Ah, endorphins

First of all – I have to thank you all for such great comments on my post yesterday about balance and my struggles with it, lately. I can’t get over how honest, supportive, and helpful they all were! And from some new faces, too – love it!

So clearly I’m feeling a lot more “me” and less in a battle with myself which is obviously a much better alternative than how I felt yesterday.

What I realized in spite of myself was something I’ve touched on before but made a big impact on me yesterday – endorphins.

Or lack thereof.

As of the posting of yesterday’s blog, I hadn’t gotten my workout groove on. Which isn’t a bad thing at all – I sure got my butt kicked last night instead- but it DEFinitely had a big impact on my mood all day.

I was in big-time overthinking mode, scrutinizing everything about myself as you witnessed in my post, and just wasn’t feeling very happy, energized or…me.

But after last night’s workout (a doozy – Kick followed by the second to last in my STS mesocycle 2 workouts), I suddenly had new perspective.

I felt strong again.

I felt confident again.

I felt happy.

And, healthy.

Now why it took a good workout to get that groove back, I’m not questioning – I know the answer.

Endorphins!

I’m not saying that the key to all happiness is a good sweat, but…it certainly doesn’t hurt things either. 😉

Just sayin’.

Aside from that – what did I learn from yesterday’s little “balance” rant of mine? That everyone’s definition of balance is very different and very personal. And that’s ok. I think this sort of goes back to my previous post on the one downfall of blogging – the fact that we all inadvertently compare ourselves to eachother. Sometimes doing the comparison thing is good for perspective, but other times it just makes things more complicated, making us over-scrutinize our own choices versus just being confident with our decisions and approach at living a healthy, balanced and happy life.

At the end of the day, that’s what matters most.

That we’re happy.

We’re healthy.

And, we’ve found balance (in our own very unique way).

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BTW – for all of you who have heard me talk up a storm about how great the Exhale Spa Core Fusion DVDs are, mosey on over to Dori’s blog to enter her giveaway. It’s for their newest DVD – Core Fusion Boot Camp. How fun! I promise you – once you try Core Fusion you’ll wonder where it’s been all your life. Ok, maybe that’s just me, but you get the picture 😉

Needing a dose of endorphins, STAT!

Anyone got some endorphins to spare me??

I mean – really. I literally *just* posted about all things balance last night, right?

Well – today, of course, I’m now absolutely craving an endorphin rush.

I bet you want to know why, right?

How could I be craving that when I had such good intentions for this morning? Well, let me explain how it all went down, shall we?

Me last night: I’m going to get up at 5 tomorrow so I can give my new Core Fusion DVD’s a whirl before our uber-dark run, ok, sweetie?

Husband Scott: Ok, babe, whatever makes you happy.

Me this morning (when alarm buzzed at 5am): Oof. My knee still hurts. I’m going to reset the alarm for 5:45 and do Core Fusion only this morning. No run.

Husband Scott: Ok, babe, whatever makes you happy.

Me: <reset alarm clock to 5:45 and snuggle down under covers>

Me: <awaking with a start at 6:52> Oh wow, I’m so happy I woke up or I’d have missed my workout. I can’t believe I didn’t turn my alarm clock on! <pause> Wait. It’s 6:52, not 5:52?? Bah!

Um yeah. That NEVER happens. I’m so organized, so type-A, so prepared. Apparently my body hit “override” on all of that in favor of sleep. Clearly I needed it.

But now, oh now, I am SOOOO craving an endorphin rush. A long run tomorrow coupled with Core Fusion, now that is most certainly on my agenda for tomorrow morning, mmk?

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Now I hope you all don’t think this post means I’m complaining about the time spent with my sister and niece because it’s not. At all. I am loving having them around. Loving the bonding moments. Loving it all. But I’m human. And a Type-A, routine-oriented human at that. Who just so happens to be a workout-a-holic who LOVES a good sweat. And yes, I realize that makes me a smidge weird. 😉

And PS. Thank you all for being so supportive and thoughtful as my sis goes through this rough patch. Good news is that she’s recovering well – in fact, she’s off the wound vac pump as of today which is a welcome surprise! One step closer to full recovery. YAY!

I heart endorphins

Endorphins, there’s really no better Rx for a mood-boost than that. Well, except for a pretty awesome husband who always seems to know just what will do the trick to snap me out of a funk. Cute story before I dive into the endorphin convo…

I had a pretty bad day yesterday, for numerous reasons that I won’t go into here.  I was in a real funk when I finally left work around 6 last night so I’m sure Scott was bracing for the worst (he’s taking a few days off from work, he’s actually STILL got vaca time to take before their fiscal ends, imagine that!). So picture this.

Scott greets me at the door with a huge grin on his face (he has an awesome smile, gets me every time!). I walk in the door and he’s got “The Hangover” all cued up on the DVD player, music playing in the background (“I wanna party”, I think was on),  the TV trays were up with a glass of wine on each tray, and there was pizza cooking in the oven.

The significance behind this? This used to be our FAVORITE date night-in routine when we first got married. We still do it now and then but it’s been awhile. Needless to say, my funk disappeared immediately and we had a great night. He’s pretty awesome. 🙂

So, after that, I felt so much better (obviously) and was ready for Kick this morning at 6am. The class ended up being great, there were fifteen people in class which was WAY better than previous early-AM Kick classes and I was proud that we managed to keep them motivated at such an early hour. We got tons of great feedback, almost everyone stopped us on the way out of the class to thank us for a great workout and to comment on how much improvement they’ve seen in themselves and in us, too. It felt pretty good, and like a nice little accomplishment and made yesterday’s practice feel extra worthwhile.

Aside from that, the endorphin rush I got from today’s class started my day off on the exact right footing which is just what I need for a very busy day on the work front today. There seriously is no better way to get that “rush” than from a good endorphin-infused workout, it does a body good (I’m envisioning the “Milk, It does a body good” commercials as I type this).

The only slight downer (and I know, I shouldn’t take it personally), is that “Kimmie” changed the schedule for Saturday so I’m no longer teach Kick this coming weekend. She mentioned she was going to switch things up a bit this week and made some adjustments to the schedule earlier in the week but it didn’t impact me until this most recent change. I am pretty sure it’s mostly due to getting everyone a chance to teach in front of the largest class setting we have (Saturday has been the biggest draw so far), but part of me has this paranoia that she cut me from the schedule because I’m not doing well. I know that’s probably irrational, but can you blame me?? Or am I really being silly at this point?

Everyone needs a little me (workout) time

I hear this a lot — both from clients at the studio, from family and from friends who just don’t think they deserve, need or are ‘allowed’ to have ‘me’ time. Particularly when that ‘me’ time is of the workout variety. It’s seen by some as a frivolous activity, a nice-to-have versus a need-to-have or it’s a selfish thing to want or need that ‘me workout’ time.

But truly? Everyone needs a little me (workout) time. 
Everyone.

Yes, even I need it. 

You see, I’ve been working on a little experiment these past few weeks. Instead of looking at my me-workouts as nice-to-have activity in between all the teaching that I do each week, I’ve been looking at it as need-to-have time. Obviously within reason, balancing it out with the working out that invariably happens while I’m teaching class. But yes, I’ve been making my me workout time more of a priority. Even if it means shifting my focus a little bit — instead of wishing for or yearning for x amount of miles, I get excited about running a quick 30 mins after class or slotting in a fitdate with a bestie mid-week when schedules allow.  And yes, I #makeitcount.

So I have been committing to my ‘me time’ of the workout variety more these past few weeks and I’ve noticed something. Yup, you guessed it — I’m happier.

It’s not rocket science people, putting yourself first and chasing those endorphins produces, yup — happy, joyful energy. 

Sure, I still love, love, love all the hours I spend teaching, watching clients transform right before my eyes. LOVE. But I also love that me time either at the barre or on the mat where I have time to focus on my own muscle strength and endurance. Or the time I spend in my favorite sneakers, running 3 miles or 7, or somewhere in between, those miles don’t matter distance-wise — all that matters is that they are my miles. Miles I fought for particularly hard for on Sunday in the chilly, windy air. But it was worth it. SO, SO, worth it. Especially because it meant a #teamsutera reunion. ❤

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So here’s my thinking — I will continue to make my ‘me workouts’ a priority. Within reason, of course, and while still respecting the rest time my body needs. But clearly, based on just the past two or three weeks alone, my mood is just happier, less stressy, more centered. I KNOW part of that has to do with the #presence2013 project. But I also believe it has something to do with the me-workout thing. It’s just needed. 

And please, I hope you all will take that time to remember that you are just important to make a priority as everyone and everything else in your life that is important and that you love. You also love yourself, right? So watch that (self) love blossom, and respect the me (workout) time as much as you can. It’ll only make you a happier, healthier, more content wife, sister, friend, mother, auntie, and daughter (ditto this for the boys who may be reading this post!). It’s important, truly.

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>

Hills + Speed (er, sprints) = FUN

So I’m titling this post: Hills + Speed (er, sprints) = FUN. 

But really, the title *should* be: The workout where my ass fell off. 

Seriously — if you EVER need to get your ass literally handed to you, just talk to my fit and fab friend Meaghan who happens to be my running idol and one of my dearest friends (reason #3,478 why I love blogging: ‘finding’ friends like Meaghan who I’d NEVER have met if I never started blogging to begin with…)

This was our text exchange midway through my workout this morning:

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And this was what I looked like when all was said and done:

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What you can’t quite see in that pic is just how sweaty I am — particularly my hair: I. Was. Drenched.
…and exhausted

But deliriously high from the rush of the endorphins this workout gave me. For real, it was KILLER. But I managed to keep my promise to Meaghan — I had FUN with the workout even though it was quickly kicking my ass. And you know what? That, to me, is what working out *should* be about, bottom line: having fun.

Sure, we all have goals for ourselves when it comes to our own physical fitness and those goals come in many shapes, forms and sizes. But honestly? Setting hard and fast goals aside can be such a liberating thing and can be just the reminder you may need to get your ‘mojo’ back. At least that’s what I’ve been LOVING lately — having fun with my workouts, not focusing on any real goals other than staying as fit as I can while having as much FUN as I can. And making as many fitdates as I can fit into my schedule (something I’ve been failing at miserably lately, but I’m determined to fix this in the new year!). 

While I’m not going to share every last detail of what this workout looked like (since it was Meaghan’s creation, I think it’s only fitting that she share it if she so chooses…maybe if you ask nicely, she’ll post about it soon, hehe #peerpressure), I will share what it felt like:

The warm-up was fun, nice easy pace and it shook the cobwebs out (fighting off some weird sniffly thing over here, bah #notsicknotsick)
The first set was all about hills mixed with speed. There were SIX (very intense) rounds with tonnnnns of incline work.
The second set was all about speed, speed, speed. Sprinting FAST, but not so fast that form suffered. My core is now killing me from focusing on my form so much during this set (it also didn’t help that I taught arms & abs last night at the studio, heh)
The final set was a mix of moderate speed mixed with a small hill. I needed this set, like whoa.

In all? I managed to kick out 6 miles of INTENSITY all before 6:30am this morning. If THAT doesn’t make you feel badass, nothing will I’ve decided. 

And on that note — I’m off to find my ass, it fell off somewhere around mile 3 or 4 during that first set… 😉

Accountability.

Guess what? 
…even I need a kick in the ass sometimes to get my workout in. 

Shocking, I know. 😉

But seriously, this brings up a very valid point — accountability can be a huge motivator. HUGE. So today, I’m here to tell you how to find that accountability, harness it, and get that workout in. In three very easy steps. 

Step 1: b*tch and moan vent to your fit friend and sis about how much you really don’t want to get your run in after work. (while sitting in traffic on the way home, NOT texting while driving, I swear). Call your husband and do the very same thing. Only to hear: “I’ll motivate you, and you’ll motivate me, we’ll get it done.” (remember this, you’ll need to reference it in a sec). 

Step 2: Read the following text from the same fit friend and sis while filling up your gas tank (it’s really quite awesome to see your gas light come on while in traffic after a long day…am I the only one who hates filling their gas tank and always waits until the most inopportune time to fill it??)

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Step 3: Call your husband back. Tell him you’re almost home and to get ready to work. His response: “I’m tired, maybe we should skip it.” <–what happened to motivating eachother?? My response: “Nope, we’re doing it. My run won’t take as long as your weight workout so get upstairs and get moving, I’ll be home soon.”

The result: 

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Four sweaty miles, done. That’s all I really wanted — I didn’t care about how far I went, I just wanted to get a good sweat, feel that rush of endorphins and get my heart rate up. Something I desperately needed after WAY too much sitting at work all day.

And that my friends, is all it takes to stay accountable to your fitness goals. Three easy steps* is all it takes.
#makeitcount

*Note: it also works well to post your workout intentions on Facebook or Twitter, then it’s out there for the world to see, and do you really want the ‘world’ to know you skipped out on that workout? 😉

#everytime

#everytime.

#everytime I lace up my sneakers…

…I never regret it. 
(even when I’m tired after a long day and have a run on the agenda. Like last night….5 sweaty treadmilled miles, done. #getafterit)
(even when I *think* I’m way too tired to get out the door at dark thirty.)
(even when it’s a lace-up-and-run on the treadmill — those endorphins man, nothing better.)

#everytime I set foot in the studio…(a studio that is expanding again this fall, whee!!)

…I fall even more in love with barre n9ne. 
(with the clients who I adore)
(with the challengers, both new and old, who constantly commit, recommit and take charge of their health.)
(with my fellow instructors who I am constantly learning from, and have so much fun WITH every chance we get for a b9 staff dinner.)

#everytime I think about Chicago…of how far we’ve come…

…my heart bursts with pride and joy. 
(and slight sadness that it is so very quickly coming to an end.)
(this has become so, so, so much more than just another training cycle.)
(… the most incredible 18 weeks I never saw coming.)

#everytime. ❤

Running (wicked) smart

(Editor’s Note: Back to regularly scheduled programming up in here – thank you all for indulging me in yesterday’s post. I clearly needed to get that off my chest – couldn’t stop pinning, tweeting, FB’ing about it all day yesterday. 😉 )

Lately,  I’ve been thinking about the whole working smarter, not harder mantra and how I’ve been trying to apply that to my running.

I like to think of it as running (wicked ) smart. <– a total Boston phrase, “wicked”

Thus far, my half marathon training schedule has certainly been changing on the fly week-to-week, depending largely on how I’m feeling in between taking and teaching barre n9ne classes and ramping up my running mileage week-to-week (I’m now hovering around  25-27 miles/week compared to my pre-training weekly mileage of about 15-24).

The whole “week-to-week” thing has been working out really well so far. I told you how “not a fan” I am of training plans overall and that I like to train by feel, training loosely week-to-week versus via a very regimented schedule. However, with the balance I’m trying to strike between teaching/taking barre classes and half marathon training, I’m glad I created an actual training plan this time around (even if I’m constantly adjusting it).

For example – just this week I had to make an adjustment to my running plan. Not because of a conflict in my schedule for the week. Nope.

It was simply because my body was telling me “No!” – and I chose to listen.

And really, I think that’s the key in this whole thing – choosing to listen. I am such a stubborn person and am the first to openly admit that it’s often hard for me to listen to my body when it’s telling me something. But I’ve learned from previous experience (and injuries!) that *not* listening never tends to work out very well.

So rather than risk junk miles (which I’m no fan of), I simply postponed my run from Tuesday night to this morning (as you’re reading this, I should be just finishing up said run!). That gives me a full day and a half since my last workout (6am barre method on Tues, rest day on Wed) so my legs ought to be very, very happy with me. Plus, getting my endorphins rushing before heading over to barre n9ne to teach is never a bad idea in my book. The 9am-ers ought to brace themselves – I’m bound to be full of energy for a nice little barre n9ne-style butt kicking. 😉

My running “schedule” for this week remains intact, with slight modifications, and my body will be stronger and happier for it. And to be honest, if that run had simply been canceled vs. postponed for this week, I would have been ok with that too.

Big picturewhat’s an extra 6 miles *really* going to do for my training? Will it be a make-or-break for me?
Nope. Not even in the slightest.

A wicked smart question to ask yourself (myself included!) next time you’re even remotely questioning the “to run/not run” thang in your mind’s eye.

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And, in case you’re a curious person (like me!),  here’s how my training schedule  is shaping up this week (and I’m pretty pleased with it):

Sunday – cross-train (barre n9ne)
Monday – 5 miles, intervals; barre n9ne at night
Tuesday – cross-train (barre n9ne)
Wednesday –REST (oh glorious rest!)
Thursday –  6 (rescheduled) miles; barre n9ne legs (I also teach on Thursdays)
Friday – 7 miles, rundate style (with the sis!) (I also teach on Fridays)
Saturday – 9 miles, rundate-style (with the hubs, and hopefully via a new route we’re hoping to scout out tomorrow!)

Total miles this week:
27 miles
(which means I’m heading for my first 100 mile month!)

Just move.

So after a whopping 6+ hours of meetings yesterday, along with a couple hours in the car, I. was. so. sick.of.sitting.

And it reminded me just how much I value being able to just move. 

It also made me wonder – and fear – that my post yesterday was sort of misconstrued in a way. Many of you weighed in (with great comments, I must say!) and, in seeing your reactions, it made me wonder if I came across wrong in my post. I really hope that I didn’t. I re-read my post and wondered if maybe it sounded like I didn’t appreciate and value the sheer ability to just move.

Whether due to injury, illness, or “life” in general, I know not everyone has the downright luxury of working out whenever, whereever, however they want. I promise you I recognize that.

I appreciate and honor the fact that I am able. 

And I think that’s why I place so much emphasis on it in my own life and why it’s shaped my relationship with Scott so much as well.

…not just because I can do these things to stay fit; and these “things” that I love so much – sure, they keep me happy, energized, centered, “me.” But I also value them because I am able and I respect that. So very much.

After today’s marathon of meetings (and knowing that I have another day like that tomorrow), I was driving home last night and it dawned on me even more so than before, that I appreciate being able to just move. In some shape or form. Every single day.

It also reminded me that although I know I’m bound to feel entirely worn out, I need to get my butt on the treadmill before heading into the office tomorrow (er, today; yes, I’m writing this before bed tonight, total blogging accountability over here!) .

I just want to move.
…to sweat.
…to grab a few endorphins.
and appreciate the fact that I can just move, that I do own my own treadmill, that I have easy access to tools and things (like fabulous barre n9ne studios) to keep me motivated and moving.

So yeah, this week? I’m feeling downright honored that I’m able.
I cherish it. I respect it.  
(((Just move)))