“Have no limits today.”

“Have no limits today.”

Just think about that for a second. That simple phrase has so many connotations, doesn’t it?

For me – the second I opened that Dove chocolate earlier this week, I knew. This would be my mantra for 2012. My guiding light. My driving force.

2012 – the year of no limits.

Has a nice ring to it, right?

In looking forward to 2012, rather than listing out 3 or 4 resolutions or goals for 2012, I have made just one promise to myself.

To leap before looking.

Breaking free of any preconceived limitations or boundaries that maybe existed in my mind before.
26.2? Sure, let’s do it.
…a new job? Lemme at it (a post for another day, promise).
…seeing just how refined this body can become, barre n9ne-style — All.Over.It.
…harnessing my inner sponteneity, letting go of that pre-planned/go-go-go mentality…finding that Type B? I want it.

So this is me – staring down 2012 with a sparkle in my eye: I’m ready to leap without looking. I’m ready to have no limits today...everyday.


(almost) Wordless Wednesday – Christmas edition

Well friends, I took my own advice.

I went a little Type B on ya’ll while I enjoyed the holidays with my family and friends. Which meant (and means) a little hiatus from blogging, minimal tweeting and hardly any blog reading (sorry friends…this might be the only time I’ll ever hit “mark all as read” in Google Reader…we’ll see if I can actually go through with it or not).

So, while I take a little more “me” time while I’m off from work this week, I’ll leave you with some scenes from the holidays. It was an incredible three-day celebration….and I loved every minute of it. And best of all? It felt so balanced. I stuck to every workout I had planned (including a Christmas Eve visit to barre n9ne! <3). I didn’t overindulge…I indulged just enough. And I took a minute or two during each day we celebrated and I looked around, taking the sights and sounds in. And just breathed.

Cookie party 2011:

Christmas Eve!

Christmas Day/Day After!


Of obligations, guilt, and learning to be ‘type B’

So I’ve talked about that thing called guilt plenty of times on the blog, most notably in this post from a few months ago.

And you all know that I’ve been battling my brain this week – hello Type A on overdrive, much?

I’ve also talked a bit about putting yourself first during the hectic, crazy holiday season, when I talked about finding balance during the holidays, me-first style, just last week.

What do all three of these themes have in common? Obligations

…feeling obligated to see those ‘need to see’ friends or family vs. those ‘reaallly want to see’ friends or family.

…feeling guilt if things don’t going exactly according to plan, and/or things aren’t quite as perfect as you might have pictured them in your head. Obligated to live up to that perfect image at all times.

…or struggling to stop trying to be everything to everyone all.the.time. Forgetting to honor and adore a loved one sitting right in front you. Because you were too busy fulfilling all those other obligations first.

But why? Why do we let obligations drive us? 

I think it’s really quite simple. And I didn’t even see it until one of my best friends texted me to check in on me yesterday (mwah!). She wanted me to take a step back, breathe, figure out how to be slightly more Type B as I get ready for all the holiday hostessing I have going on this weekend.

That simple text chat showed me something. Obligations drive us because we’re too busy to recognize it. 

So busy in go, do, act mode that we (as in ‘I’) forget to breathe. 

So this is me, telling myself – and all of you – to remember to breathe.  Remember what’s most important in your life. Not just during the holidays, but everyday. Let go just a wee bit of that go, do, act mentality.

…and that sense of obligation will, quite simply, melt away. And you’ll remember – and more importantly, see – what’s worth focusing on. And what’s not. 

Just breathe. 

Moving with intention (another proud moment)

At the barre on Monday night, I looked in the mirror and watched as I moved with intention
…the up and down of the bicep curl, making sure to extend all the way to straight and back up, squeezing that bicep in tightly at the top.
…the tuck of my hips, the gentle bend at the knees, shoulders pressing up and down, up and down. Tiny moves. Intentional moves.
…feet in a ‘piece of pie,’ heels connected and lifted high, knees pushing down and out, hips tucked (yet again). Down and hold. Down and hold.  
…glancing over at my sister, beside me at the barre; watching her move with such focus, such strength, such intention.
…remembering how far we’ve come in this barre n9ne journey together.

Yes. These were the thoughts that flooded my brain during class on Monday (remember: brain. does.not.shut.off). It was as if I was on the outside, looking in. Watching myself from afar, almost as if in one of those retrospectives you see in the movies sometimes. Surreal almost.

But really? This entire journey has been surreal. I feel ridiculously lucky, blessed to have found my passion – a passion that has instilled such confidence in me and my sis, and a true sense of self. Finally. After 32 years I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I like who I’ve become.

In fact, I kinda love her. I love how strong she is. I love how happy she is.  And yes, I love how fit she is. But most of all? I love how “me” she is. 

And that makes me so very proud

I used to refer to this barre n9ne challenge and subsequent journey as a total transformation. But then I stopped and thought about it: a transformation almost makes it sound like I’ve become somebody else...but that’s not quite right.
…I’m still me.
…I’m even MORE me.
…Just as I was intended to be all along. 

Moving with intention (another proud moment)… 2012, bring it on, barre-style. 

A run-barre-rundate for one

Remember that fitastic workout from a few weeks ago? The genius idea of combining a rundate with a barredate into one fitastic run-barre-rundate? 

Well,  this past Saturday marked my return to the run-barre-rundate concept.
…with one slight tweak.

I ran the rundate portion all by myself. 

No big whoop for most of you runners out there, right? But this runner? She rarely runs alone. As in, practically never.

For some reason, I’ve always run outside with a running companion…usually Scott. Or my sis. Or my friend Steph.  But this Saturday I was left solo. Jo had a long run planned (which she killed btw, go sis, go!). And Steph was meeting me at barre n9ne for a double session she had planned.

So, instead of scrapping the run entirely, I went with it. I bundled up. I gave Scott a quick kiss and out the door I went.

The first sign that I made the right decision? The weather was far less chilly than I had braced myself for. Probably mid-30s, with little-to-no wind and lots of sunshine. Perfect winter running weather. 

The run itself was fairly uneventful. It’s 2.7 miles to the studio and the time went by quickly. I was psyched to be heading to the barre for one of my favorite barre n9ne classes – barre n9ne method – with Julianna teaching the class. So my mind was on getting “in the game” for what would be a killer session at the barre (for some reason, Julianna is always on fire on Saturdays and this past Saturday was no different!).

Pleased with how much of a shake I got at the barre, I left the studio riding high. I bundled back up and hit the road to head home. I got almost to the turning point that would take me home when I thought to myself how great I was feeling and that maybe I should push it just a little bit farther. So instead of the shorter loop home, I chose the longer route (by .3 miles, big whoop, hah) and rounded out the run-barre-rundate having covered just under 6 miles. Whew. 

But the best part of this run-barre-rundate for one? The giant run/barre high I was riding *and* the pride I felt in sticking to my guns and getting out there to run even though it was out of my norm, out of my running comfort zone.

…as it turns out, I kinda like running solo, too — who knew?

Note to self: Rotate in as many run-barre-rundates as you can this winter, you’ll never regret it and the high you’ll ride afterwards? Worth. It.

And this is how my brain works.

So, some of you may already know this (let’s be honest, you all know this by now), but I’m a serious Type-A personality. I overthink. I overschedule. I overplan.

My. Brain. Does. Not.Shut.Off.

And with the holidays coming up this weekend and Scott and I playing host on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day (*and* New Years Eve), I’m a wee bit…crazy.

To that end, I thought we could play a little game, a game I like to call:
“And this is how my brain works.”

In thinking through my workout schedule for this week (like I said, I like to maintain consistency during the holidays as best as I can)…
Let’s see, I’m going to barre n9ne on Monday, Wednesday night for a double session and Thursday night for a double session.

But wait, maybe I’ll do the earlier double session on Wednesday so I can get home earlier for dinner with Scott…he’ll be done with his final exam by then, I think.

<logs in to the  barre n9ne schedule>
…darn it, on the wait list for barre cardio…but in first position. Ok, I’ll probably get into that one. Sweet.

Hmm. But if I double on Thursday, I won’t get my run in that morning (I may be crazy and do the occasional double, but a three-a-day?? Overboard!).  Ok so maybe I’ll nix the second class so I can run in the morning.

Speaking of running, what days will I run next week. Hm. Monday – 6 miles steady. Tuesday – interval day (wee). Thursday – 6 miles recovery. Friday – longer rundate with Jo and Steph.  Saturday – rundate with Scott before all hell breaks loose at the party. Perfect. (at least that was pretty seamless…pats self on back) 

In thinking through my to-do and to-buy lists for the holidays next weekend (yes, there is a “to do” *and* “to buy” list, and it’s growing by the second…neatly typed up in Word, mind you)…

Ok so payday is Wednesday. Shoot. No time to tick things off the “to buy” list that day. Hm.

Thursday, bah- my list is long. Let’s see. I can get up early, get that run in first thing. Quickly shower and eat breakfast. Hit the grocery store and target at least before I start my work day (thank god it’s a work from home day…).

Friday. Longer, much longer list. Oy. Let’s break it down:
– Get up and clean like a fiend (shouldn’t take me long since my house is never “messy” – but there is a method to how I clean and what I clean and how often I clean…as in every single week the whole house is cleaned, floors too).
– Put on run gear and rundate it up with Jo and Steph.
– Quick shower before our cookie baking party begins.
– Finish cookie baking and start ticking off that errand list…liquor store, candy store (last minute gifts), butcher (for Christmas Day goodies), Home Depot (we need new toilet seats…don’t ask), toy store (another last minute gift stop).
– Come home. Clean up the mess that the hubs and father-in-law probably made while prepping the sauce and meatballs and baked ziti for Christmas Eve.
– Wrap presents (least favorite task EVER)
– Bake one final batch of cookies – black and whites, Scott’s fave and a cookie recipe only he and I can make together, by his insistence…
– Flop on the couch with a glass of wine. (or three)

…but wait…I should probably also set up the tables and chairs, get all the serving ware out and organized, set up the plates, cups and wine glasses too…

<gets up off the couch, sets wine glass on the table…>

<end scene>

Speedastic Intervals (or: intervals inspired by crazy fast running friends)

I was torn on what to title this post today.
…for two reasons:

1 – the intervals I managed to eek out in the wee hours of Tuesday morning were entirely speedtastic.

2 – those very intervals were inspired by some crazy fast running friends of mine (you two know who you are!)

I have to say – the one thing that building intervals into my running regimen this fall (and yes, winter) has taught me? I am far faster than I give myself credit for. I know, I know – you’re all shaking your heads at me…especially since I vowed not to question my abilities the other day in this post. Woopsie. I did it again. (I promise, I’ll learn…)

So there you have it. I admit it. I’m getting faster. And I kinda like it.

And it’s about time I get that thought straight in my head, I have lots of running fun planned for 2012, afterall. Plus, I’m loving the intervals mixed in with my steady-state running plans for the winter. Keeps these legs guessing (and hurtin’!), that’s fo sho!

So anyway, the speedtastic interval work I did on Tuesday? Looks very, very similar to Sam’s intervals from the other day – with one exception, I’m not *quite* as speedy as she is. Damn girlfriend! The other difference – I’m listing my speeds in “mph” vs. “pace” since I’m the cool kid that avoids Garmins and numbers and all that jazz like the plague. 😉

One thing that remains the same between her workout and mine? This was damn hard. But I kind of loved it. Suuuuch runner’s high afterwards (on the treadmill, no less!).

Speedtastic Intervals (Sam-spired!)

Warm-up: 1 mile @6.5 mph

Interval #1: mile 1-2 @7.5 mph
Recovery: mile 2-2.15 @3.5 mph (walk)

Interval #2: 2.15-3.15 @7.5mph
Recovery: mile 3.15-3.40 @3.5 mph (walk)

Interval #3: 3.40-4.40 @7.5mph
Recovery: mile 4.40-4.60 @3.5 mph (walk)

Interval #3: mile 4.6-5.6 @7.5 / 7.6 mph
Recovery: mile 5.6-6.0

…and then, tweet like hell that you’re done and damn proud of yourself:


Annnd done. Four rounds of intervals, 6 miles later. Wiped, but psyched! Thanks to @runcupcake and her crazy interval plan ;-p

FitFluential Five – the “me first” approach to balance during the holidays

I’ve just become the newest (and proudest) member of the FitFluential Ambassadors and so far, all I can say is this: damn is this one highly inspired, motivated, driven and fit bunch of people! I LOVE IT and am so glad I took the plunge. (check out the FitFluential blog here if you haven’t already)

One of the areas we’ve been talking about lately is the concept of balance…and the holidays. The one time of year that tends to toss as many curveballs at us as possible. From holiday parties with friends, to the loads of treats that magically appear at the office, to the many, many, many “reasons” to skip the gym –the balancing act is just so much tougher for most of us this time of year.

Personally, in the last couple of years, I’ve taken the “me first” approach to the holidays, as terrible as that may sound, initially.

But hear me out….

“Me First” and the holidays – a FitFluential Five:

1 – Get comfortable with the word “no.” Just because you’ve been invited to the sixteenth holiday party in the two weeks leading into Christmas and New Years, doesn’t mean you automatically have to accept the invite. If you’re feeling spread entirely too thin, that you’re here, there, and everywhere and feel a little lost? My advice is that “no” is ok. No guilt needed. Your friends will understand.True friends will, anyway.

2- Consistently aim for “me first”  moments in your day. The hours in the day somehow get shorter and shorter as the holidays near. So maybe you aren’t able to get your usually killer workouts in (in their entirety, anyway) some weeks. Instead of giving up entirely, throwing in the towel “until the new year” – aim for mini “me first” moments in your day. Drop and do a set of planks and push-ups before bed. Get up a few minutes earlier to stretch out sore muscles. Take a quick walk during the day at work to grab a coffee – enjoy the few minutes of fresh air and that time *not* spent at your desk. Those little “me first” moments will add up, keeping you sane and centered. Balanced. Of course, if you can stick to your workout schedule as much as you can during the holidays, all the better. If you’re like me, you’ll no doubt feel much more centered with a semblance of workout consistency amid  the holiday fun.

3 – Eat well. Consistently. Seems like a no-brainer but I think it’s far easier to throw caution to the wind when the word “holiday” comes into play. It’s like suddenly the unspoken rule of “it’s the holidays, do it up!” comes out in full force. And before I go any further, I’ll stop and say – I’m not a party pooper, I swear. I love good wine, good chocolate, good food. But I also like to feel like “me” during the holidays – which means eating like “me” as consistently as I can during the holidays. Choosing my battles – an extra glass of wine or the frosted sugar cookie I spy on the dessert table at the holiday party. You get the idea.

4 – Make every moment count. One of my biggest faults is “can’t waiting” for the weekend, for the next social outing, for the next date night, etc. I end up rushing through life when I do that and miss out on the little moments that make the world go ‘round. It happens even more during the holidays. Sometimes the best way (for me) to slow down and embrace every moment is to literally stop myself in my tracks and whisper to myself “slow down.” I did this last night, actually. I was starting to panic about all of the holiday parties I’m hosting this year and I was sucking the joy right out of the whole thing. I pulled back. Settled into the couch. And made a to-do/to-buy list. A giant one. Assigned dates to each item. And suddenly, I was calm again. Everything felt doable. Not stressful. I felt calm and excited to embrace every single holiday moment spent with loved ones.

5 – Just be. My friend Steph has instilled this mantra in me this year. This goes hand-in-hand with #4 in that the more I step back, focus on moments and memories, the more I’m able to stay in the moment and just be…happy, fulfilled, content, joyful, energized, just…me.

Race musings, the 2012 edition

Race musings…that’s what I like to call these…vs. calling this my 2012 race ‘schedule’ or something. Mostly because this list may change…and very likely will. I mean, just look at my last attempt at a race ‘schedule’ for 2012 – it’s already changed since I wrote that post just a couple of months ago!

However, I will say that these musings for 2012 races feels very doable, approachable, very “me.”  Sure – there are other races and things I’d like to tack onto this list (hello, Cleveland half marathon with these fab ladies; or the Little Rock half marathon…purely to race with blog bestie Heather!), but I’m trying to be realistic with this list. Not just physically realistic, but financially realistic too, hehe. Plus, I’m not the type of runner that likes to race constantly. I race for a purpose. I run because I love it. Big difference in my book.

So, without further ado – my 2012 race musings

Black Cat 10/20 miler (March 4): This is the race I alluded to in my previous post. I’m using this as a “reach” race. A race that I can tuck away in the back of my mind as one I’d like to go for this winter if I can keep that run-durance up where I’d like it to be.  It would feel damn good to kill 10 miles in March. To know that I can still hit those double-digits despite lots of treadmill runs and chilly rundates this winter. So, we shall see. It’s practically in my back yard, so barring a major snow/ice storm, I’d like to nail this one.

Boston’s Run to Remember (May 27): This half marathon is just one week before I officially start training for my first full marathon (whoa). My strategy is to start full marathon training with a 13 mile base under me. This race will give me that base. Plus, it’ll give me (and Scott, my running partner in crime!) a chance to race in Boston, something I’ve always wanted to do. Total bucket list item…

Wicked Half – a return (Sept 22): This race holds such sentimental value to me. It was my first half marathon. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It tested me physically but way more so mentally. I’d love nothing more than to return to this race a stronger, happier, more confident runner. The one iffy factor? This race is just three weeks before the Chicago marathon. That doesn’t take it off the table entirely, it just might require me to take a different approach to this race – as in running this race vs. racing this race.  We shall see.

Chicago Marathon (October 7): 26.2. My first. ‘nuf said.

Green Strides half marathon (October TBD): This is by far my favorite half marathon. My proudest moment of 2011. I’d love to return to Newburyport to run this one again. But, it all depends on when this race is. If it’s the week after Chicago? Probably a no-go. So let’s hope it’s late-October next year, mmk? Plus, then I can run this one with my sis, officially or unofficially, whatever she wants. 😉

Wild Turkey Run (5th time running! Nov 22): My favorite race of the year. Even if it’s freezing out. It brings back so many running memories…it’s a race that usually ends up being just Scott and I. And I love that. ❤

Winter running plans – the eatdrinkbreathesweat edition

Now that I have no choice but to officially admit that yes, winter is here, I figured it was time to throw down some winter running plans – the eatdrinkbreathesweat “way” of course.

<I’m also doing this in part to support my fab sis who is embarking on a 6-month running challenge – a challenge many of you are also committed to, which I LOVE!>

While I’m not in training mode for a race right now  — I sort of always consider myself “in training” when it comes to running because it’s something that needs to be nurtured consistently for it to evolve. This is true for other activities as well, but I think it’s particularly important as a runner.

My ultimate goal this winter is to maintain – as best as I can – my run-durance built up from the two half marathons I trained for this summer/fall.  I worked damn hard for that endurance,  and I don’t want to see it completely fly out the window this winter. I’d love nothing more than to have a really good, really solid base under me around March-ish of next year (foreshadowing of race plans to come, perhaps??) versus feeling like I’m starting from ground zero again.

So – what do these big, bad winter eatdrinkbreathesweat-style winter running plans look like, you ask? They’re pretty basic, honestly — but I thought I’d share them in case any of you runner’s out there were looking for ways to ward off the winter crankies with runner’s high, instead. 😉 <—plus, jotting down my running plans here keeps me WAY accountable, never a bad thing in my book! 

The winter running plan*: eatdrinkbreathesweat style…
Day 1– 6-7 miles, treadmill-style (early-AM, no choice!)
Day 2– 6 miles, interval-style (treadmill, again)
Day 3– 5-6 miles recovery-style (slow and steady, hopefully outside)
Day 4 –  7-9+ mile long run (outside as much as possible)
*cross-training will center on barre n9ne, obvs 😉

I told you, very basic, right? Throughout the winter, I promise to share with you guys snippets of what these runs look like, but for now – you get the gist. Four days of running. One long run. One interval run. Perfection.

The key for me here is consistency. Both in terms of mileage and maintaining a base of between 6-9 miles (or maybe more) throughout the winter; and in terms of four committed runs per week. No more, no less. For me – four days of running is ideal. It keeps my legs in great running shape but doesn’t burn them out.

Another important factor here is speed and building that pace during the winter months where it’s easier for me to do interval work. Since I run garmin-less, doing intervals outside would be tough (not impossible, just tough) so I tend to do more interval work in the winter than I do in the summer. However, that *will* need to change once I get into 26.2 training mode. But that’s a story for another day (I promise).

For now? I’m digging my simple and smart winter running plan. It’s quite honestly the most consistent running schedule I’ve ever had in the winter — and there’s obviously a method to that madness. I have grand racing goals in mind for 2012, afterall!

But that’s a story (and a post) for another day this week – stay tuned for some 2012 race “musings” and *maybe* even a sneak peak into my marathon training plan (but only if you ask nicely, heh) later this week, too!