A and share an overview of his foundation and the charity team that he's recruiting for the upcoming Shamrock Shuffle.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Fit-Pic: Snowshoe Sunday

Bluebird skies, spring-like temperatures, 12 inches of fresh powder. Sounds like a great day for skiing, right? But snowshoeing? Isn't that more for the days when you're not itching to make fresh tracks, tear up the powder, or ski until your legs practically fall off?

Not today. Today was all about swapping the skis for the snowshoes. And racing--or at least crossing a finish line and having a time tacked onto the 5K you just logged.

At Beaver Creek Resort, Sunday, March 2, was the day of the final race of the 2014 Beaver Creek Snowshoe Series. I had already missed the first race of the series and skipped the second to ski, so the snowshoes were going to have to make an appearance whether I wished I was skiing or not. So snow or no snow, I'd be parting with my skis to strap on my snowshoes to tackle the cut trails and singletrack at McCoy Park, the resort's nordic center that sits 10,000-plus feet above sea level at the top of the Strawberry Park lift.

And I wasn't alone. Just look at these snowshoers snaking their way across the trail before getting to the singletrack. All people I wanted to catch up to as I got stalled at the start with a snowshoe that wouldn't stay on my foot. But more on that (and more pictures) after I've recovered from the weekend's active adventures. The Talons Challenge and Snowshoe Series take a lot out of this girl!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Play Hooky and Ski!

Lift lines, crowded runs, hiked-up hotel rates, struggling to find a place to sit at lunch, traffic delays (especially if you're an I-70 regular in Colorado). If you've skied your favorite resort or explored a new one over the weekend (and who hasn't?), you know these are part of what comes with skiing on Saturday and Sunday when everyone seemingly is off work. You've learned to accept it, but even the best of the weekend warriors want to ski at least once in the middle of the week when everyone else is at work.

If you needed an excuse for taking those mid-week runs--and holidays don't count--here's one: the third annual National Play Hooky & Ski Week. Running from Monday, March 3 to Friday, March 7, Play Hooky & Ski Week is your chance to ski when your buddies are still at work--unless you convince them to come too--and find corduroy at noon and make fresh tracks in the late afternoon because the crowds are thinner and less likely to hunt down every last powder stash on the mountain. I already snuck out once this season--so what if it was yesterday--and next week can't come soon enough.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

And the Fit-Kit Goes To...

After being up in the mountains skiing for a week, it's rough getting back into the daily grind. It's even worse when the Olympics--and your favorite winter events like skiing--are airing and you become as obsessed, or more, with watching the two weeks worth of winter sports as you get with the summer edition (skiing is my winter swimming). Add in work and what feels like a lot of catching up, and well, announcing the winner of the Fit-Kit was honestly the last thing on my mind.

But enough whining about why I'm so late in hitting the publish button on this announcement. You'd think it'd be easy with a contest at hand, yet it took me all day (and a skipped workout) to wrap things up. Thanks for your patience!

Without further ado, the winner of the Core Power Fit-Kit is...


Random picker selected your name from the bunch to be the Fit-Kit recipient! To claim your prize, please message with your mailing address so I can have the Fit-Kit sent to you. Oh and I was warned to tell the winner to allow up to four weeks for delivery. Hope you don't mind waiting for this bag full of goodies--it's worth it though!

Congratulations, Poppy K., and thanks to everyone who shared a comment, followed Fit-Ink on social media and entered to win! Seriously, I wish I had more than one of these to giveaway so there could be more Fit-Ink fans walking around with these Fit-Kits.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Top 10 Workout Songs of February 2014

Credit: e-magic at flickr
Who isn't complaining about the wrath of old man winter this year? It's been bone-chilling cold. It's been snowy and icy, making me think I up and moved to Alaska or Canada's Northwest Territory. Sure, those snowy conditions work for skiing, but good luck if you're trying to train for Boston or just grab a break from the indoor workout. get the bike off the trainer in the living room (I'm convinced mine's shacking up there until at least May).

If there were ever a month where I could use a new workout playlist, this would be it. I have yet to find a decent Colorado Springs radio station--yes, I'm sorely missing WTMX and WXRT in Chicago for helping to fill out my playlist--and my regular playlist is about the most overused bunch of songs ever. What I need is Run Hundred's latest top 10 list of workout songs. Exactly what I need to power me through that next sweat session.

Here's the full list according to votes placed at Run Hundred, the web's most popular workout music blog.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Core Power Fit-Kit Giveaway

Sometimes we need a little help with our New Year's resolutions. Take me: the girl who said she'd add more to Fit-Ink in 2014 (sorry about 2013 being so void of content). It's already February and I'm no where near my content goals--and this post, which I had wanted to share more than two weeks ago, is finally going live now. There's the proof that we can all have slip-ups whether they occur in a productivity goal, a weight loss resolution or a fitness plan. According to, almost half of us have infrequent success in achieving our New Year's resolutions. Not good if those goals are to lose weight or stay fit and healthy, two resolutions that crack the top 10.

If your New Year's resolution is a fit one, Core Power, the real-milk based sports recovery drink that was recently named the "Official Protein Drink of the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games," wants to help keep you on track. They assembled a Fit-Kit full of tools you can use before, during and after your workouts. We're talking a gym bag, a yoga mat, a stability ball, a workout towel, a spill-proof water bottle, and plenty of Core Power to recharge the body after exercise. What's even better is that we're giving away one of these Fit-Kits courtesy of Core Power!

Friday, January 31, 2014

Crested Butte's Super Bowl Spirit

Game? What game? I'm thinking more about the two feet of snow that dropped in the Rockies not who's going to win Super Bowl XLVIII (that reminds me, I still have to enter my friend's pool). I'm guessing I'm not the only skier mulling these thoughts, especially the Colorado ones who could have used what's being called the storm of the season to call in sick with the powder flu.

Think about it:  The Super Bowl couldn't be more perfectly timed with a ski day. Most resorts stop their lifts at 4 p.m. and the kickoff is at 4:30 p.m., mountain time. Plenty of time to ski a final run before dashing into a slope side bar to watch the Denver Broncos face off against the Seattle Seahawks. And extra calories in the bank for more beer and wings that you know you'd eat regardless of whether you skied, ran or did nothing all day. Besides, with all the snow falling, how could you want to leave the mountain early?

If you want to maximize your Super Bowl weekend, one of your best bets is to head to Crested Butte Mountain Resort (CBMR) where they're making the most of the Broncos quest for the Lombardi trophy. Over the weekend, you'll find everything from discounted lift tickets for supporting the Broncos to a tailgate party complete with a wing-eating contest and giveaways.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Super Bowl Skiing: Liftopia's Big Game Day Sale

It doesn't take much to convince me to go skiing. When it's cold, snowy and the middle of winter, there's really nothing I'd rather do. Even on Super Bowl Sunday. Actually, skiing before watching the Super Bowl practically became a tradition in my house. My mom, my sister and I would ski at the local hill, but unlike every other Sunday, we'd get better parking, a seat in the lodge for a quick warm-up and nearly no lift lines. Better than watching the Bills lose to the Cowboys...again. 

Apparently we were onto something 20 years ago. "Super Bowl Sunday is one of the best days of the year to get out on the hill," said Evan Reece, co-founder and CEO of Liftopia, the largest online and mobile marketplace for lift tickets and other mountain activities. "You'll find wide-open trails, no lift lines, and great bars and restaurants to view the game when it starts at 6:30 p.m. EST. You might as well burn some calories on the hill before you dive into those wings." 

Pizza may have been my food of choice as a kid, but the pre-game workout hasn't changed much. And Liftopia is making it even more tempting to ski before the big game. On Tuesday morning, the site launched a lift ticket sale that'll make Super Bowl Sunday one of the more affordable days of the season to hit the mountain. With snow in the forecast, it's a hard offer to resist. 

The Game Day Sale, as it's been called, has become somewhat of an annual tradition for Liftopia, and skiers and boarders can reap the benefits at more than 250 resorts across North America. Liftopia's biggest sale of the year on lift tickets has prices starting as low as $19.99, as much as 55 percent off walk-up window rates. Now there's a huge thank you to my wallet!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A New 5K in Town: Charles "Peanut" Tillman 5K

We cheer for him on NFL Sundays, now Peanut
Tillman cheers for runners at his inaugural 5K.
It's kind of hard to get excited about running when it's freezing outside. You don't want to bundle up. You don't want to slip on the ice. You don't want to get all the way to the path only to wish you had your snowshoes instead of your running shoes. You don't want to race in the bitter cold that accompanies a morning start. And even the treadmill is getting boring--really boring. OK, so maybe that's just me and how I deal with this craziness nicknamed Chiberia.

But yesterday my eyes perked up at Universal Sole's announcement of the Charles Tillman 5K coming to Chicago on Saturday, March 8. A new running race and one that's not happening in the always jam-packed summer? It's love at first read. Here's why I'm psyched.

  1. I love new running races--a chance to try something new--as much as I love powder days. Maybe even a little more. While I haven't taken action yet, I'm super tempted to skip a ski weekend for this run.
  2. The race is on Saturday, March 8, at Lakeshore East (update: with a growing field of participants, the race will now start and end at Soldier Field). It has to warm up--even just a little--by then. Right? Let's hope so.
  3. Universal Sole is partnering with the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation to put on this race. If you've been to one of their Burgers and Beer fun runs or trail races, you know you're guaranteed to have a good time--and not go home hungry!
  4. Speaking of Charles "Peanut" Tillman, who's up for the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year honors, he sounds like a class act. I say sounds because I've missed literally every other opportunity to run with him. He also landed the top spot on Huffington Post's 'nice' list to close out 2013.
  5. All of the proceeds from the race will go toward the Cornerstone Foundation, which helps hospitalized children including his own daughter when she was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Talk about running for a worthy cause. 
  6. Runners might see more than just Peanut Tillman. It sounds like the entire Tillman family will be in tow as well as some other Chicago Bears players.
  7. For me, this race could be my chance to shoot for a faster 5K time, something I attempted to do at last year's Ravenswood 5K--and did for the first mile--until I tweaked something and practically dragged half my body across the finish line (we don't like to relive that race much). This winter I've been running at altitude (a good old 6,000 to 7,000 feet up depending on which path or treadmill I'm tackling for the day) so it'll be nice to run where it's flat and my lungs aren't fighting for air most of the time. 
Go to to get registered and start counting down the days to warmer weather. After all, the temperatures can't get much worse than what we've already suffered through...especially come March.

Photo grabbed from Jeffrey Beall at flickr

Friday, January 10, 2014

10 Reasons to Ski This Weekend...or Any Weekend of January's Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month

Vail, I'm coming to ski you--hopefully as good as I did last April!
There’s powder in the forecast, which means you’ve had a case of the powder flu growing all week. The winter chill that spread across most of the country just after the new year has finally thawed out (hello 40 degrees ABOVE zero in the Midwest after a few days of 40 BELOW zero wind chill temperatures). And while we’re all a little bummed that Lindsey Vonn announced her withdrawal from next month's Sochi Olympics, skiers aren’t going to let that ruin their winter fun. If anything, we’ll just ski harder and take a run or two for Vonn.

If there’s a weekend your skis shouldn’t collect dust in the closet, this one is it. The holidays are over. The resorts are clear of those Christmas and New Year’s crowds. And skiing is mindless exercise, especially on a pow day—we’re starving by day’s end and feel a good quad burn simply by playing in the snow. Need more reasons, concrete ones, to ski in January? Here are 10:


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...