Last long run before 13.1: the “get outta my way” edition

Saturday marked our last long run until the half marathon on May 6th in Providence.

I woke up and immediately thought “I am soooo *not* in the mood for this.” I whined to Scott, I procrastinated a bit.  And then I let the wheels start spinning — hmm, what could I do to get myself motivated?

I thought over a couple of routes that seemed more appealing given the weather was chillier than I thought and there was a definite wind I wasn’t in the mood to battle by the ocean (two of the routes I had in mind go right by the ocean). We finally settled on running Wakefield Lake, about ten minutes away from our house — it would takes us three loops around to get to 10.8 miles (it’s 3.6 miles once around). <–and no, Heather, it didn’t annoy me that we didn’t run an extra .2 miles to make it a nice even 11 miles, hehe 😉

Three loops. “I can do that.” I thought to myself. Three loops somehow seemed faster than an out-and-back route. I figured if I tricked my brain into thinking it was a much shorter run, maybe it would go by faster and I’d settle into a nice groove.

And it kinda worked.

I say “kinda” because the first route downright sucked. I was NOT in the game, my body felt sore (particularly my obliques — standing ab work I taught during class on Thurs AM clearly did it’s job!) and I just wasn’t into it. We passed our car, stopping briefly for a few sips of water and a honey stinger and pushed on. Scott tried to give me an “out” – saying we could do two loops and call it a day, but being the stubborn ass that I am, I refused. Actually got annoyed that he’d even suggest it — and I’m now thinking he did that by design, knowing that would only fuel me to push through those second two loops just a wee bit faster. (He’s a tricky one, that Sutera!)

The third and final loop was upon us before I knew it — and after stopping once more for water and a stinger, we carried on. This time, we both got a little more chatty. And started noticing just how rude the walkers and other runners were on this lake path. Not one single person got out of our way as we approached. Every single time– we were the ones to swerve into the street, run into the dirt on the side of the path or literally stop while they passed us, refusing to move even just enough for us to pass by, single-file. Seriously?? There should be some unwritten rule about this — if you’re walking or running with two or three other people, shift into single file so others can pass you now and then. There were these three women we passed twice who were so caught up in their little chit-chat that they legit didn’t budge an inch. We were practically in the bushes trying to pass them – Scott even tried stomping his feet as we approached them but even that didn’t work. Good grief. Get outta my way people!! That’s all I wanted to say, I was seriously peeved by the end by their lack of etiquette.

<<annnd end runner’s rant>>

But ahh, the end was upon us, just a straightaway before we turned down the street to where our car was parked. I suddenly found that second wind I didn’t realize I had (the second wind I’m hoping I get come race day that’ll help me power across that finish line like a rockstar!) and pushed it until the end. It felt downright awesome. I was so proud of myself for pushing on, getting it done, not giving up and feeling great by the end.  It was definitely the confidence booster I needed, and was looking/hoping for. 

And now? We’re totally ready to rock 13.1 next Sunday. <–wheee!

Running + barre: revisited

Last May, less than two weeks into the 60-day barre n9ne challenge, I wrote about running + barre and how great of a combination it was turning into for me. At the time, I was still very, very new to barre and had barely scratched the surface in that post about just how amazing of a pairing barre workouts can be with running.

I have been meaning to revisit the topic for awhile now but after seeing this fab friend posting on Facebook that she was adding barre and yoga work to her (first-ever!) half marathon training plan, I knew it was time to get crackin’ on this post.

So, in no particular order, here is what makes running + barre an awesome marriage (at least IMHO…)

Strong hammies and glutes = happy knees. It’s no secret that I’ve had my fair share of knee issues over the years. There was an ITBS flare-up after my first half marathon (that required PT) and then there was a fairly minor case of patellar tendonitis after my second half marathon (sensing a trend here, are we?).  In both cases, the real issue wasn’t my knees but the muscles surrounding my knees. They were weak. Underdeveloped. In need of some serious muscle conditioning. Since taking barre classes this past year, would you guess that my knees have never been happier? My third half marathon in October did not follow the same pattern as my previous two: I didn’t come away from the experience injured. Quite the opposite. I walked away healthy and fit and strong. I owe it to the barre (n9ne).

Endurance, like whoa. I’ve mentioned this before, but I’ll refresh your memory again. The barre n9ne method (as well as similar barre styles) relies heavily on endurance-style muscle conditioning. In other words — a shitton lots and lots of reps, done with very light handweights or just the weight of your own body (at the barre and on the mat). That endurance requires focus and mental strength to push through all those reps, to allow your body to do the work your mind is trying to tell you isn’t possible. It’s the same endurance (mentally and physically) that’s needed when it comes to running miles (long, short, speedy, or otherwise). My interval workouts are speedier and more powerful and my overall run-durance is way better than it’s ever been (particularly this winter when I really, really wanted to keep my mileage up during the colder months of the year, always a struggle for me int he past). Again, I owe a lot of that to the endurance and mental strength I’ve gained from the barre (n9ne).

Smabs. <—for those of you unfamilar with my lingo, that’s code for “some abs” or “smabs.” Prior to barre n9ne, I had a really hard time connecting with my core, and because of that, I often underworked that part of my body when it came to strength training. At one point, I hated core work. Hated. Did anything in my power to woopsie, skip that part of my workouts whenever possible. Now? I’m working my core daily for hours at a time. Hours?? Yes, hours. Every single barre class I take or teach requires constant vigilance in maintaining a strong, engaged core. During the upper body work, while at the barre working the lower body and glutes, and most definitely during the core-specific segment of the class. In reality, you should be working your core the entire hour of the class. So you can imagine the difference I’ve seen in my core strength after a year of classes. Not gonna lie, while changing for my interval workout the other night, I actually did a double-take in the mirror — I’m rockin’ some serious ab definition. ((ME? Smabs? Who knew?! )) But I digress — back to running + barre and why this all relates. The core is a huge factor in how you run strong. It keeps you centered and sturdy and able to push up and down hills and into those wind gusts It’s partially why I don’t fear hills and don’t totally hate running in the wind (sure, it’s not *fun* per se, but at least I know I can push through it with strength). Once again, I owe it to the barre (n9ne).

Botton line: It’s all connected. And barre n9ne, combined with running, has more than proven that to me. It’s all connected. It all matters. It all works together in perfect harmony.

Running + barre = happy knees; a centered, focused mind; and the strongest body this girl has ever had. ❤
(…how’s that for enough reasons to give this pairing a try some time?) 😉

A return to badass status: interval-style!

This happened last night:

Please note:

  • The glint in my eye
  • The sweat glistening off my shoulders
  • The hair completely drenched (if you saw the back, it was literally dripping down my neck and back, HOT.)
  • and the sneaky little smile.

That, my friends, would be the smile of someone who has reclaimed badass status as a runner.
 (for more on what exactly ‘badass’ status is all about, you might want to refer to Momma Sunshine’s post on the topic from awhile back, she does it much better justice than I ever could!).

You see, I’ve had some decent runs lately, my longer runs have gone better and better, but I haven’t really been focusing on intervals as much lately. Last night I decided it was high time to test out the speed factor. The half marathon *is* in less than two weeks and I do kinda, sorta wanna rock it out come May 6th.

Soooo, intervals it was. And here how it looked:

Building Intervals, Mile Repeat-style

Warm-up: .5 miles at 7mph
Interval 1: 1 mile starting at 7.0 mph and building at each tenth of a mile to 8.0 mph (every tenth I’d up the speed by a tenth)
Recovery: .2 miles at 4.0 (walk)
Interval 2: 1 mile starting at 7.1 mph and building at each tenth of a mile to 8.1 mph
Recovery: .2 miles at 4.0 (walk)
Interval 3: 1 mile starting at 7.1 mph and building at each tenth of a mile to 8.1 mph (same as previous interval round)
Recovery: .2 miles at 4.0 (walk)
Interval 4: 1 mile starting at 7.2 mph and building at each tenth of a mile to 8.2 mph
Recovery: .2 miles at 4.0
Finish with a final recovery round: 6.8-7.0mph until I hit 6.0 miles.
…and then pat yourself on the back, tweet out your success and promptly devour dinner. <–or wait, that was just what I did last night after I was all done, you can choose an alternate ending to this badass tale if you so choose 😉

Sometimes all it takes is a good old-fashioned sweat fest to put a gigantic smile on my face.
…I. Love. Sweat.

(That and a phone call from Tanya, shortly after the above badassness took place, asking me to sub the 6am barre n9ne class in the AM. Even though I’m teaching my regular 9am slot in the AM too. This goes back to me fully appreciating any and all opportunities to teach. A total and utter priviledge in my book. I “get to teach,” I don’t “have to teach.” Bring. It. On. ❤ )

On my mind.

On my mind…

My next trip for work. Booked for mid-May. At first I was feeling anxious about heading back into un-routine mode, but now I’m kind of looking forward to the change of scenery. It also helps that I now have coworkers that love to be healthy and fit like me (score!). I already have a trail run and a healthy dinner planned for one night while I’m there. However, I *will* be seriously missing my barre workouts though — so here’s my call for entries: who wants to meet up with me for a barre class while I’m in Cali? (ahem Naomi??) <—don’t all raise your hands at once now 😉

A week, run-less. It’s happening. Probably the week after the half marathon. Or perhaps the week I’m in Cali for work. Though, I did just book a rundate while I’m out there. Fail. I guess the run-less week will happen the week prior then afterall! Note to self.

My Nonna. Her birthday is this week (today, actually). And the anniversary of her death is coming up this May. I’ve found my mind wandering to thoughts of her a lot more lately, particularly given the time of year. I had a dream about her the other night and woke up sensing her presence nearby. It was comforting. Everytime I see my little niece Isabel, my mind rushes to Nonna…she would melt in Isabel’s presence, I am sure of it.

*Updated*
One year of barre n9ne classes. Yep, today is also our one year barre-versary. The first day that my sis and I set foot in the studio for the very first time. Little did we know that just weeks later, we’d be embarking on the 60-day challenge and months and months later, our lives would be transformed in far bigger ways than either of us ever imagined. Stronger. Confidence blooming. And now, joyfully fulfilling our passion through teaching.
…one year later. Transformed.

Friends I adore. My friend from college (who is by far the funniest yet most loving and kind person I’ve ever met) just welcomed her first child into this world yesterday. I’m so happy for her and her husband – the two of them are going to be a riot as parents, I can’t wait! And another friend — a friend I met at work seven years ago and instantly connected with (one of those “I feel like I’ve known you since birth” connections) — has a birthday coming up. We’re celebrating the big 3-0 together this weekend. It’s going to be epic. I promised her that and I never reneg on a promise. 😉

Sisters like mine. Jen is thisclose to defending her PhD dissertation and then graduating with her PhD in May. She’s in the final throes of it — all while raising the most perfect like 17-month old I have ever seen. I am constantly amazed by her. And my other sis Jo is constantly giving me the perspective I look for, the encouragement I need and the inspiration to dig deeper, push harder, reach farther. She’s come a long, long way over the past few years and sometimes I think I forget to tell her that. So this is my reminder to both of them — I am proud to have sisters like you. xo

A husband who gets me. Truly gets me. Who’s gonna push me all 13.1 miles in just over a week. Who I cherish date nights in with more and more each week. Who I can’t wait to celebrate our 8 year (!) wedding anniversary with in June. And who I *really* can’t wait to get back to wine country with at the end of June. It’s long overdue. We’ve earned this one. No doubt.

On my mind.

Work. Workouts. Friends. Family. Loves.
…totally not in order of priority either. 😉

Running on ‘happy’

Now that I’ve been blogging for awhile, one of the things I’ve been noticing more lately among *some* runners out there is that it seems as though there is no joy in running for them anymore. They’re so caught up in getting their miles in, sticking to their training plan, beating their pace time after time after time, and racking up as many race medals as possible. Which *may* be fun for some — please don’t get me wrong there, I’m not here to bash my fellow blog friends at ALL — but I sometimes wonder if, amidst all of that planning and scheduling if the joy in running gets lost in all that clutter, so to speak.

…at the end of the day, shouldn’t running make you feel joyful and happy and ‘high’ on life?

Or is that just me whose ultimate goal is to walk away from as many runs as I can feeling as though I ran happy and strong and proud (*most* of the time, anyway)?

I guess I should preface this all by saying that every runner is different, I totally get that. Every runner runs for different reasons. No two runners are alike. And really, who am I to say that “my” approach to running is any better or worse than the next runner’s approach. Right??

(Wow. This is a very, very long preamble to the entire point of my post today – sorry!!)

Anyway…

My point today? That it feels great to “run on happy.” Casting aside training plans, distance goals, pacing, etc. And just running, and running happy.

That’s exactly what Scott and I did on Sunday. We had no real plan in mind — just to run. Once we got out there we knew it would be on the shorter side because it was kind of gross out and well, to be honest — neither of us were in the mood to go all that far (we were still really feeling the 11 miles we ran two days prior).

So we set out to run…something. Maybe 3 or so miles. Who knows how far we actually went. All I do know is that it ended up involving lots of hills and speed. What started as a “few miles to shake the legs out” became a really, really fun hilly rundate on a dreary Sunday morning.

About halfway through, I found myself chugging up a hill and actually enjoying it. Like legit enjoying the hill work. Huffing and puffing alongside Scott and just letting my body work. No mind games. No worry over how I’d feel aftewards. No real thinking at all. Just working those hills.

And it was just the reminder that I needed — that not every run needs to be pre-planned, nor does every run need to be focused on distance and endurance. A switch in my running focus was exactly what I needed on Sunday. The past few weeks I’ve talked a lot about how my mind has been far too chatty when I run. And truly? It was causing me to miss out on the joy that running brings me. I wasn’t having fun out there anymore.

Now that I’ve realized that that was the reason my running was feeling fairly lackluster the past few weeks, my mind has calmed way down. I feel confident and strong and ready to run on May 6 (note that I didn’t say ‘race’).

I’m going into this half marathon with one goal in mind now — to Run (13.1) Happy.

That is all.

Last seen at barre n9ne…

…lots and lots of happy, fit, energized faces. Let’s just say the grand opening of the second barre n9ne studio location was a huge hit. Familiar faces, new faces, super-excited instructors and an awesome energy in the room. Reason #4,768 why I heart barre n9ne — the energy. 😉

And this time, I’ll let the pictures do the talking for once…

Gorgeous new fitness room – look at all that space!

LOVE GROWN granola — an awesome sponsor of our big day and so, so, so yummy! ❤

Another goodie – Coach’s Oats, which I can’t wait to try for breakfast this week!

Popchips — if you haven’t tried the sweet potato flavor, you are missing out, OMG.

Chobani – ‘nuf said. (tastes even better with LOVE GROWN granola on top, mmm)

Zico chocolate coconut water — tastes like chocolate milk, only *way* better.

Fun, fruity drink concoctions, thanks to our barre-tender (and fit bestie!) Steph!

Just a few of the fab barre n9ne instructors— super happy bunch, aren’t we?

With Tanya — whose path I am so glad crossed with ours. Only more greatness to come from here, I can feel it. 🙂

Demo class #1 – the barre n9ne method; this would be the infamous glutes at the barre series.

Working those shoulders during the barre n9ne method demo.

Demo class #2 – b9 fusion; a killer shoulder series done with the evil gray balls 😉

And tricep dips — hurts so good 😉

Cheers!  To many, many more months and years of success for Tanya, for barre n9ne and for the fabulous group of instructors I am incredibly proud to be a part of. barre n9ne is an amazing family. ❤

Reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne

I know, I know, *another* post about my ongoing love affair with barre n9ne. Can you even stand me anymore??

But seriously, I just can’t help myself today. Way too much awesome stuff going on for me not to share on this fine, fine Friday morning.

The studio is expandingwith a second location about 25 minutes away from the original location (which is 35 seconds from my house, practically) — and what I love the *most* about that? It just means more and more people can experience the incredible transformation that I’ve personally undergone since joining the studio almost a year ago to the day (May 12 is my one year barre-versary…the one year mark since I kicked off the infamous 60-day challenge. The challenge that ultimately changed my life forever, no lie). <–expect a full recap of the grand opening party next week, the big event is on Saturday, my sis and I have been scheming for the last couple of weeks, snagging some really cool sponsors and things. Can’t wait to share!

I love to teach. Really, really, really love to teach. This was all more than solidified for me when I taught those three classes I told you I felt so honored to have the priviledge to teach yesterday. I loved seeing all the shaking at the barre – not once, not twice, but three times…and in two different studios! Everyone continues to work so, so, so hard during class — I love to see that look of satisfaction on their face when they walk out of that studio afterwards. It’s ridiculously rewarding.

I am still not afraid of the scale. This is a big one, friends. Yesterday, before teaching the second class of the day, I saw the scale sitting underneath the reception desk in the studio. And literally without a second thought, I turned it on and hopped on. I haven’t weighed myself since November — my 6 month mark of the challenge. It was that day, 6 months ago, where I proclaimed I was no longer afraid of the scale. And yesterday was no different. I stepped on that scale and was not afraid. At. All. And wouldn’t you know — when I looked down? That number literally stunned me into silence. It was a brand-spankin’ new number, a lower one, and one I have not seen in I can’t even tell you how many years.

Now. I have not intentionally been trying to lose weight since I hit my goal weight in November. I’ve been working hard, yes. Training hard, yes. But weight loss has been far from my mind. Maintenance has been my game plan. Numbers, scales, etc. are seriously not my “thing” as you all know very well, by now.  But to see a lower number was such a surprise. And you know what? I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you guys it felt frickin’ incredible. I am damn proud of myself. Particularly because this lifestyle of mine (that yes, still includes a food log), is truly a lifestyle. One that I believe in so strongly. Because it works. Becaues it’s not about deprivation. It’s not about a diet. It’s not about fits and starts. It’s about consistencyIt’s about loving food — real, wholesome, nutritious (damn tasty) food. And ultimately, it’s about making peace with food. Which I’m proud to say I’ve done (‘cept for an occasional case of OATT  here and there…hey, I never claimed to be perfect!).

So reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne?
…because it’s become my happy place. Through and through. ❤

Why?

Fact: I’ve been running four times a week throughout the winter and into this round of training for the half marathon on May 6th. Pretty consistently so, I’d say.

Fact: I run because I love it, because it challenges me, because it keeps me fit.

Fact: I do not run ‘just to run’, nor do I run to maintain my weight. My running motivation is far deeper than that now.

So when it came to running yesterday, my third of four planned runs this week, I found my motivation waning by late afternoon. You see, I went to barre n9ne in the AM – an awesome class with one of my fit besties Steph – and had grand plans to get home and run a few miles with Scott, taking full advantage of having him around during school vacation week.

However.

My knee was a wee bit achy when I got back, so after much hemming and hawing, I decided to postpone the run to after work and before dinner, in the hopes that my knee would loosen up and I’d be all clear to run.

The good news? My knee felt fine by midday.
The bad news? My motivation was flying quickly out the window. I chalk it up to poor sleep patterns this week and the tail end of half marathon training that always leaves me so tired.

So when my sis (oh so wise sis) pushed me on my reasons for wanting to get my run in last night. She simply asked me one question:

Why?

Why did I feel that I ‘needed’ to get that run in last night when I clearly wasn’t feeling it?
Why did I respond that it was because I wanted to get my four ‘planned’ runs in for the week.
Why did I feel so strongly that I must get those four runs in?

Why?

It’s not like one training run will ever make or break my training. (as I’ve said a million times on this blog, talk about pot/kettle!)
It’s not like my body isn’t fully capable and accustomed to running often.
It’s not like scrapping one cardio session this week will do any harm to my fitness levels.

So why, why, why did I question my intentions?

Call it a reoccurance of OATT syndrome.

Or call it what it is — I am so darn used to pushing myself physically, filling any free time that I have with a good sweatfest. I set such a high bar for myself.all.the.time. Legit unable to chill out and not DO anything just beause I have the free time, unplanned and all. <<–something one of my IRL besties asked me about on gchat yesterday too, she literally has no idea HOW I don’t know how to relax. Haha. Well she DOES know me very well so she ‘gets’ it, it IS me afterall, but still. Point taken. I need to chill the eff out.

So what’s the  moral of this little story of mine? That sometimes (ok, a lot of the time), it’s a really good thing to simply step back and ask yourself WHY.

Your answer may both surprise you and remind you that everything you do and strive for in life ought to be done with intention.

…not just out of habit.
…not just because it was according to some ‘plan.’
…not just because it’s what you’ve always done.

But because there is true, real, strong intention behind those actions.  

I’m a big, huge, giant believer in living with intent. So this little OATT outbreak turned into a really, really good reminder for me to get back to living that way. Stepping away from the plans, the habits, the routines.

Getting back to intention.

An honor and a priviledge

After watching the Boston Marathon on Monday, pushing through a few really challenging runs the past few days and prepping for a really busy week at barre n9ne as we kick off a “soft launch” series of classes in our second location, I got to thinking.

…what an honor and a priviledge.

Seriously. I have been presented with such opportunity in the past year. To follow dreams, pursue passions, and truly live by my mantra for the year: no limits.

I think it’s just so darn easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that we quickly forget what priviledged lives we live, by and large, at least.

Thinking back to the marathon on Monday — and how hard those runners fought through the miles. Their bodies never letting them down for a second — their ABLE bodies pushing them through the heat and exaustion and into a realm so few will ever experience in their lifetime.

An able (and fit) body.
…an honor and a priviledge.

Thinking about this marathon of mine coming up this fall — and having the willpower, the strength and the time to commit to training strong for 26.2 through this summer and into the fall. To firmly check that item off my bucket list and come away from this marathon an even stronger person as a result?

…what an honor and a priviledge.

And, thinking about how my schedule is shaping up for this week alone at barre n9ne. I get to teach THREE times on Thursday – once at 6am (subbing for another teacher), again at 9am (my regular class) and again in our new location that night at 7pm. And then I get to come back on Friday to teach my regular 5:30pm class. Note I say “I get to teach” — because I don’t look at this as a job at ALL. This is my passion. I am paying forward all that I’ve learned and experienced during my own nearly year-long barre n9ne journey towards perfecting my own practice, with everyone at the studio, and with everyone who will soon become barre n9ne-addicts now that we have another location to spread the love! (side note: expect much more on this soon, big ‘ol launch party this weekend that my sis and I helped to orchestrate!). My sis and I are very much on the same wavelength with this – as many of you probably saw in her post just yesterday.

To instruct (in a style I adore) with intention and passion:
…it’s an honor and a priviledge.

This is just a reminder to me (and to all of you) to never take for granted the blessings in your life, big and small. Never look at any opportunity as anything less than an honor and a priviledge. With that perspective in mind, you’re going to start seeing your life in a whole new light. At least that’s how I’m feeling right now.

Honored.
Priviledged.

26.2: recommitted

Yesterday was the Boston Marathon – an incredible athletic feat that very few ever get to experience with their own two feet. And for me? As a first-time spectator?

I’d describe the day quite simply.

… as the day I recommitted to 26.2.

You see, these past few weeks, of letting my mind get the best of me, of having quite a few OATT outbreaks…I started to question my decision to run Chicago this fall. Seriously.

I wondered if I truly had it in me. I wondered if I truly wanted it. I wondered if it was going to be worth the hours of feet hitting the pavement. Week after week from June – October.

I wondered.

But after seeing this?

(talk about true grit, right near the finish, just powering through the final .2 miles)

And this?

(I think I’d cry at the sheer sight of mile 26…unreal)

Yesterday was the day that I (and we!) recommitted to 26.2.

I can’t wait to cross that finish line, hand-in-hand with my best friend and the love of my life. All with the knowledge that this body was capable of carrying me all 26.2 miles. And that I just did something that very, very few people will ever do in their lifetime

26.2 proud.
That’s my only goal on October 7.
…26.2 proud.