Win an entry into the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon

Hey, runner friends! How would you like to race to support lifesaving blood cancer research this fall at the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco?

Team in Training (TNT) has partnered with our friends at Fit Approach to offer one FREE entry to the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon. Opportunities as unique & powerful as this only come around once in a while!

Team in Training is a race training program that also serves as the main fundraising campaign for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer.

Over the past 25 years, TNT has raised more than $1.4 billion to support LLS’s mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the lives of patients and their families.

Each mile you run will impact the lives of loved ones across the country.

In exchange for raising funds, TNT provides four months of marathon training with world-class trainers as well as clinics on nutrition and injury prevention.

Not to mention, you’ll get to run the Nike Women’s Half Marathon with 25,000 new friends through the iconic streets of San Francisco…

Enter today…and good luck!

Learn more about Team in Training

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Scenes from a Sunday ride of firsts

Source: Jess Smith

Source: Jess Smith

“Coeur” is French for “heart,” so it was only fitting that those of us in the Bay Area met up during Valentine’s weekend for our first of (hopefully!) many ladies’ bike ‘n’ brunch rides with Coeur Sports and Osmo Nutrition.

Interestingly enough, “coeur” is also the root of the word “courage,” and I ended up needing a good dose of it in order to get myself out the door this morning. To say I was nervous pulling up to our meeting spot would be putting it mildly…I mean, this group touts some serious racing resumes (we’re talking pro triathletes, Ironman finishers and all-around endurance sport superstars), and I’m still very much a noob when it comes to the swim and bike stuff.

Our hosts Hailey and Jess not only welcomed everyone with open arms, though, but they also offered encouraging words as I admitted to them that I was feeling super intimated and in waaay over my head. But before I knew it, we were off…and it was sink or swim (or more like punk out or pedal), so I rode along with my friend Amy, a fellow runner and November Project member, and we joined up with Doris, a local triathlete with whom we both hit it off immediately.

It turned out to be a ride of many firsts as we hit the road for our adventure:

First time meeting the Coeur crew in-person and cycling in a group…

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First time riding in bike shoes and cleats…

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First time helping to change a flat tire (successfully, I might add!)…

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Source: Doris Steere

Source: Doris Steere

First time taking in the beautiful scenery in Woodside, Calif. (although we did get a bit lost)…

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First time realizing how good brunch tastes after a ride, especially when you’re surrounded by incredibly inspiring women…

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And, finally, first time in a long time realizing you’re never too old to still have “firsts” — whether it’s making new friends, conquering fears, tackling challenges or simply believing in yourself…

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We ended up riding about 18.5 miles total, which included almost 2,500 feet of elevation gain for what I dubbed the “thigh-thrasher” workout. While it ended up being a more, er, “creative” route (read: we got lost and took a totally different path), it was a good metaphor for the day: It’s not always about sticking to the planned journey; sometimes it’s when we veer off track that the magic truly happens.

Fit Fix: Dane Rauschenberg on telling the tale of his 202-mile solo relay

Source: SeeDaneRun

Source: SeeDaneRun

Dane Rauschenberg is already known for running 52 marathons in 52 weekends, but when he announced in 2010 that he would be taking on a solo running of the American Odyssey Relay, it seemed out of the realm of possibility. Normally reserved for teams of 6-12 runners, the 202-mile relay race can take groups of well-rested people up to 36 hours to complete.

Well, Dane not only nailed the task of running from Gettysburg, Pa., to Washington, D.C., but he did it in the astonishing time of a little more than 50 hours. And now he’s taking to Kickstarter to tell the story through a documentary that will take viewers on a roller coaster ride of emotion, physicality and humor.

I sat down with the extreme runner, author and motivational speaker to pick his brain about tackling that monstrous number of miles, as well as how he’s hoping his film will show others that they, too, can chase their own seemingly-impossible dreams.

KineticFix: You started running in law school to keep your weight in check. How’d you make the leap to extreme events/distances?

Dane Rauschenberg: It happened very suddenly. I went from barely running at all to all of a sudden planning on running 52 marathons in a year. Back in 2006 there was hardly anyone doing multiple marathons at max effort in one year, so it seemed outlandish for me to every try it. But to PR in my 42nd week of the year showed I wasn’t just out there to collect medals.

KF: Where’d you get the idea to do the American Odyssey Relay solo?

DR: It was a confluence of multiple events. I worked for a running company that put on races similar to the AOR, and that planted the seed. Then I wanted to see what was possible. I had no real idea how long it would take or how to go about doing it, but I figured out a way.

Source: SeeDaneRun

Source: SeeDaneRun

KF: Do you have a favorite moment or memory from the experience?

DR: It sounds cliché, but the finish was my favorite memory. Or more accurately, the last few hours. I was running completely alone (my crew had to return vehicles and get to the finish), and it gave me time to reflect on what I was going to achieve.

KF: What’s been tougher during your extreme running feats – the physical strain or the logistics?

DR: Logistics, without a doubt. When I ran 350 miles in one week up the Oregon Coast, it was the running that was the easy (well, easier) part. Stopping virtually every day to speak to people at events or children at schools took a great deal of time, energy and simple coordination of schedules. Throwing such a rigid timeline into running 50 miles a day made it harder than actually running the distance each day.

KF: How do you find the pure motivation to keep moving for 50+ hours?

DR: I don’t see what I do as all that special. I am not being falsely modest; I just think that if I can do something, other people probably can, too. It is just plain and simple: If you set out to do something, barring unforeseen events that can actually harm you long-term, there is no reason not to keep moving forward.

KF: What are your favorite foods to fuel up on during long runs?

DR: I have learned a great deal about fueling over time. I used to swear by pasta and “carb-loading;” now I know that carbs are important, but so are proteins, fats, etc. In fact, in my longest runs I have learned that eating real meals is very important to me. By that I mean, while I supplement with PowerBar products, I know that I need to get real food into my body. I have found that, for me, eating lean beef products has allowed me to get moving again when I thought my runs were over — even in 100-milers where I stop and eat a cheeseburger in the middle of the event.

Source: SeeDaneRun

Source: SeeDaneRun

KF: Do you have any recovery tips for being able to bounce back quickly after long runs?

DR: Massage, rest and eating right. There are no tricks. People know what to do, but they don’t want to do it. Plus, apparently, pick the right parents!

KF: How do you prevent and/or manage injury along the way?

DR: We can usually tell what happens when an injury occurs. But when injuries do not occur, it is hard to pinpoint what exactly made them not happen. I bristle at all the running books where experts tell you the “proper” way to eat, train, run, etc. Everyone is so different and how people feel able to give a generalized message in such a specific way is beyond me.

KF: What’s your weekly mileage look like when you’re not training for an extreme endurance event?

DR: I wish I could give a straight answer here. I know I have never once topped 3,000 miles in a year. I have done all of my long-distance running on a diet of high-quality, low(ish) mileage. So, if I had to ballpark it, I would say 50 miles a week is a solid average for me.

Source: SeeDaneRun

Source: SeeDaneRun

KF: What do you hope people will take from the film?

DR: I hope people realize that they can do amazing things. I never say, “You can do whatever you want to do if you just put your mind to it,” as that sets up those who fall short as not “wanting” it enough.  However, we can only find out what we can do by attempting to go beyond what we think is impossible.

KF: Got any tips for people who would like to do a half or a full marathon but don’t think they can handle it?

DR: Absolutely! Look at me. I was a 215-pound rugby player who boxed amateur. My first marathon was a 4:12. I have now run in the 2:40s for a full, and know I can get faster. I hated running. I thought it was punishment, and I wasn’t an out-of-shape guy who hated running; I was an athlete. I have failed constantly. I will continue to fail. But I will get back up and try again. So can anyone.

KF: Finally, what’s up next/what’s left on your ‘extreme bucket list?’

DR: I despise the term “bucket list.” If money were no object, there are few things in this world I wouldn’t want to do. I want to learn how to play an instrument. I would enjoy learning another language (or two) fluently. I hope to learn how to tango someday. That is how I wish to experience life.

With regards to running itself, I have learned that one must know to say “no” to the “what’s next” nagging question. We live in a world of instant gratification and instant accolades. Everyone is “awesome” or “wonderful,” and Facebook and social media allow us to have life envy of others whose lives are probably no better than our own.

We have to set our own agenda. After the past few years of sacrificing my own personal running goals with regards to getting faster in order to try and make a small difference with the little bit of publicity I have garnered, I would simply like to set a new marathon PR. I know I can go faster, and it would be wonderful to show — at age 37 — that I can find some speed again.

So in other words, everything is left on my list. I just hope I don’t run out of time.

Want to help Dean make his film a reality? Click here to make a pledge via Kickstarter! 

Source: SeeDaneRun

Source: SeeDaneRun

RUN10FEED10 race recap

Despite a cold, dreary, don’t-wanna-leave-a-warm-bed kind of morning, San Francisco’s running community gave Women’s Health a warm welcome for the 2013 RUN10FEED10 10K.

On the menu? Tackling 6.2 miles in exchange for providing 10 meals each for those going hungry in the surrounding area.

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Although I’m still recovering from last week’s Nike Women’s Marathon, I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come out and support such a worthwhile event.

And we may be thin-blooded Californians, but a little fog wouldn’t keep us from descending on Crissy Field, where we huddled together to keep warm before the start.

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The course featured a loop around the marsh followed by a double loop to the Golden Gate Bridge and back, along the Golden Gate Promenade.

Great views, for sure, but I knew the two later loops may prove difficult – not only due the repeat factor, but also because faster runners would be doubling back and running alongside slower pace groups, which could be a recipe for some real confusion on the course!

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Women’s Health had it expertly organized, however, and there was a positive vibe among participants, volunteers and spectators that was palpable. I think we all knew we were there for a bigger reason than the race itself.

In fact, the start was one of the most mellow (and polite) ones I’ve ever seen; no crowding or jockeying for position, which was nice.

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Since this was my first post-marathon run (exactly a week out), my plan was to go strong, but not all out. In the back of my mind, I was thinking about a possible PR since the conditions were favorable (cool weather/flat course), but I’d have to see how my body would react to running with some residual aches and pains.

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Before we knew it, it was time for the final iPod and GPS watch check…and were off!

I went out a little faster than I usually like, but I figured I could push the envelope with this shorter distance. It’s a completely different feeling/frame of mind than the marathon: There, you aim to settle into a comfortable pace for a few hours; here, you learn to accept the fact that it’ll be uncomfortable the whole time. But the faster you go, the sooner you’re done!

My right foot was acting up a bit the whole time, but by mile five I knew I was within reach of a PR if I could give it a push to the end, so I willed my breakfast to stay down as I picked it up for the small loop to the finish. I saw the clock ticking toward 49:00, so I picked it up for a final kick to see if I could hit a 48-anything.

Final time: 48:58 – a new PR by two minutes.

Another highlight: After I caught my breath, I caught up with @RunEverAfter at the post-race festival. She was volunteering at the race, and we chatted about how she’s crushing her marathon training. I’m thrilled for her progress and, once again, proud to be a part of our amazing local running community!

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Missed the race, but still want to help make an impact?

Here’s why you should: The FEED Foundation is dedicated to ending world hunger, partnering with organizations such as the United Nations World Food Programme, UNICEF, DonorsChoose.org and local food banks to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition by providing school meals, nutritional supplements and education.

Here’s how you can: Click here to give to a specific FEED Fund, whether you want to support moms, victims of natural disasters, people affected by HIV/AIDS, and more.

For more information, visit TheFeedFoundation.org.

Join me to help end domestic hunger with RUN10FEED10

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Right now, 50 million Americans are going hungry — they don’t know when they will get their next meal. But the reality is there IS enough food in the world today for everyone to get the nourishment they need for a healthy and productive life.

It’s something we can do something about. Together, we can make a huge impact in a very simple way. All you have to do is put one foot in front of the other…and RUN!

That’s right; Women’s Health is once again hosting its fall charity run, the RUN10FEED10. Run a 10K, and you will instantly provide 10 meals for those going hungry in your local and surrounding communities.

The San Francisco event takes place at 8 a.m. this Sunday (Oct. 27) at Crissy Field, or you can join virtually via the nationwide Fun Run where funds from your registration and fundraising efforts will go to those metropolitan areas nearest to you.

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I may be stiff and sore from last weekend’s marathon, but you can bet I’ll be hobbling along on Sunday because it’s for such a great cause. Won’t you join me?

Here’s how you can get in on the action and do some good:

1. Click here to register for the official timed race in San Francisco this weekend

2. Instantly, 10 meals will be provided to children in our community!

3. Share with Facebook friends and Twitter followers to get them excited about what you’re doing (and inspire them to participate, too)

4. Click here to donate or fundraise and raise additional money to help those in need

For more information, visit Run10Fed10.com.

Nike Women’s Marathon SF: Week 11 training recap

This week’s lesson? Sometimes inspiration can come when you least expect it.

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Not only was I prepping both mentally and physically to peak in mileage this week, but the schedule also included a distance that I’ve been anticipating (er, dreading) for quite some time:

  • Tempo run – 8 mi
  • Track workout – 4 x 1600s
  • Long run – 20 mi (!)

But then I saw this post from Pavement Runner and got totally fired up about pushing limits for two reasons: First, he ran a 38-miler in honor of a friend’s birthday the previous weekend; second, fellow runner/blogger EMZ was taking on her second 24-hour treadmill run (this one in SF to raise funds for education in India).

Source: IkunaApparel.com

Source: IkunaApparel.com

Pretty amazing, huh? So I stopped by the kickoff party at Rallypad on Thursday evening to watch her embark on the 100-mile adventure around 8 p.m.

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It was quite the shindig, complete with drinks, dancing, a DJ and fun with fellow SF runners, @PavementRunner and @runeverafter.

Rally.org’s CEO Tom Serres even got in on the action by pledging in honor of employees, who could then get on an adjoining ‘mill and knock out a few miles next to EMZ.

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And so she went for the next 24 hours, with some fantastic final results, not to mention raising awareness – and funds – for a great cause. Seriously (to use an ‘EMZ-ism’), she “freaking rocked it!”

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As for my own running this week? Well, I cut Tuesday’s tempo down by a mile to seven for a quick loop before work. Heavy legs made for a slower pace, though, so it’s only fitting to include a shot of this little guy that I ran in to on my route.

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The summer weather we had last week seemed like a distant memory as I ran through the morning fog and mist.

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Thursday’s track workout reminded me (again) that I need to cool it on the pace right out of the gate. My target was 7:45-7:48 for each 1600, but after pushing for a 7:13 and 7:10 in the first two, I slowed significantly in the second two to 7:24 and 7:27.

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And remember my quest for the best headbands? Well, I tested out a new brand this week, Bondi Band, starting with their sparkly, reversible Skinnyband ($9).

Pro: It stayed in place really well, despite the early evening wind, so it’s perfect for high-impact days. Con: The metallic fabric was a tad scratchy, so I’d recommend it for shorter workouts.

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I also tried their Single Braided Skinnyband ($10), which comes in a bunch of great colors. This one was super comfortable, but didn’t have as tight of a hold, so I’d recommend it for those low-impact days – i.e. boot-camp (and, as you can see, it’s also Brydan- and Brian-approved!).

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Here’s a close-up shot that shows both in better detail.

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Oh, and another highlight of the week? Super Duper Burger. I’ve been craving cheeseburgers like crazy during training, and this is a new spot that’s been on the must-try list. I can now attest that they do, indeed, live up to the name.

Homemade pickles? Yes, please.

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Needless to say, I was well fueled up going into the weekend’s 20-miler, which I decided to break into three parts. The first leg was eight miles on my own around the Marina before meeting up with with the Saturday morning run crew.

(Speaking of fuel, I ran right by one of my favorite dessert spots, Ghirardelli…can you tell I have food on the mind pretty much, non-stop, now?)

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From there, I met up with the group to knock out the next eight miles. We covered a lot of ground, both literally and metaphorically, chatting about a range of topics over the course of the run. Of course (surprise, surprise), the conversation did turn to food about halfway through (as most long runs seem to do at some point).

For the third leg, I met up with hubby and Kevin, and we decided on a route through Golden Gate Park. I was 16 miles in, and they had just finished a swim in the bay, so we settled into an easy pace for a while before splitting; they went ahead to make a loop, while I doubled back.

Before I knew it, I hit 20 and kept going…partly because it was cold and windy (and I didn’t want to walk back in it to the car), and partly because I felt like I could keep going!!! But I didn’t want to push it too far…

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The final tally: 22.5 miles. Aside from being completely soaked through with sweat (I drank two liters of water during the course of the run, yikes) and getting chilled and chafed as a result, I felt really good.

I do have to find some better sweat-wicking gear for the race, however, because this week’s shorts just didn’t cut it (see below). Anyone have suggestions?

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My “reward” for this week’s milestone run: An ice-cold bath. Not fun at first, but you do get used to it.

A few tips for making it more bearable, based on my experience: Bundle up on top, get in the bath before you add ice to keep it from being such a shock, and don’t forget reading material to help pass the time.

Oh, and a bring burrito, too…can’t forget the food!

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Stay tuned; next week marks the one-month countdown to race day!

Thanks to the folks at Bondi Band for providing samples for review; all opinions are my own. 

Join Amnesty’s first live, online ‘Yoga Day for Human Rights’ tomorrow

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Roll out your mat for a good cause tomorrow, and join world-renowned yoga instructor, Mark Laham, in a one-of-a-kind online yoga event to benefit Amnesty International’s human rights work.

Mark will be hosting a live, webcam yoga class via online event platform provider Powhow.

Basic registration is $20 and will enable Amnesty International to campaign and raise awareness on the case of Iranian human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh. The full package, which includes an Amnesty t-shirt, yoga mat, silicon bracelets and a class credit on the Powhow website, is $50.

The event takes place at noon, EST (11:00am CDT). For more information or to register, visit www.powhow.com/amnesty-yoga-day.