Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay (Photo: New Balance)
“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” New Balance has revealed yet another pair of Disney shoes, this time modeled after Disney’s favorite duck. The Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay is coming to Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in honor of Disneyland Resort’s 60th Anniversary celebration. The shoes will be available at the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo starting September 3.
Red bow tie (Photo: New Balance)
Donald’s signature look is woven throughout the shoe, from his red bow tie to a black heel tab evocative of the ribbon on Donald’s hat. The Donald Duck kicks will sell for $140.
New Balance’s Fresh Foam Boracay is a neutral cushioned shoe meant to carry runners for many a mile. I tried and reviewed the new kicks; read all about them here:
Along with Disney shoes for adults, New Balance is also releasing kids versions of the Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay and Tinker Bell Fresh Foam Boracay. They will also debut at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.
The Ministry of Culture and Tourism of Turkey, in conjunction with Argos in Cappadocia, has put together a media trip for this year’s race. They’d first invited me out to the inaugural event in 2012, but the race was taking place shortly before my wedding so it was a no-go. There was no race in 2014. But this year, I’ll be there and writing a story about the experience for Shape.com.
(Photo: Runfire Cappadocia)
Runfire Cappadocia is a six-stage ultra marathon in Central Anatolia, taking runners from a rock formation known as “Three Graces” in Uchisar to the white salt of Lake Tuz across 160 miles through arid plains. Conical rock formations make stone “fairy chimneys” as they’ve come to be known, and caves form the basis for dwellings that date to the 4th century. Goreme National Park and the Rock Sites of Cappadocia are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To run among all of it? I can’t wait.
This year is the first time Runfire Cappadocia has offered six different categories of races.
There’s the RFC 20K I’ll be running, which comprises the first 20K of the ultra marathon; the RFC Ultra, which includes 260K over 6 stages in 6 days, all self-supported; the RFC Toughest Day, which is the longest stage of the Ultra at 104K; Discovery 6D, where runners cover 15-20K per day for 6 days while fully supported by race staff; Discovery 4K, where runners cover 15-20K per day for 4 days while fully supported by race staff; and corporate team races.
(Photo: Runfire Cappadocia)
I’ll be touring Cappadocia for two days before the race begins, then running the 20k and bits of the ultra for three days to get a feel for the event and the terrain.
I wish I could commit to one of the longer categories, but my schedule and stress fracture recovery prevent it. I’ve been back to running for 12 weeks since my injury. I’ve successfully rebuilt my longest run from scratch, starting at 2 miles and building to 13 miles so far.
It’s tempting to say, Yeah, I can run 9-12 miles a day for 4 or 6 days in row! But I know I shouldn’t, especially when my weekly mileage has barely topped 20 miles so far. So it’s the 20K and bits of the other days for me.
Then I’ll spend two days in Istanbul to get a taste of one of Eurasia’s grandest cities.
I visited Turkey for all of one day as a 16-year-old on a high school trip to Italy and Greece. I was a Latin and Classics student, so we tromped around the Mediterranean touring ancient sites in Rome, Pompeii, Athens, and beyond. Our one-day stop in Ephesus, Turkey was a highlight. Once a great Greek, then Roman, city of antiquity, Ephesus housed one of the original Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Artemis. Though that temple is long gone, other ruins remain, like the facade of the Library of Celsus.
But this time around, I’m excited to see a bit more of the country than one day allows—the ancient and the modern, the natural and the man-made. I’m not just going to see it. I’m going to run it. See you in Turkey!
My sister and I run through Cinderella Castle. (Photo: MarathonFoto)
When I was 8 years old, I promised myself I’d never forget what it feels like to be a kid.
The inciting incident was simple enough: a grown-up yelled at me, essentially, for having fun—the kind of fun a kid has on warm spring days, doing cartwheels, playing, and running like a girl is apt to do. Maybe I accidentally cartwheeled into her, or maybe I was giggling too loudly. Whatever I’d done, it was completely innocent.
But her grumpy admonition, that I wasn’t being “lady like,” stung. As I sat sulking, staring at the grass stains on my pants, I promised myself I would never be that grumpy grown-up, that I would never forget the glee of childhood, that I would never forget the Barbie slogan of the era: “We girls can do anything.”
It was a solemn promise that I’ve held close to my heart. I run Disney races—dressed in costume as a parade of princesses who stir the child-within—because of that promise. In other words, I run like the girl I used to be and the child at heart I continue to nurture.
I ran the 2015 Disney Princess Half Marathon as a media guest of runDisney, with my sister by my side, and wrote about it for Shape.com.
It was my second go at the race. I’d run it in 2012 dressed as Cinderella with my real-life Prince Charming by my side, in costume too. Having my husband pace me to my then half-marathon PR is still one of my favorite running experiences ever.
But I found running a women’s race with one of the most important women in my life to be another running career highlight.
Mirinda Carfrae leads a class at Mile High Run Club. (Photo: Ironman)
Want to learn to run fast on tired legs? If you’re a half-marathoner, marathoner, or triathlete, methinks you do. I’ve got a Miranda Carfrae running workout for you from the best runner in Ironman, Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae herself.
On Tuesday afternoon, I headed to Mile High Run Club in NYC at the invitation of Ironman to meet Rinny, try one of her favorite run workouts while she coaches on the mic, and interview her for a Q&A at Shape.com.
Running with Rinny (Photo: Ironman)
As a reporter and broadcaster, I’ve met and interviewed some of the world’s best athletes—from runners like Meb Keflezighi to winter Olympians like Apolo Ohno. I’ve watched them cruise to gold medals and major marathon wins, interviewing them before and after.
But getting to run a workout led by one of them? Like a Visa ad, that’s priceless.
Ever since I watched Rinny cruise to her second Ironman World Championship victory in Kona (on TV, not in person—I wish!), I had an instant girl crush. She’s such a fierce and confident runner, perhaps the best in the world of Ironman. That fierceness and confidence lacks in my own running. I tend to admire in others what I lack myself. Read the rest of this entry →
Want to take part in the Nike Women San Francisco Race Weekend from October 16-18, 2015, including the Nike Women’s Half Marathon? Registration for the random draw is open until Monday June 29, 2015 at 11:59 a.m. PDT. The random draw will take place July 8, 2015.
Registration is $200, and only runners picked through the draw will be charged. You can enter the lottery as an individual or as a group, and men are welcome too.
If you’re one of the lucky runners to get a half-marathon entry, you’ll also be able to register for other Nike Women San Francisco Race weekend events at no additional cost, until events have reached capacity. For more information or to register, visit nike.com/sf.
Running San Francisco!
I ran the 2014 Nike Women’s Half Marathon San Francisco courtesy of Nike as part of a media group. I went in with high expectations and, somehow, the race managed to exceed them. I love, love, love this race. I’d never run a Nike event before, and I’d never run in San Francisco before. From start to finish, I was thoroughly impressed.
From the start at Union Square and on-course signage that let you know the next bathrooms were 1.4-miles away to the red carpet finish and free race photos after the fact, it was a superbly executed race and incredibly fun, too. Not to mention, instead of a finisher medal, I got a Tiffany & Co. finisher necklace. Yep, I’ve been wearing mine all the time. And Tiffany will be back for 2015.
The course’s natural beauty was among the most scenic of the 90 races I’ve run—behind the Kauai Half Marathon and Bermuda Half Marathon. Even through San Francisco’s famous fog I was able to appreciate the beauty of the city’s architecture, Golden Gate Park and the beach. No, we weren’t able to see the Golden Gate Bridge on race day because the fog was so thick. Thankfully, I got a shot in front of it the day before at a shakeout run.
A friend of mine, who’s not a runner, recently asked me for a training plan. Her husband—a chronic marathoner—signed her up for a Spartan Race. She’s run two 5Ks and a 2-miler in the past, but not recently. So she wanted something that would help her start from scratch. I’m guessing most of you have a similar friend, who sooner or later is going to sign up for that 5K or obstacle race and not know where to begin.
Thankfully, I’ve curated a few training plans for SHAPE.com with the help of top coaches, including a 5K training plan for total beginners, an obstacle race training plan, and Nike “all-around” training plan that mixes running, strength training, and yoga.
Every day, Nike+ NYC coaches lead runs and workouts for all skill levels on the streets of the Big Apple, using the city as a gym—no equipment needed.
But you don’t have to live in NYC to “Just Do It” with Nike+ NYC Run Club Head Coach Chris Bennett and Nike+ NYC Master Trainer Traci Copeland, who teamed up to design this exclusive plan for Shape.
With three days of training, two days of running, and two flex days per week, the plan integrates Nike+ Training Club and Nike+ Running to make you a stronger, faster, and fitter athlete, whether you’re simply looking to stay in shape or getting ready for a race.
Monkeying around at SHAPE Diva Dash (Photo: RunKarlaRun.com)
The annual Shape Diva Dash is dotted with fun obstacles sure to challenge your balance, strength, and speed. To help you dominate any 5K adventure run, this obstacle race training plan blends running, strength, balance, and agility training to help you finish strong.
No equipment required—just a pair of running shoes, a watch, and a nearby park or playground where you can play like a kids again. Read the rest of this entry →
We already knew that runners like wine. My roundup of 10 Wine-Themed Runs To Get Your Drink On at Shape.com has more than 11,000 Facebook likes. But a new report from Brooks Running found that runners are like wine. That’s right, 44% of runners say they get better with age, just like a good bottle of vino. While 24% of runners tied to say they’re more like beer, with a little hop in their step, or more like a cocktail, shaking up their routine.
That was just one of the fun tidbits unearthed in the third annual Brooks Run Happy Nation report, a survey of 1,000 runners in the U.S., Canada, and Germany, commissioned by Brooks Running. Here are some of the results.
32% of Americans say they choose a friend as their go-to training partner
24% pick a digital fitness tracker
20% would rather hoof it with their dog
Business Time (Flight of the Conchords fans, you know what I’m talkin’ about)
48% percent of Americans under 40 like to get it on pre-run
41% of Americans reveal they feel “frisky” after hitting the pavement
35% say a pre-race horizontal rhumba improves running performance
62% of American women prefer briefs, compared to 72% of German women
8% of American women go full commando, versus 11% of Canadians
47% of runners prefer racerback sports bras
39% like crossback sports bras
14% prefer front closure sports bras
32% of respondents say Forrest Gump inspires them the most among running movies
26% connect with Rocky‘s eye of the tiger
18% love Silver Linings Playbook’s wackier take on running
47% of respondents say trails are their favorite place to run
27% of respondents pick running around the Grand Canyon as their dream runcation destination
Runners finish the Airbnb Brooklyn Half at Coney Island. (Courtesy of NYRR)
This was originally published 5/19/2015, but thanks to technical hijinks, I had to restore my site and re-upload a few posts. Apologies to subscribers for finding this in your inbox again!
The 2015 Airbnb Brooklyn Half on Saturday, May 16 was the largest 13.1-mile race in the U.S. and the biggest in the event’s history with 26,482 runners crossing the finish line on the Coney Island Boardwalk. I worked the event for NYRR as a race announcer.
For perspective, the three largest American half-marathons in 2014, per RunningUSA, didn’t break the 26,000 runner mark:
Runners on the Coney Island Boardwalk. (Courtesy NYRR)
NYRR Brooklyn Half: 25,610 finishers
One America 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in Indianapolis: 25,524 finishers
Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon: 25,227 finishers
It’s all part of the distance’s seismic growth. Competitor.com reports that the annual number of half-marathon finishers topped 2 million for the first time in 2014 with 2,046,637 finishers. Just 25 years ago, a mere 303,000 people squeaked across a 13.1-mile finish line in 1990. That same year the Brooklyn Half Marathon had just 1,523 finishers.
Kids races at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half. (Courtesy NYRR)
Now in its 35th year, the race has a new title—the Airbnb Brooklyn Half—and new accompanying kids races. The NYRR Kids’ Boardwalk Run took children ages 7 to 18 on a one-mile and-and-back run along the Coney Island Boardwalk, starting and finishing at the Airbnb Brooklyn Half finish line.
The 13.1-mile course took participants from the Brooklyn Museum, past Grand Army Plaza, through the borough’s bucolic Prospect Park and to the southern reaches of Brooklyn to finish on the boardwalk at Coney Island, where the after-party at MCU Park, home of the New York Mets’ affiliate Brooklyn Cyclones, bumped until 1 p.m.
Race announcer! (RunKarlaRun.com)
I kicked off the Airbnb Brooklyn Half as one of the race announcers, and I have to say, it’s really impressive to see how long it takes more than 26,000 runners to clear the start.
The race began beside the Brooklyn Museum at 7:00 a.m. with two waves of runners. The last person started around 8:15 a.m.
But more impressive than the sheer number of people is how excited folks are at the beginning of their 13.1-mile journey. From my perch on the start stage, I saw thousands of waves, whoops, fist-pumps, and smiles. Sure, steely eyed and focused runners could be seen too. But the overwhelming emotion I saw was pure joy and excitement. It got me really excited to toe the line in a race again. Read the rest of this entry →
I really hoped I was over reacting by seeing a doctor a week after a mysterious ache crept into my left foot. Here’s the thing: it didn’t hurt and I only felt it while running. When I wasn’t running it felt totally fine. But when the ache was there, it felt deep within the bone in the ball of my foot. I didn’t like that. I thought, “It might just be a bruise.” But I also know that fractures are common among runners, and especially common among women—Deena Kastor famously fractured her foot, Desiree Linden her femur. I’m no elite runner, but I decided not to waste time. I booked a doctor’s appointment. I just had a feeling in my gut.
I’m so glad I did. An MRI confirmed I have a stress fracture in my tibial sesmoid—one of two tiny, round bones in the ball of the foot. I also have a swollen or “pinched” nerve known as a neuroma. Both are common in runners, says my doc, who is a runner himself. He’ll be running the Airbnb Brooklyn Half in in May and I’ll be announcing at the start.
“A chronic fracture is a stress fracture (a hairline break usually caused by repetitive stress or overuse). A chronic sesamoid fracture produces longstanding pain in the ball of the foot beneath the big toe joint. The pain, which tends to come and go, generally is aggravated with activity and relieved with rest.”
Yup, that’s it exactly.
The Good News
The good news is doc thinks my foot stress fracture isn’t too acute, so he’s prescribing two weeks of no running as a starting point. Read the rest of this entry →
Taking the Heartbreak Hill Half seriously. (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)
The 119th Boston Marathon gets underway Monday, April 20. The race is the stuff of legend and many a runner’s dream. I’m no exception, though I’m far from qualifying. So when I had the chance to run the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Boston and Newton, Massachusetts last year, I leapt. This would be my big chance to run those infamous Newton Hills including the monster of titular fame.
But while I envisioned showing Heartbreak Hill what’s what, the incline ended up getting the best of me. I wrote about it in my race report after the fact. But I knew there was something more to my epic breakdown that day, something I didn’t quite pinpoint in that post. After mulling it over, I was finally able to put it into words.
Shape.com published the resulting essay, and I thought the eve of the Boston Marathon was the perfect time to share it.
Just keep pushing, I muttered to myself as I shuffled toward the 12-mile marker of the Runner’s World Heartbreak Hill Half in Newton, Massachusetts, named for the Boston Marathon’s most notorious climb. I’d reached the slope in the final stretch of the half-marathon conceived for one sole purpose: conquering Heartbreak Hill.
Happy to be finished! (Photo: @myEPevents, Inc)
It’s a moment many runners dream about—myself included. I’d envisioned confidently cresting the incline, my lungs bellowing in rhythm to my stride as I finally broke two hours. But what was supposed to be my fastest half-marathon quickly became my slowest. A cloudless, 80-degree day forced me to slacken my pace. And so I came face-to-face with the famed Heartbreak Hill, humbled and defeated.
As I approached the incline, heartbreak was all around me. A sign signaled its start: Heartbreak. A man in a gorilla suit wore a T-shirt emblazoned with the word: Heartbreak. Spectators shouted: “Heartbreak Hill up ahead!”
Suddenly, it wasn’t only a physical obstacle. Out of nowhere, the major heartaches of my own life washed over me. Exhausted, dehydrated, and staring down failure, I couldn’t shake the experiences I associate with that word…
I learned a lot about myself that day, and it’s a moment I think about often while running. I hope that Heartbreak Hill and I will meet again someday. When we do, I’ll be ready.
Good luck to everyone running the Boston Marathon tomorrow! I’ll be watching on TV, tweeting along, and cheering you on from New York City. Go out and show Heartbreak Hill who’s boss! Read the rest of this entry →
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!
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.
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 →
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.
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.
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 →
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.
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 Walt Disney World Marathon, and runner-friendly amenities at the resort.Read the rest of this entry →
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.
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 →