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. <3
  • 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.

“Sticking your neck out for what you believe in…”

Listening to the radio this morning, one of the guests on the show I was tuned into mentioned something his grandfather told him on his deathbed. It had to do with giraffes and how he admired them as animals — not just for their grace and strength but for sticking their necks out even in the wilderness where they faced the threat of attack by far more vicious animals like lions or bears. To him, giraffes signified a mantra he tried to live by always: “stick your neck out for what you believe in.” 

And you know what? That guy was a very wise man.
…sticking your neck out for what you believe in is an incredibly powerful concept. At least it is to me.

Which got me thinking this morning…what do I believe in, anyway? 

I believe in the power of faith and blind trust in our paths, created by Him. Even if faith can be scary or hard to wrap my head around sometimes. I believe in it. Firmly.
(just this week I was reminded just how important faith can be, as some big time prayers were answered…more on this in a future post)

I believe in the beauty of marriage, of building a partnership, a best-friendship, a love story together. Playing “wifey’ to my husband is my favorite ‘job’ of all.  #teamsutera <3

I believe in the strength of the human body. How it just knows what to do if you let your mind go and trust your body to do whatever ‘work’ you’d like it to do.

I believe that sometimes all it takes is a good sweat to shake off a bad mood. Sweat is good. 

I believe that it’s ok to say ‘no,’ to put yourself or your needs first sometimes, and to not let guilt steal the joy of those quiet ‘me’ moments.

I believe in living a life as free from regret as possible. I may not be perfect at living this way, but I’m constantly working towards that ‘no regrets’ mindset.

I believe in fueling my body with delicious, whole, fresh ingredients, and not being afraid to say “I LOVE FOOD!” because good food (and let’s be honest, good wine…) brings me joy.

I believe that we all deserve to chase our dreams, big or small, for as long or far as that chase takes until we snag that dream.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. Even the bad things in our days. We might not see that ‘reason’ for awhile but trust me, it’s there. And it’ll smack you in the face one day and then you’ll say “ohhh, no wonder. Now I see it.” <—-this happened this week too

I believe in myself.

Now. Belief is a beautiful thing and I hope you all have a list just as long (or longer) than mine. Share it here if you like. Mull it over this weekend. Blog about it if you wish. Or simply: just believe. Let that sense of belief wrap itself around you like a comforting cozy blanket on a chilly fall day. Find strength in your beliefs. And stick your neck out from time to time, it feels good.

 

<<Editor’s note: Happy weekend my friends! I hope you find one thing this weekend to believe in, big or small. I know who I’ll be believing in this weekend. One of my bestest blog friends ever: Heather. She’s running a half marathon tomorrow and I hope you’ll all cheer her on with me!! I’ll also be cheering for all you MCM-ers running the marathon on Sunday. Hurricane Sandy, steer clear please!!>>

Three years…and full circle

Funny thing. I forgot today was the three year anniversary of this little blog of mine.
(until I read Alicia’s post last night and it jogged my memory…I’ve been following her blog since day 1!)

You see — I’ve been a little bit too busy ‘living’ and have found far less time for blogging lately.
…so when I read my very first post again last night, it dawned on me — I’ve kind of come full circle in the three years since EatDrinkBreatheSweat came to life. 

It was this portion of that post that reminded me of that fact:

So, on a rainy Saturday afternoon, I bring you: EatDrinkBreatheSweat. The reason for the name? Well – before I launched this blog, being the Type-A person that I am, I did some research. What I found was a bunch of weight-loss related blogs and hard-core certified personal trainer-type blogs but no blog for the fitness fanatics that simply love to workout but also know how to enjoy life. So while I truly do love, love, love working out – from running to spinning to stepping to kickboxing and weight-lifting – I also love to eat, drink, and live (aka “breathe”) life to the fullest. Recent events in my life have really taught me how short and fragile life truly is. So why would I want to spend it as a “tortured soul” (more on this in a future post, I promise), never allowing myself to indulge in some of my favorites (wine, chocolate, cheese, pizza, and the list goes on)? Well, I wouldn’t and don’t intend to.

It’s funny that in re-reading my words from three years ago, I claimed to live a very balanced, very un-’tortured’ soul life. Yet, in secret, I was very ‘tortured.’ I loved working out. Loved, loved, loved it. But I hated that I never saw the results I wanted…unless I cut out all of the foods that I loved (wine included). I claimed to eat well and very balanced back then but in theory, I often blew it out of the water on the weekends, only to ‘be good’ during the week and I wondered why I wasn’t a chiseled specimen (lol) given all the hours I spent at the gym back then. (NOT that working out is all about physical appearance, trust me it is WAY more than that to me today…)

But now? I truly *am* the person I claimed I was three years ago.

I am at peace with food. It doesn’t hold power over me like it used to. It doesn’t control me. It fuels me. And yes, it *does* make me happy. But not in a gorge-myself-until-I-want-to-die kind of ‘happy.’ But in an at-peace, intuitive and mindful kind of happy.

I embrace the smarter, not harder mentality in my workouts. I don’t spend HOURS in the gym everyday only to come home frustrated and let down. I run. #simply. I teach barre classes...a style I utterly adore to pieces, something I talk about all.the.time. on this blog. barre n9ne is what works for me, it’s my ‘secret sauce’  – the style of workout that just does it for me, both physically but definitely mentally as well. I’ve never felt more in tune and connected to my own body as I do today. Or more strong

I am ‘breathing‘ far more than I was back then — truly (albeit slowly) getting back to living presently. I’m seeking faith and embracing faith so much more than I was three years ago. And I’m enjoying every last bit of my days, even those days that are so jam packed with STUFF, I seek out those #littlethings to be thankful for.

Which is what I’m doing right now — giving thanks.
…for the past three years — I am so very thankful for a journey that has awakened new beginnings in me and around me at every bend in my path.
…I am filled with gratitude for the beautiful friends I’ve ‘met’ over the years through blogging.
…And I’m finally happy just (be)ing…just Jess. 

 

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? 

What I’m loving lately – the barre n9ne edition

Remember how I talked about the ‘cycles’ my workouts tend to take?
(wow, this post on workout cycles was a long time ago…back when Group Kick was still in my life. That ‘life’ feels like a lifetime ago given where I am today. Interesting note.)

Well – you guessed it, I’m about to enter a new cycle.

Funny how just a few days ago, I was talking about simplifying, not jumping into anything (race-wise) now that the marathon is over, etc., and here I am already seeing the outline of this next cycle taking shape right before my eyes.  So interesting that our paths in life truly are right there if we just learn to settle back and have some faith. Noted.

Anyway – that new ‘cycle’ of mine? It revolves around something I am loving so much right now, more than ever – yup, you  guessed it: barre n9ne.

I mentioned fairly recently that the studio was expanding again. I am PSYCHED about this. We now have two locations – one near my sister and one near me (fitting, right??). In a couple of weeks the studio near me (the original location) is expanding to two separate studio rooms so that location can now hold two classes at (or around) the same time of day or night. This is HUGE from a growth perspective – there are so many clients who want to take classes that simply can’t get into some of the more popular time slots (particularly at night). I am so, so, so excited to see this happen – Tanya (the owner) is incredible. She has worked her butt off to make this dream of hers a reality. It’s seriously amazing just how much growth the studio has seen since my sis and I joined the studio last May. To think that it’ll basically be triple the size as it was then is just awesome. Talk about hard work paying off, huh?

The studio expansion obviously holds a special place in my heart since it’s been such a life-changing ‘home’ for me (and my sis) since we kicked off the 60-day challenge and fell deeply in love with all things barre. We are both so in love with teaching in the style that we adore, it’s ridiculous the amount of gushing we do – to anyone who will listen (and even if they don’t want to listen, we still babble on as you’ve no doubt seen on Facebook, Instagram, twitter…lol). Most of all – teaching and participating in the barre n9ne ‘family’ is all about paying it forward for both of us. It has changed our lives in ways that neither of us ever saw coming back then. <3

 But back to that ‘cycle’ thing I was talking about.
(sorry, I digress a LOT lately when I write…such a spaz)

Now that the studio is thisclose to expanding, I’ll be teaching even more than I have been already. This excites me so very much. I love, love, love seeing clients ‘embrace the shake’ at the barre, hold on through a difficult arm series and to walk away from class feeling utterly ‘worked.’ Seriously nothing like it. Every single time a new 60-day challenge program kicks off, the energy of the room automatically kicks up a notch or two with both old and new challengers uber-motivated to give it their all. Love. It.

So more classes to teach, more opportunity to pay it forward? All awesome, awesome things in my book.

However, it *does* mean that I’ll need to step back a teeny bit from running. But in a very good way, IMHO. Going back to the run #simply mentality – my running will wind up being a LOT less structured given I’ll have limited windows of time to run now (at most 3 opportunities per week). And I’m surprisingly really, really ok with this cycle shift. I LOVE to run. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m already looking forward to less structure, and more running joyful moments. Where I just get out there to sweat, move, breathe, and feel alive.

And in between that? I’ll be living and breathing the barre n9ne lifestyle in all that I do. As I’ve done faithfully since last May.

So this is me, looking forward to rocking lots of barre n9ne ‘high’s much like the one I rocked yesterday morning after an especially sweaty, energetic 6am class.  #b94lyf

 

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

“No Limits” — revisited

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a few days now — but only now am finding the right words, and the right time, to write it.
…remember back at the start of this year — when I proclaimed 2012 to be my year of ‘no limits’?

Let’s revisit that, shall we?

An excerpt from that post…

In looking forward to 2012, rather than listing out 3 or 4 resolutions or goals for 2012, I have made just one promise to myself.

To leap before looking.

Breaking free of any preconceived limitations or boundaries that maybe existed in my mind before.
26.2? Sure, let’s do it. 
…a new job? Lemme at it (a post for another day, promise). 
…seeing just how refined this body can becomebarre n9ne-style — All.Over.It. 
…harnessing my inner sponteneity, letting go of that pre-planned/go-go-go mentality…finding that Type B?I want it.

So this is me – staring down 2012 with a sparkle in my eye: I’m ready to leap without looking. I’m ready to have no limits today...everyday.

And now, it’s mid-October….10 months later — and I’m firmly entrenched in what I can only describe is the year where I crushed boundaries and harnessed that ‘no limits’ mantra in everything I’ve done.

 – 26.2? Done. Trained with all my heart, and ran my butt off with Scott, #teamsutera style all the way. Goal: crushed.

New job? Hi, let’s try two new jobs.

 – Barre n9ne and seeing how much more refinement I could eek out, post-60 day challenge? Refined…sure, but more than that? I’ve proudly transformed into an instructor this year. An instructor who *loves* this job more than ever (hmm…make that three new jobs this year…)

– Embracing sponteneity, tossing aside that Type A mentality a little bit this year? I’ve had no choice but to let go of structure and pre-conceived boundaries this year, like whoa. (Learning to roll with it as best as this Type A-er can ‘roll’ with anything)

On the one hand? I’m damn proud of what this year has evolved into for me.
…yet on the other? I’m damn tired.

Everyone keeps asking me what’s next, what’s next, what’s next for me, for us, for #teamsutera. Are we signing up for another 26.2? Are we tackling some new, as yet undefined challenge next? What are we gonna DO now that this marathon is behind us and this year of ‘no limits’ is quickly drawing to a close.

Honestly? I just want to be.
present.
…focused.
…centered.
me. 

(“just be…Jess” as Melissa told me in a note last night…boy did she hit the nail on the head or what?)

So what this means I’m not quite sure. I just know that I need to simplify my life. Somehow. Some way. I have no idea what this means yet. But you bet your ass it’s the only thing on my mind right now.

Simple.

Smarter not harder.

Striving for excellence not perfection. 

These are the phrases rolling around in my head.
…I’m not longer so focused on ‘no limits.’

…honestly, it’s time to just be. In whatever shape or form that takes. 

…annnnd the blooper reel (26.2-style)

Oh look — *another* marathon-inspired blog post over here. I know, I know — you’re all shocked by this, hmm? ;-)
(and this one is kinda long, sorry – lots of blooper stories to share!)

But seriously — enough with the tears up in here. While I’ve LOVED sharing our very emotional, very amazing marathon journey with you guys here, today it’s time for a few giggles. It’s about time, right?

With that, I bring you….the BLOOPER REEL, 26.2-style. Let’s dive right in, shall we? 

Remember how I told you all that Friday was a day filled with anxiety and emotion as we prepped for Chicago and made our way to the airport that afternoon?  Well, for any of you Type A-ers out there, you KNOW how stressful and anxious packing can be. I mean I had a TYPED-UP list of things to bring with me on this trip — broken down into nice neat little categories: race morning, post-race, Friday night outfit, Saturday night outfit, etc. etc. etc., you get the idea.

I even had a separate category just for snacks and fuel.
(can you see where this is heading folks?)

…I forgot to pack our Healthy Bites.

The ONE item I so painstakingly planned ahead for, packing up nice and neatly in teeny tiny little ziploc bags in the freezer – three for me, three for Scott. Yet, they never made it out of the freezer and into my carry-on bag with our giant bag of snacks and other race day goodies (bandaids and body glide, anyone?). As soon as I realized it in the airport, my heart dropped, and I immediately felt like crying…and throwing up. Those Healthy Bites were made with such love and care by the ever fabulous, ever beautiful #runsherpa queen Lindsay. She made them ESPECIALLY for our race and they meant the world to me. The world.

Yet I forgot them. I was SO sad.
…and MAD at myself for forgetting the most important thing aside from our sneakers on race day!

Immediately, I started to panic. My sis tried to help keep me calm. Scott just looked at me, unsure of what to say really. And I was just a mess. I emailed Lindsay to get some ideas on what else to pack once we arrived in Chi town (cut-up larabars? lunabars? something ‘real’ was what I wanted, not just our honey stingers and gummy bears). Lindsay responded almost immediately (because she’s awesome) and one of the first things she said after giving me some backup options, was this: “what hotel are you staying at?” I knew what her intent was. She was going to spend an arm and a leg to overnight replacement Healthy Bites to our hotel. I did NOT want to put her out that way, particularly because this was entirely my fault. And yes, I was being stubborn.

Little did I know that she wasn’t going to take “no” for an answer. Behind the scenes, fellow #runsherpas Heather and my sis were scheming. I was even texting with Heather about it and she played dumb to what was really going on behind the scenes (so sneaky!!). As it turns out, my sis was SO worried about how I’d reacted to my forgotten Healthy Bites that she HAD to fix it. With Lindsay’s help at Healthy Bites headquarters (hehe) in Austin, Jo and Heather (and Lindsay) split the cost of shipping the bites up to Chicago in time for the race.

I have NO idea what this cost them but I’m sure it was a small fortune.
…and that gesture by the three of them? Meant the absolute world to me. 

What started as a GIANT blooper on my part turned into the most beautiful act of kindness I’ve ever seen.
…love you ladies!! <3 #gratitude

(editor’s note: check out the awesome “Fueled by Healthy Bites” badge on the right side of this blog post — how awesome is that?? Healthy Bites FTW!)

And in other blooper reel moments? Let’s discuss:

  • In my haste to bring my stuff downstairs to load into the in-laws car for the ride to the airport, I slipped and fell down 3-4 stairs. Like, really? I NEVER fall down the stairs (I do fall *up* them from time to time, though…). I was so annoyed I started to cry. Um hi, anxious much?
  • Again in a haste, we left to grab some lunch before our ride arrived to bring us to the airport. We stupidly decided to try a new place neither of us had ever been to before. And because we thought we ‘knew where it was,’ we didn’t bother with GPS. Annnnnnd we promptly got lost. In the freakin’ city we LIVE in. Who does that?? Cue more tears (I was hangry, I have an excuse…kinda).
  • At the airport, we get through security with relative ease. Line wasn’t very long, leaving us with plenty of time to grab a drink at the airport bar with Jo and M who were already at the airport. We hastily grabbed our shoes, our carry-on bags and our toiletries…or we tried to grab our toiletries but the security guard grabbed them and started inspecting them. Shaking the bag at me, she chided me for using a *gallon* sized ziploc instead of the approved *quart* sized bag. How many times have I used those damn gallon sized bags and never once been stopped? But THAT DAY, of all days? And I’m being harassed by the security agent. I had to choose my battles — tossing some of my products so they’d fit into the smaller quart sized bag instead. (or she offered that I could “check” these items instead…um hi, who would ever do that for TWO items??). I was *so* annoyed in fact that she left me speechless. Scott must’ve breathed a sigh of relief at that one…he’s seen me throw a tantrum in public before, it’s not pretty. LOL
  • During the race, Scott and I had our eyes peeled for friends and family we knew would be cheering us on. I guess our eyes were a little bit TOO excited to see our name on one of the signs as we passed by one spectator in particular. Scott *swore* it said “Sutera” on it somewhere and yelled “babe, that’s for us!” thinking it was a blog reader or someone who was holding the sign. No, no — it was for another runner with the last name “Suter.” The lady looked at us when Scott got all excited and said something to the effect of “this isn’t for you.” LOL gee thanks ;-)
  • Annnd last but not least: I booked our hotel room in Chicago SO long ago (Um, I booked them in FEBRUARY) that I forgot that our room had a king-sized bed. It wouldn’t have mattered if Jo and M hadn’t decided later on to join us in Chicago and I offered to share our room with them to save some money. Buuut I forgot that tiny detail until a week before the race. A wee bit late for making room change requests. Soooo king bed for #teamsutera and tiny rollaway TWIN bed for Jo and M. Fail, fail, FAIL. (good thing they have a sense of humor…)

The moral of this story? While there were plenty of tears this weekend — tears of joy and tears of utter exhaustion and pride — there were also plenty of laughs to go around. Because that’s how #teamsutera rolls ;-)

26.2 — in moments, snippets and pictures

#teamsutera has taken it’s sweet time in processing all that was marathon weekend in Chicago, huh?
…I guess that’s because we’re both kind of still in awe, still sorting through what those 26.2 miles meant to each of us. It meant a helluva a lot, I’ll tell you that. ;-)

So today, we’re co-writing this post to share some of our favorite moments from that weekend — in moments, snippets and pictures (in no particular order)

Walking forward in our corral, slowing marching towards that starting line. We were corral “K.” There was someone upfront carrying a big sign with the letter “K” emblazoned on the front of it. Every time it moved. We moved. That is, until we were thisclose to the starting line. The moment we saw that “K” drift to the side of the road instead of directly in front of us? Awe-inspiring. Stomach-dropping. It was go-time. And we knew it. 

Setting out our race gear the night prior — this was the wifey’s job. Pinning our bibs on the front of our shirts, setting out our sneakers – putting the d-tags on our sneakers (the hubs job, way too technical for the wifey), laying out our socks, throaway tops and shorts. We both wore the same exact outfit we wore for every single long run. Shorts and a tank for the wifey; shorts and a t-shirt for the hubs. In Scott’s eyes, we’d ‘hurt their feelings’ if we left them behind since ‘they’ (meaning our long run attire) would be offended if we didn’t take them out on race day. <—he’s so cute ;-)

Running along around somewhere around the midway point in the race — we passed a retirement home…the smiles and waves from the windows was heart-warming. As our eyes gazed up from the second floor to the third floor and beyond, we caught the smiles of more faces in the window…all smiling, joyful, perfectly content watching the runners whiz by. I remember distinctly thinking man, I am so able, I need to enjoy this more. 

Reaching the top of the first incline and setting our sights on the road ahead — everywhere we looked there were runners. Filling the streets from side to side, front to back. It was awesome. 

Rounding the corner around mile 7 and seeing a blog reader — Nikki! — with a bright #teamsutera sign and the BIGGEST smile and loudest, most energizing cheers ever. Her energy was contagious and made me giggle…we both pumped our arms into the air and cheered right back at her. I loooved that moment. (you’re the best, Nikki!!)

Practically jumping out of my skin with excitement as we entered the marathon expo — talk about the one trade show floor that I’ve always wanted to walk but never had a chance to (I’m more used to high-tech trade shows with lots of techy geeks everywhere you look). I’m pretty sure we’ll have to take a second mortgage out on the house after the amount of cash we dropped at the expo. I just couldn’t contain myself. At. All. 

There was Elvis. Drag queens. The Queen of England. And I’m pretty sure around every single bend there was at least one group of spectators playing “Gangnam Style” — a song we just so happened to have talked about more than a few times during dinner the night prior. Random, much? 

Hitting a big-time mental block around mile 17. Trying to take some fuel but even that wasn’t helping matters. I was toast. It was too soon for that. Way too soon. I was ready to cry. We rounded the bend and Scott saw them first — it was my mom and her boyfriend Mark. They were RIGHT where we needed them to be. I don’t even remember what Mark said but it was something very motivating I remember that much (lol). And my mom? Well she was too busy trying to get the best possible shot to say much other than a yell of support. (she told me after that she probably took a picture of 100 different runners all who rounded that bend before us…she was so afraid to miss the shot that she just kept snapping pics. so cute.)

Miiiiiike Ditka. ‘nuf said.

Feeling inspired around every corner. First – we saw a blind runner with his guide running right beside him. I mean, how awesome is that? And then we saw an amputee runner who was most certainly running much faster than us…I have to believe he was propelled purely by joy that he was able to run at all. I know that’s exactly how I’d feel. I tried to pick up my pace after that. 

Around mile 20 or 21, when all I wanted to do was to stop moving, sit down and cry. I looked over at Scott, saw the pained expression on his face and heard him say “stay right by my hip, I’ll bring you home.” And I wanted to cry both out of relief that he was with me, as he always is, but also out of sheer adoration that no matter how much he was hurting, he would push that down as hard as he could to keep me going. That’s love. <3

Thinking about all of our friends, family, and #runsherpas who were receiving constant updates via text every time we crossed one of the timer mats. Every time I stomped over one I thought about them. It made my heart smile to think about them grabbing their phones to see what the text would tell them. Little did I know that many of them were also following along to my sister Jo’s constant tweets and Facebook messages. I spent a good two hours laying on the bed in the hotel room after the marathon reading and re-reading them all. Often crying through my responses because it meant so much to me. So, so, so much. (annnd I’m crying again while blogging, this is becoming quite the regular occurrence up in here). I was in awe when I searched #teamsutera in twitter and saw the giant stream of tweets. Seriously, unreal. 

Mile marker 25. Yayyyy. Mile marker 25.2? Slap in the face. C’mon really?? That and all the “one more mile” chants we heard were infuriating when we were well into that last mile. We kept yelling “we have less than that!!” clearly perturbed that the spectators were *so* wrong in their distance estimations. 

Mile marker 26? Scott doesn’t remember much here. But I do. I turned that corner and started bawling (sensing a trend here??). It was just too much to bear. We were thisclose to our goal. 18 weeks of work. Rounding that bend and seeing the finish line? It felt like a freakin’ dream. We fought so hard to get there and suddenly it was upon us. We grabbed hands and crossed that finish line with arms held high, and a quick kiss at the end. I wish I could’ve frozen that moment in time. I don’t think I fully lived it in that moment. I was in too much pain, for one. ;-)

Jo and M — our ‘onsite #teamsutera #runsherpas. Neither of us have the proper words to explain just how grateful we are to both of them. They were there every time we needed them. When we first woke up, a bundle of nerves: they were there. When we walked the mile to Grant Park from our hotel, still nervous: they were there. When we parted ways at the start line, they were there…with hugs for both of us. When we (or at least I) started to feel tired at mile 8 (way too soon), they were there: so happy to catch us whizzing by. At mile 17 after we saw mom and Mark and were so elated by that boost of energy, they were there too…about a quarter mile down the road. And at the finish line, they were in the stands, they saw us cross that finish line. They were there for us, cheering us on, lifting us up, crying right there with us. Talk about 26.2 miles of gratitude. <3

And at the end of that very long day. Barely making it to 9pm before calling it a night. Not only was that the best night’s sleep ever (despite waking up many times groaning in pain), but it was the most content night’s sleep. 18 weeks: done. Goal: crushed.

We are marathoners. #teamsutera4lyf