#FitFriday ruminations

#FitFriday ruminations…

Accountability is awesome.

(this would be me both pre-class and contemplating a post-class run and then me after class and after crushing my first solo run in a long time!)

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I talk about accountability a lot, I know. But truly — sometimes it just takes the simplest of actions to truly commit to your intentions — workout related or otherwise. I have to give mad props — yet again — to the barre n9ne community, this group of ladies is nothing short of inspiring and hard working and SO SO committed. Not just to their barre-volutions (you should *see* their transformations — a post for another day…but seriously unreal) but also to their cardio health, too. We have a fun little group of barre n9ne-rs who are part of the ‘barre to 5k’ group Jolene and I launched with Tanya last year. The group started as a way to help clients who wanted to go from walking to running but needed a little support to get there. Today, this group has evolved into one giant cheering squad. Constant words of encouragement and virtual high fives are the norm in this group. And a biggie — the accountability thing. We’ll routinely schedule #b9virtualrundates — reporting back with our progress, post-run. And do you know how hard it is to skip a workout if you’ve *just* told a bunch of ladies that you’d be ‘out there virtually’ at xx time, the next morning? You better damn well believe I’d never miss that run after all that. And the same is true for anyone in this group — you shout it loud and proud, you commit, and you get ‘er done. And then be prepared for an onslaught of “nice job!’ and “way to go’ and “rock on!’ that will come your way, post-run. LOVE. ‚̧

Compliments, while simple in theory, can leave a lasting impact. Case in point:

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That would be a love note my husband left for me on my container of almond milk in the fridge for me to find this morning. I literally laughed out loud when I read what he wrote. (I may have also blushed.) But really? It reminded me that a simple compliment can mean the world. In this case, it reminded me that my husband happens to love me very much and finds me to be pretty cute. How lucky am I?? It also reminds me that I need to be more diligent of complimenting him — as I’ve said before, I have a hard time accepting compliments, especially from my husband. BUT — I’ve been working on it. By not accepting his compliments gracefully, I’m sort of throwing his words back at him in a way, pushing him away instead of pulling him in. So I’ve gotten better at it with time — and I’ve been focusing more on paying *him* compliments back. Especially now that he’s so into Crossfit, my husband is a hottie. ūüėČ

And finally — paying it forward is by far the most gratifying feeling in the world:

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I came to the studio on Thursday morning to teach my usual 6am toned, firm, fit and ready class and found not one, not two, but three gifts waiting for me at the studio. From clients who have been working their bums off to get fit and healthy for life. And they wanted to thank me and barre n9ne for helping them get there. Wow. Just wow. The sheer fact that I have an impact on anyone to get more fit and healthy (and happy!) is a beautiful thing. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to use my own barre journey as a means of helping others chase their own fit dreams — teaching is my way of paying it forward and I can’t say it enough: I teach with gratitude. Every single day.

So that’s that — my #FitFriday ruminations. I’m in a very happy place today and really hope you all are too. ūüôā

Why (I) teach.

Remember that awful case of writer’s block I mentioned last week? Well yet another blog/twitter friend to the rescue!This time it was from Daria — she wanted to know why I teach, basically. As in — what drives me as an instructor.
So, let’s get right to it, shall we?

Why (I) teach.

I teach because I love to motivate others to work just a little bit harder each and every time they take a class at the studio.

I teach because I believe with all of my heart and soul in this particular style of workout — it has enacted huge change in me. I’ve never felt stronger or more confident than I do now. And I believe — and KNOW — that barre n9ne has had a ton to do with that.

I teach because it makes me feel alive. The energy that the room gives me every time I step up the front of the mats is unreal. My sis and I joke that this ‘alive’ energy happens every time we teach. And no lie, after EVERY class we teach, we literally text eachother the following: “#everytime” –– because to this day, almost a year into our stint as instructors at barre n9ne, we are still blown away by that energy, that ‘high’ that happens after each class.

I teach because I can. And I cherish that ability. Not just the physical ability to teach, but the actual opportunity to teach that Tanya presented to Jo and I almost a year ago. Every time I see my name on the schedule, I smile. I know that sounds corny but its the honest truth — I feel downright lucky to be an instructor at a studio that 1) I adore, 2) has killer classes that WORK and 3) has amazing clients that has transformed barre n9ne into the beautiful community that it is today.

So while I can’t answer the “Why (I) teach” question with just one answer — I can sum it up like this: Teaching has become a part of who I am today, it’s that simple.

(and after this weekend’s sneak peek POUND – Rockout Workout class at the studio, I am even MORE excited to learn how to teach this class so we can bring another (freakin’ awesome and killer) class to barre n9ne. I’m pretty sure my thighs and obliques hate me right now. The. Best.Feeling.)

Of kindness and sweat

(Kind of a random title for a post but trust me — the two go hand-in-hand I swear.)

So by now you’ve all heard me talk about the #b9poseadaychallenge going on at the studio the past two weeks, right? And you’ve no doubt seen me posting my fare share of poses on instagram in support of the challenge. I’ve had WAY too much fun both sharing some fun #instaposes and seeing what our clients can come up with for creative poses and such.

However. What really did it for me? The ‘twist’ that Tanya put on the challenge for the final four days (it ended yesterday). In the spirit of the #26randomactsofkindess movement going on in support of the school shootings at Sandy Hook a few weeks back, Tanya asked clients to start sharing their #b9actsokindess on instagram in lieu of ‘just’ sharing poses. And if I was blown away by how many were participating in the pose portion of the challenge, the overwhelming participation in the acts of kindess movement has been unreal.

Just take a look at that quick little snapshot I took of the #b9poseadaychallenge hashtag on instagram:

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There are 560 pictures in there!! And if you looked at how many are just for the random acts alone? It’s kind of amazing. Our clients are a special breed, I do believe — the kindess they’ve shared with both complete strangers and fellow clients has been so, so cool to see. Talk about paying it forward — everything from buying a stranger behind them a cup of coffee in line at Starbucks, to dropping off clothes at a homeless shelter or dropping home-baked treats at the door of every single neighbor in her apartment building (YES, every single one!).

Kindess, particularly the ‘random’ kind — beautiful. And far too rare in this day and age. This is as much a note to self to me as it is to all of you — let’s be more random with our moments of kindess going forward, shall we?


Now for the SWEAT part of this post — which still relates to the ‘paying it forward’ aspect of the #b9randomactsofkindess story I just shared above. You see, on Saturday, I had the chance to teach my first-ever barre n9ne intensive class — essentially a 75 minute class where I was given the chance to create an even more challenging version of our classes, with fewer breaks, more compound moves and a LOT of sweat.

I won’t lie — I was a wee bit nervous that all the build-up to the intensive from clients who were SO anxious for the big day to arrive would work against me. I wanted it to be PERFECT in every way. I wanted our clients to get the best damn workout of their lives. And I wanted to be the one responsible for it.

…and wouldn’t you know, it turned out far better than I expected. And not because I think I’m some crazy-awesome instructor or something. But truly because each client in that room poured their heart and soul into that workout. Just as I poured all that I had into teaching a killer class, they showed me their gratitude through their hard work.

And when all was said and done, and I had sweat dripping from the tips of my hair all the way down my shoulders and onto my forearms and back — I looked around that room and was overwhelmed with my own sense of gratitude. That yet again, I had been given a chance to pay it forward — the ‘it’ being all that barre n9ne has meant to me this past year-and-a-half since my own personal barre journey began.

Just awesome. It just keeps getting better. ‚̧

(and if you didn’t believe me on the sweat factor — here’s picture proof!)

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(almost) Wordless Wednesday — remembering every (long) mile.

Today, just days away from the Chicago Marathon and I’m sitting here remembering every single mile of our long runs. Runs I made sure to capture in pictures to help me firmly sear those moments, those miles, into my memory for good.

13, 14, 15, 10

16, 18, 20, 12

20, 22, 16, 10…

176 miles worth of long, long, (LONG) runs.

176 miles worth of proud moments.

176 miles, together — Team Sutera 4lyf ‚̧

The last (long) run

Saturday marked our last long run before the Chicago Marathon. 

Back when I created our training plan, scrutinizing every week, every mile, every detail, I remember looking at that date: September 29.
…and thinking, damn — I can’t even fathom what *that* will feel like.¬†

Knowing that all of our long runs were done.
…including two 20 milers and a 22 miler.

Knowing that we left nothing behind but hard work, dedication, and more than a few laughs along the way.
for 18 weeks. 

Knowing that in less than one week, we’d be toeing the starting line *in* Chicago.
…thisclose to becoming a marathoner.

At that time, 18 weeks ago, I had a hard time fathoming any of it. I just couldn’t visualize it. I couldn’t quite grasp that our bodies would get “there” — to that point where running longer and farther and harder would somehow, over time, feel shorter and shorter, ‘easier’ and ‘easier’ (‘easy’ being a relative term, of course).¬†

But yet, September 29th arrived: 
…we stepped outside at 7am.
…it was raw and chilly and a little bit rainy.
…but off we went.
…chugging through those miles.
…10 miles that felt effortless.
…our legs were so happy, so rested, so joyful out there.
…it hardly mattered by the end that it wasn’t exactly a beautiful fall day.
…it was a beautiful day to be running. For no other reason than we’d hit our stride. Made our way through every single one of our long runs. Every single training run. Every single week of our schedule.

Our bodies told us one thing on Saturday: “we’re ready.”¬†

Both of us lamented at the end of our 10-miler that we SO could’ve kept going. Kept chugging along, happy as ever. We smartly did not, don’t worry. But to know that our bodies could go farther and longer and actually *wanted* to go farther and longer? Amazing.

…guess this whole taper ‘thing’ works, hmm? Legs that are itchy to run more? I’ll take it. If I could just bottle up this feeling and re-release it again next Sunday around 8am? That would be fab. Let’s see if we can make that happen, mmk?¬†




#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. ‚̧

What my head is saying (12 days away)

Ok, seriously — it’s crunch time people. We are 12 DAYS away from the big day.
…race day. Our first 26.2.

It’s *ALL* I can think about.
…which is why it’s all I’ve been blogging about lately (sorry ’bout that!)

So what is my head saying with 12 days to go?
(I’d invite you into my brain but it’s a scary place up there, so a few snippets will have to do!)

OMG we’re really doing this. We’re really gonna run 26.2 miles in 12 days.

Must add this to my list – buy energy bars (for Scott), ¬†peanut butter packets, bagel thins and bananas to pack in our suitcase for our pre-race breakfast¬†(well, maybe not the bananas, they might get mashed, huh?)¬†I best not forget to buy these things, mmk?¬†(um hi, there *will* be grocery stores in Chicago…relax headcase!)

Will this weather pattern hold? Right now it’s looking like 50s at the start of the race, 65-70 by the finish. Utterly perfect. Please, please, pleeeease stay that way.

Um. What if I really have to pee during the marathon? I am NOT stopping to use a porta-potty. I refuse to stop. So my options are what? Pee myself or hold it until we finish. Neither of these sound very enticing. <tucks this one away to ruminate on more later…>

Holy crap, 26.2 miles is going to feel so far especially after all of this tapering we’re doing. Please, please, please mind games go away — taper is good, rest is good, my legs will be SO happy and itchy to run on race day. Right?? (this is where you all shout at me through the computer in agreement — RIGHT!!)

It’s gonna feel *so* weird to run 10 miles on Saturday as our last long run. If I thought 16 miles flew by last week, 10 is going to flyyyyyyy by. That is still so weird to consider – double digit miles flying by? Does that happen on race day or am I in for a rude surprise? (wait, don’t answer that…)

I seriously can’t wait to buy race bling from Erica Sara, her stuff is gorgeous. Oh — and a 26.2 decal for the car. I’ve always seen those on other people’s cars and thought “damn, that’s really far to run.”¬†

Um, my birthday is the day before. Man I’m really not in the mood to turn 33 (!). Just a number, just a number, just a number…

I really, really, really want to cross the finish line with Scott, hand-in-hand. I wonder if we’ll be able to do that or if it’ll be too crowded at the finish. How awesome would that be to see on camera (sis, are you taking notes?)¬†?? I’d cherish that pic forever…just as much as I’ll cherish that moment forever, it’s going to be seared into my brain for good… <ok please don’t cry while writing this post, I mean really…>

What am I going to wear? My go-to run-a-marathon tank from Lululemon and my speed shorts also from there? They’ve been with me on every long run from the start, afterall. I suppose I owe it to them to come with me on race day too, huh? Hmm – in that case, this weather pattern really has to hold. I’d rather not freeze my ass off waiting at the starting line.

Man, I’m gonna meet some awesome people while we’re in Chicago. Including Tina (looooong overdue), Amber (runsherpa!) and Heather (also looooong overdue) and I’m sure a slew of other bloggers who will be there running and spectating. So cool.

Um. We’re really doing this.
…in 12 days.

(see? I told you my head was a scary place to be at times…;-))

16 miles: happy.

…that about sums up our 16 miler on Saturday.¬†

Happy that we were out there running together – Team Sutera all the way
(we didn’t get to run together *all* week due to something called a ‘new job…’)

Happy that our legs were ready: strong, rested, ready.
(thanks to taper time and learning to pull back…which is *very* hard for me, as you all know)

Happy that the miles felt SO good. All 16 of them. Literally ALL of them.
(which never happens in long run land…at least not in my version of it)

Happy that with every mile, my mind grew calmer, quieter, happier. I have never had this quiet a mind during a long run.

Happy that this run proved to me and to Scott that we are more than ready for 26.2. Seriously, if someone told me to keep running for another 10 miles on Saturday, I could’ve knocked out another 10. I felt that good. So did Scott.
(but um, not gonna lie — I was glad we weren’t running another 10, 16 was plenty on Saturday!)

Happy that in 15 days (!) — we’d be running the streets of Chicago. Together. With (as Scott put it), 50,000 of our closest friends cheering us on.
(the roar of the crowd — the mere thought of it — sends chills down my arm every time I think about it)

(Can you see the happy in our eyes here? I can. ūüėČ )

With every day that passes, every step we take, every mile we cross off our training plan — I’m happier, more proud, more confident, more ready. I stand here continually in awe of how far we’ve come, and where we’re about to go. Feeling especially blessed and full of faith at this very moment. It’s a damn good feeling.

Run happy friends, always. ‚̧

Life lesson #26.2: Just (be)lieve

By now I think you all know just how much I’m loving this trek towards 26.2 that Scott and I have been on the past few months. Not just because it’s a totally new physical challenge for us, but much more so because it’s been an incredibly eye-opening learning experience.

…which brings me to the point of today’s post.¬†

Life lesson #26.2: Just (be)lieve

Ultimately, marathon training has taught me (and Scott) to believe in ourselves. Sure, we both come from a pretty faithful place anyway, but this new belief ‘vibe’ I’ve been sensing lately is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before.

I believe: 

in us. This one isn’t a stretch, I know — but the way we’re bonding through this experience is just awesome. It’s really why I actually look forward to the HOURS we spend on the road during our long runs. We’re together, pushing eachother silently to just keep going. The energy between us is entirely different these days, I just love that.

in our paths.¬†Sometimes it’s hard to have blind faith that whatever path we find ourselves on, that it’s the right path, the one we’re meant to be on, the one He put us on for a reason. But lately? I find myself learning to harness that ‘believe’ vibe and it’s helping me (and Scott) to trust our paths more and more. Sure, there is lots of uncertainty in our lives right now, but it’s ok because we both believe and know and understand that despite al that, we’re right where we’re supposed to be.¬†Even if we can’t ‘see’ around the bend in our paths yet. ¬†

in our own strength. Hell, I have learned so much this past year+ since joining the barre n9ne family, experiencing the life-changing effects of the barre n9ne 60-day challenge and paying that forward through teaching at the studio as often as I can. But couple that with all I’m learning through marathon training? And damn do I feel the strongest I’ve ever felt. Mentally, I am finding an inner toughness I didn’t know exist. I mean, c’mon — we ran 16 miles this week and my body *and* mind didn’t fail me!! Instead, we totally rose to the occasion. I continue to stand in awe of our progress, week-to-week — not just the miles but how our bodies are responding to the miles.

…in just being. This is a big one. And admittedly still a work-in-progress for me but through marathon training I’m finding myself becoming much more calm, much more centered, much more able to ‘just be.’ <—a phrase coined by my friend Steph that I just LOVE. I’m finding that quieting my mind is helping me to avoid that mental head case that I’m prone to becoming while running. It’s also helping me to calm down in other areas of my life — learning to be a little bit more Type A- instead of Type A+, learning to quit striving for perfection and instead, striving for excellence. Again, this is a work-in-progress for me, but it’s moving in the right direction. And that’s what matters.

So today’s life lesson?
Just (be)lieve. 

Of (fit) bucket lists and things

Hi friends! I’m baaaack! ūüôā

And this pretty much sums up our glorious ‘lakation’ in Maine:

That would be me stealing a spot on my sister’s chair to lounge my legs on while we sat dockside for pretty much the entire trip up to the lake house. It was so perfect. Perfect time with friends. Perfect sister time. Perfect hubby time. Perfect gram and gramp time (complete with gram teaching us to make our first blueberry pie!) Perfect me time. So perfect I really can’t put words together to describe the trip properly.

…so I won’t even try. I hope you don’t mind.
(and for those of you following me on instagram, I apologize in advance for all of my annoying “omg it’s so beautiful here” pics, hehe)

In other news — I *did* successfully knock an item off of my fitness bucket list while we were away. A (fit) bucket list I’ve been keeping up with over on pinterest with lots of fun items on it, a few of which I fully intend on knocking from that list this year.

One of them is hitting that 26.2 goal of mine. 
…but you knew that already.¬†

The other one? Feeling confident enough to go for a run in just a sports bra and shorts. 
…seems pretty simple, right?¬†

But for me — this marked a pretty big milestone moment. Of me finally feeling comfortable enough in my own skin to not give a rat’s ass care what anyone thought of me (good, bad or otherwise) while I was out there running some miles. The confidence I’ve been working towards since the barre n9ne challenge first began for me last May, a confidence I’ve been chasing for years and years. A confidence in who I am today, tomorrow and forever — a confidence I’ve finally chased and snagged. And am holding onto for dear life.

So yeah, this happened:

With my sister and bestie Steph — two of my fit friends that have been right there with me on this journey of mine from the start. Quite fitting if you ask me. Also fitting? That it was muggy as all hell when we took off for our run last weekend in Maine. Holy sweatfest.

So how did it feel, you must be wondering?

To be honest, I was expecting to have some sort of an epiphany. To feel this giant rush of some sort. But instead, I felt…normal. As if I should have been / could have been doing this all along and why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-do-this sort of thing. It sort of felt like no big deal. But I guess that’s kind of the point, right? If it DID feel like a big deal, if I DID feel exposed or conspicuous or something then maybe it would mean I’m not quite ‘there’ yet. As in not quite as confident and comfortable being me as I thought I finally was.

I guess that’s my takeaway then. It was no big deal. But not because I had built it up way too much in my head and it was a giant fail. Nope. It’s because I really *am* that confident and happy person at last. I am who I am. And happily so.¬†

…and maybe this big 14-miler (holy PDR time!!) I have planned for tomorrow will be done sports-bra style too. Just maybe. ūüėČ