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

I don’t know how.

So I realized something this weekend.

I don’t know how to relax. 

Like at. all.

I found myself with the morning and part of the afternoon on Sunday with absolutely nothing on the agenda. Instead of settling into a nice, chill Sunday with Scott, I found myself in a giant funk.

“I should wash the windows, they are all gritty,” I thought. (to which Scott scoffed and told me to chill…)

“I should make my lunch for tomorrow and get myself organized for work this week,” I also thought. (and did)

“I should go for a run, it’s a beautiful day,” I thought (and didn’t do…but felt super guilty about, ugh).

“I really need to write a blog….but don’t have a topic in mind,” I considered (and alas, this blog post was born).

But why, why, why was I playing this game with myself, the “I should…” game?

Why don’t I know how to embrace downtime? I never have hours of downtime at once, least of all during the chaos of the work week. Yet here I was, with a bundle of downtime and I was fighting it. My brain immediately turns to “I should…” instead of just being in the moment.

Similar to what this beautiful friend of mine posted about this weekend, my soul has been needing some ‘fitness’ and I’ve been ignoring it. Big time. I’ve been too busy cramming as much into every hour of every day that I missed the big picture. My soul was screaming at me to chill, slow down, embrace.

Source: oprah.com via Jess on Pinterest

 

I mean, really. I have a BIG week ahead of me. After coming down from an equally big week last week. I taught ten barre n9ne classes last week. Ten. Loved every minute but yes, it wiped me out by the end of it all. I also worked my day job all week per the usual and managed to cram in erranding, a few #runsimply runs and other shiz last week too. I probably sat on the couch for a total of an hour or two at most. And this week will be similar. Teaching seven classes this week (some in the new room too, yay!). Hoping to fit in three solid runs this week (would’ve been four if I had forced that run yesterday…glad I opted against, big picture, big picture, big picture). And plans almost every night this week after work, including Friday (barre n9ne ‘closet sharing party’ and a wine tasting courtesy of me and Jo, woohoo). Lots of GOOD. Lots of FUN. But lots of a LOT.

So this is my forced note to self: Slow down. Grab that downtime and give it a giant bear hug. Quit railing against it already. 

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?)

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

Embracing simplicity.

Ever since we crossed that finish line in Chicago a few weeks ago, #teamsutera has been spending ample time thinking about how to simplify. It was a big focus of conversation in the Sutera Manor all weekend, in fact.

A couple of snippets from those conversations…:

On Friday night, instead of our usual dinner ‘date’ in, followed by snuggling on the couch catching up on DVR’d tv shows (we get wild and crazy on Friday nights, I tell ya lol), we chose a simpler route. We made dinner — the most ridiculously yummy steak tips salads ever — followed by hours of ‘rummy wars’ with pandora playing in the background. Yup, I got my butt kicked on almost every round, but it didn’t matter. We weren’t letting technology or anything else into our little cocoon on Friday night, it was just the two of us, sharing goofy conversation and playing some cards. Simply.

On Saturday, we made a real effort to not over-schedule or over-plan the morning. I taught a barre n9ne class (which was fabulous, I might add, hehe) and then we did something we rarely ever do. We went out to breakfast. A fun diner just opened near us and I’d been wanting to check it out. So that’s what we did. Breakfast together, me in my sweaty workout clothes and all — but again the details didn’t matter. It was delicious and fun and simple.

Later that day, I got antsy for some fresh air. I knew a run wasn’t smart — my knee is still a little bit cranky — but I wanted to get out and moving. So we went for a walk. In the beautiful sunshine-y fall air, we held hands and talked and talked. Unplanned, special and simple.

Our conversation during that walk covered all sorts of things. Running and racing plans for 2013 (we have some ideas, but not ready to share where #teamsutera is heading quite yet…). Daydreaming about fun trips we’d love to be able to take next year. And what we both envisioned for 2013 if we had the ability to look into the future.  My immediate response: “Can we please *not* change jobs at all next year?” After two job changes for me and the ups and downs of Scott’s job situation (following that dream continues to be the best decision he, and we, ever made…regardless of the ups and downs) — and we’re both very ready to feel more settled next year. A simple request, no?

And finally — we talked about how to avoid that jammed-up-weekends-for-months-on-end-when-can-we-fit-in-more-‘us-time-already? issue we’ve had the past few months. Don’t get me wrong — we’ve done lots of fun things in the past few months. It’s been awesome. I don’t take that for granted at all. But — it’s been a little bit too jammed, a little bit too planned, a little bit too chaotic. So we came up with a plan. I pulled out my iPhone (over impromptu drinks at a tavern nearby on Saturday afternoon, mind you!) and took a look at our ‘rummy wars’ tally on my notepad — we had a handful of wars that Scott ‘won’ but hadn’t cashed in on yet. So we started jotting down in my calendar when we’d be cashing in on Scott’s ‘winnings’. In case you’re curious, they include:

  • Dinner and a movie – Scott’s choice for both (for those of you who know me well, I’m so Type-A and like to be in charge of or at least share an opinion on where we go to dinner. And — actually GOING to a movie together? we haven’t done it in years. This should be a fun one to say the least. Scott is already plotting…)
  • Bowling and dinner/drinks at the sports bar across the street from the bowling alley near our house (I’m actually excited about this one…even though I definitely suck at bowling, Scott will be entertained by my skillz…and again, it gets me out of my comfort zone. Me — in a sports bar?? hehe)
  • A bar crawl for two — which involves spending the day checking out fun bars and restaurants in Salem which is a few towns over from us but has lots of great options. It’ll be a day-long event. Just the two of us. (this will most definitely lead to a hilarious blog post recap I’m sure)
  • A picnic in the living room – this one we’re saving for a rainy or snowy day. When we’re really missing the spring and summer where picnics were a regular occasion for us. ❤
  • An old school date night in: when we first started dating our favorite thing in the world was making homemade pizza, renting a movie and snuggling on the couch. While we’ve certainly had our fair share of pizza nights, it was mostly for training purposes (ha) and notsomuch ‘date night’ style. Another fun one we’re saving for a rainy day.

So what do these ‘war wins’ all have in common? They are simple. It involves just the two of us. Reconnecting in a way that requires lots of disconnecting from outside distractions. Something I know I need to continue to work on, big time. Presence and simplicity. The best gifts you could ever give a loved one. I’m convinced.

So this is me — and Scott and #teamsutera — embracing simplicity.
…and really looking forward to it.

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