I Run to Stay Young

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I woke up before the sun’s eyes

so I can watch the sun rise,

and run 10 miles in the sun’s shine.

Galloping like a finely fed steed,

I’m fueled only by grass and seeds —

never dairy or meats.

Everyday I strengthen my frame

with endurance and fitness regimens that maintain and enhance my health.

For, it’s not science,

this is a lifestyle of nutritional wealth!

-Kimatni D. Rawlins –

Fit Father’s Day 30 For 30 Challenge

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We are 30 days out from “Fit Fathers Day” which takes place in 11 cities across the US. The 3rd Annual in Silver Spring, MD can be found at www.FitFathersDay.com. Join the life enhancing movement by partaking in our #30For30 inspirational set which is a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise starting today and leading up to Father’s Day on June 19th. That’s easy work right? You can bike, walk, lift, swim, bat, jump, hike, sprint, box, shoot, spin, cross fit, yoga or choose any other fitness movements of your liking. Please follow the movement on Social Media at @FitFathers and share with friends and family. We are giving away a pair of Bose sports phones, a 3-months supply of Mothers Car Care products and Modell’s gift certificates for the most enthusiastic posts using the #FitFathersDay hashtag!!! Let’s motivate!!!!

2016 Reggae Marathon, Half Marathon & 10K

Reggae Marathon 2015

Photography by Errol Anderson and Karen Fuchs

Are you an adventure seeker who enjoys ultimate fitness challenges while exploring the world? We are! “Vacation is to relax the mind, not the body” is a Fit Fathers mantra that we remain committed to no matter the destination, an island or the middle of the rain forest. What more can you ask for other than an extended run while jamming to the tunes of roots, rock reggae, breathing revitalizing oxygen from the Caribbean Ocean, nourishing the body with glorious ital foods from mother nature and exchanging energy with our Jamaican brothers and sisters.

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2017 Chrysler Pacifica Family Vacation

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Welcome to the palatial villas at the idyllic Resort at Pelican Hill in Newport Coast, California for a fun, family spring break getaway with the all-new and innovative 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivan for new age families. Tooled with a vehicle that set the standard for group travel with its myriad of infotainment features, cozy seats, European-like drive and storage for days, Team Rawlins set sail for an extended weekend full of excitement, entertainment and bonding. Suffice it to say life was amazing on the West Coast for four glorious days with my wife and two daughters who absolutely adore the Golden State!

As always we flew from Washington Dulles Airport on United Airlines in route to Los Angeles International Airport where we were transported 45 minutes to Orange County for the Pacifica family test drive held at Pelican Hill. Nestled just south of Newport Beach, the resort is ideal for leisure and relaxation, spa treatments, golfing, hosting friends or going all out with the kids and the endless amounts of activities available. You can choose Camp Pelican as the foundation which features an ocean-view clubhouse and pool, games, movie nights, crafts, yoga and daily themes such as Space Exploration Fridays, Murdock’s Carnival Mondays and Safari Sundays.

The first day on sight was left for travel adjustments, unpacking and becoming familiar with the Northern Italian environment and array of Pacifica activities available on the itinerary. Inspired by 16th century Italian architect Andrea Palladio, the resort was full of vigor and splendor from the cadre of olive trees, rows of lavender, cypress, fig, pine trees and the Canary palms that made the landscape as wondrous as a direct visit to Aquileia or Modena. After all, the mind must be enthused and aroused for enjoyment of long days replete with extensive time behind the wheel. With that, I was provided a set of keys to a 2017 Billet Silver Chrysler Pacifica Limited endowed with 20” aluminum polished wheels, a Black/Alloy interior, the astounding 20-speaker Harmon Kardon audio package and Uconnect Theater rear seat entertainment system. After settling into our 4-bedroom Villa and running five miles to the beach we all joined the welcoming committee for a gourmet Indian dinner at the magnificent Coliseum Pool and Grille.

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Before the Pacifica technology introduction on Day 2 I fueled up with energizing healthy delights at the Villa Club House since the day would consist of extended drive time. Now in its 6th generation, the latest van from Chrysler is geared towards today’s modern family. It welcomes eight passengers comfortably, is engineered with more than 100 safety and security features and is remarkably different than the vehicle it replaces. Prior softer edges have been rounded off, a second, lower grille adds character along with tall body sides, hard crease lines, larger wheels, wrap around taillamps, HID “cat eye” headlights, tailgate spoiler, hands-free, power sliding doors and two-toned mirrors. Typically, minivan sliding doors are an issue for automakers due to decreased rigidity, but Chrysler has reversed that conundrum to make them the most structural aspect. The vehicle looks good and feels good. Chrysler left no stones unturned when they invested $2 billion to build the Pacifica (replaces the Town and Country) from the ground up. The Pacifica Hybrid (a minivan first) will be introduced a bit later with unique 18″ wheels an altered grille, 30-mile all-electric range, specific hues and hybrid badging.

Chrysler also extracted nearly 250 pounds from the existing Town and Country by using an aluminum hood and sliding door, aluminum outer and magnesium inner power tailgate and by implementing 72% high-strength steel in the vehicle’s construction. So now the Pacifica is lighter but more efficient. Powered by the venerable 3.6-liter Pentastar V6 with 287-horsepower the Pacifica is paired with a TorqueFlite 9-speed automatic transmission and achieves 28 highway mpg and 18 city mpg. Acceleration is good and handling is superb. Never has the steering on a minivan felt so taught when aggressive maneuverability was required. Top-quality ride, handling and quietness were key goals from an engineering perspective. The suspension bushings are lax for road absorption and an easy ride while steering rack bushings are firm for more precise steering of course. The drive around San Diego County in route to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and back to Pelican Hill was very comfortable.

Friday evening’s dinner consisted of a 30-minute boat ride from the Newport Beach Harbor, which is a very large, small craft harbor between the Balboa peninsula and charming Balboa Island that houses 10K to 12K boats. The captain of our little boat let the girls take the wheel for a few minutes each as we traveled around 5 knots. It was interesting seeing which stars owned each of the precious, multi-million dollar homes. We also passed by the impeccable Bay Island, the only natural island in the harbor since the rest have been man made. Tenanted by 24 families, vehicles are banned here to adhere to the innate purity of the habitat. After a chilly ride we finally reached the Cannery Restaurant for an immaculate vegan buffet dinner.

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On Saturday morning Team Rawlins rose early to catch the sunrise and enjoy the fresh Pacific Ocean aroma. After a 3.7-mile run we loaded up our Pacifica for an exciting journey to Universal Studios Hollywood. My youngest Aya loves Paul Walker and was looking forward to the new Fast and Furious Supercharged attraction. Disney California Adventure Park was much closer but the girls have had their fair share of Disney locations and actually wanted to drive longer while watching movies from the van.

Our vehicle was loaded like a baked potato and came with Nappa leather seats, a power third-row seat, 3-D Navigation for the 8.4” flush-mounted Uconnect touchscreen, tri-pane panoramic sunroof, Stow ‘n Go seats that can be easily flipped within the floor and an integrated Stow ‘n Vac vacuum so the kids can clean up their own mess. Our oldest Mika chose the titling third row to herself and had me stow one of the middle chairs. USB connections are omnipresent in the Pacifica including the far rear so no one had to worry about dying batteries. Aya connected her iPod to the Uconnect Theater 10” screens (rotate up from the seatback) through HDMI to watch a movie and play games. The Pacifica even has an app for arrival times so your kids never have to ask “are we there yet?”

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The Pacifica’s interior themes were inspired by places such as Sonoma County, Santa Monica and Alaska for the Hybrid’s ice blue stitching. Chrysler’s contrast concept pairs bright stitching on black leather for example, blue moonlights on the black tachometer and silver knobs on the dark head unit, as well as the two-toned steering wheel. Safety technologies include 360-degree Surround View Camera, ParkSense Parallel/Perpendicular Park Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Hold, Forward Collision Warning-Plus and LaneSense Lane Departure Warning-Plus. Needless to say we arrived to Hollywood safe and sound!

At Universal Studios Team Rawlins enjoyed the dynamic and exhilarating Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem virtual ride which transforms humans into minions. Not until then did I realize the little guys love bananas just like me! The Shrek movie was good and the Revenge of the Mummy ride was an actual roller coaster that scared our pants off. It even spit mummy juice on us. The Animal Actors Show was hilarious and the newfangled Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed attraction was brilliant. For extra burn Aya kept challenging me to a stair workout up each of the four steep flights. Of course we were both laid out on the ride back down to Orange County. What a massive day!

With five models to choose from — Chrysler Pacifica LX, Chrysler Pacifica Touring, Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L, Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus and the Chrysler Pacifica Limited — the minivan ranges between $28,595 for a LX and $42,495 for the Limited. Our Limited model was jazzed up with options that tallied the vehicle to $49,450. In addition, Mopar offers a litany of authentic minivan accessories including sport and cargo carriers, pet kennel, spare tire kit, front air deflector, Mopar Connect WiFi (although our signal was pretty weak), electronic vehicle tracking, bodyside molding, remote start, foldable cooler and much more. So feel free to objectify your family’s passions and adventures by way of one of the cooler minivans on the market.

 

After School Basketball with the Kids

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We had an amazing time playing basketball against the boys and girls at the neighborhood elementary school this past week. It was four parents against 20 of those minions. Talk about hustle. None of us has ever had to dribble that much to get down the court.

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The idea was sparked by Kids After Hours, a Montgomery County Maryland organization that sets up programs for your kids before and after school. They organize active events, sports, games and competitions to keep your pride and joy burning calories constantly. So how could the Fit Fathers team turn down an offer to play against a football team of 3rd, 4th  and 5th graders? It was amazing. Suffice to say, we encourage all dads to participate in your child’s sporting and after school activities whenever possible. The euphoric vibes and elation are beneficial to both parties. Work can wait, your child’s memories and emotions cannot!

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Fit Fathers Joins the 10th Annual URBANATHLON in San Francisco

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

“It was an unbelievable experience that challenged my body and mind,” stated my childhood friend Steve Redmond who was participating in the 10th Annual URBANATHLON for the first time. His goal for signing up was to gain a greater perspective on what it takes to accomplish a daring feat consisting of an 11.2-mile run and up to 19 energizing obstacles. It was fun and epic as we conquered the course at AT&T Park like men in battle. Hosted by legendary ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes, registrants couldn’t have asked for a better day of weather and superb running conditions.

The URBANATHLON by Men’s Health Magazine is the very race that led me to a lifestyle change over 6 years ago. Then, it was held in Chicago which allowed me to run the stadium stairs in Soldier Field. I’ve been a Walter Payton since a kid so the destination selection was simple. Since Steve already lives in San Francisco the 10th Annual was a no-brainer. Plus we both wanted to test ourselves on the steep, hilly streets. Training was simple but once you hit the pavement the real world race became intense. That first hill for example drained me but I refused to walk until I crossed that finish line.

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Steve — a Fit Father of a young daughter — took the URBANATHLON serious with months of nutritional and fitness preparation. In fact, the man celebrated a wedding, a birthday and a race all within a 10-day period. Certainly November 2015 will be one of his most memorable. additionally, his new wife was ultra supportive on race day as she consistently kept popping out of nowhere snapping pictures and cheering us on. I thought she was driving and parking, but come to find out she also knocked out a few hundred calories and 10K steps walking and running vigorously to intercept us. “I’ve always suspected my husband might be a super hero. But when I saw him jump a school bus and fly thru the finish line I knew superman had nothing on him,” said Jenn Redmond. Yes, we did have to climb over a bus as well as dive over cabs and the final hurdle, that damn 8-footwall before receiving our medals.

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For 2016 the plan is to recruit several Fit Fathers and Mommy Fit relay teams to compete against one other in the New York event. In totality URBANATHLON may seem daunting, but 11 miles and a cadre of obstacles is easy work when you cherish the body, mind and spirit as the temple it is. I had a blast and continue to highlight all the fabulous moments from the race and the euphoria produced after each task was completed. Memories include bouldering up Telegraph Hill, stutter-stepping through tires, climbing over-under traffic barricades, ascending over marine hurdles along the Embarcadero, traversing monkey bars in the heart of Fisherman’s Wharf, battling the AT&T Park stair climb, and of course completing the aforementioned pre-finish line obstructions. Steve presumed the monkey bars would be an issue but had no qualms since he enhanced his pull-up game during training.

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Afterwards, bananas, Six Star Pro Nutrition bars and Propel Electrolyte Water were available for replenishing the system. However, I enjoyed my vegan breakfast from Herbivore – The Earthly Grill on Valencia Street. Steve said he just ate the best pancakes ever until Jenn reminded him of her special home cooking. Soon after she rushed me to SFO to catch my United flight back home in Maryland after a two-week stay in California. Luckily I was upgraded to First Class because my legs were now as loose as noodles!

Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and Metris: Van Camping at Dunton Hot Springs, Colorado

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

I slept in a van last night and it was pretty cool! Actually it was cool since the evening temperature drops considerably in Colorado. The camping experience at Dunton Hot Springs brought back fond memories as a child sleeping with Mother Nature. Of course the fresh air, inspiring views, freedom of life and simplicities of survival in the countryside are the antithesis of modern day luxuries and convenience. But for me, I love disconnecting from technology more often than most so I can enjoy the world as a minimalist, which in turn makes “one” more aware and observant. For that reason I had a highly enjoyable time van camping with Mercedes-Benz (M-B) and their all-new Metris and updated Sprinter Vans.

The ubiquitous Sprinter, that tall European van has been updated for 2015 to continue its impressive array of amenities for suitors. An odd ball to some since hitting the scene in 1995, the Swiss Army knife covers everything from RVing to cargo to industrial delivery applications. M-B, which created a separate division for their van unit sold 26,000 Sprinters in 2014 and is currently up 19.5% year-to-date in correlation to the industry, which is up 14%. The United States is the second biggest market in Sprinter sales behind hometown Germany. My wife’s boss has a custom Sprinter that is more like a condo than any type of automobile. Yan takes it road tripping with his wife at least once a quarter to get away from the intense demands of his consulting job at Deloitte. No need for a hotel room since his pride and joy is embellished with sleeping quarters, a mini kitchen and lounge.

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Since vans generate 1 billion dollars in annual business it isn’t surprising that M-B needed to expand the US line-up with the aptly dubbed Metris. The mid-size commercial application has been around in Europe since 1996 and now makes its American debut. Built in Spain, expect the Metris to provide services for hotels, taxi companies and airport shuttle businesses. It’s basic for now and offers no leather, wood trim, power sliding doors or anything fancy. The Metris is much smaller than the Sprinter but has similar capabilities such as towing 4,960 lbs. or seating up to 8 people, and gets around by way of a 2-liter 4-cylinder direct‐injection turbocharged gasoline engine (208-horsepower) and is paired with a 7-speed automatic transmission with available ECO start/stop. In Europe the Metris rocks a diesel engine – my first choice – but M-B is not seeing the demand in the US currently. Which is peculiar because the Sprinter is outfitted only with diesel engines. I didn’t get to drive the Metris since this trip was only a preview for the pronouncement of its introduction into the American roster. With standard airbags (up to 8), ATTENTION ASSIST, Crosswind Assist and load-adaptive ESP expect the commercial van to go for $28,950 and $32,500 for the passenger model. Optional safety technologies include Blind Spot Assist, Collision Prevention Assist and Lane Keeping Assist.

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To experience the Sprinter Vans from behind the wheel and the Metris as hostiles, we headed to the sensational views of Colorado for a short stay and impressionable experience. Upon landing at La Plata County Airport in Durango M-B turned over the keys to a Jupiter Red 2015 Sprinter 2500 Crew Van with the new Low & High Range 4×4 Package ($6,800), Active Safety Plus Package w/Parktronic ($2,545), the Driver Efficiency Package ($1,485) and much more. In fact, all optional conveniences escalated the $38,270 MSRP to $57,440. My riding partner and I drove for about four hours because we got lost in the Rockies but didn’t mind as the optional 3-liter V6 BlueTEC turbo diesel and 5‐speed automatic transmission ($985) were powerful and efficient. Along with two 4×4 powertrains, the new Sprinter also comes with an elective Super High Roof and Crosswind Assist to keep the van on its path during strong gusts. The base engine is the 2.1-liter 4‐cylinder BlueTEC turbo diesel with the 7G Tronic automatic transmission. The 4×4 came in handy when we stopped for photos and had to traverse off the beaten path for the most optimal view. The audio and Nav system were pretty basic so our ride was quiet as we took in the sounds of Colorado life, especially through San Juan National Forest. Upon arriving to the area we proceeded on gravel for the next 12 miles to Dunton Hot Springs’ main entrance. Magnificent is an understatement!

Founded in 1885, Dunton was originally a gold rush mining town. Its peak population reached 300 residents until only two were left after it became deserted. For decades the couple operated it as a cattle ranch while living off the land. The latest rendition of the town was purchased in 1994 and restored over the following seven years. Today the luxurious, rustic escape sits atop 8,700 feet of altitude and substitutes as a haven for those looking to hike, mountain bike or burn campfires in the middle of the mountains. The log cabins look as authentic as 1885, but step inside and you will feel like a high roller. This is why I chose the Metris for my stay. The hot springs are soothing to the skin and satisfying to your soul, especially the featured tub in the meditative bathhouse.

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Although the Metris is suited for mostly commercial use, M-B did bring a few Marco Polo camper models over from Europe. The roof extension is actually the bunk and one of two sleeping quarters. In total it can sleep up to four, but only two comfortably. Yet, the van is flexible enough for personal purchases and has an array of configurations. For example, I partially wrote this story from the cabin’s mobile office. Nifty features include front swiveling seats, omnipresent storage pockets and bins, table/desk, sliding rails for various formations, curtains to cover all windows and a cadre of 12 volts.

The journey to Colorado was memorable and my fixation on recreational vehicles has increased, especially with the stealthy Overlanding Sprinter by Sportsmobile West. With over 44 floor plans and the ability to design your own studio, the platform is perfect for nomads like myself.

Vegan In Vegas: Joyful Eating at VegeNation

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Wow. What an amazing culinary experience I had at VegeNation in downtown Las Vegas. The address is 616 Carson Ave, #120 Las Vegas, NV 89101 to be exact. The Jackfruit Tacos aka East West Taco were super amazing and the Quinoa Spaghetti (Mama Mia) brought back memories of mama’s meatballs. I even purchased a VegeNation t-shirt as a reminder to return as soon as possible.

Also on deck were Hot Tamales, Wok’ed Veggies, Bao Wow (with Asian BBQ tofu, shitake mushrooms and spinach) and a brownie with coconut ice cream on top. It was my anniversary weekend so Misa and I deserved it. The cafe styled vegan eatery also serves breakfast. Prices are very fare but expect to dish out $27 for a cab ride from the strip. But more importantly the music created a melodious vibe. When Robert “Nesta” Marley came on I knew this spot would become a permanent marker on the revisit list. Not all of Vegas is sinful!

Smoothies for the BBQ!

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I had no choice but to break the traditional BBQ mantra by making fresh organic smoothies in our Vitamix 750. And guess who requested one? All 40 family members! This mix comprised of coconut water, organic berries, bananas, kale, mangos and walnuts. Drink clean my friends!

 

Kimatni D. Rawlins

Fit, Entrepreneurial Kids prepare for Fit Fathers Day

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In preparation for Fit Fathers Day, which the kids are helping produce and manage, we sent them on assignment to drop invites in every mailbox of their neighborhood. A few councilors followed behind on foot while everyone collectively received a good workout. We knocked out 3.5 miles together and promoted the event simultaneously as they rode door to door handing out flyers. Afterwards fresh, organic watermelon, bananas and strawberries were waiting patiently for consumption. Lastly, the Fit Fathers management team taught the kids how to write and submit an invoice for payment. For more information on the father focused event please visit www.FitFathersDay.com.

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