It's hard not to love a fitness event - ANY event, for that matter - with so great a slogan as "Girls Run This Town". That's the theme of New Balance's brilliant Girls' Night Out campaign, and let me tell you, they definitely put on an amazing event: hosted by local New Balance stores, GNO fuses running with other fitness forms to create a women-only fitness party, with an awesome in-store after party as icing on the cake.
I was a last-minute addition to the list, thanks once again to fellow blogger and GNO host Maggie (Mag Mile Runner), and was a little late due to another commitment I'd already scheduled, so when I arrived I was already behind on the run! The store staff quickly helped me check my gear and sent me in the right direction to catch up, and I found the group right along the beautiful lake shore just finishing their stretching.
I hopped in at the back as we started with the first of several short circuit-style exercises. I had not quite expected to go through a boot camp style workout last night! But the trainers running the program were super, and their infectiously upbeat attitudes made it easy to push through the circuits. I worked up an excellent sweat, and definitely felt the burn! In fact, I'm still feeling it now - we really worked hard!
The highlight of my experience, though, had little to do with the GNO team (though they really were amazing). No, the best part of my evening was when a handful of adorable little girls, visiting the park with their family, timidly inched closer to our group, twitching with nervous excitement. It was easy to see they wanted to bounce around with all of us big girls, but weren't sure if they could just hop into the melee, so I waved them on over and encouraged them to work out with us. They were so cute! And they kicked butt, too! When their mother finally made them leave, they all insisted on high-fives and hugged my legs (they were too little to reach any higher) and ran off saying they wanted to grow up to be "strong like her!" Pretty much made my day.
After the circuit training, we all headed back to the store for the after party - which would have been even more awesome if I had known anyone. I'm still new to the Chicago running scene, and attending events like this will hopefully help me meet some like-minded women, but last night everyone already had a friend, so I putzed around a bit, chatted with the store owner and staff, and did a little shopping. New Balance provided a pretty sweet swag bag, and had invited Deep Eddy Vodka to offer bar services; plus, all attendees enjoyed 20% off on NB merchandise during the event. They also had a photo booth, courtesy of ActionBooth.com (photo credit to them as well), with which I had a little too much fun!
Definitely a great experience, though next time I'll definitely bring a friend! And who knows - maybe I can host my own in the future!
You can look for Girls' Night Out events near YOU by checking out NBGNO online!
Also, be sure to check out New Balance Chicago stores, and show them some Twitter love too! These guys and gals do great things!