Written on November 29, 2011 at 10:56 am , by Karla Walsh
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?
Written on November 3, 2011 at 3:39 pm , by Samantha Shelton
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Written on August 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm , by Samantha Shelton
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.
Written on June 9, 2011 at 4:28 pm , by FITNESS Intern
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.
Written on April 18, 2011 at 5:02 pm , by Karla Walsh
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?
Written on April 15, 2011 at 10:59 am , by Karla Walsh
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!
- Her steps have left a lasting impact—The New York Times
- Kathrine is a pioneer for female runners—National Distance Running Hall of Fame
- One-on-one with the endurance star on the 40th anniversary of her feat—U.S. News and World Report
- Oh, and in case you didn’t hear, Kathrine is a 2011 inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame alongside some pretty heavy hitters (Coretta Scott King, Billie Holiday and more)—National Women’s Hall of Fame
Now tell us: What woman has inspired you to live a healthier life?
Written on April 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm , by Jenna Autuori
Did we tempt you enough to do your first race? Well, here’s three more reasons to try one! Even though these rainy, windy days are still hitting us hard in NYC, and it might be difficult to see when summer will really show its face, once summer is in full swing, you’ll have to start preparing for fall’s hottest events! Warm weather and sunny days means more time and reason to get outdoors. So sign up for one of these popular races and find a training plan HERE —then the fun begins.
If you love a nice feel good moment…TRY
Hershey Half-Marathon—Registration opens on May 1 and the race will be held on Sunday, October 16, 2011 in Central Pennsylannia. Presented by Capital BlueCross, this 13.1 miler is held in a town dubbed “The Sweetest Place On Earth” and all proceeds from the race benefit Children’s Miracle Network, so what’s sweeter than that? Run with your daughter because this race is open to anyone 14 years and older and can be ran as a two-person relay as well.
If you think girls rule…TRY
Nike’s Women’s Marathon (& Half)—Registration opens on April 11 and a random drawing will hopefully select you to run on race day on Sunday, October 16, 2011 in San Francisco, California. But this one’s worth the anticipation (I ran this last year!)—although the San Francisco hills can seem daunting, nothing is more beautiful than running along the gorgeous coast and passing the Golden Gate Bridge. Word on the street is finishers receive a special gift from Tiffany’s! This is the ultimate girls weekend getaway, so grab your friends and start preparing now.
If you like getting dirty…TRY
The North Face Endurance Challenge–Registration is open now for this multi-day event taking place at numerous locations all around the country, making stops in: Madison, Wisconsin on September 17-18, Atlanta, Georgia on October 15-16 (hopefully I’ll be there for this one!), and ending with its Championship run in San Francisco, California on December 3-4. Race distances vary from 50 mile, Marathon, Marathon Relay to Half-Marathon, 10K, and 5K. If you like getting dirty and hitting the trails, this is certainly a challenge to add to your bucket list. I ran the 5K in last year’s Championship weekend and it was the most fun I had running since my days on the cross-country team in high school. Plus, this race is one for any level runner so there’s something for everyone (and the ultra distances garner some fun famous faces to watch!).
What other races would you recommend I try next? Let me know!