Tips for Trekking Your First Trail Run

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Now that Race-tober has come to a close, we’ve had a chance to reflect on all the “firsts” we’ve experienced this month: Monica ran her first 10K, Run 10 Feed 10, Kate took her sister to her first 5k, a very rainy yet triumphant Monster Dash and one of our most memorable races, our first trail run with the The North Face Endurance Challenge at Kettle Moraine State Park.  The North Face went above and beyond in sponsoring us, not only giving us sweet race gear before the race, but also surprising us with a backpack full of running essentials once we made our way to our hotel.

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For anyone who has been running 5Ks for a while or would love to just get out in nature more, we think a trail run could hit both those spots.

Here are some things we learned from our experience:

These shoes were made for trailin’

Invest in a pair of trail shoes.  Your feet will thank you for your generosity.  When we first received our North Face Ultra MT trail shoes, we noticed how stiff they were as compared to our norm runners.  A wise friend explained that trail running shoes and more hearty with more tread so you have better grip and can withstand stepping on wily rocks and sticks that may try to block your path.  These shoes are also waterproof to withstand wet and muddy trails.

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Climbing every mountain 

The environment of trails can vary from run to run.  You may find well groomed trails, wild overgrown ones, or paved trails in your travels.  You may find you require more stamina and time to trail run than what you’re used to so don’t feel discouraged if you are slower paced than your average pavement jaunt.

Dress to impress–the wilderness

The weather the day of our trail run was not exactly what you would expect for early October but Midwest weather is like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates, ya never know what you’re gonna get.  Chilly and brisk was the name of the running game for our race day.  Keeping in mind that we were going through the woods, we wore layers.  For rain, try a light or medium weight rain jacket, like The North Face Women’s Venture Jacket.  Trust us, don’t wear your poncho to run unless you want to sweat like a wild hog as you swish through the wilderness.

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And some advice from the trail running pros!

Runner’s World: 21 Quick Trail Running Tips

Active.com: 9 Trail Running Tips for Beginners

Trail Runner: The 10 Commandments of Healthy Running

Ready, set, go!

You can still take on the North Face Endurance Challenge in California, Washington D.C. and New York or try an Illinois trail run if you’re our neighbors.

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Still trail shy?

The North Face offers their free Mountain Athletics training sessions every Tuesday and Thursday in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington D.C. to help you prep for your next ski jump, rock climb, run or crazy jazz hand competition…whatever your goal may be.

Free Nutrition and Fitness Event with Freshii and Trainology!

Quick: Name some famous duos!
Batman and Robin
Peanut Butter and Jelly
Freshii and…Trainology?
Teaming up this week, TRAINology Fitness Chicago‘s top trainer, Michael Wollpert will bring his “A” game and freshii franchiser and former personal trainer, Alex Blair, will bring the “lettuce” for a night of health and wellness tid bits, freshii bites, giveaways (we heart these) and Q&A, so ask whatever you like!
When: Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 5 p.m.
Where: The brand new funky fresh 1871 freshii location on the 12th floor of the Merchandise Mart.
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What: An hour long fitness and nutrition talk with experts, Michael and Alex, moderated by A Sweat Life blogger, Jeana Anderson Cohen.  Food and giveaways throughout the evening.  RSVP to allison@trainologychicago.com to save a spot!

BluePrint Cleanse Giveaway

Aww hello Fall.  We love you and your pumpkin spice lattes.  Before you get plumpkin, however, a change of seasons is a fabulous time to adopt new healthy habits and shed old ones.  A juice cleanse may help you transition and reset your cravings.  We were invited to try BluePrint cleanse for free to eval the benefits of a fall juice cleanse.  This ain’t our first cleanse rodeo so we can tell you a thing or two about how this cleanse compares.  Let us remind you that neither one of us is a medical professional (we just play them on tv…jkjk) so these are our personal opinions and we can’t guarantee anything similar…except you may become a unicorn.  Here are our JAQs (Juicily Asked Questions):

Why do a Juice Cleanse:

Ummm…most co-workers look at you with curiosity and/or incredulity when you show up to the break room with your lunch bag o’ juice.  Proponents of juicing contend that it provides a waterslide of vitamins to your body and flushes out toxins.  We aren’t really sure but juicing is a good way to quickly get your 5 servings of produce a day, pulverize unhealthy habits and squeeze out a clean eating regimen.

What to do before:

Not the best idea to do that 2 am White Castle before you start a cleanse.  Ease into it and keep it light.  BluePrint recommends you avoid animal proteins, dairy and processed foods before AND after a cleanse, so don’t jump into a pudding cup after you finish.  Basically become a rabbit, a healthy rabbit who loves avocado, olive oil and crunchy greens.

Where did BluePrint come from anyways?

Sneezing and coughing can lead to a thriving business!  In early 2000, Zoe Sakoutis, a certified nutritional consultant, caught a monster cold and looked for solutions from a raw foodie friend.  The answer?  A strict 7 day cleanse.  The answer worked but Zoe wanted a way to replicate without all the daily juice machine cleaning.  Zoe paired up with her friend, Erica Huss, and thus BluePrint came to fruition.  Their cold-pressed juices are a blend of USDA-certified-organic fruits and vegetables.  Ingredients are sourced from local farms (including BluePrint’s own acreage).

What was BluePrint Cleanse like?

User friendly for sure!  Juices are numbered for ease of drinkage.  Like Brian McKnight says “Start at 1” and then move your way through the day to 6 in the evening.  You drink a bottle about every 2 hours.  Juices come in recycled plastic BPA free bottles and we also received a cute juice carrying lunch bag to tote our way around the day.  You need access to a fridge or ice packs in your bag to make sure your juices stay frosty.

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Our renovation cleanse was recommended for the beginning juicer and featured 5 different juice combos to shun juice-logged feelings: 1) Green Juice 2) P.A.M.-Pineapple, Apple, Mint 3) Green Juice 4) Spicy Lemonade 5) C.A.B.-Apple, Carrot, Beet 6) Cashew Milk

“Best of Bottle” Juices?

Kate: Ok, so me and beet juice…not always friends.  Usually, it’s my most hated juice in the cleanse repertoire.  BluePrint’s C.A.B. juice has more ginger and lemon overtones and the beet doesn’t beat up your taste buds.

Monica: I love the idea of alternating juice with heavy fruits and vegetables to light lemon with a kick of either cayenne or ginger juice so I don’t get bored. The night ends perfectly with delicious rich Madagascar vanilla cashew milk….yumm.

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Any side effects?

Constantly cold!

The distinct drooling effect over your co-workers garlicky noodles at lunch.

Missing the little things…like chewing.

What were the benefits?

Kate: I noticed I could taste everything more intensely (in a good way).   After the cleanse, veggies and fruits tasted more rich and vibrant.  I lost 2 pounds (probably water weight but heyooo, makes you wanna keep up the health and wellness juice jive).  I got a ton of vitamins directly deposited into my body bank account.

Monica: I was giddy and perky on 2nd and 3rd day, so much so that my coworkers thought it was due to a new guy in my life (though true haha but I’ve experienced the exact same thing during my first juice cleanse).  I didn’t need any caffeine to get through the day even post cleanse.  No more bloating and slimmer waist!

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Now it’s your turn!

You can WIN a 3 DAY CLEANSE from BluePrint!  Click here to enter and start commenting.  You can still be “winning!” without winning with Gilt City BluePrint Cleanse Dealio.  Extra bonus news: BluePrint cleanse is debuting limited time fall dranks so ditch the Pumpkin Spice and try a six pack of 1 of 4 new juices for FREE when you buy a three day cleanse and enter the code “HARVEST“.

Don’t forget to enter our Rafflecopter giveaway!

Fit Foodie 5k Race Weekend: The Most Delicious 5k Around!

Yoga + Fro Yo Running + Risotto Boxing + Bacon…+ Beer Who says you can’t enjoy fitness AND food.  Certainly not us as we are 2015 Fit Foodie 5k Race Ambassadors! Cooking Light & Health Magazine are sponsoring a calve … Continue reading

2nd Annual Be Healthful Retreat!

We love spending time with our ladies but the dinner, drink, repeat thing can be unhealthy!  Get that girl bonding time in AND do something that can change your body, mind and heart with the 2nd annual BeHealthful Retreat and Conference series.

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What: 2nd Annual BeHealthful Retreat and Conference hosted by Balanced Babe and sponsored by Jewel Osco

  • Interactive Panels & Workshops
  • Yoga and Movement Gallery
  • Holistic Oasis Marketplace with free spa services and light bites
  • Two zen lounges to chill out
  • Cooking demos, shopping, product samples

When: Sunday September 27th, 11 am-5 pm

Where: Zhou B Art Center, 1029 W. 35th Street, Chicago, IL 60609—-free parking included

What are we looking forward to?

Shooo.  BeHealthful is sporting an all star line up of fitness instructors!  Rebecca Niziol, known for leading supremely relaxing yoga classes at Exhale Spa, is leading a meditation to close out.  This will be sorely needed whether you sweat it out with a high intensity interval training sesh (HIIT) with Betina Gozo, Crosstown Fitness and Nike hard hitter or several other fitness options.

Opportunities for personal growth abound!  Sessions like “Strategies for Leading a Fearless Life” and “The Art of Pitching” will stretch your mind.

Mmm how do you choose from so many spa options?  Manicures, eyelash applications, hand massages, art therapy…better get there early!

Ready to buy tickets?  Purchase them here and grab your gals for a healthful day of food, fitness and fun!

HF

Fitness Friday: Equinox Ropes and Rowers

For those who haven’t been to Equinox, you’ve been missing out on a luxury fitness experience.  Think top tier fitness instructors, a wide array of fitness tools at your fingertips and a cool lavender towel resting on your neck after busting your butt.  If that weren’t enough, Equinox’s group fitness classes keep you on your toes as they constantly think of new ways to challenge your svelte regime.

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Equinox has two new classes in heavy rotation: Best Butt Ever (who can say no to that! Bounce a quarter off this pup) and Ropes and Rowers.  We wrangled our schedules to make time for Ropes and Rowers and the calories were roasted!  We loved the interval format as we moved through 4 different stations: Rowing, Battle Ropes, Step Work, and Weighted Exercise Balls.

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Here’s how to survive this intense class and feel like an Olympic Champion:

  1. COME EARLY! We had a major fitness faux pas as Kate thought the class started at 6:30..soo…but our instructor Tanya from Equinox Lincoln Park not only made space for us but took time to get us set up and explain what was happening.
  2. Get tough!  Neither one of us have experienced a Battle Rope before.   Battle Ropes are said to improve body balance, encourage functional fitness and boost mental toughness.  Our favorite station included thwaping this heavy rope first, then pulling the ropes (attached to a heavy weight) all the way to you, and finishing with pushing the weight all the way back to start.  Killer abs here we come. 20061180962_9b45200960_z
  3. Pace yourself and keep going!  Even though the class isn’t super long (40 minutes with about 5 minutes of stretching), you will be surprised how exhausted you get after donkey kicking, speed water rowing, and Russian twisting your tail off!  One of our rowing segments, consisting of 100 meter row sprints, took our breathe away (and not in the romantic way)! 19881273140_94eede02cf_z

Ready to battle?  Check out Ropes and Rowers at any Chicagoland Equinox.  Has anyone experienced the battle royale of battle ropes?  Let us know what you think!!

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Extra Extra: Get Your Daily Greens Here!

Do you get green with envy when you see pictures of other people’s magical green smoothies?  Not all of us have the leprechaun touch for fruits and veggies.  Most of us know, however, that it does a body well to consume raw produce yet only a small percentage of people even eat them every day.  Hmm but how can you consume a bunch for optimal daily health on those days when you can’t get it together?

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About

Daily Greens organic & cold pressed juices seeks to help Americans infuse their lives with nutrition.  Dark leafy greens are full of vitamins and minerals our body needs.  Founder, Shauna Martin, turned to juicing in her personal life for a more serious reason than just well being maintenance.  Diagnosed with breast cancer at the early age of 33, Shauna was determined to get back to health.  She picked up a regime of daily juicing and once she completely recovered from breast cancer, she wanted to share her good habit with her social sphere.  Her meat lovin’ friends and family, however, couldn’t wrap their minds or mouths around the idea of the very green smoothie.  She experimented and came up with the original Daily Greens drink, Vitality, which became a hit to the Austin crowd before it spread past Texas.

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It’s quite easy feelin’ green

There are 6 different types of core Daily Green.  We were given 2 different samples of the core Daily Greens to experiment on our own taste buds.

Renew was packed to the max with greens and features mint, dandelion greens and Himalayan pink salt. Elevate caters more to those who maybe think Green Smoothies taste a little tooooo green. With fancy Madagascar vanilla and pear, this Daily Green mixes it up and its juicy sweet touch makes it more palpable to non green people.  All core Daily Greens are 1 serving bottles and relatively low in calories.

Daily Greens also offer 3 different Chia-Infused greens (high in omega-3, 2x more protein and 5x more calcium) and 3 different Hemp Milks for plant based protein (high omega 3 and 6).  We would love to try the Replenish (includes cocoa)!  A bonus is the Half Pint for your kids to drink, too!

Shauna isn’t afraid for you to venture on your own green journey as well.  Her book, prefwell by Mayim Bialik (of Blossom and Big Bang Theory fame), gives guidance on how to greenify on your own, including how to prep for a cleanse and what light foods to eat after. The book also displays clean and vibrant images of all the delicious juice creations.

EXTRA BONUS!!  Shauna is touring Chicago to share the news of her new Daily Greens: 4-Day Cleanse book that details her story and includes raw foods, juice and smoothie recipes for a health-focused cleanse.  She’ll be signing books and sampling juices at the Lincoln Park Whole Foods August 3and the Streeterville Whole Foods location between 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. August 4.

Prepping for the North Face Endurance Challenge with Ultrarunner, Rob Krar

Are you ready to take your run to the next level? North Face’s free endurance workouts at Millennium Park and Lincoln Park continue on to prepare you for one big event: the North Face Endurance Challenge presented by Gortex on October 3rd and 4th.  Located in the beautiful Kettle Moraine Park nearby Madison, Wisconsin, athletes (and semi athletes like us) have the chance to try their hands and feet at anywhere between a 5K and a 50 (WHEW!!) mile run.  North Face is bringing in top athletes/North Face ambassadors for the next few months to guest star and prep you for the race of your choice.

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This free training series kicks off with ultrarunner and 2x Western States Champion, Rob Krar. *The Western States Endurance Run is a 100-mile (161 km) ultramarathon the California Sierra Nevada mountains.

This Thursday, July 30th, Rob Krar will host the semi-weekly Mountain Athletics workout at Millennium Monument at 6:30 PM. More info on the free event and sign up, hosted by The North Face, here.

Rob will also be leading a run in the gorgeous and nature filled Waterfall Glen this Saturday, August 1st at 7 am.  Details and sign up here.

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Interview with Rob Krar

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K & M: From the newbie perspective, how did you get started in ultrarunning and what do you love about it?
Rob: Like so much of my more recent past, my introduction to ultrarunning happened quickly and unexpectedly. After returning from an injury and surgery I was sure would never allow me to walk comfortably again — let alone train and race again — I was determined to approach the opportunity with a new philosophy in order not to lose, again, something that means so much to me. Respecting rest and recovery, mind and body, and finding my peace alone on the trails is what I love most about ultra running.
K & M: How do you plan to continue to challenge yourself?
Rob: A large focus and goal for the year has been stepping out of my comfort zone and challenging myself in new ways — two ski mountaineering races over the winter in Colorado that found me wondering if I’d gotten in over my head, speaking of my struggles with depression at a medical conference ahead of the Western States Endurance Run, and have an ambitious race schedule for the second half of the year including racing the six day TransRockies Run stage race, the 106-mile Ultra Trail du Mont-Blanc in France, and the 100-mile Ultra-Trail Mt Fuji in Japan. I feel it’s important to challenge myself in ways beyond running to allow for a better balance in life.
K & M: Any tips for brand new runners?
Rob: Ultrarunning is incredibly rewarding. Start with shorter trail races and learn your strengths and weaknesses. Take your time moving up through the distances, always focused on maintaining strengths and improving on weaknesses heading into each race. Keep it fun and soak up the amazing energy that surrounds the ultrarunning community.
K & M: How do you keep things fresh?
Rob: If things get stale, fall back on an old activity from yesteryears — like badminton!
Big thanks to North Face for connecting us and Rob Krar for sharing!  We appreciate Rob’s humility over such amazing achievements and encouragement for people just starting out.
Wanna learn more about Rob?  Check out this fast article from Runner’s World and come join him this week.

Fitness Friday: MatBox for a Knockout Body

Tired of the same ol’ cardio, weights, rinse, repeat?  Your body is too! Since variety is the spice of life and the booster of metabolisms, we always try to mix up our routine.  And mix it up we did in the newly created matBox workout at Pilates ProWorks Lincoln Park this past Monday.

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Pilates ProWorks was co-founded in 2010 by a fit husband and wife duo, Oscar Sanin and Taylor Carter.  Oscar sustained injuries during an accident that required rehabilitation and found quick gains in strength with Pilates.  He also noticed, however, that Pilates machines, workouts and even cost of classes could be improved.  Thus, he and his wife reformed the typical methods of Pilates with Pilates ProWorks (hahaha fitness joke).

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MatBox is only offered in Chicago and San Francisco currently and will expand nationwide to all Pilates ProWorks by the end of July.  So get this, whether you love Pilates, boxing, HIIT, yoga or even running, you will find something to love during your matBox class.  Its like a workout for the spontaneous (or easily bored).  The first 30 minutes of class centers around interval training with kick boxing rounds and high intensity cardio (think burpees, football runs, in place sprints).  Next, you head to the mat for classic Pilates moves like the one hundred (abs up for grabs!).  Finally, you stretch out with a relaxing yoga sequence (well semi relaxing as a chaturanga is thrown in here and there).

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Here are our core tips to be a powerhouse in matBox class:

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  1. Prep-Bring a water bottle and a towel with you and wear grippy socks.  You will drip off calories, no lie.
  2.  For the boxing portion of matBox, you need hand wraps and boxing gloves. Hand wraps must be purchased but come in cute bright colors.  Monica chose red and Kate snagged the blue (for ‘Merica, ya know).  Give yourself 15 minutes before class to get ready.  Our teacher, Rita, helped us wrap our hands as we were newbies but there is an online video if you’re a DIY kinda gal.
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  4. If you’ve never boxed, don’t be afraid to ask for help! Classes are relatively small so individual support is available.  Rita walked around throughout class and adjusted students’ form, encouraged us to push harder and pointed out when we were rocking our body.
  5. You’ll be sore! That’s a good thing right? By the end of the boxing sequence, our punches and kicks became less Wonder Woman and more wimpy. MatBox works to drive your endurance up so don’t be discouraged if you need to take a breather several times during class.

Pilates ProWorks also offers FitFormer machine based Pilates classes, Barre Pro, Barre and Pilates Fusion classes (called 30/30) and TRX classes so there’s no shortage of toning options.

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Ready to knockout the competition?  

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Try a 1 week new client special for only $35 if you wanna try out every class at Pilates ProWorks OR…..break out your guns and pose!

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Pilates ProWorks is kicking off matBox with the #matBoxMug competition, inviting fitness enthusiasts and amateurs alike to post their best boxing-related vogue poses on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for a chance to win a complimentary one-month membership.  Follow and tag Pilates ProWorks @pilatesproworks with your photo and #matBoxMug for entry.

    WHAT!! This dude runs 100 miles? You have to have respect for that. We got the chance to interview Rob through email before his visit to Chicago to find out what draws a person into ultrarunning.