On this day, one year ago…

…I wrote my first ever blog post.

And was instantly hooked.

I cannot BELIEVE it’s been a year since I started EatDrinkBreatheSweat – I honestly can’t imagine my life without it.

It’s my place to think “out loud.”

It’s my place to explore my motivation and my passion for working out.

It’s my place to inspire and motivate anyone who needs a good push, or anyone who simply likes to “compare notes.”

It’s my place to push myself, working towards new challenges.

It’s my place to meet up with all of you wonderful bloggy friends.

It’s mine to make it whatever I want it to be.

And I love it. For far more reasons than I could even list. It’s changed me in some pretty amazing ways.

To celebrate the year that was, I figured I’d point out some of the highlights, some of my favorite posts or memories from this year, and over 18,000 visitors later:

  • I accepted the challenge that was Group Kick for what it was – an out-of-my-comfort-zone challenge that pushed me so far mentally and physically. I not only accepted the challenge, but I kicked the crap out of it. I’m still so damn proud to be Group Kick certified (more updates on where things stand here later…), especially since it was something my sister and I did together, I’ll never forget the experience.
  • I discovered why I run, rediscovered why I run, and conquered what would turn out to be the toughest physical challenge of my life in the Wicked Half. And yes, I’m still very much considering another half (my answer still is “we’ll see!”).
  • I met some unbelievable bloggy friends:Naomi from The Tao of Me – my first-ever blogger meet-up. She’s such fun, such a running inspiration (hello marathoner!) and I can’t wait to meet her again since we all know a return visit to SF MUST be in my future! Heather – my sister from another mother, for reals. We met and experienced the Cathe Road Trip this year, her first time, my third time and I cannot wait for our return trip to workout weekend because there is NO doubt we’ll have just as much fun as we did this past year. And finally, meeting both Alicia from Poise in Parma and Elina from Healthy and Sane – such a fun blogger brunch, and I seriously cannot wait to “watch” Alicia conquer her first marathon in January! You got this girl!
  • I’m rediscovering my love of STS, one mesocycle at a time. Now that I’m in my third round of STS, I’m realizing just how much I missed a rigorous weight training regime. There is nothing quite like STS – the burn, the intensity, the fire you feel both during and hours (and days!) later is unreal. Like I said on Facebook this morning: *roarrrrr* This is me post-STS workout, as in “I am woman, hear me roar!” (Yes, I’m a dork).

Wow. Seeing the past year stacked up in front of me, blogger-style and I’m actually kinda floored. It’s been an amazing year in so many ways. I cannot wait for what the next bloggy year has in store for me. If it’s anything like this past year, it’s bound to knock my socks off. 😉

Happy blogoversary to ME!

We could all use a little more “kick” in our lives

At least I think so.

Last night, I came home from work after a chaotic, frenzied day and – while later than my normal workout – I had to get something done. Not just because I heart working out but because I felt “off.” Stressed. Sad. Anxious. Not really one thing in particular that set me off, really, just a combination of things.

So what’s a girl to do when running isn’t an option (too dark, sad, not ready for fall/winter!) to re-focus, re-energize, re-invigoriate, re-“me-if-y”?


I kicked it wicked hahhd last night.

I used every muscle in my upper body, my core to toss some fierce punches.

I used every leg muscle to kick my pretend “opponent” right out of my living room.

I felt alive.

I felt confident.

I felt strong.

I felt ME.

As my sister so wisely re-iterated to me over BBIM message, channeling the fierceness that is Kick, and you just never know how you might feel afterwards.

Always better than where you started, that’s for sure.

And usually much more sore, too (which I am – but you know me, I LOVE DOMS!).

Hence why I think we could ALL use a little more “kick” in our lives. Wouldn’t you agree?

(and BTW – for those of you always asking me what my motivation is for working out even after a long day?? It’s that natural high you get after a fantastic sweat-fest like Kick. Seriously, nothing compares…just sayin’)

What workout do you use to work off steam after a rough day? Do you ever use your workouts as a channel for stress, or is it just me (which I highly doubt)?? 😉

What a difference…

…a day makes.

(thank you for your words of encouragement, as usual!)

But also, what a difference…in the spinning class I took this morning versus the one I took while Road Trippin’ it in New Jersey two weeks ago.

I mean – I always found the Group Ride class at my gym to be a challenge, particularly given how great the instructors are at our gym. They are motivating, they push you, they make it fun. But – I never had a point of comparison, so I thought this was just how ALL spinning class experiences were like.

Never assume.

The two spinning classes I took in New Jersey simply did NOT compare in any way to the Group Ride experience.

The instructors were not motivating. In fact, they hardly talked at all.  My sister and I both commented after that teaching that class would be SO easy, especially in comparison to what we’ve seen in Group Ride, and from personal experience teaching Group Kick!

The moves were monotonous and did not simulate the actual cycling experience. The positions were first, second and third position. In Ride – it’s ride, race, and climb. And when you’re riding – you feel like you’re, um, actually riding on outside terrain. When you’re climbing, damn are you CLIMBING that mountain. And when you’re racing, you are in full out sprint, going head-to-head with whomever is sitting on the bike next to you (in my case today, it was Scott to my left, Jo right behind me).  It’s no wonder so many of my friends don’t love spinning – based on their non-Group Ride experience – it’s no wonder so many of my friends haven’t stuck with it. Even Heather commented that her husband didn’t like spinning much since it didn’t really feel like actual cycling moves.

The class left me sweaty but in no way was I spent. In Ride, you work as hard as you can (at least I do!) and you literally have nothing left to give by the end of the last track (climb). It’s an incredible rush.

So, um, I gotta say it: Hello Group Ride! You are an amazing workout!

Seriously – after this experience, I have that much more appreciation for all of the BTS programs out there. From Group Power, to Group Ride and obviously, Group Kick (and a slew of others I have yet to try) – they ALL kick your butt in a way that no other class has ever kicked my butt. It’s a total bummer that more gyms don’t license the classes, at least around here, because they are worth every penny.

So now I gotta ask – how has your group fitness experience been? Am I the only one out there that thinks some group fitness classes leave much to be desired? Or is this the workout-a-holic in me coming out, full-force?

And no (insert caveat here!) – I did not intend to write this as an advertisement for BTS, seriously. I am just in awe, literally, after having a chance to compare one of the BTS classes to a non-BTS class and was totally struck by the very obvious differences. At least to me.

Guest Post: Why I run

Kicking off this week’s guest posts while I’m on vacation – picture me floating around the lake as you read this, and yes, be jealous. 🙂

In all seriousness, I asked Jo to write me a guest blog because, well, she’s my workout companion most of the time (aside from Scott, of course!) and we share SO many goals and dreams, fitness-wise and otherwise, I wanted her to post her version of “Why I run.” Of course, after reading her post, I’m all teary, as usual (call it our sisterly bond!).

So…without further ado – Jolene’s version of “Why I Run.”

When Jess asked me to write a guest post on ‘why I run’ – my first answer to that question was – “Jess.”

She’s why I run.


She got me into running kicking and screaming about a year and a half ago and the very first run I did with her, I absolutely hated. In fact, I abhorred it. And I abhorred her for *forcing* me to run. I could barely run one minute straight at one time – and this was ridiculously frustrating since I’m just as much of a fitness freak as Jess is, yet I was huffing and puffing and getting excruciating side cramps, yet she was running like a champ on the treadmill next to me. WTF?

Fast forward to today and now, I want to prove to her – and me – that I am a runner. That I can do it, and that dammit, I will run the hell out of that half marathon in September (if last weekend’s 9+miler is any indication – we got this!).

Why else do I run?

…because it’s always, always, always a challenge for me. And I dig a challenge. Running is more difficult than any other workout – even training for Kick, no joke – for me, because I have to focus on being good at it and it doesn’t come naturally. But that’s why I love it.

…because yeah, it torches some serious calories. That’s why I love it.

…because of the camaraderie. I have some fantastic friends that run (Meg, Steph, the ‘running group girls’ to name a few) and that can relate. That’s why I love it.

…because it’s always an accomplishment. Whether it is 3 miles, 5, 9 or more, it always feels rewarding, I always get a good workout and I’m always dripping in sweat. Now that’s a good sign of a workout that just can’t be beat. That’s why I love it.

And that’s why I run.

Drumroll please…!!



I have no words. Just sheer excitement, relief, joy, and most of all, pride (much like I have for my sister who passed her assessment this week too).

Six MONTHS of endless sweat, kicks, jabs, uppercuts, and yes, a few tears.

But it was ALL worth it for this very moment…my FIRE is back and it’s not going anywhere!

Bring it!!!! 🙂

Long weekend in 3, 2, 1…

The countdown to the long weekend has begun – and the weather is looking phenomenal around these parts, I’m THRILLED. The exact right way to celebrate Scott’s birthday too, which he’s totally excited for – especially since we’re throwing a pretty mean partay on Saturday that entails the following:

Sangria (stay tuned for a recipe which you’ll find on Living a Zinful Life in short order)

Steak tips (that Scott likes to let “bathe” for two days with his super-special marinade, which you might also see on the other blog!)

Pasta salad with veggies

Antipasto salad (Scott’s dad makes a mean version which he brings every year, MM!)

A huge veggie/dip platter

Steamers (A first for Scott, he has texture issues with food typically but this one was all his idea, we’ll see how it goes LOL)

Various other munchies

And that’s all just for part one of the bash. The second part involves burgers (regular and turkey), a cheese platter, more pasta salad, fruit salad and, of course, more sangria.

So, you could say that this will be one giant eating and drinking fest – one that I’m totally indulging in, because it’s just necessary sometimes. (and I plan on a lonnng run in the AM on Saturday to mentally and physically prepare for it, ha!). I promise to report back with lots of pictures and updates (people pictures too, just for you, Heather!).


In other news…

I had an awesome run this morning with Scott and ended up using yesterday as a rest day, even though I totally didn’t want to. I’ve got to get better about accepting a once per week rest day, I have such issues with it sometimes!

I’m SUPER DUPER proud of my sis who passed her Group Kick assessment! She found out yesterday so now I’m totally dying in anticipation of finding out if I’ve also passed. It would be awesome to find out before tomorrow – a few of us Kickers (including Steph!)  are meeting up for drinks tomorrow night to celebrate, so hopefully we’ll be celebrating BOTH of us passing, so please, please, please keep your fingers and toes crossed!

And finally – I surpassed the 10k visitor mark yesterday! WOO! I’m suuuuch a dorky blogger, but that totally excited me when I saw that this morning when I logged into WordPress. 🙂

Me this week: random, scattered, disheveled


I’m a mess. I’m so scattered and all over the place this week and I think I might be going a little bit crazy (unless I was already there to begin with…no comments from the peanut gallery!).

I don’t even have a hard and fast reason for it, I just am. It’s one of those weeks where I have a LOT to get done at work in advance of the long weekend (thank GOD for that shining light at the end of the tunnel) and a TON going on on the home front to accomplish before the big Memorial Day weekend cookout/birthday bash for Scott we throw every year at this time. For some reason, this year we’re determined to make it the best ever (more on this in another post, promise), so we’ve been doing a ton of prep work this week to get ready. Nobody throws a party quite like the Sutera’s, just sayin’. 😉

So I guess I do have some reasons for feeling scattered, but still, it’s just lots of little things that have piled up into one big, gigantic stress knot in my shoulder. I’ve got to breathe – inhale, exhale….

Other things on my mind (in no particular order)?

  • I didn’t workout this morning because my brain (and Scott’s) would NOT turn off last night so I ended up restless and sleepless much of the night. Which means I must leave work right on time to get a weight workout in (thinking of STS tonight, I’ve missed it!) – which means I’ve got to knock this day outta the park on the work front. Oy.
  • BTS has my Group Kick video assessment. EEK. This means it’s just a matter of time before I know if I’ve passed. Or failed. No pressure or anything.
  • And, last but not least: I need a vacation. Badly. I think part of my scattered/disheveled/stressed feelings are stemming from the fact that I’ve been go, go, going for months and months with no rest for the weary. I’m tired. REALLY tired. And I’d love a “real” vacation – though this weekend’s “staycation” was a nice mini-reprieve, not gonna lie. I DO have lots of fun planned for the summer/fall but it just seems a wee bit far off in the distance right now – I know, I know, I’ve got to live in the moment and enjoy the little things – like a FAB long weekend coming up. This is sorta why I’m even writing today’s post to begin with. To shake it off, knock some sense into myself and get happy again.

Phew. That’s better.

Wow, I’ve been doing a lot of “blogging it out” lately – hopefully ya’ll don’t mind. I really do appreciate all of your comments and support lately – especially after my post the other day about my dear friend, it meant so much to me.

On that note, I’m off to tackle this day full-force and promise to shake it off – it IS Wednesday which means the week is half over (though I TOTALLY thought it was Thursday until about a half hour ago, ha!).


Random side blog note – I just realized, I’m almost at 10k hits since I started my blog! I’m so excited!!

What I’ve learned about myself…

…throughout this Kick journey (so far) – this has been on my mind a lot this week. Mostly because it feels like I’m in a transition period with Kick (which is fine, and I’m NOT upset about that aspect as much as I was before, I’m at peace with the near-term changes). So, I figured now was a good time to start documenting what I’ve learned about myself when I dove in, head-first this past December.

I’ve learned that…

  • I am NOT good at not being good at something – especially something that I LOVE as much as fitness. I mean, yes, nobody is perfect right out of the gate, but I definitely went into this with the preconceived notion that I would rock the house immediately. Um, no. Most certainly NOT the case as you’ve witnessed time and again as I’ve aired my frustrations on this blog. Kick takeaway #1: It’s ok to have a learning curve. And, it’s ok not to be perfect.
  • My long-hidden shy side is not *quite* as hidden as I’d like to think it is. It has certainly gotten in my way a lot more than I’d like to admit it has. BUT – what I’m most proud of related to this? Cuing is not my biggest fear/challenge anymore, oddly enough – my biggest struggle now seems to be getting out of my head and just having FUN while teaching. Duh, sounds so darn easy, doesn’t it? But not when Overthinking Ollie comes out to play (which leads me to my next point). Kick takeaway #2: I’m still shy, at times, but I’m learning to overcome it. Huge win!
  • I’m stronger than I, perhaps, give myself credit for sometimes. And not just physically, but mentally too. This has been probably my biggest challenge to date – and a totally self-imposed challenge at that. It’s been draining. It’s been overwhelming. It’s been scary. It’s been amazing. It’s been incredibly tough, cardio-wise. But – I’m strong, stronger for it, too. And that, is something I’m very, very proud of – especially since it’s trickled over into other areas of my life. I can run farther (due to better endurance), I can lift heavier because I push myself more than before. I’m more confident (seems contradictory to my prior point about shyness, I know). Kick takeaway #3: Self-imposed challenges can sometimes be the best, most rewarding challenges of all.

So, all told, even though I am not yet have passed my Kick certification (tick tock, I’m still waiting on the final word) and I don’t yet have a class of my own on the group fitness schedule at my gym, but I’m still in it to win it. Even if it’s not on my timetable. It’s very hard for me to let go of control (my husband can definitely attest to this!) and leave it in God’s hands but I realize that that’s exactly what I need to do.

So, I’m letting go. I’m still gonna Kick it wicked haahhd <insert Boston accent here> and see where it takes me.

Update on Kick

Funny, in looking back at my last handful of posts, Kick has been pretty absent from my blogging thoughts lately, huh? And, I guess I didn’t realize it until now, but last Thursday was my last official “class” that I could call my own, at least for now until one of two things happens. 1 – More Kick classes are added to the schedule or 2 – one of the other instructors can’t take a class, and in that case, I will sub-in. Figures, I finally have a breakthrough (and have FUN while teaching, who knew?) and it was my last “official” or “recurring” class on the schedule for now.

While, I won’t lie, this really frustrated me last night when I pieced it all together (because we know by now how scattered our fitness director is – she didn’t really spell it out for me, if you catch my drift), but now that I’ve taken a little bit to think about it, it could be worse. And – to my sister‘s point (en route to the airport today – damn, I miss her already!), we’ve learned so much about ourselves in the process, we should have no regrets, no matter what the near-term outcome. And dammit, she’s right (I hate when that happens – Scott said the same last night and I didn’t listen).

The thing is – I set out to become Group Kick certified, and I’m thisclose to that happening (now let’s just hope I pass!). And yes, the icing on top would be to see my name on the group fitness class schedule. But the two aren’t necessarily going to happen in tandem. I’m realizing that now. I’m soo black-and-white sometimes that it’s hard for me to let my mind process things when they don’t happen according to the timeline in my head and I think that’s what I’ve struggled with lately, related to Kick. I want it NOW, not in a few months but RIGHT NOW. It’s like I’m a two-year old throwing a fit in my head (trust me, it’s not a pretty sight).

So, long story short, I will be thrilled when I pass the certification process and I will be satisfied for now to be a sub for other Kick instructors and during launches of new releases when we tend to team teach until we learn the entire release on our own. Not ideal, but it’ll do for now. Until Kick really heats up at our gym to the point where our fitness director can justify adding more classes to the schedule, I will be content to be part of the Group Kick team, even if I’m not leading the charge (I need to remember, there is no “I” in team!).

Hmm, this post started out in my head to be a “what I learned about Kick” post – and turned into an update on Kick instead. I guess that means tomorrow will be all about my learnings thus far, in this crazy, chaotic Kick journey of mine. Stay tuned. 🙂


So I FINALLY had fun teaching Kick this morning with my sister. I pretty much let go and just went with it, and you know what? I didn’t screw up all the moves by “not thinking” so hard, I probably did even better than if I were in “Overthinking Ollie” mode. I mean, yes, minor little slips here and there (hey I’m human – I said upper when I meant hook, for example), but overall, it was fun, we worked it out hard and felt accomplished at the end of the class. And, that, my friends is all we can ask for of ourselves, right?

The only bittersweet part is that our fitness director is removing the 6am-er on Thursdays because of low attendance. On the one hand, I don’t blame her because the numbers are pretty low for Kick at that time but on the other, there were a handful of regulars that came every single week and those are the bummed-out faces we saw in today’s class. I will admit that taking, let alone teaching, Kick at 6am can be brutal – you need to dig deep for loads of energy and endurance right off the bat, but it can be done, it’s just not for everyone at that hour. Hopefully, she’ll add another night and/or weekend class so all of us – once we’re certified (hopefully soon, fingers crossed) – can “own” a class on the schedule. We shall see.


In other news, my husband and I are very proud to announce (wait for iitttttt) — we started a blog together! (sorry, no, we are not pregnant or something crazy like that, just “conceived” a blog together, HA!)

It’s called “Living a Zinful Life” and our plan is to make it all about our love of wine and of food in general since we do consider ourselves foodies, but not in the snotty sense, so no worries there. 😉 I hope you’ll check it out, it should be lots of fun. I’m thinking the hubs will write most of the posts but they’ll be mainly a combination of both of our ideas, thoughts and such. Fun fun, I mean really – who doesn’t love reading about food and wine, right??