12 miles closer…

…to finishing what I started. 

And after this morning’s run – our last long training run before the YuKanRun half marathon – and I feel ready for all 13.1 miles.

And I’m most certainly ready to run a race I’m proud of. This has been my ultimate goal since I signed up for this race. Not to PR (though, after today’s run – 12 miles in 2:08, I can see the potential for a PR there…), but to race proud, to race strong, to cross that finish line with a beaming smile.

The route we chose for today’s run was basically a merger of two of our favorite midrange runs. I went into it thinking “Ok, so this is just two routes, kind of like two runs, I can totally do this…” but once I got going, the thought of picking up a second route after “finishing” the first felt kind of daunting. Ok, I’ll be honest – it felt really daunting. So instead, I focused on running the mile I’m in – one of Jo’s blog friends commented on one of her running posts with that phrase and it’s totally stuck with me ever since. And it WORKS, lemme tell ya. Rather than think about all those miles ahead of me – I focused on trucking along, one mile at a time.

What I did notice is that my knees didn’t really start to bug me until the last two or three miles, which I call a victory compared to last week’s 11-miler where my knees started to talk to me around mile 7 or 8. So hopefully, I’m still doing right by them (they aren’t yelling at me now, a good sign…). What also helped was taking two Clif Shot blox vs. just one like I did last week. I swear part of it is mental, but physically it seemed to help me power through when my legs felt particularly heavy.

By the time we rounded the corner to the last half mile before the finish, I was feeling really good – tired, but good. And it surprised me somehow. I remember that last mile of the half last year and how awful I felt, totally burnt out, totally spent, totally DONE (and very dehydrated as  I’d find out later).

The feeling I felt in the last mile of the 12 today is exactly how I want to feel in that last mile next Sunday.
…I know I’ll be tired.
…I know it’ll be hard. 
…But I also know that I’m ready.

To finish what I started. Or, to “crush it” as my friend, Stephanie tweeted to me this morning.

So that’s what I plan to do: crush it. 😉

Sharing the love

I’ve deemed today “Sharing the love – EatDrinkBreatheSweat – style.” 

…I love this blogging community. The outpouring of support and love after yesterday’s post on my husband’s new job was amazing. I still can’t get over the kind words from each of you. I’ve been re-reading them all morning! So thank you.  ❤

…I love celebrating the beautiful people in my life. In this case, I’m borrowing from Dorry’s post this morning and wishing Lindsay an amazing and beautiful birthday. She is seriously one of the kindest most loving people I have ever met. Happy day, my dear!

…I love sharing joyful moments with others. Especially when those joyful moments revolve around a shared love of fitness! The other night, one of my close friends Steph (she ran the last half marathon with us and is running the next one with us as well!), came to her first barre n9ne class with us.  She’s about to embark on the next 60-day challenge and naturally wanted to try a class first (even though she’s already committed to the challenge, haha). I LOVED sharing those moments with her – I could tell that she was getting a lot out of the class but it wasn’t until we left the studio and started to chat that I could tell that she was totally awe-struck by barre n9ne. It was the coolest thing ever – to finally have someone IRL to share barre n9ne with (other than my sister, obv!). The joy on her face was beautiful to see. I’ve never seen her THAT happy and smiley after a workout in my life. And we’ve done a lot of workouts together. HA! So yes, I’m thrilled to share my love of barre n9ne with another friend – maybe now I won’t come across as much of a crazy person when I talk about barre n9ne now. Maybe. 😉

…I love that I’m learning to be flexible and less tied to a set tried-and-true training schedule. Ever since I started training for the half marathon and embarking on the barre n9ne challenge, I’ve been giving myself two full rest days. For me – two rest days used to be unheard of (one rest day was hard enough to deal with!). But the beatings I’ve been giving my body lately and I KNEW that two rests were needed and have now become a welcome occasion (who knew?!). But lately – I’ve scheduled those rests days to take place over the weekend. Can I just tell you how nice it’s been to be completely unscheduled the past few weekends? No worrying about getting a run in before it gets too hot in the mornings, no trying to jam in a workout before  a day of summer fun. Nope. Just rest, and lots of unscheduled fun. It’s been kind of awesome. Highly recommend it. And kinda proud of myself for learning to re-think my workout schedule vs. sticking to “what I have always known.”

…I loved the look on my husband’s face last night when I finally got home from work and barre n9ne to give him a gigantic congratulatory hug and kiss. He opened the door and I said “hi, teach!” His smile, that look in his eyes – of pride, of relief, of joy – was the best sight I’ve ever seen.  So, so, proud.

Wow, this is such a fun list of “loves” – I might have to make this a regular EatDrinkBreatheSweat feature! Of course, now it’s your turn – share the love with me! What are you loving right now!? I’d love to hear about it. 😉

Can’t. Stop. Sweating.

Can’t.
Stop.
Sweating.

And I knew it the second I stepped outside that this would be the end-result.
Total sweatfest.

I guess that’s what happens when your long run ends up being on the hottest day the Boston area has seen in ten years. Hottest – and also the most humid. I swear it was like running through soup, humidity felt like it was at 100%.

So I guess you’re all wondering  — “did she make it all 10 miles?”
The answer is no.

And I’m totally fine with the 7 miles we put in this morning. Which is a transition for me. I’d normally sit around beating myself up after for not doing the workout “as planned.” But smarts kicked in for a change (doesn’t always happen!) and I knew it would be safer to cut it short than to push it out another 3 miles. It was just too muggy, too hard to breathe and honestly? I wanted to finish this run and feel proud of it – that I pushed it, but not so much so that I’d feel downright sick afterwards. Score one for me?

Speaking of transitions — I got to thinking about my training last summer versus this summer. And how I felt, how I trained, how I reacted in certain situations.

I am pretty sure one of three things would have happened if this was the “me” from last summer:
…I would have taken one look at the forecast and canceled the run outright; or
…I would have attempted to run but given up about 2 miles in; or
…I would have attempted the run but felt panicky and nervous about how I’d feel during such a tough weather run that it would end up being the worst run ever.  

But the “me” today tackle the run today entirely differently:
…I woke up and bounded out of bed, excited that today was our long run day.
…I set foot outside and knew the muggies were pretty bad and wasn’t afraid. I set my mind to running this long run, and running it well.
…I kept my pace up and made sure to hydrate throughout (thanks to Scott for once again being the iFitness hydration belt wearer!).
…and finished the 7 miles strong, a dash through the sprinklers and with a huge smile on my face. Proud of what I accomplished. Not frustrated that we didn’t do what we “planned” to do mileage wise.

This is a transition that I’m really proud to share. I think it shows growth, maturity, strength in how I’ve evolved as a runner. And it gives me even more confidence in my abilities leading into August 14 and the YuKanRun Half Marathon.

I got this. I know I do. 🙂

Willpower

According to Wiktionary, willpower is defined as follows:

Willpower: The unwavering strength of will to carry out one’s wishes

I kind of dig that definition of willpower versus the more-traditional definition that talks about self-control as a form of willpower.

Because truth be told, willpower can definitely be about self-control. As in, I’d rather have scrambled eggs and toast with peanut butter for dinner than those cookies I was talking about on twitter yesterday with Amber, Sam and Jess. 😉

But, willpower can and does mean more than that to me. Especially as it relates to my continued healthy living journey I mentioned in yesterday’s post. Now that the official barre n9ne 60-day challenge is behind me, for example, I’m reevaluating how I approach each class. Asking myself “how can I push myself harder, challenge myself more, experience more?”

The simple answer to that is willpower.

Pushing myself to hold those plies at the barre as long as I can, letting my legs shake versus giving them a break during a set and not getting to that “hurt so good shake” that invokes such change if you let your body get to that “shake” moment in class. This is a big area of focus for me – getting to that shake, focusing on letting my body do something my mind wants to tell me isn’t possible.

…Believing that I can hold that plie for 30 more seconds.
…Believing that my body can handle it and pushing through the flash of self-doubt that happens right before I’m about to give up on those last few seconds.

That’s what I focused on almost entirely during last night’s barre n9ne method class. And you know what? That willpower, that sheer determination to get through the set? Hell, that sh*t works! I held almost every single move at the barre last night for the entire set (count ’em – three sets for every single move…).

…Because I CAN do it.
…I’ve just been letting my brain dictate what my body does.

Similarly, during yesterday’s AM training run, there was probably at least six times when I thought to myself, hmmm…maybe we’ll turn around a little early. Or, maybe this 6.5 miler isn’t meant to be today. Maybe I should do 4 today, 6.5 another day this week. Maybe I should stop.

Hold up. Stop?? Um…no. Not an option.

So, considering I was “option-less” – I did just what I set out to do. I ran 6.5 miles. Even though it was muggy as hell out at 5:15 in the morning. Even though I was lethargic and sleepy because of it. Even though I was so thirsty and just wanted to give in. I ran and I ran. THAT is willpower. Determination. Strength.

As I’ve mentioned to you all before, this training cycle (the half, and the 60-day challenge) has been largely about mental strength and determination. And yes, willpower. This is where I’m discovering new-found confidence. Because I’m finally believing, trusting, commiting.

So yeah, me and willpower? We’re apparently becoming fast friends. I’m thinking maybe BFF’s by the time we get to the half on August 14. What do you think?

*********
Speaking of willpower, confidence and strength – please go check me out over at the barre n9ne studio blog where I pour my heart out about how amazing and incredible the barre n9ne 60-day challenge has been for me. Y’know, since I clearly can’t stop talking about it, thinking about it, walking on clouds because of it. 😉

In one month…13.1

In just one month, I’ll be running the YuKanRun half marathon.

And as I sit here and think about it, I’m feeling really good with one month left of training to go. I’m not sure if I am feeling stronger because I’m training differently this half vs. the last half marathon (more on this in a sec). Or if it’s because I have one half under my belt, I’m less nervous about what to expect. Or if it’s because I’ve gained overall confidence thanks in large part to half training overlapping with what has turned into an unforgettable, life-changing barre n9ne challenge.

Somehow, I definitely think it’s a combination of all of these things. But most of all, I’m feeling able. And feeling able brings with it such confidence. A confidence that I wish and I hope my sister will rediscover as she struggles through a runner’s “rut” (for lack of a better phrase). Because I know she’s able and fit and CAN run this half marathon with me, but the key is – she needs to know that, too. (you reading this, sis? ;-) ) I’m proud of her determination and strength in facing this battle, head-on. (sorry, quick digression there…)

As for training itself? I’ve sort of come up with my own formula that seems to be working well for me. The last training cycle for the Wicked Half was my first attempt at training for such long distances. And I think I overdid it with too many longer runs and not enough consistent, mid-distance runs during training. So this time? My ‘formula’ involves four training runs per week – one fairly short run (4-5 miles); two mid-range runs (6-7 miles) and one long run (anywhere from 8-11 miles by the end.

And this formula is working for me. I can’t say it works for everyone – I’ve seen so many of you train for half marathons and each of you brings a unique slant to training. For me, this style of training has given me consistency which has improved my endurance. Sure, I should probably be tossing some hill repeats and speed work in there but you know what? I’m not necessarily running this race for speed…in fact, I know I’m not (as odd as it sounds). Sure, I’d love to PR in this half.

But it’s not my focus.

My focus is running a race that I’m proud of, a race that I can walk away from and say “I finished what I started.”

And that’s what I intend to do with this half marathon. The final weeks of training? Well – you guessed it, I’m sticking to my formula. Hoping my long run this week will be 9 miles, next week 10, the week after that 11 and the final week before the half 11 or maybe 12 (maybe). But I’m keeping those numbers loose intentionally. I’m focusing on each week as individual training cycles versus one gigantic training regime. It feels less daunting that way and makes this whole half marathon nonsense a lot more approachable. But maybe that’s just me. 😉

YuKanRun Half – I’m coming for you. Are you ready for me??

********
In other news…this afternoon marks the official end of the barre n9ne 60-day challenge. But I can guarantee that it’s not truly the end…there is more to come. Which I promise to share when I’m able to. For now, it’s a secret. 😉 (how’s that for being vague??)

I will, however, be back to report on how the final three-peat of barre n9ne goes tonight (oy!) and what our final results (the big measure-in!) reveal. 6″ inches in 30 days…how many in 60?? 😉

5,000 thoughts

5,000 thoughts.

That’s the average amount of thoughts running around in our brains on any given day of the week.

I’d hazard a guess that I knock most of those thoughts out during my early-AM rundate’s with Scott. Today was different though. I woke up at 5am and realized two things: whoa, am I sore and damn, am I exhausted. I quickly made the decision to skip the run in favor of an unplanned rest day. I knew it was the right decision when I woke up 90 mins later feeling more refreshed and rested.

But.

I really missed that run this morning. I needed it, mentally. Lots of thoughts going on up in that brain of mine, 5,000 of which I probably would’ve mulled over on our run. If we had gone. Yet, physically, I needed the break – especially given tomorrow’s barre n9ne three-peat finale and Friday’s 9-miler planned.

So – I’m battling my brain today, far too many thoughts to keep up with.

A sampling…

Seriously? Did I really see the same exact car with the same exact dude who I was stuck behind last night (ultimately making me late to barre n9ne!) again on my commute back to work this morning?? Something is severely wrong with that.

Man do I hurt. My abs. My shoulders. My back. My glutes.

How come I can’t be like Peter from Office Space and just stop paying bills. Stop going to work. Enjoy the good life without giving a rat’s a$$ about responsibility, obligations, life’s “have to do” versus “want to do” lists?

Sigh. I’m worn out. Mentally. Doing lots of giving, lots of peacekeeping, and it’s a lot to keep up with. I’m a giver. It’s what I do. But even a giver needs a break…

Is the barre n9ne challenge really over tomorrow?? *sniffle*

Whoa – tomorrow marks one month mark before the YuKanRun half marathon. And I’m hearing that it might be a hillier course than I expected. Must drive the route soon. Really soon.

On that note, I’m oddly excited for Friday’s long run. This training cycle has been surprisingly good to me. Hm, I better not have just jinxed myself…

I could really go for a bowl of ice cream. Or a slice of pizza. Or a glass of wine. Or all three. Hungry horrors alert. Must go fill my water bottle up…

The moral of this story? Running keeps those 5,000 thoughts flowing. It’s also my mental mecca. And I miss it today, oh man do I miss it… <sits and thinks hmm…perhaps I can run tonight, solo. Bad idea?>

5,000 thoughts…and counting. 

8 miles – done!

8 miles – done!

…wait, 8 miles? Wasn’t today supposed to be a rest day? 

Well yes, but we had to make a little modification to our training plan this week so my husband (and training partner!) could attend to some family business on Saturday. So being the good wifey that I am, I agreed to move our 8-mile training run to this morning.

…even though yesterday’s workouts (if you’re keeping track, 5 miles in the AM plus two barre n9ne classes at night, oy) left me SO tired last night, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel this morning. But I kind of liked the idea of having a Saturday rest day. Haven’t had one of those in eons.

And guess what? I felt nothing short of awesome on our run today. I have no idea what it was – the route we chose, the fact that I slept like a log last night, the allure of having a Saturday rest day. Or maybe that my body is adjusting to the increased mileage better than I thought, and a lot better than the last training cycle. Whatever it was, I’ll take it.

Our route was gorgeous – it took us through some new neighborhoods near our house and over a portion of our familiar 5.5 miler we frequent quite often (that takes us past a golf course and over a wooden bridge over the ocean, awesome sea breeze). I think the fact that the route felt familiar, albeit longer, tricked my mind into thinking this was a much shorter run. And I’ll take it because I can’t really remember the last time a run felt this good – the entire time too.  Today’s run absolutely gave me the confidence I need to continue to build upon for the upcoming half. I love it.

So yeah, I’m riding a ridiculous 8-mile high this morning that will most definitely take me right through what is expected to be a gorgeous July 4th weekend. I guess you could say I “owned” those 8 miles today. And you know what?  I kinda like the sounds of that. 😉

With that, I hope you all have a wonderful, restful, super-fun, super-gorgeous July 4th weekend. I heart summer, like whoa. (((summer)))

How you doin’?

How you doin’? <—said in my best “Joey” voice from Friends

But seriously, how ARE you doing today? 

Do you ever take the time to sit back and think about how you feel – I mean, how you really and truly feel? You might ask your sister, or brother, or husband, or wife, or mom, or friend, or colleague. But do you ever take stock of you?

I did that last night, actually during barre n9ne barre fusion class, believe it or not. In the midst of all those plies at the barre and endless shoulder reps, I took time to focus my thoughts inward. I asked myself “how am I doing today? Right now? How do I feel?” And to be honest, it was really the first time I’d ever really thought to ask myself that very question. I usually just go with the flow and spend more time making sure others are doing well (I guess I am a nurturer more than I realize, huh? note to self…) around me.

So anyway, when asking myself these questions, I came up with a few answers:
I feel happy.
I feel strong, sturdy even.
I feel confident.
I feel healthy.
And I feel worked.

And I know I’ve been saying this a lot, but I can’t help myself – much of these emotions I’m feeling are due to the incredible experience that is the barre n9ne 60-day challenge. Sure, I’ve been working on confidence and self-image for awhile now as you know, but feeling as strong and as “worked” as I do right now is most certainly due in large part to what we’ve been doing with barre n9ne and through half marathon training too, can’t leave that one out – it’s  a biggie.

So I guess my point with today’s post is this – that we all deserve to take time for ourselves. To really think about how we’re feeling, if what we’re doing is making us happy, making us feel whole. Similar to what Melissa started over at her blog, I think we need to start taking time for us – even just that mental 5 minute temperature check where you ask yourself “how you doin'” from time-to-time. You might be surprised by your own response.

Which leads me to my next question – warning, this takes participation, and I hope you’ll partake!

Just take just a couple of minutes today to ask yourself this:  “How you doin’?” and report back. Give me five words to describe how you are feeling today. Let’s call it “Temperature Check Thursday.”

Readyyyyy….settttt…..GO!!  

Of bucket lists and resolutions

So – as I was getting ready to draft my post today, which I fully intended to be short and sweet (best intentions, I swear!), I stumbled on  my 2011 resolutions post.

I was really just digging around trying to find the “bucket list” post I wrote awhile back. Why? Because I’m about to knock something off my bucket list that I probably never even mentioned as one of my “bucket list, fitness-style” goals.

But alas, it *is* a bucket list item of mine:

I’m going to run in Central Park this weekend!! 

Seems like such a small thing – especially if you live in NYC and Central Park is just another park to you – but for me, it signifies the quintessential running experience, somehow. I’m not even really sure why, but for me – it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m really excited that I’ll get that shot over the weekend.

I’ll be in NYC to see one of my favorite friends get (re) married to her total soul mate. They are actually getting married right in Central Park (so NO RAIN, please!) which I think is just the coolest thing ever. I promise to take lots of pics to share – including a few of me rocking a new dress that I am hoping looks pretty killer after all this work I’ve been putting into things. 😉

But back to the whole resolutions and bucket list thing – I was re-reading my 2011 resolutions post and it dawned on me: I’ve almost killed the entire list already and we’re only halfway through the year! 

For example:
I’ve kicked fat talk to the curb – and I do believe it is gone for good. Yes, please.

I’ve gotten over my hatred of yoga/pilates style workouts – um hello, barre n9ne challenge!!

I’ve signed up for my next half marathon. Oh yes, I have. Bring it on, baby!

I’m learning to give myself a bit of a break – letting my Type-A tendencies go just a wee bit. I can’t say I’ve killed this one (yet) but hey – work in progress, right?

The only thing I haven’t touched yet is the whole I wanna do a triathalon thang. I kinda need to learn to swim first. Oops. Have gotten nowhere on that one. Note to self – teach self to swim at the lake this summer.  Um, maybe??

Oh – and while I’m at it, another item I’d like to add to my “bucket list” for this year? A return to NYC for a barre bootcamp weekend – an idea I concocted with Dori. I think it’s a pretty fab concept, personally. I’m trying to get Sam at Mom at the Barre, Jess at FitChickintheCity and Ali at AliontheRun (so I can convince her that barre workouts ARE truly awesome afterall, haha). Anyone else want in on this party?? 😉  (Tanya and Jo, perhaps?)

And with that – I’m off to get my workday accomplished (very long to-do list, oy) and then the road trip to NYC begins bright and early tomorrow morning (with a packed cooler – gotta keep my game face on, challenge-wise, food log, I will continue to own you!).

Weee! 😉

Listening, learning ‘n stuff

This past weekend involved some of this:


First strawberries of the season – yum.

And a little bit of this:

Much-needed “present” time with loved ones – this is us on our “date night in” after strawberry picking (which was a reward for a particularly tough mentally – and physically – training run…but we won’t go back to that run, onward, right??)

This weekend also involved a rest day – which brings me to my main point of today’s post – on listening and learning.

Last week’s little surprise sickness-from-nowhere was a great reminder to maintain balance – something you all know I try very hard to maintain.  So I’m listening to my body and learning to include more rest – something I believe I fully need  (and deserve – you’ll see why in a sec) right now to perform my best, to feel my best, to do my best.

And with that – here is my workout plan for the week:
Sunday – rest
Monday – 6.5 miler in the AM; barre n9ne method in the PM
Tuesday – barre n9ne lean & tone in the PM
Wednesday – 5 miler rundate with the sis in the AM
Thursday – 6 mile rundate with the sis (and Scott) and barre n9ne long & lean legs; barre n9ne fusion
Friday – rest
Saturday –  4-5 mile run…in Central Park!! (we’ll be in NYC all weekend! More on this later)

You’ll note two things:  two rest days and yes, one less day of running (sob!) which was a lot harder for me to “agree” to than the rest day! I’m in that mode where I’m sincerely LOVING every workout and just want more, more, more! And even though I know I can do more, I am going to listen. Instead of five days of running plus 4-5 days of barre n9ne classes, paring that back to *just* four days of running will make a big difference. Especially as I continue to up the miles in preparation for the YuKanRun half in August. I mean really – what’s one day less of running in the grand scheme of things? I might miss my little bunny friends in the morning on Tuesdays but that’s ok – I’m listening and learning, right?

So there you have it – listening, learning ‘n stuff.  I’ll be back later to fill ya’ll in on the NYC plans for next weekend and to chat more about this whole barre n9ne thing, less than 30 days to go – and more inches to be lost. 😉