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Go Big or Go Home: 2015 Athletics

Friday, December 12, 2014 8:57:00 AM America/Chicago

Christmas is Here. Thanksgiving is over. Halloween is long gone. Most of the major stumbling blocks (AKA Holiday Meals & Treats) have passed or will pass soon. This is the time of year people rediscover their resolve and once again commit to a health goal. Others are still committed and continue to work towards that goal.

It's a lot easier to succeed when your goal is tangible. And by that I mean Set a Number of pounds to lose instead of just trying to Lose Weight. Or maybe commit to exercising 3 days a week instead of just exercising more. So while you're trying to determine what you want to do in 2015, why not also consider running a race as your end goal?

Most of the major races have already released their 2015 schedules!

So you're one of those over-achievers who has already been working hard and hitting their goals. Great! If that's the case, why not pit yourself against one of the hardest obstacle courses to hit American Shores? America Ninja Warrior is accepting applicants through January 11 for their 7th season. Apply Here

Maybe you want something steeped a little more in American tradition. Not a problem. The Spartan Race is just 5 years young, having been founded in 2010 in Vermont. It's butt-kicking blend of obstacle courses and racing. Whether you're a tenured runner, or new to the obstacle scene, Spartan has challenges ranging from 3 to over 12 miles of brutal fun. Is fun the right word? Either way, brutal definitely describes it. Check out upcoming events here.

Okay so you're a veteran athlete. Running and sports and whatnot have been part of a good chunk of your life. King Leonidas would humbly bow to your display of anatomic, athletic perfection. That's all fine and dandy, but platitudes account only for so much! Put your money where your muscle is: Compete this year in the Ironman Triathalon. Competitions start as soon as Jan 11 internationally, but the first US event isn't until March 28. Check out the full calendar.

It's okay, Newbie. I too am decades from ever even considering those competitions! I'm lucky if I can exercise for several consecutive weeks. Anyway, there are plenty of introductory events to help get you on the way.

One of the biggest factors tipping this country towards a healthier lifestyle was the show The Biggest Loser. They now host a series of races called The Biggest Loser RunWalk. Just like its namesake, you can participate either by running or walking. The goal is to get Americans just like me (or you!) on their feet and active. They already have 10 races scheduled across the US - Get more details here.

You don't have to go namebrand either. Try something smaller, local, and maybe for a good cause! There's a YMCA in nearly every state. They're constantly sponsoring or hosting races, and proceeds feed directly back into the community or benefit some national charity! Find your local Y to see what's coming up in your area.

Go Big or Go Home. But big is subjective - what does it mean to you? Competing in the Ironman Competiton? Or getting off the couch and going for a jog? Doesn't Matter. Go Big or Go Home.

Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Ro Luckey

Team SHOEBACCA: 2014 MS 150

Friday, October 31, 2014 9:02:00 AM America/Chicago

Team finished up their 150 Bay-To-Bay Bike Ride for the National MS Society last week. We wanted to get some first-hand accounts of the ride, but Team SHOEBACCA just loves riding so much, they wouldn't get off their bikes! So while they were out rolling away for whichever charity fundraiser of the week, we went ahead and wrote up a brief summary of the event.

Team Shoebacca is a volunteer based cycling team that rides for charities under the name Shoebacca. So, naturally, they ride the Bike MS Bay-to-Bay Tour. Did we mention they're based in Southern California? So their 150 miles are from Irvine to San Diego. That's the same as riding from Philadelphia to Washington DC.

Through it's 5 year history, every Team SHOEBACCA ride has been meaningful, however this ride had something special – Cierra. Cierra's mom Carmen is a long time friend of Team SHOEBACCA as well as MS Sufferer. Carmen has supported their races for some time now – walking on her own or with assistance across the finish line with the team. It has been a long-time tradition for Team SHOEBACCA to stop short of the finish, dismount, and walk behind her as a show of respect, as well as a nod to the 250,000 nationwide who suffer along with her.

“It was not meant to pull on heart-strings," Team Lead Dee Folse said, "but was meant as a reminder of why we ride. It's not about the bike ride. It's about those suffering from MS."

This year Cierra joined Team SHOEBACCA to support her mother as well as the National MS Foundation. Not only was it her first time riding, she was also a top fundraiser for the team! Together she and Team SHOEBACCA raised over $23,000! Since Team SHOEBACCA's inception, they've raised over $500,000 for local and nation charities. (Let me remind you they've only been a team for 5 years – That's over $200 a day!)

Cierra will continue to ride the Bike MS Bay-to-Bay as a Team SHOEBACCA member, not only to raise money for MS sufferers like her mother, but also for other charitable needs.

The National MS Society bike ride was adopted in 1985 after a father (Minnesota Chapter Executive Director) and son duo rode 150 miles to see how long it would take them. Two days, to be exact – one of the many timelines for today's fundraising rides. The MS 150 fundraiser is now available in every state across the US, with some states having multiple opportunities. Find your nearest chapter today and whether you're riding or racing, don't forget to get new shoes.

Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Ro Luckey

Keep Calm And Get Ready For Some Football

Friday, August 15, 2014 10:11:39 AM America/Chicago

I do not know about you guys, but I am super pumped for the start of the NFL season! I am a Dallas Cowboys fan, so I do not have much to look forward to this season, but I love to watch football, so I am still excited for the start of the season.

One of the coolest things about this to me is that Thursday Night Football will now be on CBS for the first 8 weeks of the season!! This means you get to watch more games this season, even if you don't have NFL Network. I’m hoping the rating will be sky high so they will continue to offer Thursday Night Football on CBS, I like the idea.

I’m just ready for football period! I’m ready to talk about football, debate about football, and watch football. I love both college and the NFL, and I sometimes take an interest in local high school games as well.

All this excitement about football season starting came from us discussing our football cleats and turf shoes that we have here at

Well, I wish you and your team a successful season!

Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Shawn Jones

Have You Met Team SHOEBACCA?

Monday, August 4, 2014 3:10:18 PM America/Chicago

Team SHOEBACCA is our ( cycling team based in San Diego, California. Team SHOEBACCA is simply made up of good people using their passion for riding and being active to help others and make a difference in their lives.

Team SHOEBACCA is gearing up to ride in the ‘Bike MS Bay To Bay Tour 2014’ on October 18 & 19, 2014. This will be the team 7th year riding in this event, and they are just as excited as the 1st year we participated. Unfortunately, our team has many riders that are directly affected by this disease and that is “WHY We Ride." We have riders on our team with MS, and we have co-workers, family and friends who are battling MS. For this reason, everyone on Team SHOEBACCA crosses the finish line together; on Sunday you can find us riding two wide and wheel to wheel as we approach the finish line in Honor of All living with MS.

Visit National MS Society to join or donate to Team SHOEBACCA as we ride to Fight MS.

In addition to the MS Rides, Team SHOEBACCA does trail preservation and repair, and participates in other charity fundraisers like the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, and the YMCA’s Spin-a-Thon. To learn more about our team or to sign up visit Team SHOEBACCA


Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Shawn Jones

Thinking Back To School!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014 11:38:00 AM America/Chicago

During a break today, I was talking with my coworker, Elda, about our kids and how back to school is already upon us. Of course, working at Shoebacca, we've got miles of shoes from which to choose to make sure our kids feet are complete for that big first day back. (Reminds me of syncing up my sneaker color scheme to whatever Geranimals my mom would let me pick out for the first day back to elementary... but anyway...)

Turns out Elda's kids have already picked out a couple of pairs: the Nike Free 5.0 Grade School running shoe in orange and the Nike Free 5.0. The mesh thing is big with the youth set these days. My girl's headed to a magnet arts school and definitely needed an upgrade for her first day of 7th grade. She's accessorizing her first impressions with the Nike Lunarspeed+ Womens. Pretty sharp call!

Whether it's fashion or school supplies, Elda and I both agreed the excitement level is already high with our kiddos for back to school. If you're out there sharing in the same fun with your kids, let us know! We'd love to hear from you on how you're planning for school supplies, shoes, clothing and all the other needs that go with getting your child ready the back to school action!

Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Matt Thompson

Throwback Thursday: BMX

Thursday, June 26, 2014 11:38:00 AM America/Chicago

When I joined SHOEBACCA over a year ago, one of the first things I did was buy a pair of VANS. I soaked in the memories of my early years when BMX riding was all-consuming. After 7th grade, I spent a summer working at a local gas station making $1.70 an hour to buy my first real frame and fork, a Torker.

Any day becomes a throwback day when I'm watching the X Games and bikes are on. In my day, it was "BMX Freestyle" which was an up and coming challenger to BMX racing. My buddies and I would spend hours riding around our small town in Oklahoma. I was also fortunate enough to have a dad with builder skills that helped me build a quarter pipe ramp in our driveway. Alright, some kids do have it better than others...

I've been having a lot of fun lately going through the interwebs:

Mike Buff and R.L. Osborn were two of the most popular and innovative riders back in the early days of BMX freestyle. Pretty sure that's the first time I saw a pair of VANS, on one of those guys in BMX Action Magazine. Every time I pick up a new pair of VANS, it takes me back to 7th grade. Here's the latest edition:

Which work well with this:

Time to get home and get on the bike.

Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Matt Thompson

Active Lifestyle: Hiking in Taos, NM

Friday, May 9, 2014 11:38:47 AM America/Chicago

I'm an active runner (and my wife Brittany even more so) charting about 12 miles per week on average. I took up running my freshman year in college both out of curiosity and as a stress management tool. Running can work wonders with your mind and your body and at age 45, I'd say I've logged roughly 25 years of sticking with it.

Staying active every day, in any sort of way, is one of the values I've worked to instill in my daughter Hannah though the years. I've encouraged her in simple ways, like nudging her out the door to ride bikes with friends on weekends or heading up to the nearby middle school to knock the tennis ball around. So, it was a thrill to share another experience with her as my wife and I took her to one of our favorite places to visit: Taos, New Mexico.

My history with Taos is long and storied, with many guys trips and romantic getaways with Brittany making up a ton of great memories there. I've been up Wheeler Peak three times (two summits, one to the saddle that was aborted due to very high winds) and enjoyed the Williams Lake destination each time along the way as well. Hannah has been there several times but having just turned 12, she was excited about taking on a more challenging hike this trip. I bought a pair of Teva Slimkosi hiking shoes for the trip, Brittany upgraded her Wheeler Peak shoes to Adidas AX 1's, but it was surprising what a tough time my daughter had choosing between her Nike Free Run+ 2 EXT's and her Nike LunarGlide+ 4's she wears to school regularly. (The pending excitement of the hike took over a bit it.) In the end, she went with the Free Run+ 2 EXT's.

A nice lady at Taos Mountain Outfitters suggested a good group of trails for us just out of town, so we took a short drive out of Taos towards Angelfire. We picked a turnoff that looked good, parked and headed up a trail that climbed about 560 ft. elevation, providing some striking views of the area around Angelfire. With her newly purchased Camelback, Hannah looked like a true pro in her early years. It was great to see her having so much fun while being active, out of breath and setting up for sore legs in the morning. Moments like that will hopefully help her lean in more often to a healthy, active lifestyle. We're already looking forward to the next adventure.
Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Matt Thompson

Off the beaten path

Friday, April 18, 2014 1:26:36 PM America/Chicago

Everyone knows getting (and staying) in shape is not an easy to do. It takes hard work, dedication, and a focus of will. But don't take that as discouragement, instead its a challenge to build a better you!
Now thats easy to say, but how to turn thought to action? Let's face it, the gym can be boring, and theres only so many times you can walk around the same path at a carefully sculpted park. So today we are going to look at some activities that are not the norm, but might grab you and inspire you to your own personal greatness.

1. Rock Climbing

Credit: Wikipedia

Nothing quite epitomizes man vs. nature as rock climbing, and nothing feels quite the same after you get the view from the top of something you conquered with your own two hands. Getting out to a mountaintop is not something must people can do before they head back into the office Wednesday morning, so to get started, and to get going, many cities have indoor rock climbing walls. Offering memberships just like regular gyms, they bring you as much rock climbing as you might want, and a full nights sleep in your own bed!

2. Paintball

Credit: DFW Adventure Park

For those more into team sports (and ones that are a bit closer to home) paintball lets you work closely with your best friends, or shoot them, depending on your preferences (or payback for eating the last of the leftovers.) Obstacle course mixed with dodgeball is any easy way to think of it. (that sounds fun too!) Paintball parks offer a variety of fields with everything from mock villages to woods to run through. Games tend to be short, so you can play as many or as few fit your personal preference, with hardcore players have events that run an entire weekend straight.

3. Obstacle runs

Credit: Warrior Dash

People think 5k's can be boring. Not when your 5k's include fire! The new trend is to spice up the 5k for those who think a normal one is too boring, or not extreme enough. Offering obstacles from a swim through the lack, slogging through mud, wall climbs, and yes, literally leaping over fire, obstacle runs have taken off and massive events drawing thousands of people. Usually including live concerts and vendors, you can bring the entire family to watch you get covered in mud. (Assuming you can't convince them to run with you)

4. Kayaking

Credit: Wikipedia

Kayaking, or as I like to say 'the most fun you can have sitting down' Is one of those sports that has an entire range of extremes. Everyone has a nearby lake, and many offer kayak rentals if you want to give a shot to traveling about. Bring a picnic lunch and explore inlets and islands you probably sped right by the last time you were on a speedboat. Of course like everything else, there is always the more extreme version, and if it becomes your passion, you will start searching for the white waters that you can careen down!
Posted in Get Fit Get Active By Shoebacca
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