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What could be better you ask? Nothing! As defending champion of the Levis JCC Run, Sweat and Beers 5K hosted in Boca Raton, Florida on a hot July night (7:00pm), I feel I can make that statement! The 5K is now in its 5th year and keeps getting better. Plus, if you’ve never run an evening race…you’ve got to try it! (Side note, for winning, I received a case of beer…so you may want to start training now!)
What: 5th Annual JCC Run, Sweat & Beers 5K
When: Thursday, July 16, 2015; race starts just after 7:00pm
Where: South County Regional Park; 11200 Park Access Rd, Boca Raton, Florida 33498; Race start is just outside Ampitheater/Dog Park; follow the signs!
Welcome to Delray Beach Fleet Feet Sports! Our friend (and fellow South Florida Runs member) Nicholas Stump just celebrated the grand opening of his new store Fleet Feet Sports Delray Beach and we’re super excited for him and his wife Mackenzie.
We’ve had the pleasure of hearing some of the fun (and challenging) stories as they prepared for opening and we are thrilled to hear the store is open and shoppable!!! Be sure to check them out on the North-East corner of Linton Blvd and Federal in Delray Beach (same shopping plaza as Panera, Fresh Market and Zone Fresca)!
More about Fleet Feet Sports
At Fleet Feet Sports, you will find a welcoming environment where runners, walkers and fitness enthusiasts of all abilities receive unparalleled service and support. Fleet Feet Sports’ Fitlosophy is to help you find the right ”FIT” in every facet of your active lifestyle. Our goal is to engage and inspire all ages to live a fit and healthy lifestyle. We are committed to helping everyone achieve their goals, celebrate their accomplishments, and win everyday! Whether you walk, run, or simply need a good fitting pair of shoes, the educators at Fleet Feet Sports will work with you to evaluate your foot’s gait and natural biomechanics to help you select a shoe that offers the best fit and function for you. Fleet Feet Sports is committed to enhancing and growing our local running and walking communities, and offering educational resources and training opportunities to assist you in achieving your fitness goals. Each store is locally owned and operated.
This summer, from July 27 to August 5, the 14th European Maccabi Games (EMG2015) will take place in Berlin, Germany, and I personally have the great privilege of participating in the games as a member of Team USA’s Half Marathon Team. The EMG2015 are Europe’s biggest Jewish sports event with more than 2000 athletes, coaches and counselors from 36 countries around world. Personally, this will be my third time participating in the Maccabi Games; my first two experiences both occurred in Israel as part of the World Maccabi Games (once in 1997 as a member of the Junior Track & Field team and most recently in 2013 as a member of the Women’s Half Marathon team).
However, this summer’s experience promises to be extra meaningful. For the first time ever, the European Maccabi Games will take place in Germany – just 70 years after the end of the Shoah and the Second World War and 50 years after the establishment of German-Israeli relations. And potentially most significantly – right in the midst of a period of heightened terrorist attacks and anti-Semitism in Europe, when prominent leaders and journalists from around the world are suggesting the Jews emigrate from Europe. Further, the EMG2015 will be held at Olympic Park in Berlin, which is the same location where Jews were forbidden to participate in the Olympic Games of 1936 – less than 80 years ago.
The historic and sociopolitical importance of the EMG2015 is enormous for Germany, Berlin and the worldwide Jewish community. And the urgency of Jews like myself not backing down but rather traveling to Europe, and specifically Germany, to proudly compete in athletics and celebrate being Jewish is dire.
It is with this purpose in mind, that I humbly ask you to support me in reaching my Chaverim requirement and becoming an integral part of my personal journey to Berlin and EMG2015.
Ailments, illnesses, sicknesses…they all seem so distant, foreign, disconnected from you…until someone close to you, a friend, family member, etc., is diagnosed, assigned that title, matched with said “situation.” And from then on, that name, acronym, label is no longer someone else’s problem or sad story…it’s now yours as well.
This was never so true as when my mom was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and then passed away two very short years later. But today, I’m referencing COPD. Sure, the commercials on TV are pretty common, the pretend definition “chronic old people’s disease” always a throught or two away, but in reality did I know what COPD actually was? No, and I am pretty sure the majority of people out there don’t either. That was until, my friend and running buddy Sam informed me via text one afternoon that he had just been diagnosed with COPD. He was telling me not to spread the word or make some official announcement, but rather because I had put out a feeler via social media asking friends if anyone knew someone with COPD, asthma, or some other related breating ailment. (You see, my other friend / Palm Beach Post reporter Steve was looking for a local person to be profiled for the next issue of Health Living Mag, distributed by the Post.)
Sam let me know that he was probably the ideal candidate for the profile – having had asthma as a kid…and now only months early being diagnosed with COPD. He wasn’t sure if he really wanted to spread the word and announce to people he had COPD…but figured it was a good thing to tell his story in the hopes of helping, informing someone else. So he put his own concerns, selfish feelings to the side and offered up his full story. Sam and I sat outside Starbucks one morning…and he told me what a diagnosis of COPD really meant, when he received it, what his plans were, and what he was scared of…
And that’s where the story becomes real. Sam’s real fear/concern in telling me (and the Post and its hundreds of thousands of readers) his story…is that by putting it in writing, out there for everyone to read and hear, was making it real. He knew he couldn’t avoid it anymore, pretend he didn’t receive this news from his doctor, etc. He’d have to accept it, strategize, plan, and go-on with his life – different or not. I think the fear is still there…Sam acknowledges he is dealing with it still…and probably will for a while. But what I told him (and will say again here) is that life can’t always be planned. Diagnoses, changes, challenges happen. And if you focus too much on them and what will happen next, you will miss out on today. So yes, plan and strategize and do what you need to do to keep yourself healthy…but be sure to live every day life to the fullest, unconcerned with what you can’t control, and focused on being happy.
We didn’t know my mom would be diagnosed with cancer and die two years later. We couldn’t plan for that…but what we can do, is make sure we are living every day to its fullest while we are here. It’s the only way to win at life, regardless of what is thrown your way (good or bad).
So with that said, please read on…Here’s the Palm Beach Post, Healthy Living Magazine cover feature story on my good friend Sam.
Last week, I drove up to Orlando with the Spanish River track team for the Disney Relays. The meet was a little hot (and sunny) but fun…but the highlight had to be the 2,000 Steeplechase event for high school boys. Two members of our team competed (jumping hurdles and steeplechases for the very first time), didn’t get injured and had a great time in the process.
I have to be honest…I questioned the idea at first…concerned that these runners would fall, slip, get trampled, etc. while trying out this “different” event…but my fellow Coach Doug Horn pushed for it, saying it would be fun for the boys…and he was right. They had a good time trying out an event…you rarely get the chance to compete in (especially in high school) and they did okay!
So, I figured I’d share some of the pictures from the race here…and also share some tips from steeplechase experts…
2. Have a strong core! The race requires you to get your legs up and over the barriers multiple times. Also, you don’t always land smooth. A strong core will help you keep your body in control and prevent a side stitch.
3. Run big. Running in any distance race where you are in a pack is tough. Now throw in some barriers to leap over and you have a disastrous mix if you aren’t careful. Find some space by staying outside, or being on the inside, but edge away from the first lane line a little to give yourself some space on one side. If people try to crowd you, lean towards them to make your presence know.
4. Don’t go out too fast. It is nice to be out in front and out of traffic, but if the pace is too fast at the start for you, the later stages of the race will be a death march. This race is unforgiving and just imagine being extremely fatigued with countless water jumps and barriers to make it over. Every hurdle is another momentum killer, so don’t burn up your energy too soon.
5. Learn to use hurdle with either leg. Out of all the steeplechase tips, this one is the most difficult to follow. You have to keep your momentum going, and you aren’t going to be counting steps between hurdles. Don’t do that choppy step routine or the long leg strides right before the barrier. Practice hurdling with your opposite leg. It makes a huge difference to be able to leap and not mess up your stride.
I have a great relationship with a Palm Beach Post reporter that allows me to write for the paper and its supplemental magazine “Healthy Living” every so often. Here is my most recent feauture story on a wonderful couple that I had the pleasure of meeting, interviewing and photographing. Enjoy! Read it on the Palm Beach Post’s website here.
Healthy Living Magazine
Palm Beach Post
February 15, 2015
Debbie and Ron Schwartz have been happily married for 47 years. So what do they attribute their success as a couple to? Well working out, together of course. Debbie, age 68, and Ron, 71, workout together at the Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center (Levis JCC) in Boca Raton three days a week for 60 minutes…sometimes more. They typically begin each session with legs and lower body and end with biceps; Debbie adds on between 15 and 30 minutes of cardio after her weights; Ron skips the cardio trying not to slim down too much.
According to Debbie, the couple has always worked out together. “It motivates you,” she says. “On days I don’t feel like working out, Ron pushes me. And vice versa. It makes you really enjoy working out and being together. It’s our time. We can share it and be together with no distractions.”
Ron, who is also Debbie’s personal trainer, adds: “Debbie never complains. I’m truly amazed at what she can do. She is absolutely my favorite student.”
Ron, who has been working out since age 15, first taught Debbie his healthy lifestyle ways when the two got married. Since then the two have taken up the “get healthy cause” together and share it with everyone they come in contact with – from their social circle to other Levis JCC gym members to their two young grandsons. “Our focus is on staying healthy and hopefully living a little longer,” says Ron. “Appearance and health motivate us; working out and eating healthy are what get us there. Hopefully we can share our message with those around us.”
Debbie adds that nutrition and eating healthy have been a huge component of the healthy lifestyle for her. Just three years ago she lost the extra thirty pounds she had been carrying around thanks to Ron’s training schedule and a focus on cleaning up her diet. “For me, I had to start watching what I was eating more,” Debbie says. “Just working out was no longer enough. We now eat salads every night and lots of vegetables, fish and turkey burgers. We’re not perfect but try to eat well about 95% of the time.”
Pull Quote: “It is a lifestyle. We are not suffering. We love working out and we love eating healthy because we know it is good for us.” – Debbie Schwartz.
Debbie Schwartz: Age 68, Lives in West Boca Raton, Works full-time as an insurance agent at Century Risk Advisors.
Ron Schwartz: Age 71, Lives in West Boca Raton; Retired from IBM and Office Depot where he worked for more than 40 years total as an IT Systems Analyst.
Health Living Tips from Ron and Debbie Schwartz:
Visit your doctor to get medically checked before starting any physical exercise or nutritional program.
Join a gym (like the Levis JCC in Boca Raton)!
Get a trainer and/or find a partner. If you don’t have a partner, working out is much harder and definitely not as much fun. Plus a partner/trainer gives you accountability, motivation and guilt – all the emotions that will keep you going back!
Educate yourself: Learn how to work out before you even step out onto the gym floor or pick up a weight. Understand the process first and then start. Otherwise you risk injury.
Eat healthy. It is not a diet, but rather a way of life. We recommend more vegetable and lean proteins!
About the Levis JCC Sports & Wellness Program
The Levis JCC Fitness Center is an affordable way to incorporate health and wellness into your life. With a variety of membership options, members can make working out fit both their budget and schedule.
Membership includes brand new, state-of-the-art fitness center (bikes, elliptical machines, treadmills, Stairmasters, strength training equipment and free weights. Fitness staff, trainers on-site. Unlimited group exercise classes (Zumba, Body Pump, Cardio Kickboxing, Yoga) in new studio; Spinning in new, neon room with top instructors; six tennis courts and two full indoor basketball courts. Locker rooms with sauna, steam room and showers. Learn more at http://www.levisjcc.org/sports-and-wellness/fitness-membership/.
Adolph & Rose Levis Jewish Community Center
9801 Donna Klein Boulevard | Boca Raton, Florida 33428 561-852-3200 |firstname.lastname@example.org
I rarely make it to the movie theater these days, but I have to admit that from the minute I saw the previews for McFarland, USA, I knew I’d have to go. It’s rare to see a movie about running, let alone cross country. So supporting this Disney film was a no brainer…plus I heard rumors that it was really good!
So this past Sunday, I headed to the theater (I actually biked 12 miles there with my boyfriend – how appropriate?!) in West Delray Beach to see McFarland. And the movie was fantastic!
It was inspirational, realistic, educational and rewarding all at once. It was definitely a Disney movie…with any form of romance or violence being left on the cutting room floor – I am sure. But it also wasn’t corny, forced in any way. It was a good story…and realistic (as it should have been – being based on a true story). The end was one of my favorite parts I’ll admit – when the audience was updated on how each of the McFarland team members turned out…and what they are doing today.
I would highly recommend the movie for anyone – especially for those that know the sport of cross country, compete in it, ran high school cross country at some point in their life, and/or just want to know more about this AWESOME and sorta cultish team sport.
While I did not see the movie with my own team that I coach, I wish I had. I’d highly recommend it for anyone – great bonding, great inspiration for all. Maybe next time we’ll watch it the night before a big race!
McFarland, USA is an American 2015 sports drama film directed by Niki Caro and produced by Walt Disney Pictures. Based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly Mexican-American high school, McFarland High School, in McFarland, California, the film stars Kevin Costner as Jim White, the school’s coach, who leads the team to win a state championship. Read more: http://movies.disney.com/mcfarland-usa.
I’ve been super lucky the past ten years or so…avoiding injury and any major aches and pains. I’ve chalked it up to taking off when I feel the need to, stretching a lot, sleeping even more and keeping my body strong. However, that all changed two weeks ago when I felt a pain in my left knee. Since then, I’ve been spending my days in Acupuncture (Integrated Holistic Medicine in Boca Raton) sessions with Carlos and Su and Physical Therapy (Physical Therapy Institute, Inc.) with Krystal.
Acupuncture is always my go-to…however, I knew while waiting for my knee to heal/feel better, I’d have to look at other alternatives to keep my body in shape and endurance high. A few of my Spanish River High School athletes had tried the AlterG(R) Anti-Gravity Treadmill at the Physical Therapy Insititute in Delray Beach, as had my co-coach Doug Horn….and all spoke highly of the unique experience. So when Krystal offered up the machine during my PT session, I jumped on board. (Besides the fact that the machine looked REALLY cool; I hadn’t run for a few days and was itching to get my legs moving!)
So what is the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill?
Anti-gravity treadmills, like the AlterG, are taking the aches and pains out of cardiovascular training by “unweighting” runners from 20 to 100 percent of their bodyweight, one percent at a time. The benefit? The AlterG can reduce the risk of stress-related / pounding injuries, while allowing athletes to train harder, faster, and smarter in a safe, controlled environment. Learn more here.
Krystal had me put on the tight neoprane spandex-style pants, step into the machine, get zipped up, and begin. After the machine calibrates you and your weight, you can change the speed and the percentage of body weight that you feel (i.e. you can run at 50% body weight and feel like you are literally flying). I quickly turned up the speed and felt my legs turning…FAST. I have to say it’s a pretty unique experience. Like pool running but so much more realistic. I was only on the treadmill for a brief 10 minutes but it felt like far less (two-four minutes at most). I found myself yearning for a lot more time on the treadmill…and wondering how I could make this a part of my daily routine (regardless of whether I had an injury). It turns out, I am not alone, in the yearning…professional athletes and sports teams around the country have their own AlterG treadmills and are changing the way athletes train (in good health or not) every day.
The negative? Really only the cost…The treadmills are expensive – hence going to a physical therapy location to use it. It will be a long time before your neighbors (or me) have an AlterG in their garage / home gym. The treadmills start at around $34K…
Thanks to our friends at ModernBocaMom.com for featuring this awesome Kids Running program. Learn more HERE:
Runner’s Edge Boca Ratonis partnering with The City of Boca Raton and Run for Funds Florida, a school and organization fundraising/event management business, to launch a highly requested Kids Run Club here in Boca starting March 3rd.
The Kids Run Club is open to first through sixth graders or kids ages 7 to 11. The kids meet Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 to 4:45 pm at the Spanish River Athletic Complex (across from Spanish River Library).
Lacey Chimienti, a teacher and track coach in Boca Raton and a weekend Runner’s Edge Boca Raton employee, is the head coach of the program; she is assisted by Runner’s Edge owners (and runners) Tom Vladimir and Carol Virga.
To participate in the Runner’s Edge “Kids Run Club,” please call Runner’s Edge Boca Raton at 561-361-1950 and/or email Coach Lacey at email@example.com to sign-up to receive details on registration.
The cost of the Kids Run Club is $75 for residents and $93.75 for non-residents. The Spring session will kick off on March 3 and end April 23, 2015. Kids will race in the Run for the Rays race on April 26th in Boca Raton.
We are just two weeks into the New Year! So…how’s that New Year resolution to get in shape, to finally run a 5K race, to feel better…going? Well let the Runner’s Edge Boca Raton training team help! Whether you are a self-labeled “couch potato” or a regular runner looking to race faster, the Runner’s Edge has a training program for you. Read on:
Runner’s Edge Boca Raton’s 2015 Carol’s Couch Potato 5K Training Program (aka “Zero to 5K”) (Feb 12-April 26, 2015) designed for beginners! This program is built around interval training (run/walk) and the focus is on fitness, not competition. Includes: personalized coaching, schedule, discount on store purchases, t-shirt, free entry to Run From the Rays 5K, alumni pace leaders, and three group meetings/classes per week. Cost is $99 for 10 weeks. Orientation Thursday, Feb 12th.
Runner’s Edge Boca Raton’s 2015 5K/10K Training program (Feb 12-April 26, 2015) designed for runners of all levels. The goal is to improve speed and conditioning and includes coaching seminars, individualized training, group runs (three-times a week), daily training schedule for 11 weeks, alumni pace leaders, free entry into Run From the Rays 5K on April 26th, training t-shirt and discount on purchases at Runner’s Edge. Cost is $99. Orientation is Thursday, Feb 12th.