Letting this go.

This is the hardest post for me to write.
But it’s time.

It’s time to let this go. 

The ‘this’ would be my blog, my little corner of the Internet that I’ve proudly fed and watered for the past 3+ years. The home I’ve grown very fond of and feel totally indebted to for all that it’s taught me.

Yet, this weekend — the weekend of the much-needed reset — and I had a bit of a breakthrough. It happened while running with Scott along the camp road in Maine.

Something’s gotta give. I am go-go-go all the time, and to a fault at this point. I need to find a better balance — and yes, I realize balance means that not everything in life will be perfectly balanced every single day — but right now? I’m juggling, and half the balls are dropping. That’s not exactly balance in my book.

And the biggest ball dropped? The presence ball.

It hit me hard this weekend. All those nasty habits I thought I did a pretty good job of kicking during the #presence2013 project came back to rear their ugly heads in the past few weeks. And it’s an ugly place to be, honestly. Too connected. Too distracted. Too distant. 

So I made a decision this weekend. Blogging is the ‘thing’ that I need to juggle least in my life right now. As sad as I am to say good-bye to this home of mine, I am almost equally relieved and curious to know what’s around the bend in my path with this ball ‘dropped’ for good.

So this is me — saying ‘see ya later’ (and not good-bye). And thank you.

Because sometimes, letting go is the only thing left to do. xo

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Please reset.

You know how sometimes you see the ‘please reset’ button on your hairdryer and have to go through the rigamarole of pushing that little button in at the *exact* right time and angle so when you plug it in, it actually resets and doesn’t just sit there lifeless on your bathroom counter?

Well that’s kind of how I feel right now — in need of a reset

I kind of feel like that hairdryer – sometimes it takes a few tries before the reset actually works. You know the drill — you think you pushed that button just right and plug it in and then: nothing. So you try again — and nothing. And after the third or fourth time, you finally figure it out and the ‘reset’ actually sticks. (this can be the most obnoxious process, am I right ladies??)

I was doing so well with ‘just being’ me. 

With learning to disconnect more to reconnect. 

With being present. #present2013

With letting go of perfection and striving for excellence. 

With seeking out silver linings vs. harping on the little things that frustrate you but are out of your control. 

But just like any habit, sometimes it’s hard to truly kick the habit without concerted effort and (for lack of a better word) practice.

So what’s my ‘please reset’ plan look like? It’s quite simple – it’s about getting back to basics. I’m going to use this long weekend to reconnect with friends and family, to let my mind go and just be, to stop stop stop vs. go go going, and to focus on excellence above all else…not perfection.

This is a toughie for me — I’m not great at admitting faults or weaknesses or flaws or imperfections and I’m *really* not too great at letting go of perfection and my Type-A-ness. I know, I know. I’m too hard on myself. I know this. BUT — I have gotten *so* much better at letting go more, I really have. I’ve just gotten out of the habit and it’s time to reign it in before the spiral happens (and we all know what that spiral looks like – ala ‘chill the eff out’ remember that?). 

So anyway — this post was really more for me to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Sometimes blogging it out (and/or blabbing Scott’s ear off incessantly) is the only way to gain clarity. And clarity is exactly what I needed today.

Reset: let’s go. 

Another dark thirty rundate

God, I love running before the sun rises. 

Like, *really* love it. 
(especially when that run involves Scott, my most favorite running partner of all <3)

This morning’s dark thirty rundate was just what we both needed. Despite those “Pounded” legs of mine. The legs that left me hobbling around the studio yesterday trying like hell to avoid anything plie-related (which is very difficult to do if you’ve ever been t a barre class lol). 

My legs this morning didn’t fail me. They proved to me that despite some lingering soreness, despite how ‘worked’ they still felt even days after Pound training, these legs will always carry me. Always.

What I loved about this run? 

  • I worked for each step.
  • I chased the ‘rabbit’ like a fool — that ‘rabbit’ would be my husband who kept a good pace just ahead of me, knowing I’d try like hell to keep up.
  • The sun started to rise just about 15 minutes into our run. When did the sun start rising at 5am?? I *love* it.
  • I felt speedy, even surprising Scott during our final kick around the corner towards the home stretch and finishing just a few steps behind him (he thought he’d be left waiting on me for a good minute or two!)
  • I let my mind wander.

And where did my mind wander? To this woman. My Nonna. Who I spent a lot of time thinking about yesterday, the three year anniversary since her death. And the moment on our run that made me think of her? When Scott cracked a joke that I just *know* she would’ve giggled over. She loved his humor. She’d pat his cheek and laugh when he’d tell her stories (usually stories that involved making fun of me, hehe). 

We were running along, nearing the ocean along our route, smelling the salty air and listening to the birds chirp. We passed under a bunch of trees overhanging the sidewalk and were overcome by the sounds of birds chirping away in the branches above. There had to be at least 20 birds up there chirping away. Scott said, “it’s like running through a cocktail party!” And I giggled — all I could imagine was a bunch of birds with martini glasses and champagne flutes chit-chatting away in their cocktail dresses. (a totally normal thing for birds to do lol) Don’t ask me why but it struck me as funny and made me think of Nonna and how much she would’ve found it funny too.

Just a little moment that I’m glad I captured this morning. 

I’m also glad I captured this shot, post-run — I just love his face. That smile. It melts my heart. Every. Single. Time. #teamsutera <3

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Pounded.

Yup, the ladies of barre n9ne got Pounded on Saturday.
(hehe)

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It was a long, long, long overdue training session with the women behind the Pound – Rockout Workout phenomenon. You see, this training session was rescheduled once due to a blizzard that smacked us hard this winter, and then it was rescheduled again after the Boston Marathon bombings.

So by Saturday, we were all ITCHING to see what Pound was really all about. While I had the chance to try out the class once last fall, not everyone in our training group had even tried the workout yet (my sister, included!). I went into things knowing enough about the workout to brace myself for a total ass kicking. And lemme tell ya, an ass kicking is definitely what I got out of the day.

Welp, basically everything hurts today — inner thighs, abs, shoulders and my ‘seat’ muscles hurt. A lot.

And now that I’ve officially been ‘Pounded’ I can firmly say that this is a workout that should NOT be the hidden gem that it is right now. While the workout is totally picking up steam quickly (especially on the west coast), it’s a workout that I WISH I knew about sooner.

Lemme break it down for you quickly since I’m sure many of you have no idea what I’m talking about right now, ha! Basically, Pound is a 45 minute full body workout that incorporates pilates-inspired strength and conditioning moves with cardio/interval work to keep the blood pumping. And it involves a mat and a pair of slightly weighted ripstix (they look like drumsticks, dubbed ‘ripstix’ because they help you get ripped, get it? hehe). Oh – and killer music that no matter who you are, will bring out the inner rockstar in you, like whoa.

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While I was totally skeptical at how I’d do in this training or if I’d be able to ‘let go’ enough to go into rockstar mode during some of the tracks, by the middle and end of the training, I was all about those ripstix. I don’t know what it is but it felt damn empowering to pound the sh*t out of the mat, to ignore everyone around me and just go for it. And that’s exactly the ‘place’ we, as instructors, need to get our clients to go to with this workout. To their own place where they give themselves permission to rockout, with abandon, without fear and with as much energy and emotion as possible.

And I think that’s what I dig most about it — it’s the mind/body connection thing all over again, but in rockout mode this time. I’m always talking about the mind/body’connection when it comes to the barre, and learning to trust your body to do the work that your mind is telling you its just not capable of. Same thing with Pound — it’s about letting your mind go, and just going for it. In true badass style.

SO — you better believe I cannot wait to start teaching this class at the studio. It’s going to be an INCREDIBLE addition to our current class lineup, and I’m pretty sure it’s going to whip me into shape too. I hurt in places I never thought possible today. And that’s how I know it’s effective — it’s working muscles in a new way, shocking the system in a hurts-so-good kinda way. I dig it.

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(as you can see from this pic of me, Jo and Steph — we’re basically exhausted, soaked in sweat but oddly giddy that we made it through the entire training without dying lol)

And I kinda love that I can now officially call myself a Pound Pro, proudly joining the ranks of the #poundposse. ;-)

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<<Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to limp over to the couch to watch the Bruins in the playoffs, nursing my battle wounds from yesterday’s training. And yup, an alcoholic beverage or two *may* be involved. ;-) >>

The fit truth.

Two years ago (yes, TWO years ago), I wrote a blog that covered my ‘fit truths’ at the time – many of those things I talked about still ring true today, of course – but my idea today of what a ‘fit truth’ is has changed pretty markedly.

To me, the concept of a ‘fit truth’ is akin to the age-old running question: Why I run?’ A question I’ve answered a few different times on this blog, and with different answers (I’m mysterious that way, apparently haha).

My definition of a fit truth is simple – a ‘fit truth’ is your fit mantra, your answer to ‘Why fit?’ – what drives you to focus on fitness, what the underlying reason is.

For some – fitness is pretty black and white. It’s to lose weight. To look better on the beach. To fight back against genetics that may have dealt you a difficult hand. It could also be a much more serious reason like training for a major fitness event (marathon, triathalon, fitness competition, crossfit games, and the list goes on).

All very good, valid fit truths.

For me, my ‘fit truth’ is a little bit less black and white than that. And it’s a whole heckuva lot less black and white than it used to be.

It’s not about losing weight. (it used to be)

It’s not about training for a race. (it used to be…up until verrrrrry recently)

It’s not about running faster or farther.

My fit truth – it’s about Health. Wellness. Vibrancy.
…and feeding my passion for movement, ability.

Ever since crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon last October, my fit truth has evolved significantly. Evolved towards simple vs. more complex, more rigid or structured.

Sure – I have a loose goal of 3-4 runs per week and fitting in just one class at the studio that I can take vs. teach. Some weeks it’s 2 runs. Some weeks it’s 4. Some weeks it’s no classes, other weeks it’s 1. Or very rarely, 2. The rest of my ‘fit time’ is spent teaching. I adore it.

I reach for running as my ‘me’ time (and ‘rundate’ time!) and my ‘sweat’ time. I reach for barre n9ne for my ‘strength’ and ‘shake’ time. (and let’s be honest, my ‘me’ and ‘sweat’ time fit in here, too).

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Truth be told, I have never felt more healthy, active or strong as I do today. And I firmly believe that has a lot to do with shifting my focus, to simplifying. I also think that has a lot to do with finding comfort in my own skin and not railing against ‘me’ but learning to love myself, learning to be my own best friend. Granted, this last part has taken a good couple of years to discover, mind you, but recently its sort of all come together for me. Something that  bubbled to the surface for me the other day on a rare – but much-needed – solo run.

My fit truth, today.

<<Editor’s Note – For some reason, I’ve been having a really hard time finding the right words on this blog. So I apologize in advance if this post is as rambly as it feels like it is to me!>>

#b9forboston — the #bostonstrong OneFund event

On Saturday — my usual pre-barre n9ne class routine was a little bit different.

I got up around 7 and took a shower, and instead of just randomly picking some Lululemon gear to wear, I chose a little bit more carefully:

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Blue and yellow, in honor of the Boston Marathon — and the heart-breaking tragedy our city faced just a few mere weeks ago. A day that changed our city and the Boston Marathon forever.

You can see a sense of sadness in this pic — wearing my favorite barre n9ne tank, in yellow of course — I got to thinking about the victims of the bombings, but also all of the marathoners who worked so hard to accomplish something very few in this lifetime ever will.

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I grabbed my ‘B strong’ hat and my Chicago Marathon pullover — it was raining and I wasn’t sure what I’d need heading into the run portion of the day’s activities at the studio — and I wanted to both honor Boston but also honor my own marathon memories, too.

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I grabbed my iPhone with my Boston-themed playlist — and off I went.

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(btw – Boston Strong — gorgeous song but man did I have to hold back tears when I started listening to the words while teaching…so touching)

The energy at the studio was simply amazing. Everyone was dressed in bright colors — mostly blues and yellows or anything bright that clients could get their hands on — and I had to stop myself from getting a little teary when my playlist started. Both classes had such energy and pride floating through the (sweaty) air. It was just the coolest.

And then the run — some of us walked, some of us ran — but we all did it for one reason: to remember and honor Boston. To show our #bostonstrong pride and to celebrate the community all around us.

On Saturday — barre n9ne proved to me, yet again, that this is the most beautiful, the most incredible, the most supportive, and selfless community I have ever seen or had the honor to be a member of. In just over one week since we announced the #b9forboston OneFund event, the studio raised an incredible $6,300 for the OneFund — $3, 300 from clients and a matched donation of $3,00 by barre n9ne. Just unreal.

It’s honestly a day I will never forget. I am proud. I am amazed. I am grateful
#b9forboston #b9lovesboston #b94lyf #bostonstrong

(for more on the #b9forboston event — check out the barre n9ne blog post here (with more pics!)

#FitFriday: ‘smabs

Yayyyyy it’s Friiiiiiday!!!!!
Raise your hand if you are as happy as I am about that! <<raises hand high high high pickmepickmepickmeeeeee>>

I thought I’d kick-off Friday with another “#FitFriday” edition for ya. The last “#FitFriday” was all about accountability, fitdates-for-one and fit communities. And because it’s been on my mind a lot as we head into spring and summer, today’s #FitFriday is all about ‘smabs.

What are ‘smabs, you ask?
Those would be ‘some abs’ or ‘smabs for short. As in: “I really need to do ‘smabs but I don’t feel like it, don’t have time, don’t like doing them, <insert your excuse or complaint here>”

I used to totallllly fall in the anti-‘smabs camp. Meaning — I wanted a stronger, more toned core but I had a  very hard time both connecting with my core and committing to building core work into my workout regime. BUT — ever since becoming such a huge barre n9ne advocate and instructor, ‘smabs are like my favorite area to work, well in a close tie with glutes, shoulders, quads…you get the picture. hehe ;-) In all seriousness though, a strong core comes into play no matter what workout you’re doing, or body part you’re working. Your core is connected to everything, truly. <–this is one thing I never really *got* until I figured out how to connect with my core and started to really gain strength and stability there

So when the May ‘plank-a-day’ challenge came out and started circulating around, I totally jumped at the chance.

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I mean, who *doesn’t* want to be able to hold a 5 minute plank by the end of the month, rigtht?? Which puts us right smack dab at the end of May and the unofficial start to summer up in these parts. #bringiton

Soooo in true #teamsutera fashion, I’ve totally recruited Scott to get in on the plank-a-day action and he’s been SO into it. Always reminding me that we ‘need to get our planks done’ before dinner (so we aren’t full and ready to yak mid-plank lol) *and* he added a twist to the challenge: in addition to holding the forearm plank for the allotted time per-day, he suggested we add side plank to the mix. Who am I to turn down an added challenge, right?? So yeah, we’re a little over one week in and holding a forearm plank and then side planking on both sides for 60 secs at a whack.

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(is he *not* the cutest ever in this pic?? <3)

I’m thinking in order to complete this challenge in one piece, we *may* need to start taking breaks before launching into side planks once we hit that 5-minute mark. A 15-minute plank series would be pretty unreal (but I kinda like the thought of it, hmmm!). ;-)

And now, with this plank-a-day challenge constantly in the back of my mind, I’ve been working even more plank work into my classes at barre n9ne (at least for the classes whose structure allows for plankage!); it’s been especially fun to throw plank variations into arms & abs class (or arms & ‘smabs, hehe)– one of my new favorite classes to teach at the studio (but then, I also love teaching Toned, Firm, Fit & Ready, I love our signature barre n9ne method class….ohh do I have to pick just one?? #b9lovah).

So there ya go — my #FitFriday thoughts for the day, all about ‘smabs. Are you a love-to-hater when it comes to ‘smabs or do you hate-to-hate them? AND, are you doing this plank-a-day challenge too, or planning to get in on the action now that I mention it?? Please say yes. ;-)

A dark thirty rundate

Let’s set the scene, shall we?

4:30am: alarm clock #1 blares

I smash the snooze button as fast as I can. I *hate* the sound of the alarm clock, will do anything to wake up just before it blares just so I don’t have to hear it.

Quickly assessing my sleepiness and decide that yup, we’re doing this. The dark thirty rundate I promised to myself, to eachother and yes, to the ladies of the barre n9ne running group on Facebook. I was totally accountable.

The hubs….well let’s just say he was less than excited to roll out of bed. Even tried the ‘ol roll over and cuddle up trick, thinking that would convince me that an extra hour sleep was a way better idea than getting out for our run.

(doesn’t he know me by now? I mean, really, hehe)

I got up first, brushed my teeth and got dressed. While pinning back my hair in the bathroom, the hubs rolls in and utters (with eyes at half mast): “this sucks.” I giggle. But carry on (of course).

Less than ten minutes after the alarm clock woke us, we’re out the door. It’s semi-dark but brisk and cool. Utterly perfect running weather. Birds were chirping up a storm and man was I a happy camper.

God, I’ve missed this, I thought.

Immediately my mind started to wander. Thinking back to last summer and early-fall during countless early morning, and typically steamy hot #teamsutera rundates leading up to the marathon. I didn’t think so much about the miles (at least not in terms of missing those long distances or anything), but I thought about those miles in terms of how much I missed those shared miles. Those quiet, sometimes chatty, sometimes silent, rundates.

This is what running is all about for me.

Mind wandering. Body working. Shared silent moments with the hubs. And quiet moments with myself, my own thoughts. Letting go of various frustrations from the previous day, thinking about the day ahead, the week ahead, the month ahead, daydreaming, or thinking of nothing at all. Just being.

…and this morning? The added layer of #rundate fun? The fact that my husband kicked my ass on this run. Totally pushed our pace in a way that I hadn’t personally pushed in awhile. I needed that work. So, so much.

I also needed to remember why I run — and this morning’s dark thirty rundate was just the reminder I needed. I run because I can, because it makes me feel so alive, because of that forever love of shared moments and miles with the hubs.

#teamsutera4lyf <3

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From the #foodlovah diaries

Soooo as mentioned previously — I am a die-hard #foodlovah.

I love food. Good food. Whole, real, nourishing — and most definitely — yummy food.
…because guess what? #healthytastesgood (too)

Yes, I’m a fan of committing to the cookie now and then (but it has to be of the whole/real food variety, no preservatives allowed).

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But I’m also a fan of foods that fuel, that nourish, that energize. (see? told you die-hard #foodlovah, I could ramble on for hours about this topic!) And today, on a gorgeous and quiet Sunday morning with the hubs, it’s been a productive one at the Sutera Manor.

You see, the hubs has some work to do to get ready for his week at school with 22 9-year old students waiting for him to fill their heads with lots of knowledge. And I am playing the part of foodie ‘sherpa’ today (borrowing Lindsay’s title which I love so much!) — prepping for a busy week ahead.

For starters — I’ve been looking for new breakfast and/or lunch options that are both portable and healthy. I usually bring a wrap with turkey, tuna or egg salad plus fruit or veggies on the side for lunch. But it’s time to switch that up. And after seeing Lindsays cottage cheese egg cups up on her blog recently, I knew this could be the key to something new and fun for breakfast/lunch mid-week.

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My version has sauteed shitake mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes plus the eggs and cottage cheese, a sprinkle of cayenne and bouquet garni stirred in for added flavor (oh and a touch of sriracha!). I can’t *wait* to try these tomorrow for lunch along with a toasted english muffin and peanut butter (of course). I shall report back, dutifully, of course. ;-)

Next up — roasted veggies. Which will most definitely make their way onto the giant salads the hubs and I have been eating OFTEN for dinner during the week (and on weekends, too!). There is just nothing better than freshly roasted veggies warmed on top of a bed of mixed greens, plus goat cheese or a few ounces of grilled chicken or steak tips. Deeeelish.

brussel sprouts roasted with salt and pepper

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Kabocha squash roasted with salt and pepper (the skin on this one was particularly easy to slice through, probably one of the best kabocha squashes I’ve ever had!)

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And finally, fresh-cut watemelon (not the best of the season so far, but still pretty tasty to this #watermelonhoarder hehe). And our lunch bags ready to go for tomorrow — mine will include a banana and an energy bar (not ideal but on three-fer Monday, I don’t have much time for a proper oatmeal breakfast, sadly. I’m usually scrambling into the office, playing a bit of catch-up so the banana typically is devoured in the car and the energy bar is devoured at my desk before my first meeting of the day) plus the egg cups and english muffin and a vanila chobani  with fresh blackberries. Scott’s version will also have a banana and his favorite energy bar, plus a strawberry vanilla protein shake that he’ll take with him on his ride into school, and grilled chicken for lunch plus a lemon chobani and some chocolate pudding (the hubs is a true kid at heart, love him!) for a snack.

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All told, after all this food prep I’m feeling very settled going into another busy work week but also pretty excited for some yummy, healthy and fun eats. I.Love.Food. :)

A need to move

Something I’ve been mulling over lately is this need to move.
…a need to be active. 
…to fit in moments of fitness where I can.
…and to embrace ability. 

I know I’ve talked about how being able to lead a fit and active lifestyle is something I try not to take for granted. And that fitness isn’t something that’s a chore for me but a total privilege.

…but what I haven’t really touched on is how this need to move has sort of evolved for me of late. 

Into its  most simple form: fueling the innate need to move that lives in all of us. As humans, we were built to live an active life. To walk, skip, jump, run, move.

And I think that’s why I’ve found myself restless during the week when I’m not able to move as much as I’d like. While sitting in traffic during my morning commute. Or sitting at work behind a computer screen or in a conference room. My body is railing against the sedentary nature of the 40+ hours a week I do the opposite of what my body wants me to be doing: to move and be active.

So rather than harp on the fact that I *do* have a job (which I actually love) that requires lots of sitting, I’m shifting my focus to ways that I am able to move, be active and fit. 

For one — I am able. When surrounded by continued tragic stories of Boston marathon bombing victims with severe, life altering injuries — many of whom lived very active lifestyles beforehand — and those stories just make my heart so heavy for them. I put myself in their shoes and wonder if I’d be able to shift my focus in a situation like that.

Also — I do have the ability to fit in moments of fitness and activity during my days, and in ways that not everyone has access to. Like a treadmill in the loft to hop on if I can’t get outside for a run (like I did this morning — just 30 minutes of motion made my soul so happy as the sun rose). Or access to a studio that I adore — where I have the opportunity to teach as often as I like and have been fitting in some classes too which again, makes my soul so, so happy.

And finally — the little moments of motion. Like a quick Sunday afternoon walk with Scott after I taught at the studio. Just a quick spin around the neighborhood to take in the gorgeous spring evening, listening to the birds chirp, seeing squirrels scamper past us, and breathing in the fresh air. And yes, being active. 

You see — this need to move isn’t about being fit, or about going balls to the wall with a running schedule or training program. Nope. My fit focus has shifted quite a lot lately. I just want to move, to be active, to embrace motion. And yeah…the joy of the sweat? I love that, too.

Let’s mark this in the category of Reason #679 why fitness is such a beautiful thing: it evolves over time, it involves fun fitdates and fit moments like this where I remember, at the very basic and simple, what fuels my love of wellness: a need to move, and sheer gratitude for the ability to do so.