We let the run come to us.

“Let the run come to you.” 

The best piece of running advice I’ve ever received.
(smooches, Meaghan!)

And actually pretty awesome words that can apply to a lot more than just running — insert whatever word you like in that phrase and you might surprise yourself with how profound it actually comes out. (could be a pretty awesome game of madlibs, if I do say so myself…) <—a post for another day, perhaps. 

So after a crazy, chaotic, FULL week this past week, both Scott and I really needed one of those ‘releasing’ runs. The kind of run where you just kind of go, leaving it all out on the road as the miles tick by.

Releasing stress.
Releasing anxiety.
Releasing thoughts.
Releasing

Saturday’s run gave us exactly what we were both looking for. It was a brisk 30 degrees, bright sunshine and crisp blue skies. A perfect fall morning. We bundled up for the first time this season in our winter running gear and I actually looked forward to that. I kinda dig my running tights more this year for some reason.

So off we went — #teamsutera — bundled up, well-rested and ready to surrender to the run. About halfway through I realized we had barely spoken a word to one another — other than the occasional “good morning” to walkers and runners we passed along the way. And I was totally ok with the silence. Hearing our feet shuffle through the leaves, the wind rushing past our faces. It was so invigorating. So connecting. And yet somehow also very emotional. I don’t know why, but ever since marathon training, running has such an emotional undertone to it for me. Releasing…but also very cleansing.

And when all was said and done, we rounded that familiar bend towards home and I felt a surge of emotion — a joyful calmness. On Saturday, we let the run come to us. And it was a beautiful thing. 

#makeitcount
#runsimply

Ruminations (#1 of…)

So I’m titling this post ‘Ruminations (#1 of…) for a specific reason (you know me, I always do things with intention, right??).
…I’m leaving myself room to expand on this into a series if I so choose.

You see, lately I’ve been struggling to collect my thoughts, to find focus. There are many reasons for that, none of which I care to dive into here. Generally speaking, you all know pretty much why that is. Why I’ve been so focused on simplifying, finding or re-creating a new sense of balance, etc. So while I’m figuring out my flow over here, I didn’t want to just plain stop blogging entirely. I have lots of thoughts going on, none all that cohesive per se, but some that are totally worth sharing here, in rumination format instead of my usual ‘themed’ posts.

(wow was that a long preamble to today’s post! Man.)

Ruminations (#1 of…)

Seeing this girl absolutely CRUSH 50 miles on Saturday was an honor and a privilege.  Other than inspiring the hell outta me, she also restored my faith in running joyfully, because you LOVE it, above all else. This girl absolutely lives and breathes running…and I adore that in her.

#runsherpa duties are no joke. I mean, seriously — it was *such* hard work passing time in between Meaghan’s 12.5 mile loops by basically bar hopping in between loops three and four. <wipes sweat from brow> But seriously, it was SO much fun seeing her pass each loop, giving her whatever she needed in the way of support — healthy bites (fueled by Healthy Bites woo!), gummy bears (so glad I packed those from Scott’s secret stash!), refilling her gatorade, handing her love notes to read along the course and shouting words of encouragement as she jetted off for the next go-round. Jo and I were seriously working hard as can be in this pic, hmm? (note the photo bomb by a certain #teamsutera member…)

It similar running related news — I’m scarily excited to run intervals tomorrow morning. Now that I’ve gone into totally unstructured territory with  my running, and because I have much less time to dedicate to running lately, I gotta make every single one count (#makeitcount!). Plus, I’ve neglected speed work for so long that it’s oddly fun to get to that puketastic/sweatastic point. While I DO miss endurance running, I know I’ll get back to that in a couple weeks once things settle down at the Sutera Manor (more on this later), for now — quick and dirty is the way to go (TWSS). Let’s hope I feel this way post-workout in the am. 😉 (I’ll report back, don’t you worry)

Speaking of endurance…ya’ll have to quit running marathons and writing such inspiring race day recaps. It’s making me want to run another marathon. Wait, I didn’t say that…ohhhh but I did. NO news (yet) buuuut #teamsutera is definitely mulling it over just a teensy bit. Not gonna lie. #arewecrazy #maybebutwhatelseisnew #notcommitting #runsimplyisourmantra

“Me dinner” nights are frickin’ tasty occurrences up in here. Tonight’s dinner was jammed full of veggies, apparently my body was majorly craving them given this ‘kitchen sink’ style stir fry I whipped up. In it you’ll spy: mushrooms, summer squash, yellow beans, tomatoes, chicken sausage (woops, that’s not a veggie) and mashed sweet potato with plain greek yogurt stirred in. I’m pretty sure as soon as I took this pic, my plate was clean. #hungryhorrors up in here.

In other foodie news — pretty sure this will be happening shortly: a red velvet ‘cupcake’ made with red velvet cake mix and a can of pumpkin stirred in. Two ingredients — ridiculously tasty and equally ridiculously low calorie (approx. 150 cals in this sucker…a titch more if you add a tsp of melty nutella on top like mine will have tonight…). 

And because I can’t get enough of barre n9ne — my #b94lyf gush-fest of the night? I am way, way, way too excited to be teaching a heck of a lineup of classes this week due to some subbing I offered up, y’know because I’m such a team player and all. 😉 I’m in the studio every single day this week except for tomorrow. I kinda love it. (and don’t worry, I will not be running a lot this week; nor am I taking any classes this week — teaching a ton means pulling back in other areas so as not to burn myself out…remember: balance is good. I loooove balance.)

Hmm. Apparently I had more to say than I thought. This may not be the most organized or theme-driven posts of all but it still follows my blogging personality quite nicely — goofy, honest, real and still with intention, per the usual. 😉

(here’s to #1 of___ to come?)

#Runsherpas: the #teamsutera way

By far one of the best aspects of marathon training for Scott and I (aka #teamsutera) was the amazing outpouring of love and support from loved ones — not just family but ‘IRL’ friends and bloggy friends alike. It was nothing short of incredible.

Between that and all that Scott and I learned during our 18-week marathon training journey together and we’re both *still* feeling very grateful for the entire experience.

One of the coolest phenomenon’s ever was the forming of the #runsherpa support group that sort of started small and snowballed before we knew it. In case you aren’t sure how this all came together, refer to this post please. 🙂

So when #teamsutera (and fellow #runsherpas, my sis and M!) had the opportunity to pay it forward by becoming #runsherpas ourselves, we jumped at the chance. And who better to #runsherpa for than for Meaghan — who is staring down her first ULTRA marathon tomorrow: the Stone Cat 50 miler. For those of you who do not know Meaghan — you are sorely missing out. Not only is she freakin’ hysterical and an awesome, awesome, AWESOME friend ‘IRL’, but she is ridiculously inspiring.

Just SIX MONTHS ago this girl was recovering from compartment syndrome surgery. A surgery that had her basically starting from scratch. From ground zero. From the very beginning all over again. No matter how long Meaghan had been running, none of it mattered post-surgery. She was starting fresh. As in one foot in front of the other, slowly but surely.

And today? She’s prepping for an incredible challenge — 50 miles. And oh yeah, it’s a trail race too.
(see?? I told you she was pretty amazing, did I not?)

To this day, I count Meaghan as THE most passionate runner I have ever met. She absolutely glows anytime we talk about running. Her words are dotted with joy whenever she’d share training advice and tips (something she does very sensitively I might add — she is *not* a know-it-all kind of runner AT ALL…and she’d have every right to be one given how experienced she is). It was her words that stuck with me on that epic 22 mile training run that Scott and I absolutely crushed this summer. (and it was her post that made me bawl like a little baby when she wrote about seeing my marathon journey from the outside looking in…)

Her words? So simple yet incredibly powerful: Let the run come to you.

That phrase still gives me goosebumps.

ANYWAY. Now that I’ve gushed for this entire post about the awesomeness that is Meaghan, it’s clear that I seriously cannot wait to #runsherpa for her tomorrow. Scott is getting in on the action too, naturally. He’s taking his post-race pizza making duties *very* seriously. And I can guarantee that he’ll be the loudest #runsherpa of all time…and probably the loudest spectator at the race tomorrow overall. Just a hunch. 😉

So tomorrow? I am honored, proud and SO excited to #runsherpa the hell outta Stone Cat while Meaghan crushes her first ultra. No matter what, she’s going to cross that finish line with pride. She may be hurting. She may be utterly exhausted. And she’ll definitely be emotional. But what I hope she never forgets is where she was just six months ago — and a smile of joy and gratitude crosses her face as she finishes all 50 miles.

Run proud, run happy, run strong Meaghan. You GOT this.
Love,
#runsherpa Jess (and Scott ala #teamsutera fame)

Just #makeitcount.

I think I’ve mentioned that my schedule has taken some time to adjust to now that I’m in a new job (which I LOVE) that has me in the office most days of the week.  A very big shift from my last job where I was only in the office once per week (trade-off: I traveled pretty often). The other shift happening right now? Teaching a *lot* more at barre n9ne. Which I LOVE to death. Adore so, so, so much.

But combine a ‘day job’ that has me commuting daily, pair that with teaching at barre n9ne anywhere from 5-7 classes per week (with more to come when the new room in the studio nearest my house opens in a week or two! woo!) and my “me time” workouts are fewer and farther between. Right now, I can *only* take 1-2 classes per week realistically (I used to take 5+ a week before I really started teaching a lot more). I just can’t fit much more than that into my week, plus teaching does takes it’s toll…even if I’m not actively ‘doing’ the entire class…I’m doing enough of it that it adds up over time (plus being ‘on’ for the whole hour is exhausting too…in a *good* way though, suuuuch a rush!).

And then there’s running. Which has most definitely taken a backseat of late. Mainly because I only have two mornings during the work week for ‘me workouts’ and it’s SO dark out now that running on the treadmill has become the norm mid-week (sad face). And then weekends are my  only real time to get outside (unless I feel like running in the dark at night during the week…again: sad face).

So where does that leave me? Why am I telling you suuuuch a long tale leading into the whole point of this post?
(there’s a reason, promise)

It’s forcing me to truly make my ‘me workouts’ count. #makeitcount.
…every. single. time.

As in — never regret a workout for one; but also never take for granted the sheer ability TO workout (physical ability plus literal ability to fit it into the schedule, as it were). #makeitcount

So last night when I got home from work and knew that workout I’d blown off that morning (extra snuggles with the hubs took precadence…priorities!) was looming: I had two choices. Blow it off. orrrr #makeitcount.

I did exactly what I’d tell any one of you to do: I made it count. Every sweatastic mile. Even though it was on the dreadmill. Even though I was tired. Even though I was hungry. Even though, even though, even though (I could come up with a million excuses).

After 45 minutes of sweatastic intervals (I did a variation of this version — third one down), I was riding SUCH a high. So sweaty. So fun. So badass.

Yup, it was awesome. Just what I needed. I enjoyed the sh*t out of those speedy intervals. And for one reason: it was MY turn to workout. I have never appreciated that fact more than I do right now. With time a lot more precious than before. I embrace that #makeitcount mantra.

So again I urge you: anytime you consider blowing off that workout for a million reasons, think twice. #makeitcount.
…embrace the ‘me time.’
…remember that not everyone is able.
…not everyone has the opportunity.
…not everyone can #makeitcount.

(((#makeitcount)))

Source: wanelo.com via Jess on Pinterest

No regrets

If there’s one thing in life that I try very hard to never take for granted — it’s the sheer ability to make choices.

Which is why I strive to live a life with no regrets. 

 

We have just one life to live, right?
…so why not make the most of it by taking advantage of the choices we have in our everyday lives?

To choose happiness first. 

To choose presence more often. 

To choose to shift your focus. 

To choose  (self)love over (self)hate. 

To choose simplicity over complexity. 

And yes, to choose to live a healthy, fit life

…even if that means going for that workout that you don’t *think* you want to do. 

Which is how this happened: 

It was quick. It was dirty. It was sweaty. (TWSS)
…and it was exactly what I needed. 

To get out of my head.
To shoo away the anxiety that was back and lurking.
To find clarity.
To chase and grab hold of presence…something I was struggling with on Sunday for whatever reason.

It didn’t matter how far we went or how fast or slow we went. We just ran. #simply.
…and I most certainly did not regret that choice. 

Never regret. Embrace choices. Live presently. <—my new mantra, likey? 

I run. #simply

Over the years on this blog, I’ve visited and re-visited the topic of why I run.
My drive as a runner has evolved over the years, naturally – but ultimately, I always go back to the #1 reason why I run: because I can. I’m able.

But today, and really ever since the marathon ‘thing’ happened on October 7, I’ve been thinking a lot about both why I run but also how I run. So in the spirit of looking back or revisiting certain topics this week, today I’m focusing on how I run.

How I run – and not the one-foot-in-front-of-the-other ‘how’ that comes with running — but my approach to it…which I’ve noticed a lot more lately is very different from most runners I am friends with, read about in bloggy land, etc.

I’d say I’m very much in the vast minority as a runner – for one big reason: I run. #simply

No music. Ever.

No garmin. Ever.

No ‘labels’ for my runs (i.e. tempo, shake-out, LSR, etc.).

No schedules (at least not in the traditional sense…training plans are different in my view)

It’s simple. And mine.

I’m focusing more and more on the whole concept of #simple – as you saw from my post the other day, it’s about ‘just being’ me. And that most certainly applies to running.

For example – I am pretty sure almost *all* of my running friends will gasp when I admit this: since the marathon, I have run a total of three miles. That’s one run. (I can almost hear the questions now: “what about a shake-out run??” or “aren’t you afraid you’re endurance will falter?” Or “One run???”)

But yup, just one run, three miles, that’s it. And sure, I miss running a bit but there’s been two main reasons for the lack of miles in my life the past week and a half. One – my right knee is a wee bit tender. I take no chances when it comes to injury. Call me uber-conservative if you like, but I’m protecting that IT band like a mama bear over here. No injuries please. And two – I’ve been teaching a lot at barre n9ne. And I am LOVING being back in full force at the studio now that I have more time on my hands, post-marathon. I’m teaching an average of 6-7 classes per week and am taking 1-2 a week if schedules allow (sometimes more, sometimes less, sometimes none ‘taken’ but all taught, depending). And it’s been awesome. Just perfect. I heart b9.

But back to my point – the running simply thing. I’m sensing that this is where my running is heading and I’m actually really excited to embrace that fact. Run far when I want. Run a few quick, fun miles if I want. Kill myself with puketastic intervals if I feel like it.

Just run. Because I love it. Because I can. Because I’m a joyful runner.

I run. #simply

(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? 

#26point2in6days
(omg)

16 miles: happy.

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.
Ever.

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. 😉 )

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.

Oh, exhaustion.

I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought I’d enter my first week of taper with tons of energy, ready to tackle each of our remaining runs with happy running legs.

Um, notsomuch. 

At least not this week. I am just exhausted. 
…I guess my body finally caught up with all 40 miles we put in last week, huh? 

Reminder: I am not invincible.
(duh)

So this week has been a huge one for me in terms of truly and honestly listening to my body. I’m teaching a lot this week which I love — but it’s been adding to the exhaustion factor a bit. I suppose starting a new job can also lead to the exhaustion factor too, hmm? (a new job that’s going *really* well in case you’re wondering 😉 )

My plan for the remainder of the week is this: 

Teach my beloved 9am class today; get ready as fast as I can to hit the road into the office after class. Rock it out at the office (heh). Commute home. Put my game face on and get the 7 miles in that I didn’t get in this morning.
…but be ok with things if those 7 miles don’t happen for whatever reason tonight. Listening to my body.

Teach tomorrow at 6am and 5:30pm and work my bum off in between at the home office. Focus on lots of fueling foods, good hydration and be ready to carb up (yay pizza!) tomorrow night in preparation for Saturday’s long run.

Saturday: long run day (whee! yes I still get excited about these, who knew?!). We’re aiming for 15 miles. And I kind of love that 15 miles doesn’t feel quite so daunting anymore. (especially when I know I taper even more the week after this!). 

Oh, exhaustion? I feel ya, I do. But guess what? I’m not gonna let you do me in this week. Nope. I allowed it this morning. I finally got a restful night’s sleep after two back-to-back nights of tossing and turning and restlessness. Today? After a glorious NINE hours of sleep (yes NINE), I am back on my game. I feel ‘me’ again and that’s what matters.

Because guess what? In 17 (!) days: I’m gonna be a marathoner. Why yes I am. 😉