Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Live with fire at SUMMER STREETS!

Disclaimer: I was compensated to attend and blog the event described below, but the participation, opinions, and reviews expressed are all my own. 

Summer Streets is an annual event where, for three consecutive Saturdays, a nearly seven-mile stretch of the road (between the Brooklyn Bridge and Central Park) is closed off to automobiles from 7am - 1pm.  This opens up the streets for adults and children to run, walk, bike, rollerblade, skateboard... and PLAY!

Along the way, there are fun, free activities to explore, learn, play, and exercise.

To help get people moving, there are six rest stops along the way, some of which may be more "restful" than others.  There were zip lines and adventure zones, as well as urban art and city picnics.

On Saturday, I woke up bright and early, glad to see the sun was coming out for a gorgeous morning.  I put on my snazzy new Reebok apparel.  In addition to the fun colors, I love the "dry-fit" technology that wicks away sweat, keeping me dry and comfortable.

The back of the shirt is a mesh material to help keep cool, the sportsbra has foam support for high intensity movement, and the dry-fit pants subtly say "FASTER" on the back. Awesome!

Not to mention the Nano sneakers, which keep my feet comfortable during all that jumping around we may end up doing in CrossFit.

My destination was Astor Place, where Reebok was running several free workouts throughout the morning.  Even on the way as early as 7am, a few people were already out and about, taking advantage of the car-free Park Avenue. It was a lovely sight!

And became more lovely as the day went on.

Reebok Fitness Zone

Down at Astor Place, I found the Reebok Fitness Zone, which took over an entire stretch of Astor Place between Lafayette and Broadway. So cool!

In the front was the sign-up for the 4k and 10k runs that would depart twice throughout the morning, led by The New York Harriers.  There was a big section marked off for the four CrossFit WODS that would take place.  There was the "Reebok Product Experience" area, where you could learn about and try on different Reebok sneakers.  Across from that was a section for kids to test out the different shoes on four types of terrain.  And lastly, in back, the area marked for special workouts: two yoga sessions, a cycling class, and a dance party.

Here's a quick overview of what went down:

Want to hear more?

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Reebok Product Experience

A place to try on the latest sneakers and ask question to the experts.  Just a quick glance at the many offerings:

And the cute "challenge" where kids could test out their new shoes on four different terrains.


I jumped right into yoga, led by Tara Stiles, whom I'd had the pleasure of meeting at the Reebok Women's Media Event in May.  I was thrilled to be doing yoga with her once again.

This yoga session was amazing for several reasons:

Not me.

First, we were practicing yoga on the pavement on a street in the middle of New York City.  That's awesome enough.

Second, doing yoga outside at all is a sublime experience.  The sun was just starting to inch out above the buildings, enough to warm us but not burn or blind us.  The breeze was heaven-sent.

There's nothing like "looking up to the sky" and literally looking up into the sky!  I made a mental note to try to do yoga or even just stretch outdoors more frequently.

My yoga view -- Feet to the sky!

Third, we were led by the esteemed Tara Stiles.  She asks "who made the rules?" and keeps yoga fun and engaging.

No moves are required.  She says to go into a pose, and then follows up by saying if it doesn't feel good, just stay where you are, or, put simply: "If that's no fun for you, don't do it."  I love how she doesn't take it too seriously as so many instructors seem to.  "It's just yoga, who cares?" she joked.

As the city started waking up and some surprised people walked by, she'd shout out "Hey, good morning!" or "Want to jump in?" to every passerby.  Some did, most didn't, but all smiled.

I'd been so tired when I arrived at 7:30, but was now wide awake and feeling fabulous. Thank you, Tara!

Want to take a class with Tara?  Check out Strala Yoga in NYC.

After yoga, I chatted with Gina as we browsed the sneaker collection and waited for the next CrossFit session to begin at 9.


Bobby, head coach at Reebok CrossFit 5th Avenue began by introducing the other coaches, asking who was completely new to CrossFit, and explaining what CrossFit is (constantly varied functional movements executed at a high level of intensity).  Then, he took us through a warm up that included jumping jacks, high knees, butt-kicks, a couple push-ups, mountain climbers, and so on.

When he called the end, a breathless woman behind me who was apparently new to CrossFit said, "That's it?" and expressed her shock, as she'd expected much more...

Mountain Climber warm-up

I turned and gently informed her that that had just been the warm-up.  She laughed and braced herself for what was still to come.

Bobby then instructed us on the three movements we'd be performing today, while Jared, another 5th Ave coach, demonstrated proper form.  Then, we would do these three moves nonstop for up to 12 minutes (or, what turned out to be 10).

Here was the WOD (Workout Of the Day), appropriately named "Burpees for Breakfast."  We would do 10 air squats, 1 push up, and 10 burpees. Then, we would do 9 air squats, 2 push ups, and 9 burpees.  Then 8, 3, 8, and so on until 10 rounds were complete.

To get the energy up, they started a heavy clap, and we all spread out and joined in the clap.  Once we were amped up, the coaches counted down: 3, 2, 1... GO!

We went.  Squats, easy at first. One push up? no problem. It's the burpees that did me in, as always. Meanwhile, the four coaches walked around, monitoring our form and helping us adjust as needed.  My speed certainly slowed by the end, but it took me around 10 minutes to complete.  Those 10 minutes were all I needed to get seriously sweaty and feel the pain.

That's exactly why CrossFit is awesome.

But that wasn't all!  We then had to do a "buy-out" to end the day, so we did planks, tabata-style, so thats 20 seconds plank, 10 seconds rest, eight times, for four minutes total.

Finally, we rounded up again, stretched, and listened to Bobby discuss everyone's favorite aspect of CrossFit: The Community.  We all did the WOD, we smiled through those burpees, and we did it together.  1-2-3 Reebok CrossFit!

Next, Gina and I hurried back to where the yoga mats had been replaced by Schwinn stationary bicycles.  We slipped into the cycling shoes provided and jumped on the last two available bikes.


This cycling class was led by Kira Stokes of Revolve (Fitness studios in NYC and DC)

She was tons of fun, laughing through the whole thing and playing GREAT music.  This ride was cool, outdoors with the sun on our faces... we got warm quickly.

The bike was unlike any I'd ridden on before; this one had a small monitor that tracks your mileage and RPM!

This allowed Kira to give instructions like "Take it to 85!  Take it to 90!" or "Up the resistance to slow to 65."  I think there are pros and cons to this, but it was certainly helpful to know at exactly what speed we were supposed to be pedaling, and Kira always had our strokes timed perfectly with the music.

It was mid-morning already, so a large crowd gathered, watching and cheering us on.  It was a little awkward watching them take our photos, but it was very motivating when they cheered us up a hill or through a sprint!

One thing I was surprised by was when Kira asked us to take the weights off the side of our bikes.  What?  I looked down, and, sure enough, there were two little weights hooked onto either side of the bike.

We slowed our feet to a stop (no pedaling and lifting, she says. Too dangerous, and better to focus on our upper body at this time). Then, we began doing some arm circuits!  We repeated the same set of moves three times through as our "Upper Body Break" before slipping the weights back on the bike and continuing our ride.

By the end of the arm workout, my arms were definitely glad to be back to cycling.  So we cycled again, had one more upper-body break for weights, and then cycled to the finish.

Overall, great time!  I'd definitely recommend cycling with Kira at Revolve.


The morning concluded with what can only be described as a giant dance party led by Calvin Wiley.  Just see the short video above for proof.

I've never seen someone have so much fun teaching dance combinations. The smile never left his face!

And umm.... did you SEE his sneakers?

He joined in the crowd as they paraded down Astor Place. Nothing like Summer Streets!

He wrapped up the show with a performance by his own dance group, who were outstanding. Highly entertaining, and the crowd enjoyed it very much.  What a way to end it!

By 12:30, I was sad it was over, but also quite drained from the activities and the sun.  It was such a fun morning, and I am so sad that it was the third of the series, and I'll have to wait until next summer to participate again.  Next summer, I'll definitely be checking out the activities on all three Saturdays!

See you there! 

Dare you to...

I want to thank Reebok and the others involved in making Summer Streets such a success!

NYC: Did you participate in Summer Streets, too? What was your favorite part??

Others: Does your city have a similar summer celebration? Tell us about it! 

Disclaimer: I was compensated to attend and blog the event described above, but the participation, opinions, and reviews expressed are all my own.  This post contains affiliate links with Reebok, which does not affect the price you see or items you may browse when visiting the Reebok website.


  1. Oh this is awesome! I wish they did something like that up here in Boston. Looks like you had a great time :)

    1. Yep, it was a blast! Maybe the idea will spread to other cities, too

  2. This looks awesome! I wish I could have gone with you! I LOVE your new kicks and tank, super cute! Looking good lady! The weights on the bike were really cool, what a great idea. Isn't Tara amazing! I took her yoga at the Fitblognyc event and loved it! Glad you enjoyed the day there!

    1. Wish you were there, too! We'll have so much fun next year :)


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