Run and Strength Train with CrossTown Fitness

Runners and Lifters will love this Chicago Workout with @CTFChicago Continue reading

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Winter Running Gear: YakTrax Run

What is it about Midwestern winter (and sadly sometimes spring) that can totally diminish your run game?  The chill in the air, the icy scaled sidewalks, that daunting first inch of snow…man we wanna grab our snuggie and hot chocolate just writing this!  We kept trying to figure out how we could keep running safely when the weather outside became frightful Snow solution?  A fluffy white magical Yak picks you up and you sashay through the shivery slush…or you could try YakTrax for a more realistic tool for winter running woes.

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What’s a YakTrax you ask?  The name sounds like a new Dr. Seuss character and just in time for his birthday!  But we digress.  We read a couple of “Best of Winter Running Gear” articles and YakTrax brand traction devices dominated many a list so we ski jumped for joy when we were given a pair from Implus, fitness accessory brand leader, to trek across the blustery terrain.

Inspired by a Himalayan Sherpa, the original Yaktrax model features a spikeless coil design that grips the ice and snow with each step.  Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils, providing 360° of unbeatable traction.  Continue your training during the winter with the same stability you are accustomed to on dry surfaces.  The Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as ‑41° Fahrenheit.

Mittens Up (Yup, Thumbs Up)

Throw your mittens in the air if you just don’t care…about running in the cold.  Here’s the positives about YakTrax Run and winter running.

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  • Fit like a Glove – YakTrax Run snuggled around our sneakers and stayed put during our jogs.
  • No Directions Needed – You could dream of sugar plum fairies while putting your YakTrax on (aka daydream).  They are user intuitive and are marked to guide you (left and right/heel and toe)
  • Dashing Through the Snow – YakTrax did not have a drastic affect on our gait.  They kinda feel like you’re bouncing a bit on a cloud of snow.  We only put in a 5k distance so not sure how they’d fair on a longer jaunt.

Mittens Down (Thoughts for improvements and tips)

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  • The Weather Calls For Snowzilla – When reviewing other runners, YakTrax Run is made for a specific type of weather.  You probably shouldn’t run across an ice skating rink for prolonged amounts of time as they aren’t made for thick ice or feet of snow backwoods running.  Stick to mildly icy pavement and moderate snow for best results.
  • Slushy Slush (our new rap name) – Slushy snow can get trapped in the back of the heel so you may have to tap tap tap a tree once in awhile to get it out.

For you non-runners, YakTrax carries 6 other types of traction variations for any purpose from your ma’s walks in the afternoon, to your bestie who hits the ski slope every weekend.

Strap up your run shoes in some YakTrax Run coils for only $40 here, less than that Yak (about $2000) and besides Yaks weigh 700 pounds so where would you house them?

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For now, the weather has us chanting the mantra of the post office: Neither rain, nor moderate ice nor snow can stop us from running–now that we have YakTrax Run coils.  Maybe a tornado would stop us though…just sayin’.  What do you think about YakTrax or other run traction devices?  We would love to hear your thoughts.  Comment below and until next time, happy trails!

 

Your best (or first) 10K yet with Run10Feed10!

Plans for Saturday looking a little scary?  Treat yourself and others instead by getting fit while giving to charity. We have the pleasure of being run ambassadors for the Run10Feed10 10k this Saturday at Diversey Habor and YOU, Chicago friends, … Continue reading

#Run10Feed10 First 10k Run Recap!

This past Sunday, I ran my first 10k with Run 10 Feed 10 and Women’s Health…and boy are my gams tired!  I did it!  And next time, I’m dragging Monica to run with me.  My popular co-blogger had yet another wedding to attend that day.

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And what did I learn from the fab event?  For those of you moving from 5ks to the next step up, know that it is possible to be ready in 4 weeks!  This is coming from someone who used to hate running.

Amateur 10K tips:

1) Don’t stress!  There was plenty of people walking and taking breaks.  Your first 10k should be enjoyable and don’t feel guilty if you have to pause to catch your breath.

2) Get enough sleep.

Ya’ll know Halloween is coming, yeah?  So I had a lil pumpkin carving party the Saturday eve before and maaaybe stayed up a bit too late.  You need your full body strength to be at optimal performance so go to bed on time!

3) But not too much sleep.

Ok, so rookie mistake.  My anxiety got away with me and while I woke up at 5:30 am, I went back to sleep until 7:30 and then had to pull a Ferris Beuller’s day off and ramp myself into my workout clothes and on to the highway to get to the start line 5 minutes after the race started.

4) Take in the scenery

Running outside in Chicago is a treat (no tricks here).  Other than dodging goose poo in a small section, the race jaunted along the picturesque Chicago lakefront.  The continually varied foliage and fauna…oh and the Grub Hub running team with their hotdogs and turkey shaped hats…is way more interesting than staring at the wall while on the treadmill.

5) Revel in your results (and the after party)!

My time wasn’t super fast but I have gained about 2 minutes of speed since I first started running.  Women’s Health put together a sweet after event with a post race yoga, free post race fuel (Nestle Choco Milk, Bagels and fruit), athletic massages and beauty touch ups from Panasonic.  I was surprised to see Allison Sweeney of Biggest Loser there as well.  She gave out the post race awards, none of which I won.  Maybe some day!

Thanks to Women’s Health for allowing me to contribute to this spectacular event.

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#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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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!!

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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

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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?).

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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.

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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.

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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?!

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Run the Night to Save Some Light! Join the 5k Energizer Night Race

Just as we started to begin to bear running outside again (shaking our fists at the lingering Polar Vortex), we were presented with a chance to not only stretch our fledgling run skills but also to help improve the quality of lives for others.  Sure, fun runs abound in the Chi.  There’s beer runs, chocolate runs (yum), Santa runs, Neon Color Glowy Runs and so on.

But your 5K can be silly and charitable!  Imagine, for example, running down Lake Shore Drive in the dark with a set of bunny ears on.  No, this is not your typical wild Saturday night.  This is the Energizer 5k Night Race for a Brighter World and we are your run ambassadors!

SO why do we need to make a brighter world?

The mission of the Energizer Night Race is to spread awareness of the dangers of unclean lighting.  When you participate in the Energizer Night Race in Chicago, you can help the 1.3 billion people that lack electricity.  Your time running will aid in Energizer’s efforts to donate over 14 million hours of light to families around the world through their partner, One Million Lights – a non-profit that provides clean, safe, affordable solar lighting to rural communities globally.  When we were reading through the info, we were surprised to learn about the usage and dangers of kerosene lighting which is still prevalent in many countries.  To be honest, we sometimes don’t consider all the comforts of home we have!  Are you inspired to lace up those shoes yet?  Here’s the details of the race!

 Energizer Night Race for a Brighter World

Saturday June 7, 2014

Lakeshore East Park

6PM Race Day Packet Pick-up/On-site Registration

7 PM Pre-Race Festivities

8 PM 5K Race Step Off

8:45-10:00 PM Post-Race Celebration

(Keep the bunny ears on for that extra party ‘je ne sais quoi’)

 

Your $35 entry fee includes your Energizer LED headlamp, bunny ears, event shirt as well as pre and post race entertainment.

 

And now we want to spread the positivitenergy™ to you!  We have race GIVEAWAYS so spread the word to keep the lights on!

To win, please tell us how you light up others’ lives and an email where we can reach you.  Deadline May 24th, 2014.

 

Prizes (click on each to see the prize):

2 Free Race Entries

5 Energizer® 3 LED Headlights

Energizer® Solar™ LED Flashlights 

Sign up, spread the word, put on those ears and run faster than a…well, faster than an Enegizer bunny, that’s apropos right?