Training…by feel.

This post is totally inspired by a conversation I had on Saturday with these lovely ladies:

Meaghan (total rockstar) and Samantha (another rockstar) and moi!

My sis, Meaghan and Samantha – at our sushi date at Snappy Sushi on Newbury Street in the city.

This lunch date was a LONG time coming — we talked about getting together way back in January but it was around that time that Jo and I started barre n9ne teacher training and all weekends were spent training away. WELL worth the effort since we’re now both instructors at the studio but it meant waiting uber-patiently for this “date” of ours to finally happen.

We talked about a million things at lunch – spending over three hours at the restaurant well after we’d devoured a gorgeous plate of sushi (that I’m still dreaming about today!).

But one of the topics that made a big appearance during lunch was running, training, listening to our bodies when injured and everything in between. A biggie (at least for me) was around training for the Chicago Marathon and doing right by my body, both in terms of fueling needs but also in terms of the race day itself.

and training, by feel. Which is how I roll, but very few runners (at least the ones I know) tend not to do.

For me, I know it’s been a good run when I don’t hit the proverbial wall during a longer run, or I hang in there during that last round of speed work on the treadmill, or I have that “I could run for miles” rockstar run like I had on Saturday.  I don’t need a series of numbers to tell me how good or “bad’ or challenging a run was.

I train…by feel.

I don’t train with a Garmin. You all know this by now. I don’t avoid the Garmin to be a running rebel or anything, I just know that for me — I’ll get so caught up with the numbers that it’ll steal the joy from a sport I’ve grown to love, and it’ll prevent me from getting my head fully in the game, both during training runs and on race day itself. (As Meaghan said during lunch, “the Garmin can be a total mindf*ck”…right on!!)

And for me – having my head fully in the game is the key to running strong, running happy and running proud. My ongoing running mantra these days.

But interestingly, this “training…by feel” mentality is also serving me well as it relates to that training “fine line” I blogged about just last week. When it comes to barre n9ne classes — I know what my body is capable of and I try, with every single class that I take, to give it my all. To know that I’ve pushed myself to that shake point and beyond and can confidently walk out of that studio knowing that I left nothing on that floor but my best effort. Every single time. And when it comes to balancing taking classes with teaching classes and training for the half marathon in May — the training by feel mentality has helped me to tweak my plan each week. Even just minor tweaks like turning Sunday into my rest day this week, pushing the 6-miler I had planned for the day to Wednesday night after work instead.

Little tweaks. Training smarter, not harder.

So I guess what I’m saying is this. The bottom line (realizing this way of training won’t work for everyone, per se) is that training by feel is what’s working for me.  It keeps me balanced. It helps me maintain the mind/body connection I’ve fought so long for. And it’s keeping me strong and energized during a very busy training cycle leading into race day.

The big goal in all of this is to have a great race on May 6th (and *maybe* a shiny new PR…maybe), but also to go into full marathon training with the tools I need to continue to train smart, to train by feel, and to toe that starting line on October 7th ready to run proud, strong, and happy.

Community: defined.

Until recently, I never really thought of myself as “community” kinda gal.

I sort of equated anything “community” related as something you feel like you “have” to get involved in, like community service, and stuff like that.

I realize now how silly I was to equate “community” to something so very unappealing (to me).

Last night right before barre n9ne class started, I suddenly recognized that the wonderful, happy, excited, energized women around me is my community: defined.

In the relatively few months that I’ve been part of this community with my sister, I’ve seen it absolutely flourish into an amazing phenomenon. One that I’m not quite sure what I’d do without…it’s become such a passion of mine, not just my own personal growth since starting the barre n9ne challenge in May, but to see other women get involved in the challenge has been nothing short of amazing.

That is community to me. Encouraging eachother to work hard, play hard, and celebrate every single success along the way. Just last night, I was talking to one of the newer challengers who was absolutely bubbling over with pride at the inches she’s already lost just one month into her personal challenge journey. To see her eyes sparkle with pride and confidence and with a huge smile on her face? Awesome.

And then to get a text from my fit friend Steph with her most recent challenge results (which are amazing, she is HOT !!), and my heart soared for her. She finished her text with “happy!” And that made me ridiculously happy for her
…and for all of the women in this beautiful community of ours, who are putting their health and fitness first.
…who are making time for themselves and not feeling guilty for doing so.
…and are becoming confident and happy and in love with who they are today.  Amazing.

So now when I think about “community” — my definition is quite different.  It’s about finding common ground. Above all else. Kind of like this amazing fitness and healthy living community that I am damn proud to be a part of. A beautiful phenomenon…another community where I’ve made friendships that I cherish, with awesome women (and even a few guys!) who I’d never ever have met if not for this blogging thang.

((Community))…it’s a beautiful thing, and something I value so much more than I ever thought I would. 

Virtual #rundate Saturday, anyone?

<tap tap tap tap tap>

That would be the sound of my antsy feet tapping away, just dying to get out there and run again. Dutifully, I kept my promise to myself to go run-free after the half on Sunday to give my joints a rest – well, to give my whole body a rest really. (not that the barre n9ne classes I took this week are “restful” or anything, but they *are* far better on the joints!)

But now that it’s Friday, I’m getting a ‘lil antsy to get out there and run my ass off! But then I got to thinking — sure I’m all uber-motivated *now* to run but what happens in a few weeks when it’s colder and I’m tired and my motivation isn’t quite where it is today? Why not start virtual #rundate Saturday so I can “run” with all of you and thus, I’m being held accountable to get out there and run *and* I get to “run” with all of you.

Genius, right? 

Plus, tomorrow is race day for my blog bestie Heather and I figure she might want a little bit of company tomorrow while she’s out there killing 13.1.
(Edit: How could I forget?? Must also cheer on Heather and Stephanie who are both running the Marine Corp Marathon on Sunday, go ladies, GO!) 

Sooooo – whose with me? 
C’mon, you *know* you wanna. 😉

I’m actually hoping for one of those run without thinking, with no distance in mind, just running to run, kind of days tomorrow. It’ll be a little chilly but that’s what cute running gear is for, right?? Plus, it totally counts as badass (in my book and a certain MommaSunshine’s book too, I dare say).

So tell me – will you join me tomorrow for virtual #rundate Saturday *and* will you cheer on Heather with me??

Happy Friday ya’ll — holy wow am I in a chipper mood today. Good thing it’s not Monday or I might be accused of being like that chick in Office Space (the “jUst a moment, chick). hehe 😉

Guilt – good/bad?

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

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

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

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

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

…To live a healthier lifestyle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts, 13.1 of them

1. I ran this morning. All 3.1 miles worth. It felt glorious, especially charging up that last hill, envisioning the finish line on Sunday. I want to charge towards it. Must remember this on Sunday, note to self…

2. Oats in a jar is quite possibly the best invention ever. I tried them for the first time today (yes, the FIRST time, can you believe it?). In a word: epic jar of oats was devoured – complete with irish oats, chopped warm apples and cinnamon and the remnants of my organic Trader Joe’s peanut butter. Ridiculously good. 

3. I’m running a half marathon on Sunday!! My second one…which somehow makes me feel totally qualified to be a “runner.” Weird, I know.

4. I heart my friends – of the bloggy, IRL and sister friends variety. Amazing how much love and support is around me as I stare down 13.1 ❤

5. My husband bought the most perfect bunch of bananas at the store today. Definitely on my race day breakfast menu – sliced atop a cinnamon bagel thin smeared with peanut butter (don’t worry, I have a spare jar on hand at all times). 

6. Carb-loading Sutera pizza style tomorrow – it’s ALL I can think about. You have no idea how good our pizza is – we’ve perfected the craft really. And no, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Pictures to come…maybe. 😉

7. I swear, faith is coming in handy these days. The forecast is looking up for Sunday – weatherman says “the storm is taking longer to arrive at our doorstep than anticipated…showers should hold off until mid-to-late morning” <—can’t you just see God working his magic here or just me?? 

8. “Run the mile you’re in” might just be the best race day mantra around. Thanks to Jo’s blog friend for uttering such a true statement in one of her blog comments on my sister’s blog recently. It’s totally stuck with me ever since.  

9. I wonder how many bunnies I’ll see during the half on Sunday…hm. Personal goal? 5 bunnies! 

10. Faces I’m excited to see as I cross the finish line: My mom, my dad, my mother and father-in-law (best in-laws ever, hands down), and my sister-in-law (she’s also racing with us but um, is super fast, so I fully expect to see her at the finish line well before me!). This is what gets me through those tough moments during a race – smiling supportive loving faces, both there at the finish and cheering me on from the virtual sidelines (my sis JenHeather, Lindsay, and Melissa, to name just a few!)

11. Given the revised forecast, I *will* be rocking my Lululemon run shorts afterall…y’know, in case you were just dying to know. 😉 

12. I seriously can’t get the thought of that 25k on labor day weekend off my mind. Please – someone tell me I’m crazy?! 

13.1. I’m ready. To run proud. My one, my only goal for this half marathon. To run proud. 

What makes a barre workout so, well, awesome, you ask?

Ok, so maybe you didn’t ask but I’m gonna tell ya anyway. 😉

After riding a consistent barre n9ne high this week (and last week, for that matter), I got to thinking about well, what does make a barre workout so awesome, anyway?

For me, it’s a few things…

…the combination of strengthening with lengthening. In just a few weeks, I’ve noticed some pretty awesome definition popping up – in my shoulders for example (there’s just something very sexy about strong shoulders, not gonna lie…), and hell even my legs seem longer (a tough feat given my stature – 5’3″ club anyone??). My sis and I were commenting on that very fact after class the other night – that we’re finally seeing the results of all of our hard work, well – appearing, right before our eyes. Finally. It’s about damn time!

…the tiny little movements that all add up to one gigantic owwwww, but result in a tighter butt, firmer thighs and better posture. I honest-to-God stand taller, shoulders back, chest out – and even though I’m darn short, I feel leaner somehow.

…the quiet camaraderie that builds during a particularly intense barre workout. Anyone who has taken a barre class (Core Fusion, Refine, Barre N9ne, Physique57, etc.) knows exactly what I mean. That moment when the instructor says (slightly too enthusiastically): “Ok, we’re done with thighs, time to work glutes!” and at least one student will grown and giggle, and then a few more giggles make their way through the room and before you know it, we’re all laughing as we move into the next pose. It’s a very different camaraderie vibe than any other group fitness class I’ve taken. Sort of an unspoken support system – we’re all in this together, yet nobody really voices that until the most intense portion of class and then all bets are off. Groans, giggles, maybe a little whining, but by the end, we’re high as ever…which brings me to my final point…

…the mental ‘high’ that comes from working hard for an hour straight. (Very different from running hard for an hour) Concentrating so hard on keeping good form (hips tucked, shoulders back, knees slightly bent), on tiny little up movements (not down up, but up up, if that makes sense) and letting that shake in the legs, arms, calves, shake as they might. But knowing that that shake is GOOD. And walking (err limping?) away feeling so proud that you stood strong, you pushed through the pain, you didn’t give up. That, my friends, is a barre n9ne high.

But don’t take it from me…my mentor and inspiration, barre n9ne studio owner Tanya (if you haven’t checked out her blog yet, please do -it’s awesome!), will be doing a blog Q&A with me in the next few days around what it is that makes a barre workout so effective (sure it’s awesome, but why is it so effective??). If you have any questions for her, send them my way and I’ll work them in!

Blog detox, runner’s high and Barre n9ne week #3!

Wow. Lots to cover off on today! I guess that’s what happens when you give yourself a blog “detox” for the long weekend, huh?

So the blog detox, what’s that all about? It wasn’t something I planned but it actually worked out really well to be completely disconnected from blog-land this weekend. A weekend full of celebrations (happy birthday, babe!), lots of family and friend time annnnd some much-loved beach time. In all, a pretty damn fantastic weekend all around. And of course, I have to share at least one or two pics  from the party on Saturday.

How adorable is my niece?? I love her!

And one of the birthday boy, he’s so cute. 😉

As for runner’s high? Well, I’m still riding that high as I type this. Had one of those “I could run forever” runs this morning. The weather was crisp and comfy. The birds were chirping away and the roads were silent. In fact, this was probably the least chatty Scott and I were on our run in a long time. It was just us with our thoughts, our feet hitting the pavement, our breath even and strong. It gives me full confidence that in ten weeks, I’ll be ready to kick the crap out of the YuKanRun half marathon.  🙂

In other news, barre n9ne – crazy to think that we’re already into week three of our eight week challenge! And here’s how it’ll look (can’t wait!):

Sunday – muggy and hot 5-miler (complete with super-sexy sports bra tan lines LOL)
Monday – barre n9ne toned, firm, fit and ready (which was my first time taking this class, it was awesome. A mix of barre n9ne signature method, lean & tone and long & lean legs, kinda perfect if you ask me!)
Tuesday – runner’s high worthy run (4.5 miler)
Wednesday – 5 miler; barre n9ne lean & tone
Thursday – 4 or 5-miler with the sis; barre n9ne long & lean legs; barre n9ne fusion
Friday – rest
Saturday – first long run day of training, aiming for 6.5 or 7ish

In related barre n9ne challenge news? I totally rocked the food log at the annual memorial day bash and I am SO PROUD of myself for it. I stuck to my plan, I ate lots of fruits and veggies and hummus and fresh fruit, and steered clear of the stuff I usually kill for at parties (read: all the bad stuff!). Annd I was able to fit wine into the mix, a must for this wino, I’ll tell you that!!  I call this a MAJOR win for me, especially considering I am suuuuch a sucker for cocktail party food!

So yeah, a great weekend, an awesome blog detox (despite the growing google reader feed I must trim down!), and a great week of workouts ahead. How does your week look, my friends? Let’s rock it out together, shall we?  

“Wanna know how I got there?”

“Wanna know how I got there?”

This has become a little game I play with my husband. You see, I am the queen of random conversations that appear to come from waaaaay out in left field. My husband has come to just roll with it, as always.  But now that even I have to laugh at the random conversations-from-nowhere, I’ve devised the following game:

“Wanna know how I got there?”

Here’s how it works:

I make the random comment/conversation starter.

My husband looks at me, smirks, but let’s me finish.

Then, I ask: “Wanna know how I got there?”

To which he always laughs and says, “yes” (indulging me everytime)

So let’s play, shall we? Here goes:

Me: I’m not going to the Cathe Road Trip this year.

You: Huh? I thought you were trying to be the first to register?? What happened?

Me: Wanna know how I got there?

Alright. So, the MAIN purpose of going to the Road Trip this year was to catch up with my favorite blog friend Heather, hopefully her sister and of course my sister (maybe both!). But, after an email from Heather about an hour before registration was set to open, she brought up an excellent idea. Our very own “road trip” together to our lake house in Maine this summer. She would come up with her husband (maybe her sis) and we’d spend the time together relaxing, working out (because c’mon, this is US we’re talking about here), swimming (er splashing) in the lake, cooking and drinking some fantastic wine.

Does that *not* sound awesome or what?

Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE the Cathe Road Trip. It’s an awesome time spent with fellow Cathletes and a weekend with my sister I’ve grown to look forward to more and more each year. But we’re both facing a fair amount of travel this year as it is, and with my other sister and the little one (Isabel, the cutest niece ON the planet), I’d rather spend the time closer to home this summer. And maybe Heather can meet the cutest niece and my other sis too. Best of both worlds if I do say so myself.

I’ve already dubbed this weekend: The crazy, strong and loving (wine) weekend (a throwback to the Cathe Forum we belong to: “Crazy, Strong, and Loving it”).

Has a nice ring to it, no?

So there you go – that’s how we got there. Not all that random once you hear the pieces all come together. My husband still thinks I”m nuts though…but I wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉


With that, I’m off to disconnect for a couple days. It’s a long weekend (wee!). We’re going to Boston for the night for a romantic night in the city (gotta love Rue La La deals on hotel rooms and for special hair treatments beforehand with the sis!).

I’ll be back later this weekend with a belated Core Fusion Challenge week #3 recap and maybe, just maybe, a little giveaway too! Happy weekend!!

Small victory, little joys


…some little things making me smile today.

A small victory in Core Fusion today. During Core Fusion Pilates Plus, I was able to lift my feet off the ground during one of the round back series (during the knees bent section for those of you familiar with the program). Sure, it was only for a few reps, but it signals progress. Working towards those moves I’m dying to quasi-master in Core Fusion.

The smile my husband always knows how to bring to my face with the most thoughtful of gestures. While getting myself together for work this morning, he left to fill my tank with gas and came back with a full tank plus a Starbucks venti waiting for me in the car. Saving me precious minutes on my commute this morning. He is the best.

Overhearing on the radio that it *may* hit 40 degrees this weekend. The mere thought of running outside this weekend fills my heart with joy.

Booking a somewhat spontaneous trip to Jamaica with  my sis and her boyfriend. A real beach vacation! With tropical umbrellas, sand, fruity drinks and SUNSHINE. With great company. While most of this post is about taking in the little things in our everyday life, this is a “big” little thing (it’s not everyday you book a trip to the islands, am I right??)

Comments from blog friends that give me such perspective. Sure, my post last night was a mash-up of “blogging it out” and whining just a tad, but your comments have been awesome. Giving me much-needed perspective and peace of mind that my much-beloved balance in life will soon return. And in the meantime, I’m going to focus less on that and more on all of the small victories and little joys surrounding me every single day.

Because my life? Well, it’s pretty damn good. Must not lose sight of that.

A bit of gratitude


Let the meaning of that word sink in for a minute.

It holds such weight doesn’t it?

Yet – at the same time, it brings lightness to your life the minute you realize all of the wonderful things you have to be grateful for.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude lately.

….for the overwhelming support for me and my sisCore Fusion Challenge. I am so encouraged and inspired and floored by your support. The meaningful comments you’ve all left for me lately, just wow. And to think that some of you are considering the challenge yourself, or your own version of it. So awesome.

for a job that puts me on a rollercoaster everyday. Yes, there are moments where I am frustrated that I’m not “there” yet…that I’m still the new kid and I don’t know it all. Yet. But it’ll come. For now, I’m trying to embrace that rollercoaster – a rollercoaster I can’t believe I’ve only been on for a month. It seems like way longer.

…for inspiration through others. My sister Jen just signed up for her first-ever 5k. This is an awesome step forward for her, and something I know my super-duper cute niece will be proud of her mom for doing one day. I am damn proud of her and so inspired. Can’t wait to run it with her…and maybe, just *maybe* I can convince her to guest blog for me here on her couch to 5k journey. Whatcha say, Jen?

.for a husband who “gets” me and pushes me to reach my goals. Even the simplest of goals like to be able to do a proper set of push-ups. He pushed me WAY outside my comfort zone today and it was just what I needed. (maybe not *right* after a 45 min interval run but I digress…ha).

for ability. Ability to take on new physical (and very much mental) challenges. I say this all the time but it’s so true, and I always feel smacked with that gratitude everytime I embark on a new challenge. I am freakin’ lucky as hell to be healthy and able to do whatever it is that I want.

for friends. Who I can’t wait to spend time with tonight at a mini girls night out and tomorrow at one of my best friends’ house for the Superbowl. There won’t be much football-watching but there *will* be some good eats and drinks. I dig it. 😉

What are YOU grateful for lately? Sometimes just jotting down a list like this can be eye-opening…