The bottom line: sweat

The bottom line: sweat.

As in — I love to sweat. Love, love, love it. 

And this week I’ve been LOVING on some fitdates of the ‘me workout’ variety.

On Tuesday — I proudly crushed a 7-miler before 7am (just love the sound of that, hehe…dweeb alert) and took this picture as proof of the sweat that was dripping from my hair and onto my chest. I ❤ sweat. 

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And this morning? I got up bright and early to meet one of my besties at barre n9ne for a fitdate. And not just ANY fitdate, either. For one, I wasn’t the one at the center mat (not that I don’t LOVE being there, I doooo).  My bestie was the one teaching the class. It was my FIRST class with her, a rare treat indeed. I’ve been wanting to take her class for eons but schedules just weren’t jiving. I saw the opportunity to nab a spot in class for Fusion at 6am and went for it.

…and I’m SO glad that I did. ❤


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(we look far too excited to be in pretzel, especially after she had us doing the killer side leg series right before this…hehe)

And because I have the rare opportunity to be at home today for work (I usually only work from home on Friday’s now), I took the opportunity to log a few miles on the treadmill. A sweaty 30-min rundate-for-one — perfection. And sure, the reason I’m home today is kind of crapstastic — we’re one car down at the Sutera Manor today (praying it’s nothing major, we’ll find out later today) — I’m looking for that silver lining, obviously. That silver lining? The ability to embrace the sweat. Plain and simple.

The other silver lining? The killer bowl of oatmeal with chopped apples and blueberries I’m about to devour (sorry, no pic — too hungry, hehe). 

Happy WINESDAY friends!!
I’ll be sending ya’ll a virtual cheers around 6pm tonight. Join me, please. 🙂

On #presence2013, fitdates and things

I’ve been meaning to blog all week, but for some reason the words just weren’t there. But today? I have a few thoughts on my mind, nothing all that earth-shattering but I wanted to jot them down while they were fresh. I hope you haven’t missed me too terribly — can’t believe it’s been a *week* since my last post! 

On the #presence2013 project…

In a word, I’m finding myself equally surprised, stunned and amazed at what a little disconnecting can do. This #presence2013 project has already left a lasting impact — I shall count the ways here (in no particular order)...

  • My mood – 1000x less ‘stressy.’ My mind is calm, far less cluttered and a whole heck of a lot less “OATT” like than it’s ever been. You know big change is happening on the mood front when your husband starts a text message with “don’t be mad but…” and then proceeds to tell me how amazed he is in how much happier I seem lately. Less anxious. Less scattered. Less unfocused. And a helluva a lot more present. The #presence2013 project: needed
  • My days — far less jammed up. I’m finding myself pulling back on that urge or push to be constantly in ‘productivity‘ mode. Let’s take today for instance. I had a few things on my mental ‘to do’ list that I wanted to tackle. Instead of continuing to add, add, add to that list, I capped it. I told Scott what I wanted to accomplish, he shared what he wanted to accomplish and we agreed to limit ourselves to a couple of hours of ‘go’ mode before we’d shut it down and focus on ‘weekend’ stuff like rummy wars, book reading, and yes, wine drinking. <–y’know, the *really* important stuff…
  • My fit focus – grateful. More on this one in a sec.

I could probably go on for a few hours about how glad I am that we (i.e. ‘#teamsutera’) are embracing and learning from this #presence2013 project of ours, but I’ll stop here. I promise, I’ll share more as the words come, but for now? Just know that the gift of presence has been the best gift I could ever give or receive. ❤

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Now — onto that ‘fit focus’ I mentioned. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how different my fit focus has been lately. I’ve been out of training mode for a good 4ish months and haven’t missed that structure. (I *have* missed running outside in the early AM, counting bunnies along the way…but that has more to do with it being the dead of winter and a lot less to do with training…)

But what I have missed?
…fitdates.

Fitdates for one. Or fitdates with besties. Or fitdates, #teamsutera style.
All of it.

I finally had a chance to take a barre n9ne class last Thursday (my sister took a titch too much glee in kicking my ass I’ll tell you that much lol) and when I tell you I was downright grateful to be in that room working out beside one of my best friends ever (mwah) and among some of the most fun clients *and* to have my sister in the center mat? I was: utterly grateful. It was such a needed set of fit moments for me. Of pushing myself through countless sets of tricep presses and pushups. Of finally getting my shake on at the barre and literally seeing the sweat pour down my cheek, drip from my hair and slide down my shoulder. And, at times, shutting out the rest of the room, closing my eyes and just being presentin my fit moment. 

It was during that workout that I suddenly longed for more of these fit moments and fitdates. Sure, I’ve been making time to get my runs in on the treadmill during the week and/or weekend as much as I can, but I haven’t been putting my own desire for fit moments first as much as I’d like to. And no, I’m not trying to add to my plate here (I know that’s what you guys are probably thinking!) — but I am committing to fitting in those fit moments and fitdates where I can. Even if it’s just one class per week that I take vs. teach, I’ll be grateful. Sure, it might not happen every single week, but where I can, I will.

I’m also getting really, really, really excited for the clocks changing — it’ll mean that it’ll stay light enough at night for some potential rundates with the hubs, #teamsutera style here and there. And as we inch closer towards spring? It’ll mean the potential for some early morning running, NOT on the dreadmill, too. Perhaps I can wrangle my sis into some of those early-AM rundates as the weather and clocks shift, hmm? 😉 A set of fit moments I’ll try my best to patiently wait for. (tick tock, tick tock!)

For now? For this week? I’m SO excited to be signed up to take one of my bestie’s barre n9ne classes on Wednesday morning. Since she got certified a few months back, I’ve been itching to take her class and I finally have my chance. And you better believe I’ll be doing my best to stay present in that fit moment.

#Presence2013

Last week marked the start of Lent. Now, I’m not Catholic but my husband is (I’m Protestant, not that it matters…) and he tries to give up something for Lent each year. One year it was soda, another year it was candy.

This year? Scott asked me to join him for Lent. The ‘ask?’

Be present when we’re together.

No iPhone attached to our palms at all times, no texting or instagramming or facebooking our nights away. If someone wants to reach us – novel idea: give either of us a call. Just don’t text us because neither one will answer. At least not instantly.

That was all he asked of me. It might sound like a simple, almost silly thing to some, but to me? It was monumental. It spoke volumes about how Scott has been feeling but hasn’t been fully sharing with me.

…he wanted my presence.

Presence is something I’ve battled, and have openly admitted that here plenty of times. And yes, I’ve tried, tried, tried, to be more present especially at night and on weekends. I’ve gotten a bit better. But old habits die hard. It’s become scarily natural for me to constantly be checking my phone, scanning through various social networks — totally mindlessly too. It’s not like I’m looking for anything in particular, it’s just become such habit.

…but that habit is stealing the joy out of my time with my loved ones, this much I’m already realizing in the short time since this #Presence2013 project began.

A couple of things I’ve noticed so far…

In the car while driving around doing errands today, I noticed how patient of a driver Scott is. We were pulling out of the parking lot at the Container Store (a ridiculously addictive store, red alert) and normally, I’d be sifting through my phone while Scott’s driving (again, a mindless habit), not paying any attention to him at all. But, today I did pay attention and I noticed something new about my husband. I’ve always known him to be patient but as a driver? I never, ever noticed. He takes his time at the stop signs, letting others pass by versus peeling out in a mad rush to get to our next destination (hmm…who does *that* sound like…), and never seems to get ruffled as a driver. A simple thing, sure. But I never would’ve picked up on it had my nose been in my phone the whole time. We’ve also had some of the best conversations in the car the past few days quite simply because we were both in the moment instead of plugged in, texting, emailing and facebooking away.

While playing rummy the other night (a game I am seriously getting worse at with each hand we play…), I stopped and looked at Scott and really paused and looked at him. Straight into his eyes. I put my cards down and cradled his face in my hands and just looked at him. He let out a big sigh, a small smile and said he hadn’t gotten that much focus out of me in months. It was that moment that brought me to tears.

Have I been that disconnected from him lately? That plugged-in to the rest of the world instead?

I curled up in his lap and apologized, and just sat there comfy in his arms and so content. Nothing else mattered. And then, it happened. The song changed on Pandora to “We Danced” by Brad Paisley. Scott whispered…’listen, it’s our song.’ The song we danced our first dance to almost 9 years ago. Scott whispered ‘what a sense of humor…’ which is true: that song playing? A sign from a certain Someone telling me and Scott that this presence thing? It’s important. A lot more important than perhaps either of us realized when we first announced (on Facebook no less, how ironic…) that we’d be disconnecting from our phones for Lent.

I am sharing all of this here with you for two reasons:

  • To remain accountable. I *will* do my best to fully commit to this #Presence2013 project, not just with Scott but when I’m in the presence of friends and family, too. They also deserve my full attention and presence when we’re together.
  • I also share it here in an effort to get you all to think about how present you are with your loved ones. I’d take a wild guess that more than a few of you could stand to be a little bit more present in your life. If you dig it, I would love nothing more than for you to adopt the #Presence2013 mantra however you can. Life is too short to live it online, face buried in your phone or on your computer.

…at least I think so.

Compliments.

This has been whirring about in the back of my mind a lot lately….

Compliments.

Giving them.

Receiving them.

Spreading the love.

Compliments – in my view – are similar to a giant bear hug.

And I think we should give them out even more freely.
…not to mention receive them as graciously as we can, and as freely as we can.

It dawned on me after seeing a string of super-cute comments and ‘likes’ on a pic I quickly instagrammed yesterday morning after a sweatastic run (more on that run in a sec).

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And it made me smile – not just the ‘likes’ on the pic which are always fun and I love seeing them, but the compliments or shouts of support or encouragement.
…like a giant bear hug.
And it got me thinking – why don’t we do that even MORE with one another?  I mean, what does paying someone a compliment take – two seconds?
…and you never know what that two seconds meant to the person receiving the compliment.

It could be the ray of sunshine on an otherwise dreary or bummed-out day.

Or the boost of confidence needed to hold their head high as they walk into an important meeting at work.

And a motivator to keep on keepin’ on.

So today, which just so happens to be Valentine’s Day (total coincidence, I swear!), I’m making a vow to make an effort to reach out more, pay more compliments to friends and loved ones and even strangers, and yes, to work on graciously receiving compliments too. (I noticed I have a horrible habit of *really* brushing off compliments when they come from my husband, and I have no idea why. I picked up on it during our snowed-in weekend actually. Got me thinking…)

So lovelies — will you join me on this mission? 

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In other news? My run yesterday was awesome. Another surprising one for me. I’ve had this weird ‘crick’ in my neck for a couple of days so I skipped my run on Tuesday (er, postponed it – to later this week…#accountability) to avoid too much jostling and potential further injury.

But Wednesday rolled around and my neck was still a little sore but not nearly as achy as before. So I went with it – promising myself I’d hop off the ‘mill if my neck bugged me. And part of me kind of expected that to happen. But alas, my neck behaved and off I went. After an hour-long episode on-demand of “Castle” (really good show btw) was over, I looked down at the display on my treadmill (I cover it up for the entire run, upping the speed as needed, but never looking at time or distance until I’m done) and I was shocked to see: 6.98 miles. I happily sprinted the final .02 miles and was SO excited to see that I’d fairly easily hit 7 miles before 7am. I was sweaty, happy, run-high and ready to get a move on the day.

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I’m constantly amazed at the evolution my running continues to take. Since being out of training mode for months now, my running has been on my time, my terms and practically every single run has surprised me – in a good way. My love affair with running is still very much intact, despite how loose and ‘free’ my running has been of late. Kinda neat, if I do say so myself. ❤

Patterns: a progress report

So apparently, it took a big ‘ol b*tch slap from Mother Nature to get me to truly step back and re-asses those patterns I talked about last week. You might remember that post — the one where I admit that I struggle to let go, to allow myself chill time, to turn off the go-go-go mentality I have.

Welp — this happened over the weekend:

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Yup, totally snowed in from about noon on Friday until 4pm on Sunday when I broke free to teach a barre n9ne class (we wound up adding a few to the schedule on Sunday since we had to cancel Friday night and all Saturday classes.)

Once I heard the forecast for the blizzard, two things happened: first — I laughed at God’s sense of humor. Does He know how to force my hand or what? And then — I promised myself and my sister (and the hubs!) that I’d vow to DO LESS this weekend. To stop focusing on filling up all the free time I was suddenly granted with, and to start focusing on letting go and just being. Afterall, my weekend was originally going to be quite different had the storm not clobbered us. I had a full morning of classes at the studio planned for Saturday, a night out with friends on Saturday night and then a FULL DAY of training for Pound on Sunday (at a studio an hour-and-a-half away). So when I wound up not having ANY of those plans on my plate? You can imagine the internal battle that was *thisclose* to going off in my head.

But, I’m proud of myself, actually. I pushed down the urge to do all of the “need to do” items on my mental check list and focused on the “want to do” items, instead.

Like a pedicure with my sis, pre-blizzard on Friday (I took Friday off from work, originally to get sh*t done since I was feeling so stressy last week…again, can anyone else see God’s humor here?). Because pre-blizzard pedicures are *such* a necessity, am I right?? 😉

Like snuggling under blankets with Scott with a drink in hand (yep, ‘day’ drinking at it’s finest!), and reading a new book I picked up on Friday before the snow picked up.

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Like playing in the snow like a bunch of teenagers, and feeling quite amazed at the beauty and power of the storm that surrounded us. Snow drifts taller than either of us, one of our cars totally snowed in and buried. And the tackle from Scott while I was attempting to shovel, it made me giggle like I haven’t giggled in awhile. Of course, I promptly returned the favor and tackled him back afterwards, but that’s besides the point. 😉

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(Oh — and we also managed to pull off another #b9poseadaychallenge on Instagram, this time we called it the #b9poseadaysnowedin challenge where we asked clients to attempt their best pose while out in the snow. Here’s my attempt at glutes at the barre:)

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Like drinking good wine, continuing our rummy war tradition (I continue to lose almost every time, btw), savoring a delicious snowed-in date night on Friday and another snowed-in date night on Saturday, complete with two movie rentals on-demand, lots of snuggling, and yep, lots of wine drinking (I mean really, what else is there to do in a snow storm??). 

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Now. I’m not trying to paint a rosy picture here, I am not perfect. There were moments this weekend where my go-go-go side wanted to come out to play. I desperately pushed ‘her’ away. I didn’t want her to come out and ruin this chance to reset  my brain a little bit. But, yes — there were moments when I thought “I should go build some playlists for class” or “maybe I should wash the floors, they are looking a little messy from the snow.” But I promise you, the only productive thing I did this weekend was run on the treadmill and do some abs and I suppose you can count baking cookies and low fat brownie bites as ‘productive’ so sure, I’ll toss that into the list too.

But overall? If I’m giving myself a grade for this progress report of mine — I’d give myself a solid B. Not a C — that would be average and I feel I’ve done better than average with ample room to grow. And definitely not an “A” because as you can see, I definitely have work to do and am probably never going to be one of those truly laid-back types that can toss aside to-do lists completely.

But that’s ok.
It’s just not who I am.
I am me,  a perfectly imperfect me, at that.

She believed she could.

I’ve seen this mantra floating around pinterest countless times, but for some reason, it popped into mind today:

After reading your comments on my post from Sunday night (I owe you all responses, promise I’ll get to them today!), I got to thinking about belief. And believing in myself more. But not in the traditional way you might think of ‘believing in yourself’ but more in the way of seeing yourself the way that others see you. I guess that’s what struck me about how you’ve all responded to my post, the one where I admit that I sometimes do a pretty sh*tty job of maintaining balance, and yes – cutting myself some slack now and then.

One of my best friends on the planet sent me some incredible words of encouragement over text last night. And one thing she said really stood out to me — the concept of not ‘allowing’ myself to let go. She’s right. I often don’t allow it. And it’s not because I don’t think I deserve to chill out, but I guess I hold a very high expectation of myself and never back down from that.

So in that regard, I guess it’s time to believe in me a little bit more. From the perspective of believing that my little corner of the world will not result in catastrophe if I let go…of patterns, of control, of habits. And believing that some change is good change — a concept I’ve always shared openly here: that change is scary but being a little ‘scared’ every day isn’t so bad. So I guess it’s time to step out of my little corner and allow myself to be afraid, but believe that ‘scary change’ like letting go, is actually a good thing, and not so scary afterall.

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Another way to consider belief? Believing that you might have an extra mile in you, an extra rep to lift, an extra set of abs to eek out. I haven’t been talking about my workouts lately but this morning? Well it was ‘me workout’ time — a rare treat these days (NOT that I mind, I looove teaching, remember? hehe…) and it was another one of those runs that seemed to go by a lot faster than I anticipated. And when my time was up, I figured ok – 6 miles is great. However. My legs weren’t altogether tired. I felt pretty darn good, actually. And I had the time since I was up so early today. So, I bumped up the pace again and got in another solid mile to round out my run at 7 miles (before 7am!) this morning. Talk about a needed sweatfest….and a good example of believing in your body, and not giving into habit, pattern or practice.

So there you have it, believe that you can. That’s my tidbit for ya’ll today. Apply it however you see fit. 🙂

Patterns

Have you ever thought about patterns in your day?

How you structure your free time?

What habits you fall into, without ever realizing it?

…yeah, neither did I.

Until my sister pointed it out to me while I was in the midst of what I thought was a brutal case of Sunday night blues.

Let’s backup for a sec. This weekend? Awesome. Needed in every single way. Lots of time spent at barre n9ne (my ‘happy place). A little bit of ‘me’ time spoiling myself silly at Lululemon on Saturday afternoon (keep an eye on instagram tomorrow, ha!). An incredible date night out with Scott, something we both needed so badly after the week we both had. A date night that was just so perfect, I can’t even put it into words…so I’m not going to even bother trying (sorry…). And then today. Much-needed family time with my grandparents who were visiting from Maine, my husband, my beautiful niece Isabel, my mom (aka ‘mimi’ according to Isabel) and my two sisters (and brothers-in-law).

But now? I find myself sitting here sad, blue, blue, blue and unable to shake it.

Sitting here on the couch while Scott is busy preparing his lesson plans for the week, I’m just sad. And I couldn’t put my finger on it, nor could I shake it off. So I texted Jo. Told her I was tempted to go run a few miles on the treadmill just to grab some endorphins (even though today is my rest day, a much-needed one, too). She promptly ‘tough loved’ some sense into me, even though I resisted it at first.

You see, she pointed something out for me that I wasn’t seeing clearly at all. The pattern, or habit, I fall into a LOT lately. Rather than embrace ‘me’ time or any sort of chill time and use it as actual chill time, I fill that time with as much productivity as I can. I guess I just look at that ‘me’ time as my time to catch up, or get ahead, of the things that I have a hard time controlling during the week. Like laundry. Or food prep for the week. Or cleaning. Or whatever I can get my paws on to keep me in control.

…there’s that word again: control.

I clearly don’t know how to let go of control. And I really have no idea how to use ‘me’ time for anything other than productivity, in an effort to stay in control of the chaos that my weeks become with all that I try (usually very successfully) to jam into it.

Sure, I thrive on being busy and filling my days. I LOVE how full and happy my life is right now. And yes, I do have good balance most of the time. But to say that I take my own advice that I am constantly giving all of you? To find balance, harness it, own it, and never let it go?

Welp, I fail at that sometimes. The balance thing. And it all goes back to that pattern thing. Or habit.

I don’t know how to let go, to not be in control all.the.time, to just be.
I promised myself I’d do more of that this year, that I’d simplify.

And I need to get back to that place — simplifying. Even if that means *not* using an hour of unexpected free time for something productive (like building a few new playlists for classes, something I am in dire need of doing…). And instead, pick up one of the countless magazines sitting in the magazine rack in the living room and – novel idea – read a magazine. Or literally just sit and listen to Scott typing away on his keyboard and…just be.

So this is me — being utterly honest and true — and admitting that I need to let go. Stop focusing on ‘getting ahead.’ Stop needing to be in control and overly productive all the time. Break the pattern. And start new ones: patterns that focus on embracing the GREAT life that I have, a life that I do not need to control down to the teeniest of details all the time.

…can I get a big ass cheers to that please?
<clink>

Sometimes (revisited)

Sometimes:

…you surprise yourself and crush 7 miles on the treadmill, something you had no intention of doing originally, or even thought you had in you on a sleepy Tuesday morning.


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(and sometimes, you have to fight for those miles — it’s that sweat that’s sometimes even more rewarding than the surprising 7…)

…all you can do is laugh at the absurdity of a situation.

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…a quick gchat with a friend is all you need to feel ‘understood’ in this world. Sisters in a past life, I swear…

…saying good-bye to a loved one, while sad in and of itself, conjures up deeply rooted sadness over another loved one who is no longer with us. ❤

…seeing pictures of this little girl staring back at me from my cube wall (that I finally decorated) is all it takes to put a smile back on my face during a stressful week.

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…the kindess and thoughtfulness of a wonderful friend still surprises me (in a good way!), especially when she thinks to send this treat to Scott and I this week.

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…you just have to ‘roll with it’ as best as you can, shoving aside your Type-A-ness for just one week and letting it be, all of it.
(and sometimes, this is VERY much a work-in-progress, indeed). 

Sometimes? Like this week? I have nothing left to give on a Friday but my best smile, a grateful attitude and a joyful heart that a long week is behind me, and a weekend full of promise sits before me. 
…that’s something I can cheers to *all* the time.