We love body-weight workouts. And why not? A good one can sky-rocket your heart rate, burn a ton of calories, and help relieve stress. The downside: If you have zero equipment -- for example, no chinup bar -- you won't be able to work the muscles of your back. And that's a shame, since ignoring your back not only means you burn fewer calories, but it can also lead to poor posture.

The good news: A beach towel can help. By strategically positioning the towel, you can perform an isometric row -- an exercise in which you contract your back muscles hard and hold them that way. Plus, because you stand in a split stance, the exercise forces your hip muscles to contract hard, too. Read: Your glutes will burn! And if that's not enough, it's also a simple way to pump up your biceps -- which might come in handy if you're actually using the beach towel on the beach.

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If the path to a flatter stomach were paved with crunches, every person with a gym membership would sport a six-pack. "But crunches only flex your trunk," says Todd Durkin, C.S.C.S., author of The IMPACT! Body Plan and creator of The 28-Day Fat-Torch. "To sculpt a stronger, more chiseled core, you need to train it the way it functions." Or, more specifically, all the ways it functions.

See, the more than two dozen muscles between your hips and shoulders are what allow you to bend and rotate your torso. They also stabilize your spine as you mow the lawn, carry unruly toddlers, do pushups, spike volleyballs, and otherwise go about the motions of daily life. That's why trying to build a solid center with only crunches, which target your rectus abdominis (the six-pack muscle), is like trying to build powerful legs by focusing only on your quads. The result is all show and no go.

Update your ab routine with these two exercises. "They'll challenge your core from every angle, making you stronger in everything you do," says Durkin. They'll also give you something to bare at the beach. For the best results, pair these core-sculpting moves with Durkin's 28-Day Fat-Torch, a metabolic training plan that will strip away the fat covering your abs for good.

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A few years ago, one of my friends at Men's Health stepped on the scale and was horrified by the result. He'd somehow managed to pack 20 pounds of flab onto his previously skinny frame. When he looked into the mirror, he saw a fat guy staring back. He decided to make a change, quick. 

That day, he gave up his beloved soda. He was only drinking two or three bottles a day, but over the course of six months, he dropped those 20 pounds. It was a small change to his lifestyle -- no big deal, really. And yet, it had a massive impact on his health and his body. (No surprise: Drinking calories is one of the 20 Habits That Make You Fat.)

My point: Making small decisions each day can result in big-time fat loss.

Below are dozens of simple ways to lose weight. Start with one -- today! -- and watch the weight begin to melt away. Trust me, this is going to be easier than you think.

1. Have a clear goal. It should be one that anyone in the world can measure and understand.

2. Drink tea. Research suggests that those who drink tea -- black, green, or white, as long as it’s from real tea versus herbal tea -- have lower BMIs and less body fat than those who don’t consume tea.

3. Eat cayenne pepper. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that when compared to placebo, capsaicin -- the active ingredient in cayenne -- increased fat burning.

4. Decrease/eliminate processed carbs. They do nothing for you outside of creating a favorable environment for gaining fat.

5. Eat more veggies. They fill you up, without providing many calories. Just avoid the high-calorie dressings.

6. Eat more fruit. No one ever gained weight from eating more fruit. And that includes the so-called "high sugar" fruits like bananas and melons.

7. Lift weights. Heavy weights. Build more muscle, burn more calories.

8. Cut down rest time between sets. This will keep your heart rate elevated causing an increase in calories burned. The good news: You can sky-rocket your heart rate and torch belly-fat fast with The Spartacus Workout for Men and The Spartacus Workout for Women -- the most popular fat-blasting workouts in Men's Health and Women's Health history.

9. Do intervals. Study after study after study continues to show intervals are more effective and time efficient than longer activity performed at a lower intensity.

10. Eat more protein. Replacing refined carbohydrates with lean protein will not only help satiate you, but will also increase your metabolism -- through something called the thermic effect of food.

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You're dropped off in the middle of nowhere on the Russia-Finland border. Sure, the scenery is pristine and the air is fresher than anything you've ever breathed. But you aren't there to sit back and soak in the breathtaking scenery. You have mountains to climb, rapids to kayak and caves to spelunk. You're taking on the Red Fox Adventure Race, and you're going to need those breaths.

Extreme adventure races, like Tough Mudder, Spartan and Warrior Dash, have taken the American fitness community by storm. But this is another, more complicated animal. Adventurers have been facing the Red Fox, Russia's most popular and prestigious adventure race, for ten years. The tenth anniversary race was held June 10-12 in the beautiful Karelia region. Many of the popular races in the U.S. involve man-made obstacles, like barbed wire crawls and fire pits. But the Red Fox Adventure Race uses the unforgiving topography of the region to challenge competitors, who race in teams of two or four, in kayaking, white water rafting, spelunking coastering, mountain biking and rock climbing.

Organizers expected even the top participants to take at least 36 hours to finish the course, which takes place over about 186 miles and numerous checkpoints. But the winning team of Red Fox 2012 -- Igor Klepcha and Irina Safronova -- finished in less than 25 hours.

"We rode bikes, pedaled in the river and in the White Sea and climbed mountains, and that all happened in 24 hours," Klepcha told Russia Today.

More than one third of the 64 teams never reached the finish line, which just goes to show, you don't need fire pits to make a challenging race. Sometimes you don't have to change a thing about the terrain, and nature will provide the most unforgiving challenge.

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If you want to work your guns and your lungs, you have to try the resistance-band jumping jack curl, from B.J. Gaddour, creator of SPEED SHRED -- the first-ever DVD transformation program from Men's Health. The exercise is exactly what it sounds like: You do a resistance-band curl as you perform a jumping jack. But don't mistake this for some Denise Austin band exercise. This one is surprisingly brutal -- in a good way!

That's because you'll loop the band around your feet, which will force your glutes to fire every time you kick your legs out. So it adds a new challenge to the jumping jack. And, of course, curling as you do the jacks will leave your biceps burning.

Watch the video to see how to do the resistance-band jumping jack curl with perfect form. (You'll need a large continuous loop resistance band; we like the ones at resistancebandtraining.com.)

Then try this routine for a total-body blast that will light your arms, glutes, and lungs on fire: Simply perform the movement for 20 seconds, then rest for 10 seconds. That's one set. Do a total of eight sets, for a surprisingly tough four-minute routine.

You can also mix it up by alternating sets of the jumping jack curls with jumping jack overhead presses. (Press the band overhead as you do a jumping jack.) So in this case, you'd do four sets of each exercise.

And if you like the challenge of this workout, you'll love SPEED SHRED. With 18 workouts -- and hundreds of cutting-edge exercises -- this plan will change the way you train forever. All to get you lean, ripped, and shredded!

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By DualFit.com

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a wildly popular method of exercising that focuses on bursts of intense activity followed by short periods of rest and recovery. A typical HIIT workout consists of roughly 60 seconds of high intensity training and 90 seconds of rest, and then repeated for 15 minutes or so.

This style of workout has been proven very effective at increasing cardiovascular health, and studies have shown that in just two weeks of HIIT, young men developed significant increases in resistance to insulin, helping prevent Type II Diabetes. Another benefit of HIIT is an increased capacity for oxygen in your lungs. If you train via HIIT, you will find it much easier to climb a flight of stairs or go on a light jog without becoming winded.

If you're looking to get "swole," then you might be overlooking HIIT as a method for bulking up. Studies have shown that in the 24 hours after a HIIT workout, the body produces 450 percent more human growth hormone than normal. HGH is the stuff that encourages your body to build lean muscle mass. HIIT has also been shown to increase your metabolism substantially in the 24 hours following the exercise. Anytime you have the opportunity to increase your metabolism, do it. It not only aids in weight loss, it keeps the body healthy on the inside as well.

Find the routine that is right for you and do it! The faster you begin, the faster the results start pouring in. You will need a heart rate monitor to perform these exercises with maximum effectiveness. For the strenuous part of the exercise, your goal should be to have your heart pumping at 85 percent of its maximum rate.

To find your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220 and you will have a decent estimate. Training beyond 85 percent of your maximum heart rate increases the risk of injury without providing any added benefit. Without further ado, let's "HIIT" the gym:

HIIT On A Cycle
This one has sets that are a bit longer than most HIIT routines but is good for those looking to emphasize Lance Armstrong-style leg endurance. You will find yourself biking the French Alps in no time.

Routine No. 1
-- Do a three-minute warmup period at medium pace with no incline/resistance. (60-80 RPM)
-- Thirty seconds in, increase the resistance and add a level of steepness but keep the RPM above 80.
-- Keep repeating until you cannot hold a pace above 80 RPM.
-- Rest for two minutes and repeat as desired. Your goal should be to work up to a 15-minute cycle workout. The 15 minutes should include the five-minute warm-up and cool-down.

Routine No. 2
-- Bike for five minutes to warm up.
-- Cycle at maximum intensity for one minute.
-- Coast for one minute.
-- Repeat the maximum intensity set for one minute.
-- Rinse and repeat for 15 minutes with a five-minute period of light activity at the end.

The "Old Fashioned"
This one combines the earth and your feet to create a powerful workout that will have your glutes set ablaze. In other words, we will be sprinting.

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-- Do a light jog for five minutes to warm up.
-- Sprint for thirty seconds (if you're new) or one minute (seasoned vet) at near maximum intensity.
-- Go back to a light jog for one minute to a minute and a half.
-- Repeat for 17 minutes, at the end of your routine do a five-minute cool-down.

Row Your Boat
Whether you are on the row team at Princeton or just want to build back and shoulder strength while maintaining cardiovascular health, try this HIIT exercise.

-- Warm up for three minutes or so.
-- Immediately after the three minutes are up, go hard for 60 seconds.
-- Take a 60-second break.
-- Do another 60 seconds of maximum intensity.
-- Repeat for 17 minutes while allowing for a five-minute cool-down.

The Butt Routine
For this one you will need either a Stairmaster or a set of stairs that takes you roughly 60 seconds to climb. Your butt will be a masterpiece after doing this for a couple of months. Since we are going to be putting a lot of stress on our legs and glutes, let's make sure to stretch before with this one.

-- Ascend and descend the stairs for five minutes or so. Do this at a light pace, as this is our warm up.
-- After your warm up, climb the stairs or Stairmaster at maximum intensity for 45 seconds to a minute.
-- Rest for one minute. If you are really looking to build those legs, do some light lunges during your rest.
-- Do another set of high-intensity stair climbs.
-- Repeat for five minutes, then do a five-minute long cool-down (continuous and light.)

The One That No One Likes
Most people do not like doing pushups. It's a hard exercise, and if you don't have a lot of upper body strength, it can be especially strenuous. Perform this HIIT exercise if you want to build upper body strength while maintaining cardiovascular excellence.

-- For this one, we are going to break the mold and warm up with five minutes of jumping jacks. You will feel like a kid again.
-- After your warm-up, plop down and pound out a set of pushups at maximum intensity for 60 seconds.
-- Take a minute and a half break.
-- Keep doing sets of pushups/breaks for five minutes.
-- Do another five minutes of light jumping jacks for your cool down.

The Core Crusher
This one is a staff favorite here at Dual Fit. Our favorite lifting routines call for a rest day consisting of cardiovascular exercise and abdominal work. This high intensity interval training routine combines the best of both worlds. Utilize this workout if you are looking to build up core strength while maintaining cardiovascular fitness.

-- Much like with the pushup routine listed above, we will start by doing a five-minute light jog to warm up.
-- Head over to your gym's power tower (or captain's chair) and do 60 seconds of full-out, high-intensity knee raises. You will feel the burn, rest assured.
-- Rest for 60 seconds.
-- Do another set of intensity-filled knee raises and rest. Repeat for five minutes.
-- Do a five-minute light jog to cool down.

Feel The Greatness
As you can see, HIIT is very versatile. You can mix and match and even create your own routines. The main emphasis for someone new to HIIT should be a routine that goes hard for 60 seconds and then breaks for a minute to two minutes, depending on the exercise involved. As you get accustomed to HIIT, you can lower the work to rest ratio from 3:1 to something like 2:1 and eventually even 1:1. Just make sure that you are ready before jumping to the next level.

Since you are going to be performing these exercises at a very high rate of speed and intensity, you will want to make sure to stretch thoroughly before the workout. You know how easy it would be to pull a hamstring during sprints or to pull a quad on the cycle without stretching and warming up? Very easy. Since we are going to be pushing ourselves to the maximum, warm-ups and cool-downs are extremely important as well.

If you have heart disease or a family with a history of heart problems, you will want to consult a doctor before beginning a high intensity interval training program. If you smoke, are sedentary, are overweight, or are over the age of 60, then it would be wise to consult a doctor before jumping into an exercise like this. If you are out of shape, start out slow and gradually work your way up to a fitter, healthier you.

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The Association of Volleyball Professional was forced to suspend operations in 2010 because of financial problems, but with support from Jose Cuervo in 2011, the circuit was back in business. Now in its second season, the Jose Cuervo Pro Volleyball Series is underway. It is running an event this weekend Belmar, N.J., and has dates booked in Chicago and Southern California from July through September. Sean Scott, a native of Hawaii, played in at least one championship match in seven consecutive seasonson the AVP Tour (2003-2009). Last season, he and John Hyden won two of the three Cuervo events. Scott will turn 39 during the season but has a regimen that keeps in top shape.


ThePostGame: How did it feel to get off to a good start on the tour?
SEAN SCOTT: It was really nice. Last year we had a lot of success on the Cuervo tour, and both my partner and I are getting older so it was nice to reaffirm that we still have what it takes to win tournaments.

TPG: How would you describe atmosphere?
SCOTT: I think most of the players are really excited to have the Jose Cuervo Pro Beach Volleyball tour back in action. Jose Cuervo has been such an integral part of beach volleyball for a number of years, and to have them back and build on the series from last year is nothing but positive.

TPG: What's your overall training routine?
SCOTT: My partner and I ... play professionally for a living so we take it very seriously and train a lot in the offseason, especially as we've gotten older and there's less down time. So we watch what we eat pretty well. He has a trainer he works with three or four days a week in the gym. I have a trainer I work with three or four days in the gym, and then we usually get in the sand three days a week.

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By DualFit.com

Often overlooked as a necessity to many, the calves are an essential component in building stronger and more proportional looking legs. Formally called the gastrocnemius, the calf muscle is located on the back of your leg between your knee and ankle.

The calf muscle has two heads called the medial head and the lateral head–diametrically opposed to the gastrocnemius and soleus. This muscle is primarily responsible for the plantar flexion of the ankle and the flexion of the knee. There's another muscle that's often mislabeled as being part of the calf muscle and that's the soleus. This muscle is located outside of the gastrocnemius, also assists in the plantar flexion of the ankle, and plays a significant role in most calf exercises.

Seated Calf Raise
The seated calf raise works both the calf muscle and the soleus. To begin, sit on the machine and place your feet on the platform below. Make sure only your toes are on the foot platform while your heels are hanging off. There's an adjustable thigh pad that needs to be lowered until it's firmly positioned against your thighs. On top of the thigh pad there are two hand grips to hold on to while performing the exercise.

Once you are properly positioned, push up on your toes so the weighted lever is lifted off its rack. Then reach down to the side of you and pull the safety lever so that the rack is moved out of the way. Now slowly lower your heels as you begin to feel the weight on your calves as they become fully stretched. Next, push up on your toes as high as you can go and briefly pause at the top before returning back down. Repeat this movement for the desired amount of sets and repetitions.

Once finished, push up on your toes and then pull the safety lever back into its original position so you can rack the weight. Make sure you keep the movement slow and under control. Do not perform the repetitions at a fast pace as it could lead to ankle or calf injuries.

Standing Calf Raise
Standing calf raises have a few variations but the most standard method of this exercise is using a standing calf raise machine. Adjust the shoulder pads to compensate for your height. Step up onto the foot stand with your toes and the balls of your feet on the foot stand, leaving your heels hanging off. Make sure your shoulders are firmly placed under the shoulder pads, your torso is straight and your knees have a slight bend.

To begin, push upward on your toes and momentarily pause at the top of your movement. Slowly return the weight down until your heels are hanging off the foot stand. Repeat this movement for the desired amount of sets and repetitions. Always keep the weight under control throughout the entire movement. Never lock your knees during this exercise as it could lead to injury. If you suffer any lower back pain then choose another calf exercise as this one places significant pressure on the lower back.

Dumbbells and barbells can be used instead of the machine for standing calf raises. The movement is performed the same but you have to find an elevated foot stand or an aerobics step to allow for your heels to hang off.

Leg Press Calf Raise
The leg press calf raise involves the usage of a standard leg pres machine in which you push upward at a 45 degree angle. This exercise can be done with one leg or both legs. To begin, sit in the machine with your back and head against the back rest. Your upper body should make a 90-degree angle with your legs as you position sit down. Next, place your toes and the balls of your feet at the bottom of the foot platform. Push the weight up with your toes and release the safety levers which will place all of the weight on your feet and legs. Do not lock out your knees when pushing the foot platform as this could lead to possible knee injuries.

Slowly lower the weight until your heels are lowered and your ankles are bent. You will feel a significant stretch on the calves at this point. Repeat this movement for the desired amount of sets and repetitions. Always keep the weight under control as you slowly perform the exercise.

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More From DualFit.com:
-- Interview: 2009 Fitness America World Champion Tiffani Bachus
-- HIIT: High Intensity Interval Training
-- 5 Shoulder Sculpting Exercises
-- The Truth About Organic Foods

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By DualFit.com

With all of the fancy new exercise equipment nowadays, the Pilates machine (technically known as a reformer) has become one of the most popular the past couple of years. The Pilates reformer takes exercise to whole other level.

What Is Pilates?
Pilates, created by Joseph Pilates, is a form of exercise that focuses on balance to improve strength and flexibility throughout the whole body. The main concept that Pilates is designed around is core strength. Your core muscles are the deep, internal muscles of the abdomen and the back.

Joseph Pilates originally developed this method of exercise in the 1920s as a rehab program for prisoners of war. The principles of Pilates are centering, control, flow, breath, precision and concentration.

If you've never taken a Pilates class or seen one in action, you may not be aware of what it's like. Pilates is similar to a yoga atmosphere. It's very slow paced, relaxing and requires full concentration. Breathing technique is very important while doing this kind of exercise. There are many benefits to Pilates some including increased flexibility, increased coordination, and decreased stress levels. This exercise program can be done by almost anyone. It's a low-impact exercise that will only benefit you.

What Is A Pilates "Reformer"?
Pilates was traditionally done on a floor with a mat. Many people and gyms still do the traditional Pilates class this way. But some advanced classes to using a machine that has become a hit in the fitness industry. The Pilates reformer is an exercise machine that is used for a more challenging and intense workout. The reformer uses resistance that allows the body to work a tad harder to gain strength and flexibility than performing the original method of Pilates using your own body weight as resistance.

A Pilates reformer might seem a little intimidating because it may look like a torture device rather than an exercise machine. But this machine will only torture you in a good way. There are many different kinds of reformers that can be used. The traditional Pilates reformer is about the length of a twin size bed and the width of a regular sized dresser. You are able to lie down, stand up, kneel, or sit in any position on this machine. The machine contains many springs which provide the resistance as well as adjustable pulleys and ropes that allow you to perform all kinds of exercises.

What Are The Benefits Of Using A Reformer?
Like mat Pilates, the Pilates reformer has a ton of benefits, including ...

Increased flexibility. If you are looking for a good stretch, try out the Pilates reformer. Most of the exercises that are done using the reformer focus on lengthening and stretching out the muscles. The stretches that are done target every single muscle group. Because of the benefit of increased flexibility, many dancers and athletes use the Pilates reformer.

Improved posture. If you find yourself slouching all of the time, you may want to begin using this machine. Like the flexibility benefit, a lot of the exercises are focused around the core. This puts a spotlight on spinal flexibility. For most people, standing up straight is an exercise in itself. If you do not have a strong core and a flexible spine, you may find it hard to stand up straight. Participating in Pilates will definitely help to strengthen your core and flex your spine in order keep your posture right.

Stronger core. If you've been trying to get that six-pack and nothing has seemed to work, enough with the crunches and get yourself on a reformer. Pilates main focus is the core. Almost every exercise you perform on this machine will have some connection to using your core. Rather than doing strictly abdominal exercise, participating in Pilates will work your core muscles more than you probably ever have. Having a strong core is very important for many aspects of daily life. Nowadays, there are so many people who suffer from low back pain and the number one cause of lower back pain is a weak core. By strengthening your core, you will not only get flat abs but you will notice a difference in all kinds of daily activities from tying your shoes to getting in and out of the car.

Increased muscular endurance. Increasing your muscular endurance is important for all people that participate in any kind of exercise program whether it is Pilates, yoga, running, or body building. Muscular endurance is the muscles ability to sustain a repeated action against resistance. Building your muscular endurance will allow you to do more exercises, for longer periods. For example, the first time you performed a set of bicep curls, your biceps were probably weak and were not able to complete many reps. In time, you continued to train and your biceps became stronger and were able to do more bicep curls than the first time. This is a prime example of muscular endurance. By using the Pilates reformer, your muscles will be working against a resistance which can really help to increase muscle endurance.

Achieve a stunning physique. Have you ever seen a Pilates instructor? If you have, I'm sure you have noticed their long, toned, lean muscles. Many people associate Pilates with women who don't like to sweat. This is a false accusation that probably ticks off people that do Pilates. Pilates works the muscles in a different way than weight training does. Rather than shortening the muscles to produce a bulky look, the muscle fibers are stretched and elongated to produce a toned look. This is the reason that Pilates has more of a female base. Many females want that long, sleek look rather than the big, bulky look.

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Pilates, Power

To become a greyhound, you've got to work like a dog, says Debbra Jacobs-Robinson of San Diego. And she has. At the Honda Los Angeles Marathon, Jacobs-Robinson ran her 121st marathon as a leader with the CLIF Bar Pace Team.

For the past 10 years, the team of 30 expert marathoners have helped beginner and competitive runners score their desired times and even set personal records. So far the team has paced more than 300,000 runners at 115 full and half marathons in the United States.

Whether you're running a spring marathon or just a neighborhood 5K, follow these 30 tips from 30 veteran marathoners to have the best race of your life.

1. Skip Expo Snacks
As tempting as it is to try new bars and drinks at the race-weekend expo, don't. Last thing you want is an upset stomach -- or worse, diarrhea -- at mile 9 thanks to unfamiliar food.
-- Lori Tubbs, 48, Virginia Beach, Va., 50+ marathons, 3-time Ironman finisher and military sports dietician (What are the best snacks in America? Pick up Eat This, Not That! 2012 to find out!)

2. Wear Arm Warmers
They provide the perfect bit of protection from the cold, easily roll down when temps rise, and can hold gels if you don’t have pockets. I've even used them to carry my hotel room key and a few bucks, just in case.

-- Scott Stocker, 45, Columbus, Ohio, 90+ marathons

3. Don't Race to Win
There will always be someone faster or capable of running farther than you. Run for your own personal goals -- weight loss, general fitness, completing a marathon, winning a bet. Maybe you’ll get lucky and win a race someday, but if that were everyone’s goal then about 40,000 runners failed in the NYC Marathon last fall.

-- Chris Cavanaugh, 41, Cincinnati, 99 marathons

4. During Tough Moments, Focus on Form.
Think about maintaining a clean, efficient stride. Drop your shoulders and relax your hands. A little energy saved here may just get you mentally -- and physically -- back in your race.

-- David Bea, 32, Cincinnati, 35+ marathons

5. Picture the Finish Line
At the start of the race, think about the end. Imagine yourself coming down that final stretch. All soreness disappears as soon as you hear and see people cheering, clapping, even yelling your name (make sure it's written somewhere visible). See yourself pumping your fists under the big banner, smiling wide. Replay this over and over until you've made it a reality.

-- Karyn Hoffman, 49, Folsom, Calif., 23+ marathons, 7-time 100 mile ultramarathon finisher and 4-time Ironman finisher

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