Training for 26.2 — through the eyes of the hubs

Hi everyone!!  It’s Scott. I just wanted to take a moment and thank all of you for joining Jess and I on our marathon journey. I have really appreciated the words of encouragement that you have given us! It has meant the world to us!  I would like to thank all of the virtual run sherpas out there who joined us on many of our runs.  We could feel your presence and your prayers as we trained for this amazing accomplishment. I wrote Jess this open letter to let her know not only how I felt about this journey but how I feel about her.

Hey baby….

For someone who knows me better than anyone, you know that writing my thoughts down is not my strong suit. I wear my emotions on my sleeves, my actions speak much louder than my words. I would rather show you than tell you. With that being said, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you for not only encouraging me to go after my dreams but for joining me on this journey.

Our latest journey, marathon training, has cemented my belief that we can accomplish anything together.  When the two of us set a goal there in no goal we can’t reach together. God gave us a tremendous gift — each other — and I am so proud that we have taken that gift and made it blossom. We have challenged each other, pushed each other, supported each other throughout our relationship and by doing so have made each other better. You make me a better husband, son, brother, and friend. You make me a better person.

I have enjoyed our early morning runs so much. They have given me time to reflect, time to think, time to be with you virtually uninterrupted.  We may not speak for miles, our eyes may not meet for hours but our breath and our footsteps are in sync. To take a moment and listen (which I spent the majority of our runs doing) I was astonished at how connected we truly are. We have a CONNECTION that no one could possibly understand and I find  that very hard to put into words. When I’m with you I feel no pain — even while running 20+ miles — no anxiety on what the next mile brings, no pressure to be someone I’m not, and no sadness for dreams that have not yet come true. Instead I feel unconditional LOVE and with that comes the truest form of HAPPINESS!

You have been OUR motivator. You have been OUR nutritionist! You have been OUR alarm clock. You have been OUR strength.  Without you WE could not or would not have been able to accomplish this. YOU are OUR Sherpa!  WE are going to Chicago! WE are going to complete 26.2 miles! WE are going to kiss at the finish line!

We did it! And we did it our way, the Sutera way!! We trained for a marathon and enjoyed EVERY minute of it. We did it with a smile, we did it with laughter, we did it TOGETHER.  That is the Sutera way!!

(editor’s note: this series of pics epitomizes our relationship — love, laughter, friendship, trust, adoration…<3)

<< Editor’s note #2: To say that this guest post left me with tears in my eyes is an understatement. As Scott said in his own words — he has a hard time putting in writing how he feels sometimes…which has always struck me since he is SO open with his emotions otherwise. So to see his emotions in words — versus written all over his face — well, it touched me in a very different way. Add this to reason #4, 567 why marathon training has been a true blessing, a gift, an experience I will not soon forget. ❤ >>

Finding your healthy (happy) place

One of my all-time-besties is Steph. We first became friends when we decided to train to become Group Kick certified a year or so ago and since then, have run half marathons together, bonded over our now-shared obsession love of barre n9ne and have become super duper close. I heart her so. She is such a great friend with a huge, huge heart. And she’s gorgeous to boot.

Oh! And she just started blogging as she prepares for her final year of acupuncture school – she’s going to be an incredible acupuncturist one day soon, this much I know. So give her a little love today, will ya? She’s blogging for me here while I’m off hanging with the super-fab Heather in Little Rock. Thank you, Steph!! ❤


Finding your healthy (happy) place

I absolutely LOVE living a healthy life.

This is something fairly new for me. For the last 8 years I have been striving for a healthy life. Working out most days, eating well during the week, then too much on the weekends. I thought I was doing everything right, I mean how could I work out so much, be careful about what I ate most days and not look the way I wanted?? It made me so frustrated. I would see people who NEVER worked out, always went out to dinner, or ate what they wanted, and granted they were more overweight than I was at the time, but they didn’t seem to be gaining any weight. So why was I doing so much work just to stay the same??

It went on like this for a while…then I found my happy (healthy) place.

With the help of Jessica and Jolene of course!

Over May, June and July of last year, I learned all about their barre n9ne challenge. At first I couldn’t figure out why they were so obsessed with this place. What could be so great about it??

…then I took my first class.


I loved the format of the class, the people in the class, the instructors, the music, the intensity….everything.

I signed up for the 60-day Challenge and started on August 1st and never stopped.

I lost weight and inches, but even more than that? I gained so much confidence, a love for my body and I finally found my own happy, healthy place. And for that I will be forever grateful.

Barre n9ne has become such a wonderful place for some major “me” time. Of course I love the barre dates I share with Jess and Jo, but for the hour or two that I am there, it’s really all about me. I’ve worked towards that mind-body connection that barre n9ne is built on – it’s about really being able to focus on which muscle I am squeezing (which is harder than it sounds). Finally connecting to my body.

And now, I look at myself in the mirror — I mean really look at my whole body — and am completely amazed at how much I LOVE it. It’s not perfect, nor will it ever be, but it’s strong, it’s healthy, it’s beautiful, and it’s mine.

Barre n9ne is my happy place, but it’s really so much more than that.

My real happy (healthy) place isn’t really a place, but this lifestyle I have made my own. This healthy lifestyle that I love so much — it doesn’t feel like work, it just feels like me.

A happy, healthy me.

And you know what the best thing is?
anyone can do this! You don’t have to go to barre n9ne. You don’t have to be a runner or a biker. You just have to find what you love! You have to find your own happy (healthy) place. Find a healthy lifestyle that works for you, that you enjoy. That you are downright passionate about.

When people tell me they hate working out, or they can’t do it, I tell them to try something new. Maybe it’s walking and chatting with a friend a few times a week, or trying a new class. Because once you find what makes you happy it will make you healthy too!

It’s so important to get into a habit of being active, and continually working to become stronger and healthier. Adopting an active lifestyle that you look forward to instead of dread makes all the difference. If you hate going to the gym and are just waiting for your workout to be over, instead of enjoying and connecting, is it really even worth it?

If someone tells me they can’t diet because they love to eat, I urge them to try a food log. It’s worked wonders for me, taking responsibility for what I put in mouth, without losing my love for food. Without feeling restricted – like I can’t have certain foods that I love. With the food log, I can have ice cream if I want (I ❤ ice cream). Of course, there are days when it’s frustrating to log but those days are few and far between and honestly, it's not meant to be perfect, just like we aren't meant to be perfect all the time. But the food log works for me, it takes away the stress of dieting and the wondering if I'm eating the right amounts of food for what my body needs. It really is an amazing tool for me.

Bottom line: Find your own happy (healthy) place. And embrace it.

…my happy (healthy) place is enjoying classes at barre n9ne, running, using my food log to keep myself in check while learning what my body really needs.

…my happy place is zipping up a pair of size 0 pants and not believing that I was a size 6 just months ago.

…it’s loving what I see in the mirror, and honestly appreciating and loving the strength and beauty (and hotness!) of my own body. Finally.

…it’s knowing that I’m doing good for me. Yes, me. And knowing that this is a lifestyle I will keep because it’s not a diet, it’s not me trying to lose weight, it’s me living. It’s me.

Find a healthy lifestyle that makes you happy and rock it. Find your happy (healthy) place. Find yourself.

Guest post: For once…

As this barre n9ne challenge is in full force, my sister was inspired to send me a guest post for this week – all based on a particularly awesome barre class experience , one that resulted in an incredible breakthrough, especially for her as she works through some body image issues.

Sis – I’m so proud of you!! I told you, you are beautiful, strong, and fit, I’m so glad you finally believe me. 😉 xoxo

Guest Post: For once….

…I am seeing real results that match the level of workouts I am doing.

…I am feeling lean, strong, and toned from a workout that promises that you’ll get lean, strong and toned.

For the very first time.

…I realize that a food log is a good idea. While I wasn’t eating badly before, I was simply just eating too many calories (whether ‘good’ calories or not, a calorie is a calorie!)

…I don’t hate my body….because I see it transforming before my very eyes. Tangible. Concrete. Not just ‘well I think I am improving…” without actually knowing for sure if I am.

…I can run without shin pain that is so distracting that I cannot run more than every third day (I ran 5 days last week – many of those in a row. Who am I?! What have I become?!) <—a runner, sis!!

…I now look forward to running to focus on my breathing, increase my distance and enjoy the beautiful summer around me, M by my side (or my sis, who is, I might add, the best running coach ever. Thank you sis). <—aww shucks, you’re welcome! xo

For the very first time, I feel better than I quite possibly ever have. And to think we are only halfway through our barren9ne 60 day challenge journey is absolutely astounding. I cannot wait to see what the next 30 days bring.

And to continue sharing all of this with my sister Jess? Is quite simply amazing.

What completes your ‘for once’ moments?

Guest post: a fitness bonding evolution

So, ya’ll know by now that one of my sisters and I really bond over our workouts.  This barre n9ne challenge came at just the right time for both of us – both physically/mentally but also in terms of our relationship. Now that we don’t work together anymore (and commute together), we have far less time together. This challenge has become “our” time and we’ve been having a blast together – which resulted in quite the giggle fit during the stretch/cool-down in class the other night (whoops, hope nobody heard us).  It’s also resulted in a pretty cool realization – something my sister so eloquently shares in her guest post for me below – on our fitness bonding evolution.

For the last few years, my sister Jess and I have embarked on fitness ‘challenge’ after challenge together because we love to try new things and push ourselves (as you probably already know!) and because doing it together makes it that much more fun. Whether it’s Cathe Friedrich’s STS series (or her Road Trips, which we’ve loved and are sad to miss this year!), training to run our first-ever half marathon together, training for (and PASSING) Group Kick certification, the ‘homegrown’ Core Fusion 30 day challenge we did recently, and now, the Barre N9ne 60 day transformation. (Phew, guess we’ve done a lot, huh?) I’m proud to say I wouldn’t have wanted to have it any other way…experiencing all of this together has been the best part of it all!)

So, this Monday, as we kick-started our first full Barre N9ne week of classes, when I heard “Start me Up” by Kingston come over the speakers, I instantly flashed back…to Group Kick. We were training. And practicing. And practicing some more. And rehearsing for our second-ever launch (every three months there is a ‘launch’ of a new program and as part of that, our group of instructors would get together, assign tracks to learn and teach it to each other). If I recall, Jess had this song (the warm-up track) and I remember watching her teach it to us and she did it so effortlessly (and of course, for some reason, that track was tricky for me to learn that time around!) and she had a huge grin on her face. We had fun learning to cue tracks, show energy, and get through an entire cardio-intense class together.

But most importantly, we did it together.

Fast forward back to class on Monday. The song was slower than in Group Kick (it was a remix then) and we were sitting on mats on the floor next to each other. Focusing hard. On form, On lengthening. On proper form for the ab moves we were doing. And I looked over and just smiled. She knew exactly what I was thinking (and I, what she was thinking) and smiled back. And it came to me…this is what we bond over. This is what we love to do together. This is something nobody can ever take away from us, because it’s made us who we are, we’ve learned so much from these challenges and they bring us closer than ever.

So, thank you sis, for being part of this journey together. It’s always a fun ride and we always learn so much. Here’s to another fitness challenge together. Rock on. We got this.

Core Fusion Guest Blog: The Mirror

As you know, we’re nearing the “end” of the official Core Fusion Challenge.

But what you also know is that this isn’t where the journey ends. It’s just the beginning for my sister and I. We are total Core Fusion Converts. Or addicts, really.

In reading my sister’s guest post (if you missed her first one, check it out here) – I totally couldn’t help myself so you’ll see some “color commentary” from me throughout. I hope she doesn’t mind. 😉

The Mirror.

Using the mirror in Core Fusion…who knew?!

While traveling this week, I have been doing Core Fusion in my hotel room. There is a table with a mirror in front of it that I opted to do last night’s Core Fusion workout in and WOW, did it make a difference (and side note: Core Fusion Thighs and Glutes…whoa Nelly! That was tough, but I loved it! Can’t believe I hadn’t tried that one yet).

Things I noticed?

I need to acutely focus on tucking in my core when doing standing glute work. I tend to pooch my lower core out, versus tucking it in constantly. I tend to start that way, and then eventually it starts to creep out of position. Holding it the entire time during each move made a huge difference!! <—this was HUGELY eye opening for me when I went to the Core Fusion classes at Exhale Spa (wish I stuck with it way back when I first discovered CF a couple years back!). It actually takes a lot more “thinking” to keep everything in it’s place, keeping proper form throughout each series of moves, your brain kinda hurts at the end, ha.

Watching myself doing leg lifts or squats or whatever the move may be is motivating in itself. Because I am starting to see more definition. And my legs are starting to creep higher and straighter. Small changes but with each tweak, I feel better, taller, leaner. <—walking tall(er)! LOVE IT!!

It’s far too easy to fall out of position when you aren’t watching yourself and are watching the DVD. I fell into this when training for Group Kick as well…just going through the motions more than feeling each one, putting energy, strength and intent behind each move. Watching myself really helped tighten that up (no pun intended) <—that’s one thing I truly love about Core Fusion vs. any other workout you can do at home or at the gym – by its very nature, your mind is much more engaged in the workout, which means your body is much more engaged in the movement. It’s far harder (at least for me) to “zone out” during Core Fusion because every move has meaning. Every hold, every pose, has a purpose. An intent. It’s that mind-body connection thang, really and truly.

I can’t wait for my two-week Rue La La membership to Exhale Spa to go to some classes! I know it will help improve my form, and boost progress and tone. I won’t lie, I am intimidated, because even though I know I have improved, I am still a beginner in every sense of the word! But I never shy away from a challenge, now do I? (or we!) <—helllllll yeah! I seriously am so psyched for the two weeks worth of classes! You bet your ass we’ll be taking FULL advantage of as many CF classes as we can, too. Game on.

Bring it!

Guest Post: Along for the ride…I mean, run???

With almost one week until the wicked half, my husband decided it was time to write a guest blog for me – about none other, than our “journey” running together and really, where it all began for me, but also for us as a couple.

For someone who doesn’t consider himself a writer – this one totally hit my right there. Reason four million while I am so lucky to have such an amazing, thoughtful, loving and supportive husband like him. I think I’ll keep him around for awhile 😉

And if you’re wondering – Scott and I still do have our “other” Living A Zinful Life blog…it’s just on hiatus while we explore a “project” together (more details on that later…)

Along for the ride…I mean, run???

For me, running has always been a means to an end.  I was always playing one sport or another and used running to make myself better at athletics.  It always came relatively easy to me.  I would just set out and before I knew it four or five miles had gone by and my run was done. I used the time to think, a chance to slow my mind down and work through whatever was going on in my head.  Even when I would run with my teammates I wasn’t really present. Running was my “me” time.

Like everything in my life, this changed drastically when Jess and I started to run together. My “me” time became “our” time and I wouldn’t change that for the world. I don’t know if Jess ever mentioned why she/we began to run together.  We used running as a way to move out of the routine that had taken over our lives and our relationship. Yup, Jess and I were in a rut. Our lives and our relationship got stagnant. We started taking each other for granted and our relationship suffered. The two of us are very emotional people and this emotion is what makes our relationship flourish. I can honestly say that I love Jess more today than I did at anytime of our relationship and it is because of our decision to start running, kind of. Running was conscious decision to do different things together. We realized that our relationship was worth any amount of work that we needed to put into it. Running was obviously only one of the “solutions” but was a major one. Running gave us time to chat, well at first I did most of the chatting, Jess was busy breathing and “not dying”.  It forced me to open up, to lead the discussion, to actually go in depth about my day, my feelings, my thoughts and especially my dreams.  Running literally and figuratively took us to places we had never been before.

I never would have thought that we would be here when this adventure started, one week away from a half MARATHON.  Jess has come so far and it amazes me every time we hit the pavement at the improvements she has made (ask her about the water bottle on our very first run). I guess that is what drew me to her in the first place so many years ago when she wouldn’t even talk to me. I could see that determination in her eyes, in her actions, and in her heart. I am one lucky guy to have her share that with me everyday.

If you wouldn’t mind, I would love to give you a little tidbit from what I have learned by “running.” And it has nothing to do with the physical challenge of running. If you start to feel stagnant, if the spark is getting dimmer, and you find yourself losing that passion, try something new, allow yourself to be pulled out of your comfort zone. You never know where it might take you.

Guest Post: Be Happy, Be Healthy – just be

Well – I am SO pleased to have Alicia over at Poise in Parma guest blogging for me today! As you’ll see, she is SUPER DUPER inspiring given her incredible weight-loss journey and I’m so glad she’s here with us today. I especially love (and may steal, heh) her mantra: Be Happy, Be Healthy – just be. GREAT advice and a great resolution to stick with this year. I hope you enjoy reading about her journey and take her advice to heart, it’s a goodie. Thanks Alicia!! ((hugs))

Be Happy, Be Healthy – just be

Greetings EatDrinkBreatheSweat readers! I’m Alicia – the blogger over at Poise in Parma .  I’m so happy to be guest posting for Jess while she is taking some well deserved vacation! When she asked for her fellow bloggers for their thoughts on healthy living, I was inspired to discuss my weight loss and how I am working hard to maintain it.

You can check out my blog for the FULL story on my weight loss journey, but you’ll appreciate this abbreviated version:

  • Girl goes to college and gains Freshman 15. By January 2002, she weighs 250 pounds.
  • Girl decides to make a change to be healthier overall.
  • Girl sets weight loss goal of 100 pounds. She starts working out and eating right. The weight comes off slowly but surely.
  • Girl hits 100 pound goal in December 2008. Girl is extremely happy and feels fantastic.
  • Girl’s life gets crazy, stressful and unbearable. She finds solace in extreme workout patterns and loses another twenty pounds.
  • Girl weights 127 pounds in October 2009. She is unhealthy and unhappy. She decides again to make a change to be healthier overall.
  • Girl sets new intention in 2010: “Be happy. Be healthy. Just be.” She’s started running and enjoys yoga again. She has eliminated the negative personalities in her life and embraced those who are uplifting themselves along with others.
  • Girl now weights between her lowest point and original goal weight. She had her husband hide the scale and now listens to her body to determine what is right for her.


I am working hard to listen to my body (and not my mind) when it comes to eating, working out and overall health. I never expected maintaining my weight to be harder than losing it! To help me through, these are rules I live by that are working for me now:

Remember Michael Pollan’s dietary guidance: EAT FOOD. NOT TOO MUCH. MOSTLY PLANTS.

Overtime, I have found myself naturally sticking to this train of thought. If you continue to stick with your healthier food choices, your body (specifically your waistline) will thank you.  It’s also important to get out of the dieting mentality as your new eating pattern must be one that can be maintained for life. Eat a variety of foods in moderation so you never feel deprived.  Yes, I am telling you to eat the ice cream – just not every night!

Live by Lululemon’s advice: SWEAT EVERY SINGLE DAY.

According to Women’s Health Magazine, 420 is “the number of minutes of moderate-intensity exercise needed per week to maintain a healthy body weight w/out making changes to diet.”

Do the math: that comes to 7 – 60 minute sessions a week. Sure that’s a bit advantageous. The lesson here: keep up with the regular exercise and make it a natural part of your everyday life. Schedule time for it in your daily planner if you have to – I even schedule business meetings accordingly to fit in some treadmill time! Also, don’t have an “all or nothing” view point: even just taking a quick walk around the block will help you reach this goal of daily exercise.

If you have a setback, get back on track immediately. Even with careful monitoring and self-awareness, it is bound to happen. Life gets stressful and you put on a few of those pounds you worked so hard to lose. It’s important to quickly respond by getting back on track as soon as possible. I like many of the suggestions in this Prevention article.

Learn to deal with your emotions without relying on food or extreme exercise. You must learn to stop that soundtrack in your head. Put those thoughts on pause! Need some suggestions:

  • If you enjoy yoga, check out Yoga Download that offers free and affordable lessons online.
  • Need something even more peaceful? Look into mediation. Studies show even a few minutes of quiet reflection a day increases you attention span.
  • If you are looking to express yourself in the written form, stat a blog! Get your thoughts out by taking advantage of one of the many websites that offer free hosting: I prefer WordPress .  It’s easy to use for both bloggers and readers.

Embrace the new you. The changes you made to your body may have not gotten to your brain. Trying doing something that you couldn’t or wouldn’t do before: a long, challenging hike, apply for a graduate school program, start dating – whatever makes you happy inside! Doing these new things will help you appreciate the new body you have. Need an additional boost?  Check out these 20 Ways to Love Your Body from Operation Beautiful:

Because ultimately, you can’t embrace my 2010 mantra of “be happy – be healthy – just be” if you aren’t embracing how wonderful you are today. Right now. In this moment.  So as Lululemon instructs us to do: DO IT NOW!

Guest Post: The Insanity Defense

This guest post brought to by fellow blogger and newfound Insanity lover, 2blu2btru. She claims not to be a fitness buff but anyone who can do the Insanity workouts has got to be at least a little bit crazy motivated to give them a shot, right?  After reading her post, it’s confirmed my desire to give Insanity a whirl- maybe this fall, post-Wicked Half? Hmm…

Enjoy – and thanks for reading despite how disconnected I am being away and all. 😉

The Insanity Defense

I am not a fitness blogger. I am a writer. My blog is mostly about relationships or movie reviews.  I am not even what most would consider fit. I struggle with trying to find my fitness passion, my motivation, and my willpower when it comes to working out. Sweat and I don’t get along most days. I have a low tolerance for sore muscles and weight loss plateaus. I am a quintessential couch potato.

Let me be clear about my workout goals. I want my abs back. I had a very nice figure in high school, and I would like it back. I haven’t had kids or anything, but somewhere along the way my figure went right and I went left. I would love to say I want to exercise for my well-being, to be healthy, to do something good for myself, but my primary reason is because I want to be thin again. Being slightly less than five feet tall, it doesn’t take a lot of extra weight for me to look like a little bowling ball. I’d rather look like a coke bottle.

I have tried to begin the couch potato to 5k training program. I have tried to do Capoeira and Carmen Electra Striptease and Kim Kardashian’s workouts in my living room. I’ve been in the gym on the stair stepper, the elliptical, and the ab machines. I’ve played tennis. I’ve walked along the beach for miles. I enjoy engaging the practice of yoga on a regular basis. Yet I still haven’t found a fitness passion. There hasn’t been anything that I’ve felt as anticipatory about as I used to of my swim practice and afternoon runs on the track in high school, or on long bike rides around town. There hasn’t been anything that I rush home to do. Bottom line, I am most passionate about finding excuses not to hit the play button on any exercise.

I didn’t think that Insanity would be any different. I had heard about the concept behind Insanity for a while.  I knew Insanity, like P90X, is built around the concept of muscle confusion. Basically, you keep your body guessing. Your muscles can’t get used to the motions. You don’t hit the plateaus you may in regular exercise. You can burn up to one thousand calories per workout. This exercise isn’t about connecting to your body or renewing your mind/body/spirit connection—it’s about torching fat.

When I first became in possession of this DVD, I had mixed feelings. Can you develop a passion for an exercise routine in which the sole purpose is to burn calories? Could a couch potato like me, someone who rarely works out, keep up with the insanity? Would I be able to find the willpower and motivation to see this through?

Mr. Perfect, my boyfriend, gym rat that he is, forever willing to join me in exercise routines in an effort to help me find my fit passion, got the DVD for me and agreed to do the fit test with me. The results? I’m not very fit; he is. But I was pleasantly surprised. I am not very fit, but I could do it. I couldn’t do as many as the participants in the video, but I could do the moves. I couldn’t breathe and guzzled water, but I could feel it working.

Beyond this feeling of confidence, I also liked that the participants seemed like real people. They were tired, sweaty, breathing hard. They had moments where they were fighting through to the end of the minute intervals. The workout makes you dig down deep to find that little extra to follow through and finish, and when you find it, you feel what I like to call exercise nirvana. All of a sudden, you find the breath, you hit the sweet spot where your body and breath work together to get ‘er done.

Is Insanity my fitness passion? Nope. But it’s returned to me something else that has been missing from my workout regimen—it brought back my competitive nature, reignited my love of a challenge. And it torched quite a few of my fat cells and made me revive my love affair with water.

I’m still searching for the physical activity that I want to get up early in the morning for, that I would miss if I missed a day. But what I do have is a renewed sense of all the other benefits of exercise besides flat abs and sculpted thighs. I have reconnected with my physical body, learned to use my yoga breathing practices to aid my body in physical challenges, and began to treat my body like a temple again. I am officially INSANE!

Guest post: Running your home trail

Well – I’m still on vacation, surprise, surprise. 😉

As a follow-on to my sister’s post on why she runs, I figured why not continue with that running theme (clearly it’s all I can think about these days – hello, wicked half!) with a guest post from my friend and colleague (in Germany, no less!) Julia Richter. You might recognize her name – she also just blogged for me and my hubs over at Living a ZInful Life. Based on this, I am fully lobbying for her to start her own blog ASAP! She is an incredible writer and has lots of great ideas and tips to share. So please urge her to start her own blog so I’m not the only one harassing her about it, please. 😉


Julia on Running Your Home Trail

Munich is a paradise for runners. The English Garden, our main park, is larger than Central Park in NYC or Hyde Park in London. The River Isar runs through the city with running and cycling trails along the river banks. And there are plenty of other parks and trails throughout the city and plenty more in the suburbs and country side. But sometimes I just want to start right away from the front door – especially in the early morning before work without losing time driving somewhere.

Right in the neighbourhood just around the corner lies the Theresienwiese (Theresia’s meadow). It’s not really a meadow but a large area where kids learn to ride their bikes or blades, dogs stroll around or runners run around in circles. It’s perfect when you need to know the exact time and distance as one round is exactly 2.7kilometers long. I can perfectly remember how proud I was when I finished my first round without breaks. Today it wouldn’t be a problem for me to run 10 rounds but maybe this would be getting a bit boring…

Speaking about boring: It can be dull to run around in circles and it is not my favourite trail in Munich. But since the Theresienwiese is the place where the famous German Beerfest, the so called Oktoberfest, takes place for 2 weeks a year in late September, it starts getting interesting by the end of June. Why? The place starts changing with every day and you can spot something new with every run. First the little power stations, WCs and huts for medical services arrive. Then they start building the Beer Tents – and when I say “tents” I mean two story houses with space for several thousand people. When the tents are built the booths for candies, hot dogs, Knödl and other German specialties arrive and you can watch them growing with every day. Finally the roller coasters, the giant wheel, the carousels are built and what looks like a huge construction area becomes the largest people’s fair in the world: 6 million visitors drinking about 7 million liters of beer each year. And this year – the 200th anniversary – we expect many more to come. Watching the planning and construction phase of the Oktoberfest makes you feel like being told a hidden secret because you get the chance to look behind the scenes, see that there’s nothing scary about the ghost train, realizing that the giant lion promoting the famous Lion’s brew is just made of papier mâché etc.

By the way: I don’t run around the Theresienwiese during THOSE two weeks in September as I don’t like hopping over pitches of vomit, broken beer mugs and drunken tourists. But when it’s over you can watch the Oktoberfest vanishing – piece by piece and step by step.

Until Theresia’s meadow falls back asleep and belongs to kids, strolling dogs and runners again…

What’s your favourite trail for a run?

<My answer? The route we just took our longest run yet – ending at the beach as the halfway point is never a bad thing in my book. ;)>

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.