Hi there! My name is Ken Romanello (@kennyromes on Instagram). A little about myself: I am 32 years old, from Port Chester, NY. I began running in the summer of 2014 while incarcerated in a CT state prison (can go deeper into that if you want to include this). 


At the time, I was out of shape and overweight (220 lbs). My first day of running I could only do 1 lap of the dirt track in our rec yard. Slowly built up my stamina to be able to run 30 minutes consistently. Was released from prison Jan 2015. Ran my first ever race (5K) in Feb that year. Fell in love with racing and signed up for at least a dozen others that year (all 5K). Challenged myself to do the NYC Half Marathon earlier this year. Have run 5K, 4mi, 8K, 10K, 10mi, and half marathons this year. Currently training for NYC Half 2017. Qualified for the 2017 NYC marathon (my first ever marathon), and will be training all summer/fall for it. Also trying to put together a team for Ragnar relay in the Adirondack (Sep 22-23). Began working with a running coach a month ago. 


Overall, running has changed my life. I've lost 50 lbs, feel great, and run every chance I get. Life goal is to be part of the 100 Half Marathon club as well as the 50 State Endurance Club (Half or full marathon in each state). I am a vegan. Turned vegan while still incarcerated (approaching 2 year anniversary Jan 1). I have a vegan food page on Instagram (@vegmatic) and have launched a vegan-inspired clothing line called Vegmatic Apparel (@vegmaticapparel, vegmaticapparel.com). 

For work I am a distribution manager for Green & Tonic in CT. We have 5 locations currently all in CT. We offer plant based health food grab and go style as well as cold pressed organic juices and smoothies. (@greenandtonic, greenandtonic.com). 


2017 goals include starting my own blog, podcast, YouTube channel,  expanding the clothing line, PR in Half Marathon (currently at 1:57) and completing 1st marathon and Ragnar. When not working and running, I help feed and clothe the homeless in NYC with my group Brown Paper Bag Movement (@brownpaperbagny). Our most recent outing was on Dec 21. We served hot food and handed out clothes and blankets. 



#RunRevolution
Happy 2017, this is the very first throwback thursday of the new year. I would like to throw it back to my very first marathon, the 2016 Soweto Marathon. To say I trained for this race would really be a joke hey. In retrospect, I would have liked to train more so that I maybe could have posted a better time, but it is what it is. 


A few months leading up to the Soweto Marathon the awesome folks at ARENA wellness offered to open up their doors to me as a complement to my usual running training. Even though I was not going to get paid for this, I jumped at their offer because training at the ARENA is electric. There really is no way to describe, you put in work shame. Even after a few months of workouts there, I never got used to them. They always knocked the wind out of me.



I attended classes at every opportunity I got so I can not tell in detail what went down at the ARENA. What I can tell you is that every class is an hour long, the workout consists of treadmill running and floor exercises and also the classes are killer! After my first class I felt like running a half marathon was an easier task. You can read about this class here

I spent so much time having running conversations while I was trying to survive until the instructor told us to switch the treadmills off. I came up with theories, conclusions and also had internal arguments, all while trying to burn this fat. Allow me to share some insights that I gained while training for the  2016 Soweto Marathon

Housewives Run FAST

I used to attend the 8 AM monday class, I liked this class because I could drop my partner off at work and use the car to attend class, then drive to university. Often times I would be the only  guy in the class, apart from the instructor. He is the instructor afterall so he couldn't feel out of place. I won't discuss my feelings though because most times I would be feeling nervous about the sweating I was about to do. Towards the end of the class the instructor would tell us to choose a speed between 14 16 and 18 km's per hour, I dreaded this moment because I hate sprints. I would always choose the lowest speed and struggled to maintain that for the few seconds they required us to. 

But not the women of the 8AM class, the women of the 8AM class always chose the highest speed or faster. Not just for the sprints though throughout the whole class they choose the highest speed and they slay it. I peeked over to their treadmills so many times and told myself that one day I would be able to run at those speeds. 


Lorna Jane Rules the North

So if you know me, you know that I am very much interested in running tights. I can have one pair of shoes, but I can never have enough tights. In my usual life, with my usual fitness circle all I see is Swoosh, but this was a new fitness circle, this was a new environment and all I could see was Lorna Jane. It was my first time being so close to it. I have heard a lot about it and how it is popular at the gyms in Johannesburg. Finally, I could see the market penetration and dominance. Lorna Jane you are loved... 

Beetroot tastes good 

Beetroot is that veggie that we only eat on a sunday, its part of the 7 colour's sunday lunch fiasco. We ate it so much that we don't want to see its foorprints any longer. We have had enough of beetroot so much that its now been pushed to the funeral food menu and even then we don't want it. Due to this, I rarely consume beetroot. After one particular class, I decided to live a little and buy the juice at the juice bar that contained beetroot, carrot, ginger etc etc. It was so good, I slurped it up so quickly that I regreted it and I wanted more. At that point I had driven too far to turn back

*Mental Note* When visiting Morningside shopping centre, visit the ARENA WELLNESS juice bar, just to order my beetroot juice

CORE STRENGTH IS LIFE 

I have been avoiding all core strength throughout my running life. I can't even tell you why I did that. When visiting the ARENA you can't run away from the core exercises. This is why I kept going bac because I knew that I needed core strength for the marathon. The journey towards my 6 pack had started, I failed to keep consistent because varsity got too hectic. Now my 6 pack lies beneath my dad bod.  


 
 FITNESS IS A COMMUNITY
All along I thought that community aspect of exercising was limited and exclusive to the running community. I was wrong though, there is a community at ARENA WELLNESS as well. Everybody knows each other, everybody knows what class they are going to and who will be there and who will be the instructor. Everybody knows which treadmill is theirs, just like how gamblers know which is their luckyslot machine. A fit community where no excuses are made and we just sweat our dad bods away, isnt that the dream community


I gained so many insights during my time at ARENA WELLNESS, I could go on forever telling you about how excited I got when the lights were dimmed and the neon lights came on. I could also tell you to bring semi frozen water because even ice melts during the workout. However there are insights which you have to derive on your own, You can do so by registering for a class on http://www.arenawellness.co.za just be prepared to Train Move Play 
#RunRevolution  
Firstly, Happy New Year. 
Secondly, enjoy the read below and every wednesdayd there will be an inspirational woman posted.
Thirdly, there is never a thirdly...  


Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living?
I write healthy lifestyle columns for a few newspapers and I'm a nutritionist as well . 

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life?
Life is about balance.  I make the time each day to honor and care for my body - I set that time aside for myself each morning before the day begins.



Q. When and why did you start running?
I've always participated in 5k's but my true love for running came when I decided to sign up for a local half marathon about 2 years ago to challenge myself.  I trained for several months in preparation for the half and through this preparation my love grew.  It became a release, a cathartic outlet in many ways.  

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?
I'm motivated by always challenging myself, future goals to set, always striving to be a better runner.


Q. What is the longest distance you have ran?
15 miles



Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?
It's a freeing experience - I love outdoor running.


Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth?
I think the lack of exercise is an issue among our youth.  The younger population seem to find more interest in video games and TV.  It's only going to cause future issues regarding health and disease.  We need to promote health and exercise in a fun manner so that our children will want to participate .


Q. What was your best running experience?
Running in a local half marathon this past November .


Q. What was your worst running experience?
Running a 7 mile trail run after a hard rain the night before and sliding up and down each hill - losing footing...at times crawling down hills!


Q. How do you push through the pain?
I push through the pain knowing that it's temporary but regret is forever.


Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?
Get out there and lace up. Put one foot in front of the other. It's not going to be easy at first but each day you will become better, each day it will become easier.


Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?
I'm on Instagram - kelliejanem

Facebook - Kellie Jane McKinney 

Two nutrition nuts (on Facebook)

Granola Gurus (on Facebook). 
 
#RunRevolution




Q. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do for a living?

My name is Shandi and I’m a Taiwanese South African who loves fitness & running. I’m currently working in JHB in sales (retail) for a South African company. I love Lorna Jane’s Active Living philosophy which is based on these 3 principles 1.)MOVE every day 2.) NOURISH your body from inside out 3.) BELIEVE in yourself. I also have a very sweet tooth and I try bake mostly Paleo-friendly treats so that I can cheat the healthy way 😊

Q. How do you balance your exercise regime and your professional life? 

Unfortunately in 2015, I found out that I have a neuroma (basically, inflamed nerves) in my right foot and that had quite a big impact on my mentality towards training… but I try to workout at least 3-4 times a week at the gym; be it running or HIIT (high intensity interval training). Yoga is also in my weekly workout but I take preference in the cardio or weight sessions. Unfortunately I work in an industry where I work weekends- naturally, that means I miss out on half of the road races every month. That makes the races I do run even more enjoyable.




Q. When and why did you start running?

Probably in 2007- this was when I started noticing runs on the weekends and always wanted to participate. I always felt a sense of respect when I saw people run long distances so I thought I would give it a shot. A race that I did year after year, was the Spar Women’s run in Centurion but thereafter I started to enter other runs as I felt there were way too many people doing Spar Women’s and didn’t want the bottleneck effect of runners to affect my time. I started running as it was something easy to get into -easy in terms of not needing equipment and it being a one-man sport. 

Q. What motivates you to go out there, when you do not feel like it?


The feeling of regret and disappointment. It’s always the waking up early that is hard but once I get to the starting line, I get hyped up with the runners around me.

Q. What is the longest distance you have ran?

A half marathon (21.1km)- my first one was the Tom Jenkins one in Pretoria with that monstrous 800m incline!

Q. What gives you the confidence to run in the streets?

I’ve never thought of that as there’s always plenty of runners at the weekend runs; but knowing that there are so many others who share the passion for running makes it pretty amazing.

Q. What do you think about the lack of exercise among the youth?

I believe technology has a lot to do with the lack of exercise- it’s much more fun to play games on the computer than exercising… but then again, PokemonGo came out and I’m sure it got a lot on inactive people to walk about and explore! Maybe more apps can be made to encourage everyone, not just the youth, to do more exercises? People just need to be made aware of the health benefits of exercise

Q. What was your best running experience?

There are so many races that I look back on, but one that was the most touching and thrilling is the Wings for Life World Run (http://www.wingsforlifeworldrun.com/za/en/) -all proceeds of this run went towards spinal cord research. This run started at the same time around the world and you basically run as far as you can until the Catcher cars get to you. Catcher cars were sent 30min into the run and as long as you were ahead of the Catcher car, you would still be in the race.

I was touched because there were numerous participants in wheelchairs who wanted to complete as much mileage as they could without the help of other runners.


Q. What was your worst running experience?

Taipei Fubon Marathon in 2013. It was winter and raining (the rain is acidic in Taiwan).. I didn’t have a cap on either so was very worried about going bald from the acid rain. I had also hit the wall at I remember after the race my friends had said that my whole body was turning blue/purple because of the cold. The towel I was using f was also soaking wet and I had nothing else to try keep myself warm. Very glad I didn’t catch a cold afterwards though! 

Q. How do you push through the pain?

Knowing that every step I take makes it one step closer to the finish line
Q. What advice can you give somebody who wants to start running?

Start small and alternate between speed walking and running if you can’t run the full distance. Check out www.runnersworld.co.za and have a look at their training plans. I would recommend doing the road races- the spirit of runners in the mornings is amazing and they will always support and encourage you!

Q. Which Social media sites are you on and how can one follow you?

Instagram @shandi_za 
#RunRevolution