Calling all runners – Austin needs your blood

Members of Team Spiridon log a training run. Photo by Rob Hill


Let’s face it. Most runners tend toward the obsessive when it comes to their health. That’s why a local running coach wants them to donate whole blood or platelets during a drive he’s calling Blood Runs Deep.

“It’s as simple as the fact that I believe running can be a huge force for good,” says Rob Hill, community outreach manager at We Are Blood and head of the Team Spiridon running group. “Runners, given their focus on health, understand how critical blood is – not just for performance, but for the community.”

One in seven people will need a blood transfusion at some point in their lives, Hill says, and summer is typically a slow time for donations. All blood types are needed.

Linda Wyler of Austin gives blood at the Round Rock donation center in this file photo by MARCIAL GUAJARDO/ROUND ROCK LEADER

Runners are asked to drop by one of three Central Texas locations of We Are Blood, which supplies blood to hospitals and medical facilities in 10 Central Texas counties, between June 21-30 to donate. Two running groups, Gilbert’s Gazelles and Rogue Running, have already vowed to participate.

Concerned that donating blood will put you off your running game? Don’t worry. You could experience an 8 to 10 percent decrease in performance the day after donating, and a slight decrease for a day or two after that, but it won’t last. Just time your donation for after a run and before your rest day, Hill suggests.

Donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh 115 pounds. Some travel restrictions apply, too.

Book an appointment at or call 512-206-1266. You can donate at any of We Are Blood’s three locations – Austin North, 4300 North Lamar Boulevard; Round Rock, 2132 North Mays, Suite 900; or Austin South, 3100 West Slaughter Lane.

On International Day of Yoga, do a downward dog with 3,000 people

The public is invited to attend a free community yoga session Saturday on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol.

Expect to see a lot of downward dogs in downtown Austin this Saturday.

More than 3,000 people will gather on the lawn of the Texas State Capitol at 5:45 p.m. for 90 minutes of yoga, meditation, music and dance on the fourth International Day of Yoga. This year’s theme is “Yoga for Warriors,” and military veterans are encouraged to attend.

The family-friendly event is free and open to the public. All ages and backgrounds are welcome.

The Art of Living Austin, a non-profit organization that offers workshops in breathing techniques, yoga and mediation, is organizing the event in collaboration with local yoga studios. FITT Finder, a mobile app that serves as a guide for fitness and wellness, is sponsoring it.

Dress for the heat, and bring your own yoga mat and water.

For more information email or go here.

(Nominate your favorite yoga studio in our inaugural Best of the Best Awards.)

Fabulous after 60? Fit folks needed for Austin 60 Strong calendar

Two local physician networks are looking for fit folks tohighlight in their Austin 60 Strong calendar.


Know a senior who’d look good in a calendar?

Two local physician networks are looking for a dozen fit and inspirational Central Texas residents, ages 60 to 69, to feature in the 2019 Austin 60 Strong calendar.

Contestants will be judged on their health, fitness, wellness, community involvement and volunteerism. A panel of judges will select 12 winners who exemplify how life after age 60 can be a positive, vibrant and active time.

RELATED: Fit after 50: How should our exercise routine change as we get older?

In addition to appearing in the Austin 60 Strong calendar, winners will be honored with a kick-off party, a professional photo shoot and compensation for their modeling time.

Anyone age 18 or older can nominate someone. Enter online at by Aug. 15 or download an application form and mail it, along with a 200-word essay, head shot and full-length photo, to: Connected Senior Care Advantage, Attn: 60 Strong Contest, 4515 Seton Center Parkway, Suite 250, Austin, TX 78759. Mailed entries must be postmarked by Aug. 10.

Winners will be notified by Aug. 27, and must be available Sept. 13-15. For more information email

Proceeds from calendar sales will benefit Capital City Village, a virtual community of seniors committed to aging in place and community while maintaining healthy and active lifestyles.


Joints frozen in Carbonite? Stretch out on this Han Solo yoga mat

Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill), Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher), Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in “A New Hope.” Lucasfilm Ltd./Contributed

The latest chapter of the Star Wars saga hits movie theaters tonight, and perhaps after you’ve left the theater, yearning a wee bit for Harrison Ford’s early days, you’ll feel like doing a little yoga.

But not on any yoga mat. Not after watching “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” in which Han Solo gallops around the universe alongside a gang of galactic smugglers for two solid hours.

RELATED: ‘Solo’ tries to rebel but sticks to ‘Star Wars’ formula

Onnit sells a Han Solo-themed yoga mat for $64.95. Photo courtesy Onnit

No, you need a special Han Solo- themed mat from Onnit.

Granted, this Han’s muscles really don’t stand out all that much. He’s just 5 millimeters thick and looks more than a tad agonized.

RELATED: Ranking Han Solo’s style over the years

But plop it on the ground, match your hands with his, gaze into that forever frozen in polyurethane rubber face, and maybe a little of Solo’s bad boy charisma will flow through his fingertips and into your soul.

Or not.

Anyway, it’s cool a cool mat, and you can order it here for $64.95.

Check out these Memorial weekend events at NLand Surf Park, Crux Climbing Center

Looking for some Memorial Day weekend fun? Check out these upcoming events …

NLand Surf Park will hold a Float the Moat event from 1-7 p.m. Saturday. Photo courtesy NLand Surf Park
  • Trade your surfboard for a tube at NLand Surf Park’s Float the Moat event from 1-7 p.m. Saturday. For $15 per hour, you can loll around on a tube while you watch a show that includes belly dancing and live music. Drinking is allowed before (but not during) tubing for ages 21 and up only (not if you plan to surf afterward, though).  The park is located at 4836, E Hwy 71. For more information go here.

Tuesday is date night at Crux Climbing Center, and two climb for $20. Photo by Merrick Ales for Crux


  • Rather climb? Thursday night is date night at Crux Climbing Center. Bring a date and climb two  for $20. (Normal day pass rates are $22 per person.) For more information go here. The climbing gym will also host a “Murph workout” on Monday. This special workout, one of the most famous CrossFit workouts and often celebrated on Memorial Day, was a favorite of Navy Lieutenant Michael Murphy, who was killed in Afghanistan in 2005. Warmup begins at 10:30 a.m., the workout runs from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and a cool down and refreshments will follow. For more information go here.

Meet the youngest athlete in Life Time Tri CapTex: Kaleb Rosenberg, 8

Kaleb Rosenberg will race in his first adult triathlon this Memorial Day – the Life Time Tri CapTex. Family photo

Want a jolt of inspiration? Head downtown to watch the Life Time Tri CapTex, which is expected to draw nearly 3,000 athletes to downtown Austin on Memorial Day.

And if you’re waffling about whether or not to compete, take note. It’s not too late to register.

The 28th annual event starts and finishes at Vic Mathias Shores, 900 West Riverside Drive. Athletes will swim in Lady Bird Lake, bike up Congress Avenue to the Capitol and back, and run along West Riverside Drive and Barton Springs Road.

Sign up at Entry fee is $172 for international distance ($87 collegiate or $247 relay); $140 sprint distance ($215 relay); or $108 super sprint.

Just brace for some heat. The current forecast calls for a low of 70 and high of 98, with no chance of rain. Wear your sunscreen and stay hydrated.

And keep an eye out for the youngest competitor, 8-year-old Kaleb Rosenberg, who will compete in his first sprint distance triathlon along side adults.

We checked in with Kaleb, whose father Josh will also be racing on Monday, to see how he’s feeling. Here’s what he told us, via email:

Joshua and Kaleb Rosenberg will compete at the Life Time Tri CapTex on Monday. Family photo

Have you ever raced a triathlon before?
Yes, last year I did two kids triathlons. For my birthday present last year, my parents took me to Houston to do my first tri. The races went really well, but they were short and I wanted to do something longer to test myself.”

What do you like about triathlons?

“They really push me and they are made up of three sports I like. This may sound crazy, but I really like the transitions. The feeling of crossing the finish line is amazing!”

What’s your plan going into the big race?

“I have never done an open water swim, so I don’t want to go out too hard. I watched a lot of triathlons on TV and I have seen how people win or lose the race on the run, so I want to make sure I’ve got it at the end. Oh, and my dad keeps telling me to hydrate.”

Which part are you best at, and which is hardest?

“I think I am best on the bike and I am really excited because my grandparents bought me a new bike with gears so that I would be able to go all out. The run is definitely the hardest part, but my father convinced me to train by signing me up for the Cap 10K two years in a row. He makes the training fun because we play Pokemon Go on his phone while we are running and try to hatch all my 10K eggs.”

Five upcoming events with Fit City’s stamp of approval

The Hyatt Regency Austin moves its free Pints ‘n Poses yoga class to the rooftop on Monday. Photo courtesy Hyatt Regency Austin

Looking for sweat-inducing outdoor action? Check out these upcoming events, which get the Fit City stamp of approval:

  • Free yoga – outdoors, with fabulous views and a complimentary beer! The Hyatt Regency Austin is moving it’s free Pints & Poses class to the top floor of the hotel’s parking garage this month. Ferny Barcelo and Zuzu Perkal will lead the relaxing, smooth flow yoga class, which starts at 6:30 p.m. May 14 at the hotel, 208 Barton Springs Road. Bring your own mat. For more information go here.
Shawneen Pazienza, center, laughs with other league members during warm-ups in January 2018. Julia Robinson for American-Statesman
  • How about flinging axes for a good cause? Urban Axes, 812 Airport Boulevard, will host a Ladyblades fundraiser in partnership with SAFE Austin from 6:30-10 p.m. May 15. Tournament entry is $40, or pay $20 just to watch it all go down. Tickets include wine, beer and food from Laurent Perrier, Austin Eastciders and La Barbeque. For tickets, go here.
  • Drink beer and relax with representatives from all kinds of outdoor brands at Outdoor Project’s summer block party from 2-10 p.m. May 19 at Hops & Grain, 507 Calles Street. The all-day party will feature beer, live music, local food carts and sponsorship from Keen Footwear, Kammok, Gossamer Gear, Blipic, Patagonia, Kind Bars, Crux Climbing Center and more. The event is a fund-raiser for Explore Austin, a local non-profit organization that works to help underserved youth through leadership, mentoring and outdoor adventure. Old Salt Union and Josh Klaus Music will perform starting at 6:30 p.m. For more information go here. 
  • Try out cool outdoor activities like fishing and archery, learn about the state’s 73 paddling trails, and study native fish at the free Outdoor Adventures Area at Jones Brothers Park on Lake Travis in Jonestown from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 19-20. Fisheries biologists, state park rangers, outdoor educators and game wardens will answer questions and provide demonstrations. The event is held in conjunction with Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, a tournament held May 17-20 at Lake Travis. For more information go here.
An athlete scrambles under barbed wire during a Spartan Race. Photo courtesy Spartan
  • Scramble underneath barbed wire, slosh through mud and leap over flames during the Spartan races May 19-20 at Reveille Peak Ranch, 105 County Road 114 in Burnet. Nearly 10,000 participants of all ages and skill levels are expected for the 3- to 5-mile “Spartan Sprint” and 8- to 10-mile “Spartan Super” courses. The weekend also features a 12-hour Hurricane Heat team event and a kids race course for ages 4-13. For more information go here.
A competitor sloshes through mud at a Spartan race. Photo courtesy Spartan

Best part of this 5K? The food stops along the way!

At the Fit Foodie 5K, runners stop at tasting stations along the running route, and enjoy more food at a finish line festival. Photo by Vladamir Bukalo


The best most runners get on a race course is sports drink, but an upcoming race will feature far more filling fare.

The Cooking Light & Health Fit Foodie Festival & 5K doles out nibbles at tasting stations along the race course, and wraps up with a food and fitness festival (plus a beer garden, workout classes and cooking demonstrations) at the finish line.

The event includes cooking demos, mini fitness workouts and food. Vladamir Bukalo

The event is set for June 23 at Mueller Lake Park, 4550 Mueller Boulevard, and benefits No Kid Hungry. Race start is 8 a.m. at the Browning Hangar.

Even better? Bib pickup doubles as a happy hour celebration the night before the run. Goody bags feature gifts from health and wellness brands.

The event will take place at Mueller Lake Park in Austin on June 23. Game Face Media

Registration costs $35 per person and increases on May 18. For more information or to sign up, go here.

Too broke for a trainer? Try these free classes at Dancers Shape

Dancers Shape will host a free four-week fitness series. Photo courtesy Dancers Shape


I say it all the time: You don’t have to pay a lot of money to get in shape.

Every Monday for the next four weeks, Dancers Shape will offer free outdoor workouts at Bee Cave Central Park,

13742 Bee Cave Parkway in Bee Cave.

The free four-week fitness series, Pilates in the Park, starts with a mat class at 9:30 a.m. April 30 and continues at the second time the next three Mondays.

The classes will take place at 9:30 a.m. Mondays at Bee Cave Central Park. Photo courtesy Dancers Shape

The one hour, full body classes will combine traditional elements of pilates, yoga and barre into a quick-paced flow on the mat, according to a press release. The classes will focus on functional movement to build core strength. Bring your own mat, water and full length towel. The group will meet under the pavilion at the park.

The park is next door to the new Dancers Shape studio at Hill Country Indoor. For more information go here.

The free series focuses on core strength. Photo courtesy Dancers Shape

What’s the most dangerous stretch of road for bicyclists in Austin?

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Anyone who has ridden a bicycle around Austin on a regular basis knows the feeling of a near miss.

In my 15 or so years of pedaling to work, I’ve come close to getting hit by a car several times. I’ve also been yelled at, spit on and flipped off, but that’s another story. I still love to bike to work, and it helps keep me fit and happy – two things I don’t get from getting stuck in traffic when I drive my car down MoPac Boulevard.

Andrew McKenna rides his bicycle on Guadalupe Street in January 2018. (Stephen Spillman /for American-Statesman)

A law firm based in Chicago recently compiled statistics on the most dangerous stretches or urban roads for cyclists. In Austin, Guadalupe Street between West Cesar Chavez Street and North Lamar Boulevard ranked as the most dangerous roadway.

The list was based on bike collisions, injuries and fatalities, and is based on somewhat stale information – data circa 2015 from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for cities with populations of 500,000 or more. It also considered hazards like narrow shoulders and roads without bike lanes.

Still, it’s worth a look. Nearly half a million bicyclists are injured or killed on American roads every year, according to the study.

Albuquerque recorded the most cyclist fatalities, with 8.94 deaths per million people, followed by Tucson, with 7.52 per million. Dallas and Indianapolis had the lowest rates – 0.77 per million people and 1.17 fatalities per million. (But perhaps that’s because fewer people in Dallas ride bikes? No context in this study.)

Austin comes in 20th, with 2.15 fatalities per million. And remember, this is for a few years ago. Here’s a complete list:

Fatality Rate per 1 million

  1. Albuquerque 8.94
  2. Tucson 7.52
  3. Las Vegas 6.41
  4. Phoenix 5.12
  5. San Jose 4.87
  6. Columbus 4.71
  7. San Francisco 4.63
  8. Memphis 4.57
  9. Philadelphia 4.47
  10. Los Angeles 4.03
  11. Jacksonville 3.46
  12. Louisville 3.25
  13. Portland 3.16
  14. Denver 2.93
  15. San Antonio 2.72
  16. Chicago 2.57
  17. Charlotte 2.42
  18. Houston 2.18
  19. San Diego 2.15
  20. Austin 2.15
  21. Fresno 1.92
  22. Milwaukee 1.67
  23. Baltimore 1.61
  24. New York 1.52
  25. Washington 1.49
  26. Detroit 1.48
  27. Seattle 1.46
  28. Fort Worth 1.2
  29. Indianapolis 1.17
  30. Dallas 0.77
  31. Oklahoma City 0
  32. Nashville 0
  33. El Paso 0
  34. Boston 0

To see the most dangerous stretches of roadway in cities across America, go here.