Toni Carey, co-founder of Black Girls RUN!, explains.
Our ambassadors are the heartbeat of the organization and some of the fiercest ladies I know! I wanted to know how they planned to take it up a notch this summer! So, this week I asked them this:
What I got back was a page full of inspiration and ideas to get the most unmotivated person thinking about what they want to accomplish this summer! After reading through their comments, I want to hear how YOU are making it a summer to remember! Need a little motivation? Sign up for BGR! All Access to help you stay motivated while getting the VIP treatment with exclusive content, previews and discounts for every aspect of #BGRLife!
"Preparing for my first marathon.... In Berlin Germany! I want to be able to have a great race so that I am able enjoy my mini vacation afterwards!!" - Racquel (BGR! Connecticut)
"Interesting you used that phrase, my mantra this year has been "Take It To The Next Level", we even had a 3 month event in our group with this focus. Personally I am starting to train for my first marathon, at age 56. This is a fall race, Richmond in November so for the first time I will be training in the heat. Lawd help me." - Mekela (BGR! Morrisville)
"My goal was to be under 200 lbs. by my birthday! I made that goal and completed my first half marathon...and I didn't give it my BEST effort. Oh I ran; I also completed a 100 day Run Streak. But I've no done no strength training and my eating habits are haphazard at best. So now...it's time to focus and get it together! #playtimeisover #bikini2016" - Denice (BGR! Seattle/Tacoma)
"I am turning 50 fifty in 7 months and I want to be fit and lean. I am always going hard but this summer I am on the route to smash every fear and every limit I had set in my first 49 years. The next 49 years is about limitles and fearless life." - Tanya (BGR! Milwaukee)
"I will be going hard in order to drop some pounds and tone my bodacious bod to ensure that the sexy is preserved on the BGR! CRUISE." - Jennean (BGR! Long Island)
Have you ever been out for a run listening to your haphazardly put together playlist and a slow jam comes on? Or have you needed a little more trap music to get you up and over that proverbial hill? We've all been there and Spotify recently announced a new feature that will keep you focused on your tempo and not on flipping through your playlist.
Last week, Spotify announced a new feature, Spotify Running, that will use your pace to recommend tracks to match your tempo. But that's not it. Do you want to feel the burn or are you chasing your PR? The music service will also provide different "experiences" based on the type of workout that you want to have curated by various DJ's like Tiesto.
Last, but not, least, Spotify will partner with Nike to better connect Nike+ Run club members to its music starting this summer.
I can't think of Brooklyn, New York without thinking of three things: Jay-Z, the Beastie Boys and Last Exit to Brooklyn by Hubert Selby Jr. Maybe because they all have "Brooklyn" in their respective titles, but mostly because I imagine that if I was ever going to move to New York, I'd want to live in Brooklyn. And since moving to New York wasn't in my near future, I'd have to settle for a weekend and a half marathon in my hypothetical/imaginary New York home.
I'd heard about the Airbnb Brooklyn Half, but it wasn't really on my radar to run this year. That all changed after having dinner with a group of journalist in January. I shared that I had heard good things about the race, but hadn't really thought about making the trip to run it.
Everyone stopped. Their eyes widened and they each, in their own way, told me it was a race I had to run and to register immediately. Like immediately. With the race already sold out, my friends at New Balance did me a solid and hooked me up with an entry. SCORE!
But first, a little about the iconic Airbnb Brooklyn Half:
The first Brooklyn Half took place in 1981, and it’s been on the NYRR annual calendar ever since. In the early years the course started at Coney Island. Peter Ciaccia, NYRR’s incoming president of events and TCS New York City Marathon race director, had the idea of reversing that and treating runners to a spectacular finish on the boardwalk, which became a reality in 2009. A post-race celebration gained momentum, especially in 2013 following the area’s devastation by Hurricane Sandy. This year runners and their loved ones continued the tradition of reuniting at Tom’s Coney Island, Peggy O’Neill’s, Nathan’s, and other iconic Coney Island establishments. (from www.nyrr.org)
Fast forward to last week and I arrive in New York to run not only my first Brooklyn Half, but my first half marathon since 2012. Yes, you heard me, IN OVER TWO YEARS. (But I totally have a great explanation for the hiatus. We'll talk about that in my Fierce & Flawless series starting in a few weeks).
Like any good race weekend, I started it with a party! I headed over to the New Balance Pre-Race Party at the Brooklyn Bridge Park to pick up my race bib.
Now, the same journalist that insisted I run the Brooklyn Half, told me it's more similar to a huge party, than an actual road race. I assumed they were exaggerating. I'd experienced the ol', "It's like a party" method of convincing before. But when I say this was a party, IT WAS A PARTY. There was a DJ right in the middle of packet pickup (which was also complete with foods trucks, putt-putt golf for the little ones) and there was a huge green space where you could lounge, drink and dance. Alas', I had found my people! Now, THESE were the runners I wanted to hang out with! Maybe, I should move to Brooklyn......
After picking up my race packet, I headed over to New Balance's exclusive pre-race party, also complete with food and literally the sickest DJ I've ever heard. I tried to take a few pix of all the scrumptious nibbles, but I ate it before I had a chance. LOL Funny how that happens.....
Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty. The race. With only a 3.5 hour time limit, it was definitely a fast course. While, we weren't blessed with perfect weather, it was still a great day. Prospect park was a bit hilly, but there were some GREAT declines to coast down. After a loop around Prospect Park, we headed straight down Ocean Parkway to Coney Island (about 5 miles). Crowd support was amazing and my fellow runners were the best! As, always it was a complete Black Girls RUN! takeover! From the race course, to the water stops, we were out in full force.
The finish was just as epic as you rounded the corner onto the boardwalk. And the post-race party was amazing! All in all, I'd it give it a 9.5 ONLY because of the unfavorable weather. Do yourself a favor and register as SOON as 2016 registration opens up. You never know, you might see me there again!
Over the years I've learned that Black Girls RUN! is more than just a running group and running is more than just accumulating miles and collecting bling. What started as a way to inspire minority women to live an active and healthy lifestyle, has totally transformed the lives of thousands of women across the country and shed light on the obesity epidemic in our community. While, we've had lots of successes, we knew that there was still more to do.
We wanted a way to explore the deeper connection and influence that Black Girls RUN! and running has on our members and ultimately, how we could improve their experience on their journey with us outside of just hitting the pavement.
That's how we came up with Black Girls RUN! All Access. To sum BGR! All Access up, it's all about helping women across the world create a healthy and active lifestyle, while recognizing and celebrating the best parts of ourselves. It's what we like to call the #BGRLife. For us, it's not about the end goal, but about getting through the day-to-day the best we can so that we can experience and fullness of life. It's true. It's about the journey, not the finish line.
Every three months, we will introduce a new BGR! All Access series that will focus on an overall theme. Typically the theme is based on where we, ourselves, are currently at, or what is resonating with our members.
The first BGR! All Access series (BGR! All Access Summer Series) will launch on June 1, but you must register prior to June 1 to get in on the action. Each subsequent will run the way same (ie. Registration will only be available for a limited time, after which the program will run for 3 months).
30% off our new BGR! U educational series ($85 with BGR! All Access, Regular price: $120)
$10 off one fall BGR! Concierge event ($35 with BGR! All Access, Regularly price: $45)
FREE access to the Fierce & Flawless All-Access Summer Challenge with BGR! Co-Founder, Toni Carey
BGR! Store summer perks
:::July Promo::: 1/2 off one mix tape & free shipping week
All-Access Race Discounts
BGR! ALL ACCESS TOTAL ESTIMATED VALUE: $150+
By Ashley Hicks @amhicks01
I’ve learned that when it comes to taking care of yourself in your 30s, outside of diet and exercise, there are few things more important than developing a good skincare routine. Throw in a baby and a few sleepless nights and taking care of your skin becomes an even bigger priority.
About a month after having Olivia back in February, I decided that there were a few changes that I needed to make to my routine. The lack of sleep paired with work and the demands of having a new baby was taking its toll. My breaking point was one Saturday afternoon at the makeup counter a Dillard’s. As I shopped for new foundation and a lipstick, the sales clerk asked me if I was using an eye cream. I replied no, it had never dawned on me that I needed one. But as I stared at the mirror on the counter, I was in disbelief that I was developing small lines around my eyes and subtle laugh lines. With a warm smile and concern in her voice, the clerk remarked, “you’re too young to have these lines.” I agree.
So here I am, just a week after celebrating my first mother’s day. I’m sleeping a little more these days, but most importantly, I’ve added some new amazing products to my daily regimen:
By Toni Carey (@toni_carey)
It’s not a big island, but it has plenty to offer. I’m talking about Jamaica. Just 146 miles long and 22 miles wide, Jamaica is home to rich history, culture, scenic views and delicious food. Just a few weeks ago, I headed there for the MoBay City Run and instantly fell in love. But, in case you need more reasons to visit, here's what had me at hello.
STAY: At Secrets at St. James all-inclusive resort in Montego Bay. The property is absolutely beautiful. Surrounded by the stunning Caribbean, you won’t have a problem relaxing oceanside….or by the pool…whichever tickles your fancy.
Word of advice: spring for the extra hundred bucks for Preferred Club which gives you a few very important extras like 24 hour room service, complimentary snacks and a mini bar constantly restocked with water, Red Stripe, rum and my personal favorite, banana chips. The rooms are also swankier and include an outdoor soaking tub. Did I mention it’s a AAA Four Diamond resort? As the young people say, “Yaaaaassssss!”
RUN: The MoBay City Run 5K & 10K, which was the actual reason for my trip. One of the newest races for Montego Bay, proceeds from the event go to helping students continue their education.
First things, first: keep in mind that this is a fun run, so don’t get caught up with your race time or the lack of amenities (like portable toilets) or the organized chaos pre-race. Just go with the flow.
The vibe the morning of the race was like any other race you might run, but the post race party was absolutely epic. Reggae music was blaring as you entered the post race area. I scooped up some ugly fruit for my post race snack and later chowed down on jerk chicken, yams and collards while we waited for the awards ceremony to begin. Huge shout out to David Alm, fellow journalist, for placing third in the 10K and also winning the “first Non-Jamaican” award. Seriously.
Photo credit: David Alm
An out and back course, as I continued past the 5K turnaround, it thinned out quite a bit and it felt a little lonely with very few runners and no crowd support. The scenery is a bit dull, but you finish (and by finish, I mean as you go into the post-race area), by the ocean.
One very important thing to note about the running conditions. It gets very hot, very early. The race starts at 6am (we started a little late) and by 7am the sun was beaming down on me as I finished the race. But, race organizers did a fantastic job with ensuring there were more than enough water stops along the course. Don’t be freaked out by the colorful pouches of liquid they toss at you. It’s actually a sports drink and you’ll want to drink a little bit of at each water stop. It’s very easy to overheat and become dehydrated, particularly since you will have probably consumed a fair amount of alcohol leading up to the race.
Oh! I forgot to mention the pre- race pasta party the night before, dubbed the “Rasta Pasta Party”. It was “eh”. It can be summed up by American 90s hits and very tiny plates of pasta. The upside was that the pasta was VERY delicious, but the let down was the portion size. We ended up ditching the party early to head back to the resort for a legit dinner.
DINE: At Scotchies, where, you can get authentic Jamaican food! From jerk chicken and pork to sea bass and bammy, this might be the best meal I’ve ever had in my life. They DO take credit cards, but be sure to tip in cash.
Photo credit: David Alm
SHOP: On HipStrip, where there are tons of local shops. But skip, Margaritaville. If you've seen one, you've seen them all.
PARTY: At Pier 1. It’s the place to party if that’s what you’re looking for. I didn’t go, but I heard nothing but good things!
EAT: As much local food as possible and by local, I mean not at the resort.
DRINK: Rum Punch. Home of Appleton Rum, it’s only proper you have at least one rum punch while you’re there. If not, definitely toast up a Red Stripe.
WATCH FOR: Sunburns and mosquitos. Sunburns are no fun. Do your due diligence and always slather on sunscreen before stepping outside and invest in a lip balm with SPF. Also, you’ll want to spray yourself with mosquito spray pretty regularly.
SPEAK: The local language Patwah, which can best be described as broken English. While Patwah isn’t taught in schools (“proper” English is), it is what is commonly spoken. I received a brief lesson in Patwah and I’m so intrigued by it. Listen to it and ask questions if you don’t understand or need a translation. I finally had to ask someone exactly what President Obama meant in the video below.
SPLURGE ON: A catamaran and snorkeling excursion via Dreamer Catamaran Cruises.
SUPPORT: The locals. Tip in US dollars.
EXPLORE: Via private driver. While, staying at a resort is absolutely amazing, there’s two problems I have with them. They often give you a watered down version of the country, and two, very few of the dollars made by resorts go back into the community.
The great thing about having a private driver is that it is WAY cheaper and more reliable than getting a taxi and you are directly supporting the local economy. Also, they’ll be able to give you a more authentic perspective on the city.
Your best bet is to put together a list of attractions or things you want to do, find a private driver and they’ll help you schedule and plan your excursions during your trip, including pick-up and drop-off at the airport, which could cost you about $40-$50 USD one way. A driver for two days could cost you somewhere around $80 USD a day.
If you’re not that adventurous, you can also book excursions at your resort. But, the bottom line is just don’t stay on the resort. There are so many other things to see or do!
NO NEED TO: Exchange US currency for Jamaican dollars. Most businesses take American money or credit cards. Just be sure to always double check the math when converting from Jamaican dollars to US dollars (or vice versa). At the time of my travel $100 Jamaican dollars were equal to $1 American dollar. IF you are going to exchange your money, don’t do it at the airport. You’ll get a better rate elsewhere.
DON’T: Be shy. Get to know as many of the people as you can. I learned so much about the country and culture just from chatting up natives. By the time I left, I had exchanged information with a few peeps so when I come back, I can connect with them to show me around.
DON’T: Be shocked that many slave plantations are now tourist attractions. Another journalist and I had an extensive conversation about this, which I will save for another day, but ultimately it boils down to this:
Instead of allowing slavery to be the dark little secret in Jamaica’s closet, they freely talk about it and own it. They understand its part of their history and helps to define who they are as a country. While it may be uncomfortable to talk about, I think this ownership of their past has allowed them to move beyond it and is a constant reminder to younger generations of their heritage and the sacrifices their ancestors made. Comparatively speaking, in the US it’s the complete opposite and I believe why race relations are in dire straights in America.
So, if you're looking for a low key runcation, check out the MoBay City Run. Registration for 2016 isn't open quite yet, but you may want to start saving your coins now!
Photo Credit: Rance Elgin Photography
By: Toni Carey (@toni_carey)
If you follow me on social media you know that I was having a major freak out about going on the Tom Joyner Fantastic Voyage Cruise. Eight days without WiFi and what seemed like all of mankind. But, I was grateful for the opportunity to be a apart of such an amazing event and being able to connect with thousands of women to spread the BGR! gospel.
Photo Credit: Rance Elgin Photography
I enlisted my good friend Andia Winslow, fitness professional and all around one kick-arse woman (ask about her. no, seriously. ask about her.) to join me aboard the 8-day cruise via the Carnival Breeze to the Cayman Islands, Montego Bay (Jamaica) and Isla de Roatan (Honduras).
If you have never been on the TJF Fantastic Voyage, I encourage you to book your trip for 2016 NOW. It’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced and is literally a 24/7 party for 8 days. Andia and I hosted morning runs sponsored by Wal-Mart , as well as a workshop on how to start running.
The Tom Joyner Foundation supports Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with scholarships, endowments, and capacity building enhancements.
While the rest of the ship was sleeping in (because, literally there’s a concert at 2am every morning), we had a core group to show up each morning to hit the track with us! Can you say impressed???
It was the perfect way to start the day! The sound of the ocean crashing against the boat while you run laps was priceless. Not to mention the view! I can’t think of a better way to get the day started.
Andia led the group through a set of pre and post run stretches, which admittedly, I’m TERRIBLE at doing. It was a great reminder of the importance of warming up your body and stretching to prevent injuries. She also was on hand to answer questions about running form and overall health and fitness.
We met so many amazing women (and men) on the cruise! We can’t wait to do it again next year!!
Photo Credit: Rance Elgin Photography
Running in the colder weather is no easy feat.
Sometimes it’s challenge enough finding the motivation to tie up those laces, let alone having to consider the chilly air that greets you when you open the door.
Thankfully for us at Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon & Half Marathon Presented by CareFirst, our event falls in early springtime, when the sun peaks out and the beautiful cherry blossoms have begun to bloom.
But we get it, we need to train beforehand, so brave the cold we must! Here are 6 cool tips to keep you warm and prepared to kick butt:
We look forward to rocking with you in DC on March 14 where we can celebrate all your hard work and winter training!
Rock ‘n’ Roll DC Marathon & ½ Marathon presented by CareFirst is on March 14th and is the only marathon course that runs entirely within the District of Columbia. The event also features a 5K and for the first time this year participants can take the #DC2MX challenge and run Rock ‘n’ Roll DC and Rock ‘n’ Roll Mexico City in the same weekend.
By Shana Adams (@bbgtonline)
Whether the weather be hot, whether the weather be cold, we will run whatever the weather, whatever the weather may hold! For runners and those who just enjoy working out in the elements, you need to be sure you dress for the occasion. Winter weather can be a beast and depending on where you live, you may not be able to run outside. But for those of us who have moderate winters, here are running essentials you must have to keep yourself warm and functioning.
When running in winter, you have to protect yourself against any opportunity to get sick. That’s why thinking in layers is essential. Protecting yourself ultimately prevents catching a cold while getting a great workout.
Shana is a 25 year old communications professional who took her health into her own hands and started her weight loss journey mid-2010, but really took charge when she was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2012. She is the creator of the health and fitness blog Big Boned Getz Toned!