Guilt – good/bad?

I’ve been thinking a lot about guilt – the emotion behind it and whether it is always considered a “bad” emotion to have or does it have a time and a place where it could be considered “good.”

This, of course, was sparked by an email conversation with two of my favorite fit friends – my sis (duh) and my friend Steph who is almost 30 days into the barre n9ne challenge (and looking SUPER fab, I  have to say!). It all started because I mentioned in an email this morning (yes, we email often throughout the day about our workouts, rundates, and LOTS of barre n9ne chatter…we’re obsessed, clearly) that I was feeling guilty for moving my AM run to the PM for today. I am feeling majorly tired this week and I totally blame it on how DARK it is at 5am when Scott and I now get up to run in the morning. In my defense though, I was also feeling sad at missing out on an AM runner’s high, something that often is the only thing that gets me through the day…especially given my killer commute to the office.

But anyway, they both agreed that duh, I should not have felt guilty for simply moving my run to the PM. I’m still working out – hello! And then Steph mentioned some guilt about “only” going for a two-hour walk yesterday with her pups versus going for a run. As if a 2-hour hike in the woods with two golden retrievers is a cake walk or something! So as we’re chattering back and forth, talking eachother off the guilt train, it dawned on me…well two things did, actually.

I – we – are WAY too hard on ourselves. All three of us are workout fiends, we love, love, love hitting up barre n9ne classes as often as we can fit them into our schedule and we love to run, together, apart, rundate style, you name it. So why the guilt? Is it just a natural instinct? Is it innate? Or is it a learned emotion?

Is there a time and a place where guilt can be a good thing? My answer (which might seem a little controversial, I’m not sure) is: YES. I think for some people, the guilt complex is the only way they can self-motivate:

…To live a healthier lifestyle.

…To get that workout in that they know their body is craving even if their mind is trying to ignore them.

…To be a better friend by checking in more often just to say “hi” versus letting so much time go by between visits (yes, we’re all busy, but a quick call or even a text might mean the world to that friend whose missing you! I know I just did that this week with a favorite friend of mine, and voila! We’re meeting for lunch today, in fact!).

…To do well by doing good, versus taking good fortune in your own life and only reveling in it instead of paying that good fortune forward with others.

When guilt kicks in, in these cases, I tend to think that’s human nature’s way of saying, “stop and listen.”

But where does that “good” guilt complex that’s telling you to “stop and listen” end and the “bad” guilt complex begin? I think, like so many things in life, it’s a fine line. Much like the fine line between confidence and arrogance.

For me, this exercise – just writing this post – has clarified something for me: I’m a super motivated person generally, so guilt for the most part, has no place in my life. I need to banish it much like the negative self-talk thoughts I recently talked about banishing. For me, guilt spins quickly into negative thinking – it’s that “stop and listen” mentality again, but “stop and listen to what you’re saying/thinking and cut it out” mentality that I need to pay attention to more closely.

So what do you think? Is guilt always good? Always bad? Is there a fine line?  

Dear 13.1

Dear 13.1,

I think I’m addicted to you. I’ve been thinking about you ever since we met last. On Sunday, August 14. Around 10:15 or so in the morning. To be exact.

I just might be infatuated.

Can we meet up again?

Perhaps on Sunday, October 23 around noon-ish? In Newburyport, maybe?

I’d really love to see your face again.

…and maybe even sooner than last time.


Hello dear,

I’ve missed you, too. I’d LOVE to meet you on October 23. My calendar is free and I’ve just blocked the entire morning for you.

I’m free right at noon, so please try not to be late, ok?

I’m dreaming of a gorgeous fall day. A crisp chill in the air.

And you, “meeting” me, your favorite 13.1, at the “Finish” – our favorite meeting spot.

With a huge smile on your face.

Right at noon.

It’s a date.


<Editor’s note: if you couldn’t read between the lines – tee hee – my husband and I are officially signed up for the Green Stride Half Marathon on October 23!! And this week marks the official “restart” of half marathon training. So, so, so excited. And yes, I realize I’m a gigantic dork for writing this post. Carry on. 😉 >

8.3 miles later

8.3 miles. 

That’s the equivalent of how far we “ran” yesterday during my sister’s big move into her new apartment with M.

And let me tell ya, my body is feeling every single one of those 8.3 “miles” after the fact. Moving is no joke.

But what this weekend’s big move showed me? That I am kinda really strong. (of course I’d relate the moving party back to fitness somehow LOL)

But seriously – we spent almost 8 hours doing the following:
Packing up all of Jo’s goods into the moving van. Out of her apartment, down the steps and into the van. Repeat many times.
Packing up all of M’s goods into the moving van. Again – out of his apartment, down the steps and into the van. Repeat many times.
Unloading the cars (that were all packed to the brim) and the moving truck at their new digs. But not just unloading, no, not so fast.
Unloading into an elevator, up to the third floor, and down a long (very long) hallway to their unit at the very end of that very long hallway.
Pushing, shoving, lugging those boxes down the hall – there was a lot of shoving done on my part – low to the ground, pushing from my glutes and shoulders and driving that box down the hallway (worked well for the particularly heavy boxes that were too awkward to carry in my arms)
…Being on the caboose end of the two-team carrying of Jo’s couch (times two!) down the hallway. Scott was on the front end, I was on the back (TWSS??).
Repeat process many, many, many times. Until the elevator was empty and every single box and piece of furniture made it safely into their new place.
…And THEN, returning back to Jo’s old apartment to take apart her bed and bureau and kitchen table that were all coming to my house (yay for “new” furniture!). Packing it all into the moving truck and off to our house where we promptly unloaded it all, up the stairs and into the spare bedroom and down the stairs into the basement.
…and then, we were done.  

Woof.  We were all sweaty, smelly, tired, and hungry. Thank god for the big bowl of irish oats/chopped apple/pb I had for breakfast around 6:30! By almost 3pm, I was ravenous, to say the least. I guess that’s what 8.3 miles worth of moving will do to the appetite. 😉

So yeah, it was a long day – but it was so, so, so worth it. The look of glee on Jo’s face when she showed me her new digs was priceless. Her eyes were shining, her smile was so big and proud. I LOVE this for her. She is embarking on a whole new phase of her relationship with M (future BIL, I swear!).

And if I ended up with a killer “accidental” workout and a nice reminder that this body is built for endurance, isn’t a bad after-effect either. 😉

When was the last time your strength or endurance or power surprised you? Kinda nice, right?

Why not say “thank you”?

One of my new years’ resolutions was to finally kick the negative self-talk habit for good. It was my new years’ resolution two years ago as well and while I made good progress that year, it definitely wasn’t a habit I’d successfully broken.

And since then, I’ve made a concerted effort to bash the negative self-talk as often as possible. Nobody needs such negativity in their lives, least of all negativity that comes right from within you and is aimed at you. Duh, how much sense does that make, right??

What’s equal parts interesting and exciting?

ExcitingI think I’ve finally broken the habit.
InterestingI have a hard time outright saying “you know what? I look good.”

The thing is – I feel confident today. I feel so comfortable in my own skin. I feel like the me I’ve always wanted to be – on the outside, but more so on the inside. This is who I’m supposed to be. This is me.

So why is this newly “refined” me having a hard time openly accepting compliments – from others, or even from myself, in my own head where nobody can hear it but me?

I think what it comes down to is this: it’s actually more acceptable in our society to talk ourselves down in front of others versus lifting ourselves up.

But why? Is it arrogant and cocky to look in the mirror and actually like what you see? Is it obnoxious to say “thank you” when someone says they like your haircut, or how your top accentuates your shoulders? Why brush off a compliment that was offered up out of an honest appreciation for something someone else views as beautiful?

Of course, there is a fine line between confidence and arrogant, but I think that line needs to be toed more often. I think we, as a community of beautiful, healthy, strong bloggers need to more openly share the things that we love about ourselves, about eachother.

Because guess what? We work hard to be the healthy and fit people that we ALL are so why not celebrate that hard work we put in to how we look and how we feel (more importantly)?

So this is me – accepting that I am beautiful. That I like what I see in that mirror. And I’m not afraid to admit it.

There. I said it.  

And here’s a picture to prove it…me at my most confident, with my gorgeous husband by my side…

So next time you hesitate when someone tells you how great you look, or how confidently you hold yourself, why not say “thank you?”

Funk, rut, meh?

So I’m feeling a little…off.

Sort of in a funk.
Or a rut.
Or just a little bit “meh.”

And I’m not really sure why.  And I guess I really don’t need to know the answer to “why” but the overthinker in me obviously wants to dig in and figure it out.

…I suppose it could be post-staycation blues and having a hard time getting back into a groove again.

…Or that my running this week (and last for that matter) hasn’t felt as awesome or as runners high-ish as I’d like. <–I partly blame this on the dark o’clock effect though, why does the sun not want to rise at 5am anymore, sad face!

…Or maybe it’s that the wine country three-peat is no more.

…Or that my blogging feels boring or flat lately, somehow. (I hope I’m not boring you with this post, even!)

…Or that I’m still looking for that dare to be great moment that I feel is just around the corner, just out of my reach. It certainly helps that I’m surrounded by some fabulous people (both IRL – the hubs! and in bloggy land) who are reaching for their dreams, throwing caution to the wind and just going for it. Or already have it, feeling settled right where they’re supposed to be.

And I guess I want that, too. Ok, I know I want that too. But what is “that” – for me? I’m not sure, but it’s been lurking more and more in the back of my mind lately. Call it the back-to-school effect of the pending fall season and the feeling of ‘starting fresh’ that surrounds us this time of year. Or call it that urge that always tends to burn inside me to reach for and set goals, of all kinds – personal, professional, fitness related.

Clearly, I’m still mulling this one over, and have largely used this blog post to figure out what’s going on up in this brain of mine. Call it a funk, call it a rut, call it just a case of the “meh’s” or the “blah’s.” Whatever you call it, I’m not a fan. And I’m determined to get to the bottom of it.

If any of ya’ll have ideas on how to rid myself of this feeling – or can help me figure out what the “that” for me is in “I want that” – do tell. 

Focus (the little things)

One of the (many) things that barre n9ne has shown me is focus.

focusing on form during class (core engaged, hips tucked up and under, eyes fixed on that mirror)

focusing on less is more (running + barre is proof that “less is more” in the form of a focused workout regime just works.)

focusing on moments. Moments in class when things just click. When that leg shake that happens at the barre is something I work for versus stopping just short of the shake.

But that focus on moments has also extended to running (I’ll get to that in a minute) and everyday “little things” that make an otherwise mundane day seem just a wee bit brighter.

Little things like the woman at Starbucks on Monday who stopped me in my haste to get out the door and on the road to say that my dress was awesome and where did I get it. Or the woman in the hall at work – a woman I’ve never spoken to in my life – who said that very same dress was great, so “classic.”  Or coming home after barre n9ne on Monday and on Tuesday to dinner on the table and a smiling husband ready to burst with the details of his first few days of new hire orientation. The smile on his face is seared in my brain. So proud.

Or today – running at dark o’clock, focusing (on moments):

…setting foot out the door in the dark, sort of dreading the run ahead. Which quickly changed as we got moving, in the near silence that surrounded us. The sounds of our feet on the pavement the only thing keeping us company. Blissfully quiet. 

…turning the corner down the hill and around the bend and spying a brilliant orange and pink sunrise just peeking up over the horizon. Seeing the way those colors bounced off the glass-like water like a mirror. Worth the 5am dark wake-up call to see that. So worth it. 

…watching and listening as the world stirred from slumber. At first, just the sounds of our feet and a few peepers chattering away. And then, the birds start to chirp, a couple of cars start up in driveways as we pass by. A biker whizzes by. Awake.

…feeling my legs, back, core, arms all very sore from barre n9ne but in the best possible way. Proud that that sore body was carrying me through a fast-paced run, faster than I expected us to go. Envisioning that finish line again coming up on Oct 24. Ready.

…and remembering, out of the blue, my old running mantra from way back when I first started to run… “start strong, just finish.” And thinking that that phrase doesn’t fit anymore. Instead – “Start strong, enjoy the journey…the finish is worth it.” Suits me so much better today.

All of this, these thoughts on focus, on moments, on little things. I would have simply whipped through my morning without a second thought. But just having that focused mindset, and all of this came to me during our run today. All because I focused. On moments. On little things.

Imagine if we all did that more often. Every single day. No more rushing through the day. Missing out on moments. Give it a try. I bet you’ll be as surprised as me what focus can open your eyes to. 

When things don’t go according to plan…

…so I’m a planner, if you didn’t notice that by now.

And when things don’t go according to plan, well — I don’t always handle it well. Call it a personality flaw. Call it a symptom of being a very typical Type-A personality. Call it me.

For some reason, I’m just not very good at rolling with the punches, switching my focus and moving on. But I’m working on it.

A couple of examples – some more minor than others…

…I didn’t get up to run this morning. No biggie, right? Well, kinda. Sure, I’ll run tomorrow and other days this week. I’ll get my runner’s high fix in. I enjoyed the extra hour of sleep (needed after a restless night with way too many weird dreams). But yet, now that I’m looking out my bedroom window and seeing the gorgeous cool weather out there. Well, I feel guilty. And I hate that my mind goes there. I’m healthy. I’m fit. One skipped run is no big deal. But for some reason, I worry that one skipped run will turn into two or three skipped runs and there goes my running mojo again. I know, I know — it won’t. But there’s that irrational side of my brain, the side that has a hard time dealing with plans not working, that I struggle.

This is me – blogging it out. 

…when I logged into WordPress today I noticed something. Yesterday was my 500th post. And I didn’t even notice. I didn’t celebrate it. I didn’t do some special giveaway or something to commemorate the occasion. Again, no biggie, yeah? Well I know it’s not – but I’m also a very proud blogger and am thankful to this lovely blog community that I belong to. Because it allows me to do something most cannot…share pieces of me every single day with all of you. You are wonderful, thank you for being part of all 500 posts, almost two years later.

This is me, blogging it out. 

…the wine country three-peat is not happening. Well, it is for everyone else. But for Scott and I? We have to bow out. It’s for a beautiful reason – Scott’s job that I feel very, very blessed that he landed and wouldn’t trade it for the world. His job is not one where vacation time is granted unless in very extreme circumstances – school vacations count as vacation time, any other time of year, notsomuch. I had hoped there would be a workaround, or that they’d grant him his request y’know, just because he asked so nicely. I was trying to be optimistic even though I knew deep down it would be an issue. And sure, I could go without him, find a friend to come along for his “half” of the house. But you know what? It wouldn’t be the same — we’ve gone to wine country the past two years together with our friends and I’d just miss him and all of those shared memories if I went and he stayed behind. Call me crazy, but I just can’t do it. I’m far too in love with my husband to go on a vacation without him, at least not a vacation like this one. So this is me, not apologizing for my commitment to my relationship. Even though I know I’ll be disappointing friends (and my sister, sorry sis…), I feel strongly about this.

This is me, blogging it out.

Everything happens for a reason…even if not according to my plan. And I’ve got to (learn to) be ok with that. 


Back at it

Well, it’s Monday.
Which means one of two things:

1 – It’s back to work after a week off (oof)
2 – It’s time to kick those workouts back up after a recovery-ish week last week, post half marathon.

So, being the genius that I am (you can take that one with a grain of salt, ha!), I decided to switch things up a bit on the running front. You’ll never guess where I took my run this morning.

To the dreadmill.

Yup, you heard me right. The dreadmill.

Two reasons for that (sensing a pattern here…):
1 – Scott’s first day of orientation is today. He’s even MORE of an early-to-everything person than me and didn’t want to risk a run beforehand. Nothing worse than being late your first day on the new job. I can’t really blame him for that one, now can I?
2 – Since I was running partner-less and didn’t want to face a darker run solo, I figured hell, let’s give intervals a shot today. It’s been quite awhile since I last tackled those. And hell, if it’ll help me speed up a bit for the half marathon in October, I’m all for it. 😉

So I did. And it wasn’t nearly as bad as I was making them out to be in my head while I talked myself into getting out and upstairs to my treadmill.

Here’s what I’m calling my 30 mins in-out-and-done intervals (it’s a variation of this workout, actually):

Warm up: 3 minutes easy walk or jog (4 mph) 

1st Set
3 minute tempo run (6.5 )
3 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 minute , jog 1 minute, sprint 1 minute) (7.5, 6, 7.5)
3 minute tempo run (6.7)

Recovery: 3 minute walk or jog (4)

2nd Set
3 minute tempo run (6.7)
3 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 min., jog 1 min, sprint 1 min.)
(7.5, 6, 7.5)
3 minute tempo run (7)

Recovery: 2 minute walk or jog (4)

3rd Set
2 minute tempo run (7)
2 minute sprint interval (sprint 1 minute, jog 1 minute, sprint 1 minute) (8, 6, 8 )
2 minute tempo run (7)

Cool down:
2 minute walk or jog (4)

Sweaty. Fast. Good. Happy camper over here. Ready to tackle Monday before heading off to barre n9ne tonight for barre n9ne barre method class at 7:15. (wee!)

Happiness is….(summertime edition)

Happiness is…(summertime edition)

…a week-long “staycation” with my love.

…a couple of days spent beach-side.

...cuddles from the cutest niece ever.

…wine and prosecco, obvs.

(pre-dinner drinks at a local restaurant right on the water…)

(Drinks on the deck, a la Sutera Manor)

…small victories that make this girl smile big, like so:

(that small victory? While shopping…fitting into a pants size I never thought I’d see..big smiles…)

…wrapping up an awesome staycation week, double-date style with this girl and her man, where we’ll be cheers-ing to “new beginnings.” All of which starts tomorrow – me back to work, Scott off to week-long orientation before the new job kicks into high gear, and my sis thisclose to moving in with the love of her life.

Good things are happening around these parts. And that makes me smile biggest of all.

Plotting and planning

So apparently a ‘staycation’ in my book involves lots and lots of “things” and not very much down time.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done my fair share of lounging this week too – this picture is proof of that:

But it’s also given me plenty of time to sit back and ponder, plot and plan.

There’s been lots of cleaning, organizing (buh-bye FIVE bags of clothes to goodwill from my closet and Scott’s combined) and prepping. For Scott’s new job that starts on Monday (YAY!!!) and for my return to work with a renewed and refreshed focus (I hope!) and getting back to what I love – barre n9ne and running. While I have definitely fit in some great workouts this week, it’s been more of what I’d call an “active recovery” week – a term I use loosely, haha.;-)

So what have I been plotting and planning? Well – what’s front and center in my mind is the next half marathon (that I have yet to officially register for but I will be doing so on Monday – Scott challenged me to “wait and be patient” and to register on Monday so I’m trying very hard to obey, not something I’m used to doing, waaaay too stubborn for my own good!).

The big question for me – how how do I want to train or continue to train for the Green Stride race in October?

What it comes down to is this. I’m pretty well trained now and simply want to keep my legs happy and conditioned for the two months. Yes, that means training, but I use that term “training” rather loosely this time (there’s that phrase again!).

For one – it’s getting darker in the AM and with Scott’s new schedule, we’ll be running around 5am in the morning which means a largely dark AM run from now on (*sniff!* summer please don’t leave me!!). And given what time he’s got to be out the door, our weekday runs will be limited to the 4-5ish mile range for the most part.

So what I’m thinking is this:
– For the next few weeks, we’ll do 2-3 runs during the week in the 4-5 mile range with a “longer” run on Saturday in the 6-7ish mile range.
– From there, we’ll continue our fairly shorter weekday running but turn that longer run on Saturday into progressively longer runs – mainly in the 8’s or so until about a month before the race.
– Pause for our return to wine country in mid-September (wine country three-peat baby!!) where any running we fit in will be short, very short.
– Upon our return, kick it up a notch – get back into the double-digits for our long runs
– And before we know it, race day will be here.

See? Doesn’t that seem nice and loose and kinda fun?? Especially since I’ll still be embracing my love of barre n9ne throughout (I *am* a barre n9ne spokesmodel afterall, haha). I’m thinking the next two months are going to be just as fit and fun and balanced as the last two. (I say “balanced” because I’m pretty sure those 2 rest days a week will still be part of the equation this fall…who am I???).

So yeah, that’s where my brain has been wandering in between bouts of relaxation and fun this past week. And with that…I’m ready to live the sh*t out of the rest of this week and weekend, starting with some sushi and wine tonight with my love. *cheers!!*