This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Don’t just sit there. Deskercise! Here are 33 moves to help you shape up in the office. — Greatist
- If you’re bored with a typical 5K, one of these 10 wacky races (think zombies, obstacles or nudity!) may be perfectly suited for your adventurous nature. — Healthy Tipping Point
- Some of the best bargains in the supermarket can be found in the healthiest aisles. Really! —USA Today
- How well do you know fitness-related films? Test your knowledge with our editor in chief, Betty, as she visits Hoda and Kathie Lee. — Today Show
- No gym—or equipment—is required for this fun circuit workout. That means there’s no reason to skip it! — Blogilates
- You hereby have our permission to eat a banana split for breakfast. Kids of all ages will love these! — Peas and Thank You
Living in New York City, I don’t get that many opportunities to run on trails—the Bridle Path in Central Park is where I get my fix for dirt, rocks and maybe some mud after it rains. So when North Face asked me to join their Endurance Challenge Series at Bear Mountain State Park, I jumped at the chance. Not only was this my opportunity to run a new course (as an urban runner, I’m always looking for chances to keep my running routes fresh!), but in high school with my cross-country team Bear Mountain races were always my favorite. The park is gorgeous and the trails are ideal if you want that outdoor fix not far from the city.
Since my husband has recently picked up the sport of running (thanks to my reluctant nudging for him to do a triathlon with me—NYC Nautica 2012 here we come!), I signed him up as well. This would be his first race ever, unless we count the 10K he ran in elementary school he repeatedly pointed out. We made our way up to Bear Mountain from the city—a short trip by car or train—and I instantly got excited upon recognizing a place that looked basically the same as I last remembered it so long ago. We were set to do the 10K distance and knowing from the advice from trainers, this 10K would feel much longer and harder than a typical road race 10K would be. I knew from my April 2012 column on trail running (page 52) and the advice from Saucony coach Sharon Barbano that the tricks of the trail were to be followed: Take smaller strides for greater control on uneven terrain, pick up your feet more often than a typical stride and scan at least 10 feet ahead so I can see what’s coming up on the ground. I was pumped and ready to go.
I’m currently in training mode for my first half-marathon and am enjoying the experience so much that I’m already looking ahead to find more events to keep me motivated all year long! Having upcoming races on the calendar gives you a goal to work toward. Plus, visualizing yourself crossing the finish line with a personal best will inspire you to lace up your shoes (or clip into your pedals, slip on some goggles, etc.) when you’re feeling less-than-inspired. Bonus points if you’re raising money for a good cause at the same time!
With that in mind, we found four unique events held across the U.S. that we can’t wait to try.
- When and where: March 10 in Arlington, Virginia
- Why: It’s a little late notice, but if you’re free this Saturday, try to beat the leprechaun in this fun run! The man in green begins 10 minutes after the gun goes off and tries to pass as many walkers and joggers as he can on the way to the finish. Snag a prize if you beat him, but don’t feel bad if you see him run on by. For every person the leprechaun beats, one dollar is donated to a local police charity.
- When and where: March 26 in Tucson, Arizona; April 1 in Charlotte, South Carolina; June 3 in St. Louis, Missouri; June 10 in Minneapolis, Minnesota; June 24 in Austin, Texas; July 15 in Fort Collins, Texas; July 22 in Denver, Colorado; August 12 in Des Moines, Iowa; August 19 in Chicago, Illinois.
- Why: Bored on your bike? Not during this race! Find a partner and tackle checkpoints around town, pedaling between each stop. Adding to the fun factor: There’s no set route or order to the checkpoints, so it’s up to you to pick what you believe is most efficient. Proceeds from each race benefits two or three charities in the host town.
Written by Brittany Vickers, editorial intern
Sometimes it’s just too easy to stay planted on the couch during that Real Housewives marathon—especially during the cold winter months. You know you should fit in at least a little activity for the day, but what will inspire you to get up and go? It’s different for everyone, but a sure-fire way to feel a connection to your active side is picking a cause to be fit for!
The perfect motivation this month can be found in the form of March for Babies, the March of Dimes walks which support research to help all women have healthy, full-term pregnancies. The 3-mile events start (appropriately) in March and continue into the summer, taking place at more than 900 locations across the country. Money raised for the cause funds research and programs that promote healthy youngsters from conception to toddlers.
Each year, March for Babies enlists an ambassador family to spread the word. For 2012, it’s the Witstrucks. Now a healthy 5 year old, Kieran Witstruck was born at 31 weeks and spent the first months of his life in the newborn intensive care. Mom Shalini says she never expected Kieran to be born preterm. “Being healthy and fit is very important to me,” she says. “When I found out I was pregnant I made sure to eat healthy and maintain a good level of fitness to stay healthy during my pregnancy.”
The Witstrucks still don’t know what caused Kieran’s birth to come so early. “Forty percent of preterm births are credited to unknown causes and we fall into that category. It’s one of the things March for Babies is trying to help doctors understand,” Shalini says.
Shalini and her husband Shane are both runners, and have finished many races together. But what sets the March for Babies apart from other races and walks is the super family-friendly mentality. “It’s a great thing to bring your kids to,” she says. “They get to be a part of something to help other children and reaching the finish line gives them a real sense of accomplishment.”
Recalling one of the previous Marches she and Kieran have walked in, Shalini tells us, “I’ll never forget, I met this wonderful woman. Her son and Kieran walked together and held hands the whole way. It’s a magical thing.”
Stay tuned tomorrow for five more active events around the country that are inspiring us to keep up with our training all year long.
This week’s fit links from around the web:
- Out of control cravings? Here’s how one woman discovers when she’s actually hungry and when it’s better to just say no. — Best Body Fitness
- Speaking of cravings, if you feel like your stomach is always grumbling, here are 50 tasty and nutritious options that will satisfy you for hours. — iVillage
- If you’re spending hours each day in the gym, your body needs a breather. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing! — Fit Bottomed Girls
- Whether it’s a 5K or a marathon, documenting your running event is a great way to remember your achievements, but it can be challenging. Check out these six tips to take great photos during a race. — Meals and Miles
- These unique gyms will make fitting in a workout feel like a treat. A cooldown in the lazy river? Yes, please! — Greatist
- Chocolate doesn’t have to be off limits. Try one of these healthy indulges for a sweet treat this weekend. — Chocolate-Covered Katie
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!