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“Tell me again why I might want to ‘defy my comfort zone’ by climbing to the top of a 25-foot pole and jumping off,” I said to the encouraging staff member when I visited Miraval Arizona a few years ago. Whatever she said didn’t convince me, because I defied my comfort zone in other, more-sane-to-me ways, like trail running, hiking, and mountain biking, followed, no doubt, by a deep-tissue massage.

Part heart-pumping, take-it-to-the-next-level fitness and part intense pampering and relaxation, today’s multiday destination spas are a compelling way to kick off a new year and put some spring, well, in your spring. Resorts like Miraval in Tucson, Arizona; Rancho La Puerto in Baja California, Mexico; and Lake Austin Spa Resort in Austin, Texas, are all prime examples. I think the growing trend of health- and fitness-focused vacations and the infusion of more fitness options at spas and hotels in general is an excellent direction for the industry. Canyon Ranch Hotel & Spa in Miami Beach, for example, has a 70,000-square-foot spa and wellness facility with 54 treatment rooms and services that integrate nutrition, fitness, and preventative care.

Interested in upping your fitness level? This Sporting Life issue is loaded with sports and fitness ideas — from mild to wild.

Speaking of defying comfort zones, we’ve got some major runners in our office that inspire us — and sometimes make us look like slackers. A couple of these fearless females just completed the Walt Disney World Marathon in Orlando — in freezing temperatures, no less. Goofy, say a few (a five-mile run is a perfectly respectable achievement, yes?). When asked why she runs, Susan Gordon, our illustrious president and group publisher, had this to say: “I run because I can. It’s where I clear my mind, think through challenges, or just enjoy music (I sang all the way through the 26.2 miles in Orlando). It’s every bit as much a mental sport as it is a physical sport. It makes me feel strong — physically and mentally. I burn off stress and enjoy the ‘me’ time.” One of her running buddies, KariAnne Harmon, said she runs because it’s fun — and then admitted that it’s mostly the camaraderie before and after a big run, and the beer, and the fact that you can eat almost anything when you’re a runner that’s really fun. If you fancy yourself a runner, or would like to, page 70 begins an in-depth look at the world of marathons.

This spring, perhaps it’s time to make fitness fun again. See “Play Time” on page 28 for ways to take your game to the next level. “Global Rut Busters” on page 48 is sure to get you out of your comfort zone with a multitude of ideas on combining travel and fitness in a fun way. We hope this issue of Celebrated Living inspires you, quickens your pulse, and helps you spring forward in style.

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Celebrated Living