Saturday, December 27, 2008

Merry Fitness to All and to All a Good Bike!

I didn't get a "good bike" for Christmas, but it is a lovely sentiment!

It's such a treat to spend the Holidays with my family in the 80 degree weather Florida is so famous for. We started Christmas Eve at my Aunt and Uncle's party on the south end of the island and worked our way up to the north end at my other Aunt and Uncle's party.
Grandma Tilly and I at Aunt Maureen and Uncle Kevin's Christmas Eve Party

We drank and ate too much and finally found our way back home.

Christmas morning my brother woke me up early to open presents around the tree with Mom, Dad and the dogs. My brother Jake got a surf board and a skateboard (from me), Dad got a ton of new golf gear, Mom got some jewelry she'd been eyeing and I got a few fun odds and ends. Even the dogs got new collars and some holiday treats.

Top: Mom with the Mermaid Painting I gave her, Bottom: Dad with his new Iron Man Watch
Then we got in the car and drove up to the north end of the island to visit my Dad's parents for breakfast and gifts.

Jake riding the Bustin Board Skateboard I gave him and Dad
After a well-deserved nap and some cooking we piled in the car again to go south to my Mom's Mom's house for dinner and gifts. My Dad made the family seafood gumbo (and me a vegetarian version, thanks Dad!) I'm always so impressed by what delicious food our family can produce! Mom made some amazing potatoes and Grandma cooked up a variety of scrumptious side dishes.

My cousins Cara and Diana made it into town from Tampa and Athens, GA where they are in school, and it was wonderful to visit with them.

From Left to Right: Diana (cousin from Tampa. FL), Krista (friend from Tallahassee, FL), Jacob (brother), Me, and Cara (cousin from Athens, GA )

Delirious from food and sweets, I met up with my girlfriends to eat some more and exchange gifts late into the night.

Some Christmas highlights include a pretty purple Iron man watch, swimming goggles, bike gloves, a variety of gift cards, an adorable pair of gold ballet flats and even a super-cute, wonderfully practical lunch box:)

I hope everyone reading this had as wonderful of a Holiday as my family did. Merry Fitness to All!

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Running in Paradise

My last post was written at JFK Ariport in NYC....I got out of the north right before the crazy snow started, phew! I'm now enjoying the sunny and 78 degree weather in Florida.

This morning I headed out to do a nice 7 mile run along the river in Rockledge. Riveside Drive is an absolutely beautiful place to run (It's actually the route of the Space Coast Marathon). It's lined with ton of beautiful historic houses, lush oak trees heavy with spanish moss, and tropical palm trees to remind me why I love Florida. The only problem is the heat and humidity...but, I can't really complain. At least I'm not stuck in a blizzard!


After the run, back in Cocoa Village. 

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Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Athlete's Green Gift Guide (part 3)

7 Days until Christmas, 3 days until Hanukkah!

If you read my post about the super cool, affordable yoga studio, Yoga To The People, you may already have guessed that I'm somewhat addicted to yoga:)

I think it's a great way for any kind of athlete to increase strength and flexibility and bring an element of relaxation to training.

But unfortunately most yoga mats are made of icky, unsustainable plastic materials like phthlates which are harmful to the planet and not so good for people. So, I suggest investing in a sustainable hemp, bamboo, or other eco-chic yoga mat option for the yogi on your holiday shopping list. My mom got me the Prana sticky mat for Christmas last year and I absolutely love it!

Here are some of my other favorites:

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Athlete's Green Gift Guide (part 2)

8 Days until Christmas, 4 days until Hanukkah!

Looking for an eco-chic holiday stocking stuffer?

Kiss My Face Holiday Gift Packs

I'm a really huge fan of Kiss My Face organic bath, skin and hair products. I use their shampoo, conditioner and body wash religiously. Since I'm in the pool a lot, it's important for me to have products that protect my hair from the chlorine damage, and Kiss My Face really does the job. Also, the scents are all organic, so they're really, truly fresh. The gift packs are made with organic ingredients like chamomile to calm your tired, overworked self, Shea butter to heal your skin, and sunflower oil to moisturize.

These Holiday Gift Packs feature lip balm, body scrub and moisturizer in cute holiday scents like cranberry spice and vanilla sugar. 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Athlete's Green Gift Guide (part 1)

9 Days until Christmas, 5 days until Hanukkah...

Still shopping for Holiday gifts? Here's my eco-chic athlete's gift guide.

Klean Kanteen with Sports Top

The Klean Kanteen is one of my favorite practical things. It's a sturdy, simple re-usable water bottle made from stainless steel, which means it is completely BPA free. It also keeps water cold and crisp, and doesn't spill or sweat easily. The sport's top is perfect if you're on the go, and they also sell a bike cages for cyclists who want to ride green.

It comes in steel, pink, black, green, blue, orange and brown.

More eco-chic gifts coming tomorrow!

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Exam Week (Stress) + Bad Economy (Stress) + Yoga (relaxation) = Less Stress

While holding a particularly strenuous chair pose in my yoga class last week, I got to thinking about what yoga can do for us in these troubling economic times. No doubt, it is an excellent form of exercise; but even more than that, it focuses our minds and helps relieve stress.

Yoga is the ancient Indian discipline that seeks to unite the mind and body. As America’s waistband expands and our wallet contracts, more people are looking for affordable exercise options. A survey conducted by CNN in 2004 found that 73% of Americans find money to be their number one stress factor. Imagine what that number must be in the midst of our current financial meltdown.

Using yoga to relive some of this money-related stress and to vary your exercise routine is a wonderful option, but the problem for students like me, is that yoga studios in New York City often charge over $20 a class. That certainly is not an anxiety reliever! Fortunately, there is an option for those who want to Zen-out without worrying about burning a hole in their pocketbooks.

Yoga to the People is a fantastic studio in Manhattan’s East Village that is a completely donation based. (I absolutely love this studio and encourage everyone in NYC or visiting NYC to try a class.) This means that they ask participants to only give what they can – from $1 to as much as $20 or more if you’re in the position to do so. Located on the historic St. Marks Place, the studio teaches an upbeat form of Viyassa Flow Yoga. The instructors are all young and enthusiastic, and the classes are packed full of students and young adults.

“Can you find inner peace while someone’s toes are in your face?” asked my instructor, Emily, during my Sunday afternoon class. “If you can relax here, you can do it anywhere!”

The hour-long session that features an upbeat mix of modern music, ends with an inspiring quote and the Tibetan Singing Bowl, which add an eerie calm to the room. I encourage anyone in New York City even slightly interested to try a class. But make sure to arrive a few minutes early, the room fills up!

Yoga to the People
St. Marks Place near 3rd Ave

(illustration by Christina Coradin
 for w27 Newspaper)

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Epic Swim Weekend

I am lucky to be alive (joking, sort of) after a full weekend of swim meets.

Saturday the team was up bright and early to head upstate 3 1/2 hours to the SUNY Delhi Invitational. It's really a great opportunity for a first year team to be invited. Nine teams from all over NY State were there, making it quite a long day!
We started warm-ups at 12 pm, but quickly found that warm was not really in the cards for us that day. It was freezing outside, and that cold air made the pool area and pool water absolutely frigid!

The meet started just after 1 pm. It was our first long format meet, which was an interesting and fun challenge.
I swam several events...maybe even more than this but I'm blanking on the details right now.
400 Medley Relay (Backstroke)
200 Back
200 Free
100 Free
The 400 relay was kind of surprising, because until I went up to the blocks, I thought it was a 200 relay. The water was really cold and even though I'd warmed up for a good half hour, my muscles kind of freaked out. We ended up finishing with a good time though.
I won my 200 back, and I think I won my 200 free and got 3rd or so in the 100 free.
The day was really long, so it was a perfect opportunity for me to test some new organic sports products I wanted to try.

The Liv Organic Sports Drink (Berry flavor) is sweetened with Agave Nectar and is actually surprisingly delicious. It has just enough carbs, sodium and electrolytes to keep my energy up all day.
I also tested Shakies Organic Energy Sports Chews, which are packed with electrolytes and are absolutely fantastic. A few of the girls on the team tried them and agreed that we're total Sharkie fans. Very eco-chic;)

When the meet was finally over at 9:30 pm, we packed up and headed out for a 3 1/2 hour drive in the snow! We got to bed at about 2 am, and set our alarms for 7 am the next morning.

I barley woke up in time to make it to the Sunday meet in Ocean New Jersey, but somehow I found myself in the van again.

Mike told us that we'd placed 3rd out of 9 teams the day before, which is very exciting!

Despite the good news we were all exhausted, so the meet was sort of a cool down from the previous day (although several of my team mates swam amazing times!)
I managed to get through several events:
200 Medley Relay (Backstroke)
200 Free
100 Back
200 Free Relay

This meet was significantly shorter and we were heading back to the city by 2 pm. After several pit-stops for food and our coach's work errands, we made it home. Now we have to face exam week!

I'm going to miss my lovely swim team over break, I can't wait to come back in the New Year and start swimming again!

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Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving: Turkey Trot and Tofurkey

UPDATE: 15th female finisher. 1st in my age group!

Thanksgiving is all about tradition. I love the old ones like mom's pumpkin rolls and grandma's potatoes. But I love creating new ones even more!
Last year I started running a 5K Turkey Trot in Cocoa Beach, and this year I continued the tradition and ran it with my little brother.

The morning started early, at about 5:30. I had a little bit of a headache, but was feeling good otherwise. My family and I headed over to the race course about 6:15. As we were crossing the bridge from Merritt Island to the beach side, the sun rise was stunning. What a wonderful way to start the morning!
This was Jake's first 5k, so he wanted to run with me, even though he's much faster than I am. We ran the first two miles together and then he sprinted ahead to a great finish. Our first two splits were 7:44, then 7:59. 
He finished in 22:40 and I finished exactly a minute behind him at 23:40 (7:54 miles..I wanted closer to 7:30, but there's always next time!)
We headed home and I took a well deserved nap in front of the fireplace. Later that day Dad, Jake and I went to see my grandparents (Dad's side) and aunts and uncles for a quick visit. Then we rounded Mom up and went to my Grandma's house (Mom's side) for Thanksgiving dinner. I made some delicious vegan Tofurkey and then we ate, talked with family and watched the beautiful sunset.
(Dad, Mom, Me, Jake on Grandma's dock)
I hope everyone else had a wonderful Holiday! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Monday, November 24, 2008

I Heart Swimming

That's right ladies and gents - another victory for my beloved FIT Swim Team! 

On Friday (right before I jetted home to Florida for Thanksgiving...more on that later) we travelled under the tunnel to Queens to swim against Queensbourough College and Borough of Manhattan College. This meet was a lot more official - two judges were there to monitor the times and procedure, and because of that we were eligible to qualify for Nationals. 
Our team did fantastic as usual, and swam qualifying times in several events.

I swam two individual events and two relays:

The 50 Freestyle - 2nd place (almost first! Soooo close!)
The 100 Back - 1st place (this is my favorite event, but I still have to cut several seconds off to qualify for nationals, which is my new goal...The picture above is me swimming the back)
The 200 Medley Relay - 1st place and we qualified!
The 200 Freestyle Relay - 1st place and we qualified!

Here is Gwen KICKING ASS in the 500 Free. She won. They combined the men's and women's heats. She beat the guys. She rocks:)

And here's Jack, priceless picture. He was counting laps for Gwen's 500.
Congrats again to my wonderful team!

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Fall Runs are the Best Runs

Just a quick post today! I reached a "mile"stone by completing one of the longest runs I've done yet. Yesterday I did a very enjoyable 10 mile run in Central Park. Ahh, I absolutely love fall. The weather was perfect, about 40 degrees and partly cloudy. I'm pretty spoiled when it comes to running conditions: I 'd prefer not to run in the heat, the cold, the rain, too early, or too late. (I do it anyway, because that's what runners do!) But I love when conditions are perfect like yesterday!

I kept my pace around 9 minute miles, which felt great. I think if I keep this up, I'll be able to run around 8:30 minute miles for my first Half Marathon in a few months. I don't have a running watch (hint, hint mom;) so I use the CNN Building's huge clock to estimate my time! A bit archaic, but I actually like to round the corner of the bottom of the park and see the screen through the trees telling me I came in under my goal!

(No, that's not my picture, but it basically looked like that. Glorious, right?:)

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Saturday, November 15, 2008

Victory in the Pool!

FIT's swim team had our second official meet this afternoon and guess what? We won again! 

The meet was a little, um, ghetto (?)...Only one judge, a computer that stopped recording scores half way through the 200IM, and more last minute lane swaps than I can keep straight. But despite the disorganization, our team really pulled off some great times and personal victories.

I swam 2 Individual events and 2 Relay events:
The 100 Back
The 100 Free
The 200 Medley Relay (Back)
The 200 Free Relay

Here I am finishing my leg of the 200 Free Relay

Our relay team kicked ass - we won both the Free and Medley.
I won the 100 Back, and placed 3rd in the 100 Free.

Swimming in a meet is a lot different than practice. We do really intense workouts, but I still wasn't prepared for the intensity of competition. After my first event, my legs were full of lactic acid! I had to get in and tread water to stretch them out. I really enjoy the back stroke, and decided I want to work on it in training a lot more. 

Here we are discussing strategy with the coach.

Congrats to the FIT Swim Team!

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Recycle your Electronics!

Yesterday, as I was walking through Union Square Park, I saw a massive electronics recycling collection site. It got me thinking about just how much of what we use we never think to recycle. Something like a piece of paper may make it into the recycle bin, but e-waste, electronics that are at the end of their use, is a growing segment of our landfills. 

E-waste, which can include computers, tv's, phones, stereos or ipods, made up 2 million tons of waste in 2005, only 15% of which was recycled. What makes electronics an especially important category to recycle is that they are often filled with toxic chemicals which can leak into landfills...scary stuff.

So next time you're finished with a computer or cell phone, research ways to recycle, refurbish, or reuse it instead of tossing it into the dumpster.

Here are some ideas:
Apple , Dell , HP and Gateway all have recycling programs

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Friday, November 7, 2008

A Very Fashionable Swim Team

Swimming isn't the first thing that may come to mind when you think of a fashion college. But this year, after the hard work of a few students and a willing athletic director, a team was born! The response was overwhelming: over 60 students initially signed up for try-outs. The number has since whittled down to around 20 swimmers. After securing a dedicated and super-cool coach, the team was complete.

 At the first meet last weekend, the team walked in with miss-matched swimsuits and generic Athletics XXL t-shirts. But, our rag-tag team took first place, blowing the competition out of the, well, water.

Our second meet was cancelled today (we suspect the other teams are scared;) but we're looking forward to our next chance to dominate, on November 15th.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Triathletes for Obama

I saw this on and couldn't resist!

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Monday, November 3, 2008


Here's a last minute picture from the most recent show. Enjoy! And don't forget to vote!

I thought I would wait until election week to bring you all a recap of my campaigning efforts. A friend of mine, Kate Goldwater, is an environmentally conscious fashion designer with an adorable store in the East Village called AuH2O. She has been selling her line of Barack Obama merchandise for a few months now, and I've been lucky enough to model in several fundraising fashion shows for the campaign.

Kate's clothes are all one of a kind pieces, made from recycled materials like second hand shirts and dresses. The Obama line includes shirts, skirts, shorts, and tops, all with the obama screen printed logo; plus jewelry from Kate and a few other designers. Her Obama Fashion shows were also the subject of a CNN iReport documentary which was a finalist in the iReport Film Fesitval. You can watch the video here:

If you haven't already voted absentee or early as some states allow, get out and vote tomorrow!

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Sunday, November 2, 2008

NYC Marathon!

I was up early this morning to watch the New York City Marathon run through the streets of Manhattan. The day was fantastic for a marathon, a little cool and windy, but clear skies and sun greeted runners later in the day. I headed uptown to watch the race from first avenue. A friend and I had brunch outside along the course which offered us a great view of the runners. It is always so inspiring to see a race like this. I can't wait to run my first marathon (one day...)

Congratulations to everyone who completed the race!

Marilson Gomes Dos Santos 2:08:43
Paula Radcliffe 2:23:55

Read my blog about the marathon's recycling efforts here:

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Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Halloween is by far my favorite holiday. But it really does represent one of America's worst habits: eating a lot of things we know are bad for us.

So this year, I was delighted to find that CLIF Bar, a fantastic earth-friendly energy bar company, is selling limited time Spooky S'Mores flavored Z Bars for kids.

CLIF Bars are my absolute favorite energy bars. They are low-fat, organic and contain no trans fats or high fructose corn syrup and give me a great boost before or after my workouts. The kid's Z Bars are just as earth and body friendly, great for active kids (or even the young at heart active adult!) I am going to be chewing on these all weekend to celebrate Halloween in a healthy, green way.

What are you doing to Green your Halloween?

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Marathon Kickoff 5 Mile Race

What a beautiful morning for a race! Rain, thunderstorms and howling wind rolled through the city last night, but by dawn skies were clear and the air was still. I always make a point to eat breakfast at least 3 hours before race time, so that means I was up around 5:15 making oatmeal and stretching sleepily.

Once in Central Park I was amazed at how many runners were at the starting area. Seriously, thousands of runners were all gathered around the Poland Springs tents, listening to live music and warming up for the run. I was happy to find that there were several recycling bins in which to dispose of the discarded Poland Springs bottles. And the race's little souvenir was a pair of green shoe laces, made from recycled Poland Springs bottles that say "Please Recycle." At least they're making an effort!

We gathered in our corrals as star of Broadway's Spamalot and NBC's Lipstick Jungle (his name escapes me, and google has failed me. Does anyone know his name?!) sang the national anthem. He not only ran this race, but will also be running in the NYC Marathon next weekend.

Central Park was absolutely beautiful, it is always such a pleasure to run there. But the thousands of other participants made it quite the beginning I really had to navigate. I accidentally bumped into al least five people and several returned the favor.

When I don't listen to music, I like to have a little mantra going in my head for each mile. I don't let myself think about the next mile at all. I focus on the one I'm running!
My Mantra for each mile:

0-1: Let's go! This is easy! You ARE a morning person. (This is a lie. I am not really a morning person.)
1-2: Wow! Loving those downhills!
2-3: Welcome to the East Side, hello sun. Aren't you glad you're wearing sunglasses?
3-4: You are prepared for this race!
4-5: One more mile, why not make it a fast one?

I finished well within my goal (between 40:00 and 45:00 minutes) at 41:11. I was 1,906 overall (out of 6,472 finishers) 48th in my age group (out of 256 female 20-24 finishers). My average pace was an 8:14 mile. Post-race I was rewarded with a delicious New York apple and a chocolate chip bagel.
Though a bit crowded, the race was wonderfully fun. I can't wait to watch the Marathon next weekend!

Here are some pictures of race day!

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Adventures in Advertising

It's time for another adventure in advertising! This series of Puma ads, located in the West 4th Street A,C,E subway station, harnesses the undeniable power of Ussain Bolt, olympic gold medalist and record breaker.

If any of you watched the olympics, I'm sure you saw Bolt's record breaking sprints and casual attitude. I must admit, I thought he seemed a bit pompous; I mean, he jogged to the finish line! But these ads really take a different look at him, which I found kind of charming.

"He reminds us that being the best should be fun!"

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Monday, October 20, 2008

A Bottled Water Dilemma

While on my quest be become a greener person, I have given up buying bottled water all-together. I carry water in a reusable Klean Kanteen bottle made from stainless steel. 90% of empty plastic water bottles end up in landfills as trash, even though they are perfectly recyclable. Also, studies show that bottled water is no cleaner that tap water. In some cases the plastic has actually been shown to contaminate water even more. On top of all of that, bottled water is 19,000 times the cost of tap water! How can we justify spending that?!

My system works perfectly well: I re-fill my Klean Kanteen and sweetly encourage others to do the same. The dilemma came when I revisited the New York Road Runners website to confirm my registration for the 5 Mile NYC Marathon Kickoff race in Central Park next weekend. The event is sponsored by one of the largest bottled water manufacturers in the USA, Poland Springs. The partnership makes sense for NYRR: Poland Springs will supply thousands of bottles of water to hydrate thirsty runners after the race.

But how can I strive to be green and still take place in this race? Should I drop out in protest? Run the race and risk feeling like a hypocrite?

I finally resolved to run the race. After all, I am also trying to become a better athlete and this experience will only help my training. I decided though, to contact the NYRR and make sure that there will be recycling bins at the finish area for the discarded plastic bottles. It is one little thing I can do to ensure the recycling of perhaps thousands of plastic bottles.

Here is an excerpt form the email I sent NYRR:

..... I am signed up to run in the October 26 Poland Springs Marathon Kickoff and could not be more excited to take part. However, I wanted to contact you to make sure that there will be adequate recycling receptacles at the race's finish. Since the event is sponsored by a bottled water company, I am sure there will be a great deal of discarded plastic bottles. We all know that disposing of plastic bottles in the trash is extremely wasteful. Current statistics suggest that as much as 90% of plastic bottles end up in landfills as trash. I hope that you have already anticipated this issue and that the runners will find a place to recycle our bottles after the race. Thank you and I look forward to running this weekend!..........

Is there more I can do? Did I make the right choice?

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eco-Chic Cycling Underwear!

How cute are these?! If you bike often, you know it can really help to have some padding between your tush and the seat. These are the cutest biking underwear you’ll find, and they are really eco-friendly. Made from 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton, they come in men’s boxer style and the women’s style shown above. Bamboo is great for sports because it is naturally soft and breathable. (In case you can't see well in the photo, the back says "Cycle More.")

Visit for these and more eco-chic underwear!

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Be a Greener Biker

If you’re a biker you already know that it’s a fantastically green alternative to carbon-emitting automobiles. But there are still ways to make your hobby even better for the environment.

Recycle your tires and tubes! Bikes can go through tires remarkably quickly. You may not even think of it, but recycling tubes can save a lot of landfill space. If you get your spares fixed at a bike shop, make sure they recycle. If they don’t encourage them to do so, and ask to have your old tubes so you can recycle them.

Fun Fact: If 1 in 14 Americans recycled their old tubes and tires every year, it could pave the route of the Tour de France!

If you are in the market for a new bike (lucky you!) choose a steel frame over an aluminum frame. Though steel tends to be heavier, it is much more eco-friendly because it can be produced using some recycled materials while aluminum frames must be made new, requiring much more energy. And, even when steel frames aren't made from recycled materials, it's production still uses less energy.

Buy a Cycloc Bike Rack. They’re a little pricy, but they’re made from 100% recycled plastic. They’re also a very chic design, and a great space saver.

Pick a bike helmet made of materials that can be recycled. Then, when you’re done with it, recycle the helmet!

Bike during the morning, especially if you live in an urban area like I do. This is when pollution levels are lowest. It’s just good for you!

(Some of these tips can be found in The Green Book, by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostogen.)

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Adventures in Advertising

As you may or may not know, I'm an advertising major and am always scoping out the billboards and busses around the city for great, creative ads to fuel my imagination. I love ads that really speak to the consumer, ones that relate on a truly personal, "I know you" type of level.

The NYC Marathon is fast approaching, and Asics, one of the sponsors, has been running a great campaign all over New York.

I love these ads because they speak specifically to the New York City runner. I'm not running the marathon, but I relate to and appreciate the messages behind the ads. They get me excited about the event and about relating to a larger community of runners, and of New Yorkers. It's an Ah, Yes kind of moment when I see the ad and secretly smile to myself, knowing they're talking to me.

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Monday, October 13, 2008

Schunemunk Mountain Hike

Yesterday I joined fourteen other bona fide city dwellers for a challenging hike up and around Schunemunk Mountain. The mountain, which is located a little over an hour outside the city, offers absolutely stunning views of the Hudson River Valley and the Catskill Mountains. The name Schunemunk means “excellent fireplace” in the Lennie Lenape Indian language. (This tribe lived in a village along the mountain before the Europeans arrived in the area).

Our group met up with Outdoor Bound guide, Kirk, at 8am on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Outdoor Bound is a wonderful company based in Manhattan that leads day (and some longer) trips to various hiking locations around the northeast. I’d recruited a friend, Bianca, to join me for the nine and a half-mile challenge. After fueling up with soy lattes from Starbucks we were headed out for a full day in a place not only lacking coffee shops, but also bathrooms, running water, and other modern conveniences who’s absences make so many urban oriented people cringe when they hear the word “hike.”

The day couldn't have been more beautiful. In the early fall morning, fog covered the hills and roads on our drive to the country. It was a crisp 55 degrees when we began our trek, but by mid-day had warmed to a blissful 73. Not a single cloud hung in the sky, which seemed to make the mountain look even more majestic.

The hike itself was fantastic in its challenge. Rocky paths and steep rock walls offered a rugged workout, and a welcome change from my normal training routine. The highlight for me was definitely climbing up a 25-foot almost-vertical wall of rock to reach the next peak. My legs are still sore! The group chatted easily, mostly about jobs and life, but also about the beauty of the nature we were experiencing. The fall leaves have just begun to change and some of the colors are simply stunning.

Hikers are some of the greenest people around, and we practiced the “leave nothing behind” philosophy (which includes taking even things like apple-cores that technically could disintegrate, just to make sure no mark is left). Keeping the trails clean and litter-free promotes not only the health of the earth, but also encourages hikers to come back and use the resources nature affords us.

Being out in the natural world reminds me even more of why the environment is a worthwhile investment. The though of losing even an acre more of our precious planet to human error and irresponsibility is unthinkable.

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Saturday, October 11, 2008

A Big Weekend!

It's a big weekend for endurance sports!

Today, October 11, is the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
Tomorrow, October 12, is the Chicago Marathon.

Good Luck to everyone competing!

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