We did this (18).

We woke up at 4:30.

We packed our fuel (healthy bites FTW!) and water.

We shuffled out the door onto the dark streets of our neighborhood.

We ran. And ran. And ran.

We watched the world wake up around us, the sun slowly rising. Shades of pink and orange. Beautiful.

We hardly spoke, but when we did, it was always words of encouragement, a quick “I love you” or a joke to break the seriousness of it all.

We saw one very beautiful butterfly flit by us (I whispered quietly “Hi Nonna…” and said to Scott “butterflies always remind me of her, she must be watching us…”)

We ran some more.

…until we suddenly were rounding the final turn towards home.

We were both surprised how seemingly quickly we were nearing the end. (Me: “can you believe we’re doing this??” Him: “yup, we’re almost done, too!”)

…and then, we ran (all 18 miles) home.

We did this (18). ‚̧

<<clearly I am one of few words today…I’m still pretty amazed by what we accomplished out there today, in awe really. And very, very proud…of us.>>

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Remember that ‘un-routine’ thing?

When I closed one chapter on my life and opened another chapter (or chapter and a half, really) at the start of this year — switching from one job to another, while also pursuing my passion for all things barre n9ne — I started to wrap my head around the concept of un-routine.

…of allowing myself to embrace new routines, changes, etc.

…of learning to get out of my comfy little corner of the world and focus on the ‘new’ in my life.

…of pursuing discomfort in all that I do.

A big part of this new chapter in my life was getting used to a job where I’d be traveling pretty often, something that would most definitely push me out of my comfy little routine on a regular basis. The first two trips out to California for work were eye-opening and filled with lots of “new.” It was scary. It was uncomfortable. It was exactly what I needed.

Now that I’m in the throes of my third trip out to Cali for work, I’m finally getting the ‘hang’ of this thing. And y’know what? I kinda dig it out here. Don’t get me wrong — I totally miss my comfy little corner of the world (and my husband’s cute smiley face!)but what these trips have taught me is just how much I need un-routine from time-to-time.

I’m finding a new sense of independence that I sometimes allow to lay dormant when I’m in my cozy little routine. In fact, this trip I’ve even had my own rental car which is a whole new world to me! Kinda neat toolin’ around San Jose all on my own — for some reason, this felt huge to me this week. Also helps that I’ve been driving a bitchin’ set ‘o wheels- a Toyota Yaris. It’s HOT lemme tell ya. ūüėČ

I’m really getting to know my coworkers better and better with time. Hell, I went on that hilliest-ever rundate with one of them just the other night! (I swear, I’m still riding a high from that run!)

I even embraced the treadmill yesterday morning, something I was totally dreading on this trip. I even told myself I’d avoid it entirely this week given these few weeks¬†leading into marathon training,¬†I’ve tried to make running less of a focus, allowing my body to recover and prep for all those miles coming up.¬†But who knew? I ended up CRUSHING my interval session after I got past the dread part of things. I have never felt more badass after stepping off a treadmill in my life. For reals. Just check out that sweatastic smile!

And most of all? I’m truly embracing the whole concept of creating new routines while I’m out here which is actually helping me not to long for my routine at home *quite* as much as I used to. I’m finding ways to maintain my love of healthy eating out here. Continuing to bring my own breakfast and snack options, finding ways around some of the meal choices that aren’t in my control and ultimately just making good,¬† healthy choices while I’m out here. Again, don’t get me wrong — I miss my barre n9ne family. I miss my rundates with Scott. I miss my yummy homecooked meals. I miss all of that. But this trip? It’s shown me that I can thrive in un-routine¬†if I’m open to it.

And I think that’s the key. Being open to un-routine. Truly open to it. That’s what this week has been all about for me.

(that and discovering Jamba Juice steel cut oats — Oh Em Gee. A ‘fill-in’ for my beloved bowl of oatmeal at home! A huge thanks to Naomi for telling me about them during our sushi date on Monday night! I nearly died from joy when I took my first bite on Wednesday before a meeting. I’m not kidding, I may have shed a tear. )

13.1 goal: crushed.

My goal for my 4th half marathon: to run (13.1) happy.

That goal?
CRUSHED.

From the moment I went to bed on Saturday night, to the moment the alarm clock rang at 4:50am — I didn’t feel nervous. I felt ready. I felt happy.

Upon meeting up with Christine for the drive down to Providence, we chatted about our goals (goal-less, truly) for this race, both agreeing that running a happy race was our #1 priority. And Sam readily agreed when we met up with her in the parking lot near the starting line.

It just felt…right. That we were all in this to run happy, proud, strong. Much, much, much less focus on numbers than ever before. For any of us. (of course, there is now a big ‘ol number in my head after the fact, but let’s get there first, shall we?)

And that difference? The focus on running happy miles? It put me in the exact right mindset for this race.
…I felt trust.

Trust that my body would carry me through the miles.

Trust that my mind would quiet, allowing me to run freely, proudly.

Trust that I wouldn’t hit that wall, that I’d power through.

Trust in Scott who would push me when I’d start to fall into my comfy little pace on him.

Trust in my training.

Trust in me.

And that, my friends, is what carried me through 13.1 — along a beautiful course in Providence where I’m damn proud to say that I killed every hill that crossed my path and powered through the miles, never once hitting the wall (not truly anyway, though miles 9-11 felt like forever), finally trusting my body to do the work. Doubt was left in the dust.

So when I say that I CRUSHED my goal for this half marathon? It’s true. I have never felt prouder or stronger in my life.

(Pre-race — ready to rock it out)

(Post-race — those are some happy runners, huh??)

Now. Let’s talk numbers. Just for a sec. I finished this race in 2:03:10, that’s about a 2-minute PR off my last half marathon, and a mere 3 minutes from a secret reach-goal of mine. (Yes, I had a secret reach goal!).

Sub-2.

I hate to say it but I just can’t help it. I have a goal in mind now that, yes, is very much numbers-driven. I want a sub-2 half marathon. So badly. It was just three teeny tiny minutes away today. Three. I can eat those three minutes. I KNOW I can.

So now what? Is there another half marathon in my future before the big 26.2?
…I think there may be.

As Scott said to me after the race (and he is SO right)“If you met every goal the first time you tried for it, life would be boring.”

So here’s to living as un-boring a life as possible. One filled with infinite possibilities. No limits, whatsoever.¬† One where I’m always game for reaching and re-reaching for dreams and goals until I capture them. And one where for now? I’m drinking in these moments. The post-race glow — a glow driven by pride and joy, above all else. ‚̧

Reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne

I know, I know, *another* post about my ongoing love affair with barre n9ne. Can you even stand me anymore??

But seriously, I just can’t help myself today. Way too much awesome stuff going on for me not to share on this fine, fine Friday morning.

The studio is expandingwith a second location about 25 minutes away from the original location (which is 35 seconds from my house, practically) — and what I love the *most* about that? It just means more and more people can experience the incredible transformation that I’ve personally undergone since joining the studio almost a year ago to the day (May 12 is my one year barre-versary…the one year mark since I kicked off the infamous 60-day challenge. The challenge that ultimately changed my life forever, no lie). <–expect a full recap of the grand opening party next week, the big event is on Saturday, my sis and I have been scheming for the last couple of weeks, snagging some really cool sponsors and things. Can’t wait to share!

I love to teach. Really, really, really love to teach. This was all more than solidified for me when I taught those three classes I told you I felt so honored to have the priviledge to teach yesterday. I loved seeing all the shaking at the barre – not once, not twice, but three times…and in two different studios! Everyone continues to work so, so, so hard during class — I love to see that look of satisfaction on their face when they walk out of that studio afterwards. It’s ridiculously rewarding.

I am still not afraid of the scale. This is a big one, friends. Yesterday, before teaching the second class of the day, I saw the scale sitting underneath the reception desk in the studio. And literally without a second thought, I turned it on and hopped on. I haven’t weighed myself since November — my 6 month mark of the challenge. It was that day, 6 months ago, where I proclaimed I was no longer afraid of the scale. And yesterday was no different. I stepped on that scale and was not afraid. At. All. And wouldn’t you know — when I looked down? That number literally stunned me into silence. It was a brand-spankin’ new number, a lower one, and one I have not seen in I can’t even tell you how many years.

Now. I have not intentionally been trying to lose weight since I hit my goal weight in November. I’ve been working hard, yes. Training hard, yes. But weight loss has been far from my mind. Maintenance has been my game plan. Numbers, scales, etc. are seriously not my “thing” as you all know very well, by now.¬†¬†But to see a lower number was such a surprise. And you know what? I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you guys it felt frickin’ incredible. I am damn proud of myself. Particularly because this lifestyle of mine (that yes, still includes a food log), is truly a lifestyle. One that I believe in so strongly. Because it works. Becaues it’s not about deprivation. It’s not about a diet. It’s not about fits and starts. It’s about consistency.¬†It’s about loving food — real, wholesome, nutritious (damn tasty) food. And ultimately, it’s about making peace with food. Which I’m proud to say I’ve done (‘cept for an occasional case of OATT¬† here and there…hey, I never claimed to be perfect!).

So reason #4,567 why I heart barre n9ne?
…because it’s become my happy place. Through and through. ‚̧

Paying it forward – my way.

A big reason I tend to write with such passion on this blog?

Paying it forward – my way.

Sure, I may not be certified to be your personal trainer. Or offer you RD-approved nutrition tips and tricks for healthy eating. But what I can offer? Personal experiences that have evolved me into the woman I am today: the fit, healthy, strong, happy and confident woman I am today.

This confidence and strength didn’t happen overnight. Don’t let me fool you. It’s taken me years and years to get to a place where I can look in the mirror and say “I like that person smiling back at me, today.” This is my proudest moment to date: the day I stopped being afraid, the day I befriended the mirror, the day I fell in love with myself. A day I never thought I’d ever see — something only dreams could possibly be made of.

So I pay it forward – my way.

On this blog. I write from the heart. I draw from personal experiences alone. I strive to help others in any way, big or small, that I can. And, if something I say on this blog resonates with just one person. Just once. I’ve paid it forward.

Through the weekly barre n9ne rundates my sister and I host at the studio. To help other beautiful, strong, fit women recognize their own inner strength through running. My heart soars every time I hear them talk about building up their run-durance, doing the run/walk thing and sticking to it, feeling proud of every minute they ran vs. walked. It reminds me to always stay humble, to always appreciate and show gratitude for my own ability to walk, to run, to race – 5ks, 5-milers, half marathons, and soon – a full marathon.

In the barre n9ne studio and on the barre n9ne challenge forum – our budding little home for words of encouragement, inspiration and rounds of applause as each woman achieves a new milestone. It could be sticking it out during the shake at the barre; or losing an incredible amount of inches after their own 60-day challenge (like mine); or learning to love their food log for the tool that it is — a tool of empowerment, where food becomes a tool, a fuel-booster, and not something that controls you in any shape or form.

And, as a FitFluential Ambassador – something I haven’t delved into too much just yet on the blog, but let me tell you – in the short time I’ve been a proud member of this community, it has opened my eyes to a whole new world of opportunity to continue to pay it forward.

…which is what this blog is all about – my “audition” if you will, to pay it forward on a much grander scale. To write for a broader audience than my own – drawing from my personal experiences that have lead me to this place: a place of strength, passion, and conviction.

Because if this blog — EatDrinkBreatheSweat – stands for nothing else – it stands for breath(ing): Breathing in your own inner beauty. And drawing strength from it. Breathing in every moment of your day as if it were your last. And showing gratitude for each day. And, Breathing through those moments in life that become life changers, evolutiondrivers. Much like the moments I’ve described above that brought me to this amazing place I am in today.

Paying it forward – my way.

Moving with intention (another proud moment)

At the barre on Monday night, I looked in the mirror and watched as I moved with intention. 
…the up and down of the bicep curl, making sure to extend all the way to straight and back up, squeezing that bicep in tightly at the top.
…the tuck of my hips, the gentle bend at the knees, shoulders pressing up and down, up and down. Tiny moves. Intentional moves.
…feet in a ‘piece of pie,’ heels connected and lifted high, knees pushing down and out, hips tucked (yet again). Down and hold. Down and hold. ¬†
…glancing over at my sister, beside me at the barre; watching her move with such focus, such strength, such intention.
…remembering how far we’ve come in this barre n9ne journey together.

Yes. These were the thoughts that flooded my brain during class on Monday (remember: brain. does.not.shut.off). It was as if I was on the outside, looking in. Watching myself from afar, almost as if in one of those retrospectives you see in the movies sometimes. Surreal almost.

But really? This entire journey has been surreal. I feel ridiculously lucky, blessed to have found my passion – a passion that has instilled such confidence in me and my sis, and a true sense of self. Finally. After 32 years I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I like who I’ve become.

In fact, I kinda love her. I love how strong she is. I love how happy she is. ¬†And yes, I love how fit she is. But most of all? I love how “me” she is.¬†

And that makes me so very proud. 

I used to refer to this barre n9ne challenge and subsequent journey as a total transformation. But then I stopped and thought about it: a transformation almost makes it sound like I’ve become somebody else...but that’s not quite right.
…I’m still me.
…I’m even MORE me.
…Just as I was intended to be all along.¬†

Moving with intention (another proud moment)… 2012, bring it on, barre-style.¬†

(Remembering) a proud moment

I had an opportunity to take a drive down memory lane yesterday – and it brought back a flood of emotions.

…of Pride.

You see, I was back in the same area that the Green Strides half marathon was held earlier this fall and as soon as I drove down the street that made up the last 3 miles of that race, my heart skipped a beat.

I was right back in that moment.

…of pushing my body to go, go, GO.
…of feeling my legs just move, moving faster than I’ve ever felt them move.
…of seeing Scott’s beaming smile and watching him arm pump everytime he looked back at me.
…of whizzing by runners left and right, the wind hitting my face, my eyes blurry from the wind whipping into my eyes.
…of turning the final corner and seeing how close we were to finishing and thinking “this is it. just GO.”
…of crossing that finish line and seeing 2:05:32.
…and thinking “holy hell, I had no idea I had that in me.”

And now? Just revisiting that area, seeing that route again, re-living the final 3 miles of that 13.1 and I am feeling even more proud than I did on that day.

It was that day, that race, that gave me the confidence in my running ability that I never had in me before. That I didn’t think even existed.

Most of all, it gave me the confidence to commit to 26.2. The minute I crossed that finish line, I knew. I want to be a marathoner. Just once. I want that.

As we near the end of 2011, I can’t help but think about how this year has shaped up for me. It’s been one helluva good year, I can’t lie. And in thinking of a way to recap the year, I thought about doing a “memories” style post or a “resolutions/goals” post for 2012.

But really? I’d rather think back on this year and honor proud moments. So that’s what I intend to do in a mini-series I’m calling “proud moments of 2011.” (so original, I know)

…and for starters, I’m definitely calling the Green Strides half my proudest moment of 2011. Without a doubt.¬†

**********
I’ll be back with more “proud moments” in the next couple of weeks leading into Christmas and the end of the year. But for now – I urge you: think back on your year and pinpoint your own moments of pride. ¬†And once you do, bottle them up, harness them into continued pride, strength and confidence as we start a brand-new year.

2012: I have a feeling you’re going to be a goodie…