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One Year Later: The Boston Marathon

Written on May 6, 2014 at 11:16 am , by

In our April issue, runner Marissa Hill gave readers a first-person account of what it felt like to be in the Boston Marathon at the time of last year’s bombing. Hill, running for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, returned to complete the marathon this year. Here’s her story:

Hill getting ready to head to the start line. (Photo courtesy Marissa Hill)

It would be hard to pick a day in my life in which I had experienced more positive energy, more love and hope and community support, than on that special Monday last week when I ran the Boston Marathon. As I headed into my corral I was surrounded by other charity runners, yet no one was really talking about last year.  Everyone seemed positive­–focused on the race ahead and how he or she was going to do that day. I popped my headphones in my ears without the sound for the start – I wanted to be able to hear the cheering crowd as I crossed the starting line.

It was hard to believe I was there. While training for and running the 2013 Boston Marathon, I had no interest in ever running a marathon again. And then everything changed. With the terror attacks at the finish line, I felt at a loss.  What could I do to help, to make this better? I quickly vowed to run again—to finish the race. Of course, this was easier said than done.

Training after the tragedy was difficult, and I found myself avoiding thinking about it and not running at all. When I did begin running again, I focused solely on mileage and the training plans; I put the bombings to the side. It was only in the last few weeks up until this year’s marathon that I realized I was still grieving. I knew that after months of training hard and pushing myself physically, I needed to focus on the mental aspect. Really, with any exercise, it is less about physically doing it, and more about mentally willing yourself. During my long training runs in the snow I focused on positivity—how else can you run in freezing temperatures for 20-plus miles? You tell yourself you can.

So that is what I did—that last week before the marathon, I told myself, “Yes, you can.” It was my new mantra. I focused on the anniversary of the bombings, and gave myself permission to feel upset, to feel sadness, loss and heartache. And then I reminded myself that my way of coping, my way of doing something about last year’s tragedy, was to run, to show up again and finish this thing.

I have heard people say there is nothing quite like running Boston, and it is true—the Boston Marathon is special. The people cheering you on, the historic course, the memories from last year—they all came together and pushed me forward. I kept looking for the spot where I was stopped last year, near Heartbreak Hill.  I obviously passed it, but didn’t recognize the exact spot. I knew I was close and kept waiting for terrible hills, and then all of a sudden I saw signs saying “You made it past Heartbreak Hill.” Thanks to training and the willpower to keep going this past year, I didn’t even realize I was on the hill!

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Gold Medalist and Two-Time Boston Marathon Winner Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s Secret to Success

Written on April 30, 2014 at 5:22 pm , by

As the title of Joan Benoit-Samuelson’s documentary so perfectly states, “There Is No Finish Line” for the inaugural Olympic Women’s Marathon winner. The soon-to-be 57-year-old still trains her heart out (Nordic skiing is her go-to winter cross training) and crushes races (NBD, she just finished the Boston Marathon first in her age division!)—all the while serving as an inspiration for the sport.

And there’s no slowing down the legend. Just six days after finishing the 26.2 course she won twice, Joanie headed to Washington D.C. this past weekend to join more than 15,000 women (myself included!) in the Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Whoa, my legs hurt just thinking about that. So how does she do it? What’s her secret—besides boosting muscle recovery with lots of “carbos” and lean protein? “As long as there’s a story to tell, inspiration follows,” Joanie said 48 hours before tackling Capitol Hill. “That’s how I continue to push myself.”

Last year, it was all about running within 30 minutes of her Boston course record she set three decades ago. To mark the 30th anniversary of her L.A. win this year, Joanie had her mind set to finishing Boston under three hours, which she accomplished with seven minutes and 50 seconds to spare. Ambitious? No wonder she’s known for breaking barriers, single-handedly defining women’s running and oh, you know, just making history. All in a day’s work.

“I think if anyone is going to have success in their life, they have to go to the beat of their own drum and do what they think is right,” she said. “When it comes down to the true meaning of success, it’s going out and believing in yourself and running your own race.” Talk about the best pep talk ever. No wonder I PR’d this weekend! And ahem, running behind her with my speedy gal pal for a solid half of a mile: highlight to my running “career.” She truly is the definition of brilliance.

Photo courtesy of Nike

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Some Swag for Your Running Stride
Meet Carolina Herrera (and Get Inspired to Go Log Some Miles!)
Ready to Run: Fuel for the Boston Marathon with Nutritionist Heather Bauer

Free Yoga! Wanderlust Yoga in the City Summer Series Is Back

Written on April 24, 2014 at 9:14 am , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

Planning your summer but strapped for cash? Wanderlust’s Yoga in the City (YITC) series is back and we couldn’t be more excited! Like previous years, the fast-growing evolutionary brand is offering free, all-day events with renowned yoga instructors and live music from local DJs. Plus you can snag some goodies from Kashi, LUVO, Spiritual Gangster and more. See? Being a free spirit really pays off.

“While our festivals are incomparable getaways, Yoga in the City celebrates what is local,” says Wanderlust co-founder Jeff Krasno. “It brings together the best local teachers, musicians and craft vendors in some of our nation’s most beautiful city parks. The events pull together the local yoga and mindful community around a great day of fun and practice.” So what are you waiting for? Grab your mat and get ready to find your zen. Here’s when and where you can join the movement:

May 10: Los Angeles, CA – Santa Monica Pier
May 17: San Francisco, CA – Marina Green
May 31: Chicago, IL – Butler Field in Grant Park
June 7: Philadelphia, PA – The Piazza at Schmidt’s

For more information and to sign up, check out Wanderlust’s site to learn more.

Photo courtesy of Vincent Tran

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Location #9: Chile

Written on April 15, 2014 at 4:31 pm , by

Rock climbing near santiago

Paige climbs at a desert cliff near Santiago, Chile. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11.com)

Paige is climbing in Chile to support VE Global, which fosters the development of children at social risk in Santiago by empowering volunteers to serve as positive role models, educators and advocates of social justice. Learn more and help Lead Now support VE at www.crowdrise.com/leadnowtourchile

—–

By Paige Claassen

I awoke abruptly to horns, chatter, and clanging. I was in the city. Nothing unusual for most, except that I’d spent the last nine months far away from noise and traffic – deep in forests, barren Indian deserts, or vacant winter shores.  For most of Marmot’s Lead Now Tour, my climbing objectives were peacefully removed from civilization. But my final month of travel brought me to Santiago, Chile. I felt culture shocked.

For such a large, sprawling city, Santiago boasts many nearby outdoor climbing cliffs. Mountains surround the entire city, but the tall snowy peaks are rarely visible beneath the brown haze of pollution. My throat ached each morning, not yet accustomed to breathing the clouded air. Yet Santiago offered the change of pace I yearned for over the past months. I could practice my Spanish while navigating the city and find fresh fruits and vegetables at each corner.

I spent most days attempting hard climbs outside the city, completing a few routes that no women had climbed before. But the end of the month brought the final challenge of Lead Now – the largest climbing competition in South America. The pressure of performing well in front of a large audience and the challenge of attempting a route I’ve never before seen excited me as a teenager. But over time, I transitioned my focus to climbing outside. I hadn’t competed in three years, nor had I climbed in a gym in nine months. Climbing in a gym and climbing outside are practically two different sports. Each requires very different skill sets.

south american rock climbing competition

Paige places 4th at the largest climbing competition in South America. Photo by Jon Glassberg (LT11.com)

I wasn’t prepared for this competition, but I knew it would be a fun reintroduction to a facet of climbing I hadn’t recently explored. On the first day, I performed well, completing all 5 routes in the qualifying round and placing second. The following day, I placed third in semi finals after timing out on my last route. In finals that evening, my body felt exhausted. I opted for a brief warmup in hopes of conserving the little energy I had.

ve global

Young girls from a VE Global supported residential home in Santiago cheer for Paige at South America’s biggest climbing competition.

In climbing, competitors must remain behind the climbing wall before the competition, so as not to see the routes they will climb. As I walked out to the wall, I scanned the crowd and spotted four of the little girls supported by our Chilean non profit partner, VE Global. Their smiles calmed me. I didn’t feel intimidated. Instead, I felt my old competitive edge creep back in, fed by the loud music and cheers of the audience.

I didn’t do my best in finals. I couldn’t shake the fatigue built up in the previous rounds. My body was accustomed to climbing one very hard route outside each day, but I lacked the endurance needed for a multi-round competition. But unlike my early days of competition, I wasn’t disappointed. I had fun. I left Chile after nine months of travel with a smile on my face, reminiscing about all the new friends I had met around the world and the beautiful places I climbed. The journey has been rich with memories, but it feels good to be home!

To get involved and donate online to help, visit Crowdrise.

Check back next month for a final video about Paige’s adventures and stay tuned for the video of Paige’s time in Chile!

Run the World’s First Digital Marathon—Hello, London!

Written on April 14, 2014 at 6:26 pm , by

After I ran my first half-marathon in 2011, I decided right then and there that I was going to run at least one half in every state. So far, I’ve crossed 10 off my list and love the combination of traveling and racing. It might be cliche, but it’s true: you discover so many fun, interesting things about a city when you’re running the streets rather than speeding by in a car or on public transit. Unfortunately, I haven’t crossed international running adventures off my bucket list quite yet—blame it on the lack of excess money hanging out in my wallet—but thanks to Paofit and the Virgin Money London Marathon, I can get one step closer (pun intended) without breaking the bank, or even leaving my treadmill.

Now, if you read the word “treadmill” and immediately felt your eyes start to glaze over, stick with me. As much as we all love to complain about logging infamous dreadmill miles, it turns out more of us are doing it than not. According to Paofit, 53 million U.S. runners spend time on the machine compared to 49 million who run outdoors. Say what?! While I’m no stranger to using the treadmill to get me through my weekly Scandal fix, that stat still shocks me. But now, if you want to use your treadmill time for something a little more useful than watching Olivia Pope get hot ‘n heavy with President Fitz, you can. Like, by running a virtual course of the London Marathon, one of the most iconic races in the world. Here’s how:

  • Download the Paofit app for free, along with the Digital Virgin Money London Marathon Showcase.
  • If you have a Life Fitness treadmill, plug in your iPad (iPhone and Android versions are coming later this year) to the Track+ or Discover Tablet Console. Once you do, your speed will be accurately recorded and the treadmill will automatically adjust its incline to reflect the course terrain. You’ll also get to see fellow runners on the course in real-time, so you still get that sense of competition many of us use to keep calm and power on.

Don’t have a Life Fitness machine? No sweat. Still download the Paofit app and Showcase, and set it on your console. The vibration generated by running on the treadmill will cause the course ahead of you to speed up or slow down to properly reflect your cadence. And if you want even more of a pace guarantee, you can calibrate Paofit to match your stride. Seriously, this may be the coolest treadmill technology I’ve ever heard of. Not to mention it totally helps familiarize you with the course (hello, Tower Bridge!), in case you ever do decide to leap over the pond in run the race IRL.

Oh, and if the idea of running the London Marathon course doesn’t quite sway you, I have two things to say:

1. We need to chat this out, because I don’t understand how this doesn’t sound awesome.
2. The Paofit app has eight sample running locales around the world, so you can experiment with other places and purchase locations starting at $1.99.

Now, I’m off to go get my own miles in. Let me know in the comments what famous course you’d love to run and maybe we’ll meet up to tackle it together.

Photo courtesy of Paofit

More from FITNESS: 

fitmob: The More You Workout, the Less You Pay 

3 Reasons You Should Dress Up for a Race

Get Your Sweat On with the New and Improved Nike+ Training Club App

We Tried It: JumpLife Gym

Written on April 10, 2014 at 5:47 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

What it is: A body-rocking trampoline fitness class.

Good for: Anyone, from beginners to professional athletes. The trampolines offer a low impact workout that uses the resistance and rebound motion from the trampoline to help tone and tighten your body.

Where you go: Tribeca, New York City

How it works: JumpLife offers four different trampoline-based classes: JumpDANCE, JumpGYM, JumpFUSION and for the youngins, JumpKIDZ. You can check the schedule and sign up for classes online.  Once you’re there, hop on your own personal trampoline and get ready to sweat to the beat of some rocking tunes.

What you need: Form-fitting clothing, cross-training kicks and plenty of water. Avoid wearing anything too baggy or long pants—we love capris for this workout—so you don’t trip on a hem or um, flash anyone mid-jump.

What it costs: First-timers score a deal at $18; after that a session costs $28. If you decide to make it a go-to, consider opting for one of their packages, available in 5, 10, 20, 30 and 50-class packs. Check out more details here.

What we think: This class was a blast from the past—seriously my inner child was out in all her glory! Before hopping (pun intended) into sweat-mode, I popped SKEnergy’s Berry-flavored energy shot—which is made from green tea and green coffee beans with all natural flavors—to get the kick I needed for this early morning workout. After that, it was all smiles, even as I began to feel the burn. But before you start thinking just how high those little trampolines will get you, let me stop you. This class isn’t like bounding on a massive, springy backyard trampoline; it’s all about staying grounded and using your core and legs to jump down into the rebound of the trampoline verses up into the air. It’s killer on your glutes and thighs and when our trainer, Terrell Pruitt, had us add in some light weights, it was a great upper body workout too.

Want us to get the scoop on another workout? Post a comment and let us know and you may see it in a future We Tried It!

More Workouts We’ve Tried:

DailyBurn’s Inferno HR 

Doonya Fitness Party 

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up 

We Tried It: DailyBurn’s Inferno HR

Written on April 9, 2014 at 9:36 am , by

What it is: The first interval heart rate zone workout series released by the online streaming video service, DailyBurn.

Good for: All levels. The trainer, Anja Garcia, did a great job of providing modifications for beginner and more advanced athletes.

Where you go: Anywhere your heart desires. Download the service and stream onto your phone, TV or iPad. So, it’s obviously great for those who travel a lot or tend to avoid gym settings.

How it works: Simply sync your iOS device with a heart rate monitor, cue up DailyBurn and follow the Inferno HR workout program. As you sweat, DailyBurn streams your heart rate info onto the screen so you get a better understanding of heart rate zones and how to burn the most calories in a short amount of time. Want a basic rundown of working with a heart rate monitor? Check out this article first.

What you need: It depends on the workout you select within the Inferno HR program, but I recommend having a set of dumbbells and a yoga mat handy. You’ll also need a Bluetooth-enabled heart rate monitor (try this one), your sneakers and the urge to sweat.

What it costs: $10 per month for access to all of DailyBurn’s workout programs, available 24/7. With NYC classes averaging $25-$35 a class, this is a total steal.

What we think: For the price, I’m totally on board with this program. Anja’s energy is infectious and she pushed me to my max, helping me focus on staying within the proper heart rate zones when I wanted to go balls to the wall and sky rocket out of ‘em (fun fact: that’s not really the most effective way to train). I enjoyed the variety of exercises—we did everything from jumping lunges to Turkish getups—and after a mere 25 minutes, I had a healthy puddle of sweat beneath me. I’d call it a success.

What to watch out for: Make sure you have the heart rate monitor on correctly. When I first got hooked up, my data displayed me in zone 3—picture heavy breathing and lots of intense movement—when in fact I had only walked about five paces to say hi to a friend. To get set up properly, spritz the sensors on the back of the chest strap with water and make sure the monitor is in direct contact with your skin (translation, ladies: make sure it’s not over your sports bra band). Position it snugly around your ribcage and you should be good to go. To extend the battery life, be sure to detach the sensor and lightly rinse after each use.

Curious about a workout? Let us know in the comments and we may put it to the test for a future We Tried It!

More Workouts We’ve Tried: 

Doonya Fitness Party

NYRR’s Empire State Building Run-Up

SUMMIT at Exceed Physical Culture

 

Sweat for Good: How YOU Can Kick Cancer to the Curb!

Written on April 4, 2014 at 10:01 am , by

“Ride it forward” is 45-year-old Janeen Parave’s new motto. That’s because the two-time cancer survivor is on a mission to spread awareness and raise funds by training for her second Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) this summer. Last year, Janeen participated in the 190-mile bike-a-thon within a matter of eight months of completing breast and ovarian cancer treatments. And now she’s back—stronger than ever—ready to tackle the Massachusetts mileage this August with a $4,500 goal. Um, can we give her a big virtual high five and “You go, girl!”?

“PMC taught me the value of setting goals and that I can accomplish anything physically and mentally beyond my cancer experiences,” says Janeen. “I learned how resilient the human body can be after being sick. When I crossed that finish line, not only did I know I did something great for others, but I did something extraordinary for myself.”

Help Janeen and other cycling weekend warriors reach their goals in the upcoming months by making a donation—or what the sweat, sign up yourself! Can’t commit to 190 New England miles but still want to make a difference? Get involved with a local event like Soul for Survival or a “Virtual Ride” like Tour de Pink, which allows you to pick the location, when you ride and how much mileage you want to cover for breast cancer research. For you pavement pounders, lace up for an American Cancer Society event near you or stride for another cause you’d like to support, like assistant web editor Sam, who’s training for the New York City Marathon with Team Stop the Clot! Working your tush off never felt so good.

Photo courtesy of Janeen Parave

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fitmob: Community Fitness For Less

Written on March 28, 2014 at 5:12 pm , by

Written by Jordan Clifford, editorial intern

What if there were a studio that cost less the more you exercise? That would be crazy, right? I mean, talk about motivation! Enter fitmob, a new group workout startup taking root in the San Francisco area on a mission to change the face of fitness and “re-invent” the gym. “The existing system doesn’t really work,” says co-founder and CEO Raj Kapoor. “There is $75 billion being spent globally every year on gym memberships and over 60 percent of people don’t even use it that [much to] pay for it.” With the help of P90X’s Tony Horton, Kapoor and co-founder/CTO Paul Twohey developed fitmob to help people get fit, stay motivated and have fun without breaking the bank. Five thousand San Fran residents have registered so far!

So what’s the skinny on this budget-friendly startup? We got the lowdown:

Sweat for Less: “The more you work out, the less you pay,” explains Kapoor. Each class starts off at $15. If you go two times in one week, it drops to $10 per workout. But if you go three or more times per week, it’s only $5 each. You can’t beat that! Plus it’s as flexible as you need it to be. “There’s no up-fronts, no monthly commitment, no long contracts,” says Kapoor. “You just use it when you use it.”
The Workouts: Aside from the price deals, they offer various strength, cardio and yoga-fusion classes with some pretty enthusiastic names, too. Their most popular workout, “Weapon’s of Ass Reduction,” is an hour-long group strength class that focuses on your core and lower body strength (including your booty, of course!). Come on, who wouldn’t want to attend a class with a name like that? Some other winners: “Sweat Soiree” and “Guru Gone Wild.” Check them all out here.
Get Connected: “Gyms have traditionally been about expensive real estate and fancy equipment,” says Kapoor. But for him, it’s the social element and group dynamic that keeps people moving. “We’re bringing people back into fitness!” Sign up for classes, check out instructor reviews and see who else plans to attend the class all through their site and mobile app.
Location, Location, Location: Sick of the sterile gym? fitmob’s sweat sessions take place in various venues—both indoors and outdoors. “Part of the fun is that it’s in a different place all the time,” Kapoor shares, adding that they’ve held classes in parks and nightclubs (sweet!) with 10 to 25 people in attendance.
What’s Up Next: Currently, fitmob offers classes in four San Francisco neighborhoods—SOMA, The Mission, The Marina and The Presidio—but they’re looking to expand. “One of the hardest things in fitness is that everyone will try things but they won’t continue on,” explains Kapoor. “We think we’ve constructed an experience that’s going to have better retention than most. Once we are convinced of that, then we can expand.” Want fitmob to come to a neighborhood near you? Reach out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram with #nextmob and a photo of where you want them to come next.

Photo courtesy of fitmob

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3 Reasons Dressing Up for a Race Is Completely Legit

Written on March 27, 2014 at 5:54 pm , by

As someone who’s raced 10 half-marathons, some for PRs and others just because I could, I can tell you one thing for sure: dressing up for races is FUN. Now, I haven’t gone all out in a head-to-toe costume quite yet, but even just tossing on a Sparkle Athletic skirt with matching Sparkly Soul headbands is enough to add a little pizazz to my racing adventure.

I’m not the only one inspired to costume it up, either. Just a quick search of “race costumes” on Pinterest brought up thousands of pins and hundreds of boards, all with creative, quirky and sometimes totally insane ideas of how to dress up for a running adventure. So, now that I know this trend is completely awesome to more than just me, I went to the experts. And it turns out, my friends, that if dressing up is what gets you from start to finish with a smile on your face, then you could totally have the best race of your life. Here’s why:

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