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Hello, Mr. Vice President: Meb Keflezighi is Ready for More Running—With You!

Written on July 23, 2014 at 5:03 pm , by

Written by Macklin Stern, editorial intern

When you’re an athlete, there’s nothing more golden than getting tips directly from the pros before the big day. As an aspiring runner, I’ve always admired Meb Keflezighi, not just for his incredible win at the 2014 Boston Marathon a few months ago (he was the first American to win it since 1983), but for the power, drive and passion he brings with him to every competition. And as a silver medalist of the 2004 Olympic Games (and countless other marathon wins), we’ve got the feeling he probably has some valuable training advice.

So we were pretty stoked when Competitor Group Inc.—a company that sponsors some really awesome sporting events like Run Rock ‘N’ Roll—announced Meb as the new vice president of running (side note: Can I have that title? It’s gotta be an awesome resume booster). Meb will use his passion and advice to help us mere mortal runners by developing training plans for us to follow to a T, popping up on social media with extra tips, and, of course, participating in a bunch of events—he’s already rocked (and rolled) at RNR San Diego, and you’ll find him lacing up for the Strip at Night, too. Basically, you can train like Meb and run with him, too. Umm, amazing!

So whether you’re nervous about competing in your first-ever marathon (like assistant web editor Samantha) or just eager to go out there and eat up the miles, Keflezighi has your back. Stay tuned for details on which races he’ll be at, and don’t forget to check out CGI’s website for updates.

Image courtesy of Competitor Group Inc.

More from FITNESS:

Ready, Set, Run! Training Plans for a 5K, 10K, and Half-Marathon

15 Best Marathons for First-Timers to Run

From Non-Runner to Marathon Runner

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

More from FITNESS:

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

MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon Runners: Score A Discount on the Official Race Jewelry!

Written on March 7, 2014 at 5:20 pm , by

Whether I’m running my first, 10th or 50th half-marathon (someday!), commemorating it in a special way is always at the top of my wish list. So when one of FITNESS’ favorite jewelery-designers, Erica Sara of Erica Sara Designs, agreed to create the official race jewelry of the MORE/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon, I jumped (and possibly squealed) a little in excitement. Erica’s line is gorgeous, and wearing a necklace or bracelet every day is more feasible than sporting that medal around your neck. Well, unless it’s the week after your race. Then all bets are off…

As the official race jeweler, Erica has created a custom necklace and bangle bracelet for all racing the MORE/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon on April 13th. First things first, though: if you’re not registered yet, do it now! As the largest women’s-only half-marathon in the country, there’s nothing quite like this race. There’s so much encouragement, girl power and positive energy pulsating through every footstep of those 13.1 miles through Central Park. I remember the first time I raced it (my first half ever!) – I could NOT keep a smile off my face.

Once you’re registered, head over to Erica’s website and check out the bling. You can get the necklace for $78 and  the bangle bracelet for $118 – both are amazing deals – and personalize the back of the logo charm with race details (Central Park, NYC/April 13, 2014/finishing time). Want to score an even bigger deal? Purchase your new bling by April 20th and enter the code FITNESSHALF on the website to score 20% off the entire race collection.

And while you’re at the expo to pick up your race bib and other goodies, be sure to stop by Erica Sara’s booth. She’s offering a 20% discount on all race-specific pieces, and 10% off the rest of the collection shown. Who knows what else you’ll fall in love with! Personally, I want one of everything.

Photos courtesy of Erica Sara Designs

More from FITNESS:

Sign Up for the 2014 MORE/FITNESS Half-Marathon!

FITNESS’ Half-Marathon Training Guide

You Know You’re A Runner When…

Why You Should runDisney (Wine and Dine? Done.)

Written on November 14, 2013 at 11:42 am , by

New Balance teammates had to stop for this guy. Gotta love those blue cheeks! (Photo courtesy of runDisney)

While many of my peers growing up were glued to Power Rangers and Nickelodeon Guts, I was completely and utterly consumed with the Disney classics. I strived for Ariel’s sense of adventure, Mulan’s fearlessness and desperately wanted to be Jasmine because, come on, her outfit rocks and she has a pet tiger.

So when I was invited to join Team New Balance—the official shoe of runDisney and Disney Resorts—for last weekend’s Wine & Dine Half Marathon, naturally my inner-kiddo was jumping for joy. Three spectacle-filled parks with a nightcap waiting at the finish line? Count me in. My princess idols would totally approve.

But like any other race, I had a few reservations, mainly concerning timing. Despite being a night race veteran, this go-round was especially late for an early bird workout gal like myself: 10:00 p.m. (past my bedtime) with a two-minute wave start. Gulp! What do I do all day to prep? Heck, what do I eat?

Bling, bling! I loved my silky, no-chafe New Balance tank and shoes, which glow in the dark. So fun—and safe—for night running.

Like Ben Greenfield recently told us, I stuck with what works when it came to fueling. (Lots of fresh Florida oranges and Larabars!) And as far as being tired, the positive energy coming from more than 12,100 runners is contagious and kicks the sleepies to the curb. The fireworks that erupt for each corral certainly fire you up with a bang, too. Would you expect anything less from “The Happiest Place On Earth?”

All in all, this was the most fun fit venture I have done. Ever. From jogging Minnies (timeless!) and fairies to Cruella de Vils—a few of her dalmatians included—innovative ensembles are a must and add to the fun in true Disney fashion (special thanks to Sparkle Athletic for my polka dot threads!). All the more magical: the character photo opps along the course. Guessing who will pop up next is a mind wandering game that helps the miles fly by. My personal fave was running into Rafiki during our Animal Kingdom loop.Want to get your selfies on? Be sure to sign up (and train for) a speedy corral so you can beat the long lines. Our group averaged 8:30-minute miles and never had more than two people waiting in front of us. Talk about pace-pushing inspiration.

To get the 13.1 distance in, there are a few boring stretches between all the pomp and circumstance, but nothing friendly runners can’t get you through. I actually loved seeing the behind-the-scenes hubbub, like a disco-themed costume warehouse in Hollywood Studios. It really made you appreciate how the magic is made day in and day out! Oh, and the cast members (Disney employees) along the route that worked after hours to cheer us all on? The best.

Read more

We Run DC

Written on April 26, 2013 at 9:32 am , by

photo courtesy of Nike

I’ve become a half marathon veteran sorts. Not that I’ve run hundreds of races or anything, but I can’t seem to shake the inevitable runner’s high, and  I’ve found myself adding more and more races to my 2013 roster (I even put in an application to run the NYC Marathon in November!). I guess you can say I’m somewhat of a 13.1 junkie. At least after running two halves in two weeks,  I’d like to think so…

One of the races that I’ll be ticking off my list for sure: the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in DC, which is happening for the first time EVER  this weekend! You might be familiar with the race that happens out in San Fran every fall, but luckily for us East Coasters who haven’t had the chance to run out west, Nike is bringing the fun and excitement a little bit closer to home.

For the women participating in the race, a full weekend of events are scheduled at the Expotique at Nike Georgetown, including the release of the most awesome shoes I’ve ever seen, and a concert with platinum selling singer-songwriter, Ellie Goulding, who will also be running the race. She’s been training religiously like the rest of us, and says, “Running has become a huge part of what motivates me and I’m excited to join so many other women in this inaugural race. I’ve been working hard to balance my training while being on tour this spring, and I’m running the Nike Women Half Marathon in Washington, D.C. with the goal of achieving my personal best time.” Maybe superstars are more like us than we think…personal bests? Let’s do it Ellie!

If you live in the DC area, be sure to swing by the Expotique this weekend, and come support all of the runners at Sunday morning’s race (here’s a course map…I’ll be looking for you!). I’m super stoked to be racing alongside 15,000 women who have a passion for running, just like me, and I feel honored to be a part of such an awesome inaugural event. Watch out DC! I’m coming for ya, and I’m ready to pound some serious pavement!

Win an Exclusive Half-Marathon Necklace!

Written on April 10, 2013 at 2:17 pm , by

Erica Sara Designs Necklace

A feminine way to celebrate your half-marathon accomplishment, this exclusive necklace is by Erica Sara Designs.

Bling it on!

In celebration of our 10th annual More/FITNESS Women’s Half-Marathon this Sunday, three lucky readers will each score an exclusive, sterling silver necklace from Erica Sara Designs!

You can enter to win between now through next Tuesday. Don’t want to wait to see if you won? Pop on over to the ESD site and use the code FITNESSHALF to purchase this fabulous necklace for 20 percent off.

Enter to win here and good luck!

 Official rules

Who Inspires You to “Run the World”?

Written on March 29, 2013 at 11:10 am , by

More Fitness Half Marathon Honorees

Check out the 10 honorees and their mini-bios on our Facebook page! They will all be at the half-marathon and a couple are even running with you!

To celebrate 10 incredible years of the More® Magazine/Fitness® Magazine Women’s Half-Marathon, we’re honoring Women who Run the World—fearless game-changers who’ve paved the way for women over the last decade. These leaders will no doubt inspire you to run faster, train harder and work smarter.

From a U.S. Congressman to the CEO of Girl Scouts USA to a co-host from “The View,” these women are changing the face of business, education, women’s health, sports, and more. We’re thrilled to welcome these leaders to the biggest women’s-only half-marathon in the country!

As you train for your 13.1 mile journey, we want to know: Who inspires you to “run the world”? Let us know in the comments below, on our Facebook, or through Twitter. (Please us the hashtag #womenruntheworld.)

View the 10 honorees’ pics and mini-bios here.

Fit Blogger We Love: Running to the Kitchen

Written on March 21, 2013 at 1:04 pm , by

 

Gina zeroes in on her CrossFit workouts to drum up a good dose of sweat.

After a tough workout, the first place we tend to head isn’t the shower, but the kitchen – gotta squeeze in that recovery fuel within a half hour! As someone who loves food just as much as we do, it’s safe to say Gina of Running to the Kitchen does the same thing. After all, it’s in her blog name! This CrossFit junkie makes us drool with all of her beautiful recipe images, and she’ll make you do the same. Go ahead and check it out – we bet you can’t prove us wrong.

My favorite way to work out: CrossFit! I know, I know, it’s all the rage right now and that’s a totally predictable answer, but I started CrossFit when it opened in my town last July and have been hooked ever since. It’s efficient, effective (hello, muscles I’ve never seen before) and an absolute blast. I think every box (read: gym) has  different vibe, but something that seems pretty consistent across the board is the rapport among members. It’s not only my workout for the day, but a time I get to hang out with like-minded people and have fun. An hour of endorphins pumping, music blasting and people cheering each other on beats any other workout I can think of.

On my fit life list: A strict unassisted pull-up. No marathons, no triathlons. Just one darn pull-up without a band or kipping.

My “I Did It” moment: Finishing my first half-marathon in less than two hours. 2010 was a year of a lot of change for me. I lost 20 pounds, revamped the way I ate (slowly) and started running. Having played sports all my life as a kid, running was always something I was “forced” to do, not a sport I enjoyed. When I decided to pick it up as an adult in an effort to live a healthier lifestyle, I had no idea I’d grow to love it as much as I do. What started as a little competitive bet with myself to run my first 5K ended with my first half-marathon seven months later. Finishing it in under two hours, when I couldn’t even run one mile eight months prior, was pretty awesome.

I’m happiest when I’m: Doing anything with food. Eating it, cooking it, photographing it – anything. As cliche as it may sound, food is definitely my life passion. I contemplated going to culinary school in my mid-twenties, and while that didn’t actually happen, my blog has become the perfect creative outlet for that passion.

Olympic sport I’d love to try: While I think I’d be horrendous at it, I would pick gymnastics! Considering I can stay in an unassisted handstand for about three seconds, at best, and still haven’t come close to mastering the muscle-up in CrossFit (both gymnastic-type skills), it would be interesting.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Leave a comment below or email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Medtronic Global Heroes Overcome Illness and Fear With Running

Written on October 3, 2012 at 10:44 am , by

Ellie sped along at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Half to a high-energy playlist including artists like the Black Eyed Peas, Girl Talk, Akon and Outcast. (Photo courtesy of Ryan Wilhelm)

As Christopher McDougall said in his book, Born to Run, “The reason we race isn’t so much to beat each other…but to be with each other.” Thanks to advances in medical technology, 25 long-distance runners who have struggled with chronic illnesses will be competing side-by-side in the upcoming Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon and 10 Mile races. These individuals, named 2012’s “Medtronic Global Heroes,” will celebrate their perseverance, accomplishments and passions for running on October 7.

We caught up with two of the female heroes, 10 mile contestant, Ellie Wilhelm and marathon participant, Rhonda Foulds (a Get-Healthy Success Story). Being diagnosed with a congenital heart condition and Parkinson’s disease, respectively, has not held these two fighters back from pursuing their dreams. Here’s a look at their inspiring stories.

Ellie, 28, was 4-years-old when she was diagnosed with Atrial-Ventricular Septal Defect. She underwent open-heart surgery and had an active childhood until fainting spells in the 6th grade raised alarm. “I needed a pacemaker. I realized that I was not invincible and this is when my anxiety related to exercised developed,” Ellie said. Ellie struggled emotionally through high school and college athletics, often giving up in fear of pushing herself too hard. “A light bulb went off after college that told me that the only thing holding me back was ME.”

Ellie started small, working her way up to her first half-marathon with regular 5k races and completed her first 26.2 this past Memorial Day weekend. “Sometimes all I need is a run to keep me from making a poor food choice and relieve stress. The pacemaker should NOT be a limitation.” With more energy and her fitness fear behind her, Ellie has gotten involved in her community through running, joining the Ironheart Racing Team, a national organization that raises money and awareness for congenital heart defects (CHD), as well as Girls on the Run, an after-school program that teaches young girls about self-esteem, character, team building and healthy living. Read more

Conquering the Half-Marathon: Amanda Casgar, Newbie Runner

Written on February 22, 2012 at 10:11 am , by

Amanda realized she has what it takes to be a runner. (Photo courtesy of Jason Todd)

In our March issue, you’ll find four inspiring half-marathon stories from readers who went from couch to 13.1, from jogger to racer and more. For the remaining Wednesdays in February here on The Fit Stop, we’re sharing more personal stories from women who tested our half-marathon training plan.

Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern

Amanda Casgar, 32, has attended just about every fitness studio in New York City known to (wo)man: Physique 57, CrossFit, FlyBarre, SoulCycle, even a Trapeze class, just to name a few.  But she’s never been able to convince herself she’s a “runner.”  But before she knew it, Amanda went from being the queen of classes to the girl who flies solo to get her sweat on. After following our beginner half-marathon training plan, she crossed the finish line of the MORE/FITNESS half at 2:47.20 time with a huge smile on her face.

We caught up with the new runner to find out what her biggest obstacles were and how she pushed past her fears to cross the line successfully.

Think Positive
Keeping a positive mindset while you’re pounding the pavement can make all the difference. On her first run, Amanda was consumed with thoughts like, “My knees hurt. My hips hurt. I’m only a mile in?” To counteract all the negativity, she sent an email to her running co-workers to find out what they think about for such long stretches of time.  As a result, she put her brain to work by picturing each body part she was using and how running benefits it.  With this new mental ammo, Amanda hit the treadmill repeating “rock hard core” in her head to make time fly by.

Discover Your Passion
Run for you! Running may not always seem like something you can be enthusiastic about, but it can benefit your true “fit” passions.  Amanda’s new “runner” habits improved her favorite fit activity, yoga. “I have super open hips and loose joints that make me born to practice yoga, but I always needed to tighten up and pull my hips backward,” she says. “Running has helped me get fit in all the right places to bring my practice right into the sweet spot.” Try different activities, like Spinning or bootcamp, to break up all the miles logged and keep you mentally in the game.

Stay Social
Amanda’s biggest obstacle was getting out of her own way and ditching the insecurities. She had never been brave enough to head out on a lone run and doubted she could push herself striding solo.  How’d she get through it? “I mentally prepared for my long runs by sharing my plans with as many people as possible,” she says. “Brunch with family and friends was planned with time to push hard and fit in all those miles beforehand.  I’ve never felt more deserving of that first beer!” Incorporating the people around you in your new fit plans will help you stay motivated, and once you hit a new milestone, celebrate with them!

Accessorize!
Having the right equipment can make a huge difference come race day. Make sure you stock up on the basics: A good pair of personally fitted running shoes, energy foods to snack on while on the road and tools for stretching are all must-haves for the serious runner. “Now that I believe I’m a runner, I’ve started accessorizing like one,” Amanda says.  She is now the proud owner of the “The Stick,” a great tool for rubbing out sore legs. “My IT bands never hurt so good!”

Be Proud
No matter what your finish time, you’ve accomplished something many only dream of! Amanda was worried about her pride getting the best of her, but she was also afraid she wouldn’t be able to finish the entire 13.1 running.  “I got great advice about pacing my run with walking intervals,” she says. “The competitor in me wants to run until I can’t anymore, but I wanted to just finish the race even more.”  Amanda’s racing strategy created possibilities for her she’d never expected, like experiencing the city in a whole new way and finishing faster than she ever thought possible. Set goals for race day, but remember to embrace the experience and soak in all of the positive energy from such a major accomplishment.

Now you tell us: What’s your favorite race and why?