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Music Monday: Catchy Country Playlist

Written on April 23, 2012 at 9:49 am , by

Country music is definitely having a moment. From Taylor Swift winning big at the Grammys to the ever-present “Red Solo Cup,” fans are dancing in their cowboy boots—or sneakers! So we asked the folks organizing the music for this weekend’s St. Jude Country Music Marathon in Nashville to share a playlist of greatest hits. Download the following songs to get a taste of some of the 50 artists who will be performing at the event, as well as the music that will pump up the runners (including our own editorial assistant Samantha, who’s tackling the half!).

Participants will jam to these tunes during Sunday's race. (Photo courtesy of St. Jude Research Hospital)

Now tell us: What genre of music pumps you up the most during your workouts?

Fit Links: Say Bye-Bye to Blisters and Order Slim Fast Food

Written on April 20, 2012 at 3:58 pm , by

Feet not quite this flawless? At least you can protect them. (Photo by Ericka McConnell)

This week’s fit links from around the web:

Fit Blogger We Love: Eat: Watch: Run

Written on March 1, 2012 at 3:10 pm , by

Paula owned her "I Did It" moment after finishing her second marathon in December 2011.

If you’re in need of a good laugh with a mix of running and tough workouts, head over to Eat: Watch: Run. We love that Paula isn’t embarrassed easily and incorporates a balance of “everything in moderation” into her life. Keep reading to find out what pushes her to the finish line, then head to her blog for more comedic action.

My fave fit snack: I love bananas or saltines with sunflower seed butter. If bananas or saltines aren’t available, I’m not against dipping a finger in the jar.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: “Gangsta’s Paradise” by Coolio. Actually, I didn’t think it was embarrassing until it came on my iPod in the car and my husband said, “Coolio? Really?”

Olympic sport I’d love to try: Figure skating. I love how graceful it looks. Also, it’s the only sport where you’re expected to wear sequined leotards, which I fully support. When I ice skate though, I have to hold on to the sides of the rink to stay vertical, so it might be best to go with Olympic ribbon twirling instead.

My “I Did It” moment: Finishing my second marathon. You think it would have been my first, but I was so miserable after that first 26.2 that I only focused on the disappointment. My second marathon showed me that trying again is so important and that failing doesn’t define you, but shapes you.

My motivation comes from: Inside myself. Wow, that sounds cheesy. But it’s true. Staying active is what makes me feel happy, healthy and grounded. I can’t be happy in other aspects of my life when I’m not happy with myself, and that feeling is what keeps me going.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Email blog@fitnessmagazine.com

Fit Blogger We Love: Run Stronger Every Day

Written on December 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm , by

Abby's all smiles after finishing the Philadelphia Marathon this fall!

A runner through and through, Abby from Run Stronger Every Day had her world (especially her workouts) flipped upside down a year and a half ago when she was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the colon. Not letting it hinder her daily sweat sessions, she learned how to work with her condition and live up to her motto, “now go out and run!” We caught up with this speedster to find out more about her fit life and who reminds her to keep going strong.

My favorite way to work out: Running, of course! I’ve been running since I was 10 and there is no better way for me to sweat than to lace up my shoes and head out for a run.

On my fit life list: Once I finish my Ph.D. in physical therapy (December 2015!), I want to run the Honolulu marathon and go on a Hawaiian vacation! Maybe I’ll run my 3:30 marathon time there. Who knows, you gotta have goals!

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I workout to: Bat Out of Hell,” by Meat Loaf. My parents are big classic rock fans and that’s pretty much all that’s played in the gym in their house. It has a killer beat.

My “I Did It” moment: When I finished the Jersey Shore marathon in May 2011 during the worst ulcerative colitis flare-up I’ve ever had. It was physically the worst experience of my life. I struggled from mile 13 to 20, but finished the last six really strong. I knew right then and there that this disease would never define or destroy me.

My biggest motivator is: My husband. He makes me brave. And my parents. They both beat cancer and taught me to never, ever give up.

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

Endurance Adventures for a Cause: Katie Spotz Swims, Bikes, Rows and Runs to Raise Funds

Written on November 29, 2011 at 10:56 am , by

Katie rowed across the Atlantic Ocean—solo—in 70 days. (Photo by Laura Watilo Blake)

Katie Spotz grew up playing tennis and soccer, running track and competing on the swim team. “I was terrible at all of them, but I loved being active,” the 24-year-old admits. When she grew out of school-based sports, Spotz searched for new ways to stay fit. She first joined a walk/run class in college—testing her limits since she always thought that endurance was for “‘those’ people, not me.” But she got bit by the running bug, and eventually worked her way up from jogging minutes at a time to five miles, and later to a marathon. “I thought, ‘if I can do this, what else can I do?’” Spotz says.

After a random discussion with college friends when she was just 19, Spotz heard about someone who had rowed across the Atlantic Ocean. “I called home 24 hours later and told my parents I was going to do it too—despite the fact that I had no rowing experience,” Spotz says.

So she trained, meditated and prepared, and eventually completed the amazing solo journey from Guyana, South America, to Senegal, Africa, often rowing more than eight hours daily. During her “Row for Water” excursion, Spotz raised funds for Blue Planet Run, a non-profit bringing safe drinking water to all—$150,000 in all! (She tells us that $30 can provide one person clean water for life. That means 5,000 people were helped by her transatlantic travels!)

That event kicked off her passion for endurance events and helping others, and since, she has completed the following to raise money for various causes with personal meaning for Spotz:

  • Swim for Water: first person to swim the entire 325 miles of the Allegheny River
  • Big Ride Across America: cycled 3,300 miles from Seattle to Washington, D.C.
  • Desert Run: ran 150 miles solo across the Mojave and Colorado Desert
  • Half Ironman Triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run): placed first in age group
  • Oxfam Trail Run: 62-mile ultramarathon in Australia

Spotz is currently visiting Kenya to see the impact of her clean water fundraising and hopes to eventually get her MBA and pursue non-profit work. That way, she says, “I can incorporate my passions into everyday life,” Spotz says.

More from FITNESS: Check out 22 ways you can run, walk or get fit for charity.

Now tell us: What causes would keep you motivated to train for endurance events?

Fit Blogger We Love: Daily Garnish

Written on November 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm , by

Emily with the other two "kids" in the family!

While many are gearing up for the ING New York City Marathon this Sunday, Emily of Daily Garnish is in the midst of her own endurance race—raising her first child! Baby Cullen was born just 13 days ago and Emily is already itching to get back into her usual fitness routine. We asked this fit mom about her biggest fan and her bucket list goals.

On my fit life list: I want to beat my fastest marathon time (3:50) at least one more time. I was in the best shape of my life when I ran that race, and now that I’ve just had a baby, I feel extra motivated to get back into condition to run fast again!

I’m happiest when I’m: Outside and being active. Running, walking, hiking, exploring—I thrive in the fresh air!

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: “See You Again,” by Miley Cyrus. It’s so old and way too young for me, but I don’t care. It got me through the final miles of my first marathon, and it’s been my favorite running song ever since.

My “I Did It” moment: Running a 3:50 marathon in Cincinnati in 2009. I have never felt more proud and accomplished as a runner!

My biggest motivator: My husband motivates me to push myself beyond what I think I can do. He’s been a huge influence in my ability to achieve goals that at one time seemed out of reach.

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

Fit Blogger We Love: Ali on the Run

Written on August 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm , by

Alison Feller

Ali after she finished the National Half Marathon.

Looking for someone that’s going to brighten your mood because of her hyper-positive outlook on life? Head over to Ali on the Run, where we became addicted to her blog almost as fast as she did to 16 Handles’ frozen yogurt. Ali’s witty personality shines through her words, and we can’t help but follow along as she trains for her first marathon while fundraising through Run for the Rabbit. Read on to learn about how this girl fights Crohn’s disease while having the time of her life.

On my fit life list: I’m dying to take a trapeze class. Though, of course, the number one thing on my fit list list is running a marathon! I can’t wait to cross the finish line of the Hampton’s Marathon on September 24! Not only will this be my first marathon, but I’m raising money for a cause I’m so passionate about: the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s when I was seven, so I’ve pretty much had the disease my entire life. I’ve had a couple of rough flare-ups over the years, but now I’m ready to prove that you can have Crohn’s and run a marathon! When I cross that finish line, I know we’ll be that much closer to finding a cure.

I’m happiest when I’m: Running. Sweating. Eating ice cream. Laughing. Walking aimlessly around New York City. In a hotel bed. Apple picking in New Hampshire. Playing with a puppy. Spending time with my family. Riding around on a speed boat. Not all of these things at the same time though…

My fave fit snack: I make my own trail mix because I hate the super-salty store-bought kinds! I mix cereal, raisins, dry roasted peanuts, almonds and dark chocolate M&Ms. Then I eat it by the handful, and I have an awful habit of dropping pieces down my shirt while doing so. Oops.

Most embarrassing song I’ll admit I work out to: It’s not easy to embarrass me. I have no shame in admitting that my most-played running song is “So Much Better” from the Legally Blonde: The Musical soundtrack. Also in heavy rotation on my playlist: A house remix of the Tetris theme song, a ton of Celine Dion and “Break My Stride” by Ace of Base.

My fitness mantra: “If you can, you must.” One of my spinning instructors shouted this at us during class once. It’s such a great point. There are so many people who for various reasons can’t work out. I have a healthy, functioning body. I should take advantage of it, enjoy it and sweat my little heart out.

My “I Did It” moment: I shocked myself by running the National Half Marathon in 1:44 this past March! I had just gone through a devastating breakup, my living situation was in limbo and I just needed to get away. So I went to Washington, D.C., dug deep and ran fast. My goal was to break two hours in that race and I ended up shaving a full 16 minutes off of my previous personal record!

Want to meet this blogger in person? As part of Ali’s fundraising efforts for Run for the Rabbit, she will be hosting a get-together at JackRabbit Sports in the Upper East Side of New York, N.Y. on August 11 at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy some yummy (free!) food and drinks and meet fellow runners—and for each store purchase, 15 percent of the proceeds will go to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. She’ll also be selling “Team Ali” T-shirts so you can run in style!

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Tell us in the comments below.

Fit Bloggers We Love: Pure2Raw

Written on June 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm , by

Lori and Michelle of Pure2Raw teach readers how to eat deliciously while staying raw.

Lori and Michelle of Pure2Raw share recipes to help readers dine deliciously on a plant-based diet.

Written by Alexa Cortese, web intern

What’s better than setting goals for a healthy and fit lifestyle for yourself? Setting them with a fitness buddy! Fraternal twins Lori and Michelle are perfect examples of the power of the “buddy system.” They highlight their eats and exercise plans together on their blog, Pure2Raw. Lori and Michelle follow a plant-based diet, and they share unique recipes with readers nearly everyday—we promise they will expand your horizons! Read on to learn more about their kitchen must-haves and more.

My favorite way to work out:
Lori: For the past year we have been doing at home HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training).

Michelle: We love HIIT because no fancy equipment is required, just body weight. We also love jumping rope and yoga.

5 things I can’t live without:
Lori: Gymboss timer, avocado, hemp seeds, dessert, my vitamix blender.

Michelle: Vega protein powder, blender, kombucha, chia seeds, gymboss timer (we use it for our workouts).

My “I Did It” moment:
Lori and Michelle: It’s the same for both of us, when we crossed over the finish line of our first marathon back in 2008. We did the Disney World Marathon. We are not runners—it was just something we did with our older sister. The marathon was truly experience we will never forget!

My fave fit snack:
Lori: Chia seed pudding with a few dates

Michelle: Avocado pudding.

My motivation comes from:
Lori: Having faith in myself that I can accomplish anything. I get this strength by being surrounded by people who support and love me, and motivate to do my best like my sisters, my fiancé and friends.

Michelle: My twin sister, Lori. She pushes me all the time. I am grateful for her support. And I’m thankful for the wonderful world of blogging, too. My blog friends remind me everyday to challenge myself, to learn and grow.

Do you have a favorite fit blogger you want us to highlight? Tell us in the comments below.

The Boston Marathon: Inspiration in Motion

Written on April 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm , by

Does watching a big marathon, like Boston, make you want to toe the line? (Photo by John Herr)

Today, more than 27,000 runners hit the road to take part in the The 115th Boston Marathon. Kenyans swept the event: Geoffrey Mutai whipped through the course with amazing speed, finishing in 2:03:02 in the men’s race, while Caroline Kilel (2:22:36) bested American Desiree Davila by just two seconds to be the fastest female. Amazingly, U.S. elite runner Kara Goucher finished fifth among the women about six months after having her first child!

Our office was enamored with following along with the competition, and now we’re inspired to head home and lace up our shoes! This made us wonder: What athletic endeavor motivates you to get moving?

We Salute: The First Female Marathoner

Written on April 15, 2011 at 10:59 am , by

Switzer published a memoir about her experiences in 2007. (Image from Amazon.com)

Switzer published a memoir about her experiences in 2007. (Image from Amazon.com)

Breaking boundaries. Testing the limits. We find ourselves often using fitness as a tool to do both of these things—although it generally involves setting our own personal best in the weight room or in a race. But one woman did all of this and much more (avoided a race director trying to pull her off the course, persisted through jeering from the crowds and media…) in 1967 when she was the first female to compete in a marathon! Today, we’re getting in the mood for Monday’s Boston Marathon by saluting Kathrine Switzer.

If you haven’t heard her amazing story, you can learn more in her book Marathon Woman or in these fit links. Look no further for inspiration to hit the road!

Now tell us: What woman has inspired you to live a healthier life?