On recommitting to the barre

Ok, let’s be honest — the title of this post is a wee bit misleading, ya’ll know by now how absolutely in love with the barre I am these days. Even in the midst of marathon training.

BUT — this weekend was an awesome reminder of why I am so damn in love with barre n9ne.

A couple of things lead up to this whole concept of ‘recommitting’ to the barre:

I taught a lot last week — including an awesome double session on Saturday (was subbing for one of the other instructors who was away). And every single time I set foot in the studio, I just smiled. Sure, it’s work and it’s a job to be there, creating killer classes and making sure I keep it lively. But I LOVE it. So it never, ever feels like work. It just feels right. <3

I helped Tanya (barre n9ne studio owner) kick off the next 60-day challenge in the Danvers studio on Saturday. Right after teaching that double, I stuck around to welcome the new challengers, helping to get their ‘before’ pictures, weight and measurements done. I spent a lot of time walking around the room, talking to the new and returning challengers — answering questions, allaying their fears, sharing my own story and experience since joining the studio last May. I even heard from one challenger who decided to commit to the challenge after reading my story on this little blog ‘o mine. Imagine?! That was the coolest. The energy in the room was so apparent — every single woman in the room was there because they were ready. Ready to commit – to themselves, to the barre, to a new beginning. Awesome.

After the challenge kick-off ended, I finally took my ‘after’ measurements — something I had meant to do at the one-year mark since we kicked off the challenge last May. We never got around to it this past May and after sitting in that room feeling so inspired? I wanted to see just how far I’d come, in numbers, since my own challenge. Not so much because I needed the reassurance or that the numbers would tell me just how successful I was, but because I wanted to have metrics to share with other challengers — to show them that that this challenge is truly just the beginning. There is no end, it becomes a totally sustainable lifestyle. A lifestyle I happen to love very much.

I wasn’t going to share these numbers on the blog but honestly? I’m freakin’ damn proud of myself. Over a year later and I’m still working towards refinement, continuing to hone my own practice while working my bum off to motivate every client that takes my class.

So here goes…

Since joining barre n9ne last May as the first challenger (with my sis!), I’ve lost almost 25 inches and 18 pounds

Are you kidding me?? The numbers I saw as Tanya took my measurements were unreal. It was like that other person, those ‘before’ numbers, weren’t really me, I just feel like an entirely new person today. Not just physically but ridiculously more so mentally. It’s incredible.

I stand in awe, truly.
…and recommitted to the barre all over again <3

OMG-that-was-the-hilliest-rundate-ever

OMG-that-was-the-hilliest-rundate-ever.

And I frickin’ loved every single, sweaty, puketastic second.

Like really, really, really, really loved it.

The verdict? Oh damn do I need to do MORE of that shiznat, and as soon as possible.
It was HELL, but it was so, so, so good.

But lemme back up a sec. The rundate plan originally. It started out as a simple “hey coworker friend, whatcha say to a rundate next time I’m in Cali?”

Her response “sure, but you’ll kick my butt.”

My thinking – no way, man. Rundates aren’t about racing eachother, it’s about the experience of it all, getting in some miles in a new city far, far, far away from home. And that’s that. The experience. Not the journey, not the miles, not any of that.

Soooo she agreed to join me (mind you, she’s getting ready to embark on her first half marathon journey which I’m super psyched about!). What she neglected to tell me? The route she had in mind for us. One that she claims she only settled on in her mind right before we left for our rundate.

I’m kinda glad she didn’t clue me in any sooner now that I think about it. ;-)

The route she had in mind took us up this winding, rolling, hilly, up, up, up trail to the top of a mountain, basically. I have no pictures to prove it (I realllly wish I had my iPhone with me for some picture #PROOF!) but when I tell you it was one long uphill drive? I.am.not.kidding.you.

It looked something like this:

Steep uphill climb to “warm-up” as my coworker put it. Up a steep incline and around the corner and up another steep incline. Leveled off for a bit where we met a bit of a rolling incline and then two more steep up, up, up incline turn-backs before we leveled off and took a very short recovery break.

Steep uphill climb number two nearly killed me. I legit thought I was either going to pass out, puke or die at various points during this section of the uphill “run” (if you can call it running, it was more like fast hiking LOL). It was a lot of uuuuuuuup and arounnnnnd and uuuuuuup and arouunnnnd. Lots of turn-backs here too. (which sucked more than the steep uuuuuups right after, I swear)

We leveled off once more and finally got a bit of a repreive before the final steep uphill and rolling climb to the very top. The rolling climb was one of those tricky ones that sneaks up on ya real good. It was at this point that I just put my head down, refusing to look at how far the rolling climb truly was and just powered through to the top.

And the top? OMG was it gorgeous. Not just scenery-wise but run-wise. I was never happier to be on flat ground in my life. For reals. Let’s just say the downhill run back to our starting point was glorious. I felt like I was running on air in comparison to what we’d just endured.

In all? This was freakin’ intense. The most challenging hill work I have EVER done. Ever, ever, ever.
…but I loved, loved, loved it.

Loved how strong it made me feel.
Loved how fit it reminded me that I am.
Loved how sweaty and endorphin-high I felt at the end.
Loved the experience of it with my fab coworker (who claims I pushed her to work harder…um, I beg to differ, she’s the one that picked the route, one that I’d have never picked on my own!).

Moral of this story?
Hills are evil. And I need more of them in my life.
Stat.

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”

While flipping through a recent issue of Women’s Health (April issue) on my flight to Cali yesterday, a really awesome quote caught my eye. It was in an article profiling Kristen Bell (who seems like she’d be super fun to hang with in real life, I may have a girl crush, haha) where she shared some of her favorite things. One of those favorite “things” is a love of great quotes.

After reading this particular quote, I feel like having it tattooed to my forehead or something – it is so powerful when you come right down to it:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

I mean…just think about that for a minute.

Wow, right??

How often do we allow outside influences to shape our feelings towards ourselves? Those outside influences could be anything from some random comment uttered by an overly judgmental friend (who may mean well but her intentions are misguided); to something you read in a blog post or a newspaper article that stung you a little for one reason or another;  or simply a misperception that well, you’re not good enough because you haven’t experienced xx, yy, or zz…yet.

So you sit there, letting whatever that influence was that stung you, and you allow it to make you feel inferior, less-than-worthy, downright not good enough.

We’ve all done it. Many, many times.
…but why?

Why let someone or something make you feel inferior just…because? Why allow it or them to make you feel this way? Why

I’d call it a really bad habit. A habit that can be broken (just like any bad habit, really). It takes practice. Diligence. Consistently pushing down the urge to allow that inferiority to creep into your mind’s eye.

This is one habit I’m ready to break – particularly as I get ready to stare down 26.2 miles this fall. Sure, I haven’t done “it” yet and sure I have no idea what I’m getting myself into. But just because I haven’t experienced it yet, doesn’t mean that I’m not worthy of experiencing it or capable of doing it. It just means, quite simply – I haven’t experienced it yet.

But I will. ;-)

This is just one example of pushing down inferiority, though. I could apply this to about a jillion other areas of my life. Particularly this year, my year of no limits – where I plan to continue to live on that edge of discomfort, striving to embrace lots of net-new this year. Even if it’s downright scary. And yes, even if it makes me want to fall back on that feeling of inferiority, of not belonging.

Because guess what? Nobody knows you “don’t belong” if you don’t let on that this is the case. So fake it ‘til ya make it. And please, kick inferiority to the curb. “She’s” not welcome in these parts.

<< Editor’s Note: I wrote this on the plane yesterday after reading that quote and being totally awe-struck by it. But interestingly, I’m already experincing that “pushing down inferiority thing” out here and I literally just got here. I’ll share more at the end of the week — but let’s just say that reading that quote when I did came at exactly the right time…funny how that happens. >>

The #PROOF is in the SWEAT

Sweat. Is. Good.

All I can say is this. Last night’s run was a make-or-break-me as a runner style run.

It wasn’t a rockstar run like Saturday.

It wasn’t an I-could-run-forever kind of run.

It was a huge challenge. Mentally. Physically. All of it.

But I LOVED it.

You know why? It proved to me that no matter the conditions, no matter the mind games my brain tried to play on me, no matter the heavy stomach feeling that plagued me, I stuck to my guns. I pushed through. For all 7 sweaty miles. With the hubs by my side. In uber-warm running conditions for March. (wearing running shorts and a tank top on the second day of spring MORE than made up for those short-falls, trust me).

All of that aside — it was an awesomely puketastic sweatfest.

And if looks could kill? Well I’ll tell ya what that look in my eye would say:

The #PROOF is in the SWEAT.

Why yes, yes indeed.

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Although I’m riding quite a runners high at the moment (I wrote this post last night), I *did* want to share a few lessons learned/lessons applied from this run while they were fresh on my mind:

Lessons learned & applied:

That Nathan handheld water bottle? Best investment ever (and yes, the hubs carried it for the majority of the run, what a guy!). Remember that run last Wednesday? The one where I swore I would puke after? Yeah – that did not happen last night. I felt great afterwards. Thank you hydration! <–see? I *can* take advice!

Honey Stinger chews are awesome. Even Scott liked them. (which is huge since he can be so picky!). Totally got us through the toughest part of our run last night.

Lessons Learned (to be applied later):

Yogurt pre-run just doesn’t work for me. Every time I thought about what I’d eaten before our run I kind of got a little gaggy. Note to self – avoid dairy before a run. Stick to the carbs you were originally planning to have before the run. Much nicer on the tummy.

Any food pre-run must be digested for at least 1.5 hours. Anything less and I’m plauged with that “heavy stomach” feeling. No bueno.

Wear sunscreen. Um hi – I’m pretty sure I have a sunburn going on here. In MARCH. Whaaat?

On quieting the mind.

So after getting back from Little Rock on Tuesday night, I ended up feeling very restless.
…and anxious.

I could not quiet my mind.

There were a ton of reasons for all that chatter going on in my head, but mostly — my mind kept going back to those dreams of mine I’ve been chasing. My mind was gravitating towards fear. Not exactly an emotion you’d typically equate with dream catching, right?

And then it dawned on me (with a little help from the hubs – he gives the best ‘tough love’ pep talks, I swear): why let fear hold me back from reaching my true potential? Why is my immediate reaction to get scared and want to step back, far away from my dreams instead of racing towards them?

…because chasing dreams is hard. It goes back to getting outside comfort zones, getting way outside of your cozy little life and putting yourself out there. Like really out there.

But then, isn’t that what dreams are made of? Your dreams are little bits and pieces of all the things you’ve always hoped your life could be and making them a reality. Your reality.

So rather than fear that new reality, why not embrace it with joy and excitement and enthusiasm? Versus letting fear steal away the joy that chasing and catching a dream should be all about?

Afterall…not many people get the chance to make their dreams a reality. If ever.

So this is me – banishing fear in favor of joy and making those dreams of mine a reality. My reality.

*****This post brought to you by one of the most mind-quieting runs I’ve ever had. Seven solid miles. 40 degree temps at 7am in February in Boston. My favorite running partner by my side. The cool air rushing past my face. My mind quieting with every step I took. An incredibly quiet, but amazing runner’s high. One my mind needed even more than my body.*****

Strength is…

Strength is…

…pushing past boundaries. Boundaries you’ve set. Maybe without realizing it. Or maybe you have. Or maybe those boundaries were set by someone or something else. And you push past. That is strength.

…choosing to challenge yourself. With intention. And purpose. Not going halfway and stopping. But taking it all the way. Not just completing a challenge, but crushing it. That is strength.

…embracing discomfort. Stepping way outside of your safe little world and into a world of unknowns. And charging forward. With courage. Even if that means ‘faking it until you make it.’ Because getting uncomfortable enacts change, evolutions. That is strength.

…Dream. Dream. Dream. And then turn those dreams into your reality. That is strength. 

Strength is…

<Editor’s Note: This post came to me after a really solid day at my new job, where I found myself stepping outside of my world and embracing the discomfort. And it was followed by a particularly intention-filled barre n9ne class. Where I felt focused. Sure of myself. And most of all? I felt strong.

…I must say, this ‘year of no limits’ is off to a damn good start. Rock. On. >

#digdeep

I’ve found myself using this hashtag often this week on twitter:
#digdeep

Because truly – I’ve had to #digdeep, really deep, throughout this week:
…to put my game face on each day, meeting TONS of new faces, and learning way too much (all at once) about the company I now work for, all jammed into two days of back-to-back meetings.
…to get my butt up each morning to the hotel gym to log some miles this week. Tuesday’s run was what I’d call a sad 6-miler. Wednesday’s run was a puketastic 6-miler. And tomorrow’s? I’m hoping it’s a happy 6 miles’ worth of recovery (intervals nearly killed me). It might not be perfect, but the miles are happening and that’s what I need right now. A small semblance of normalcy.
…..to stay strong when all I wanted to do was crumble and cry because I’ve been missing Scott, particularly after a trying week of frustrating news (perhaps more on this later…).
…to embrace un-routine, learning to navigate healthy eats amid lots of catered meals during the day and dinners out at night. *really* glad I packed so many healthy options in my carry-on – has come in VERY handy every single day. <pats self on back>
…to stay “me” in a brand new environment, way out of my comfort zone, far away from familiarity. But a “me” that’s open to change and taking risks. As you’ve seen me blogging a LOT about this week in particular. Apparently it’s been on my mind or something??

And by far? This #digdeep week has shown me that this was absolutely the right career move for me but more importantly, I’ve surprised myself by being as confident on the outside as I feel on the inside. I *can* do this. I *am* doing this. And it feels pretty damn awesome, not gonna lie.

#digdeep in all it’s glory, people.
Worth. It.

(Editor’s note: Here’s to hoping I remember this post tomorrow AM – since I drafted this post last night - when I’m up at 4:30 to log those miles before heading into the office early to get some work done before my flight home. But as my fab blog friend Heather mentioned in her very well-timed post last night - no excuses. Despite, a very long day ahead. And, yes, this is my mental note to self, thank you for indulging me…)

“If want to do it, all you have to do is do it.”

On the first leg of my flight to Santa Clara on Monday for work, I was thumbing through an issue of Runner’s World I had been meaning to read for weeks. It was the December issue and was filled with reader’s stories, the whole issue dedicated to inspirational words of wisdom and running tales by everyday runners like me who read Runner’s World for motivation, inspiration and new ideas. 

I was struck by a phrase I read in a feature on Runner’s World reader and blogger Ben Davis, who actually inspired Runner’s World editor’s to dedicate the entire December issue to its readers. His story (which I urge you to read if you haven’t already) is one of weight loss (120+ lost) but more so of inspiration and triumph, no matter the odds.  His advice?

“If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it.” 

How simple is that? I mean – why do we have to set goals, think about them for months on end, plan, plan, plan some more and then maybe, just maybe, finally decide to commit to that goal. Why not just do it?

Now I’m not suggesting that you choose a goal and not plan for it (like running your first race without proper training). What I’m really suggesting is that if you want something, don’t lust after it. Go for it. Do it. Just like my blog post yesterday on daydreams – I’m all about not just the lofty “fantasy” goals, but the real ones too.

An example…

If you want a job that fulfills you more – go for it. Stop waiting for the perfect time to do it. One could argue that I should have waited before making the leap into a new job just a year into my previous job. But did I look before leaping in this case? Nope. I went with my gut. I wanted a new beginning. I wanted a job that would challenge me. I wanted it. So I did it.

Another example…

If you want to feel better about yourself, physically and mentally – choose a path that will get you there, and a path that works for you. Don’t just think about it, wish for it and hope it magically lands in your lap. Be ready for the hard work that comes with making wholesome lifestyle changes that will lead to a happier, fitter you. Don’t just lust for it. Do it.

I was hit with the reality of just “doing it” this past weekend at barre n9ne. My sister and I filmed a video testimonial that talks about our 60-day challenge and how it has since evolved into a brand new life for each of us (in addition to totally refined bodies). We spent a few minutes before filming to take our “after” pics in the same sports bra and running shorts we wore on that fateful day, May 12, 2011, the first day of our challenge. It hadn’t really hit me just how changed I’ve become from that experience until I saw the “after” side-by-side with the “before” pictures. What was I  most struck by? Not the physical changes I spied (which I loved, let’s be honest), but the very visible change in my emotional state. The way my eyes glinted for the camera – revealing pure joy and pride. The way I stood taller, in full ownership of who I am today. Confident and so very sure of myself. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll share those before/after shots here or not. If I do choose to share them, it’ll be simply a proof point that feeling good in your own skin is in fact possible (even if it did take me 32 years to get there).

So, what’s my point in all of this?

Do. It.

I readily admit it – I used to be the girl that was ok with letting life get a little stagnant. Going through the motions. Sticking with routine. Afraid to just do it. But after experiencing the change that comes with getting outside comfort zones, and leaping without looking, I am totally and utterly in love with change. Even the scary kind of change that gives you butterflies. Especially that kind. Those butterflies make you feel a little bit more alive. And let’s be honest – couldn’t we all get used to feeling a little bit more alive everyday?

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Now, don’t mind me – I’ll be getting back to my last full day of meetings at the new gig before flying home tomorrow. I’m getting homesick and really, really looking forward to putting aside this week’s “un-routine” in favor of some of my most favorite routines. Routines that include irish oats with chopped apples and pb, barre n9ne and rundates, and lots, and lots of snuggling with the hubs.  I miss his face. <3

Traveling – the fit and healthy edition

I’m gonna go ahead and call this post the traveling – fit and healthy edition.

I basically spent all of Sunday morning prepping for my trip to Cali this week for my second week on the (new) job.

As you can see, I packed a TON of healthy food for this trip. I made my way to Whole Foods on Saturday to stock up (for some reason I had no idea how close the one nearest our house really is, two cities over but surprisingly quick trip…I’ll be back, OFTEN. I was in heaven wandering those aisles!). Some of the items I packed:

  • Larabars – *finally* found the blueberry muffin flavor and the coconut creme, plus my favorite: pb&J. These will come in handy on the plane or as an in-a-pinch breakfast in the office
  • Instant oatmeal – not nearly the same as homemade irish oats on the stove, but it’s better than no oatmeal at all while I’m away. I chose the weight control variety because it’s higher in protein and fiber so while I don’t love the added sugars in it, it’ll work in a situation like this.
  • Bananas and apples – snacks at work or in the AM as part of my breakfast
  • Barney butter 90-cal almond butter packets – to go on top of those bananas and apples (the 90-cal pack is genius btw, love it)
  • 1 oz portions of dry roasted almonds packed in neat little snack bags – to eat before I workout or mid-flight if I get hungry
  • Protein bars – again, an in-a-pinch meal substitute. Protein = filling. Something I’ll need, particularly given how out-of-whack I’ll feel due to the time change (which I’ve learned from my sis who battles it everytime she goes out west for her job)

Whew. That’s quit the list, huh?? But I kinda dig it. I feel prepared for this trip and know that even if I can’t control some of my meals entirely (dinner, especially), at least I have some semblance of control and balance as it relates to breakfast and snack options pre/post-workout and while in flight. This is how I’m creating balance while traveling, amid all that un-routine I’ll be facing.

How else will I be creating balance amid the chaos? By packing lots and lots of workout clothes! So much so that I ended up re-packing my work clothes twice. Choosing one pair of tall boots to go with the three dresses I’ll wear to the office each day. I just couldn’t fit another pair of shoes to wear with pants plus my sneakers and my workout gear. So I swapped the pants and extra shoes for a couple more dresses instead. Priorities, people!

Just for a taste of what that workout gear entails…

  • Running shorts – x3
  • Running tanks – x3
  • Sports bras – x5
  • Socks – x5
  • Sneakers – x1 (and already packed for fear of forgetting them after my pre-flight run)
  • Loose-fitting pants from my kickboxing days (that’s another hint for those of you wondering what this “out of my comfort zone” workout I’ll be trying later tonight! and no – it’s not a kickboxing class).
  • Core Fusion DVDs – x2 (yoga energy flow and power sculpt – it’s not barre n9ne but it’s better than absolutely no core and strength work while I’m away this week!)

As you can see, I had very little room for other essentials. Y’know, like stuff to wear to the office and out to dinner at night. Like I said, I had to choose my battles packing-wise. And what can I say? The workout gear won, hands-down. ;-)

So anyway, I’m en route to Cali today and feeling ready. Anxious, sure. But I’m also excited. To continue testing the waters in my new job and to see how well I handle un-routine this week. At least I know I’ll be traveling fit and healthy this week, something that makes this girl very happy. Plus, I know I’ll have a smiling husband ready to give me the biggest welcome home hug ever when I land on Thursday night. :)

Cheers friends – let’s rock this week, shall we??

How to make a lasting first impression

How to make a lasting first impression – on your first day at your fancy schmancy new gig:

  • Beat your boss to the office on the first day. Awesome.
  • Settle right in with the marketing team, *almost* without skipping a beat. Awesome.
  • Get into a card accident en route to dinner with your boss that night. Not. Awesome.

Oof.

Let’s just say that wasn’t the “big bang” I was aiming for on my first day — but it sure *did* leave a lasting first impression, I’ll say that.

Thankfully, I was not injured – nor was the woman that I rear-ended (cringe). And now that two days has passed, I’m pleased that I haven’t had any neck or back pain, despite the 40+ mph I was going when I smashed into the car in front of me. And sure, my car is probably totaled (UGH – will know for sure on Thursday when they appraise it), what’s more important to me is that I’m alive, uninjured – and aside from freaking the sh*t out of my husband and sisters (and boss!) that night – life will go on.

And, it’s made for quite the icebreaker in conversations with new colleagues. ;-)

Aside from that, though – what this week (so far) has taught me? I needed this.
…the un-routine (that I’m already experiencing).
…the uncomfortable moments where it’s up to me to “fake it until I make it.”
…tThe “new beginnings” that this year promises to offer me at every turn of the corner.

I know that next week when I travel to Cali to meet the rest of my coworkers will be another challenge in and of itself. But I’m feeling so ready for it. Even if that means getting creative with my workouts (and maybe trying something new, workout-wise, while I’m out there - more on that later!). Finding a way to maintain my semblance of balance food-wise, especially with lots of after work socializing happening. And yes, even if that means being away from Scott for four days. I can do this. We can do this.

Because hell, if I can get through my first week, car accident and all, and still be smiling? Next week ain’t got nothing on me. ;-)

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Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be off to find a semblance of routine with my long-awaited return to barre n9ne for my favorite double of the week tonight, followed by a killer sweatfest tomorrow morning, run-style. (Oh how I heart sweat!)

OH – and before I forget – can I just say how incredibly AMAZED I am by all of your awesome comments on my post yesterday?? I promise to respond to each of them as soon as I can. You guys are awesome!!