Marathon Monday—Whether You Do 26.2 or 2, Run with Nike+ Today for a Great Cause

NikeBoston_final_(1)_detailLast year’s tragic events aside, the Boston Marathon has always been a big deal in Massachusetts—it’s a state holiday! Growing up, it meant a day off from school, and since getting older and moving to Boston, it has meant a day of getting together with friends at house parties or bars along the marathon route and cheering on the runners while day drinking. It’s the best.

This year will, of course, be a little different. It’s going to be emotionally charged; the heightened security will be felt; last year’s horrific turn of events will undoubtedly be on everyone’s mind. But I can already tell by the happy buzz of runners and Bostonians out and about all weekend that the spirit of the day has by no means been broken. And what better triumph and tribute to all the lives lost and marred by last year is there than that?

On Friday I was invited to the re-opening of the Nike store on Newbury Street (the line of sneakerheads outside the store was insane—some people camped out overnight???). The store looks amazing, but the best sight isn’t a piece of décor or pair of kicks—it’s the two treadmills set up in the middle. All weekend long, for every mile run on those two treadmills, Nike has been donating $100 to the Challenged Athletes Foundation, which provides support to people with physical disabilities. To kick it off, Gronk, Shane Victorino and Sarah Reinertsen hopped on the treadmills to log the first mile. (Not gonna lie, I was super excited to see Gronk there haha.)

Today, in honor of the Boston Marathon, for everyone who can’t make it into the Nike Boston store, you can still contribute to the cause by simply going for a run and logging it using the Nike+ smartphone app. Literally anywhere. For every mile run WORLDWIDE today, Nike will donate $1 to CAF. How amazing is that?? Just be sure to tag it with #strongereveryrun in the app. I know a bunch of you readers are runners, so get on that!

As for me, I’m off for a quick run around the Charles before today’s festivities begin (using the Nike+ app, obviously!). One day I’ll run a marathon, but for now, I’m much better at drinking beer. :) I hope everyone in Boston has a wonderful, safe day and best of luck to all you badasses running the marathon!

Red Sox Game with Nike+ Run Club

Fenway Park Red Sox GameThis weekend I was invited to run with Boston’s Nike+ Run Club to Fenway Park to watch the Red Sox game. As you can probably guess, it took me one millisecond to say yes.

We met in front of the Nike store in Back Bay (it’s closed for renovations but is opening again soon), where Nike hooked me up with some new Flyknit Lunar 2 running shoes. They’re super comfortable and felt great during our 3-mile run to the game. I was initially a little worried this would be a group of serious runners and I’d have nothing to contribute to the conversation as everyone compared their favorite brands of compression socks haha, but it was nothing like that. Of course there were advanced runners there and lots of talk about upcoming races, but Nike is totally welcoming to all the not-so-serious runners like me. It was a fun, no-pressure run, and I loved chatting with all the people involved.

Nike Flyknit Lunar 2

I figured we’d just have normal seats for the game, but when we got to Fenway and were handed our tickets—boom!—box seats. Such an exciting surprise (especially since it was freezing outside). Food, beer, an amazing view and great company—it was an awesome way to spend a Saturday night. We even got the chance to take pictures with the 2013 World Series trophy. I’m admittedly a half-ass Sox fan, but I still couldn’t help geeking out a little over it. :)

2013 World Series Championship TrophyWith fellow Boston blogger, Caroline (The Trendy Trainer)

The Nike store on Newbury Street has been closed for renovations since the fall, but will reopen April 18th in time for the marathon. Even though the doors haven’t quite yet opened back up, the Nike running club has started meeting again, running every Tuesday & Thursday at 6:30pm and Saturday mornings at 9am. It’s free for anyone to join in, and they typically split into three groups—a 5-mile run, 3-mile run and 2-mile run—so runners of all levels are welcome. And after meeting all the fun, friendly people involved I would highly encourage all you in the Boston area to try it out! I’m definitely going to make it to one of the Tuesday runs soon.

Have you guys ever run with a running club?

P.S. This raining weather prevented me from taking pics for this week’s workout this morning, but don’t worry, it’s coming!


Boston Fitness Classes I’ve Tried Recently: SoulCycle, Exhale and Studio J

Boston Fitness Classes I've Tired Recently--SoulCycle, Exhale, Studio JBetween my free month of ClassPass and some awesome blogging perks, I’ve been able to try out a bunch of new fitness studios and classes around Boston these past few weeks, and figured I’d share the experience for all you local fitness buffs. I’m trying out even more these next couple weeks, so also look for a similar post in the near future.

Speaking of fitness classes, before I get to the good stuff, I wanted to draw your attention to the new Group Fitness tab at the far right of my menu bar. I get asked a lot about when I’m teaching, so I thought it’d be helpful to make a page here with my monthly schedule. I sub for other instructors frequently, so this will be a good way to keep track of it all. Right now I only teach at Btone, but I definitely have been bitten by the instructing bug, so hopefully in the coming months this schedule will include tons of different classes (spinning?? boot camp?? prancercising??) at lots of different Boston studios.

Alrighty, on to the classes I’ve recently tried…

SoulCycle Chestnut Hill

SoulCycle Chestnut HillLast week, I was given the opportunity to try out the newly opened SoulCycle location in Chestnut Hill. I’ve done SoulCycle in New York and loved it, so was pumped to take a class.

Erin T. was the instructor and KILLED it. I loved her playlist (music makes or breaks a spin for me), her energy was unreal, and the class was challenging. The entire routine was set to the cadence of the song playing, so you could really get into it. I could tell right away she had a dance background, too, which can make such a big difference with fitness instructors—everything moving on beat, great rhythm, counts on point. Last (and creepiest) but certainly not least, Erin has the sickest abs ever—having that to look at all class was motivation enough to push yourself harder.

SoulCycle moved some instructors from New York to Boston for the Chestnut Hill studio opening, and while most are staying, I’m pretty sure Erin is heading back to teach in NYC soon. I’m actually really glad SC did that, rather than have new Boston-area instructors open the studio, because it kept the Soul experience consistent. Having taken classes in NYC, I had certain expectations of SoulCycle—all of which were met in the Chestnut Hill location.

I will say though, while the studio atmosphere and instructing style were all on point, there was a big difference in the crowd taking the class. In NYC, the front row is always full of spin psychos who explode with energy, theatrically hit every beat, and definitely signed up a week in advance to ensure they could ride on the “best” bike. (I use the term “psycho” lovingly—I’m a spin psycho myself haha.) Chestnut Hill needs its cult following of spin psychos to ramp up the energy of the class. I have no doubt it’ll eventually get there.

The only downside (for those who live right in the city like me) is that it’s in Chestnut Hill. By car the trek isn’t too bad and there’s tons of parking, but my roundtrip time of travel via public transportation was two hours. Woof. It just doesn’t make sense for me to go regularly when there are other spin studios within walking distance. However, if you do live out by Chestnut Hill, the shopping center it’s located in is pretty awesome. I’d never been before, but there’s an Equinox, DryBar, Athleta, Starbucks, Sweetgreen (open soon), Anthropologie and other stores all located next to the SoulCycle. Trendy as f*ck, you might say. :)

Definitely check Soul out if you’re in the ‘burbs!

P.S. I want to buy every article of clothing they have for sale…

SoulCycle Chestnut Hill

Exhale Flow Yoga Open

When I saw Exhale was included in ClassPass I was excited but actually a little hesitant to try it out. I had heard amazing things about the classes, but also heard from countless people that they were made to feel unwelcome by the staff. Oh jeeze. If my paying friends were made to feel unwanted, I could only imagine how some freeloading blogger using her comp’d month of ClassPass would be welcomed haha.

While there definitely is some merit to those reviews (you sort of feel like Janis Ian trying to sit at Regina George’s lunch table when you first walk into Exhale), I found everyone working there to be perfectly pleasant—and the elitist vibe definitely doesn’t apply to the instructors I had (they were wonderful and so welcoming!). To an extent, you’re going to feel a little out of place any time you go to a studio or gym for the first time, just by nature of not knowing where anything is.

The first class I took was their Exhale Flow Yoga Open, which is suitable to all levels (the teacher was a last-minute sub, so I’m not sure of her name). I loved it! I thought it was a great mix of challenging and relaxing. If a yoga class is too meditation/”ohm” heavy, I start getting all antsy and searching for a clock. This class started calmly and ended with a relaxation, but the bulk of it was continually challenging my body. I left class feeling refreshed, and with that clam-yet-energized feeling only yoga can give you. Loved it! And I was feeling it the next couple days in places I never usually feel sore, so that’s always a great sign.

Core Fusion Boot Camp at Exhale

The next class I tried out at Exhale was their Core Fusion Boot Camp. My instructor Laura was great—she gave me a rundown of what to expect from the class, helped me get set up, and paid me extra attention throughout the hour knowing I was a newbie. That really goes such a long way in helping you feel comfortable at a new studio!

I would best describe the class as a mix between mat Pilates, yoga, barre and boot camp. If that makes any sense at all. It’s not very cardio intensive (you won’t be a sweaty mess at the end), but you are moving around the whole time. There are some faster-paced yoga flow sequences mixed in with moves using hand weights, a medicine ball and squishy core ball. At the end, you do an ab sequence that is very challenging (it was the one part of the class I had to modify at times).

It was fun, something different from my normal routine, and I’d certainly recommend it—especially with Laura, she’s a doll!

Pilates Reformer Half Hour at Studio J

Studio J BostonOne of the most challenging things about working at Btone is honestly just trying to explain what the workout is. The go-to is usually something along the lines of “think of a Pilates Reformer on crack.” But, while I know every nook and cranny of the Megaformer machines at Btone, I’ve actually never even taken a Reformer class. When I saw that a new Pilates studio, Studio J, was included in ClassPass, I jumped at the chance to see what the Reformer was like.

I thought the half hour class on the Reformer was more like an introduction to the machine than an actual workout. It was interesting (especially as a Megaformer instructor) to see what the Reformer could do, but honestly, it wasn’t a workout at all. Some of the moves we did were challenging, but we didn’t do them for very long and there was lots of lag time during slow transitions from one move to the next.

That being said, Studio J is full of all these fun Pilates machines, and even though I wasn’t blown away by my class, I still want to return for the chance to play around with the half tower, full tower—even on the reformer again. The studio also offers yoga and traditional mat Pilates classes, among others, and I’m definitely going to give another class there a try. I’ll keep you posted when I do!

Have you tried SoulCycle, Exhale or Studio J before? What’d you think?