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What We’ve Been Up To: Life at T9

The first part of the year here at Title Nine has been a whirlwind of activity! Here's what we've been up to during the first four months of 2014. snowsquare 72c643e29a5811e3bdef1223b69bdde6_8 10251292_1409381262667855_1819437479_n We interacted with you. We sweated together. We ate (and ate some more.) And, we got down to business.   WE INTERACTED WITH YOU. Here on the blog, the B Word was reclaimed and we reminded ourselves that life isn’t about avoiding the struggle, it’s about learning to embrace it. We declared the first Friday of every month Fitness Brag Friday and the T9 community had some incredible accomplishments which they shared with us. We learned that coaching lives within all of us -- and who doesn't want a chance to be a T9 model? We asked folks to share how they wear their favorite T9 gear with #myT9. Check out our ever-growing Pinterest board of submissions. (Pictured: a couple of the fun customer shots we received.)   WE SWEATED TOGETHER We tackled the first ever T9 Challenge, a company challenge built for and by T9ers. Magically, no one got hurt, and we managed to eat nearly $2000 worth of Chipotle after. It may sound like a lot of food to some people, but Team T9 left no leftovers. 72c643e29a5811e3bdef1223b69bdde6_8a447371a9a6611e3a98f123cdd6bb467_8-1 Flawless A group of no less than 18 T9ers of all levels ran the 5k, 10k and half marathon at Sasquatch Racing's Sasquatch Scramble (below.) Jill had quite the month -- not only did both she and Alice win their age groups at the 10k event, Jill also was she awarded member of the month at Sobe Kick gym! (Don't worry Jill - we spared you and won't share your solo photo.) 1782452_10203802140518464_8096143795567243663_o We sweated together IN the office as well. Weekly lunchtime yoga lead by Customer Service reps Marsha and Katie began. Bootcamp workouts lead by Jessica from Ice Chamber returned. And of course, T9HQ folks participated in the Bay Area's 20th annual Bike to Work Day. This crew rode from Alameda to Emeryville! to work day   WE ATE. AND WE ATE SOME MORE. We like to play hard - and then we like to eat. A lot. Top Dog catered a BBQ day at T9HQ, which added balance to the growing popularity of "Salad Club" Thursdays, where a group of T9ers take turns serving up a salad bar for those who want to partake. We have received quite a few requests to join us via Twitter and Instagram, which leads us to believe we DO make friends with salad! 10261187_263622720482545_1985491723_n10251292_1409381262667855_1819437479_n Competition is intense at T9, and but not just when it comes to sports! The celebratory "Dos de Mayo" party at T9HQ included an Iron Chef-style secret ingredient throwdown... with very interesting results. Team Chorizo, Team Pork and Team Salmon faced off in a pineapple-poblanos-nopales battle. Despite the vote-garnering gluten-free and vegan offerings from Team Chorizo, and the incredible team apparel of Team Pork, Team Salmon ultimately took home the win. We weren't too surprised, considering Melinda is the reigning turkey champion at the annual Thanksgiving potluck. 10246119_749685898410180_1440416392_n  10261158_791763810834668_275694143_n   ...AND WE GOT DOWN TO BUSINESS. Like our four-legged running partners, we won't say no to food-related rewards. We had our biggest sales day ever, which called for the aforementioned Top Dog catered day and cupcakes for all at T9HQ. We later celebrated making our plan for the first few months of 2014 with our big Dos de Mayo potluck. While we were busy eating, our bravangelists hosted a slew of Fit Fests with great success: fun, snack-infused one-night events where our retail teams help gals of all shapes and sizes find the right fit and style for their activity. Our monthly financial meeting started off with a dance - perhaps our most enthusiastic one to date! Yes, the Hustle and finances definitely relate to one another.   AS WE HEAD INTO THE NEXT PART OF THE YEAR, THERE'S MORE FUN TO COME. 1619622_10202955801152428_5124294034724645554_n We just finished up our 12th annual Mother's Day Title 9K in Boulder, CO, on Sunday and will be sharing official photos soon - but can already say it was definitely a notable year. For the second time in T9K history, we had snow! There is more excitement to come in the next part of the year, so please, join us: attend a Fit Fest and get fit with our girls, start preparing for the Title 9K Bay Area, or come interact with us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Check back soon... you never know what we'll be up to next!
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2014 T9 Challenge Recap

It's no secret that here at Title Nine we believe in working hard and playing even harder. Every winter, the company challenge for the coming year is announced. We've tackled century rides, a Ragnar Relay, a Vineman Sprint Triathlon, and last year took on Tough Mudder. This year, we decided it was time to do something different, really different: we built an event for T9ers, by T9ers, to take on teams of - you guessed it - more T9ers. And thus, in September 2013, the first ever T9 Challenge was born. dd2c89ec9a6e11e38c7612f15deb871e_8 And now, as the dust settles, we can say that it was a great success!  
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T9 Challenge course map - click to enlarge

QUICK T9 CHALLENGE STATS

Event Location: Lake Chabot Start time: 9:07am Elevation gain: 1,500 ft Teams of 4: 9 Teams of 3: 1 Teams of 2: 7 Total challengers: 56 Total volunteers: 57 Miles biked: 396 Miles run: 210 Waaaambulances called: 0

   
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at the finish

NOTABLE T9ERS When it comes to talking about Title Nine company culture, there is a misconception that we only hire 'hardcore jocks.' We often hear that folks think our staff is essentially its own Olympic squad. While we are absolutely flattered, our team here is a true melting pot of athletic abilities, experiences and levels. We come from all walks of life and backgrounds to ban together in the face of these challenges, together. This tearful embrace is a reminder of why we really do these challenges: it isn't about who won, bragging rights or earning a new medal to go with a new t-shirt. The challenges we embark on as a company are about embracing the struggle and turning it into strength, about reaching outside of our comfort zones to where the magic happens. The inaugural T9 Challenge was absolutely no exception.
Flawless

Team Flawless

  Team Flawless' Tangy (second from right) as one of our participants who had never participated in such an event. Biking and running on flat land was foreign enough, let alone on hilly dirt trails! However, she refused to give up, knowing that as long as she kept moving, she was winning. Said Tangy, "Once I found my comfort zone, it was on. I wanted to give up when I was out there alone, to call somebody, say 'Come and get me,' but I didn't. I thought about my kids and I just never stopped."
T9 Challenge, Will,KT selfie

rockin' the two-sided medal

  Anthony from Team Slower Than You gave his team a bad name: not only did Anthony ride his bike from home to the event itself, he stopped on his first loop to assist folks, smiled like a Cheshire Cat while cranking up hills, completed both laps in the exact same amount of time (56 minutes) and then rode home. All in a day's work! Missy from three-person team Scrambled Legs came in second on the bike loop, proving that older is not only wiser, it's faster too! Two-person team Chaotic Chabotic (with medals) crushed with Katy taking on bike loop and Will on the run loop. He ran his entire 12 miles wearing Elvis shades. They went on to become the first two-person team to finish.  
along the run loop

along the run loop

Nicquie from Are We There Yet? had a little talk with herself out on the course which pretty well sums up the power of the T9 Challenge:

Hey Self... Yes? Remember when you started at Title Nine and you couldn't run whole a 200 meters!!?? Yes I do! Hey Self… Yes? How long ago was that? About 3 years. And now I ran 5.5 miles and mountain biked 12 miles. Really? How long have you been mountain biking? Today was my second time. I have been riding the hills by my house training for a little while but today was my second time actually mountain biking. But we did it. YES WE DID!! Amazing how far we have come!!!!

T9ers in ParadiseThe team of T9ers in Paradise's had a lot going on! Niki (second from left) started out running the wrong direction, through a parking lot, doubled back around to start over, took time to answer many-a concerned text message regarding her whereabouts and still had the fastest time on the run loop (about 6 miles on the trail in 45 minutes.) Gabriella (in yellow) has been working for T9 for a little bit over a week; in true T9 fashion, she said "Oh heck yes!" to filling in for a teammate who was unable to do a biking leg. Earning the nickname 'the Little Engine That Could' was Elyse (in red.) In her own words:

I’m not a cyclist. Many would say I am not coordinated and I would have to agree. I’ve worked here for 7+ years, and I’ve never done a challenge.  So, I told myself that I had to sign up for this challenge no matter what. I somehow got myself signed up for the cycling portion. I was too lazy and decided not to attend the training sessions. That was stupid. I went out riding once with some amazing mountain bikers (KC, Katy, Lucy, Alice) and nearly killed myself in the process. I can still hear Alice yelling from behind as I’m speeding downhill, my back tire fishtailing like crazy, “EASE UP ON THE BRAKE!!!” It didn’t hit me until the morning of the challenge what I signed up to do. I was scared out of my mind. I cycled with the sweep pretty much from mile 1 on. While I struggled the entire way with the idea of how long I had to actually cycle, it was amazing how my body stepped up to the plate and got me through the course. I think I walked more than I cycled (or at least it felt that way), but in the end I’m so grateful that I made it. I’m even more grateful that I hadn’t seen the course beforehand, or else I never would have done it. Because of Title Nine, I’ve realized I need to get out more and try new things, even if I don’t think I can do it. This company rocks!!

   

a447371a9a6611e3a98f123cdd6bb467_8-1MORE T9 CHALLENGE STATS

First overall: Scrambled Legs First 4-person team: Victorious Secret First 2-person team: Chaotic Chabotic Ties: 1 (Team X Factor and Team REKT tied for 9th) Fastest run loop: 0:45 Fastest bike loop: 0:56 Challengers by age group: 20-24 (3) 25-29 (7) 30-34 (8) 35-39 (13) 40-44 (5) 45-49 (6) 50-54 (5) 55 and up (5)

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OTHER NOTABLES Only costumes on course: Dust Divas Strava Loop QOM rankings earned: 1 Mountain bikers who had never ridden a bike pre-challenge: 2 Complete strangers who utilized the aid station: 2 (+ a dog) Breast milk pumped between events: 4oz Chipotle eaten: $1635 worth Injuries sustained: 0!

      All of us here at Title Nine would like to thank:51bc85aa9a4c11e380301215423c68e1_8

- Mike's Bikes in Berkeley for hosting pre-event training clinics, Specialized Bikes for providing gear, and both for fittings and endless cheering day-of. - Coach Aaron Castillo, lovingly known as Coach Evil, of CFO Endurance for every track and trail conditioning workout - The park rangers of Lake Chabot and the folks of East Bay Parks and Rec. - Our incredible volunteer cycling support and sag team - David, Barb, Jeff and Cheung - who did so much more than just ride with us - Event photographer Thomas Campitelli, who trekked all over the 18 mile course and then some to capture it all - And who could forget our T9 challenge leaders: fearless race director Melanie, volunteer coordinators Michele and Jackie, and event manager Ann

We couldn't have done it without you!     Want to come out and play with the T9 team? Please join us at the 12th annual Mother's Day T9k in Boulder or come out to the 5th annual Bay Area T9k in September! For official event images from the T9 Challenge, please visit our photo albums on Facebook.
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100 Miles with Title Nine and Back

As part of one of our T9 Challenges, our Product Pusher, Katy, participated in the Napa Valley Century Ride a few weeks ago alongside a whole team of T9ers. Some gals participated in the 100km race and a handful went for the full 100 miles - we asked Katy to share with us what it's like to bond with your team riding through beautiful wine country. Rough life at Title Nine, huh Katy?  It’s 4:30am and my alarm goes off…it’s Sunday. Most people might roll over, grab their alarm clock and give it a good hard throw into the wall – but not us, not today! Today was the Napa Century ride – and for a dozen of us T9ers, that meant the opportunity to push ourselves further than many of us had biked previously, and to do it together. At T9, pushing yourself is expected – we go hard at the office and in life! So, it’s the crack of dawn, and I haven’t loaded a bike onto the car so quickly ever! Within 45 minutes of waking up, I’m at Dom’s house and she’s smiley and as ready-to-go as ever. It’s inspiring – I know my fellow T9ers, like me, love days like this! One more bike on the rack and we’re off! Save for one more pause at a traditional Starbucks stop for many of us having made multiple pilgrimages to Napa previously to train for the event, we scream down the highway in anxious anticipation of the course ahead.
By 7:30 am, the groups of us T9ers gathered near the start line. This is not a competitive event, so the jitters and nerves you can feel from folks are simply the excitement, anticipation, and eagerness to just get out there and begin pedaling! We’ve got a long day ahead, and after last minute gear checks, a pump of the tires and high fives around, we snapped a few group pictures and riders began peeling off! Most T9ers opted for the metric century, 100km, and three of us chose the 100 mile course as our challenge. For both courses, we knew that Ink Grade would be the toughest section of climbing – 4 miles of quad-burning fun! The metric mavens tackled this challenge around mile 20, but the longer course held this fun for the 60-something mile mark…oofta! Time-out! It is worth backing up to mention just what efforts it took to get us all to this point. No one goes and hammers out a century ride without prep, and we at T9 are fortunate to work for a company which supports us in taking on challenges like this every year. For months, we organized rides, worked out with a trainer, and, perhaps most importantly, encouraged and held each other and ourselves accountable to having signed up to take on this challenge! This day was the culminating event of a long journey. Back to the course… Every rider has their own unique story! For the group I rode with, we set goals of sticking together, having fun, and finishing! None of us wanted to start out too fast or push too hard, only to regret having an empty fuel tank with 20 miles to the finish line. It was smart to have discussed this ahead of time and it helped us all stay steady - with the excitement of the start line, it can be all too easy to fly out the gates without realizing it! It was a crisp morning and I questioned my choice to leave my arm warmers behind. It’s summer in Napa, however, so I knew in a few hours, it would be plenty hot and I’d be craving a cold shower soon enough. The first 37 miles flew by – fresh legs, good conversation, and wait, why is my back already hurting?? Not many riders can do a century without a few aches and pains, but I was less than thrilled to be feeling my back so early in the ride. Rest stop one was a great opportunity to stretch out, shake the legs, and grab a quick bite. To be out on the bike for so many hours and with such a physical challenge ahead, it is super important to fuel your body properly. This means staying ahead of the game, eating and drinking lots of water before you think you need it! This event had potatoes at every rest stop – my new favorite, for sure!! Yum! Knowing our biggest climb was after the 60-mile mark, we just kept on pedaling. Finally, we reach the base of Ink Grade and we know what the next 4 miles means…up hill, lots of turns, and burning muscles!! We’ve ridden this in training rides, but never in this heat. Plenty of people are stopped along the way, but we decide to muscle up. It’s hard enough to pedal uphill for so long on a steep grade, but the idea of having to start again after stopping erased that option from most our minds! Believe it or not, this actually was one of my two favorite sections of the ride! One, it felt like accomplishment to get to the top. Two, the people along this stretch were really supportive of one another and it was fun to be a part of that energy! And three, the views while descending the back side were incredibly beautiful…some of the best we saw on the course! Our last rest stop was 12 miles out from the finish line and we thought the hardest miles were behind us…think again T9ers!! Welcome to the Silverado Trail with a classic Napa mid-afternoon headwind of 15mph! Dig in folks, these miles are going to be doozies! We were very happy to have ourselves a line of 4 riders so we could draft and work together toward the finish. This was my other favorite section of the course! I loved the camaraderie, the feeling of closing in on the completion of an epic day, and honestly, the challenge of that darn headwind! We had four smiling faces as we turned the corner into Yountville and could hear the Reggae-style band playing near the event BBQ! Thanks to Group Me, we had already heard of our fellow riders finishing earlier in the afternoon. Though we missed raising a cup of free ice cream to the success of the day with everyone (can’t blame them for wanting to get out of bike clothes ASAP!), the stories started flowing Monday at the office! Congrats to all riders at the Napa Century Tour, but especially to my T9 pals – I’ll ride a hundred miles with you any day! When you live the life of T9 it really is true what they say - where one journey ends, another begins. For many of us, it meant a quick week of recovery and a fast re-entry into training. Why? T9 has entered multiple teams into the Tough Mudder Challenge at the end of September – time to switch our bike shoes to running shoes, and get ready for mud and obstacles!! Bring it on!!

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2009 T9 Challenge

For the past few years our founder, Missy Park has presented a company wide fitness challenge that sets concrete, sweat enducing fitness goals that put our technical wear to the test. This year we’ve decided to up the ante.

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Waterfront 5K

Our Merch team member, Christina reflects on our first event in the T9 Challenge. “Yes, I did run track. But this was a real non-scholastic race – I’m talking about my first real race where it was me versus Little Father Time

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