100 Mile March: A Running Goal

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It’s true, the feeling that you get when you run, especially when you run well, is unmatched. It’s a combination of strength and fulfillment that are difficult to explain, but are immediately recognizable once you’ve felt them.

With that being said, the idea that every run changes you couldn’t be more accurate, which is why Paige and I are taking on the challenge: to run 100 miles in the month of March.

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We’ve started simple, with four mile intervals which would put us well beyond our goal if we run every day. But that’s where taking on the task is much larger than just a run. Like the quote above, every run changes you. Yes, fitness and health are great motivators, but the consistency and dedication that are necessary to reach 100 miles in that time provide the groundwork for the change that all distance running instills.

Who knows what our next race will be, there are options all over the city year-round, and stepping outside the comfort of runDisney might not be a terrible thing. But I guess we’ll see where the challenge goes, and before you know it, we’ll have 100 miles down and we’ll be working on the next goal.

If you want to connect with us, and others participating, connect on Twitter with #FFMarchMiles led by FitFluential.

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Which Wearable: A FitTech Poll

There are a ton of options out there in wearable technology, and that number is growing exponentially by the day. Aside from the fun things like Google Glass, FitTech is exploding too; from major brands with Nike+ to upcoming debuts like OMsignal, there are a ton of options out there.

That being said, the team at Third Wave Fashion wants to know which FitTech you’re using! Head over and take the poll on their blog and weigh in with your favorite device.

Find the Poll Here!
Find the Poll Here!

Airport Assault: Road Racing at WCU

Airport Assault Road Course
Airport Assault Road Course

In a college town that consists of little more than an expanding campus and a run-of-the-mill athletic department, it’s easy to overlook the absolutely excellent events that take place.

Outside of the Valley of the Lilies Half-Marathon and 5k, and when Western alum Manteo Mitchell pulled in Olympic Silver at the London Games, there hasn’t been a ton to be proud of in terms of athletic achievement. Luckily, and thanks to a dedicated group of collegiate cyclists, Western is now set to host a three-part race weekend on Saturday and Sunday March 22 and 23.

Though I wasn’t a part of the riding community, to see this group put together a complete race experience is nothing short of exciting. It’s easy to get lost in the valley that houses Cullowhee, to forget that there are people that want to come and experience the mountains. The nine percent grade of the time trial route may not be the way most people expect to experience Cullowhee, but then again active communities like cyclists don’t always fit into the “most people” category anyway.

The races are open to collegiate riders, with registration online at USA Cycling. These races include the one mile time trial mentioned before, an 18-63 mile road race, and a 20-50 minute criterium. Distances and times will be determined by rider category, which include Collegiate M-A,B,C,D and W-A,B. Each race costs $15 to pre-register, and $18 for day-of registration.

An awards ceremony will take place on Sunday after the criterium, which should not only highlight the weekend’s top racers, but also the little-known hospitality that so many people in the WCU community are full of. With the introduction of the Airport Assault race weekend, I’m proud to say I graduated from Western, and can’t wait to see what this does for the cycling team, the university and the community as a whole.

For more information take a look at the official WCU Cycling Team page and learn more about the excellent people that are making this event happen.

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Connected Runners: Basno Digital Medals

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“Why do you run?”

That question alone is a pet peeve that nearly every runner faces on a constant basis. There are runners all over the world, from occasional joggers to elite runners that can run five minute miles for incredible distances, but the one thing they all have in common is the simple fact that they get out and do it; regardless of reason.

For many though, whether running is therapeutic or just another step toward a healthier lifestyle, there is little more that is as satisfying as a finisher’s medal at the end of the race that you trained months for. Despite blisters and lost toenails, heatstroke and hypothermia, the feeling you get as the medal is placed around your neck is unmatched.

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Unfortunately, the moment is typically short lived when it comes to sharing with friends and family. Newsfeeds fill with pictures of lunches and vacations, and within a day or two the moment disappears and the evidence of accomplishment is tucked away in a forgotten album labeled “Big Race ’13” or simply “Running.”

Luckily for the connected runners out there, Basno has developed race badges to harness the spirit of running and to share the passion for the sport that every runner has.

With digital personalization, times and names can be added to the finishing badge that every runner receives, offering a new way to connect the community and invite others in. Being in the midst of an emphasis on social engagement, the badges make it easier for runners to share their experiences and curate an online showcase of their accomplishments.

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Personally, I’m excited about the ability to store my accomplishments digitally in one place, especially considering that now just two months into 2014, I’ve already got seven finisher medals and no good way to display them online.

Ultimately, the running community is a strong one; a massive group of people that love being active and inviting outsiders to join them. In the digital world, I’m not sure what more could be done to bring such an offline community online than a way to join peers in accomplishments that nobody outside the community could ever understand.

So to answer the question of why we run, it’s because we’re runners. It’s what we do.

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Chris Powell: My Training Inspiration

822xImage: ABC

Chris Powell is known around the world as a weight loss guru, transforming not only body image, but the way people feel about themselves as well. Every summer, ABC’s hit show Extreme Weight Loss comes back, and I find myself inspired, not that I could lose more weight or eat healthier, but that I could help others, and even if I was half as good as Powell, lives would be changed for the better.

I’ve talked about my inspiration before, needing to get fit for races, preparation for miles that I haven’t even thought of in six or seven months, but when it comes to Chris Powell, the inspiration comes from a different place.

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I know that the picture is blurry, but that is an 11 or 12 year old version of me, at a solid 150 lbs, give or take. At my heaviest I weighed in right around the 180-190 range, and stood a whopping 5’2″, and that is why I find comfort in watching Chris Powell, knowing that he is able to help those people that continually live in the discomfort and agony that I at one time knew.

In relation to the show, I’d sit, summer after summer, telling my family that I could do that if I just had the education for it, but Public Relations isn’t a job at a gym. After putting in so much time to get an education that you think you need, or want, it’s easy to trap yourself into the mentality of searching for the perfect job at the perfect startup or firm, but every time you see your source of inspiration, you think about how you could be doing that if you hadn’t invested so much into your formal education.

But that’s when Paige came through for me again, deciding to invest in me and pushing me to further myself.

One day on a Randall’s Island run, what we consider our long runs mainly because they’re outside, she turned to me and told me to take some of our leftover wedding money, find the right certification process and get personal trainer certified.

Because of how fast I can write, she wasn’t concerned about me picking up freelance writing jobs, but knows that I exceed when it comes to working hands-on and with other people; for me to work at a desk all day would wear on me, and she recognizes that. Instead of letting another year go by, full of me saying what I could probably do, she’s called me on it, telling me to go for it, and instead of talking about it, to prove that I can make it happen.

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So that’s what I’m doing. Thanks to Chris Powell’s inspiration, and a firm push from Paige, I am now plowing through functional anatomy and biomechanics in pursuit of becoming a certified personal trainer.

Using Equinox as my gauge, I came across the National Council on Strength & Fitness, NCSF, and ordered my study materials to knock it out.

As I said at the beginning, Chris Powell is an inspiration to people around the globe to pursue a healthier version of themselves, and maybe it’s the combination of Paige’s encouragement and my inner fat kid, but I’m taking his attitude to heart and making this happen.

Whether it’s “thinspiration” or “body confidence” there’s no excuse to not be healthy, and there’s no excuse to not be better. For that, I’ll thank Chris Powell for encouraging so many to be better versions of themselves.

Professional: A Lost Standard?

Doping in cycling, hazing in the NFL… It sounds to me like some of the people identified as “professionals” are actually the exact opposite.

After I wrote about bullying, I was pointed to the current story about the issue surrounding the Miami Dolphins.

In case you haven’t heard, the NFL is investigating the Miami Dolphins football team after bullying allegations came out about offensive lineman Richie Incognito.

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I don’t agree that this is necessarily bullying, I think that bullying has become a buzzword and so the public is accepting it; what I do think this is though is juvenile hazing.

In the CBS story linked, rookie hazing in the NFL is brought up like it’s nothing, as if duct taping a person to a goal post is normal and ok. The problem with that mentality though is how the NCAA would come sweeping in if that were to be brought up from a college campus, but is seen as perfectly decent in the professional level of athletics.

If it isn’t ok for a 20-year-old on a college team, fraternity, or marching band then why should it be ok for a grown man to do the same thing?

Incognito was reprimanded by coaches and no longer has a job with the Dolphins, but the rest isn’t acceptable either.

This brings me to my point: None of it is professional, so why do we call these people pros?

The most appropriate definition I found was from Merriam-Webster:

(1) characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession
(2) exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace

So with a certain standard of professionalism that everyone else is expected to uphold, why are athletes skating by?

I mentioned doping in cycling earlier because a great movie about Lance Armstrong comes out Friday.

Velo News, in addition to the Armstrong movie coming out, put out a great piece on the issues that come with admitting that the standard has been dropped. The outstanding story being the catch that Ryder Hesjedal has found himself in now that he has admitted to doping, despite a seemingly ungrateful governing body that is as much to blame for the level of doping as the riders.

So with double standards pervading athletics at every level, a “professional” atmosphere that seems to catch athletes in a “damned if you do damned if you don’t” mentality, I ask: What do we want, and how will we get it?

I don’t support hazing, having experience in marching bands and a collegiate fraternity, but when it comes to doping in sports, it’s hard to blame athletes that do it if doping has become a part of the culture.

Ethically, it all seems wrong, but the consequences have to be real if we want a real level of professionals.