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RAID Athlete Series- Madelyn

Next month we are taking the Urban RAID Championship to NYC!  In our RAID Athlete Spotlight we got in touch with an inner city fitness inspiration by the name of Madelyn Montijo. For the past 25 years, Madelyn  has used the strength and passion she has for fitness to reach out to a large urban community in Harlem, New York. Today, she is the owner and founder of her own company, Empire Soul Fitness and we sat down and chatted with her about how she and her team are getting #RAIDReady!
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RAID: Tell us about Empire Soul Fitness and what was your inspiration to form this group?

Madelyn:
The name of my group is Empire Soul Fitness Empress originated on April 5, 2013.  As of March 2014, we are now Empire Soul Fitness Empress & Emperors. Empire Soul Fitness is a health awareness and fitness startup company with a mission to create a movement towards nutrition and weight management. My goal is to reach out to a large urban community and collaborate with women and men under many nations to lead happier and healthier lives. I want to be able to teach them to free their souls to fitness and I would like to continue to inspire all women and men to believe in building their own empire within. This Empire is powerful beyond measure, stronger then we seem, braver then we think and blessed with all we need. Leader, Life Coach, Inspiration.

RAID: What do you hope women will gain from being a part of your group?

Madelyn:
I believe that every woman will gain self awareness and confidence to break the barriers and believe that being overweight is not the norm. I also know that women will feel good in their skin when they lose the first few pounds in a week. This group gives them the opportunity to build up their self esteem.

RAID: Why do you think Urban RAID will be a positive experience for your group members?

Madelyn:
 I think that Urban RAID will be a positive experience for my group members for many reasons:  self esteem, gaining strength and empowerment, realizing they have the ability to accomplish things that they never thought could, and being surrounded by others with bigger goals which inspire them to go to the next level.

RAID: Also, how do you think Urban RAID  will help you spread the world about this great organization?

Madelyn:
I believe exposure such as this is an impactful resource for spreading the word. It is beneficial to see the women participate, cheer each other on, and share transformations of several members.  We understand that there are many groups out there attempting to do similar things, but the difference between Empire Soul Fitness and the majority is simple. I am targeting the Hispanic and Black community, a market that is extremely in danger because it is surrounded by fast food, has limited resources to good produce and predominantly eat and live on enriched refined foods. To be healthy does not mean you have to spend a fortune.  Many groups are just workout groups and not groups that offer mentorship, gatherings, weekly conference calls, special events, and yearly annual functions. I created my Empire based on a mission, which was to move monuments and create clear paths and healthier lives. I did this by leading by example. I am a Latina born and raised in the Bronx, I was not always a heavy child but was battling 190lbs just last year. During college and working full time, I gained 33lbs, did not even realize, so for me today at 159lbs, age 47 , training for 23 years, I must admit that If I can, we all can. I am in the best shape of my life. I accomplished Rugged Maniac finale which had me running up a 6ft curved wall, which I leaped and jumped over with no fall and I was amazed at this myself.  I was empowered to go to the next level at Urban RAID NYC. With all obstacle racing its not just an obstacle course, its what we do to prepare. And trust me my Empire prepares, trains, motivates and even does weekly weigh ins. We have boot camps 4x per week, with little or no equipment at all. We are preparing physically and mentally, we are ready, willing and able.

RAID: What other activities does your group participate in?

Madelyn:
 Boot camps, Zumba, Sculpt classes, which I offer in all of my classes.

RAID:
How can women get involved and support your group?

Madelyn:
My group name on Facebook is Empire Soul Fitness Empress & Emperors they may request to join and I will have a screening call with them to find out what his/her goals are. I will also invite them to one free class to see if they are a true beast or beauty?  Maybe both.  Also I am on Instagram: maddie_empiresoulfitness

RAID: Are you guys ready to experience Urban RAID NYC?

Madelyn:
We are preparing, 4x per week, we’ll be ready!

RAID Athlete Series – John

The RAID Blog is our favorite spot to give you insight into training, fitness and lifestyle but by far the thing we most look forward to is highlighting some of the extraordinary athletes that you will see on the start line. Recently, we checked in with RAID Athlete John Beliveau who has logged many a  trip to the RAID Series podium!  Below we  get some insight into how he stays #RAIDReady!

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Raid: First things first, when did you start running and competing in races?

John: Well I started on the KRMS track team years ago and then ran strong through High School.  Kinda got out of it for awhile and it wasn’t until 4 years ago I started running on the road. My first race was the L.L. Bean 10k in 2012.  People told me I did really well and that I should keep it up.  It was a lot of fun so I kept going.

Raid: You’ve been a force to be reckoned with at every RAID Series race you’ve participated in so it’s safe to say everyone wants to know your secret.  How do you train for your races?

John: I wish I knew!  It’s probably a combination of things that have brought good results.  Active job, regular exercise, rest, cross training activities, diet and time.  My job in landscape construction/masonry provides plenty of time for some extra cardio/lifting, after work I’ll get my runs in.  I like to vary between road and trail days.  Hill/flat days. Hard/light days.  Typically every run is between 6-15 miles.  I’m not afraid to rest and stretch either.  Listening to the body is important to not injure it during training. Recently I have been adding burpees/bodybuilders at milestones in runs.  I find that really can amp up the intensity of an OCR training run.  Rest for me can be hard  because it seems like I’m always active.  I find a proper diet and plenty of water can help me recover and rest when there’s not much time.  Fueling the system is very important.

Raid: Fitness and nutrition go hand in hand. Do you follow a special nutrition plan to stay in top form?

John: It’s not so much a plan rather than just habit.  I try and eat as natural as possible.  Fruits and veggies.  Typically 3 pieces of fruit and a bean/rice salad at lunch can keep me going through the day.  I keep calories down by not adding stuff.  No cream or sugar, dressings, croutons or stuff like that.  People say you need to have meats and proteins to an active diet but my diet doesn’t consist of much of that.  I really love the 16 bean mix at the store and mix in a few cups of brown rice and then I blend in some different veggies or seasonings daily for a different twist.  Reading labels is handy.  If I can’t pronounce it or spell it, I don’t use it. That is a whole different road we won’t take today!  Truly that and oatmeal are my staples.  Of course, cheating after a race usually happens, chocolate, cake and ice cream are my sweet nemesis!

Raid: In one of the most badass moments in RAID history, at the 2013 Mountain RAID you decided to throw in a quick 12 mile Mountain RAID trail run BEFORE the OCR. How was that?

John: Haha, why thank you.  That was probably my favorite RAID weekend!  I know I was interested in the trail races at the time and was unsure what to enter or maybe just save it all for the obstacles.  Then a friend challenged me to a friendly race in the OCR and that’s what tipped me into deciding to run the 12 mile trail race too.  There was really a whole lot of cool terrain there.  That 12 mile race was the best!

Raid: You take part in all manner of races, from OCR to trail runs to marathons, at the end of the day which is your favorite?

John: Mt. RAID 12 Mile was honestly right up there, all eight peaks early in the morning is an unbeatable experience.  One race I just did a couple weeks ago was Battlefrogs 15k.  What was so cool about that one was the long distance trail running broken up with challenging obstacles.  That’s truly what I like the most.  A challenging trail run.

Raid: Favorite RAID Series race so far?

John: Mt. RAID 12 Miler

Raid: Favorite RAID Series obstacle?

John: Beach Raid 2013 sand bag carry across the tidal river

Raid:: What advice would you give to someone just starting out and considering entering their first RAID?

John: Go at your own pace.  Sometimes even I push a little too hard a little too soon and I pay the price for it.  Exercise isn’t fun when injured.  That’s what it’s all about for me at the end of the day.  Just having fun, hard to do with Achilles tendinitis or an IT band injury.  Know your own limits and stick by them. Just by getting out and active more often things will continue to grow and get better!

Raid: Where do you want to see the RAID go next?

John:  Longer trail distance with more challenging obstacles? RAID Xtreme?

Just Released- Urban RAID Portland Official Event Video!

The video is here!   Great  job Portland racers!  Boston, Albany and NYC racers, this is what you’re in for!  Time to get #RAIDReady!

Urban RAID 2014 | Portland, ME | Official Event Video

Urban RAID Portland Recap!

This Saturday hundreds of intrepid racers pushed themselves to their limits at the 3rd Urban RAID Portland!  Race day brought 75 degree temperatures, blue skies, 12 epic obstacles and 3.2 miles of varied terrain! We can’t give enough thanks to all of our amazing participants, sponsors – Shipyard, Dunkin Donuts, Zico and Sports Authority and of course our charity partner Winterkids!

Check out some photo highlights below, we’ll see you in 2015 Portland!

Getting warmed up with Dynamics Fitness

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Off the start line

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Agility Test- Check 

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All those hours on the playground justified

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All smiles at the cargo net crawl

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The vertigo inducing cargo net climb

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Just when you think it’s over we hit you with an 8′ wall

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Well deserved ice cold Shipyard in the Beer Garden

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Top Co-ed Team Winners

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Like all that?  Then come join us for this in less than 2 weeks!  (Urban RAID Boston July 12th!)

Cargo Net Ground

 

 

RAID Series Non-Profit Spotlight – Winterkids

The weather for Urban RAID Portland,the kick off event of the 2014 RAID Series, calls for sunny skies and 75 degree temps.  Helping to  keep our racers cool  post race will be Urban RAID Non Profit Partner, Winterkids.  Once again this year this awesome group will be stationed in the Urban RAID festival doling out snow cones and, of course, information about their great cause.   This is the second year that Winterkids has been the charity partner of Urban RAID Portland and we are thrilled to have them on board for 2014.  Here in the RAID Series home state of Maine the winters are long and Winterkids is committed to getting kids outside no matter what the weather! Read on for more about Winterkids and all the great things that they do!

Winterkids Logo

WinterKids is the nonprofit organization that helps children develop healthy lifelong habits through fun, outdoor winter activity. Their statewide programs & events offer special opportunities for all kids—regardless of background or socioeconomic status—to be active and healthy during the winter. WinterKids strives to build a healthier generation of children—a generation that truly understands the importance of staying active and fit in every season. All told, 19,780 kids, families, and educators across Maine got outside and active this winter with WinterKids programs.  How cool is that? Take a look at a few of WinterKids’ popular programs and events: Passport WinterKids’ Passport provides free and reduced tickets for alpine and cross-country skiing, ice-skating, tubing, and dog sledding. All of Maine’s 5th, 6th, and 7th graders are eligible to participate. FunPass  WinterKids’ FunPass offers Maine’s youngest children, from preschool through 4th grade, the chance to try cross-country skiing and snowshoeing on groomed trails– for free! Guide to Outdoor Active Learning (G.O.A.L.) WinterKids Guide to Outdoor Active Learning (GOAL) is designed to improve the health and enhance the quality of education for all Maine children through increased outdoor winter activity. WinterKids Challenge  WinterKids believes that snowy fields and frosty trails make the best classrooms! Students and teachers enrolled in the popular WinterKids Challenge program agree to complete at least three outdoor, active lessons from WinterKids’ Guide to Outdoor Active Learning per winter season. WinterKids Challenge Schools “document” their outdoor learning adventures with fun photos, videos, blogs, and more! Last winter, 3400 students in schools all over Maine completed the WinterKids Challenge! FunFest FunFest is free, open to the public, and offers winter fun for the whole family. Activities include snowshoeing, sledding, an interactive StoryWalk (which combines reading with outdoor activity), ice skating, snow-painting and snow sculpture, photo opportunities with the L.L. Bean Bootmobile, music, and healthy snacks. Welcome to Winter Festival Presented by WinterKids and the Portland Public Schools’ Multilingual Center, the Welcome to Winter Festival has helped introduce over 3,000 immigrant children and their families to winter. The program has reduced barriers to winter fun and fitness for kids who view this climate as “foreign and scary”.  Last year’s festival offered kids and families great sledding, snowshoeing, ice skating, hot chocolate by the fire, healthy snacks, raffle prizes, warm winter giveaways, a welcome from city officials, and more! For more information about WinterKids, please visit http://www.winterkids.org.

RAID Athlete Series – Cara

The RAID Blog is our favorite spot to give you insight into training, fitness and lifestyle but by far the thing we most look forward to is highlighting some of the extraordinary athletes that you will see on the start line. Recently we checked in with 18 time marathoner and all around rock star Cara Bednar to get her thoughts on all things obstacle racing, fitness and training!

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RAID:  Tell us about Beantown Bootcamp, what is your inspiration and how did you get here?

Cara: I have always been an athlete from tennis to skiing to running. Beantown Bootcamp really pushes me mentally, physically and emotionally to be the best athlete I can be. You have the one on one attention of a personal trainer in a group setting to help motivate and push you. After college I was looking for more than just a typical gym to log some treadmill miles at. When I found Beantown Bootcamp I was immediately hooked. Everyday at Beantown Bootcamp is a different challenge than the day before which is amazing not only for the work outs but mentally you never know what to expect. No two work outs are the same! Everyday I am inspired by the other members in the class to push my physical limits. If someone ahead of me is running 8 hills, and I have only done 6, they motivate me to push through and run those 2 extra hills.

RAID: What sets outdoor fitness apart from traditional gym training?

Cara: In a traditional gym you always get into a routine. Be it a class, the elliptical, lifting, or spinning. You know what effort you are willing to put in, or what the teacher is expecting. At the gym you do the requirements, but never push yourself. Beantown Bootcamp is more like a team. You know people are waiting for you at 6:30 am, so you show up, you push yourself, and you leave exhausted but accomplished. You don’t know what you are going to get thrown at you, so your body never adapts to a work out. The work out’s vary daily, so you are always working different muscles and seeing full body results. We get to explore the city rain or shine! I am a motivated athlete, but there are days where I wouldn’t go outside and run 20 Beacon Hill Hills,  run the stairs in the North End, box jump a bench in the Boston Commons, Burpee my way around the Court House, or wind sprint a football field, but when your outside motivated by others, you enjoy those tough and challenging workouts!

RAID:  Are your classes designed for everyone? Beginners through advanced athletes?

Cara: The classes are run on a time/ clock cycle which allows for different levels to participate together. If we head to the hills the veteran members may tackle 10 hills and a beginner may accomplish 4 or 5. Everyone is continually motivated by the group to push yourself to your maximum capability.  Often drills are thrown into the mix with the cardio as an equalizer. Some members are fantastic runners, but struggle with the strength training, the classes are designed to improve you as an athlete overall.

RAID: As we know, to train for an obstacle race requires more preparation that just running. What do you think is the optimal training method for OCR?

Cara: Training for obstacle racing is like training for life you need to be ready for anything and everything! You need the cardiovascular benefits, but also balance, strength, endurance, and guts! The optimal training for obstacle races would be to use your surroundings! At the playground with your kids? Start swinging on those monkey bars! Doing yard work? Carry those bags of mulch for some wind sprints. See a large wall? Go climb it!

RAID: When you are outside running stairs in sub-zero New England temperatures do you ever miss the treadmill with the TV?  Be honest! Cara: I actually don’t hate the treadmill! I think the treadmill is useful on those sub-zero New England days. On days when you want to focus on speed, or hills, I think the treadmill can be a great resource. But I think there is nothing like training outside! The elements push you and make you stronger. If you never train in snow, heat, rain, then race day comes you will be thrown by the conditions. But if you prepare in the elements you are ready for anything! I remind myself when it’s snowing or raining outside that those could be the conditions on race day, so get out of bed and get that work out in.

RAID: Any pre-race traditions?  Special meals?

Cara: Cheese Quesadilla’s! They are easy to digest, fill me up, and don’t upset my stomach. As for day of pre race traditions, I always eat a bowl of Chex, half a banana and a White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Luna Bar. My fuel during races is gummy bears! They work with my stomach, give me a good jolt of sugars, and are little rewards when I am mentally struggling!

RAID: What would you tell someone who is thinking of trying obstacle racing for the first time?

Cara: Do it! I think the term obstacle race scares so many people, but it’s good to be scared! You will be surprised at how many obstacle’s you are good at. Obstacle races are like recess or open gym you get to have fun! Enjoy feeling like a kid again. Athletes by nature want to help one another, so if you are nervous or worried about your first race sign up with a friend. If you want to do it solo but are worried no one will help you out, you’ll be surprised . Obstacle races encourage working together and sportsmanship.

RAID: Are you ready to conquer the course at Urban RAID Boston?

Cara: I did the Urban Raid Boston last year and loved every second of it! When else can you hurdle your way through Government Center, or climb a cargo net overlooking Boston harbor? This race truly happens in downtown Boston and you get to race, challenge and experience all of this in the heart of the city. It is also a great day for families to come out and enjoy! The support and activities happening in Faneuil Hall Marketplace make it an awesome day for spectators, athletes and families. I am really excited to experience this years race and hope everyone will join me in Boston this July!

 See you on July 12th in Boston, Cara!

Urban RAID Championship!

Are you ready for the Urban RAID Championships?  This year the RAID Series is inviting all of the winners from the entire season to go head to head in one epic championship division. It will all go down at Urban RAID NYC on September 20th, read more about it here.  (As if you needed another reason to train for these races!)

NO TIME? NO EXCUSES!

Got a minute literally?  Check out these superfast workouts from RAID Series fitness partner Dynamics Fitness!

RAID Series Training Tips from Dynamics Fitness – Arms!

RAID Series Training Tips from Dynamics Fitness – Legs!

 

 

RAID Recipe from Shipyard Brewing Company: American Pale Ale Poached Salmon

American Pale Ale Poached Salmon

Here at Shipyard we love a good challenge, that’s why we are teaming up with the RAID Series to bring you the Ultimate 5K obstacle courses in Portland, Boston and NYC. For those of you joining us at any of the upcoming RAID Series events this protein packed (beer soaked) recipe is for you!

serves 4

1 ½ lbs Wild Atlantic Salmon, skin-on cut into 4 portions

1 ½ cup chicken stock

2 carrots, peeled and sliced

2 ribs of celery, peeled and sliced

2 scallions, peeled and sliced

1 fresh bay leaf

1 bottle of Shipyard American Pale Ale

1 lemon, sliced into thin rings

Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

To make the poaching liquid. In a large flat pan over high heat, add 1 ½ cups of chicken stock, carrots, celery, scallions, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce liquid by half. Turn heat down to medium and add the Shipyard APA. Bring the liquid to a simmer.

Thinly slice a piece of lemon and place on top of each portion of salmon. Once the liquid is simmering place the salmon skin side down on top of the vegetables and spoon some of the liquid over the fish. Cover with a lid and let poach for 5 minutes. Once the fish is firm to the touch, baste again with the poaching liquid and serve.

Find a printable version of this recipe here.

For the full RAID Series approved meal, serve the APA poached salmon with quinoa and steamed vegetables. Or for lunch, serve over a bed of mixed greens with a light vinaigrette.

Register here if you are #RAIDReady!

via Shipyard Brewing Company: American Pale Ale Poached Salmon.