Tuesday, February 16, 2016

10 Great Races to Add to Your 2016 Race Calendar!

1.  Cherry Blossom Ten Miler.  April 3, 2016.  Not to be missed.  This race is a DC institution and self dubbed "Runner's Rite of Spring".   People travel from all over the US, hoping to get perfect race conditions that line up with peak blooms!  The lottery is over, but they do allow for bib transfers and that window is open right now and closes Feb. 29th, 2016.  People are always selling their bibs as the race gets closer....so keep an eye out and put the word out that you are looking! 


2.  Marine Corps Marathon.  October 30, 2016.  "More Than a Race".  So true.  You will feel such emotion and pride for your country running this one.  You will feel an amazing sense of gratitude for our service members and their families.  You can't beat the amazing 26.2 mile tour of the Washington, DC area...staring at the Pentagon, running past monuments, the Potomac River and ending at the Iwo Jima Memorial.  Entry for this race is also by lottery which opens in March.  I have run this race 3 years in a row 2013, 2014 and 2015 and you can click on the year to read my race recap.

3. Navy Air Force Half Marathon  Sunday Sept. 18, 2016.  This race is a great PR friendly course - mostly flat, start at the Washington Monument, through the monuments of DC and Rock Creek Park.  It comes in early September at the perfect time when all your hot summer training lends to a PR on the cool race morning!  It's a perfect race too because it hasn't become so popular (YET!) as it's relatively new and so there is no lottery for this one.  But mark my words....it will grow every year!  Registration already opened and use code COLLEEN at registration to be entered to win a tech tee!  Register here: http://navyairforcehalfmarathon.com/  You can read my race recap from 2014 here

4. Annapolis Running Classic  November 2016 Date TBD based of the Navy Football schedule.  Great race through historic Annapolis.  Not flat and not a PR race, but the after party will make the 13.1 mile jaunt well worth your time.  Lots of micro-brews and oysters in the party tent.  They always have amazing premiums for the runners as well.  You can read my recap here of the 2013 race.

5. Smuttynose Half Marathon Great seacoast course and a great medal with the Smuttynose Harbor Seal on the medal!  The beachfront after-party in true New England style is fantastic as well.  Lobster rolls, clam chowder, and Smuttynose Beer!  You can read that recap here of the 2013 race.  I can't wait to make it up north for this one again one day! 

6. Love Run Philly Half Marathon.  April 10, 2016.  Can't wait to run past the rocky steps and run past all the flags that line the Ben Franklin parkway!  Save $5 on registration by using code COLLEENLOVE. 

7.  Shipyard Old Port Half Marathon and Lobster Bake.  Portland, ME July 9th, 2016.  Race field capped at 4,500 to keep it small.  Coastal course with Shipyard beer to refresh you at the finish. It's only $63 until 5/7/16 and Save an extra $5 using code: CDAHLEM at registration. 

8. Army Ten Miler.  October 9, 2016.  A great racing distance, the 10 miler and supports a great cause.  This is also a very popular race and sells out very quickly so you have to stay on top of registration when it opens on May 25, 2016. 

9. Revel Mt. Charleston Marathon.  May 7, 2016.  Downhill, speedy marathon starting in the mountains outside of Las Vegas.  Finishes in Las Vegas where I plan to celebrate and recover....racecation!   $105 with a $5 facebook discount.  Free photos and finishers video.  They also have the most liberal deferment policy I've seen of any race. 

10. Lululemon SeaWheeze Half Marathon. August 2016 This race is already sold out for this summer and I don't believe they allow bib transfers, but keep your eyes peeled for next year.  You can still attend the Sunset Festival attached to the race as tickets can be purchased separately if you aren't running.  A great waterfront course in Vancouver plus sunset yoga festival and concert.  You can read my recap of the 2015 race here.  If you did get in for 2016, I am super jealous of course, but always want you to have the time of your life!  Check out the guide I put together to help you make the most of your trip! 

11. Thinking Ahead to 2017!  January 2017.  Clearwater Distance Festival!  A beautiful course with great ocean views.  You can read my recap here.  A fantastic beach destination race but not for PRs as you will cross 2 bridges twice each.  Great post race festival with unlimited pasta and beer. 

Friday, February 5, 2016

Finding a Fitness Facility That Works For You and Your Goals!

Finding a Fitness Facility That Works For You and Your Goals! 

1. Location:  Picking a location that is close to your home or work is crucial.  If you have to go far out of your way, or if working out will add significantly to your commute, I guarantee you won't be sticking with your routine for long.  It's just not sustainable.  You want to maximize the time spent sweating, not driving. 
2. Price:  Finding a great deal to fit into your budget will help you stick to your goals.  If it is something that is affordable it will help you stick with it each month. 
3. Fitness Class Schedule:  Working out with others is fun!  But, if you are a group fitness fan like I am, it is so important to check out the schedule before you join a gym.  It is so sad to join and then realize the times they hold classes do not work for you. 
4. Child Care:  As a parent, I feel this is so crucial.  You never know when you are going to need it.  Spouse travelling on business?  You can still work out!  Day off school with the kids?  You can still work out!  It's one less excuse. 

I was recently able to visit Washington Sports Clubs® (https://www.mysportsclubs.com) and realized that this club meets many of my needs. 

1. Location!  The are many WSC clubs all throughout the DC region which is a plus for me.  They are also big in NYC, Boston, and Philadelphia:     New York Sports Clubs®,  Boston Sports Clubs®
and Philadelphia Sports Clubs®  The Sports Club Network has grown to more than 150 clubs. Find a local sports club near where you live or where you work: https://www.mysportsclubs.com/studio/search

2. Price.  They are moderately priced and running some great promotions right now.
1.       To find out the most current promos, go to  www.mysportsclubs.com
2.       For a free 1 day pass  https://www.mysportsclubs.com/Home/ProspectInterest
3.       To try a free class,  https://www.mysportsclubs.com/scheduler
4.       For a free personal training session https://www.mysportsclubs.com/forms/4858

3. Class Schedule.  I love group fitness classes and WSC is proud of their slogan, "Your class, your flow" – find the perfect fitness class for you/classes available every hour.  They offer a variety of popular and motivating group exercise classes such as Spinning®, yoga, Zumba® and exclusive programs such as UXF® Circuit and the UXF® Training Zone.  If group fitness isn't your thing, they also have enhanced personal training to help you reach your goals.

"Spinning Builds Endurance"

4. Child Care is very important to me.  That way I can bring my daughter along and not have to worry about finding a babysitter/coordinating with my husband's work schedule to attend a fitness class.  At WSC, Babysitting and active kid programs are available so I can work out worry free.

child care room at Washington Sports Club Columbia Heights

I was very happy with my visit to Washington Sports Clubs: Columbia Heights location.  They have been a fitness leader since 1974 and it shows. The facility was clean, modern and inviting.  Facility extras that stood out to me: racquet sports/full basketball court and the babysitting and kids programs.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Town Sports International. The opinions and text are all mine.