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Disclosure: I received a free Plantronics BackBeat Fit to review because I am a BibRave Pro. (Per usual, all opinions are my own–you should know by now I don’t need any help with that, I’ve got plenty of ’em!) Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro here. Read and write race reviews at BibRave.com!

Prior to testing the Plantronics BackBeat Fit wireless headphones, I’d never run with Bluetooth headphones. I’m not sure why I thought I wouldn’t like wireless headphones, especially since I’d pretty much stopped running with music due to corded headphone issues. The ear buds that come with the iPhone/iPod are pretty from a design standpoint, but had a tendency to jump out when I run (plus if you sweat on the ones with the volume control thingy on the cord, you can kill them–Awesomeness alert: the BackBeat FIT is 100% waterproof. You can even fully submerge them. Tunes while swimming, anyone??). I’d switched to Yurbuds since they are a huge improvement in terms of both of those issues, but now those are my at-work earbuds. It’s probably my naturally graceful movement, but once I’m geared up to run they were sure to snag on something–hat, watch, Road ID, Handana–and yank a bud out of my ear.

Running without music is a drag sometimes. When I’m running alone and not at a big event, I need more motivation than I can get from just running. Otherwise it is just too easy to sit on the couch. So when the BibRave Pro team had the opportunity to test the Plantronics BackBeat Fit, I decided to give them a spin. Worst case scenario, I’d decide they are not for me and give them away. (No such luck for you, dear reader, as it turns out I love them.)

When the box arrived, I felt like it was just like Christmas! I knew exactly what was inside.

Santa Cruz? We're practically neighbors!
Santa Cruz? We’re practically neighbors!

I forgot to mention that long before Bluetooth, when most of us didn’t have cell phones and Apple hadn’t invented the iPod, back in the days before we were worried that the Y2K bug was going to cause the end of the universe, that’s when I first learned of Plantronics. The context was that I was a student at Coach U., where all of the classes are conducted telephonically via bridge lines. In order to avoid the creaky neck caused by spending hours and hours holding the receiver with your head and shoulder so both hands are free to reference materials and take notes, the Coach U. team recommended all students buy a headset for their phones. (This was a radial notion at the time.) The brand Coach U recommended as the top-of-the-line, best investment was Plantronics.

Now I have a Plantronics headset in my office for conference calls and depositions. From the context I always associated Plantronics with businesses and offices, so hearing a connection to running was quite the surprise to me.

Handwritten note!
Handwritten note!

The Plantronics team included a handwritten note inside. I really love that kind of personal touch–it makes me feel like there are people on the other side of the box and the product, instead of a monolithic corporate entity. (I have no idea whether Plantronics is a huge company or a tiny one. All I know is that I associate the name with quality headsets.)

I’m also a giant nerd, and I’m interested in packaging and presentation. Instead of ripping open the package and extracting the contents, I’ve got to examine all the elements first. Notice the sticky-note on the box not only has the social media information and a QR code, it also has a color photo of the two most important items in the box, the headset and the carrying case. (The box also contains a charging cable and instruction booklet.) The carrying case is reversible neoprene: turned one way, it’s a storage unit for the headphones, cable, and instructions; turned the other, it’s an adjustable armband to carry your phone (keys, cash, etc.) while you run.  Also, the note is color-coordinated with the box and contents in Lime Burst (the headset also comes in Electric Blue). Enough already, let’s open the package.

Here (hear?) they are!
Here (hear?) they are!

The front piece of the box opens like the cover on a book. It reminded me of the Lifesavers “A Sweet Story” packages my parents used to get for us kids at Christmas. Anyway, peek inside!

Pretty, right? The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, the color is much nicer live. Also, you can’t tell, but the piece connecting the two earbuds is flexible like a cable, not stiff like what I suppose are now “old-fashioned” headphones like the kind that came with the Walkman.  Awesomeness note: this makes them super adaptable to different sizes of heads, and you can wear them under or over headgear!

Charging is simple. First pull out the small tab to slide the cover off of the plug receptor. Plug the charging cord into the receptor, and then connect the other end to a USB power source (e.g. computer, wall-wart). Rings around each bud turn red when the power is connected, and blue when charging is complete. Final step, pair the headphones with the iPhone. Boom.

Back of the box
Back of the box

Ready to go! I read the instructions, and you’d think I could have figured this out since there are only really two buttons, but some days I am short a few clues. I put the headphones on and hit the button, but nothing happened. I tried the other button. I tried both buttons. Cut to the chase, you don’t just hit the button, you hold it down for 2 seconds. The headphones then speak to you (“Power On”). If you tap the button, they will tell you how much charge is on them. Awesomeness note: there is an 8 hour battery charge life. That means you can psych up before the race, run a marathon, and still have tunes to enjoy with your post-race beer!  To adjust the volume, you can either use the button on the headset, or you can use the volume controls on your phone. (Bonus: my iPhone shows that the headset is connected and shows the power level.)

One thing I really love about the Plantronics BackBeat Fit is that these are NOT noise-cancelling (“block out”) headphones. Wearing noise-cancelling headphones while running is a major safety hazard, because they are designed to block out all of the ambient noise, anything not coming from the sound source. When you’re running, you need to hear the world around you! Not being able to hear traffic, other runners, and race officials/volunteers is downright dangerous. Awesomeness note: the BackBeat Fit delivers quality sound while still allowing me to safely hear important environmental clues. Or as the website puts it, “Eartip design directs audio into ear but lets you hear a bit of your surroundings.”

I’ve now taken these out on short runs like the Road Runner Sports Adventure Runs, and on long runs like the Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach half marathon. So far, I love them! There are a few features I haven’t tried yet.

  • Phone usage. Use the buttons to switch between music and phone calls without fuss.
  • Armband case, because I’m either holding my phone in my hand (Adventure Run uses a map) or it is in one of my skirt pockets, so  my biggest problem is what to do with the headphones when I’m done running. I tried hanging them around my neck, but if I bend over I lose them (which could be perilous in a porta-potty!). After one run I put them around my neck, and secured them with a Buff. Another time I put them into a free pocket.
  • Apps. Plantronics has some apps in the app store. According to the website, “Our apps help you get the most from your headphones by explaining features, updating to the latest firmware, and even locating your lost headphones.”

If you haven’t tried the Plantronics BackBeat Fit and are in the market for wireless headphones or Bluetooth headphones (these are both!), I highly recommend these headphones. I love them so much I’ve committed to a year of membership in Rock My Run, now that I know I have reliable, non-tangle, headphones.

But hey, don’t just take my word for it! Take a look at reviews by some of the other BibRave Pros!

 

National Running Day is June 3. I’ve collected up a few things you can do to celebrate, beyond the obvious (just go run, any time, anywhere, with or without anyone). Find more events and join the fun on twitter by searching #NationalRunningDay, calling up your local running store, or searching on Event Brite.

Please feel free to comment with additional event information. Let me know where YOU are running!

NationWide and Multi-City

Run the Nuun and Motigo virtual run. Download the iPhone app, or follow the alternate instructions for Android. It’s free. Details here: Nuun Virtual Run with Motigo

Score a Rock ‘n’ Roll Discount. I don’t have the details (yet!) but the Rock ‘n’ Roll series will have discounts of up to $20 on select races. Here’s the Scoop!  Today only most Rock ‘n’ Roll events have a discount up to $20. (A few exceptions…No discount: Las Vegas, Brooklyn, San Francisco, San Diego; ; Closed Event: Portland.) Open for one day only–TODAY!!–Carlsbad5000, Country Music Marathon (Nashville), Dallas, Raleigh, Mexico. Note this discount does not “stack” with other promo codes. (Remember you can save some $ on any race but Vegas every day by using code TRAINWITHBAIN.)

Review a race on BibRave.com. You could win some yummy stuff! During the day, tweet a link to your favorite review on BibRave.com, tag @bibrave and @justins, and you could score some Justin’s nut butters!

Apply to be a BibRave Pro. BibRave ambassadors get all the good stuff, and it turns out the team really needs more West Coast runners. (I’m lonely out here!)  Apply online HERE, and let them know I referred you. (‘Cause if you get picked, I might get a shirt or something.)

Enter to win Ortholite with Neon Is My Color. It’s a National Running Day and you should visit the blog of Neon Is My Color to learn how to win with Ortholite.

Join Black Girls Run for a 5k. It’s a virtual event with real bling. Details at Black Girls Run.

Run with Road Runner Sports, Fleet Feet, or your local running store. Check with your local store to find out what is going down and when. (If you’re in CA, the free raffle-prize-loaded Adventure Run at Road Runner in San Carlos is on Thursday!)

Run for funds. Use the CharityMiles app to donate your miles to your favorite charity.

Get the hook up from Dean Rauschenberg (and others). Be safe out there, especially if you run events or run alone.  Hook up with Road ID.

Keep an eye on your favorite running brands on social media. I’m betting there are surprises in store. Personally, I’ve got my eye on Brooks.

Win stuff from Skora. Rafflecopter giveaway with shoes, a Garmin, and Nuun! Entry form here.

Win shoes from ASICS.  “ASICS America will be giving away a free pair for shoes to a random winner for every 100 tweets that use the #GoRunItJune3 hashtag on Twitter.” You can also grab a badge and get more deets at their website.

Try Everlast’s new VEGAN protein! Go to the Everlast website, and use code TRAINWITHBAIN to save. No expiration, starts today for National Running Day and the code is good pretty much forever.

Go green with EnergyBits! Go to the EnergyBits website, and use code BAIN to save 25% on any kind of Bits. Organic, non-GMO, pure algae. Green goodness to keep your run on! This isn’t National Running Day specific, but it is a great source of fuel for runners.

Show your GameFace. “In honor of National Running Day, we’re honoring your achievements! Are you ready to show off your best photos and win some cash? Post your best Gameface photograph on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook to be entered to win a $250 Visa Gift Card. The winner will be picked Friday afternoon, announced on our Facebook page and contacted by Gameface. All you need to do is dig out that picture of you crossing the finish line, conquering that obstacle course, or just having fun enjoying the sport you love. Use #rungameface and tag Gameface Media on Facebook, Twitter (@gameface_media), or Instagram (@gamefacemedia) to ensure we catch your entry! Good luck and keep up the good work.”

Save (others) with socks. Bombas socks are having a special today, ALL sales proceeds go to Back on My Feet. (You can also help Back on My Feet by signing up for the Los Angeles area Foothill 5k Challenge! Use code BIBRAVE when you register to save 15%.)

Sparkle a little. Sparkly Soul 26.2 and 13.1 headbands are marked down to $5 all day. No code necessary, just go shop. Then enter to win one: “Enter to win 1 of 10 surprise headbands by telling us why you run, your plans to celebrate National Running Day or post a picture of you running with hashtag #irunandsparkle and tag @sparklysoulinc on any social media! Enter through Thursday June 4th at 11:59pm PST – 10 winners chosen at random from all social media on Friday June 5th!  Be sure to follow us on the social media you enter on to win!”

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San Francisco and California-related

Party (and Run!) with Marathon Matt at A Runner’s Mind (3575 Sacramento Street, San Francisco) during the National Running Day Soiree!  The event includes a 4-5mile run with treats and prizes, such as Michelob Ultra sponsored by Rock ‘n’ Roll San Francisco, Mamma Chia, Hint Water, and more. Details and RSVP here: National Running Day Soiree

Run in Oakland! Project Sport, the group behind The Town’s Half Marathon, is hosting a National Running Day event at Lake Merritt. Meet at 6 p.m. at 599 El Embarcadero for a loop or two around the lake. Run, register for The Town’s Half, join your fellow runners for a post-run beverage. Can’t wait until Wednesday? Run Tuesday! Meet at Athleta Bay Street, Emeryville at 6 p.m. and run part of The Bay Trail.

Run in Oakland! The Oakland Running Festival producers, CSE, have two deals for you. One, stop by their office at 1001 Broadway (on 11th Street across from Faz) during your run between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to get water, Gu, a vintage ORF shirt and a discount off a future CSE event. Two, if you can’t stop by the office–like me, I’ll be working in Stockton tomorrow–Use NRD at checkout to save 10% off any CSE West Coast Race (the code is only valid on June 3rd). Upcoming events include the Sunnyvale 10-Miler/5k on June 28th; the Raiders Back to Football Run on Sept. 12th; Broads Run Broadway on October 10th; Hellaween Costume Run on October 24th; and Oakland Running Festival on March 20, 2016. Check out ORF online.

Run with See Jane Run. Meet at the SF and Oakland See Jane Run stores at 6:00 for a 5k run, raffle, door prizes, and other goodies. Plus for every ten people who attend, See Jane Run will donate shoes to Girls Run Roosevelt.

Run with Team Luna Chix. The weekly run with the SF group is at 7:00 at Sports Basement in the Presidio. Find them on Meetup.com to RSVP.

Enter to win a free entry to the 33rd annual California International Marathon. (It’s easy–print the form, fill it in, snap a selfie, and tag it!) Click to read the instructions.

Register for the Dana Point Turkey Trot. The early bird gets the gravy, right? Registration opens on National Running Day. Details here.

Golden State Half Series. Register today on their website. IF you register for all three TODAY, you get a free VIP upgrade at one race. Register to run the Livermore Half (Code ROLLBACK saves you $5), The Town’s Half, or the Golden Gate Half.

Los Angeles area (Glendale): Register to run the Foothill 5k Challenge, benefitting Back on My Feet (a sweet charity that helps people experiencing homelessness through running programs). The challenge is that there is a 1,000′ elevation gain! I’ll join you in running it on July 19. Register here with code BibRave to save 15%.

Napa to Sonoma. If you tried to register and didn’t get in through the lottery, go check your email. They’ve released a few spots, but they are ONLY available to those who tried to get in via the lottery.

Avocado Half Marathon. Hit up the website between now and June 8 and save $10 with code NATRUN15.

Zooma Napa Valley. Register today at the website, and save 10% with code LASTCHANCE. Then join them for a training run on Saturday. Free training  run (10 miles or 5 miles) with the ZNV Ambassadors. Athleta will open early to host our runners and will raffle off a $50 gift card. Details: Saturday, June 67:00am; Athleta-Corte Madera, 215 Corte Madera Town Center, Corte Madera, CA

Events & Deals in Not-California Places

This is an incomplete list, of course…you can also look at the Facebook page for National Running Day.

Angel Fire, NM: Register for the 4th of July Angel Fire Adventure  half marathon, marathon, or 5k. Use code AFABIB20 to save 20% when you register here.

Arizona: Score a discount on the 12ks of Christmas by using code NATIONAL RUNNINGDAY. Details here at the 12ks of Christmas.

Atlanta: Kick off the Summer Stride series with West Stride. Click for details on the Summer Stride Series in general, or click to the facebook page for the National Running Day Event.

Chicago: Register to run the Terrapin 5k using code BibRaveShoes, and be entered to win a year of free shoes! Register here.

Cleveland: Join @djstephfloss for a downtown run. Follow @runwiththewinners for more details.

Dallas: Register for the Back on My Feet for the Peace Love Run in July. Use code BibRave to save 15%. Details here.

Durham, NC: Join Bull City Running for a 7 a.m. run. According to the event page not only will there be donuts, but the chance to win free shoes.

Meridian, Idaho: Pick a treadmill or a stationary bike to join a 24-hour run and ride with FitOne, and score a $15 race registration. Details here.

New York: Of course the New York Road Runners have the event hookup! Click here for NYRR’s event listings.  I’m sure you are not surprised that there are a million and one other runs in New York City.

 

P.S. check out my friends’ suggestions for National Run Day! Take a look at Confessions of an Amateur Athlete and You Signed Up For What for more celebratory discount announcements and Races and Rescues for a glimpse into one runner’s “why I run.”

A few weeks ago, just before getting my Thanksgiving feast on, one of the local racing companies sent me an email about their upcoming races, and included the following invitation:

An invitation

Since I was intrigued by FlyWheel already–I’d heard about it, but never tried it–and the price was right, I decided to RSVP. Now I’m not a cyclist of any kind (unless toodling around Alameda on my no-speed red cruiser bike with the built-in baskets counts), despite being a proudly certified Real Ryder instructor.  Cycling is way the heck out of my wheelhouse (har har har). But I keep going back, in equal parts because (1)  I know some day I’m going to get talked into a triathlon, (2) everyone keeps telling me that cross-training in another discipline is a good idea, and (3) as a teacher I recognize the importance of doing things I suck at so that I can empathize with my students. Still, I don’t like it. I don’t even Facebook-like it.

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From the minute I walked in, I knew that I was in for a completely different fitness experience. First, it took exactly zero minutes for one of the Flywheel staff to welcome me and get me started with the check-in process. Assuming you made a reservation before class–a good idea, because there are a finite number of bikes–you check in on a tablet. (See the schedule up there? You can make another reservation too!) It tells you your bike number (yup, assigned seats!) and you collect your cycle shoes from the appropriately numbered slot below. While you can bring your own, every Flywheel class comes with free use of the shoes and towel service, plus all the filtered water you can guzzle. During check-in you can also confirm whether you want to be on the “Torq Board,” an electronic display system that lets you compete against other riders (if you want). The front desk has hair elastics too, in case you forgot to bind up your locks. After a quick studio tour, I went to the locker area to store my stuff. Flywheel has those modern electronic lockers, the kind where you choose your own PIN to lock and unlock it each time.

Speaking of electronic, why yes, that IS an outlet to charge your phone inside the locker while you are getting your sweat on!
Speaking of electronic, why yes, that IS an outlet to charge your phone inside the locker while you are getting your sweat on!

To the right of the lockers there is a white board where you can jot down which locker you chose, since it is likely to vary each time. I tell you, they did NOT miss a beat!

While waiting for class to start, I checked out the retail area, populated with cute Fly-gear. Or is that fly Fly-gear? Dunno, I’m not cool enough to wear most of it yet.  Anyway, there is also a map outside the studio door so you can figure out where your bike is.  The bikes do have little sticker numbers on the front stem–which I understand the cool kids refer to as a “head badge”–but it is nice to know where you are going before you get there. I also talked with some of the other newbies (that was all of us except for one or two people who I think were Stanford students from back East) and we were all nervous.  “Just don’t point and laugh when I fall off the bike, okay?” I asked them. The doors opened, students left, the doors shut.  We waited some more. The doors opened and a crew with wet mops and cleaning supplies emerged.  I thought, Holy crap, what I have I voluntarily agreed to do? How carefully did I read that waiver??  But it was too late to turn back, and in we went.

Once inside, I took a quick look around. The room was set up like a tiny auditorium, with a little elevated stage in the middle with the instructor and the sound system. There was a center aisle leading to the exit. On either side the room had three rows of bikes. The room was mostly black, with a huge flat-panel TV/screen hanging from the ceiling on either side (the “Torq board”). I’m one of those people who will always choose the aisle seat/spot in class, but I didn’t mind being in the middle at Flywheel.  It was plenty spacious.

For my first ride, I got help setting up my bike. Since they are custom made for Flywheel, I wanted to make sure everything was properly adjusted. Frankly I also needed help figuring out how to put my shoes into the pedals and get them back out again. The Flywheel staff was really helpful, and took all my newbie questions in stride. The bikes resemble other stationary bikes in the Spinning style, except for two features.  One, there is a little rectangular dashboard on the left side, above the wheel and below the handlebars. This is the “tech pack” (I thought it was the “tech deck,” but the website just corrected me!).  It displays the torq (basically how much resistance you’ve added to the bike) and your power output, both current and what you’ve done in class so far.  If you are participating in the Torq Board you can see your total power output up on the board, but even if you aren’t, you can view your class performance online in your private account after class. Your account includes specific data for your last few rides, including an estimated calorie burn, as well as aggregate data over your last ten rides.  (There are prizes for hitting the 3000 mark in a single calendar month, in case you need an incentive. For me, that would take like 20 classes. Maybe I’ll try that next summer.)

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This bike was greeting all of us at the studio grand opening.

Two, there are two blue-tipped bars in special slots on either side of the wheel.  If you’ve ever worked with a Body Bar in a gym class, this is the same idea (only a little shorter).  While waiting for everyone else to set up I put my water bottle in the handlebar-mounted cage, draped my towel over it, and played with the knob to adjust the torque and with various positions on the bike.  Oh, almost forgot to mention, you can also borrow a nice padded saddle cover (in case you’re like me and have a butt that is firmly opposed to a hard seat).

A better shot of the "tech pack" and bars
A better shot of the “tech pack” and bars

Then class started, and away we rode! Our instructor, Aina Williams, was a total top-notch rock star! From what I understand, Flywheel expects EVERY instructor to deliver the same type of performance. After introducing herself, she explained that during the ride, she would recommend a number for torq and a number for power output; the torq number was optional, but the power output number was non-negotiable. A Flywheel instructor is part DJ (music literally drives the class), part cheerleader (let’s face it, this is NOT a class for sissies), and part happy drill instructor. Aina is also in incredible shape.

We started with a warm-up that had me dripping on the floor, and then progressed to a ride with hills, sprint intervals, and a HUGE amount of energy. I dripped all over everything despite making frequent use of my towel. Since I’d driven all the way to Sunnyvale for class (and note to self: check the 49ers schedule before choosing a class) I did my very best NOT to wimp out. I couldn’t keep up 100%.  The hardest part for me was breathing; I literally ran out of breath and had to spend a lot of time focusing on breathing properly (inhale, belly poof out; exhale, belly suck in), which is more challenging than I expected it to be due to being in a cycling position, half bent at the waist. My diaphragm hurt the next day. (Also the day after.) Still, I had the feeling we were all “in it together” and I took little breaks but kept on pedaling.

After the hard-core part of the ride we continued to pedal with a lower resistance while using the mini Body Bars for upper body work. I picked up the four pound bar and tried to do the whole workout with that, expecting it to be kind of a cake walk compared to the ride itself, but ended up doing about 2/3 of it. This surprised me, because I hadn’t worked out my upper body that day and I don’t believe I’m that much of a wimp. (Maybe every bit of energy had leaked out of my body through my legs?) Meanwhile the guy next to me was doing the workout with BOTH of the Body Bars. He definitely deserved the post-ride high-fives more than I did!

Class ended with a surprisingly decent off-the-bike stretch. Admittedly I am a bit of a snob when it comes to the post-class stretch (I blame it on my yoga teacher training, which also has me try very hard not to be a judgmental-rhymes-with-witch during that part of class). It felt SO SO good. After the stretch I slowly hobbled out of class, put my shoes in the already waiting shoe bin, and refilled my water bottle from the designated taps (filtered water in cold or room temp). Then I asked Aina to indulge in a post-ride selfie.  She’s so nice, she said yes. Even though I was a hot sweaty mess, and had a hard time getting my phone to put both of us in the frame.

photo (7)

Then it was off to a well-deserved shower. I earned it. Flywheel Sunnyvale has four showers, separate from the bathrooms. Since many of the riders left without a shower (I assume most live much closer than I do), that was plenty. Each is a self-contained and locking unit, complete with fluffy towels and fully stocked with Bliss spa body care. So really all I need to take to future rides is a shower scrubby poof.

After a sweaty ride, this is heaven!
After a sweaty ride, this is heaven!

In addition to the shower products, the showers also have Bliss body butter, spray-on deodorant, cotton swabs, and a laundry hamper. Other than the moment where I forgot there was a bench in the shower and kicked it (hard) with my left big toe, I think that was the best shower I’ve had in my life.

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See that thing on the left? That’s a plastic bag dispenser. (I told you, they didn’t miss a trick.) Good thing too, as my workouts clothes were thoroughly drenched, so much so that I could wring sweat out of them.  Icky.  Anyway, on to more pleasant things…outside the shower area is a vanity with hairdryers, hair spray, and other stuff for those more stylish than me.

To celebrate the grand opening the studio had some nice swag giveaways for all class attendees. I scored a tote bag and a ball cap (handy for covering up my mop of wet hair). Then I grabbed a quick snack and finished coming back to reality.

Fresh fruit for a post-ride snack
Fresh fruit for a post-ride snack

Again, I’m NOT a cyclist and this is pretty far out of my comfort zone.  BUT…I had a great time. Even feeling awkward, wimpy, uncoordinated, and sweaty. Flywheel comes with a great post-workout euphoria, and I plan to go back again. It doesn’t hurt that the parts of me that were sore (other than my diaphragm) are the parts I know I most need to work: glutes, hamstrings, and that elusive glute-hammie tie-in.

Have you tried Flywheel?

If you are in the Sunnyvale area, or northern California in general, give it a try. Click here to create an account and sign up for your first ride: http://flywhl.me/cfm- (Note: this is an affiliate referral link. You’ll get the same or better deals you’d get from going through Google, and have the satisfaction of supporting your friendly neighborhood blogger.)

The team at Women’s Health magazine sent this invitation to the Action Hero team and asked us to spread the word.  I’m not going to be at Coachella (I’m wine tasting with friends on Saturday, and teaching yoga on Sunday) so unfortunately I can’t attend. That’s too bad because the tickets are my favorite price (FREE!), you just have to RSVP.

Perhaps YOU can attend and tell me how it went?

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Disclosure: Back in 2o12, I was selected to be one of the original Women’s Health Magazine “Action Hero” team members. The main purpose of an Action Hero was to promote the Run 10 Feed 10 event, benefiting FEED. The event has changed over the years and sprouted in new cities. There’s even an app! I retired from the Action Hero program after three years, but still think this is a great event. To see if there is one near you, check out the official Run 10 Feed 10 site.

Are you Hungry?

According to the World Food Program, a division of the United Nations, hunger is the world’s most solvable problem. The problem isn’t a lack of food–we have plenty on the planet. It’s about connecting that food to the hungry people that need it. Media showcase the obvious problems daily: hungry people living in war zones where the roads used to deliver food are no longer safe, or where armed conflict has forced people out of their homes and farmers away from their fields, or in areas struck by disasters from hurricanes to annual floods to earthquakes. Since most of us see that news via wifi or high speed internet from the comfort of secure homes with heat and running water, it is easy to forget that there are hungry people right here in the United States. Hunger may not be as widespread or severe as it is in other places (the World Food Program doesn’t even operations in the United States) but it still exists.

Pizza: a treat for me, a luxury for many.

Hunger isn’t seasonal.

You might think of hunger around the holidays–when there are always plentiful food drives and various churches, synagogues, temples, and other organizations sponsor holiday meals for needy families–but a child is just as likely to be hungry when school lets out for the summer and they don’t have access to the federal school lunch program. According to the FEED Foundation, a big proponent of school meals and the charity beneficiary of Run 10 Feed 10, the number of hungry has increased more than 30% since 2007. Hungry children suffer even more than hungry adults, as an empty belly makes it hard to stay focused and learn in school. Hungry kids don’t get the nutrients they need to grow, and often suffer health problems into adulthood.

Here is your call to action: sign up now to Run 10 Feed 10 (http://www.run10feed10.com).

As you run your 10k, you’ll know you’ve fed at least ten hungry children. If you choose to fundraise, you can feed even more!  The fundraising commitment–if you choose to go that route–is only $100.  That’s really low and easily achievable; just ask ten of your friends to kick in $10, or ask 20 friends to donate one day of latte/smoothie money ($5), and you’re there.  The events are fun, filled with women and men out to share a run and a cause.  Each participant is guaranteed a friendly run and a post-race gathering, complete with your very own FEED Foundation bag.

If you’re like me, you can go grab this from your fridge. Many Americans can’t, and many don’t have a home with a fridge.

The information in this paragraph is outdated. Check out the main site, link above! Until September 1, you can use the code WHBAIN to save on your registration fee (and still feed ten meals!).  The complete listing of events is at http://www.run10feed10.com  While I’m based in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ll be running in Los Angeles on September 29.  Other members of The Women’s Health Action Hero team will be at every scheduled event, and are creating events in other cities.  Check out http://www.run10feed10atlanta.com if you are in Georgia!  If you can’t make any of the events, simply run your own: you choose the when and where, and Run 10 Feed 10 will send your FEED bag directly to you.

Who’s in??

If you don’t want to Run 10, you can still help Feed 10! Check out the event’s Crowdrise page, and donate to the fundraiser of your choice.