Runners love to take selfies!

Dave Benavidez won our runner selfie phtoo contest with this shot of himself and his two kids.
Dave Benavidez won our runner selfie phtoo contest with this shot of himself and his two kids.

It turns out runners love to take selfies.

We felt sorry for Heidi Gaete, who took this selfie after falling down during a Christmas Day run.
We felt sorry for Heidi Gaete, who took this selfie after falling down during a Christmas Day run.
John Julitz took his runner selfie in Portland.
John Julitz took his runner selfie in Portland.

When we put out a call, asking readers to submit photographs they took of themselves during runs (or, perhaps more technically, while pausing during a run), we received a flurry of photographs.

The one overarching theme? Everyone was smiling.

Or almost everyone. One person – we’re talking about you, Holly Gaete – looked a little grumpy, but that was because it was taken shortly after she took during a Christmas Day run. (She got our sympathy vote, but in the end, it wasn’t enough.)

We love this shot of Jennifer Guernica and her dog Ferguson.
We love this shot of Jennifer Guernica and her dog Ferguson.

We got pics of runners with dogs, pictures of runners with their parents, pictures of runners with best friends, pictures of runners and their shadows and even a picture of someone wearing a bike helmet instead of running gear. We loved Les Morgan’s submission for his wife, who had never run a half marathon, Dana Boehme‘s happy shot of two women in burnt orange and John Julitz‘s shot in front of a mural in Portland.

Dana Boehme Johnson sent in this fun selfie.
Dana Boehme Johnson sent in this fun selfie.

But we had to pick a winner, and we couldn’t resist the photo Dave Benavidez took, with his two daughters in a stroller in the background.

We want to add to our collection of runner selfies. If you’ve got one you’d like included in our online gallery, email them to pleblanc@statesman.com.

To see our gallery, go to http://www.austin360.com/gallery/lifestyles/recreation/fit-city-running-selfies/gCQTc/ or visit the Fit City page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FitCityAustin.

Top swimmers racing in Austin at this week’s Arena Pro Swim Series

Natalie Coughlin will race at this week's Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin. Melissa Lundie Photography
Natalie Coughlin will race at this week’s Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin. Melissa Lundie Photography

Swim fans can watch Olympic gold medalists Ryan Lochte, Katie Ledecky and other big names streak across the water at the Arena Pro Swim Series in Austin this Thursday through Saturday.

The three-day meet at the University of Texas’ Lee & Joe Jamail Texas Swimming Center marks the second stop of the 2014-15 Arena Pro Swim Series.

Ryan Lochte is also scheduled to compete. Melissa Lundie Photography
Ryan Lochte is also scheduled to compete. Melissa Lundie Photography

Other gold medalists expected to swim include Nathan Adrian, Tyler Clary, Natalie Coughlin, Anthony Ervin and Matt Grevers. In all, more than 40 National Team members will race, along with about 20 University of Texas men’s swimmers and Texas alumni Jimmy Feigen and Michael McBroom.

Prelims will begin each day at 9 a.m. followed by finals at 6 p.m. Single-session tickets will be for sale at the swim center during the meet. For more information go here.

The Arena Pro Swim Series features $300,000 in overall prize money. At each meet, $1,000 is awarded for a first-place finish, $600 for second and $200 for third. The overall male and female winners at the end of the series earn a $10,000 bonus.

Clary currently leads the men’s series standings and Olympic medalist Elizabeth Beisel, who is also scheduled to compete, tops the women’s standings.

“In many ways, it’s like playing in the same game as LeBron James or a Tour event with Tiger Woods,” said USA Swimming National Team Director Frank Busch.

Universal Sports Network will air live television coverage of the meet Friday and Saturday, Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. A webcast will also be available at usaswimming.org.

Iram Leon wins Rogue Distance Festival half marathon outright while pushing daughter in stroller

Iram Leon, shown in this file photo from 2014, won the Rogue Distance Festival Half Marathon outright while pushing his daughter in a stroller. Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman staff
Iram Leon, shown in this file photo from 2014, won the Rogue Distance Festival Half Marathon outright while pushing his daughter in a stroller. Rodolfo Gonzalez/American-Statesman staff

Congrats to brain cancer survivor Iram Leon, who won – outright – a damp and chilly half marathon at the Rogue Distance Festival in Cedar Park this weekend.

While pushing a stroller carrying his daughter.

Despite going off course and adding a mile to his race.

By 10 minutes.

Leon, 34, was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, and doctors say he won’t live to see 40. In the meantime, he’s a fixture on the race scene, where he pushes his daughter Kiana, 8, in a stroller when rules allow it.

He’s fast, too.

Leon’s finishing time of 1 hour, 25 minutes and 37 seconds in Sunday’s half marathon was off his personal record for a half marathon by just 5 minutes, despite the longer route.

He veered off track around Mile 8, when a volunteer inadvertently pointed him the wrong way on a course that overlapped with the 30K and 10K routes. He switched off his music, got better directions from someone on a bicycle and found his way back.

“I ended up crossing the 9-mile marker three times,” he says.

Kiana had something to say about the confusion: “Why are you getting lost?” she asked. After all, she had business to attend – she was entered in the Kids 1K, which started just 12 minutes after Leon finished his half marathon.

The missteps didn’t seem to bother her. She placed third overall in the Kids K, nabbing her first trophy and a gift certificate to Rogue Running, which she plans to use to buy a pink polka-dotted SPIbelt.

Win a free entry to the 3M Half Marathon right here!

Erik Stanley won the 2014 3M Half Marathon. We're giving away an entry to this year's race. /ANDY SHARP for American-Statesman
Erik Stanley won the 2014 3M Half Marathon. We’re giving away an entry to this year’s race. /ANDY SHARP for American-Statesman

Want to run the 3M Half Marathon for free?

Post a running selfie on the Fit City page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/FitCityAustin or email it to me at pleblanc@statesman.com. We’ll pick our favorite by next Tuesday, Jan. 13, and the winner will get a comped entry into the fast, mostly downhill 13.1-mile race on Jan. 14.

If you’re already signed up, look for me there. It’s one of my favorite races of the year, thanks to the mostly downhill course, the typically brisk temperatures and the giant bag of tape, bandages, sticky notes and other 3M products that participants get at packet pickup.

This year's 3M Half Marathon is set for 7 a.m. Jan. 25. Photo by Andy Sharp for Austin American-Statesman
This year’s 3M Half Marathon is set for 7 a.m. Jan. 25. Photo by Andy Sharp for Austin American-Statesman

The race starts at 7 a.m. on Stonelake Boulevard in the Arboretum area and finishes on Congress Avenue at 17th Street, near the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. The rolling, urban course is certified by USA Track and Field.

Race entry is capped at 6,500 runners, and online registration closes Jan. 21 (although you can still sign up at the expo for $115 if the race hasn’t yet reached capacity.)

This year’s packet pickup and expo will take place at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, 1800 Congress Avenue in Austin. Hours are 2-6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 23 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 24.

The 2015 3M Half Marathon benefits Girlstart, which will receive a $50,000 donation from the 3M Foundation. Girlstart provides year-round science, technology, engineering and math programs for girls in kindergarten through 12th grade.

See you there!

What are the biggest fitness trends of 2015?

Pro football players Fozzy Whittaker, Brian Orakpo, Derrick Johnson,  Emmanuel Acho and Pam LeBlanc take a barre class at Dancers Shape in 2014. Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman
Pro football players Fozzy Whittaker, Brian Orakpo, Derrick Johnson, Emmanuel Acho and Pam LeBlanc take a barre class at Dancers Shape in 2014. Ralph Barrera/American-Statesman

Fitness trends come and go, but I always seem to stick to the same basics for my core routine – swimming, biking and running.

Sure, I tried all kinds of new stuff in 2014. I punched away in a group boxing class, tested the waters of Bollywood dance, mounted a horse for a game of polo, joined a bunch of professional football players for a barre workout and trotted around an arena while standing astride two horses at once with a Roman riding expert.

So what will I try in 2015?

Pam LeBlanc, right, gets a lesson in polo in 2014.
Pam LeBlanc, right, gets a lesson in polo in 2014.

The American College of Sports Medicine predicts fitness trends each year, surveying more than 3,400 health and fitness professionals to find out what they think will be hot in the coming year.

This year, according to the organization, Americans will do more body weight training (it’s cheap and requires no extra equipment!), high intensity interval training (short bursts of activity followed by a quick rest), strength training, yoga and functional fitness (exercises designed to improve balance and make doing daily tasks easier).

We’ll also hire more personal trainers, sign up for fitness programs geared toward older adults and find a friend or two to take a “group personal training” session with us.

Want to know more about fitness trends in the coming year? Read the entire survey here.

I’m hooked on my new TickrX fitness wearable

Here's a screen grab from the home page of my WahooFitness ap. I'm using a TickrX wearable to track runs.
Here’s a screen grab from the home page of my WahooFitness ap. I’m using a TickrX wearable to track runs.

I’ve been swept up in the fitness world’s obsession with wearables.

Most recently, I’ve gotten addicted to a nifty new gadget called the TickerX from WahooFitness, which is smarter than me.

By far.

I wanted it so I could track mileage, pace, heart rate and calorie burn, and map my routes. I’m getting ready for the Big Bend Ultra 30K in West Texas later this month, and this little device gives me all that plus a lot more information.

tickrx

It tells me everything from cadence (stride rate) to smoothness in three dimensions – left to right, up and down and forward-backward. It tells me how many milliseconds my foot is in contact with the ground, and my body oscillation. All that, presumably, will help me correct my form.

To make it work, I snap on a chest strap and tuck my iPhone into an armpocket. (Or you can skip the phone and it’ll remember your heart rate, calorie burn and workout duration and sync it later).

It’s addictive.

When the workout’s done, I find myself scrolling through page after page of graphs that illustrate all my critical data. I can tell you that the hilly 14-mile trail run I did on New Year’s Day burned more calories than the flat 15-miler I ran on Christmas Day. I was a lot less smooth off road, too. The maps and graphs are so good I can see when I stopped for a stoplight or to tie a shoe.

My only complaint? I don’t like wearing a chest strap or an arm pocket to hold an iPhone, especially when it’s hot outside. But for now, it’s worth the annoyance.

It sells for about $100.

New 5K Spring Series ties together three small Austin races

The St. James 5K in March is one of the few races staged in East Austin.
The St. James 5K in March is part of the new 5K Spring Series.

A new Austin race series links three small but unique Austin 5K runs.

Runners who do the Paramount Break-a-Leg 5K on Feb. 15, the Austin Community College Fairway 5K on March 1, and the St. James Missions 5K on March 28 get a special commemorative shirt for completing the 5K Spring Series.

The Run Austin Project unveiled the series this week, saying it gives people who resolve to stay fit in 2015 a boost of motivation in the form of three homegrown, authentically Austin events. There’s no extra cost beyond each race’s entry fee.

photo 3 (4)

The series starts with the Paramount Break-a-Leg 5K, staged alongside the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon, which benefits the Paramount Theater in downtown Austin. The ACC Fairway 5K benefits Austin Community College student scholarships and takes place on the Riverside Golf Course adjacent to the ACC Riverside Campus. The series wraps up with the St. James Missions 5K, which benefits the Alzheimer’s Association of Austin and is one of the few races in east Austin.

To register, go to the 5K Spring Series link here or go to the individual race website for each event and pay the individual race entry fees.

The series is non-competitive and no awards will be presented, although each race gives its own age-group and overall awards.

“It’s a bit of an experiment in ‘social engineering,’ trying to get running events to collaborate with each other rather than compete with each other,” said John Conley, head of Conley Sports Productions and race director of the Austin Marathon and Half Marathon as well as the Paramount 5K. “Races seem to be cannibalizing each other and very few events work together to cross-promote. These three little 5Ks have a collaborative spirit that is sustainable for the long-haul.”

USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships take place at Zilker Park this week

Athletes race in the 2014 Cyclo-cross National Championships in this file photo by Eddie Clark for USA Cycling. This year's event is at Zilker Park.
Athletes race in the 2014 Cyclo-cross National Championships in this file photo by Eddie Clark for USA Cycling. This year’s event is at Zilker Park.

Video: Cyclo-cross National Championships rider Fred Schmid, 81

Think of cyclo-cross racing as steeple chase contested on bicycles instead of horses.

Competitors zip around a short course, leaping on and off their bikes, dashing over obstacles like rocky steps, steep hills or downed logs, and getting covered in mud. The fan base mirrors the sport – spectators get rowdy, cheering on their favorite athletes, drinking beer (and even offering it to passing cyclists) and getting splashed with mud themselves.

This week, the USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships take place at Zilker Park, 2100 Barton Springs Road. Cyclists will scramble through woods, cross railroad ties, hop down limestone stairs and over wooden ramps, carrying their bikes on their shoulders at the toughest points as they compete for the national crown.

The athletes ride bikes that combine elements of road racers and mountain bikes – they’re lightweight with narrow tires and drop handlebars, but they also have knobby tire treads, lower gearing and bulkier frames. Races test riders’ aerobic endurance and bike handling skills – and their pit crew’s ability to get mud out of bike chains and make on the fly repairs.

The event is actually a second for Austin. The championships took place here 37 years ago. This year, they’ll unfold on a course that weaves all over 350 acres at Zilker Park. Packet pickup starts Tuesday at Bicycle Sport Shop. The course will be open for pre-riding from 2-6 p.m.The real competition begins at 10 a.m. Wednesday with non-championship races, and continues through Sunday, when the pros line up at the start line. In between are juniors, collegiate, masters and relay races for men and women of all ages. The pro women race at 2:45 p.m. Sunday, followed by the pro men at 4 p.m. Sunday. To see a complete schedule, go here.

Here’s the course:

map

Paramount to host ‘Anchorman’ pub run and screening

reg_1024.anchorman.mh.052912
The Paramount will host an Anchorman pub run, costume contest and screening on Jan. 13.

Time to brush off your leisure suit, folks.

The Paramount Theatre will celebrate the legend of Ron Burgundy and his Action News crew with a pub run, costume contest and movie screening on Tuesday, Jan. 13.

The run starts at 6 p.m., followed by the film at 7:45 p.m. Cost for both is $20. The movie by itself is $10.

Participants will walk or run to an as yet undisclosed nearby newsworthy destination and enjoy a pint of local brew before heading back to watch the movie. Everyone will get two tickets good for beer, soda or popcorn.

Registration and ID check begins at 6 p.m. at the Stateside Theatre, 719 Congress Ave. Proceeds benefit the historic Paramount Theatre. For more information go here. http://www.austintheatre.org/site/Calendar/1551530560?view=Detail&id=42521

And in honor of the movie, we now present some of our favorite “Anchorman” quotes:

  • “I immediately regret this decision.” — Ron Burgundy
  • “I love scotch. Scotchy scotch scotch. Here it goes down, down into my belly.” — Ron Burgundy
  • “It is anchorman, not anchorlady. And that is a scientific fact.” — Champ Kind
  • “Discovered by the Germans in 1904, they named it San Diego, which of course in German means ‘a whale’s vagina.’” — Ron Burgundy
  • “Don’t act like you’re not impressed.” — Ron Burgundy
  • “They’ve done studies, you know. 60 percent of the time, it works every time.” — Brian Fantana
  • “I’ll have a Manhattan. And kick the vermouth to the side with a pair of steel-toed boots.” — Veronica Corningstone
  • “I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.” — Ron Burgundy
  • “I love lamp.” — Brick Tamland