Archive for the ‘Best of’Category

Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Dog is 6 Years Old Today

Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Girl is 6 Years Old Today

Cinderella! (Photo: Phil Hospod)

No, I have no idea if today is actually her birthday. But I do know that four years ago today, this sweet little dog came into my life. Since she was a stray without papers, my husband, Phil, and I anointed the day we got her as her annual fete. The vet guessed she was about two years old then, so we’ll call her six!

Running Goals For 2015

Cinderella loves to run too (Photo: RunKarlaRun)

I shared Cinderella’s dog story two years ago. If you haven’t read it, it’s a tear jerker: Happy Birthday, Cinderella! My Favorite Running Gal. It still breaks my heart to think of her living in the woods on her own, foraging for food, getting by any way she could until a kind man lured her into his yard and eventually put her into rescue. Especially since I know what a tender heart she has.

Cinderella has so much love to give, truly, and bestows it upon anyone who comes in the door. She’ll look you soulfully in the eyes, plop down on your lap, and give your hand a lick. All she wants from life is a warm body or two to snuggle.

Happy National Dog Day! Happy dog in a field of wild flowers

Cinderella in the wild. (Photo: RunKarlaRun)

Recently, my sister-in-law got some good news that sent the two of us jumping up and down and screaming with glee. What did Cinderella do? She started jumping up and down with us! When we hugged, Cinderella stretched her long body up to ours and joined us. Group hug! That is Cinderella in a nutshell.

But, of course, she also loves many other things. Her hobbies include running, napping, traveling, hiking, car rides, long walks on the beach, playing poker, watching hockey with her dad, and snuggling her babies (aka toys).

Hers is a true Cinderella story. So happy birthday to my girl, my doghter! In honor of the occasion, here is a retrospective: Cinderella, in pictures, 2014-2015. Read the rest of this entry →

09

Apr 2015

Testing 3 New Balance Shoes: Zante, Boracay, 890v5

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes For Spring

The Fresh Foam Boracay and Zante in action (Photo: New Balance)

New Balance shoes have been a part of my running shoe rotation for two years now. Last fall, I included the 890v4, 1400v2 and Fresh Foam 980 in my Guide To Neutral Running Shoes. In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out the three newest New Balance shoes in the neutral running category: Fresh Foam Zante, Fresh Foam Boracay, and 890v5. How does each pair stack up? I’m happy to report that these are three excellent updates that will suit different types of neutral runners.

The shoe vitals are as listed by New Balance for the women’s version. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9, courtesy of New Balance, and listed them from lightest to heaviest.

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes: Fresh Foam Zante, Boracay + 890v5

Fresh Foam Zante

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

MSRP: $100
Weight: 6.4 oz
Drop: 6 mm
Colorways: 3 standard

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is for folks who want to run—or feel—fast. The lightweight shoe rivals the New Balance 1400 in responsiveness, but with feel-so-good cushioning and an insole that cradles your arches like your favorite pillow. The Fresh Foam’s midsole design of interlocking convex and concave shapes means the shoe gives where you need flexibility and holds firm where you need support, much like the Fresh Foam Boracay. But New Balance used biomechanical data from faster runners to build the Zante.

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes: Fresh Foam Zante, Boracay + 890v5

Fresh Foam Zante

The result? A shoe that rides like a dream—a dream where you’re setting PR after PR. You may not run a 5-minute pace, but you can imagine what that feels like in these shoes.

Springy and speedy, the Zante promises a quick heel to toe transition with an “aggressive toe spring.” It delivers. The shoe is light, supple, and downright fun to run in.

The upper is a soft and flexible mesh bootie that hugs in all the right places—at the heel, arch, and outer ball of the foot—while leaving breathing room in the toes. In short, this shoe fits like a glove and responds like a race car.

The stripped down design has just what you need and nothing more. Best of all, it has enough cushioning to take you on long runs too.

I love everything about this shoe, and don’t have a singe critique for it. I totally see why Competitor Magazine named the Fresh Foam Zante the 2015 Road Shoe of the Year. It’s earned a spot in my personal shoe rotation and might even be my favorite pair of New Balance shoes yet.

Will you love it as much as I do? Yes, if you like to feel the road under your feet in a light and soft ride. Maybe not if you prefer a beefier or more plushly cushioned shoe. Read the rest of this entry →

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Disney Race Weekends

Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Offers Disney 'Marathon Weekends'

Runners at the Walt Disney World Marathon (Photo: runDisney)

During my latest visit to Walt Disney World for the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, I stayed at the Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek for two nights to get the scoop on their Marathon Weekends, offered during many runDisney races since 2011. Marathon Weekends at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek and the adjacent Waldorf Astoria Orlando offer runners complimentary transportation to runDisney half-marathons and marathon, an included pre-race breakfast and send-off party, discounted rates that include late check-out, a runner’s concierge, and more.

Disney 'Marathon Weekends' at Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek

Deluxe Double Queen guest room (Photo: Hilton)

My room was large, comfortable, and clean with a beautiful view of the pool and Walt Disney World beyond. And best of all, it was within the gates of Walt Disney World Resort—a 10-minute drive to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios—with free transportation to the parks. I thoroughly enjoyed the hotel and would stay there again in a heartbeat when visiting or running Walt Disney World. The value and bang-for-your-buck is exceptional.

As a mid-week guest I wasn’t able to experience the Marathon Weekends myself, but chatted with folks in the know, got a look at some of the runner amenities like the welcome bag, and took in much of what the resort had to offer. I ran the property, lounged poolside in a cabana, made use of guests’ 10% discount at the Waldorf Astoria spa, hit the lobby coffee shop—which has some amazing pastries, by the way—and more.

Here’s the low-down on Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek Marathon Weekends, early bird Marathon Weekend rates for the 2015 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon, and runner-friendly amenities at the resort. Read the rest of this entry →

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Opens

Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Registration Opens

Runners at the Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon. (Photo: runDisney)

UPDATE 3/17/15
The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon and Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K sold out in 30 minutes! If you want to run, you can still register with a charity or tour provider: Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon 2015 Charity and Tour Bibs

Registration for the 2015 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World from November 6-7 opens Tuesday, March 17 at 12 p.m. EST. The race celebrates its sixth year.

How To Make Aladdin & Jasmine Running Costume

Bling! (Photo: Marathon Foto)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: this might be my all-time favorite half-marathon. I ran Disney Wine and Dine in 2011 and 2013, as part of press trip courtesy of runDisney and New Balance, and loved every minute. I hope to keep running it for years to come. My husband proposed at the Finish Line Party after the race in 2011, so it’s our anniversary race of sorts.

But the proposal isn’t the only reason I love Disney Wine and Dine Half. The night-time race means dazzling Disney park lights and one killer after party that bumps all night long. This race is the best bang for your buck of all of runDisney’s half-marathons.

The Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon starts at 10 p.m. outside the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and traditionally takes runners through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, past Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, and finally to the finish at Epcot. It’s a route runners won’t find at any other half-marathon. The Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Disney Princess Half Marathon share the same course. But Disney Wine and Dine is truly unique.

Plus, the race finishes with the best post-race party I’ve found—at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, which stays open until 4 a.m. just for runners. Admission to the Finish Line party is included in race registration, along with a $15 Disney gift card and a complimentary beer or wine at the finish. Read the rest of this entry →

16

Mar 2015

When Did You Start Calling Yourself A Runner?

When Did You Start Calling Yourself A Runner?

Running in New England on May 11, 2014. (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of my life as a runner—my runiversary, if you will. It was late 2004 and early 2005 when I first laced up an old pair of sneakers unearthed from the depths of my closet and went for a run. Then, for some inexplicable reason, I did it again, and again, and again until it became a habit.

But I certainly didn’t call myself “a runner.” That didn’t happen for a few more years. But looking back, I wish I had staked a claim to the word “runner” a lot earlier.

I wrote about it in an essay at SHAPE.

What Makes You A Runner?

More than 65 million Americans went for a run last year. More than 19 million ran a race. But many of those people are hesitant to call themselves “runners.” I would know—I used to be one of them…

Sound familiar? I hear “Oh, I’m not a real runner” constantly—at races, parties, in social media, and everywhere else I encounter people who regularly put one foot in front of the other.

So what exactly makes you a runner? The short answer is simple: If you run, you’re a runner.

But the long answer is much more complicated—and it has nothing to do with how fast you are… One three-hour marathoner I know who has qualified for the prestigious Boston Marathon—a feat only 10 percent of marathoners achieve—says he still has a hard time calling himself a runner. It’s an epidemic that extends far and wide, from the fastest to the slowest among us. Why?

You can read the whole thing at SHAPE.com.

What About You?

I take a liberal view: if you run, you’re a runner. Plain and simple. But I’d love to hear your thoughts. When did you start calling yourself a runner? When do you think you should have? What, exactly, makes someone a runner? Read the rest of this entry →

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

The Nike LunarTempo Shoes (Photo: Nike)

I’m a runner who loves ultra lightweight running shoes and ultra soft cushioning. I want to feel like I’m running on clouds and I want my shoe to weigh something in the range of clouds. So I was excited to try the new Nike LunarTempo shoes at a media workout at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill studio in New York City. Nike has billed the Nike LunarTempo as a shoe with “ultralight cushioning for high-speed miles.” The workout at Mile High Run Club would put that tagline to the test.

Nike LunarTempo Shoes

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Nike LunarTempo in action. (Photo: Nike)

When I arrived at Mile High Run Club, a locker with my name on it was waiting for me, filled with complimentary running gear, including the new Nike LunarTempo shoes.

How did they fare in one treadmill run? The neutral shoe is a bit like running on clouds.

Nike used their Lunarlon foam midsole, which is indeed one of the cushiest rides in town. I currently wear the Nike Flyknit Lunar2 with Lunarlon. That oh-so-soft landing under the heel is one of my favorite things about that shoe, and the Nike LunarTempo didn’t disappoint.

But this time around, Nike has re-engineered the Lunarlon foam to make it even lighter at 6.2 oz for a women’s size 8, more responsive and just as supportive. After a few short wears, I can confirm that this shoes feels fantastic underfoot if you love a soft ride like I do. Read the rest of this entry →

Run Sold-Out Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Races

Register For 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Through Charity

Nick Arciniaga wins the 2014 Disneyland Half Marathon. (Photo: Jimmy DeFlippo/runDisney)

The 2015 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend in Anaheim, California from September 3-6 sold out in a matter of hours. But you can still register for the Disneyland Half Marathon, Dumbo Double Dare, the Disneyland 10K, and Disneyland 5K through charity and tour groups.

The Dumbo Double Dare, Disneyland 10K, runDisney Kids Races, and Disneyland 5K all broke their sell-out records from 2014. The Dumbo Double Dare and Disneyland 10k closed in approximately 30 minutes in 2015. The runDisney Kids races filled up in about 90 minutes and the 5K followed in roughly 3 hours and 15 minutes. The Disneyland Half Marathon sold-out the next day. Tickets for the Pasta in the Park Party, 10th Anniversary Party, and ChEAR Squad remain.

But if you really want to be a part of the sold-out Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, you still can if you register through a charity or tour group. Contact the following groups directly to find out how to register for the race through them. Charities will ask runners to raise a certain amount of money for participating in the race, and tour groups may require purchase of a travel package. Read the rest of this entry →

Your Favorite Running Songs + Koss Fit Series Winners

Your Favorite Running Songs

Koss FitClips

I asked and you answered: What are your favorite running songs?

Thank you to everyone who shared their faves and to everyone who entered my Koss Fit Series earbuds giveaway!

Rafflecopter has chosen two winners at random, who will each get a pair of Koss FitClips and FitBuds, courtesy of Koss.

But first, I put all of your favorite running songs into a playlist for easy sampling. (Except for Girl Talk’s “All Day,” which isn’t on Spotify. So I added a different Girl Talk mash-up instead.) Maybe you’ll find something new or something you forgot about to add to your playlist.

Your Favorite Running Songs

Koss Fit Series Giveaway Winners

Read the rest of this entry →

How To Stay Fit This Winter & All Year Long

How To Stay Fit This Winter And All Year Long

Trail Running in Quebec. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Happy Super Bowl Sunday! February is a great time to check in with the running and fitness goals you made for 2015. The weather is frightful and the sofa is so delightful. How to stay fit when you just want to hibernate? Set some goals, stick with them, and mix up your workouts when things start to sour.

How To Stay Fit

Step 1: Set SMART goals—specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

How To Stay Fit This Winter and All Year Long

A winter run through Central Park in New York City (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Still looking to make or tweak your running resolutions for 2015? I’ve got 10 ideas meant to make you a happier, healthier runner:

10 Running Goals You Should Make for 2015

Revamp your 2015 planning with goals meant to make you a more well-rounded runner. Set the right goals and you’ll run faster, train smarter, and have more fun hitting the pavement in the new year.

Resolutions that merely focus on going faster may set you up for frustration down the road. Sure, speed can be part of your resolutions, but goals that also focus on training, friends, and having fun will make your 2015 more successful—and enjoyable. Check them out at SHAPE.com.

Step 2: Stick to your goals and fitness routine.

How To Stay Fit This Winter and All Year Long

Pro women race the Front Street Mile in Bermuda. (Photo: Phil Hospod)

Falling off the wagon already? Here’s something to motivate you: how quickly your fitness fades when you stop exercising completely.

But you can still dial back when need be and fight the fade with a few, short workouts:

Skipping Workouts? Your Fitness Fades Faster Than You Think

You can lose up to 50 percent of your hard-earned fitness gains in a single week of complete inactivity.

Now, I’m not talking about tapering; dialing back workouts before a big race puts you in peak performance shape.

But with every week that you don’t exercise at all, you chip away at any fitness you’ve built up in weeks or months prior. Read the rest of this entry →

Koss FitClips & FitBuds Earbuds For Running Giveaway

Earbuds For Running

Koss Fit Series featuring Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres

Like many runners, I love listening to music when I workout. While I don’t always run with music—leaving them at home for races, track workouts, and busy roads—I’d say I run with them most of the time. I do the bulk of my running in parks, car-free rec paths, and the treadmill.

But I’ve blown through many different earbuds for running—earbuds that don’t fit or constantly pop out, earbuds with clips that hurt or tug on my ears, earbuds that soak up my sweat and stop working, getting crackly or cutting in and out. I’ve never fallen in love with a pair of earbuds for running or included them in my annual gear roundup—until now.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Enter Koss FitClips and FitBuds, headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles. I stumbled upon the Koss Fit Series at a press event for a different product. But after trying each of the FitClips and FitBuds, it was love.

The FitBuds are just six millimeters in diameter, 33 percent smaller than most Koss earbuds. With three included ear cushion sizes, Koss’s earbuds for running fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs.

Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the clips around my ears. The key? A soft and very flexible clip that hugs in the right places and doesn’t squeeze where it shouldn’t. And they’re super light too with a sweat resistant coating.

Once I got the Koss FitClips and FitBuds, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now!

Earbuds For Running

Win it!

Giveaway: Koss FitBuds and FitClips Earbuds For Running

I’m excited to give away two sets of Koss earbuds for running, courtesy of Koss. Two winners will each get both the Koss FitClips and Koss FitBuds, which each retail for $29.99.

The giveaway is open now until 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday, February 6. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below! Enter via the options you want and skip the ones you don’t. You get one entry for each. Read the rest of this entry →

Ryan Hall & Sara Hall To Run ASICS LA Marathon

ASICS LA Marathon Hosts USATF Marathon Championships

The ASICS LA Marathon finish. (Photo: LA Marathon)

As I stare at the remnants of Blizzard Juno out my window, I’m doing a little California dreaming. The ASICS LA Marathon announced yesterday its elite field for the 30th edition of the race on Sunday, March 15—the runners who will be competing for the 2015 USATF Marathon Championships title on the famous “Stadium to Sea” course.

The ASICS LA Marathon has been upping its professional presence in recent years. This year the race is hosting the USATF Marathon Championships and in 2016 will become home to the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Expect to be hearing a lot about LA in the year to come.

Headlining LA’s pro field in 2015 are Ryan Hall and Sara Hall. The married California natives—who now live and train with Team Run Flagstaff in Arizona—will be running LA for the first time. The race also marks Sara’s marathon debut.

But they won’t be alone—all told 61 Americans will be competing in the USA Track & Field Marathon Championships, which will run concurrently within the larger LA Marathon event. It’s no accident that the national championships are in the same city where the 2016 Olympic Trials will be held. It’s a chance for pro runners to familiarize themselves with LA’s streets before a shot at Olympic glory.

27

Jan 2015

Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 Registration Opens

Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 Registration Opens

The Airbnb Brooklyn Half (Photo: Courtesy NYRR)

Runners, get ready! Registration for the Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 opens Wednesday, January 21 at 12 p.m. EST. Race day is Saturday, May 16 at 7 a.m. In 2014, this race sold out inside of 48 hours. So if you want in, make sure to register sooner than later.

Airbnb Brooklyn Half 2015 Registration Opens

The Brooklyn Half Finish (Photo: nyrr_ontherun/Instagram)

The Brooklyn Half is one of my favorite races of the year. The last two years I hosted a special episode of NYRR’s “On The Run” on ABC in New York, and I’ve run the half-marathon in years prior. (I now freelance for NYRR as a race announcer.)

The Brooklyn Half is now the largest 13.1-mile race in the U.S. with 25,642 finishers in 2014, and NYRR is promising an even bigger crowd for 2015.

Part of NYRR’s Five Borough Series, the race starts outside the Brooklyn Museum and takes runners through Grand Army Plaza and Prospect Park to finish on the Coney Island Boardwalk. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Run America’s 20 Biggest Marathons in 2015

How To Run America's Biggest Marathons in 2015

The finish of the 2014 TCS New York City Marathon (Photo: Courtesy of NYRR)

Registration for the 2015 TCS New York City Marathon lottery opened on Thursday, January 15, which means one thing: marathon registration season is here!

Here’s how and when to register for the 20 biggest marathons in the U.S. Some of them are even among the biggest marathons in the world. And guess what? Most of them sell out before race day.

Half-marathoners, keep in mind that many of these events have 13.1-mile races the same weekend. So if you don’t want to go 26.2, you’ve still got options.

20 Biggest Marathons in the U.S.

1. TCS New York City Marathon

New York
50,266 finishers in 2013
#1 in the U.S. and #1 in the world
Next race: November 1, 2015
Registration: Lottery open now until February 15, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST. Drawing is March 3, 2015. Charity entries will become available in March through most groups. Entry via Team For Kids available now. Entry via International Travel Partners will also be available.
Half Marathon? No

2. Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Illinois
38,879 finishers in 2013
#2 in the U.S. and #2 in the world
Next Race: October 11, 2015
RegistrationLottery opens March 10-April 21. Charity entries will be available.
Half Marathon? No

3. Marine Corps Marathon

Washington, D.C.
23,380 finishers in 2013
#3 in the U.S. and #8 in the world
Next Race: October 25, 2015
RegistrationLottery opens March 13-22, 2015. Selected runners will be notified on March 25. Charity entries will available. Bib transfers will also be available.
Half Marathon? No

4. Honolulu Marathon

Hawaii
22,064 finishers in 2013
#4 in the U.S. and #9 in the world
Next Race: December 13, 2015
RegistrationOpen now for Hawaii residents. Opens January 19 for U.S. and Canadian residents. Not a lottery and no field cap, so it doesn’t sell out.
Half Marathon? No

5. Walt Disney World Marathon

Florida
20,734 finishers in 2013
#5 in the U.S. and #10 in the world
Next Race: January 10, 2016
RegistrationOpens April 28, 2015. Not a lottery, but the 2014 race sold out in August in just under four months.
Half Marathon? Yes. Registration opens at the same time as the marathon. Run both and get a special medal for completing Goofy’s Race and a Half Challenge. Read the rest of this entry →

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Star Wars takes over Disneyland. (Photo: Disney/Ali Nasser)

The inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation takes runners to a galaxy far, far away from January 15-18, 2015 at Disneyland in Anaheim, California.

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

Finisher medals (runDisney)

The new Star Wars-themed race weekend includes the title Star Wars Half Marathon, Star Wars 10K, Star Wars 5K, runDisney Kids Races and the two-day Star Wars Rebel Challenge, where runners complete the 10K and half-marathon on back-to-back days. All told 23,000 runners are scheduled to take part in the races, with many of them registered for multiple events.

Runners earn finisher medals themed to the franchise, with characters from the movies appearing along the course.

Here’s a look at runDisney’s newest race weekend by the numbers.

Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend By The Numbers

209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

28,950—registrations for the inaugural Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

12,200—runners registered for the Star Wars Half Marathon Read the rest of this entry →

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

Angela Brito of Ecuador is the first female at the 2014 Walt Disney World Marathon. (Preston Mack/Disney, photographer)

The Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 Weekend presented by Cigna from January 7-11 at Walt Disney World in Florida wraps up Sunday with the title event, a 26.2-mile tour of Mickey Mouse’s realm.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

The medal haul from the Dopey Challenge. (Photo: runDisney)

The four-day extravaganza is the largest running festival in the U.S. with 84,150 registrations and an estimated 65,000 finishers in the weekend’s five events: Walt Disney World Marathon, Walt Disney World Half Marathon, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World 5K and runDisney Kids Races.

Here’s a look at Mickey Mouse’s favorite race by the numbers.

Walt Disney World Marathon 2015 By The Numbers

209,000—runners who take part in runDisney events each year

84,150—registrations for the 2015 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

50,000—estimated number of spectators

26,700—runners registered for the Walt Disney World Marathon Read the rest of this entry →

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