On teaching myself to run…for me.

Hi friends!

When my sis asked me to guest post for her while she’s away, my mind was actually pretty blank, to be honest. But today, it hit me. As I stood at mile 11, waiting for our fabulous bloggy friend Samantha to pass us (meeting up with Meaghan, who is supremely awesome!) as she ran the Hampton Half Marathon, it hit me. As I saw the runners whizzing past, at all paces, and seeing some faces scrunched up in struggle, while others had their eye on the prize, I just saw something in their faces: they were running for themselves…above all else, they were running for them, and nobody else. Sure, some were intent on finishing first, or PRing or breaking an old PR, but the common thread was that it was for them. The run. 

And that is something I have very much struggled with over the last year. Why I run. For awhile, I lost sight of that, and ran because I thought I should. And trained for two half marathons because I thought I should, because my sister and my friend Steph were running them, but after a second half marathon that just didn’t go nearly as planned, I knew I needed to throw that book out the window and start clean.

Thus, I proclaimed that I love to run, but I do not love to race. And born from that was my 6-month run challenge (read up on it here) that I built for myself to sustain some distance during the cold winter months (complete with challenging myself to run outside in the cold, something I’d never really done in seasons past) and to maybe even build up my pace a bit from my usual 10mm that I can’t seem to break.

What I didn’t expect to gain from this challenge, now, 3 months in, was this: it has helped me re-inspire and re-capture why I run and more importantly, why I like to run. I’m conquering the breathing problems that have plagued me, I am gaining some speed, I am running consistently, and I have even embraced my aforementioned abhorrence for intervals.

And in the process? I’ve learned to love running again and to ultimately run for me, and only me. In this bloggy world filled with runners of all varieties, it’s so easy for me to get caught up in what everyone else is doing…but for the first time in a long time, I’m really just focused on what I am doing, and nothing else. The way it should be.

And that, my friends, is how I’ve taught myself to run…for me. 

For anyone out there that is struggling with this very thing – running for you and not letting anything else affect that…take it from me, it can be done. I am proof and I am thrilled with how far I’ve come, moreso mentally even, than physically.

So, take that gamble, get your head in the game and figure out why you run, and then just go for it. You’ll probably surprise yourself with what you’re actually capable of when you’re focusing on just you, just running.

Ready for “battle”?

This is what 7 miles in the rain looks like (in case you were wondering):

But that’s not the point of my post today.

My point?

My husband thinks I’m armed and ready for battle with all the gear I had on for today’s long run ala YuKanRun half marathon training.


Well, I *did*  have an awful lot of gear on today:
Hat – to keep the rain out of my eyes
Watch – to watch our pace
Not one, but two patella straps – gotta protect those knees
iFitness hydration belt – test-run baby!

He looked at me as I was gearing up and smirked — “What are you, going in for battle? Look at all that gear.”

At first I got all offended and annoyed that he clearly did NOT get why I needed all this stuff. But then, I had to giggle – he kept imitating me during the run, and as it started to go from a light sprinkle to outright downpour – he said, “don’t worry, you got this — you do have your survival pack on you, afterall.”

Such a jokester, he is.

But seriously, all that gear made a huge difference today. Especially the hat (hello, rain!) AND that iFitness hydration belt. Just like Naomi promised (thank you, dear!), it didn’t slip at ALL during our run. It stayed at my hips and I seriously didn’t even notice it was there – y’know until I needed a sip of water. And those tiny sips made such a difference – no dry mouth, no “OMG I’m dying of thirst” distracting thoughts.

Just me (and my gear) and Scott running along, conquering that 7-miler like a coupla running fiends!

So yeah – I guess Scott was right – I *was* geared up and ready for battle today. <—see babe? I admitted it, you were right. Happy now? 😉

Observations (on barre, running, and randoms)

My facebook status last night after back-to-back barre n9ne classes on top of an early-morning “run date” with my sis?

For real – totally and utterly embracing today’s rest day. This was an awesome week for workouts, but a girl’s gotta rest after all that, right?? And for once, I’m not whining about it. 😉

So anyway, a couple of observations sprang to mind on my commute in this morning:

  • Since starting the barre n9ne challenge just about three weeks ago, we’ve already taken 15 classes! 15! Insanely awesome!! Officially addicted (thank you, Tanya!!), loving every minute.
  • This week, fittingly enough given national runner’s day and all, marks the first week of half marathon training and I’m loving it, especially since my old friend “running mojo” seems to have returned. So far, there have been four runs in the 4.5-5.5 range. Saturday will be my first “long” run of 6.5 miles. I’m psyched!
  • Another observation? No lie – my jeans fit better today. As in, I don’t feel crammed into them. Progress, yay! Major “high” going on over here – runner’s high? Barre n9ne high? All of the above?
  • Another reason to be riding high today? This weekend is my 7 year wedding anniversary – can you believe it?? A post will be coming along on Sunday to celebrate, so keep an eye out for it. Otherwise, I’ll be disconnecting pretty completely this weekend. I’m sure you understand. 😉

So I guess you can put this blog post in the “when long commutes work in my favor” column. Lots of thoughts and observations and things running around in my brain this morning – hence the random nature of today’s post.

I guess if I could sum up this week? I’d call it a “riding high” kind of week, complete with a celebration of me (and you!) thrown in for good measure. Not too shabby. 😉 Happy, happy weekend, friends!

Now what?

Ok, so I’m committed to my 2nd half marathon.

And I’m all over the Barre N9ne challenge (which is going amazingly well, if my ridiculous enthusiasm over the whole thing isn’t clear by now!).

So…now what?

How will I balance both?

I was thinking about this last night as I dozed into dreamland. I’m all about focus these days – less is more, quality over quantity, all that jazz.

So here’s my plan: Barre N9ne is on until July 13. I’m in it to win it. So is my sis.

But the half will be just about one month later on August 14. I’ve got to finish what I’ve started.

So – is there a training plan in mind, you ask?

Kind of.

Booshy shared a pretty fanfrickintastic training plan with me and my sis today. She goes so far as to laminate it to post on the fridge (talk about motivating!). I love it. Yet – I find myself shying away from a “written” training plan, per se. So instead, I’m going to loosely follow what I did last summer when training for the Wicked Half. The whole less is more thing worked well here – less is more being  less structure is better for me than more. It prevents stress, something I dig, big time these days.

So the plan, sorry – was digressing there for a sec. (Such a spaz today.):

Run 4x/week – one long run (likely on Sundays) of varying mileage, two shorter runs (3-5ish miles) and one mid-range run (6, 7ish). Of course, I’ll be building up to the longer mileage to avoid any training injuries. The last thing I want to do is run into another knee issue!

In between running, I’ll continue to focus, focus, focus on Barre N9ne.

And that’s it. All she wrote, folks.

Kinda sounds like what I’m already doing now, huh? Well, it is – I’m just finally ready to give this “thing” a name – it’s my barre-n9ne-challenge-ala-half-marathon-training-lovefest.

Whatcha think? Has a nice ring to it, no?

Oh – and in typical spaz fashion, a couple of MUST-HAVES to get me through the next 2.5-ish months, I’ve decided?

I need:

Lululemon RUN shorts

I need:

Lululemon groove pants

Where’s my Lululemon fairy godmother? I’m waaaaitng.



On workout “cycles…”

So last night I hit up Group Kick – a class I not only love, love, love, but am also certified to teach, as you know. My sis and I reacted the exact same way to the class last night. Which totally inspired this very blog post.

Our reaction? 

In a word: “Meh.”

It was just ok. And at first I wasn’t sure why.
I thought well – maybe I was tired (truth). Or, I don’t love the new release as much as previous releases (truth). Or, maybe it was simply just an “off” workout for me (maybe?). They aren’t all going to be rockstar, right?

As soon as I mentioned it to my sis, she agreed, 100%. <—shocking, right? 

SO, in talking about all the reasons why we felt so “meh” afterwards, we came to an interesting conclusion. My sis mentioned the whole concept of workout “cycles.”

YES! That’s it exactly: whether we know it or not, we all go through workout “cycles.” Cycles where we love a particular workout, cannot get enough of it. And months later – we’ve moved onto something else.

For me, this has happened much more often for me than I realized (until I started writing this post, even)

…it’s happened with weight training. (and came flooding back, as you’ve seen here)

…it’s happened a million times with core work. (thank you Core Fusion, and now, Barre N9NE!)

…it’s happened with cardio, even. (until a particularly killer Ride class lures me back in).

…it’s happened with running.(thank you running mojo for slowly coming back!)

But one workout that never seemed to be impacted was Kick.
Until now.

I mean, sure – after the high of getting certified kind of “wore off,” I was maybe slightly less kick-crazy, but I still loved it. I still love it even though I don’t teach anymore. And until last night, I still loved getting to class at least once per week for a nice ass-kicking workout.

But apparently, it’s time for me to push Kick aside for a bit. A little time away may do me some good – and let’s be honest, timing couldn’t be more perfect. With the Barre N9NE challenge starting next week, I surely will not have time for a workout I’m not even digging all that much lately. So, I’m ready to say “goodbye” (for now) to Kick, in favor of new challenges. I’m pretty sure Kick will be back in my life in some shape or form soon, but for now, I’m at peace with it.

Does this whole concept of workout “cycles” make sense and/or resonate with you? Or am I one of few that tends to cycle through workout loves now and then? I sure hope I’m not in the minority on this one – especially since I firmly believe that switching it up is the best way to continually see results, and to stick to workouts consistently. But I’m anxious to hear what you think? Discuss, please. 🙂

What I worked Wednesday (and Mon, and Tues, and…)

What a week it’s been so far! I had the best of intentions to write a post today about my favorite workout of the week but guess what? It was too hard to pick just one so I figured I’d dedicate today’s post toWhat I worked Wednesday (and then some).”  I hope you don’t mind. 😉

Sunday – leg day! Had to make up for last week’s skipped leg workout so I made sure it was a doozy.  Four sets of supersets done 3×20 style. Included lunges, squats (with and without weight), deadlifts, plie squats (still feeling those!), calf raises and side-slide and slide-back lunges. Finished off with a bit of Core Fusion abs (from my growing collection of Core Fusion DVDs of course). Love!

Mondaypuke-worthy run with Scott.

TuesdayBarre N9NE class which I LOVED so much. It was a fusion style class and kicked my behind, like whoa! I just LOVE how I feel both during a barre-style class and right afterwards. The only way to describe it is body-shaking and totally detoxifying.

Today – sweatfest of a Ride class. It was a new release today that was killer…plus the room was super warm for some reason today which left me dripping (good day to forget my towel, oy). I swear, I’m still sweating now!

Whew! Great workout week so far! Sometimes that’s all it takes to make my week that much better (in between that thing called work, right??). And there’s more to come, woohoo! So – my question to you: can you pick out your favorite workout(s) of the week? How did it make you feel? What made it your favorite?

In all honesty, I love every single workout I fit in for one main reason: I’m able and I totally appreciate that. Whoa-ly. 

I had (have?) a dream

Well, sorta both.

I *did* have a dream this weekend.

One that left a lasting impression.

But it’s also a dream of mine, too.

Hence the title of my post…
…I had (have?) a dream…to run the Healdsburg Half

My dream this weekend was vivid. I was very clearly running in Healdsburg – surrounded by beautiful vineyards, full of multi-colored vines, just past the grape harvest. And I was running.  Freely. Almost magically. (it *was* a dream afterall!). And I had an awesome race. One where I never hit that all encompassing wall. One where the run was one to remember. One where I crossed that finish line with arms stretched overhead in victory, huge grin plastered on my face, pride radiating from my body. I crossed in PR-crushing fashion. And it was amazing. 

Fast forward to tonight. Running with Scott. Nearly puking at the end (he pushed me so far out of my comfort zone…much-needed but still, I totally envisioned my Chobani making a second appearance tonight, oy). But all I could think about was that dream.

I want to run the Healdsburg Half. 

So much.

And why have I not registered yet?? One reason, and one reason only: I have a practical husband. Who thinks we should wait juuuuust a little bit longer until a few things on the home front are worked out.

So, while I tried my best to win him over with batting eyelashes and pleading puppy dog eyes….I kinda know he’s right. So we’ll wait…just a little bit longer. But only because he’s really cute and I am pretty sure I’ll win him over in the end. 

But if any of you know me by now, you know one thing: I am stubborn. Once my mind is settled, there isn’t much that will deter me.

So watch out, Healdsburg Half…there are some east coasters with their eye on you this fall!  😉

Legs, lungs, and other goals for the week

Y’know how they say it takes time to get your “sea legs?”

Well, after this morning’s run, it’s clear that I need to get my running legs (and lungs) back.


Not that I’d qualify this morning’s run as “bad,” it was just eye-opening. I haven’t focused as much on my running in the past couple of months for one reason or another and it’s clear that my running endurance has taken a little bit of a hit. Though, instead of letting frustration get in the way of me rediscovering my running groove, I’m going to embrace this morning’s run for what it was – a learning experience.

And of course, I now have a plan (don’t I always??). This week is all about getting my running legs and lungs back. Come Saturday, I want to experience runner’s high again, allowing my body to go, my mind to freely wander, taking in the sights and sounds around me. Just me. Running.

Here’s how I hope this week will look (as always, if life happens, this plan may change and I’m cool with that…):

Sunday – run (today was about 4.5 miles or so)
Monday – Core Fusion Pilates Abs (just two segments of the workout to get my core warmed up); followed by an early-AM run with Scott (really excited avout this, supposed to hit 80 tomorrow so I’m anticipating the morning to be fairly mild – and I’m hoping that running while the world wakes up will re-inspire me…there’s something so calming and centering about running in the dark, as the sun rises, with the birds chirping, my best friend by my side…)
Tuesday – chest/back workout and Core Fusion Body Sculpt – abs section only (Haven’t decided if this workout will look exactly the same as last week’s yet, I may opt for drop-sets vs. supersets. We shall see.)
Wednesday – Ride in the AM; weights in the PM – biceps/triceps (in case you’re wondering – the goal in adding Ride to the mix? Cardio improvement, and the benefits of cross-training)
Thursday – Run date with my sis and Steph in the AM; weights in the PM – legs/shoulders
Friday – rest (this may involved some very, very light yoga  – I promise – to stretch out what I anticipate to be very sore legs by this point in the week)
Saturday – Run with Scott – runner’s high, please?

So the difference in this week’s workout plan versus last week? There’s a big focus on running. Four planned runs, in fact. My hope is that by recommitting to running again, by week’s end, this running “slump” I felt this morning will have all but passed. And I’m really looking forward to getting those running legs (and lungs) back again.

PS. A favor, please. My sis has had an incredibly hard time getting her running groove back. She is doubting her abilities (which is ridiculous, she’s very fit) and is seriously wondering if she’ll ever get her running endurance back. I’ve tried everything to get her to believe in herself and to let the mental piece of running go, to stop doubting herself, to stop letting her fears manifest themselves into physical reactions (like panicked breathing). But she won’t listen to me, at least not fully. So I’m calling all hands on deck – can you please throw some advice her way for me? Tips on letting your mind go, on rediscvoering your running groove, etc? Maybe she’ll listen to you vs. listening to her sister.  😉 Thanks friends!

Of running and race schedules…

For those of you that live in New England like me, you’ve probably been diggin’ the downright balmy temps this weekend. I was in my own personal heaven this weekend at the sheer thought of running outside on both Saturday *and* Sunday…and without freezing my butt off in the process.

Now, neither run was all that long (around 4 miles or so) but that didn’t matter to me. I didn’t care what my garmin said. I didn’t care how long it took me to get there.

I simply embraced the run. And it felt awesome.

Just letting my legs carry me along, realizing that those intervals this winter have totally helped and yup, and a stronger core (thank you Core Fusion!) that pushed me through?

Yeah, that’s pretty much why I run.

It’s mine. It makes me happy. It gives me confidence. It clears my mind. It centers me.

So – timing is good then, to have figured out my tentative race plans for this spring/summer/fall, right? Now – this is hopefully just the start of my race “schedule” for this year. I hope, anyway! The way I structured the plan is to start slowly and build up towards the higher mileage races. But we’ll see how it goes – like I said, I’m hoping to add to this schedule as we go along. <—what can I say? I’m eager!

Without further ado…the race schedule, 2011:

April 2: Hit The Street for Little Feet 5k Road Race in Manchester-by-the sea (this one is great, takes you right by the ocean, love!)

May 13: Backshore Road Race 5-miler (another one that takes you by the ocean, this one is in my hometown and takes us right past where we were married almost 7 years ago, love x2!)

May 19: Fitbloggin’ 5k, at Fitbloggin in Baltimore, surrounded by fellow #fitblog friends like you!

June 19: Rockport Fathers Day 5 and 10k (I’ll do the 10k – this will be my FIRST 10k race, actually. I went right from running 5ks and 5-milers to running half marathons…apparently that’s how I roll…)

September 24: The Wicked Half...I wasn’t sure I’d choose this half to conquer again, but it holds such a special place in my heart since it was my first half, that I really do want to go back and tackle it again.

But…there’s *another* half I’d love to do in the fall, but it sorta depends on if I can get myself there. We’re planning a return to wine country (hopefully) this fall but still need to figure out the timing. If we do, I’d love, love, LOVE to run the Healdsburg Half on October 29 –I mean really, WHAT could be better? Running a half, in my mecca (I swear, I should’ve been a Cali girl!), surrounded by the vines? Um yeah, sounds awesome. We shall see. ;-)

November 24: Wild Turkey Run 5-miler (this would be our fourth time running this race on Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite way to kick off the holiday…and it would be awesome to set a new PR like I did last year!)

So, that’s it. The race schedule…so far. I hope you dig it.  🙂

And speaking of running…a MAJOR congrats to my girl Heather for not just running her first half, but KILLING her first half with sub-two hour race day finish. I am SO proud of you girlfriend!! xoxo

Motivation: it can come from the most unsuspecting places

Guess what?

I had zero motivation to workout this morning.


Yup. It was one of those mornings where I could have stayed in bed for WAY longer but it had to be done.

Scott and I reluctantly rolled out of bed and made our way upstairs to our home gym.

I know, cry me a river. My gym is upstairs and I still didn’t want to workout.


Workout motivation source #1 right? Home gym = zero excuses not to get the workout done.

But my real motivation today?

My husband.

Who knew I was NOT in the mood to get that treadmill set done but had a plan in mind, apparently.

Just as I was about to give up about ten minutes sooner than I had planned out, he said that I had “no choice” but to keep running until the show we were watching On Demand was over (Hawaii Five-O, really good show, FYI)


I ‘spose that’s a good way to get me to bust out that last ten minutes in style, right?

Rather than argue it, I got it done. Easy as that.

Unsuspecting and random source for motivation today, but hell, whatever works. That’s the moral of this “story” – motivation can come from a million different sources and will be different for everyone and can be as random as my motivation source was today. Thanks babe, you pushed me through. I’ll give you credit…this time. 😉

For those of you wondering, here’s how my treadmill workout looked:

warm-up: 5 mins @ 3.5 mph

Series of mini-intervals for 35 mins: every 2 mins I changed the speed from 6.3, 6.5, 6.7, 7.0, 7.2 and so on. My fastest 2 mins (which I repeated twice during this cycle) was 8 mph.

cool-down: 5 mins @ 3.5 mph

It wasn’t my BEST treadmill workout but it was good enough, and that’s just fine by me for today. Off to enjoy my day, no looking back 🙂