Archive of ‘run’ category

Cherry Blossom Weekend Fitness Bonanza

cherryblossom-yoga-wheel

Hello everyone!

This weekend was quite the fit crashing fiesta. I’m still buzzing from the endorphin high coaxed from a perfect combination of sunshine, sweat, and spandex. Between Cherry Blossom yoga on the National Mall, the DC Fit expo, the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler, and commuting by bike share all over town, I’m not sure I could love the past two days any more. So in the interest of helping me wean myself off of all the awesomeness and ease into Monday, let’s recap everything for the folks at home.

Cherry Blossom Yoga

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Lululemon hosted this year’s Cherry Blossom yoga event, which brought 3,000 yogis together to stretch and flow under the watchful gaze of the Washington Monument. Local yogic rock star Mimi Rieger led the hour-long class and assistants from across the DC yoga community waded through the crowd to help with adjustments.

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The day was brilliant and breezy. Just the kind of early spring weather to coax people outside to begin the season of outdoor activities and playing around in the grass. I set up my mat in the back of the pack and next to my friend Jenny, who has been my workout buddy since college. We were both running the 10 miler on Sunday and thought a good old-fashioned stretch would be just the thing to get us race-day ready. And it was!

cherryblossom-yoga-me-jenny

Despite a few technical glitches – including the audio dropping out a number of times during key points of the class (last audible instruction was plank pose…do I have to hold this till they fix the mic?) – the class was extremely well done and accessible for any and all levels. It was so darn cool to look around and see a sea of humanity breathing, yoga-ing, and coming together to enjoy a little quality time in the sunshine. There were crazy advanced yogis, beginner yogis, and everything in between. I even saw a few tourists stop, watch, and then decide to join in. How cool is that?

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After laying on my mat for a few minutes of sunny savasana, traditional Japanese drummers took the stage for a surprise performance. What at first seemed ridiculously out of place soon turned into an intoxicating, energizing performance that perfectly capped off the class. People clapped, cheered, danced, played with yoga poses, and just generally enjoyed themselves. It was a sight to see!

I rolled up my yoga mat and made my way over to the event tent, where I ran into my friend V from Goûter and Krista the crazy-taleneted yoga teacher I obsessively stalk on Instagram for bendy inspiration. Seriously, folks, if you’re looking for an out-of-this world yoga account, Krista’s got it. V generously shared two of her latest tonics – a green detox blend and a root veggie and goji berry concoction – and I had to hold back from drinking both then and there. Yum!

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Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Expo

I popped the tonics into my backpack, said goodbye to V, Krista, and Jenny, and set out on foot with yoga mat in tow to the National Building Museum to for Cherry Blossom 10 miler packet pick up. The entire process was so quick and easy – I was in and out of that place in under 15 minutes. Hats off to the event team for a top notch operation!

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In The Capital’s “DC Fit” Expo

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After a quick whirl on bike share up 9th Street, I dropped in on the DC Fit expo hosted by In The Capital. It was a day-long event filled with free fitness class demonstrations, expert panel discussions, delicious food, and vendors. I’m sorry I had to miss out on most of the activities, but I came in time to catch the Dance Trance demo, a panel on half-marathon training, and to say hello to friends from Sweetgreen, Drop In, Nike, Reebok Fit Hub, Disrupt Fitness, and Pole Pressure.

Great event, In The Capital, thanks for bringing together such an awesome group of folks for a day of fitness fun!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler

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The main event this weekend was Sunday’s Cherry Blossom 10 miler. I had been kinda-sorta training for three months for this race, my first in just over a year. I felt capable, but not entirely ready. The honest truth is that I hadn’t put much thought into the race at all. The first time I looked at the race map or start time was Saturday night. I picked out my clothes the morning of. I showed up to the start line 10 minutes before the horn. And you know what? I think the casual approach worked, because I had an amazing time on the course and finished way stronger than I could have ever anticipated.

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I had fun. And I didn’t worry about training or splits or gel packets or the dead zone at Hains Point or anything else. I just ran the race for me. And it was freaking fantastic. So new race policy: get your head out of the game, fit crash like crazy, get in a few long runs, and let your body do the rest.  It seemed to work!


What was your favorite fit crash from this weekend?


Fit Crashing Highlights From My Trip to NYC

nyc empire state building

I took a quick trip up to New York City last weekend and here is what I discovered: that city is a veritable cornucopia of fit crashing potential. Folks jaunt about in fashionable fitness clothes with yoga mats and green juices in tow, ducking in and out of bikram this and tone that. I honestly lost count of the number of times I said “oh hey, that looks like a great spot to crash!” And that was just on the first day. That city is packed to the brim with every kind of fitness staple, trend, fad, and everything in-between. I was overwhelmed. I was enamored. I was in desperate need of more than just a few days!

While I originally planned to visit more studios, the truth of the matter is I only visited two. Being in NYC was also a welcome opportunity to reconnect with friends, visit with family, explore the city, and just take a break from my normal routine in DC. That said, I want to share a few of the weekend’s fitness highlights:

1. Sweating with ClassPass

new york city revolve spin class pass

I had the fantastic opportunity to spend Friday with the team from ClassPass, who were kind enough to show me exactly what they do best: enabling fit crashing at the hottest studios all over town. Can you handle two crashes in one day, they asked? Bring it on, I said. Bring. It. On.

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We started the afternoon at Uplift, a ladies-only boutique fitness loft in Chelsea offering strength training, cardio, and private events like their workout+wine series. You read that right. There’s no way that’s not amazing; unless, of course, the wine comes before the workout. But back to our fit crash. I joined Simona for the  ”Uplifting – Strength” class, a full-body workout incorporating weighted interval training. She promised I’d love it. She was absolutely right.

nyc uplift studios nyc

The studio itself is lovely and perfectly New York. It is nestled into an airy, light-infused loft that has gorgeous crown moulding, gleaming hardwood floors, and towering bay windows. If you go, I recommend checking out Liz’s strength class. Crazy energy, creative moves, and you’ll leave with wobbly legs and an urgent need to foam roll.

After class, we popped over to the NYC Sweetgreen location to join the rest of the team for lunch. It’s enormous and bustling to the brim with salad-loving locals. Since Sweetgreen started in DC, it also felt like a little piece of home, so you can imagine my excitement as I whipped out my app and rattled off my usual order like no big deal.

Sweetgreen NYC

We let our lunch settle over conversation about workouts, fitness apps, blog posts, what exactly makes the Sweetgreen bread so delicious, and other topics of the day. Before we knew it, it was time to hike over to Revolve NYC for an ultra-sweaty spin class with Jason Tran. 

Revolve NYC Classpass

This class was bananas. I have never been to a NYC nightclub, but I swear the experience has to be the spitting image of Jason’s class. There as bumping music. Flashing lights. Sweaty bodies. Spontaneous dancing and gyrating. Sing-alongs. Beyonce. You name it. It happened. Ba-nananas. What a fun way to close out my time with the ClassPass team. They truly knew how to treat a fit crasher right, and I am so thankful to have had the chance to connect with them during my stay. ClassPass expanded to Boston last week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed DC is next!

2. Citibikes

NYC Citibikes

nyc citibikes

I adore DC’s bikeshare system. So when I laid eyes on the bright blue docks on street corners in NYC, I knew it was only a matter of time before I was whirling around town on two wheels. It’s such an easy way to see the sights, and so much more convenient than taking public transportation. It didn’t hurt that the weather was abnormally warm and sunny on Saturday, reaching into the mid 60s by the afternoon. Perfect biking weather if you ask me! I rolled along the West Side Highway, around the Meatpacking District, over to Chelsea Market, up to the High Line, and finally to a dappled roof-top bar for some much-needed hoppy refreshment. Cheers!

3. Running Along the Hudson

nyc west side highway run

Before spending hours sitting on the train back to DC, I work up early on Sunday morning to log a few miles along the West Side Highway running path. Luckily it was easy to find and just a few blocks from my hotel. Sending a “thank you!” to fellow fitness blogger and NYC local Evann Clingan for the excellent suggestion. My Cherry Blossom 10 Miler training plan called for eight miles that morning, but tired legs and a tight timetable meant I only had thirty minutes to scoot around. That was perfectly fine by me! It was just long enough to get the blood flowing, work up a sweat, and take in the NYC skyline one more time.

I had the most fantastic time on my little weekend getaway to the Big Apple. There are so many more studios and classes I’m itching to try, so I’ll have to make a return trip soon!


Do share! What are your favorite NYC fitness spots?


Sweating All Over DC in Eight Workouts

There’s a lot of working out that goes on behind the scenes here at DC Fit Crasher. My week typically includes one day of fit crashing at a new studio and six other days of sweating all over the place. Literally. So I thought it’d be fun to share some of the workouts I do outside of my official studio reviewing duties. Here are eight from the past two weeks. I’d love to hear what you got into too, so be sure to leave me a comment and share your crashes!

[SolidCore]

first visit to solidcore studio in shaw

solidcore megaformer workout shaw dc studio

WEDNESDAY: SolidCore megaformer pain cave studio opened a new location last weekend in Shaw, right next to the metro stop. After wobbling and sweating and wincing through their popular classes in Adams Morgan, I knew I had to christen the new space with a proper fit crash. I took Ashley’s evening class and, as usual, left with wiped-out muscles and a sweaty smile. That megaformer elicits such a love-hate-love-reallyhate relationship, but I keep coming back because the no-impact workout is so good for my runner’s knees. The new studio is bigger than the original, with lofty industrial ceilings and extremely flattering lighting (wink). If you’re going to get housed by the megaformer, you may as well look good doing it. Am I right?

Yoga District

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THURSDAY: The last few weeks have been nuts. Way too much going on in way too short a period of time. You know what that’s like, I think we’ve all been there. There came a point when I honestly just needed help to reset, refocus, and get my head in order. While I can typically do that on a run, I craved something gentler. So I signed up for a sunrise class at Yoga District’s studio in Glover Park. It was my first visit to the studio, but it won’t be my last. The space is sparse, clean, and no frills, but the class was exactly what I needed. Warm, welcoming, calm, no expectations or stress to be a super yogi, and it sent me out the door with a clear head and ready to get back to business.

CUCB Training Run

7 mile training run for the CUCB

rock creek park path

SATURDAY: I’m training for the Cherry Blossom 10 miler road race here in DC on April 6, so I’ve been incorporating more running into my weekly workout schedule. This includes longish runs on the weekend to help get my legs ready for those double digit miles in April. The weather was freakishly nice last weekend for my seven mile loop; shorts, t-shirt, and sunglasses nice. It definitely made those miles fly by and I don’t think I’ve enjoyed a run that much in quite some time. Hear that spring? You’re good for my training, so arriving any time now would be great!

 

True Form

true form resistance band training

true form resistance band training

SATURDAY: I had the fun opportunity to demo a new fitness invention last weekend. The company is called True Form and they created a wearable resistance band training unit. You wear special shoes and a velcro belt and then hook resistance bands to the front and the back. The system doesn’t get tangled (I did burpees, jumps, grapevines, and bicycle crunches) and adds just enough resistance to your normal routine to really kick your training up a notch. I demoed it for just a few minutes and was really tuckered out when I left. I don’t know that I’m ready to wear this to all of my fit crashes, but it definitely was neat to try!

Barre3

barre3 dc georgetown

SUNDAY: After a not-so-hot first encounter with Barre3 in Georgetown, instructor Alicia Sokol invited me back to crash one of her classes. “Let me make this one up to you, girl,” she wrote, “I will have you quaking and shaking.” Game on! Within ten minutes, I was sweating and struggling through series of push up variations and lunges. You win, Alicia! Your class was challenging, fun, and I left feeling like I had gotten the workout I came for. I also learned (lightbulb moment) that Barre3 isn’t purely a traditional barre studio – the class is a combination of yoga, pilates, AND barre. So if you go and wonder why you aren’t tucking and barre-ing the entire time, that’s why. Consider me schooled!

CenterPointe

centerpointe studio dc

THURSDAY: CenterPointe functional training studio in Adams Morgan was my official “fit crash” for this week, so all you’ll get is this teaser photo. Check back later this week for the full write up!

Fuse Pilates

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FRIDAY: 6:30 p.m. Most of DC is either still at work or celebrating the start of the weekend at various happy hours across the city. Me? This is my happy hour. A $7 workout in a small boutique pilates studio, classic rock blaring, just a handful of other students, and my muscles having a blast networking with each other. Fuse Pilates in Dupont Circle offers this apprentice (teacher-in-training) class every Friday, so if this sounds like your cup of tea, mosey on by and check it out sometime.

Bike Ride

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SATURDAY: My teal bike has not seen the pavement in years. I bought it in college as I was first getting into triathlons, but it quickly got pushed aside by a sassy yellow racing bike I have since sold. Thanks to some new-found motivation to get back on the bike, I dusted her off, brought her to The Bike Rack for a tune up, and now she’s ready for miles of adventure. I’ve been having a lot of fun re-learning the delicate ins and outs of cycling, like how to properly snot rocket in motion and how horribly uncomfortable bike seats are despite the horribly-unflattering padded shorts. You know, the important stuff! I’m looking forward to warmer weather soon so I can take my old teal friend out for some longer rides. Allez!


Your turn: where was your favorite fit crash last week?


Road Testing the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Running Shoes

NewBalance-Fresh-Foam-Box

I am so excited to finally be able to share the details about my new running shoes.

A few weeks ago, the folks at New Balance surprised me with a pair of their latest and greatest: the Fresh Foam 980. The timing couldn’t have been better. I was just starting to train for April’s Cherry Blossom 10 Miler and my mileage was going up for the first time since the Rock ‘N Roll half marathon last year. With an on-again-off-again bum left knee, any long distance training makes me nervous about aggravating the injury, so I’m always looking for the right pair of shoes to help lessen the impact on my joints.

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So I tied those puppies on and took them for a short test run. Sure, they’re pretty and have snazzy colors, but if they don’t perform on the pavement – end of story. 

First impression: they felt like slippers on my feet. I hadn’t even left the apartment yet and was already oohing and ahhhing over how soft they felt. I took my sweet time getting out the door just to savor the squish. Heck, if they were terrible running shoes, I’d at least keep them around as a pretty solid pair of house shoes.

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But it gets better, because my run was pretty fantastic. The shoes were as light as clouds and felt like cotton balls under my feet. Cotton. Freaking. Balls. I’m not sure it gets any better by running shoe standards, people. Then again, I don’t work in a running store. I’m not a professional running shoe tester. I don’t know the ins and outs of what makes a pair of sneaks great. Heck, I had a hard time understanding the Fresh Foam press release New Balance sent because I honestly have zero clue what a “4 mm natural drop last” is. Not a clue.

But I have covered my fair share of miles in the past decade or so of being a runner. I’ve loved shoes and hated shoes. I’ve gotten superstitious and clung to the same make and model for years at a time. I’ve purchased shoes based on color, brand, what the girl who beat me was wearing, and price. Who am I kidding, mostly price.

These pups run $110, which is on par with what I typically spend on a new pair at the running store. Mine were generously gifted by New Balance, but this review is based entirely on my honest to goodness experience with them. I will buy them again when these begin to get raggedy.

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Because nothing is perfect, I also want to share with you the few little things I didn’t love about the new Fresh Foams: 

  • The shoe laces are really slick and I’ve had issues with them staying tied during runs. I double knot, but perhaps there’s another secret method I need to learn.
  • Like any shoe, I had to fiddle around with the lacing a bit when I first tested them out. This isn’t really a nit pick, just know that you may need to experiment with them to find a fit that works best for you. I needed to adjust for more room in the bridge area and more support up toward the ankle.
  • The shoes are very well ventilated. This will be great in the summer, but isn’t my favorite thing in the winter when it’s negative six and snowing. Fix: wear wool socks.

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And that’s my review! I’m enjoying them so much I’ve taken to using them as trainers at the gym. I know, I know, total fitness faux pas and I need to go out and buy a new pair of proper trainers. But in the meantime, I truly can’t resist the siren call of these floaty, foamy, fantastically soft running shoes. So I’m breaking the rules. #sorrynotsorry

If you try a pair, let me know what you think! I’m all ears and would love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks again to New Balance for setting me up with Fresh Foams to try. I was not otherwise compensated for this review – they were just that awesome and I wanted to let you all know about the latest loves of my running life.


What factors do you consider when purchasing new running shoes?


 

San Francisco Crashes: The Wacky and The Wonderful

san-francisco-golden-gateSan Francisco. Where do I even begin. After spending a week bundled up in cold, rainy, grey Portland and Seattle, the blue skies and sunshine of California were just what the doctor ordered. The city was experiencing a freak heat-wave and temperatures climbed into the 70s every day, making it perfect weather for outside workouts and adventures. Oh January, I could get used to this.

san-francisco-parkI arrived on Wednesday evening, a full day and a half before meeting up with friends flying in from the east coast for a bachelorette “girls weekend.” The bride-to-be is a dear friend from college, former roommate, teammate, and marathon training buddy. Needless to say, I was over the moon to be there to help celebrate the occasion and send her down the aisle in style.

Informed Technique

In my alone time before the gang arrived, I met up with the friendly team at Sweat Guru to chat boutique fitness, sweat, and not-to-miss crashes in San Francisco. So much fun! They shared an extensive list of classes and events to check out during my visit, and even set me up with a gratis crash at “the most unique workout in the city.” Most unique? Music to my ears. There’s nothing I love more than trying out a new class, especially when it’s a little to the right on the zany scale.

informed-technique-gearHonestly, nothing could have prepared me for what I encountered when I walked in the doors at Informed Body studio. I knew the device used during class was custom-built by the owner. I knew it involved resistance and suspension. And I knew it was one-of-a-kind. But I had no idea just how bizarre the thing would look to me that morning, pre-coffee, jet lagged, dangling in front of me like a taunt. “Go ahead, try me.” I was the fit crasher. On a mission to try everything and report my findings. But…look at that thing!

After introducing myself to the instructor and nervously laughing about my total lack of coordination, I strapped in and anxiously awaited my fate. The unit has space for about four students, and each of us worked two spring-straps around our thighs and two into our hands. It was awkward and unflattering. But I immediately felt a buoyancy similar to being underwater. Okay, I thought, this could be two things. Really fun. Or a total disaster.

informed-technique-demoThe class was similar to a ballet or pilates class, but different for obvious reasons. I mean, you’re strapped into springs hanging from the ceiling, for goodness sake. But the moves mimic sequences done in both ballet and pilates, with a heavy emphasis on dance. Not barre method, but classical ballet. There were terms I hadn’t heard since I was leaping around in pink tights and a tutu. Tandu? Releve? What?

Luckily owner, creator, and dancer extraordinaire Jill Harris was leading the class and giving easy to follow cues. Follow, I said, not mimic. Because holy smokes could that lady bend and leap in ways I could only dream of. The grace! The form! I wish I had a video of my attempts, because it must have been laugh-track worthy. Choreography is not my bag. Choreography while suspended on resistance springs is, well, also not my bag. Those straps demand that you focus on balance, core strength, and stability at all times. Even when trying to lift your leg high in the air and then lower into a plié. I giggled out loud on multiple occasions as the springs snapped my body back to center after falling out of line. It was such a strange and funny sensation. 

Bottom line: the workout was really fantastic and my body felt elongated and different when I finished. Similar to how I feel leaving a really intense pilates reformer or gyrotonic class. For those of you who know me, this is huge. I mean, I’m a smudge over five feet tall, so I’ll do just about anything to feel “elongated.” It’s a lie, I realize, just like it’s a lie when barre instructors tell me ten more leg raises will give me those lean, long legs I’ve always wanted. Nice try, sister. These strong yet sturdy legs aren’t going to look like Natalie Portman’s no matter how reps I do. It’s called reality. *sigh* Anyway.

If you’re in the area and looking for a fun, wacky, unique workout that takes your childhood ballet classes to the next level, I highly recommend visiting Informed Body studio. Jill is an absolute sweetheart and couldn’t be more welcoming. Her creative approach to intuitive movement is really worth checking out, especially because we don’t have anything like it here in DC. And don’t worry if you’re not a prima ballerina, even newbies like me were able to follow along just fine. The classes aren’t cheap — new students pay $75 for three sessions — so I am especially grateful to GoRecess for setting me up with this fun crash!

burn

burn-san-francisco-groupAll of the ladies involved in the weekend getaway are super active and athletic, so once everyone arrived, we made a special point to crash a studio together. One of our friends currently lives in San Francisco and recommend coming with her to her newest sweaty obsession, Burn, a studio that combines cardio, weights, and pilates springboard. As the website says:

Our unique Method draws upon the very best aspects of Pilates, Cardio and Strength Training to create a body sculpting, heart-pumping 55-minute workout.

burn-san-franciscoIt was everything I though it might be, and a little more. The cardio segments weren’t wimpy. Goodbye boring running in place. Hello burpees, jump lunges, vertical mountain climbers, and surfer jumps. For those who needed low impact options, the instructor made sure they were plentiful and given right along with the other cues. They weren’t treated as an “exception” or a “less-intense option,” just a different way to do the moves. As someone with a cranky left knee that sometimes needs no-impact movement, this was greatly appreciated. The cardio segments start and end the class, with a few sprinkled throughout to jack up your heart rate at different intervals. I was breathing heard from the get-go till the very end.

burn-san-francisco-meThe hand weight exercises are similar to what you would do in a barre class, but kicked up a notch. I was sweating buckets by the time we moved to the spring board, where we did a series of arm and back exercises before moving to the floor to work on our legs. The burn. The deep, terrible, wonderful burn. Especially in my hamstrings and inner thighs. I knew within 5 minutes of the class I’d be sore in weird places the next day. It just felt like one of those workouts that targeted smaller muscles I have a tendency not to focus on as much. Which is exactly the kind of class I need to be doing.

In just under an hour, every part of my body felt like it was shaking (in a good way) and my lungs and heart felt like they were just put through a treadmill interval circuit. What a fun workout! I just wish they had a location on the east coast (ahem, in DC) so I can go back and try it again.

Other than those two fit crashes, we also snuck in a fair amount of outdoor activity over the weekend. I mean, how could we not when the weather was so perfect! We all went for a day hike at the Point Reyes National Seashore, which was by far the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen.

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point-reyes-panoI completed two short (hilly) runs from our rental house to a small beach overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge. Nothing like this view to get you going in the morning!

san-francisco-run-golden-gateOn one of my runs, I also passed by an outdoor gym that looked like so much fun to use. Currently trying to figure out how we can get one of these in the DC area, I think it’d be a hit!

san-francisco-fitness-courtAnd finally, I ended both of my runs with a chicory iced coffee from the local brew shop and new-to-me Picky Bars. How am I just hearing about these things?! They’re fantastic and made of ingredients I can pronounce, recognize, and love. I may need to purchase a case because I’ve already made it through my little sample collection.

iced-coffee-picky-barsOkay, San Francisco, I’ve decided that we should be friends. I’d like to come back soon!

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