This Is Why I Run – Black Men Run

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This Is Why I Run – Black Men Run

Black Men Run is an international run group that supports a wide range of abilities and is open to everyone. From first timers to advanced runners, Black Men Run strives to promote increased fitness through a culture of running. Black Men Run Mission Statement: To encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in “A Healthy Brotherhood”. In this entry, Black Men Run member Ricardo Sandy tells us how simply doing a favor for a friend got him running marathons. Sandy resides in Brooklyn, New York as a father, ex-nightlife promoter, legal assistant, and freelance photographer.


Sandy explains, “Honestly, running is not something I grew up liking or ever thought I would enjoy. During high school I wasn’t the most athletic student and in college I became a ‘gym rat’, working out 5-6 days a week in order to create a bigger, better me minus the cardio…or so I thought.”

In early November of 2014 my friend Nyoka asked me to support her on a run she was doing in order to help improve her current health condition. Unbeknownst to me her version of support meant me training and running with her. I committed without hesitation and thanks to my usual impulsive and overzealous competitive mindset I automatically challenged her in order to help motivate her without a second thought – “If you run this race, then I’ll run a marathon!” Keep in mind, I never considered myself a runner, so I totally put my foot in my mouth with that one. With less than 2 months of training, on December 31, 2014 at 11:59 pm in 17 degrees I found myself at the starting line of my very first race in Central Park. Of course Nyoka ran and finished, as did I, which only meant I had to keep running.
Photo by: George Grullon for GnP Photos
Being a man of my word I couldn’t back down and I had to set an example for my children – “If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT” and “Always finish what you start.” During 2015 I trained for and participated in the 9+1 program in order to qualify for the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon. Along the way I documented my journey via various social media platforms (#RickRunsNYC) and to my surprise the response/support that I received was shocking. Of course your friends start with “What are you running from?”, which was followed by “Run Forest Run.” It didn’t take long for my friends to realize that this had transitioned from just a challenge to a healthier lifestyle change for me . Their continued support was overwhelming and the comedic jab “Run Forest Run” became few and far. I had finally found a sport that gave me the most satisfaction, fed my competitive nature with a full on crowd of strangers cheering you on every step of the way, and all while becoming a healthier individual. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without music either. Music helps me get through my runs and greatly influences my pace. I usually start off with something slow then I kick it up a notch with each song until there is a full on party going on by the time I get to the finish line.
 Photo by: Gurber Mathews Photography New York
After qualifying for the NYC Marathon and during the second leg of the journey to my first marathon, where I needed more motivation, my friend Michael Lewis introduced me to Black Men Run (“BMR”). I am not going to lie, I was reluctant at first, but with a little coaxing (and background checking) in May of 2016 I came out for my first “Sunday Runday”. The motivation, camaraderie, and accountability, through the motto “No Man Left Behind” displayed by this group of men during that 1.5 hours of training made me realize that this is where I wanted to be and the support system that I needed to get me over the hump and to the finish line – and it’s free…sign me up! BMR is a global (yes we’re in Europe) run group whose mission statement is “To encourage health and wellness among African American men by promoting a culture of running/jogging to stay fit resulting in ‘A Healthy Brotherhood’.” I trained for a little over 5 months with my brothers for the run of a lifetime , I was guided by the wisdom of veteran runners as well as through the run regimen provided by our run coach and captains.

Photo by: Gurber Mathews Photography New York
On November 6, 2016, after running across 5 bridges, through 5 boroughs, and 26.2 miles for 4 plus hours I became a MARATHONER – part of the 1% Club! It was at the moment I crossed the finish line that I realized my running had just begun. Along my run journey I met some very inspiring and awesome individuals that have accomplished amazing things in the running community. It also seems that I became an inspiration to others as well. The combination fueled me and I developed new goals, one of which was not my own but none the less I set out on a quest to help my BMR brother, Mike become a Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series Hall of Famer. How do you become a hall of Famer you ask? One must do 15 marathons or half marathons within 1 calendar year from January to December. This would be my biggest challenge/commitment yet. After 15 cities in 12 states and 2 countries Mike and I are in the Hall of Fame. The series was less about the medals (there were many) and more about the people we met, relationships we built (shout to the RunFam) and memories that will last a lifetime.
Photo by: Joe Casimir of JCasimir Photos


My accolades to date are approximately 62 races with 634 race miles (give or take a few). The highlights thus far are: 2016 TCS New York City Marathon; 2017 Bank of America Chicago Marathon; 2017 TCS New York City Marathon; 2017 Rock ‘n’ Roll Run Series Hall of Fame; and the 2017 St. Jude’s Memphis Marathon. 2017 was a great year in my running career, and honestly, I’m not sure yet how to top it, but I know I’m not going to stop as I have my eyes set on the prize: all of the Abbott World Marathon Majors and to become a Six Star Finisher!


Check out Black Men Run’s playlist of the week:


Keep in touch with Black Men Run!


12 Days of Christmas

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12 Days of Christmas

We feel really lucky to have a loyal community stoking our passion everyday, and we want to celebrate you this Christmas season with our 12 Days of Christmas giveaway! 12 Days of Christmas is a special giveaway where we’ll be giving away a pair of buds (X3, FREEDOM 2, or RUN chosen at random) daily during the 12 days leading up to Christmas.



All you need to do is hashtag #12daysofjaybird on your running photos on Instagram. We’ll choose a winner each day beginning December 13th until Christmas Eve. We hope you keep using music as a tool to get you out the door on the crisp days ahead. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
To Enter:
-Follow @jaybirdsport on Instagram

-Hashtag #12daysofjaybird on your running photos on Instagram

-Have fun and get psyched for the holidays!


“I enjoy how winter makes you change things up. You need to embrace the slog fest, put on some winter traction (I like micro-spikes) and breath in that fresh mountain air.” – Timothy Olson, Jaybird Athlete


“The Holidays are always full of hustle and bustle, I love running during this time of year as a way to slow down my mind and reflect on the things that are most important; family, friends, health, and gratitude.” – Luke Nelson, Jaybird Athlete


“While the holidays can be some of the best times of the year, they can also be very stressful. The combo of sitting around more and stuffing my face w/ holiday treats can lead me to feeling less than stellar physically and mentally. That’s why I love to get out in the fresh air for a run. Best way to clear my mind, and work off all those rich holiday foods. Running during the holidays also benefits my family as I’m much more pleasant to be around after I’ve gotten my ya-yas out!” – Rory Bosio, Jaybird Athlete

Volcano Running in Long Valley Caldera

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Volcano Running in Long Valley Caldera

Andrew Miller is an accomplished photographer, adventurer and creative director focusing most of his work in winter climates exploring and chasing storms usually with a snowboard under his feet. From the Andes, Alps, Interior B.C. to the West Fjords of Iceland and high peaks of the Himalayas his award winning images has taken him to remote mountain ranges across the globe while working with a vast range of clients and editorial titles worldwide.  From the skin track, helipad to the resort lift and sled trail Andrew has been out there creating his work and quickly establishing himself as one of the most well rounded photographers in the snow industry.


When you think of the word caldera, the first thing that comes to mind is lava, extreme temps, and a rugged volcanic landscape. Situated in the heart of the Eastern Sierra, Long Valley is one of the earth’s largest calderas created by a massive volcanic eruption over 700,000 years ago. In this massive crater sits one of the most unique landscapes in the west. The valley is lush with rich green pastures, winding rivers, glacial lakes, and natural hot springs surrounded by a vast range of some of the highest and most rugged peaks in the U.S. When people visit to hike, bike, run, snowboard, fish, or off-road, most don’t realize they are doing these activities inside, on, or next to an active volcano.


There’s no better way to take in this 20 mile long, 11 mile wide beast then by foot. The large amount of BLM protected land and miles of unpaved back roads make for an amazing trail system to enjoy all the unique qualities of this area up close. A typical afternoon adventure run starts somewhere around the lake. You can follow the rivers and take a dip to cool off before gaining some elevation, cruising through various forest burns, and scrambling through some obsidian rock domes. Finally, you can top things off with an epic sunset view on top of the vista. As the end of summer is nearing, these long warm days on the trails will soon fade as the leaves start to change, temps drop, and the landscape slowly turns white. Get it in while you can… winter is coming!


Great place to reflect on things under the watchful eyes of Mt Morrison & Mt Laurel.

As you get higher up the Long Valley Caldera the scene changes from green pastures to a sea of rocky obsidian making you feel like you’ve landed on mars.

Best part of exploring this area on foot is finding secret spots off the trail that you might normally just drive past without noticing.

Miles and miles of back gravel roads all to yourself here in the heart of the Eastern Sierras.


Always more inspiring to run through a multitude of different landscapes throughout the day. Here, remnants of an old forest fire charred the land but after a record breaking winter the spring & summer run-off rapidly increased new growth restarting the cycle of life and making for really enjoyable soft and fast trails.


Various Obsidian domes lay across the Caldera making from some fun scrambling and trippy views across the shiny volcanic glass rock.


Empty roads, colorful California wildflowers, and towering 13,000ft peaks make for some easy motivation to keep up the pace.


The halfway point on this run requires a mandatory dip in the river for a quick recharge. This is just few miles down from the Hot Creek geological site, so the water’s just the perfect temperature for a warm day.


Smokey Sunsets up on the Minaret Vista and the edge of Caldera. All that is West from here is endless miles of rugged trails, passes, and peaks just waiting to be explored.

Long Distance Runner Jennifer Kyle Talks Food and Running

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Long Distance Runner Jennifer Kyle Talks Food and Running

My name is Jennifer Kyle and I am usually running. Or eating. Sometimes, I am doing both at once. That’s when I know I am doing life right. I love to train for and run half and full marathons. I live in the epic running mecca that is the Bay Area.


What is it about food and running? They are so linked, yet challenging for so many. When you can use them together to nourish your body, the results are always positive. I think one of the biggest challenges around food is that every body is so different. That ultimately means that you have to be your own experiment. There is no set path for success. It has taken me years to try, fail, re-try and test new foods, what to eat, when to eat, and how much. By no means am I done yet, nor do I want to be. Food is a celebration, food is fuel, and food is a big part of social interaction.


So how do I marry that with my training? The answer is different depending on the day. I like to run first thing in the morning. If I am going out for an easy run, and/or I am not hungry right when I wake up, I might not worry about a snack before I run. If I am hungry when I wake up, or if I have a challenging workout, I like to put something in my stomach. A few examples of this might be: a waffle (I like the Salted Caramel ones from Gu), dates with peanut butter on them, an English muffin, a banana, or oatmeal. I keep foods that I eat prior to running pretty plain, high in carbs, and quick to digest. I also prefer to choose unprocessed foods. Especially if I am training for a race and using carb gels or other sports foods during my workout, I like to keep the processed foods outside of that to a minimum. It just keeps my gut happier.


Photo Credit: Tracey Mammolito

After my workout I am ALWAYS ready for breakfast. Breakfast is the best meal of the day. Fight me on that. I’ll win while I eat a delicious egg sandwich. I try to make that meal a good balance of protein, carbs and fats. It might be oatmeal with fruit & peanut butter or avocado & a veggie scramble with toast.  After a long run or especially hard workout, my appetite is sometimes suppressed for a couple of hours. That doesn’t mean I skip out on my recovery meal or snack, because the hour right after you work out is an important window of time to begin the recovery process. In that situation I go for chocolate milk or a smoothie. Chocolate milk has the 4:1 carb:protein ratio that is good for recovery. It is also delicious and something I will rarely turn down. An hour or two after that I am usually ready for a big meal.


Photo Credit: Tracey Mammolito

Once your workout is over and you have refueled, you are not done nourishing your body. I used to make that mistake and it showed in my training and recovery. The rules of thumb that I have found work for me are:


  1. Eat when you are hungry. Just because it is not lunch “time” doesn’t mean you can’t be hungry. Try not to cling to specific schedule of food if you are finding yourself hungry all the time.
  2. Eat mindfully. SLOW DOWN. Take a breath and enjoy your food. Don’t eat so fast you can’t even register when you are hungry. I still fail at this on a weekly, even daily basis. It’s ok if you do too – just keep trying.  
  3. Eat enough. Don’t be afraid to feel full. Sure, you don’t want to stuff yourself to bursting at every meal. That probably wouldn’t be very productive. However, if you are hungry an hour or two after every meal, you may not be eating enough. Try to make sure you are eating carbs/proteins/fats at every meal.
  4. Eat the rainbow. Vegetables and fruits – your mom was right, you need them. Eat things that have fewer ingredients in them. Don’t be too scientific about it, but fewer ingredients usually mean more nutrients.
  5. Give yourself a break. Have a beer, eat a slice of pizza (or three), share a slice of cake with your significant other. Don’t freak out if you ate so much you feel sick. Don’t freak out if you ate something that isn’t the pinnacle of health. As long as you are making more nutritious choices than not, you are doing great. Besides, that cookie to celebrate your latest PR may not be the picture of nutrition, but it is just as important for your mental health.   


Photo Credit: Tracey Mammolito

I hope that what I have learned through my personal experiences can help you. Below you will find my current playlist of the week. It is ever changing, and there it absolutely no purposeful theme. I save this playlist for races and it helps me drop the hammer when I need to every time. Sometimes I even use my Freedoms to click through to my favorite finish line song – “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by the Dropkick Murphys.  



(Please note than I am not a doctor or registered dietician. Please do what is best for you & your needs.)

Jaybird and Runkeeper Team Up to Offer the Ultimate Listening Experience for Runners

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Jaybird and Runkeeper Team Up to Offer the Ultimate Listening Experience for Runners

If you’re a runner, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Runkeeper. This mobile app helps you track workouts, set goals, follow a running plan, stay motivated, and see your progress in an easy-to-use interface. It is one of the most popular personal fitness programs out there, and today, we have announced a collaboration  to help bring music to where you run.


For many runners, you wouldn’t even think about hitting the road or trails without bringing your favorite music with you. Running is all about finding your rhythm and settling into a groove, and for many, listening to music is key. Music helps keep your mind off achy joints, shortness of breath and overall fatigue.


Even Runkeeper realizes that music and running go hand in hand. In fact, over the last 90 days, more than 65 percent of Runkeeper users listened to music while tracking their activity!


The Collaboration

Runkeeper and Jaybird are committed to providing a custom running and listening experience to help take each of your future workouts to the next level. Whether training for a marathon, your first 5K, or just getting in shape, our collective goal is to help power your run.


Jaybird is offering several opportunities to Runkeeper users, including the Jaybird X3 Challenge, which more than 125,000 Runkeeper users have already stepped up to complete. Now through June 12, users can join the X3 Challenge and track five activities within the app. Those who complete the challenge receive $20 off the Jaybird X3 Wireless Headphones.

Jaybird and Runkeeper are also collaborating on regular Music Monday content and shakeout runs in locations across the U.S. throughout 2017.  

Download the Runkeeper app and start pairing your runs with your favorite set of Jaybird earbuds.


Once you put a few runs under your belt, let us know in the comments what new challenges you’d like to see added that combine your love of running with the power of music. We’d also love to know what songs get you going on your runs!




Playlist of the Week by Samantha Katz

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Playlist of the Week by Samantha Katz


My body jolts to life as my alarm clock blares on the nightstand beside me. I slowly open one eye, then the other, and peer at the glowing red light. The clock reads 4:00am. Doesn’t it feel like your alarm always goes off just seconds after you finally fall asleep?


Most people hate Mondays. They coin phrases like “Monday Blues,” and “Case of the Mondays.” I, on the other hand, love Mondays. To me, Mondays represent a brand new week; A fresh start and an opportunity to leave all of last week’s woes and stresses behind me. Mondays also follow Sundays, which are days for recovery and relaxation for me. My body is strongest on Mondays. I wake up feeling well rested, focused and ready conquer. Like Mondays, most people also hate leg days… squats and deadlifts and lunges, oh my. Like Mondays, I love leg days. I get high off of pushing my body to levels beyond what I thought was possible just days before. Today is Monday and today is leg day. I give my alarm clock a whack and jump out of bed, ready to begin my pre-workout routine.


My pre-workout routine always begins with a nutrient dense meal. Food for fuel.. that’s my motto. I throw some oatmeal into a pot of boiling water and watch as it absorbs every last drop. I do not fear the carb, and neither should you! I down my oatmeal like it is the first time I have eaten in weeks, guzzle a protein shake, grab my water and my X3 Bluetooth headphones and run out the door like a kid on Christmas morning. My blood is pumping and my heart is racing as I cruise to the gym, anxiously anticipating the taxing 90-minute workout that lies ahead. I can literally hear my mind giving my body a pep talk as the neurons from my brain engage the nerve endings of every one of my muscles. This may sound insane to most people but I live for this.


I wrap my headphones around my head and position each bud in each ear. It is the music that fuels me. The moment I hit play I enter a new dimension; a world in which only I and the bar before me exist. Sweat is dripping down my face, my neck, my chest, my arms and my legs. My whole body is shaking, unsure as to whether or not it will survive one last set. It does. It always does…