Light Up the Night: 4id Runner Safety Lights

What comes to mind with the fall season?  Crisp air, pumpkin spice drinks, apple cider donuts, and losing the light.  It’s getting darker earlier and, although this is perfect running weather, we gotta figure out how to stay safe in our bustling city.

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Looking like a ghost while you exercise outside is a bad idea (unless it’s Halloween!). Lighting up (in a positive way) is easier than you think, way more easy than returning from the dead!  One of the simplest things you can do when biking, running or trekking outside is use wearable lights.

We tested two different products from 4id that can keep you lit and visible.  4id specializes in safety wearables for athletes.  They geared us up good with 2 of their most popular products:

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Power Spurz

  • Snugly wraps around the back of your shoe.
  • They are flexible and don’t put much pressure on your foot which we appreciated.

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Power Armz

  • Shows off your huge biceps (or small ones)
  • Wraps around your upper arm with a velcro strap attached to the lighted component.

All 4id products are:

  • Weather proof, flexible and durable (Rain can’t stop your shine!)
  • Easy to attach (no assembly required) and be attached to
  • Available in 5 neon LED light colors
  • Switchable to 2 settings, pulse (or blinky as we say) and static light
  • Lighting your way with over 70-100 hours on their included batteries

4id also lights up your lifffeeee with bike lights, skater boy (or girl) leg lights or even lace lights because you need to keep them shoes tied, right?

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Buy all of your lights (all of the lights) Kayne style at 4id‘s site for $19.99 each or 40.00 for a pair of Power Spurz or Power Armz.

*We were provided 4id products for review.  Our opinions were not compensated and are our own*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

 

Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 2

In the new year, would you prefer barefoot or lacing up your kicks for a jog?  Either way we got you covered (and for cheap too!) with Part 2 of our Free Workouts in the New Year blog.

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Running

Fleet Feet Run Clubs

With 9 different Chicago area locations, you could run with friendly folks every day of the week.  Fleet Feet fun runs include themed runs like Chick’s Night, Pint Night as well as new running gear demo events.

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Shake Shack monthly runs

Looking for Pavlovian fitness techniques?  Trendy burger chain, Shake Shack, hosts monthly fun runs on the second Tuesday of every month with a twist.  Your reward for running: A free shake, beer or discounted burger!  Details here.

City Fit Girls

Starting in Philly and imported to Chicago, City Fit Girls strives to give women and comfortable and supportive environment for stretching their running legs.  Chicago fun runs are Wednesdays at 6:30 pm in Lincoln Park.  More information available here.

Yoga

Community Yoga

Chicago has an infinite amount of yoga studios and many of them aim to give back to community with donation based or free yoga classes.  Our top choices are Zen Yoga Garage (Logan Square), Tejas Yoga (South Loop) and Pilsen Yoga Tribe (Pilsen) at Thalia Hall.

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Yoga at your fave clothing store

Whether you rock Lululemon, Athleta or Lole, each of these clothing stores encourage community yoga with weekly or monthly free yoga and strength training events.

Yoga With Adriene

This talented Texan yogi is friendly, silly and cares enough to share the gift of yoga classes with us!  She is currently running a YouTube 30 day Yoga Camp to your daily yoga flow fluidly flowing.

 

Free Workouts in the New Year: Part 1

If you are living on a tight budget OR aren’t quite clear even where to start with jumping in the fitness “pool”, these fitness activities are free, fun and can guide you in the right direction to feel more calm, strong and the bomb in 2016!

Strength Training

If your goals include muscling it up or toning it down, these indoor, outdoor and online options can fuel your fitness fire.

Nike Training Club Chicago

Train with top Chicago fitness professionals in classes ranging from barre to HIT in addition to speed, endurance and long distance run training. Nike Training Club Chicago supported super fabulous events last year like Train with Hart, a 5K run with Kevin Hart, and #getouthere, a temporary Chicago river front workout facility to withstand the Chicago chill.  Need a little help sorting through your fitness goals? Sign up for an exclusive Resolutions Consultation with a Nike fitness pro and get athletic coaching advice for nada dollars.  Join and sign up for workouts here.

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North Face Mountain Athletics

Cold air, they don’t care.  North Face continues their free Mountain Athletics outdoor workouts Tuesday at Lincoln Park and Thursday at Millennium Park even in the winter.  If you are looking for a challenge, this is for you!

Each session, led by two The North Face trainers, prep you for outdoor goals.  Sign up here.

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Chicago Park District

Looking for something local?  Check out your nearby Chicago Park district building this week, January 2nd-10th, for free boxing, swimming, aerobic exercise and more.

Target Commit to Fit (with Adam Rosante and Idalis Velazquez)

It takes at least 21 days to start a habit so Target wants to bolster your fit meter with a free 21 day Commit to Fit workout program.  Adam Rosante, certified athletic trainer, and author of “The 30 Second Body: Eat Clean, Train Dirty & Live Hard” and Idalis Velazquez, founder of IV Fitness LLC and the creator of the PowerUP60 training method, power through with you by leading a series of Target Youtube videos for abs, cardio and strength.

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Dance

ARC Chicago

Join in a Dance Free for All January 5th-10th with the American Rhythm Center Chicago.  Classes ranging from Tap, Break dancing, African Dance, Bollywood, Afro-Haitian and much more are all free!

Dance Fitness with Jessica

These short, high energy dance routines are lead and follow style but still could be club ready with practice.  Jessica Bass starting a small group dance class in Knoxville, TN that expanded to hundreds of free Youtube videos in addition to a purchasable fitness program.  Lace up your dancing shoes and prepare to werk.

If you don’t have twinkle toe or muscle head genes, stayed tuned for Part 2 of our Free Workout posts: Yoga and Running!

 

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

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.

#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.
    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.