Blog detox, runner’s high and Barre n9ne week #3!

Wow. Lots to cover off on today! I guess that’s what happens when you give yourself a blog “detox” for the long weekend, huh?

So the blog detox, what’s that all about? It wasn’t something I planned but it actually worked out really well to be completely disconnected from blog-land this weekend. A weekend full of celebrations (happy birthday, babe!), lots of family and friend time annnnd some much-loved beach time. In all, a pretty damn fantastic weekend all around. And of course, I have to share at least one or two pics  from the party on Saturday.

How adorable is my niece?? I love her!

And one of the birthday boy, he’s so cute. 😉

As for runner’s high? Well, I’m still riding that high as I type this. Had one of those “I could run forever” runs this morning. The weather was crisp and comfy. The birds were chirping away and the roads were silent. In fact, this was probably the least chatty Scott and I were on our run in a long time. It was just us with our thoughts, our feet hitting the pavement, our breath even and strong. It gives me full confidence that in ten weeks, I’ll be ready to kick the crap out of the YuKanRun half marathon.  🙂

In other news, barre n9ne – crazy to think that we’re already into week three of our eight week challenge! And here’s how it’ll look (can’t wait!):

Sunday – muggy and hot 5-miler (complete with super-sexy sports bra tan lines LOL)
Monday – barre n9ne toned, firm, fit and ready (which was my first time taking this class, it was awesome. A mix of barre n9ne signature method, lean & tone and long & lean legs, kinda perfect if you ask me!)
Tuesday – runner’s high worthy run (4.5 miler)
Wednesday – 5 miler; barre n9ne lean & tone
Thursday – 4 or 5-miler with the sis; barre n9ne long & lean legs; barre n9ne fusion
Friday – rest
Saturday – first long run day of training, aiming for 6.5 or 7ish

In related barre n9ne challenge news? I totally rocked the food log at the annual memorial day bash and I am SO PROUD of myself for it. I stuck to my plan, I ate lots of fruits and veggies and hummus and fresh fruit, and steered clear of the stuff I usually kill for at parties (read: all the bad stuff!). Annd I was able to fit wine into the mix, a must for this wino, I’ll tell you that!!  I call this a MAJOR win for me, especially considering I am suuuuch a sucker for cocktail party food!

So yeah, a great weekend, an awesome blog detox (despite the growing google reader feed I must trim down!), and a great week of workouts ahead. How does your week look, my friends? Let’s rock it out together, shall we?  

And what a week it was…

I gotta say – this has been quite the week…!

Barre n9ne week #2 came and went (well, almost – one more class tomorrow AM). My entire body is talking to me today, good thing I listened and took the rest day versus disobeying and going for a run. A tough call given the gorgeous weather today. And still, I obeyed – go me!

I signed up for my second half marathon. Woot! Seriously, now that the reality of it has set in, I’m getting really excited to slowly start upping my mileage again. Just in time for summer, weee!!

I wondered. And wondered. And wondered some more. And got some awesome insights back from you all – which of course, made me wonder some more. 😉

I recognized and faced my fear of change. A lot more of an eye-opening realization for me this week than I thought. Up until this particular challenge (barre n9ne), I didn’t ever really recognize that I don’t really fully commit to things no matter how enthusiastic I am about it. I hold back just enough to not quite ever finish what I started. It actually feels like a huge weight has been lifted from my shoulders now that I’ve realized that. I’m ready to find my inner fearlessness. 🙂

Looking back on this week, I’m feeling rather accomplished. Not just because I killed each workout (count ’em – six barre n9ne workouts this week and four runs total after tomorrow), but because I learned a LOT about myself. I love when that happens. I guess I’m getting wise in my old age. hehe.

On that note – I hope you all have a fantastic long and gorgeous (and disconnected!) weekend. I have plans to celebrate my husband’s birthday in typical Sutera style. Big-ass cookout at the Sutera Manor (which should put my food log skills to the test, but I’m ready to pass with flying colors!) followed by some beach time (I hope) and a date night with Scott on his actual birthday (Monday).  But first – must get through work today before the weekend begins! I’m gunning for sushi tonight too, in case you were wondering. 😉

“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.”

So last night, I had a moment.

One of fear.
Fear of change.
Which produced a bit of a a fight or flight reaction.

I won’t get into all the details here but it relates to this whole food log thing and some feedback I needed to hear from Tanya about my approach to the log. Essentially, she made some recommendations/tweaks and my immediate reaction was “I can’t do this.”

But I can. I know I can. But this is how I always react when the going gets tough. I pull back. I refuse to let myself be great. I fizzle out versus finishing what I started. And I refuse to do this with the Barre N9ne challenge (or the half in August, for that matter).

So I turned to twitter for some quick advice:

Jess Sutera

 Having a fear of change (change being good) vs embrace the change moment. Quick, someone tell me to embrace, embrace!
Jess Sutera
LOVE!! Thank you!! RT @IrieFitGirl: @JessFit654 Every change leads you on to something better than before. Truly 🙂
So my new twitter friend @IrieFitGirl sent to me two great pieces of advice – one was her own as you can see in her tweet above, and one was this quote:
“The universe is change; our life is what our thoughts make it.” –Marcus Aurelius
It was exactly what I needed to hear. Between what my sis shared with me over skype and BBIM right before our Barre N9ne class last night, and this twitter advice (thank you!!), I have a new perspective today.
I didn’t sign up for this challenge to see ‘minimal’ results. My entire life (it seems), I’ve worked my butt off with workouts galore and yet I never quite feel like that has translated into major results – or a transformation, if you will. Good results, yes, but great ones? I’m not so sure. And before you all worry that I’m being too hard on myself, I promise you I am not. I know that I am fit and strong and healthy. I just know, deep down, that I can be even more fit and strong and healthy if I let go of this fear of change.
I’ve got to learn to be fearless. To own each challenge I commit to. This is my time. To finish what I started.
<Editor’s Note: yes, I realize that this was a pep talk  style blog post, so thank you for indulging me today, sometimes it needs to be done.>

Have you ever wondered?

<Editor’s Note: don’t ask – I have no idea where these came from…I have a long commute, way too much thinking time…?>

Have you ever wondered?

…what it would be like to walk a day in someone else’s shoes? (and if so, whose shoes?)

…what your life would look like if just one thing in your life happened/didn’t happen/happened differently? (i.e. if I’d never worked part-time at Shaw’s all through high school/college…I’d have never met my husband, thank God that I did.)

…what you’d do with upwards of three hours “back” in your day that right now is spent commuting? (or wait, is that just my commute??)

…if you’d end up on the same career path if you had to decide today what your major in college would be vs. at the ripe old age of 18?

…why it is that you blog? Or if there’s an “expiration date” on your blog?

…what it would be like to go to say to your hairstylist “surprise me” – and mean it?

…if your career is a means to an end vs. an integral part of who you are?

…if you live to eat or eat to live?

…how freeing it would be to have an un-tethered job?

…what it would feel like to toss your blackberry out the window for an entire week (weekend included; and not when you’re forced to disconnect like on a tropical island with no broadband access)?   

…if your definition of “me” is the same as your friends definition of you.

…if you could exist on just one food, what would it be?

…what your purpose (higher calling or whatever you wanna call it) is in life?

…how it would feel to be called “mom.” <disclaimer – no, this does *not* mean that I have the baby bug!>

…if you could change one thing about your life today, what would you choose?

…why it is so easy to fill a blank blog post page but a blank page for work/school, etc. sits there and taunts you sometimes?

So? Have you ever wondered? 

Now what?

Ok, so I’m committed to my 2nd half marathon.

And I’m all over the Barre N9ne challenge (which is going amazingly well, if my ridiculous enthusiasm over the whole thing isn’t clear by now!).

So…now what?

How will I balance both?

I was thinking about this last night as I dozed into dreamland. I’m all about focus these days – less is more, quality over quantity, all that jazz.

So here’s my plan: Barre N9ne is on until July 13. I’m in it to win it. So is my sis.

But the half will be just about one month later on August 14. I’ve got to finish what I’ve started.

So – is there a training plan in mind, you ask?

Kind of.

Booshy shared a pretty fanfrickintastic training plan with me and my sis today. She goes so far as to laminate it to post on the fridge (talk about motivating!). I love it. Yet – I find myself shying away from a “written” training plan, per se. So instead, I’m going to loosely follow what I did last summer when training for the Wicked Half. The whole less is more thing worked well here – less is more being  less structure is better for me than more. It prevents stress, something I dig, big time these days.

So the plan, sorry – was digressing there for a sec. (Such a spaz today.):

Run 4x/week – one long run (likely on Sundays) of varying mileage, two shorter runs (3-5ish miles) and one mid-range run (6, 7ish). Of course, I’ll be building up to the longer mileage to avoid any training injuries. The last thing I want to do is run into another knee issue!

In between running, I’ll continue to focus, focus, focus on Barre N9ne.

And that’s it. All she wrote, folks.

Kinda sounds like what I’m already doing now, huh? Well, it is – I’m just finally ready to give this “thing” a name – it’s my barre-n9ne-challenge-ala-half-marathon-training-lovefest.

Whatcha think? Has a nice ring to it, no?

Oh – and in typical spaz fashion, a couple of MUST-HAVES to get me through the next 2.5-ish months, I’ve decided?

I need:

Lululemon RUN shorts

I need:

Lululemon groove pants

Where’s my Lululemon fairy godmother? I’m waaaaitng.



And so it begins (again)…

Soooo I’ve finally done it.

I’ve just committed to my second half marathon.


It’s on August 14 – the Cape Ann YuKanRun Half Marathon.  <–aptly named, I must say!

I’ll be running it in my hometown of Gloucester, MA

With my husband, my sister and her boyfriend M  (hopefully – someone please tell her that yes, she CAN do this again, please??), and hopefully my sister-in-law, too.

Currently, I’m a bundle of mixed emotions – joy, excitement, pride, anxiety.

…but I’m hoping that last one subsides a bit.

This time around (pretty similar to the Wicked Half), I’m not planning to have a hard “time goal” in mind (numbers and I don’t do well) and I’m not going to have a super-duper structured training plan. Again – I love structure in some cases, but in other cases (like this one), I’d rather have flexibility to train when I want/how I want.

What I really want to come out of this?

I want to finish what I started.

Even though I definitely call the half marathon last year a successful one, I can’t help but feel like I didn’t quite finish what I started. Mentally, more than anything else. I sort of let my anxiety towards the last handful of miles of the race mess with my mind. I lost my confidence and sort of crumbled by the end of it. Sure, some of that was dehydration related, but I know that part of it was my confidence waning. Like I said in this post last week, I’ve found that as I get close to success, I start to second guess myself and I pull back.

I’ll give you an example (my sisters will giggle at this one). Picture this scene. I was in fifth grade. At the spelling bee competition. I had just one more word to spell and I’d make it to the semi-finals. In Washington, DC. The sheer thought of getting up on such a big stage and in a city I’d never been to (at that age, I’d only flown one time and it was when I was 6 or 7) scared the life out of me. So – on the last word – jaguar – I misspelled it. On purpose. I came in as runner-up. Got my little trophy and didn’t tell a soul. Not right away anyway. I KNEW how to spell jaguar (with a “uar” at the end, not “ur”) –yet I purposefully threw the competition because I was afraid.

I was afraid to let myself be great.

This has been a constant battle for me – to this day. It happened during Kick training. It’s happened with running. I don’t want to face these battles anymore. I don’t want to pull back this time. I want to 100% embrace this journey, much like I’ve been embracing the Barre n9ne challenge. With enthusiasm and 100% commitment. Without pulling back. Without fear.

So I can truly finish what I started.

So with that said…YuKanRun Half – I’m coming for you. 

Barre n9ne week #2 – it’s on!

<Editor’s Note – is it me or did this weekend FLY by in a nanosecond?? I can’t believe I’m typing this up at almost 9pm on Sunday. How did that even happen?? Hmph. Anyway, carrying on…>

Yup, last week – week #1.5 of the barre n9ne challenge – rocked.

Every workout presented a new challenge. A new “way” to sweat. And each time I ran, I took what I’d just learned in barre n9ne and did my best to apply it to running, where possible. And it’s making this girl, very, very happy, indeed.

So what’s on the agenda for barre n9ne week #2? Let’s just say that it’s on – and I’m ready to kill it:

Sunday – speedy 5k
Monday – 5-ish miler in the AM (unless it rains); Barre n9ne signature method
Tuesday – 4-ish miler in the AM; Barre n9ne lean & tone
Wednesday – 5-ish miler in the AM
Thursday – Barre n9ne long & lean legs followed by Barre Fusion
Friday – rest
Saturday – Barre n9ne signature method followed by annual memorial day cookout at the Sutera Manor (that would be the fancy name we gave to our house, hehe)

Looks pretty similar to last week, though this week I’m hoping for 5 chances to run. I’m getting closer and closer to committing to a half marathon (more on this later) so I’m trying ever so hard to get that running mojo going on overdrive.

In the meantime, I’m loving every single second of this challenge (clearly!). I’m loving this time to bond with my sis, I’m loving getting to know some fabulous Barre n9ne instructors (seriously, it’s impossible not to love them!), and I’m loving that I’ve discovered a workout that feels so incredibly life-changing, in a way I really can’t describe. It’s just left such an impact on me – especially in mind, even more so than body.

Barre N9ne week #2 – it’s on.

“I put my money on joy and I’m so glad that I did”

“I put my money on joy and I’m so glad that I did.” 

Uttered by Oliva on the Biggest Loser this week, just one week before finale week. She looks amazing. But even more importantly? The joy is welling up inside of her. Her eyes sparkle. She truly has banked on joy and come out a winner.

And it’s a feeling I think we should all feel – if not every single day (because let’s be honest, we all have bad days), almost every single day. Joy is the one thing that nobody should steal from you. It’s yours to share, to embrace, to hold close to your heart.

That sense of joyfulness is especially close to my heart today – on the two year anniversary since my Nonna’s passing. She meant the world to my sister’s and I – and we meant the world to her as her first grandchildren, and triplets at that. One thing she always reminded us was to be happy, to live joyfully, to be good to eachother, to embrace life and all that’s offered to us.

I was thinking of her this morning as Scott and I ran our familiar loop around our neighborhood before work. And, just as I was remembering her so dearly, the bells started chiming at the chapel around the corner from where we were. Now – I realize that it was chiming because it was the 6:00 hour by then, but I can’t help but think it was also Nonna’s way of saying “I’m here – I’m still watching over you, I love you.” 

And even though I sit here typing this, with tears in my eyes, they are tears of joy because my sisters and I were lucky enough to have her around for as long as we did. And we still have two wonderful and healthy grandparents on my mom’s side that we cherish so very dearly. They’ve instilled good, strong values in all three of us. Values like faith, and perseverance and confidence and strength and family.

So today, as I remember my Nonna, I ask you to do just one thing: Put your money on joy – both today and everyday. 

Guest post: a fitness bonding evolution

So, ya’ll know by now that one of my sisters and I really bond over our workouts.  This barre n9ne challenge came at just the right time for both of us – both physically/mentally but also in terms of our relationship. Now that we don’t work together anymore (and commute together), we have far less time together. This challenge has become “our” time and we’ve been having a blast together – which resulted in quite the giggle fit during the stretch/cool-down in class the other night (whoops, hope nobody heard us).  It’s also resulted in a pretty cool realization – something my sister so eloquently shares in her guest post for me below – on our fitness bonding evolution.

For the last few years, my sister Jess and I have embarked on fitness ‘challenge’ after challenge together because we love to try new things and push ourselves (as you probably already know!) and because doing it together makes it that much more fun. Whether it’s Cathe Friedrich’s STS series (or her Road Trips, which we’ve loved and are sad to miss this year!), training to run our first-ever half marathon together, training for (and PASSING) Group Kick certification, the ‘homegrown’ Core Fusion 30 day challenge we did recently, and now, the Barre N9ne 60 day transformation. (Phew, guess we’ve done a lot, huh?) I’m proud to say I wouldn’t have wanted to have it any other way…experiencing all of this together has been the best part of it all!)

So, this Monday, as we kick-started our first full Barre N9ne week of classes, when I heard “Start me Up” by Kingston come over the speakers, I instantly flashed back…to Group Kick. We were training. And practicing. And practicing some more. And rehearsing for our second-ever launch (every three months there is a ‘launch’ of a new program and as part of that, our group of instructors would get together, assign tracks to learn and teach it to each other). If I recall, Jess had this song (the warm-up track) and I remember watching her teach it to us and she did it so effortlessly (and of course, for some reason, that track was tricky for me to learn that time around!) and she had a huge grin on her face. We had fun learning to cue tracks, show energy, and get through an entire cardio-intense class together.

But most importantly, we did it together.

Fast forward back to class on Monday. The song was slower than in Group Kick (it was a remix then) and we were sitting on mats on the floor next to each other. Focusing hard. On form, On lengthening. On proper form for the ab moves we were doing. And I looked over and just smiled. She knew exactly what I was thinking (and I, what she was thinking) and smiled back. And it came to me…this is what we bond over. This is what we love to do together. This is something nobody can ever take away from us, because it’s made us who we are, we’ve learned so much from these challenges and they bring us closer than ever.

So, thank you sis, for being part of this journey together. It’s always a fun ride and we always learn so much. Here’s to another fitness challenge together. Rock on. We got this.

Running + barre

Thanks to Alison for giving me an excellent blog post topic for tonight (her comment last night spurred it!). I’m going to try to be brief so I can disconnect properly tonight with the hubs so bear with me on the shortness (ish) of this post.

So here it is:
Running, combined with barre-style workouts, could quite possibly be the best workout combo around.

I know, I know, I’m just barely into week 1.5 of the Barre N9NE 60-day challenge and I can’t stop gushing. But seriously, this whole focus thing of mine is paying off already, I swear.

My running is starting to improve. In fact – I ran my longest run yet for this particular running season (just under 7 miles last Saturday, woot!). I still feel like my running mojo isn’t quite where it was last season (yet!) but I know it’s there – and just knowing/sensing that makes me smile.  BIG smiles.

I’m eating mindfully. Embracing that food log. But not obsessing. Score!

My posture is improving. My core is strengthening. My shaking muscles are lengthening.

But most of all? I’m happy.  Energized. Excited. About what the future holds.

Ok right…this was supposed to be about running, not just my growling cult-like obsession with Barre N9ne and all things barre.

So running. And Barre. Combined. What makes it such a great pair to me is mostly the mental impact vs. physical. I find that I’m being more mindful as I run. I’m paying attention to my legs as they push off the pavement. I’m noticing when my glutes engage on those hills in my neighborhood. I’m keeping my core tight and controlled which makes me feel centered, more confident, more stable, as I run. I’m paying attention to form – a huge component of any barre work is proper form. So the fact that I’m carrying this over into running is a major plus in my book.

As for focus? I am really, really glad I nixed all other cardio work with the exception of running during this challenge. I’m liking the simplicity factor. That, by doing so, my running pace/endurance will continue to grow. Without interruption due to my typical spastic-gotta-do-five-million-types-of-workouts mindset. No more . In fact, I’m even contemplating freezing my gym membership for the summer – I won’t be using it for classes, so why pay for it? This also goes along with my growing affection for barre – I’d rather pay for classes with the money I was spending on a gym membership I’m not using.

Long story short: Barre + Running = LOVE!