Experience the Great Outdoors (sans bears) with REI!

SAM_0612

Yo, did you notice the leaves are changing color and the Chi temp is dropping?  Yup, Fall is falling on us.  Relaaaaaax….you don’t have to hibernate just yet.  Fall is an awesome time to get in touch with your naturalist side (and not your running naked down the street naturalistic side, mmk).  It’s not sweatingly hot and Mr. Misquito is making his retreat which makes this season a lot more pleasant for outdoor adventures.

SAM_0597

Two weeks ago, we got the opportunity to take a lil’ hiking roadtrip, aptly titled Hikes and Hops, to Matthieson State Park and Starved Rock Lodge with the Chicago REI Outdoor School.  For those of you who don’t catch fish with your bare hands, REI is a leading seller of outdoor goods but also does outreach to help us city dwellers up our survival skills.

SAM_0592

First, all class members got treated to the eye opening induction of Starbucks coffee and snacks as we got organized outside the Lincoln Park REI store.  The class maxed out at 10 people which was an intimate way to get to know other group members.  Our REI guides, Marisa and Chuck, were friendly fitness enthusiasts.  Both teach stand up paddleboarding in the summer and Marisa also leads SUP yoga.  As we took the relaxing 1.5 hour ride in a comfy blue 12 passenger van towards Ottawa, IL, Chuck and Marisa told us fun facts about the area and shared wildlife books to prepare us for the resident park creatures.  Luckily gators aren’t native Central Illinois-ans.

SAM_0593

Once we got to Mathissen State Park, we made formal intros and did a circle share of what we wanted from the day.  Most group members echoed wishes for beautiful weather and animal sightings.  We were treated to both!  During our 70 degree day, we meandered past waterfalls and sandstone cliffs.  We saw frogs and toads (Marisa’s toad sighting wish was granted) while in the company of a diverse bunch of travellers, including a college professor/amateur astronomer, book reviewer/yoga teacher and systems manager/geologist.  Needless to say, we had really stimulating conversation, some which centered around how to manage a zombie apocolypse as we trekked through the quiet woods.

SAM_0633

Mid day we ended up at the bottom of the lower vale and explored some hidden cove type areas.  Our guides then busted out a machete (or maybe it was just a kitchen knife) and skillfully ninja-ed up a watermelon and fancy cheddar cheese for us to munch on.

SAM_0655

SAM_0659

On the last leg of the day, the scenary changed and we entered a lulling prairie with yellow butterflies and waving native grasses.  We embraced the quiet moments of the trip as well as our surroundings lended themselves to reflection and private thoughts.

SAM_0621 (1)

SAM_0669

At the end of our hike, we were treated to entrees and drinks at the Starved Rock Lodge, hence the Hops came into play.  We split a tasty helping of  panko breaded avocado fries with a spicy red chimi sauce before our main meal.  Monica picked a light and fluffy mushroom polenta while Kate ate a BBQ pulled pork with crispy waffle cut sweet potato fries.  Even with all that hiking, we were so full we had to skip out on the homemade ice cream and possibility of flourless chocolate cake.

So we can tell you are feeling slightly jealous of our beautiful day.  Why not have your own?  REI school has upcoming Hike and Hop classes as well as Urban Kayaking.  If you are new to nature, you can do basic bike riding classes, survival skills (for those “walker” attacks!) or even map reading.  We are especially partial to the Bike and Beans class.  Get caffienated while toodling on a bike at various Chicago micro-roasters?  Yes sir!  Sign up for an REI class ASAP! Your life may depend on it ;).

Collages3

#RUN10FEED10: Help End Hunger AND Shape Your Booty

It’s not hard to love such a beautiful city like Chicago in fall.  The leaves are changing and the weather is cooling. Not everyone gets to stay cozy warm, however.  The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimates there was about 138,575 Chicagoans who were homeless in August of this year. It can be overwhelming to figure out how we can best help people who are in need. One way, however, is very simple! Stretch your legs and run to provide meals to people who are hungry.  Join Kate as she tests her speed at the RUN10, FEED10 race on October 19th, 2014.

run10feed10

Women’s Health and FEED are partnering for the RUN10 FEED10 10K race series to motivate consumers nationwide to help fight domestic hunger. RUN10 FEED10 has raised over 2.5 million meals to support the cause, and in 2014 the bar is set even higher. The concept behind RUN10 FEED10 is simple: run a 10K and feed 10 hungry people in your community. Timed 10K races will take place in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. Those living in Boston, Los Angeles, Denver, Phoenix, Atlanta, Houston, Minneapolis, and Washington D.C. can participate in one of the Women’s Health “Fun Runs,” and if runners don’t live in one of the RUN10 FEED10 host cities, they can still participate by registering at RUN10FEED10.com to run a 10K in their hometown.

The series kicked off in New York City on September 21, 2014 with thousands of participants running down the West Side Highway for the timed race ending at Pier 84 at Hudson River Park. In the Chi, we will jaunt down Belmont harbor along our gorgeous lakefront and be greeted at the end with a post-race wellness festival. This post race celebration will feature yoga sessions, nutrition, beauty consultations and great giveaways from sponsors.

Feeling intimidated?  Kate has only run 2 5Ks before so she googled to figure out if she could make it through the entire race without yelling uncle and lying down on the pavement.  Self.com has an awesome 4 week training plan to get your booty in gear or you can sign up for training plans with Women’s Health and Run10 Feed10.  Doing a 10k will also flex those glute muscles and burn an odd 600+ calories (about 9 snack size Halloween packs of M&Ms, yup!). Good prep to don that sexy Pumpkin Spice Latte costume (or sexy wizard or sexy sexy…whatevs your wearing).

Not ready to run? You can still help by donating or even shopping at popular retailers like Nike and Gap from the comfort of your sexy couch.

Ready to join Kate and register or share your cash?

Sign up today at www.run10feed10.com!

 

Image from Run 10 Feed 10 Website

Image from Run10 Feed10 Website

Relax with an UpLIFTing Retreat!

upLIFT-Retreat-flyer_2014

As the weather grows chillier and your work load picks up, it becomes essential to practice self-care.  We love opportunities where we can treat ourselves and retreat from the overstimulation of life WHILE helping others.  Next weekend you can do just that!

Experience an upLIFTing yoga session and contribute to children in need.   LIFT (Leading India’s Future Today), founded in 2004 in Chicago, opens a world of possibility for its students.  LIFT supports a holistic learning and leadership development program for boys and girls in Tamil Nadu, India.  LIFT educates children, creates leaders and transforms communities of highly motivated, underpriveledged students.  Learn more about LIFT at www.liftusa.org

The event will feature a ohm-some yoga class with mini Luna bar snacks to refresh yourself after your workout.  Strap on those ultra comfy yoga pants and get ready to relax on the mat! http://lift-foundation.org/uplifting-retreat-2014/

 

Print

Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s 5K: The aftermath guide to race recovery

IMG_1803

The whole running process and prep for a race is like the dreaded 5 paragraph essay.  Yes let’s school you since we’re back to school n’ all.  There’s an intro (lots of hooping and hollering and sweating and prepping for the race), your 3 body paragraphs, known as running your race, which includes topics such as “Why am I doing this?”, “Oh dang, this isn’t so bad”, “No really, I’m going to passout” and your conclusion.

We, being baby runners, didn’t know all the cool stuff you can do after a race to make sure your next race is even more kick a#*!  (We don’t like to swear…for the kids ya’ know).  But for the Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s 5K, we had a guardian race angel, Terra Castro, retired triathlete and Luna Chix Pro, guiding our journey.  If you missed our previous post on Terra’s pre-race tips read it here.   Before the race, pro athlete, Lauren Fleshman, got us pumping with a motivational warm-up.

15160270375_2f463016d4_o

During our race, we took her advice and took a warm up walk from the car to the start line (cheap parking in the Chi is rough).  We took advantage of all the CLIF Shot Bloks (yumm caffeine in a fruit chewy form) that Luna shared with us and downed a bit of water to give us the get up and race energy we needed.  Kate’s fave is the Tropical Punch because of the hit of caffeine and gummy bear flavor.

photo (21)

Snack sized Luna Bars (mmm Chocolate Covered Coconut) were also on hand at the Mag Mile race for any racers lacking a pep in their step.

As we amped our way to the start line, we found our corral and prepped to run.  The weather was perfect and as we began, we jaunted past Wildberry cafe, smelling the delicious brunchy scents of bacon and waffles as we jogged down Randolph.  The best part of the Mag Mile run was the view on Michigan Avenue.  Friendly onlookers urged us on with signs promising us free snacks at the finish line.

IMG_20140831_070412

And somehow, we made it to the end!  And the end was awesome.  There were angelic gentlemen handing us dark chocolate covered frozen bananas from Diana’s Bananas.  There were free juice samples from Naked Juice.  We also got free sport massages from Athletico staff and had our first experience with compression boots.

IMG_1802

Ok, so they look like the moon boots of the 80s but what these puppies do is tighten around your legs like a blood pressure cuff and move all your lactic acid (bad stuff that makes you super sore) up towards the fattier tissues in your pelvis area to reduce the amount of oww you feel the next day.

What else can you do after a run?  Let’s hear it from our LunaChix Pro and expert running coach, Terra Castro.

POST RACE:

-refuel with protein/carb- helps you recover (Dark chocolate covered banana! CHECK!)
- cool down if just a light walk to loosen up body (We wandered all over the post race area to stretch it out. CHECK!!)
- remember a change of clothes/dry clothes so that you can GO CELEBRATE AT BRUNCH!
And now looking forward to your next race.  How do you improve?
POST RACE EVALUATION:
Once you have completed your 5k, you can visit www.mcmillianrunning.com and plug in your race time to calculate training paces to improve your fitness level/ability to reach a personal best at your next race.  It will give you paces for easy runs, long runs, and intervals etc.  Love using this for my athletes and I even bought the app for my iPad.
And Boy Oh Boy do we need to think about improving our fitness level!  Kate has lost her mind and decided to take on a 10k in a month.  Monica will provide her with nursing care afterwards.  Are you inspired to try your first 5k?  Get off that couch and get out there!  You can keep your pjs on if you like.

Be Healthful Retreat: A Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat

The Healthful Guide Presents:

The Be Healthful Retreat: A Holistic Health and Wellness Retreat

Event: Be Healthful: A Health & Wellness One Day Retreat

Hosted By: The Healthful Guide and In Good Taste Magazine

http://behealthfulretreat.eventbrite.com/?aff=IndustryAffiliates&afu=87145668223

Oh DANG! Workout classes all day, mini spa treatments, juicy samples

#BeHealthful will partner with In Good Taste Magazine, Whole Foods, Karyn’s Raw, and other health and wellness leaders in Chicago for an all ­day wellness retreat and holistic health industry event at Moonlight Studios.  Get ready to be educated, entertained, and inspired!

Be Healthful will offer a series of pop­ up fitness classes, workshops given by wellness professionals, healthy eats, and over 20 health conscious vendors.  The retreat will provide an oasis for guests to recharge and reset for the week ahead.  All will leave pampered and energized.

Thirty percent of ticket sales will be donated to the official charity beneficiary of the event, Charity4LIFE.

The one day retreat is an “open ­house” meaning guests can come and go throughout the day and can build their own itinerary. Upon registration, guests can reserve their spot in what workshops/yoga classes they want to attend, and also the times that they want to visit each vendor for their spa services and wellness consultations.

What is included in the registration fee ($39.00) and $10 OFF code: CHIORGANICGIRLS

  • ­ 10 yoga and pilates classes (you can take as many as you like throughout the day) Moksha Yoga, Exhale Spa, Pilates Pro Works, Abigail Simon of Joffrey Ballet, Yoga Six, Tru Body Yoga, Yoga Loft, Flex Pilates, and more.
  • ­ 7 workshops including Ayurvedic detoxes, reflexology workshops, nutrition and motivational talks, cooking demos, and more.
  • ­ Spa services including: full body spray tans, facials, oxygen treatments, light therapy sessions, scalp and shoulder massages; mini makeovers including makeup consultations and hair styling, and more.
  • ­ Wellness consultations including: detoxing consults, posture examinations, tongue examinations, mind and body consultations, and more.
  • ­ Food and Beverage tastings including juices, a variety of plant ­based cuisine, vegan and paleo baked goods, artisan teas, and herbed popcorn. (guests have the option to purchase goods from vendors at guests discretion)

Oh DANG! Workout classes all day, mini spa treatments, juicy samples…what are you waiting for?  Come join us because we all need a chance to recharge and pamper ourselves.

About The Healthful Guide:

The Healthful Guide is a plant based dining and healthy living directory for the city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Healthful is dedicated to bringing more awareness to living a nourishing and holistic lifestyle. Their core belief? That life is all about being Healthful. To learn more visit http://eathealthful.com

Go Deep or Go Home: The Art of #Chicago Style #Pizza

What do a deep dish pizza and a magician have in common?  They both have good taste!  Ok, that was a stretch but did you  know magicians could have more than just doves up their sleeves?

Recently, Now We’re Cookin’ invited members of Chicago Food Bloggers (including lucky saucy us) to learn to make the Chicago style pizza at their Evanston cook space.  To our surprise, instead of pulling rabbits out of hats, our chef, a professional magician, pulled a fantastic pizza out of the oven.

Chef Brian Kirshenbaum keeps his pizza dough straightforward (yeast, warm water, all purpose flour, cornmeal and oil) but sneaks in one secret ingredient (since a magician can’t reveal all his tricks).  He demonstrated the proper way to press down the dough into a deep pan with the slight of a hand.

2014-08-08 (14)

 

Next, he created the sauce by squeezing the juice from fresh whole peeled plum tomatoes and sprinkling in fairy dust…or spices (oregano, black pepper, salt, and garlic) as we non magicians call them.  Then guests partnered up and got to work pressing their own pizza dough and prepping their chunky sauce.

 Downloads8

Finally, the show came to it’s climatic point as fresh deli sliced mozzarella was pressed on the bottom.  Guests picked up to 3 vegetables/meats to fill their own pizza.  We shuffled through the ingredients and chose spinach, mushrooms, roasted red peppers and few thinly sliced fennel.  Veg head Monica loaded up on the plants and a dash of spice instead of sticking with just the traditional thick chunk of gooey cheese (Mon is not fan of xxxtra cheese but will eat deep dish to support her city).

Finally, we spread the chunky tomato sauce over the top of the pizza and sprinkled Parmesan cheese and viola; a magic Chicago pizza appeared :).  Notice the delicate saucy finish.  As we marveled at the fresh flavor of the pizza, Chef BK astounded us with magic acts to titillate our other senses.

 

2014-08-08 (10)

2014-08-08 (8)

2014-08-08 (6)

2014-08-08 (7)

We had a blast learning from Chef and Illusionist Brian Kirshenbaum at Now We’re Cookin’.  And now Mon loves Chicago’s own deep dish pizza!

Running towards Labor Day: 1st time (or 2nd or 3rd) 5k Tips for Success

We have a confession to make.  It’s been 2 weeks since our last post…and quite awhile since our last good run and yet, we have decided to run a 5K this weekend!  AHHHH the agony.  We have every intention of getting up at 5:30 am and running to prep but then our beds call us back loving and tenderly.  Maybe tomorrow we will start again.

For those of you who want to stretch your runnin’ legs with us and challenge yourself anyways, the Magnificent Mile Chicago Women’s Half Marathon and 5K this Sunday has super fun pre and post race events that may convince you to jump out of your bed!

The Magnificent Mile® Fitness Meets Fashion Market

Schedule of Pre Race Events

Where: Fleet Feet Sports – South Loop

What: Sneak peeks into fall apparel from trendy fitness brands, live music and giveaways!

Friday

10:00-8:00 pm: Fitness Meets Fashion Market hours

4:00-7:00 pm: Q+A, chat with running coach and Runner’s World columnist, Jenny Hadfield.

 Mag-Mile-Shakeout-Run-Header-2014

Saturday

10:00-7:00 pm: Fitness Meets Fashion Market Hours

9:15 am: Official Magnificent Shakeout Run led by Professional Oiselle Runner Lauren Fleshman and Jenny Hadfield.

10:30-11:30 am: Complimentary Yoga for Runners class presented by Yoga Six Studio.

4:00-6:00 pm: Meet Professional Oiselle Runner, Lauren Fleshman for a Q+A, photo opportunities, mingling and more!

 

Race Day! Sunday

Register here and get a high quality racerback top to wear while traveling along the fab Mag Mile, a sexy finisher medal and access to a crazy post race party at the historic Buckingham Fountain.  Keep an eye out for delicious LUNA treats at all pre and post race activities.  What a good way to tighten up before Labor day!!  And to really prepare…check out the following pre-race tips for newbies like us from Terra Castro, recently retired professional triathlete and LUNA Chix Pro fitanista!!

photo

 

Morning of the Race

  • Warm-up: remember this is short speedy distance.  Warm-ups are essential to get the muscles ready to push at the faster speeds.  No need to hurt a hamstring!  Make sure to get in 10-15 min of light running and pick ups (strides- increased speed and leg turnover).
  • Seed yourself: This means make sure you pick the right corral or group to start with.  If you are ready to rock- go to the front and be aggressive.  If you are middle of the pack,steady approach, place yourself mid group but be ready because it will be a little crowded.  It is OK to be aggressive and seed yourself a little faster than you think as it will give you more room to get moving.
  • Breakfast: Make sure you eat your pre-race breakfast 2 hours or more before because you don’t want the food to cause GI distress.  Coffee, bagel with PB and banana is always a great starting point to try.  If needed you could use a clif shot right before with some water.  Keep it simple.
  • NO NEW THINGS: don’t get excited and try any new product, shoes, socks, or routine on race morning.  Do what you did in training.
  • Race plan: I always have my athletes write out a simple race plan (strategy) of how they will approach the race.  Not only is this good for the race splits (knowing your mile splits to go for) but I also have them write out the mental side of things to process nerves and know how they will handle the WHAT IFS etc.

 

Terra Castro is a recently retired Professional Triathlete who works as an Elite Sports Massage Therapist and Endurance Coach at Detroit Tough.  Terra works with age group athletes of all levels, and has a specialization in Youth/Junior Triathlon Coaching.  Her passion to BE BOLD is something she shares with all her athletes and within her community. (Head Coach/owner of Be Bold Crew LLC).  You can follow Terra and up your run quotient @terracastro (Twitter & Instagram).

Her tips and tricks will be featured in our next few running blog posts to improve your run game (and ours for sure sure!)

 

 

 

Post Run Recap: Running the Night with Energizer

 2014-01-31

This year has brought a lot of awesome first for us, including our first 5K run together!  A few weeks ago, we headed to Chicago’s gorgeous lakefront to complete the Energizer 5k Night Race and had a blast in our efforts to help raise funds for solar lighting for people with unsafe lighting conditions.  We prepped a few weeks before by building up our stamina in Humboldt Park.  Later we picked up our race packets the week of and found our snazzy Energizer race shirts.  Our race bag also included our Energizer headlamps and some race prep samples like Dove clinical deodorant and Schick razors (hey gotta look and smell good for those other competitors, right?).

2014-08-12

 

The race had validated parking set up at the Radisson Blu hotel….which was the terrible thing!!  The lot was small, maze-like and confusing, thus we were late for the race :).  So late that the starting line was being dismantled as we started.  Some helpful bunny ear bedecked spectators pointed us in the right direction, we set our timer and began our jaunt down the shore.  The packs of headlamp runners gave us the energy to push through swarms of fruit flies and humidity to the finish line.

2014-08-12 (1)

Our time was 11.30 minutes a mile!!!  A personal best.  Afterwards, we kicked back some Gatorade and water and then enjoyed the post race party.  We jammed to live music, snacked on free KIND bars (wooohoo!!) and grabbed gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from Cheesie’s Pub & Grub food truck, all with a huge blow up Energizer bunny swaying in the evening breeze.  We would definitely love to participate in the Night Run next year.

Downloads7

There are still runs going on internationally until the end of the year in places like South Korea, Belgium and Germany.  Anyone wanna hop on a plane?!

2014-08-10 (3)

Run Life: Must Have Gear for Newbie Runners

Chiorganicgirls may have briefly fallen off the face of the earth due to Kate’s wedding festivities but we are back…and better than ever due to the lack of wedding stress!  How did we survive and de-stress during all the bride and maid of honor hub bub this summer?  Exercise, of course!

We took it to the mild weathered streets of Chicago and stretched our running legs along park and lake paths.  One of the big problems we face with outdoor running is where the hell to put your keys, wallet, run jams, snacks, mace and so forth.  Your sports bra is an option for hiding stuff but, dang, it sure gets sweaty in there.

Then comes a product that frees your arms, and bra and shoes (guys you know what I’m saying) from the burden of keeping your stuff secure while you bounce about.

The DBelt!  Okay so the name is funny but what it does is D-liteful!

DBelt051514_0059

Kate snagged the DBelt and never let go (as Monica didn’t want to wear Kate’s sweat anyways).  The DBelt is a wide cotton-spandex blended belt that sits comfortably around your hips or waist (depending on your preference).  Includes 2 zip front pockets, and a velcro closure, there is plenty of room for multiple credit cards, keys and your phone.  Not only did the DBelt travel around Kate’s waist to multiple 5k practices and the big show, the Energizer Night Run, but it also made it’s way to her honeymoon in Costa Rica and on the EL train to yoga class.  Quite the world traveler!  The DBelt is a must have fitness fashion item but also makes a nice purse alternative and a sneaky way to hide your valuables from robbers!

dbeltkate

And care is quite D-simple…ok we stretched on that one.

Handwash
Do not dry in heat
Do not dry clean
Do not iron

See!  You don’t have to use that stupid iron…and we kinda perm press washed it on accident and it came out ok (shhh…).

Is your interested Deepened?  Well Dive in!  (Sorry about all the D jokes…we had to do it).

You can purchase your DBelt online here!

Or if you are a lucky person who lives in Florida, then you can get it at POWER HOUSE gym, 6900 Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach FL 33411.

So let’s go lie on the beach in Florida with our Dbelts!!  Who wants to buy our flights?

 

Oh Honey! New Henry’s Humdingers Sweet and Spicy Honeys

We been aching to keep up with all the new cool products that we been sampling and this one has been on daily rotation for the Chi Girls.  Normally, we don’t mix our sweet and spicy with the exception of a Mayan Mocha now and then but when Henry’s Humdingers  reached out to us, we were intrigued.  Not only were the products unique, raw honeys infused with varietals of hot peppers, but they aim to help the source of honey, our bee pals!  Now, if you’ve been following the news lately, you may have noticed that we have a bee crisis on our hands, which isn’t just bad for bee dudes but also for us and our food sources.  Henry Miller, founder of the company, donates part of all his profits to The Foundation for the Preservation for Honey Bees to combat the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder which is hurting our friends.

 

So what does Henry’s Humdingers have to offer?  4 different crazy raw honey flavas for yo tongue!

  • Grumpy Grandpa Cayenne and Garlic Honey
  • Phoebe’s Fireball Chipotle and Cinnamon Honey
  • Naughty Nana Pepper and Ginger Honey
  • Diabolical Dad Habanero Lime Honey

504205B8-994D-499F-9AAA-C5D8475DEB8A

What to do with all these combos?  Well Henry has some suggestions that range from sweet and sassy wing sauces to english muffin spreads.  So far, we’ve been addicted to the Phoebe’s Fireball in our morning coffee with some sweet coconut milk stirred in.  We’ve also used the Naughty Nana in rice wine vinegar to pickle veggies for Tofu Bahn Mi sandwiches.

Oh and who can forget the old standby of eating spoons of peanut butter as a snack.  Our afternoons have been filled with PB honey spiced dreams.

We highly recommend Henry’s if you have a willing palate!  We let some of our friends try it in tea as well and their mouths were pleasantly piqued.  You can find Henry’s for purchase at J’s Vitamins in Chicago, online or at locations listed here.

Our fave is really Phoebe’s Fireball but we don’t wanna hurt the other honeys’ feelings so keep it quiet.

photo (20)