Fitness

“Last mile, best mile” // Why I love negative splits

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Why save the best mile for last?

Well, because it will make you feel empowered.  To finish strong.  To see what you have left in the tank those last few minutes. To push yourself, body and mind, even when you are exhausted.

Do what you need to do – tighten your ponytail, turn on your power music, tell yourself, “you got this” – and then pick up the pace for that final push.

For whatever reason, I have always liked the concept of negative splits.  Allowing your body to warm up, then progressively get faster with a strong finish. Maybe it’s early in the morning and you’re not quite awake. Perhaps you’re just not feeling a run today, but you make yourself get out there and decide to “start slow.” Just getting started is half the battle and once your body warms up, you’ll often find that the running magic – whether it be motivation, ambition, adrenaline, competitiveness – will kick in and a strong finish is only a mind-set away.

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Tank by Sarah Marie Designs – one of my recent favorites! 

During my last half marathon, I started out on my own (miles 1-2), then decided to catch the two hour group, hung with them for a while (miles 4-10) and then decided to kick it in the last three miles. Love seeing those negative splits at the end!

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Eric Fruth, owner of  Columbus Running Co (Dublin) offers us this advice on negative splits… “In order to be at your most efficient on race day, and to run negative splits in your own race, you’ll want to practice. Start with one of your easy recovery runs. Run the second half just a little quicker than the first, teaching your body to accelerate as you get warmed up, loosening up as you go. For a track workout, that means running slightly quicker on each interval of your workout. You’ll find that this approach really pays off, allowing you to finish workouts on a high note and with your best effort. By training like this, you’ll prepare yourself for a strong second half on race day, regardless of the distance you’re chasing.”

Two of my favorite negative split workouts…

  • Descending ladder run – there aren’t any set rules here, do what works for you!  I typically do a 2xmile, 2×800, 2×400 with a 30 second recovery in between each rep, getting faster with each ladder.  Add in a 1/2 mile cool down and you’ve got a great 4 mile run.
  • Progression runs – the options are endless!  Sometimes I’ll start out slow for a warm up mile, then pick up the pace by 20 seconds each mile thereafter. If I’m just doing a quick three, I’ll split it in thirds; first mile easy, second mile “push” and third mile “all out.” This is also a good 5K race day strategy (so they say)!

Finishing faster and stronger than you started is an art.  Practice makes you better.  So work it into your training and perhaps even at your next race… we dare you!

Do you like negative splits?  What is your favorite speed strategy?  Let us know! 

Sources and more info…

 

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Tour of Columbus // StudioTorch

We visited StudioTorch last week for a kick-a*s work out and I was sore for days! As a distance runner, I’m usually good about getting in those miles and an occasional yoga session, but strength training and HIIT workouts? Not so much! This was a great workout that should definitely be incorporated for cross training into any runner’s routine.

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Different days of the week mean different workouts, helping keep your workout fresh & provide a complete training routine.  We got lucky – or maybe unlucky – and ended up doing Total Body. That explains why my total body was tight for a couple days! I’m a cardio junkie so I’d personally be drawn towards Fridays, but my body probably needs me to go on a total body or arms/abs day.

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We split into four groups and after a warm up, we rotated between four stations, completing a variety of HIIT circuits including treadmill sprints, 200 meter rows, squats, lunges, TRX exercises, core work… and probably a lot of other things that I’ve blocked out of my memory. My joke never gets old (to me), “I can run forever, but my legs start shaking after 20+ squats!” It was a 55 minute, heart-pounding workout that pushed me to my physical limits.

The head trainer was great and thankfully there were a few coaches in my group who I may-or-may-not-have watched several times during that first rotation. Everyone was super helpful, energetic and the class was just what I needed.

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Being that this was their “soft opening” before their big GRAND opening, most of the coaches, staff and of course, owners were there. After class, we snapped a couple group photos and got to chat with founders, Tom & Jon. Then we headed out to the lobby for their launch party refreshments including lots of goodies from local vendors. This was the royal treatment!  IMG_5029IMG_5036IMG_5038

All in all, this was a FANTASTIC experience.  A good calorie burn, great people, nice & clean facility (it actually still had that ‘new car’ smell!)… all the essentials for a great place to visit if you’re looking for a new place to check out. I *think* I’ve officially committed to attempting a PR in the spring… meaning I’ll need to up my game and start including more strength training & getting that heart rate up.  StudioTorch would be the perfect workout to mix into my spring training – I will be back!

Fit Spotlight // Ten facts about Holly

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Columbus fitness enthusiast, Holly Robbertz

I work with Holly at Olentangy Orange HS and admire her commitment to her yoga practice. After chatting with her a few times and realizing how involved she is in the Columbus yoga community, I jumped at the chance to interview her for Living Fit Columbus!  She has so much passion and wisdom to share, hope you enjoy the read!

Why do you love yoga & what is your motivation for LIVING FIT?

I am physically, emotionally and spiritually very drawn to Ashtanga yoga. From the age of 7 to 20 years, I was a competitive gymnast and dancer (ballet and modern). When I was little, one of my favorite things to do was to play a favorite song (on a record-lol!) and to freely create a dance that interpreted how my emotions and body responded to the music. Dance enabled me to use my body as a way to physically express my emotions.

My freshman year of  college, I was a dance major wanting to become a dance therapist (The following year I switched majors to become an Early Childhood Intervention Specialist). My dance teacher introduced me to Bikram’s yoga in 1979. I started a daily Bikram’s yoga practice and loved it (it wasn’t hot yoga back then). I taught my father Bikram’s and occasionally we would practice together. In his mid 50s, 5’9 and with an endearing Buddha belly, it was very touching that my father would do yoga with me! Even headstands! These are such special memories.

I was fortunate to grow up in a very loving and supportive family. In my early 20’s my brother, a mountain climber was killed in an avalanche in British Columbia. The loss of my brother was heartbreaking. It took many years to work through my grief. My parents faced this loss with remarkable love and bravery. Three years ago, my mother sister and I traveled back to British Columbia to face our pain, to experience the great love we had for my brother and to look up at the grandeur and majesty of Mt. Robson (the mountain that took my brother’s life). We learned that the Native Americans called this mountain the “Spiraling Road to the Afterlife.” It was an extraordinary trip of healing. Throughout our travels, I maintained my daily Ashtanga practice.  My mother at age 85 works in Hospice supporting others who have  endured similar losses. As devastating as a loss like this can be, it also teaches you that love for your family and fellow human is all that matters.  I feel that it is very important that I share this gift of love and support to my family members, friends, community members, colleagues and students.

Yoga not only is a good fit for the way my body likes to move, but also in the supportive, caring community that it attracts. Yoga provides healing and growth for the body, mind and soul. Getting onto your mat enables you to face and work through a range of emotions, establish a consistent breathing practice and to challenge yourself to take new risks. Yoga is a metaphor for life. If you can face a new asana (pose) challenge, work through it and see gradual progress, you can apply this approach to facing any obstacle that may come your way. I like Ashtanga because it challenges me. I love to try strenuous poses and find ways to gradually work through them.

I have learned many lessons on the mat. I have a tendency to rush, as a means to  accomplish all the tasks life requires. My life is beautiful and complicated. I have three children ages 25, 22 and 18. Our oldest daughter has complex medical and developmental needs. She is 25 but her care requires the coordination of ongoing medical appointments with numerous experts and early morning/afternoon home health care, so that I am able to work full-time. On the weekends, I also have a private tutoring practice where I work with students diagnosed with Dyslexia. It is important that I am healthy so that I may care for our daughter’s needs, while also being attentive to my spouse, our other two children, my students and their families.

Yoga enables me to build reserves of strength and resiliency for my family. I am far from perfect. This is an ongoing restorative journey that requires daily vigilance on my mat.  I pray that I am able to practice Ashtanga yoga for the rest of my life. Getting on my mat enables me to push a “reset” button. Yoga provides a sanctuary in which I can face and also let go of the stressors of the day.

What is your favorite FITness memory or accomplishment?

I am fortunate to have many favorite yoga memories. It has been a privilege to meet Ashtanga yogi Kino Mac Gregor as she annually comes to lead classes and workshops at Yoga on High.

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However, my favorite experience is seeing my 22 year old daughter Abby practice at Ashtanga Yoga of Columbus. To give her a hug before or after our sweaty practice is an extraordinary gift. Our 18 year old son also practices yoga. He is a freshman at Savannah College of Art and Design. (SCAD). When we dropped him at college, my husband and I ended up taking a yoga class with Gabe. During shavasana (ending nap), I realized we would be saying good-bye after class. Tears were streaming onto my map as I acknowledged the good-bye. After class we hugged and cried on the sidewalk outside the yoga studio and Gabe longboarded off into the sunset. Doesn’t get better than that!

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What does your typical weekly workout routine look like?

I practice Ashtanga yoga for an hour to an hour and a half daily.  I try to run a mile 3X a week (to maintain cardiac health). Even when I am providing a full day of Orton-Gillingham teacher trainings at Central office (and I am unable to practice at the Shala) I bring my mat and practice during lunch.

What are some of your favorite things?!

Favorite way to sweat: Ashtanga yoga. It is very challenging physically. I love the challenge and the subsequent growth of body, mind and soul that comes from it. Every day it is a mountain to climb with amazing rewards.  It is a  joy to step onto my mat!

Favorite FIT place around Columbus: My favorite place to practice is at the Shala for Ashtanga Yoga of Columbus (AYC). The Shala is dedicated solely to Ashtanga yoga. It is run by Taylor Hunt who wrote the book, “A Way From Darkness.” Taylor’s book tells the story of how Ashtanga yoga saved his life from addiction. He has created the Trini Foundation which raises money to create yoga scholarships for individuals recovering from addiction. Taylor is a phenomenal teacher. He is very observant and sensitive to the needs of each of his students. All of the teachers at AYC are wonderful and bring different strengths and knowledge to our practice.  I love the mission and spirit of the Shala, to reach out to others and to provide yoga as a mode of healing. It is a wonderful and diverse community. We are all humans with vulnerabilities and strengths that come together side by side, to practice on our mats.

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Favorite food: I try to eat a balanced diet, heavily loaded fruits and veggies. My favorite healthy foods are salads with a variety of fruits, veggies, and nuts etc. My son is Vegan and I have considered becoming a vegetarian, but I have not made the leap yet. My “treats” include freshly baked bread with butter & Graeter’s Coconut Chip Ice Cream.

Favorite workout gear/apparel: lululemon “align pant” and “free to be me sports bra”-anything lulu! Also, Kino’s yoga clothing line “OM stars.”

What’s on your personal “fitness” bucket list? To complete the “second series” of Ashtanga yoga, to become proficient at hand stands, to travel to Mysore India to practice with Sharath (grandson of K. Pattabhi Jois).

Do you have any words of wisdom, favorite quote or other inspiration for others to lead a fit/healthy lifestyle? “Heart Rules Mind” by D.A.H

Lastly, we drink a lot of coffee… are you a coffee lover?  Yes!  I love coffee!

Thanks for sharing your “inner light” with us Holly! Namaste!

Are you afraid of the dark? Tips for runner safety

Tips for runner safety before sunrise & beyond the sunset

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Running at sunrise or sunset can bring beautiful scenery and can be a great way to start or end your day.  With daylight savings, however, its dark EARLY.  Like way too early.  Look outside, it’s not even 5PM and the sky is already going black! The days of sunset runs at 8:30PM are long gone and many of us must get our runs done in the morning before the sun is up or in the evening after the sun has set.  Here are some quick tips our runners have discussed during these dark winter months.

1.Wear bright and/or reflective clothing and gear. Why not add a cute white puffer vest to your collection? If you don’t own white or bright outer layers or want to add advanced visibility, consider products like headlamps or lights & reflective apparel from noxgear.  Bonus, they are local, headquartered in Dayton, Ohio! If all else fails, use your trusty iPhone flashlight app.

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2. Stay on sidewalks as much as possible.  We admit, we prefer blacktop paths and will sometimes run in the road if the only other option is a hard, possibly uneven, sidewalk.  But when its dark, cars are less likely to see you (duh) so keep off the roads as best you can. Your knees can handle a few sidewalk runs, here and there. Even better, head to the track for some speed work – then you don’t have to worry about tripping over un-level concrete (believe us, we’ve had our fair share of slips & falls!)

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3. Run with a buddy… or maybe a group!  There is safety in numbers. Check out local running groups to find training partners that may be nearby and within your ideal pace. Columbus has many resources to connect you including MRTT Columbus and Columbus Running Co’s Facebook pages & groups.

4. Carry safety items with you including phone and perhaps even a whistle (we have one by GracedByGrit) or mace. Better safe than sorry.

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5. If you can’t manage to run outside – perhaps check out a new studio (maybe you’ll make a new friend or find a new ‘fitness’ home!) or hit up the dreadmill treadmill for a few months. Many local Cbus studios offer early AM classes, including OTF’s 5AMer.  We dare you to set your alarm for 4:30AM and check it out! 🙂

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Are YOU afraid of the dark? Send us your tips, favorite products & more! 

Fit Spotlight // VPower Yoga co-owner, Erin Lombardo

Fit Spotlight

Erin Lombardo is the co-owner of V Power Yoga, located in Downtown Columbus.  We first mentioned her in our Tour of Columbus studio spotlight, back in 2014 and highlighted her again last year, naming her one of our Top Columbus Fitness Inspirations. Erin is like my soul sister, loving so many things that I love including running & yoga, traveling, the beach and of course, chocolate. She is a fellow entrepreneur, with tons of ambition, all driven by her passion to help others become better yogis and better humans. I was super excited to meet her for a run chat a few weeks ago to pick her brain about running, yoga and more.

Erin’s Fitness Bio:

Erin initially got into yoga as a cross training activity for her running routine.  VPowerYogaColumbus-26After falling in love with it, she decided to pursue her yoga teacher training certification.  Flash forward a few years and this runner turned yogi found herself the proud co-owner of V Power Yoga Studio.  As an instructor, she runs her classes in a way that any runner-yogi would love, an athletic blend combining both a faster vinyasa flow to elevate the heart (gotta get that cardio in!) along with poses & sequences that incorporate balance, strength and flexibility helpful as cross training.  Erin also loves to let us “play” during class and has personally helped me strengthen crow, side crow, headstand and many other arm balances & inversions.

Her credentials include…

  • ERYT-200 (2010)
  • MS in Nutrition (2012)
  • Registered & Licensed Dietitian (RD, LD) (2013)
  • MPH in Epidemiology (2016)
  • Working on her PhD in Interdisciplinary Nutrition at Ohio State (hopefully May 6, 2018!)

What is your motivation for LIVING FIT and pursuing yoga as both your passion and career focus?  (we stole this quote from her IG account, with her permission of course!)

While working in medical sales in San Diego, I saw the impact of an unhealthy lifestyle and wanted to be on the other side of the sale, helping people live a healthy lifestyle. This journey has truly changed my life in a way I never would’ve imagined. First, prompting my return to school in pursuit of a Masters in Nutrition along with becoming both a Registered Dietitian (RD) and Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200). For my Masters Thesis, I combined my passions of nutrition and yoga through an obesity and stress prevention program for 3rd graders. Through my MPH and PhD I’ve had the opportunity to work with nutrition clinical trials truly testing the potential for food as medicine. Along the way I’ve worked with individuals and groups of 400+, taught classes & workshops, led an international yoga retreat and so much more! Things I never would’ve imagined when I decided to return to the classroom to learn how to help others live a healthy lifestyle. I’m beyond excited to share my passions and expertise with others through V Power Yoga’s Teacher Training program launching October 1st.

What is a favorite or fond FITness memory or accomplishment you have? There are SO many from my first half marathon to scuba diving the Great Barrier Reef! One of my fondest yoga accomplishments is handstand. When I started yoga I was absolutely terrified of inversions, specifically handstand, and now they are my favorite because they allow me to truly quiet my mind. I absolutely love working with yogis to tap into their inner strength and turn their worlds upside down.

What is your go-to post-run routine?   I usually walk the last half mile of a run to allow my body to cool down.  Some good post-run stretches include runner’s lunge, forward fold (seated or standing), happy baby and variations of side angle & triangle.

A few of Erin’s favorite things…  

  • Favorite FIT place around Columbus:  V Power Yoga, of course!  I also like the running trails around Columbus, including the Olentangy Trail (where we met for our run chat)!
  • Typical weekly workout routine:  I teach yoga at the studio, usually around eight classes per week. I also run two-three days per week, around 3-4 miles and take one or two yoga classes, usually at our studio.. And when it’s cold out, I hop on the elliptical instead of running outside.
  • Favorite race distance:  When I was running more, the half marathon was my favorite distance.  It was achievable, yet still challenging.  For purposes of having a work/life balance, I try to keep my workouts (including drive time) to two hours, so the training for the half distance fits into my lifestyle more than the full marathon distance.  
  • Favorite yoga pose or sequence:  I really enjoy arm balances and inversions, and enjoy working those into my classes.  I love the sense of empowerment & strength yoga can provide.
  • Favorite treat:   I love chocolate!    

What is one thing people may not know about you?  

In High School and College I spent my summers just outside Jackson Hole, WY exercising horses. My days were filled with exploring this gorgeous part of the country by foot, mountain bike, kayak and horseback!

When going to a coffee shop, what is your go-to order?  We have a lot of coffee meet ups. 🙂  So… I don’t do coffee!  I tried coffee ice cream when I was a kid and haven’t had any sort of coffee since.  My go-to drink is tea, usually chamomile lavender.

If you want to see Erin in action, check her out on her “Yoga Talk” clip on  YouTube!  In this quick clip, she stresses the importance of making time for self care – “If we find that time for ourselves, then we’re better at being able to take care of other people as well.”  You can also follow @Vpoweryoga on Instagram and witness the journey of why so many others choose to become #VPYogaStrong, as well as check in on their latest YTT program!  xoxo

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Finding your next race… or maybe your first!

Tomorrow morning is one of the biggest races in Columbus and thousands of walkers and runners will be pushing through the miles for Nationwide Children’s Hospital champion kids.  This is an amazing race in a city we love for a cause that can’t be better!  Good luck to all participants and BIG hugs to all the patient champions and their families!

Some of us live for races, run some every month and even plan vacations around them.  Others do one or two a year.  Maybe you’re even thinking about signing up for your first race ever!  Regardless of what your racing calendar looks like, sometimes its fun to try something new. Here are some ways you can find that next race (or plan out your whole racing season!)

1.Find a local race & support your community.  Businesses, run clubs, schools and even individuals plan races right in your backyard! Ask friends for favorites or use the good old internet to search for upcoming events. Great Columbus-based races and racing companies (that help host races) are M3SSports, Columbus Running Co, and Premier Races.

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2. Plan a destination race.  Some may find a favorite and visit year after year, while others may chase those bucket list goals and go somewhere new.  Run for fun with a group or find a fast, flat course and hit a new PR… the options are endless!  We usually travel for half marathons and try to plan a fun weekend around the race.  We have a personal goal to “run a half marathon in half the states” & daydream by visiting sites such as Runner’s World Bucket List: 9 Destination Halfs and NY Post’s 15 Best Half Marathons in America.  This past spring we ran the rolling countryside of “America’s Prettiest Half” in Lexington, Kentucky… planning spring 2018 very soon!

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3. Join forces for a good cause. Races such as the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon & St Jude Memphis Marathon as well as the recent races series organized by Rocky Fork Running Club bring awareness and raise funds for a variety of causes. Really, there’s no better reason to run. #WillRunForBlingAndCharity

4. Try a virtual race.  Maybe you’re not big on 4:55AM wake-ups on a Saturday morning for a regular race start.  Or maybe you can’t find one near you that fits your schedule.  A virtual race allows you to run (or walk) on your own time, at your own pace, at a location of your choice, while still having the support of other online friends! Many have budget-friendly entry fees and several we’ve found support charities.  Here’s a quick video blurb from GoneForARun.com if you want to know more.

5. Create your own! If you have a group of friends & some bibs or medals… its considered a “race,” right?  Our September race was canceled last minute and we needed to fit one in…. so we gathered each other, made our own bling (thanks to Brokeman’s Running Co for the inspo!), ran our hearts out & took some photos at the end!

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We hope you find all the races your hearts desire as you plan your next one, two, twelve!  Keep us updated on your favorites!

What races do you love?  What’s on your race bucket list? How do you choose your races?  We’d love to hear from you!  

Guest Post // Five Exercises for a Healthier Heart

With WORLD HEART DAY right around the corner – tomorrow, Friday, Sep 29th – we figured this was an appropriate time for a guest post about exercises for a healthier heart!  Sara is building her “blogger portfolio” and we welcomed her post…

Guest Post // Five Exercises for a Healthier Heart 

Your heart is an extremely strong organ, but even this grows weak if you do not take good care of it through a nutritious diet and regular exercise! Here is a list of some of the most “heart friendly exercises” for a healthier blood pump.

Yoga

Yoga requires you to exercise using your own body weight and practice stretching to gain more flexibility in your movement. Yoga ranges from requiring very easy and basic movements like in Hatha Yoga, to demanding great flexibility and perfect posture like in Ashtanga or Vinyasa Yoga. Along with providing you with physical benefits, yoga can also be helpful in clearing the mind and keeping you stress-free. Remaining stress-free is also a really good way to keep your heart healthy and relaxed.

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Aerobics

Aerobics are basically cardio-exercise. They can be anything that can make your heart rate go up and have the sweat running in minutes. Aerobics are not a good option for people who have fragile hearts since it makes the heart put in a lot of effort. Even so, if you believe that your heart is healthy now and you want it to stay that way, you should get into the habit of doing aerobics regularly. You can make it even more fun by practicing fast dance moves or joining a class with a group of friends.

Running and Walking

For people who have never really had much physical exercise to begin with, they should start off with walking. Walking briskly 30-60 minutes every day can prove to be a very useful exercise. Even if it does not show immediate effect, you can see some major improvements in your long-term health. When you find that walking briskly is getting easier and easier, you should get the pace up to a jog and then start jogging or running. Running is one of the most effective ways to lose weight and make your heart really healthy.

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Strength Training

Strength training includes exercises that require lifting weights and doing exercises like push-ups. Be cautious of lifting weights that are beyond your capacity, this may seriously damage your muscles. Instead, take weights that you can use comfortably and do a series of relatively easy weights, working your way up.

Massages

Okay so massages are not exactly exercises, but they do make your body go through some physical toning which is basically what exercise does.  According to the Mayo Clinic, “Studies of the benefits of massage demonstrate that it is an effective treatment for reducing stress, pain and muscle tension.” So get yourself a top quality massage chair!

Author Bio: Sara is a psychologist by profession and she loves massage therapies. She enjoys home-based work and traveling. She is obsessed with massage chair therapies and other relaxing techniques. She regularly posts at https://mymassagechairs.com.

Disclaimer: We are not doctors, only fitness enthusiasts!  Please consult a medical professional before beginning any exercise routine. 

Emerald City 2017 Recap

I’m a sucker for cheesy hashtags so #medalmonday seemed an appropriate time to recap this! The OhioHealth Emerald City Half Marathon was half number 17 for me and another fun event executed by M3S Sports so a quick recap seems worth it!

I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome of this race.  I had been putting in the training and mileage over the summer, but with school starting I had really cut back on runs for the two weeks prior and probably not getting as much sleep as my body would like. Our running group has been training for the Scioto River Run half on September 23, so Emerald City was supposed to be an easy training run. My mom & I got a free entry through Fleet Feet with a summer buy-a-pair-of-shoes-get-a-free-entry special (woo hoo!) and I was supposed to run 11 miles for my training plan anyhow, so a complimentary half seemed like a no brainer.

The best thing about treating this as a training run (vs an actual “race”) was I had no anxiety the days leading up to the event.  When I’m training to race or attempting to PR, I tend to get inside my head and stress for a few days prior.  This “training run” mentality allowed me to relax and I even got decent sleep the two nights prior!  The night before the race I had a great salad & pasta meal from Piada, laid out my gear and headed to bed.

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Although most would call this perfect running weather, it was a chilly 52 degrees at the start, requiring a light zip up for me.  I almost always wear crops (a post for another day), but I decided to start with the hoodie and would just tie it around my waist as I warmed up.  This bothers some, but has never bothered me!

I really planned to just run & enjoy it, perhaps beating my 2:05 finish at our last half in Kentucky. I felt like I was in better shape after all those summer miles, and this course was MUCH flatter and easier than the Bluegrass. Although the website had stated there was a 2:05 pace group, the 2:00 and 2:10 pacers assured me there was no such thing.  So after some debating, I decided to hang in between those two pace groups and create my own 2:05.  I found a few fellow runners who had the same strategy and off we went.  IMG_3296

The sunset race was beautiful. The weather was perfect. I was feeling good by the middle of mile two so I decided to try and catch the two hour pace group. It took me four miles, but about 36ish minutes in, I got ’em! I hung with the pacers and runners for the next several miles, sometimes chatting with those around me, sometimes just taking it all in. By mile 10 I still felt great. I thanked the pacers and the girls I’d been gabbing with, put in my headphones, turned on my power playlist and went for it.  IMG_3307FullSizeRender 10

I felt great even as I crossed the finish line (thanks for the photo mom!) and was very happy to see a sub-two on my watch.  This used to be common for me, but add in babies, life, too much work, too little sleep…. and its been a while since I’ve seen it! 🙂  IMG_3292FullSizeRender 8IMG_3306

We celebrated at the end, hugged some sweaty familiar faces & of course, grabbed our snacks and hydration.  Congrats to all the finishers, including our girl Mary who took over 10 minutes off her PR!  She attributes hard work and sessions at OTF Perimeter!

A few days later, with the help of some running friends, I finally figured out how to look at my mile splits on my new iWatch!  I was very happy to see negative splits the last few miles, a goal I always strive for.  #NegativeSplitsPositiveVibes they say!

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Thanks for sticking around this long!  Moral of the story… sometimes NOT preparing to race turns out to be the best strategy!

What is your race day strategy?  We’d love to know!

Our favorite places to run, hike & enjoy the great outdoors in Ohio

On our sister site, LeenaBee Photography, we did a Columbus Parks Tour blog post that was three years in the making!  We highlighted our favorite parks and places to go as a family and with the kids.  Check it out HERE!

For this tour, we wanted to highlight some of our favorite places & parks to SWEAT! Most of these have amazing running trails, but some we just like for their central location, green space or perhaps even a little hiking.  We hope to add to this over time so feel free to send us ideas for places we need to check out!

1. Dublin Road Trail & Parks, Dublin 

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking, hiking
  • Overview: Our running group typically starts in Historic Dublin and runs north up Dublin Rd towards Muirfield/Shawnee Hills (towards Wendy’s).  This out & back course is offers eight miles and you can easily tack on additional mileage by adding in Emerald Parkway, Indian Run Falls, Amberleigh or jogging over through the new Bridge Park area.  The route is also bike friendly, as its entirely paved.  The rolling hills will give you a workout!  The mileage really is endless as we’ve even trained for marathons on these paths & sidestreets, getting in a 20 miler.
  • Scenic spots & stops along the way:
    • Historic Dublin & the Karrer Barn have a lot of picturesque spots to #StopDropandYoga or get in a nice post-run stretch.
    • Kiwanis Riverway park has some pretty views, a steep hill and some stairs that could be great for hill work days.
    • Indian Run Falls has some hiking paths through the beautiful falls.  The park has two main entrances, one off Shawan Falls & the other near the Dublin library.  Leave the strollers and bikes aside for this portion, as there are dirt paths and stairs not conducive to wheels!
    • Amberleigh Park is about halfway and has a unique playground, stairs down to the river and a short hiking trail through the woods.  It also has seasonal bathrooms in the shelter house area.  Two sets of stairs make this an excellent spot for stadium drills, an alternate to hill work.

2.  Rings Road Trail & Parks, Dublin 

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: 6+ mile trail on out & back course (could continue further!) – we start in Old Dublin, head west towards the “dancing bunnies” then back.
  • Scenic spots along the way:
    • The famous Field of Corn, a great place for some #stopdropandyoga.
    • Balgrafin Park is along the way and has a water fountain for both humans & doggies ~ a good spot to take a stretch or even let the kids out of the bike trailer to play.
    • Visit the bunny sculptures and hop in the fountains to cool down!
  • Other things to note: no restrooms along this route (that we know of) but could head up to Tuttle and find a restaurant or gas station if you’re desperate!

3.  Glacier Ridge Metro Park, Dublin/Plain City 

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: this park has two entrances and trails that connect.  We have run many races through here, including the Dublin Alumni 5k, Flying Feather Four Miler and the Emerald City races.
  • Scenic spots along the way: a pretty boardwalk, lagoon (when there is water) and a lookout tower at the south end
  • Other things to note: seasonal restrooms at both entrances

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4. Highbanks Metro Park, Powell/Lewis Center 

  • Good for:  running, walking, hiking
  • Overview: We love the hills here.  But we also hate the hills here!  We have done a few training runs and races here, the inclines will give you a run for your money!  This is a beautiful, scenic way to spend an afternoon hiking, walking or if you dare, running.

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5. The Olentangy Trail, Columbus  

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: So many possibilities on this trail!
    • We often meet at the north end trail head near Hills Market, called Worthington Hills Park.  **Be forewarned, the path is currently closed under 270 through Nov 2017, so don’t start at this end for you fall long runs!**
    • Our second most common route has been near the Worthington Farmer’s Market.  In the summer, enjoy a RUN+YOGA…  Yoga on the Green is compliments of Native Juice!
    • Olentangy Park near the Worthington Mall is another popular trail head, the one we’ll likely be using while the construction is going on.
  • Scenic spots along the way: lots of other runners & bikers, the Antrim Park pond, nice bridges & parks, including the Columbus Park of Roses
  • Other things to note:  There are a few pitstops (water and portapot at Antrim, water at the Olentangy Park trail head) but bring your own water, just in case

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6. Rail to Trail, Hilliard  

  • Good for:  running, walking, biking
  • Overview: Many possibilities and trail heads on this course, with several parks & green spaces along the route.  We have gotten in 10+ miles around these areas & paths!
  • Scenic spots along the way:
    • At the southern end is old Hilliard, including fountains & a fun coffee shop we found, Coffee Connections
    • About halfway(ish) is Homestead Park, two playgrounds, covered bridge and seasonal restrooms
    • Northern point is Heritage Dog Park, a beautiful place to watch the sunset!
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7.  Columbus Commons to Schiller Park (& back), German Village

  • Good for:  running, walking
  • Overview: We do this three mile run 1-2 times a year before Yoga at the Columbus Commons.
  • Scenic spots along the way:  Winans German Village is nearby if you need a coffee and a restroom stop.  Columbus Commons has restrooms open seasonally, along with Jeni’s Ice Cream, yum! 

8. Hocking Hills State Park(s), Southern Ohio 

  • Good for:  running, walking, hiking
  • Overview: Whether you do a day trip (only a little over an hour from Columbus) or spend the weekend, you will not be disappointed!  The Hocking Hills area offers a wide variety of paths, both easy or hard, as well as breath-taking scenery.  While you’re at it, stop at a winery or brewery on the way!
  • Scenic spots along the way: too many to mention!  We’ll update this soon. 🙂

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9.  Scioto Mile, Downtown Columbus  

  • Good for:  running, walking, some green spaces for yoga
  • Overview: Lots of trails and beautiful views of the city
  • Scenic spots along the way:  Absolutely GORGEOUS at sunset, several nearby green parks with variety of paths & land/hardscapes including Bicentennial Park, Genoa Park & Scioto Audubon Metro Park.  We’ve done anywhere from a 20 minute run up to five miles, but could easily get more mileage if needed.  We ran this route prior to lululemon’s POGA summer series, as well as for many races.

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10.  Village Green Park, Powell  

  • Good for:  running, walking, HIIT!
  • Overview: We have met here a few times for play dates, but more recently for the Northwest STROLLER STRIDES class and really enjoy it!  There is a small loop bike/run path and green space for yoga or some stroller workouts.
  • Scenic spots along the way:
    • There is a splash pad and playground on site for the littles to play before, during or after your workout.
    • We’ve not run it (yet!) but it is a 3.4 mile jog north to Liberty Park
    • Stay after and visit the nearby Olentangy Indian Caves!

 

Other places we like or want to check out…

  • Apple Valley Lake & Hiking
  • Mohican State Park
  • Sharon Woods Metro Park
  • Cuyahoga Falls

If you have favorites, suggestions or questions, email us at LivingFitColumbus@gmail.com – we’d love to hear from you!

Photo credits to @WanderlustOnTheRun 😉 Thank you! 

Book Recap // The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life

No, we aren’t turning this blog into a book review site. Ha! However, continuing the summer reading challenge (which only has a few days to go!) I just finished, The Runner’s Guide to the Meaning of Life and thought it had inspiring tidbits worth sharing.  We all know running is good cardio, but did you know it can teach you things about yourself?  And others?  This book won’t make you faster, but it will help you see running in a positive light!  Written by Amby Burfoot, a former Boston Marathon winner and a popular editor for Runner’s World Magazine, it offered inspirational quotes, stories & perspective on distance running.  Below is an overview and some personal thoughts!

Inspiring Quotes: 

  • “First, we try to run faster.  Then we try to run harder.  Then we learn to accept ourselves and our limitations, and at last, we can appreciate the true joy and meaning of running.”
  • “It’s not about how fast you go.  It’s not about how far you go.  It’s a process.  As we run, we become.”
  • “What can I do right now to make myself a better, happier, healthier person?  What can I do to make a small difference in someone else’s life? We simply have to give our best effort every day.  If we are the best athlete and best person we can be, then we have assuredly won the race of life.” 
  • “Racing teaches us to challenge ourselves.  It teaches us to push beyond where we thought we go.  It helps us find what we are made of.” -P Plumer, American Olympian

Cliff Notes & Thoughts: 

  • Lesson One // Why Run?  There are many reasons Amby lists for why he runs, but my favorite is “there is no better way to see the sunrise and sunset.”  I’d agree.  I love to watch the sun rise or set, take pictures at sunset and I especially love to see all the beautiful scenery this world offers.  Running on vacations is an amazing way to see new cities and beautiful sunrises/sets.  Later in his book he states, “For reasons that I can’t begin to explain, any day will be better if you start it off with a run.  And not just any run.  It has to be a run that begins before sunrise and welcomes the day’s first light.”  I’m not a morning person myself, but I’d make the exception for an early run if I knew I was going to see a gorgeous sunrise!
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Christine racing the BrokeMan’s Summer Solstice race 2017

  • Lesson Two // Starting Lines  A starting line, whether it be at a race or any milestone of life, symbolizes new beginnings.  “There’s nothing like the thrill of the first time.”  He talks about the joys and hardships he’s had in his life and that starting lines – new beginnings – are his friend.

 

  • Lesson Three // Connections  He starts off the chapter discussing being a pacer at the St George Marathon and curious about whether or not runners will embrace the concept of “pacers.”  Wow!  I didn’t realize the author was one of the founders of the pacing concept.  Pretty cool!  I have run with many pace groups, as well as paced a few races myself and definitely believe in the idea!  He discusses the concept of future pacing experiences and states “Everywhere we go, runners are eager to join a group, to have some fun, and to chase after their dreams.”  He also explains that training runs should be run “easy” or conversational 80+ percent of the time… so find a running buddy or group and chat through the miles.  Later in his book he states, “I love almost all my daily training runs.  But the best by far are the ones when I’m running with a regular training partner.  On these runs, I feel relaxed and connected, physical and human, a friend with a friend.” 
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Pacing the Columbus 10K 2015

  • Lesson Four // Winning We all eventually slow down. You won’t win every race forever. Learn to focus on your attitude and level of effort… that’s what winners do. A winner, both in life and running, concentrates on doing his best, always. Winning is not always about racing or being the first to finish.  “A winner is a person who goes out today and everyday and attempts to be the best runner and best person he can be.”

 

  • Lesson Five // Tradition Whether you have an annual favorite race or a family reunion every summer, “traditions… reconnect us with the people and places we love.”  Continue some passed down to you and/or make your own!
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Our annual traditions include… The Living Fit Columbus Independence Family Fun Run // Our family end-of-summer park tours (we try to visit seven parks in seven days the last week of summer vacation) 

  • Lesson Six // Time  “I don’t always need to be in a rush.  I don’t always need to be doing three things at once.”  AMEN!  Do you ever feel like you are too busy to… well, just to enjoy your life?  Being a teacher, I have the luxury of a little more downtime during the months of June & July and I fill that time with all the things I love, especially family, friends, fitness & travel. Every fall I vow to take on less, slow down more and just enjoy every moment.  And then by mid September, I’m back to being the usual busy, busy, busy working mom.  Amby states, “When something is important, it shouldn’t be hurried.”  Oh, you mean… life?  SLOW DOWN!  I’m trying to make more time for fitness & people that matter and learning to say NO when needed.  I’m also learning to enjoy my runs.  Sometimes its nice to put the Garmin away and just run.  “A run is most meaningful and most enjoyable when it exists for its own sake, when it doesn’t feel the pressure of a ticking stopwatch.”  My goal is to do at least one easy run per week without any gadgets (except maybe my iPhone camera) and just run for the fun of it.  And be thankful that I can.
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Stop & enjoy the run!  Mid-run yoga breaks on our 10 miler, Puerto Rico 2017.

  • Lesson Seven // Listening  “Through countless hours of practice, running has taught me to listen to myself and believe in myself.”  Amby encourages the reader to hang up the headphones and spend some time with yourself, your own thoughts and the world around you.  I usually run with a buddy or my upbeat playlist, but I did enjoy listening to the crashing waves on my last few beach runs.
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Go for a solo run and just listen to your own thoughts & the world around you

  • Lesson Eight // Losing  As a middle of the packer myself, I couldn’t relate to some of this chapter, as Amby expresses his saddened moments of not winning a race or not making the Olympic Trials.  What I could relate to, was what he learned from “losing” and that sometimes, the run just has to be about the run… and not to win. You might not always have the best race of your life.  You might be setting out to win or to PR and then the race just doesn’t measure up.  Maybe you’re injured.  Maybe it was raining or the course was hilly & challenging or maybe you just didn’t have a good run!  Sometimes, that happens, despite all your months of training and hard work. Shake it off and re-focus on your next one.  In his case, as he got older, Amby states, “I kept running, but without expectations and pressures.  It became simply a process-path to good health, stress relief, creative thinking, and fun times with friends.”  There was a bit of overlap from lesson six and I was reminded that sometimes the run should just be enjoyable.  I hope our running group continues to do a destination race each year… not for time or to PR… but just for fun, friendship & of course, lots of pictures to remember the memories.
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Kentucky Bluegrass Half // Running for “fun” although two girls PRed!

  • Lesson Nine // Materialism  “I already have everything I need to enjoy happiness and success.”  This lesson discusses the joy running brings and that you only really need a good pair of running shoes.  No fancy gym memberships or private lessons from country clubs… just shoes.  In fact, he has a friend that runs barefoot, therefore, you could argue that you don’t even need those.  I’d not recommend this though. 🙂 My personal favorites are the Saucony Kinvara and the Saucony Freedoms.

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  • Lesson Ten // Brothers (aka family)  “In the long run, there will always be family.” Amby writes specifically about his brothers and their continued support of one another through life, running, etc.  The lesson could easily apply to just family in general.  Who supports your running life?  Perhaps a spouse that watches the kids.  Maybe your mom or sibling that cheers you on at races or runs next to you to pace you.  Let them know you are thankful for them. “Family… we are there for each other and always will be, no matter what the place of time or situation.” 
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My youngest training buddy!  My husband, mom & son are all very supportive of my running goals and I’m thankful every day! Hopefully my daughter will join too!

  • Lesson Eleven // Simplicity  This lesson reminded me a lot of lesson six so I won’t reiterate much. Amby states, “My life gets harried as anyone else’s, and whenever it threatens to spin out of control, I simplify.  I slow down.  I focus on just several things, and one of them is always exercise.  I eliminate everything else that’s not absolutely essential.”  My personal essentials would be my Four Fs; family, friends, fitness, faith. Other than working to earn money for my family, I try to fill my remaining free time and “bucket” with those four Fs!

 

  • Lesson Twelve // Courage  “The potential for greatness lies within each of us.”  This lesson discusses the concept of courage in everyday people, in our every day lives.  You don’t have to be a super hero that slays the dragon.  You just have to have courage to face your own fears, conquer your own goals, etc.  He tells the story of Oprah Winfrey being courageous enough to conquer the 26.2 mile challenge & Linda Downes, who despite severe polio, refused to be bound to a wheelchair.  “I have seen many acts of courage in running.  Indeed, the sport has a special appeal for those who are looking to change their lives.  While running at first appears to depend on great physical strength and endurance, it is, in fact, based almost entirely on strength of mind.  Those who have the will will succeed.” 

 

  • Lesson Thirteen // Goals  This was one of my favorite lessons, perhaps because I am fascinated by goal setting.  I love making lists and crossing things off.  I love setting goals and working towards them.  I love hearing about goals of others, whether it be runners in our group or students in my classes. Amby uses the strategies of hill running and relates them to life in general, with the first strategy being, “the first and most important step, of course, is a positive attitude.”  I always encourage my runners to have two-three goals when racing, not just one… that way they don’t feel defeated if they don’t meet their ‘push’ goal.  A wise friend & run coach, Teresa Turnbull, taught me this strategy and I use it regularly!

 

  • Lesson Fourteen // Children  Amby talks about allowing your children to find their own path in the aspects of life, passions, career choices, etc.  We can model behaviors and passions that we find to be of value, but ultimately, he states, “{My children} have taught me that we are all very different. We all have unique passions and unique paths. We have to let them run free to discover themselves. It’s the greatest gift we can give them.”  I won’t get too deep on life, education, etc but when it comes to fitness, our family definitely sees the importance of modeling a healthy lifestyle and incorporating family time around many fitness activities! Someday they will choose for themselves whether they like to run, what sport (if any) they want to play… but for now, we’ll encourage a wide variety of healthy activities!
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Whether you push them in a jogging stroller or let them run next to you… the littles would probably love some fitness time with momma! 🙂

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Various programs around Columbus incorporate momma-fitness time while the littles watch.  What better way to model a fit lifestyle!?

  • Lesson Fifteen // New Year  “Every year holds such potential for new beginnings.”  This chapter was similar to chapter two on starting lines & new beginnings. Amby tells of the annual jump-in-the-lake tradition that started in the late 1960s.  Afterwards, he feels refreshed and reenergized.  Personally, I’m not jumping in a frigid lake in the middle of winter, but I do believe in new beginnings!  Whether its the school year for us teachers, the calendar year for your fitness goals, or whatever makes sense to you… allow yourself to sometimes press the RESET button and start fresh.
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January often brings new fitness goals & we posted this on our Instagram in early 2017, from @SweatPink “No matter who you are, what you look like, what lights your fire, where you are in your journey, or what your guiding purpose is, you are POWERFUL. You are a force for positive action and achievements beyond your wildest dreams.” So get ready for a new year and a better you!

Overall it was a great book!  Feel free to suggest any of your favorite running books below!