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A few years ago I participated in the Muscular Dystrophy Association Lock Up fundraiser–I use the word participated lightly.  My boss had me arrested and I graciously adhered. The organization came to my office, picking me up in a black limo, and then taking me to a mock jail at the Sun Trust building, downtown Orlando.

I spent a few hours there making phone calls to clients and friends asking for “bail money” while being served brunch. Honestly, not a bad way to spend a morning.

At the end of my sentence, I turned in the money collected; then I stood in line waiting to be photographed with stripes and handcuffs leaning against rails. Out came the lip gloss and mirrors as all of the other women touched up their makeup and brushed their hair. Some people posed, others offered larger than life smiles. I did none of the above.

I accepted my picture and tossed it into the dark abyss of my purse. Once home, I buried the image deep inside my nightstand. I don’t know why I didn’t throw that picture away. But I couldn’t. I knew something deep was captured in that moment that I needed to recognize. Yet, I just wasn’t ready to look.

Recently I unpacked the remaining boxes from a move to the city. Stopping as I ran my hand across the slick surface of the photo, I sat back on the bed and drew in a deep breath. The picture stared at me. The woman in the picture appeared as a stranger. Sad and uncomfortable posing, trying her best to offer some resemblance of a smile, she stares into the distance, trying unsuccessfully not to look pained. The backdrop jail suits her.

The truth is my weight does make me feel like a prisoner.

Oh, I haven’t always been overweight.  I have had the pleasure of eating Twinkies and slugging Coke without thinking twice about counting carbs or calories. There was a time when the only exercise equipment I purchased was a little black dress and a pair of heels for dancing the night away. My pantyhose size coincided with the beginning of the alphabet not titles of royalty.

I refer to my thinner self as if she’s an actual person, separate from me. I feel like the thin me is an old friend I haven’t seen in a long time. I miss her. I pull out pictures of her and reminisce. I still keep some of her clothes in my closet. The closet that’s divided into three sections: I’m fat, didn’t think I could get any bigger, and damn, I’ll never get into those again.

This prison is made up of diets, Weight Watchers meetings, low-fat, low carb, running, walking, sweating and starving. It’s a scary place to visit and once you’re here, the truth is, it’s hard to leave. In the lonely confines of these walls there is no beautiful imagery, no breathtaking views, only guilt and shame.

Today, I’m putting my mug shot up on my mirror right beside an old picture of my long-lost friend. I hope together they can inspire me to make a new friend. I can emerge as a new person, not the prisoner of fat or the thin young Twinkie eater. Fearlessly, breaking the chains of guilt and fear I’ll be new and improved, low carb, low-fat, and a healthier version of me. I will be free.

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If you’re like me, you wait until the last minute to finish, or even start, your Christmas shopping. It’s easy to become flustered and panic. Or you can ask for a little help from your friends, which is what I did. I reached out to one of my favorite communities, our Twitter friends. I received advice from some of our favorite health and wellness experts like @ArthritistAshley who tweets about chronic pain, RA, and OA. I chatted with Dr. Mo aka @FitInMyHeart and @GirlGoneHealthy, excited by their unique suggestions. @RunnerLuis, our favorite Before & After Icon, shared several of his best workout/running gift ideas. A few tweets later, I created a last minute Christmas list full of fun and practical ideas for everyone on your list—from teachers to mom to colleagues at work. And in true holiday spirit, I’m paying it forward and sharing with you. I hope you’ll find inspiration, motivation, and maybe even a little something for yourself. Thanks to all of our Twitter friends for their excellent suggestions and helpful holiday tips. 

Cleaning Service Gift Card. “Cleaning your home can be a chore for anyone, but is especially difficult if you live with pain or illness. Consider giving a gift card for a cleaning service or offer services to help a person who may need it this holiday season. A clean home for the holidays is a happy home!” ~Ashley Boynes-Shuck.  Connect with Ashley  on Twitter @ArthritisAshley and Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arthritis-Ashley/140748292608472.

Indoor Cycling Bike. @IronMikeStone didn’t hesitate when asked what his ideal Christmas gift would be. “It’s the Must-Have new training bike.” If you’ve followed the Le Tour De France, you’ll remember seeing commercials with Lance Armstrong working out on a bike like this—it’s the official training bike of the Tour, made by Pro-Form. Be sure to check out Mike’s Triathlon, Fitness, & Motivational Blog.

Aromatherapy Hot/Cold Packs. Podiatrist Rose Caillier, @FootScribe, offered this great suggestion for a favorite gift. She suggests using these for neck, shoulders, feet, and ankles. We took her advice and found this great deal at Brookstone: n•a•p® 2-Piece Lavender Aromatherapy Set.  You can learn more from Rose at www.footscribe.com.

i-Tunes Gift Cards. “I love i-Tunes gift card so I can build up my running playlists.” ~ @RunnerLuis

GU Pure Performance Energy Products. Luis is a marathon runner and hates running out of GU. He suggests buying a box for that special running someone.

Running Undies. Athletic underwear are made of wicking fabric to prevent chafing. “My best gift one year was running undies. They were awesome, and I use them multiple times a week.” Our favorite spot for finding great running undies for men and women is Lululemon. Luis offers health and weight loss advice on Fat Free Life, and he writes a blog at Muddy Runner.

Blender, Food Processor & Juicer Machine. @GirlGoneHealthy recommends this as the perfect gift. “It’s perfect for health nuts or those just starting!” ~ Tera Norberg. And after talking with Tera, we searched and found a great all-in-one product by renowned chef Wolfgang Puck.  Tera features articles about healthy food on her blog Girl Gone Healthy.

Fitbit. “Oh yes, you know what I recommend? A Fitbit. It’s a $99 investment in #LifeLoveANDHealth. It is like having a personal trainer with you at all times. There is also a wonderful community to cheer you on!”  ~ @FitInMyHeart, aka, Dr. Mo, a Florida Podiatrist. For fun, motivation and education check out Dr. Mo’s website at www.FitInMyHeart.com.

Sleep-N-Heel Night Conditioning Heel Sleeves. Foot and Ankle Surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey N. Bowman, recommends the Heel Sleeves for conditioning dry, cracked skin. Visit www.HoustonFootSpecialists.com for more on ordering this product.

Gift Grab Bag. Our friends at AARP Magazine went out of their way this season to create an amazing Holiday Gift Guide specifically tailored for, well, everyone—the fitness enthusiast, the Gardner, the great outdoors enthusiast, pet lovers, and the list goes on. Not only are the gift ideas fun and creative, did we mention they’re all under $50? Now that’s a reason to celebrate! Rather than pick one, we recommend grabbing a warm latte, a fluffy croissant, and curling up with the mag as if it were a good book.  

Body Media Fit Core Armband: http://www.bodymedia.com/Shop/Armband-Packages  @BrooklynFitChik is always up on the latest & greatest in health & wellness and she’s giving us some of her top picks she hopes will find their way under her own Christmas tree this year.” I have the slightly bigger version but would love this sleeker version. Easily one of my favorite workout products that keeps me on track. LOVE!”

Nordic Track 3-in-1 Foal Roller: http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/gifts-under-75?page=5 “My IT Band has it on her wish list.” ~ @BrooklynFitChik

Sorel Tofino Boots: What more can we say about footwear that’s comfy and fashion forward? Maybe we should leave that to someone else who says it best . . . “Because I am worth it!” ~ @BrooklynFitChik. Be sure to visit Margo’s website at www.BrooklynFitChick.com.

Holstee Manifesto Poster. Embrace motivation & inspiration each and every day with words to live by. Did we mention that it’s eco-friendly too? Yep, that’s why Holstee is one of our favorite companies—inspiring a little Happy in our day—as they use sustainable materials and processes. And they have some of the coolest products around.

Happy Feet Insoles. What Gift List would be complete without a quick nod to our fabulous massaging insoles? Trust us, Ole’ Saint Nick himself couldn’t get through Christmas Eve deliveries if he didn’t wear his Happy Feet Insoles all year long.  Or at least that’s what we believe . . . and isn’t that what Christmas is all about? www.happyfeet.net.

 Happy Holidays from the Happy Feet Team!

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Guest Blogger, Iron Mike Stone
 
As Bruce Springsteen once said… glory days, they’ll pass you by… did you ever feel that way?  Kevin played baseball in high school and was always a top athlete… that was 20 years, three kids, and several jobs ago. Sandy, was always active as a kid, but the demands of college changed her priorities fast. Kim, used to love to run and often entered 5k races, but motherhood took her energy in another direction. Weather your glory days were many years ago or just months ago, you can get them back. Whatever your story, and whatever your previous fitness level, you can make a comeback. Here are seven steps that you can use now to get back to those better fitness days. Try them in your own personal sports and training routine to stay motivated and to train well.  
1. Start at your own pace – but START
Don’t be afraid to start slow. Getting out and starting is what counts. Don’t become distracted by what other people are doing or what level they are at. If you’re a runner, start off with a short comfortable distance and pace and increase your mileage each week. If you weight train, begin with light weights and add weight and reps slowly. Make your training your own.
 
2. Set goals and keep a log
If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up someplace else! Pick a small goal to start, and after you hit that goal move to a bigger goal.  Next, track your training- it will help encourage you when you see that you’ve been making progress. Be patient with yourself. Some days you may feel happy with your improvements, and other days you may feel slow. Focus on the big picture and always keep up with your workouts. Hint: Check out http://www.dailymile.com for a great way to keep track of your training.
 
3. Join a training group and find a friend
 
Having company and accountability is important. It’s easy to become unmotivated when you know what your body used to be capable of. Some peer pressure can help keep you on track and make great friends. Join a gym, find a training partner, and join a local club. When they run local events, join in. A good group will support you every step of your comeback.
 
4. Make training a priority
It’s easy to become distracted with the various demands of life. When we fall out of the habit of training, other things start becoming more important and it’s hard to get back into the routine of training. Schedule your trainings and make appointments with yourself or with your group. Resist the temptation to skip anything pre-scheduled.  Creating a regular routine for yourself can change your life.

5. Change your diet

Now that you are back to training you need to think about how you fuel your body.  Remember garbage in equal’s garbage out.  Start with slow changes and focus on adding protein and complex carbohydrates to fuel your body. Don’t focus on cutting things out at first as that can sabotage your enthusiasm and your attitude. Put good fuel in your body. Check out “Fast Nutritional Tips” on my blog: 
http://mikes-tri-moto- blog.blogspot.com/p/nutrition.html 
 
6. Setbacks beware-treat them as guideposts not road blocks
Defeat may test you, it need not stop you.  Before you begin your new training plan, be prepared for the day when you will lose focus, miss training, and get discouraged.  By understanding that these obstacles are inevitable on the path to success you can change your reaction to them when they arrive.  Consider them a guidepost to success, check them off as old friends you expected to see along the way. Just be sure to keep moving down the path.
 
7. Believe in yourself–you can do it 

This is the most important step. You were once there and you can get there again. Often we crave instant results, even though we know better. Staying focused will pay off in the long run. Believe in yourself—have faith. Motivation can be a funny thing and it does come and go. Write down some inspirational quotes. Listen to music. As Zig Ziglar once said, “People say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”  

Implement these seven steps right now and you’ll be on your way to your own personal comeback or even more. Who knows, maybe your best glory days are yet to come!
 
Iron Mike Stone is an Ironman Triathlete–  High Performance/Personal Development Trainer/Coach/Motivator — as well as an Independent Financial & Tax Advisor  (MBA & RFC with 22yrs experience) — Check him out at: Mikes Triathlon, Fitness, and Motivational Blog    & http://www.freedomtandf.com/— email him for a complimentary newsletter at mjjstone@yahoo.com

 

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Forget things that go bump in the night and monsters under the bed, my biggest fear is waking from a deep sleep with an excruciating Charley Horse, which is what happened to me a few days ago. This occurs randomly every few months. The pain proves almost unbearable as it takes several minutes for the spasm to release. So why do some of us battle this type of leg pain while others have never experienced even one (aka my husband)?

According to the National Institute of Health, a charley horse or muscle spasm can occur in any muscle in the body. Several of my family members endure back muscle spasms. Mine have always been in my legs, and for some reason, usually my right leg. Although my spasms attack at night only, many people, including some of my favorite athletes, experience a charley horse while exercising or performing some sort of physical activity.

Several different causes bring on the dreaded charley horse, including overworking or injuring muscles and working out while low on fluids or certain minerals like potassium. And there you have it . . . I’ve upped my fitness routine over the past two months. While I drink excessive amounts of water, on certain days I can tell it’s not enough. Dehydration and low potassium levels prompt my wicked leg pain. While I’ve read quite a bit about bananas helping to eliminate or lower the occurrence of leg cramps, I don’t find this to be effective.

I know I’m somewhat dehydrated because my lips and skin are dry, and I crave water at night. So in an effort to reduce my number of nightly visits, I’ve upped my water and potassium intake. I can already feel a difference, noticing only a slight sore spot where the spasm occurred. Sports drinks also help replenish nutrients lost during a hard workout—keeping a few bottles around the house is a good idea.

Finally, know your body. A few days before the charley horse, I had a tightening in one of my leg muscles. It was not a cramp but tightened, like a light spasm, at random times throughout the day and night—sometimes while working out or stretching and during down times, reading in bed. In retrospect I realize it was my body’s way of sending signals of what was to come. We hear it all the time, listen to your body. Mine certainly forewarned me about the dangers lurking around the corner.

As with any type of health related issue, if pain persists, make sure you see a health professional immediately.

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On average, Americans spend more than 7.5 hours working weekdays.  Our jobs can many times feel like our home away from home. So it’s important that employers recognize our commitment to the workplace and understand the need for balance and a healthy lifestyle. If you aren’t working as hard on your health and wellness, mental and physical ability diminishes over time. Many companies are working on plans to prevent employee health problems by creating health and wellness programs in the workplace.

Recently I talked with Shannon Muller, HR Generalist, of The Conti Group about their Building a Better You employee wellness program. Launched this year, the program has met with instant success. Part of that success is due to Conti’s partnership with employees—the program is designed with employee feedback and contributions. Building a Better You encourages employees to lead a healthier lifestyle at work and home, providing the tools, resources and support to make it happen.  

Happy Feet: When did Conti start a wellness program? 

Shannon Muller: Conti initially began researching and developing plans for a wellness program in 2010. After we were sure we had a good plan in place and management support behind us, the program was launched in early 2011. We surveyed employees to gauge their interests and make sure we were developing a program to which they would respond. We even opened up for program name suggestions from employees and selected Building a Better You, from a list of great suggestions.  

Happy Feet:  Explain how your wellness program works? 

Muller: The program is designed to attract the variety of personalities and interests of our employees. The idea is to educate and motivate employees to live healthier lives and there are a variety of ways to do that. We host lunch & learns on various topics, we distribute newsletters and healthy recipes, we spark the friendly competition amongst coworkers and we offer incentives for participation. As you know we have the Conti Walking Competition, for which, we provided pedometers to participants and they submit weekly step counts competing against coworkers. I have recently incorporated bonus point values for other healthy habits including eating fruits and vegetables or taking vitamins. 

We also recently held a Health Screening event at our corporate office to allow employees the convenience of being screened without leaving the office and plan to begin a Weight Watchers at Work program in the fall.

Here’s an excerpt from the Conti Newsletter discussing the company’s committment to its employees: Conti cares about its’ employees and wants to see each one of us live healthy, balanced lives. There are so many benefits to making healthier choices in your life such as, increased energy and motivation as well as decreased stress and tension.  Healthy choices improve your overall physical, mental, and emotional well being and can enhance your outlook on life.

Happy Feet: How have employees responded overall? I know the walk program has sparked a little competitiveness on the Whitestone Bridge project. 

Muller: Employee response has been great! As mentioned before, we surveyed employees to be sure the plan would catch their attention. Nearly 50% of employees signed up for the Walking Competition and are especially competitive.  The Health Screening appointments filled within 3 days of announcement. Employees respond to my various emails and announcements with excitement and suggestions. They offer their recipes and links for helpful sites on fitness and nutrition. It is great to see how many people appreciate and enjoy the program.

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Guest Blogger of the Month, April 2011: Luis Bueno

Running is difficult. I forget that sometimes. I’m not exactly a gazelle prancing through races and long runs, but I’ve logged my share of miles over the last couple of years.

However, running 4-6 miles on any given day is not difficult. I finish those runs and don’t face too many mental or physical challenges.

Sometimes, though, I need a good reminder that running should be and is indeed difficult. And for that, I’ve got the San Francisco Marathon, slated for July 31. I’ve run three marathons in my life, and while the other two marathons were difficult and had their own sets of challenges, San Francisco was a snarling, hilly beast, prepared to do battle against any and all contenders. It was love at first sight.

Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.

San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.

The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.

Now, perhaps I’m a bit different. Perhaps I’m used to challenges and need a good challenge or three in order to feel like I accomplished something. You see, I used to weigh more than 300 pounds. For most of my life I was overweight but in my mid-20s, the weight skyrocketed and just got out of control. When I was 30, I was a father of two young girls (2 and 6 mos.) and feared setting a bad example for them. With the help of my wife I signed up for a trainer at the local gym, put all my trust and faith in him and off we went. By changing up my diet and exercising, I lost 60 pounds in 2006. In 2007, I lost 60 more all by myself. I was used to the monstrous challenges that weight-loss presents and I conquered them.

I slowly got into running and ran a 5K, a 10K and wanted more challenges. A half marathon followed in April 2009 and then I decided to go for the full, which I ran for the first time in February 2010. After running a marathon, what’s next? An ultramarathon? A triathlon? Short of tackling those superhuman challenges, I thought about taking on what I considered the ultimate marathon. On July 25, 2010 I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:37:51, beating my previous time by five minutes. I’ve since beat that time and when I go back to San Francisco for this year’s race, I won’t go there with a PR in mind.

The San Francisco Marathon isn’t where you go to get your PR. It’s where you go to get your Marathoner’s Badge of Honor. I got mine last year and I fully intend on getting another one this summer.

You can follow Luis’s adventures in running at his blog: Muddy Runner and on Twitter at Twitter.com/RunnerLuis.

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“I always loved running… it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power.  You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.” 

~Jesse Owens~

There’s no better way to start a fitness program than signing up for a 5k. It’s an unwritten contract with the healthy you who lurks beneath the surface. You can walk. You can run. You can walk and run. There’s no right way to do a 5k—it’s what makes sense for you. Whether you walk to earn funds or awareness for a non-profit or sign up for a marathon that pushes your limits, these events inspire a healthier you.

You can find events sponsored by a cause you already support or search for one you’d like to learn more about, like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure or Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training (TNT). Although my 5k experience is limited, both 5k events I walked left me feeling accomplished and motivated. In an effort to reignite my fitness plans, I’m registering for the Purple Stride Manhattan, taking place May 22, 2011. My goal is to run this one.

As I work towards this May event, I’ll be reading all of the great Facebook and Twitter posts about upcoming walks, fitness, motivation, goals, and success stories. I’ve already found great information and tools there. After perusing the awesome Twitterverse, and getting a little help from my friends, here are a few upcoming walks you may want to check out, whether you do it this year or train for next year.

Celebrating its 40th Anniversary: Portland Marathon 2011

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Sunday, October 9, 2011   

7:00 AM

Downtown Portland, Oregon

 

Runner Sarah Bowen Shea shares her Portland Marathon experience.

I ran the Portland Marathon in 2010. I’ve lived here 11 years and run numerous (now 7) marathons, yet it was first time I’d done the Portland Marathon.
 
The race is renowned for being incredibly well organized and very well supported. Both true. They introduced a new corral system in 2010 that worked very effectively, ensuring runners would not have to dodge walkers–and that walkers wouldn’t have to be jockeyed by runners. While Portland doesn’t have the crowd support of, say, NYC or Chicago, I felt the spectators were very enthusiastic (especially given it RAINED the entire time–only 3rd time in 39 year history of race that ANY rain has fallen during it) and fairly well spaced out along the route. The volunteers were incredibly helpful and energetic, and the water stations worked like clockwork.
 
The course has its scenic sections, and a few drab spots. The city has an industrial edge to parts of the Willamette River and the course spends a fair bit of time in this industrial district. But it also crosses a lovely bridge (designed by same man as Golden Gate Bridge) and then hugs a bluff for several miles.
 
The finish line area is top rate–a smorgasbord of healthy, enticing options and LOADS of eager, helpful volunteers. Each finisher gets a rose (Portland is the Rose City) and a sapling. It’s very memorable and charming.

Sarah is the co-author of Run Like a Mother: How to Get Moving and Not Lose Your Family, Job, or Sanity, dubbed “a bible for active parents” by the New York Times. She is also a contributing editor for Runner’s World and Shape magazines. On Twitter you’ll find Sarah @SBSontheRun and on Facebook at: Run Like a Mother: The Book.

 

  

The Overnight

June 4 – 5, 2011

New York City, NY

My family and I participated in the AFSP Central Florida Out of the Darkness 5k in 2008 and held every February. It’s a very upbeat, inspirational event. The Overnight is the signature “big sister” event. Although I personally have not participated, I’ve interviewed others who have, and it’s always the same story: a life changing event worth every mile, all 18. Registration is now open for the Out of the Darkness Overnight Walk in New York City on June 4th through 5th. The 18-mile, sunset to sunrise, walk raises funds to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, a national organization that funds suicide prevention research, education, and advocacy initiatives as well as programs to support people personally affected by suicide and mental disorders. More than 2,000 people are expected to participate. To register, donate or learn more about The Overnight please visit www.TheOvernight.org or call 888-The-Overnight.

 

 

NYC Half 2011

March 20, 2011

7:30am

New York City, NY

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 Runner Tina Shoulders shares her excitement about the upcoming NYC Half.

I started running about spring of last year after run/walking for about 6 months and lost more than 50 pounds in the process. I started to fall in love with running and decided I would make it my superpower. I decided to run for a cause, so in November I signed up for the NYC half Marathon with Team In Training to raise money for blood cancers, one of which my father is in remission from lymphoma. I could have chosen a marathon but decided to go with a half because it is still a challenge, and I am a born and raised ,diehard New Yorker—I  want my first marathon to be NYC. I am half way there, doing the NYC half Marathon on March 20.

I am chronicling the journey and more at www.beautifulathlete.com. Make sure to check out the Heart & Soul Magazine post on Tina’s transformation. You can also find Tina on Twitter @laidbackchick.

 

The San Francisco Marathon

July 31, 2011

San Francisco, California

Facebook and Twitter

Runner Luis Bueno shares an excerpt from his upcoming (Happy Feet) guest blog post, revealing his passion for running and The San Francisco Marathon.

Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.

San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.

The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.

 You can follow Luis on Twitter at @runnerluis and be sure to check out his blog at muddyrunner.blogspot.com

If you have a favorite walk or run that you would like to promote and tell our readers about, please feel free to post and include links. We’d love to hear all about it. 

 (Jesse Owens quote courtesy of Quote Garden.)

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