Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nike+ Chiberia Challenge Recap + 2015 Challenge.

In December, I had the wonderful opportunity to act as a Team Captain for a local Nike+ running challenge, the Chiberia Challenge. This challenge was the first of its kind for Nike, worldwide. Five teams with fifteen members each competed to run as much as possible over a thirteen day period. The challenge happened in the middle of the holiday season with the goal of encouraging runners to get outside even when conditions are not ideal. Just because it's winter doesn't mean you have to stop running outdoors; if you use the right gear and stay committed, there's no reason your training needs to end!


The challenge kicked off with an event at Nike Bucktown, where team members gathered to get started on the right foot. We finished a group run to celebrate the challenge officially starting later that night. Each team member had the goal of finishing 70 miles, tracked on the Nike+ app. The faster you finished the miles, the sooner the challenge would end. Prizes included a Nike Flash jacket for the first runner to complete 70 miles, and a new pair of Nike running shoes for everyone on the winning team {the highest number of miles tracked on the app}. Credit for the great photos below goes to Nike!


I asked a few team members to share their thoughts on the challenge and advice for other runners on what motivates them to run. Our team was in first place for a few days, and half of the team finished the 70 mile threshold. Even those who didn't finish the 70 miles did a fantastic job running.  Everyone got out there and logged miles, which was the purpose of this winter challenge!


Being part of a team challenge with others was the best motivating factor for me. This was the most I had ever run in a short period of time {I finished 70 miles in 11 days, 7 hours to be exact!} Challenges in the Nike+ app allow you to add friends to join you, and you can see everyone's progress toward the goal. Challenge participants can chat with each other through the app for extra motivation.

Overall, our team finished in 4th place with 759.9 miles! A few comments from team members:

Rudy: A thing that keeps me going is the friendly competition I have with other runners. I think it's best to join in some type of online challenge {whether on Nike+ or elsewhere} and try to do your best. This way you always have that extra push to get you out the door.

 Cindy: I think that was the most challenging part was the time when the challenge started, because I love to run and even when i don't have a challenge i log even the same amount of miles, but through holidays its so hard to do it and even though i was traveling with my tennis shoes it takes a lot of commitment. I'm happy that I got to see a lot of my runner friends from Nike marathon training 2sixpoints2, or from Discovery Runs, which means to me that we still engage with our runner community in Chicago. The Chiberia Challenge gave me even more motivation to run my first winter half marathon. Since I'm a surfer  its so hard for me to get use to the winter but i totally love it , and i hope Nike can make more challenges soon!!

Lucy: Although it was a hard challenge what made it extra hard was the month. {December} is always the craziest busiest month for me. With birthdays, school concerts and all the holiday to "do's" I was unable to finish. I did find myself pushing To log at the most random moments. For example, declined all lunch time invitations as those were logging moments.

If you need more motivation to run this year, consider joining me on a year-long challenge! In 2014 I logged 500 miles and decided to hold a challenge within Nike+ to log 600 this year - "Chi Jogger 600 in 2015." If you want to join, add me on the Nike+ app {Chicago_Jogger}, message me, and I'll invite you to the challenge!

{I received Nike running gear in exchange for participating as a Team Captain in the Nike+ Chiberia Challenge. All opinions are my own.}

Monday, January 19, 2015

Cranberry Blood Orange Smoothie + January Challenge Update #3.

There are many delicious cranberry + orange recipe combinations out there, from scones to cookies to cocktails. I decided to kick things on the healthy factor up a notch with a breakfast smoothie featuring frozen cranberries and citrus, using a blood orange instead of a regular orange. Blood oranges happen to be K's favorite winter citrus. As a bonus, this smoothie featured freshly made almond milk from the local company PINT {review coming soon}. I could drink this milk every hour of every day!


Tonight's smoothie also contains a "secret" green ingredient. You can't see it in the color of the smoothie, and you can't taste it! Last week's post mentioned the importance of rotating the greens in your diet. I started adding veggies to smoothies this week to change things up. The "green" ingredient in this recipe is celery. It blends incredibly well! Celery contains Vitamin A, is very low in calories, and aids digestion {source}. Give it a try, won't you?


Cranberry Blood Orange Smoothie
Serves two.

3/4 cup frozen cranberries
2 bananas
3 stalks celery
1 and 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 blood orange {peeled}

The "no added sugar" part of the challenge is still going well. I am getting used to avoiding fake coffee creamer in my morning cup{s}. Instead, I add unsweetened almond milk and a splash of half and half. The quality of coffee makes a huge difference. When the coffee is flavorful on its own, I don't need the extra "flavor" from artificially sweetened creamers. I add a shake of ground cinnamon if I need a little something extra in the morning. For sweet snacks, K and I are keeping dried figs and dates on hand. The best way to eat a date for dessert is smeared with raw almond butter!