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!>>

Sometimes…you just have to look in the mirror

Sometimes…you just have to look in the mirror. 
…and tell yourself: yes, you are beautiful. 

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…even when those mind crazies try to tell you otherwise.

…even when you feel the urge to look in the mirror and critique every last inch of your body.

…even when there is literally no reason to feel down and out, that rat hole just looms and looms and looms.

…until it becomes too much to bear and you stumble head-first right into it.

It’s that moment, that stumble-head-first-into-the-rat-hole-with-no-hope-of-escape. That’s the defining moment when *you* need to be the one to pull yourself out of it.

Because nobody else can, or should, pull you out of it for you. You have to learn to stand on your own two feet, shush those mind crazies all by yourself, pull on those big girl pants and take a flying leap over the rat hole instead.

Yep, that was exactly the talk I had to give myself tonight on the way to the studio. I had one of those moments where I just felt…bad. I wanted to critique myself to death. I wanted to just be my own worst enemy instead of my best friend.

But I knew I had to get OUT of that rat hole and get out of it fast. Thanks to some tough love from the sis and a bestie, I took a step back and looked in the mirror. Thought to myself: ‘shake it off already.’

And said, yes — I am beautiful. 
…in my own way. 
…on my own terms.
…because I’m perfectly imperfect. 

And that’s ok.

Goodbye rat hole. Get the eff outta here mind crazies.
I will *not* let you win tonight. 

#loveletterstoself
#operationbeautiful
#beyourownbestfriend
#insertyourownhashtaghere

“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!!>>

20 miles: fought, and surrendered

If I could use just one word to sum up our (second) 20-mile training run: disastrous.

(I’m telling you, our smiles are very deceiving — we were both utterly wiped out after this run.)

From the get-go the run was just all sorts of wrong: 

I was up in my head. So, so much. I kept fighting with myself, trying to force the mental head games to stop but they just kept coming. (I think I know the main reason for the mental mind games, but I’ll be sharing that in a later post this week, promise)

It was a lot more humid out than I was prepared for. In my mind, I envisioned a nice cool start to the run. Instead, we left the house at 5:35 (yes, at 5:35, not 5:30 or 5:45, but 5:35…) and got a nice smack in the face of humidity. Not cool.

The hubs was dehydrated almost from the start. I think he was staving off the water intake to avoid drinking too much and leaving me with none. (what a guy, seriously, who does that??) Meanwhile I was done with my little water bottle about a third of the way into the run and was shocked that Scott’s much larger water bottle was almost full still. Between that and the fact that I know he didn’t drink enough water the day before, and I instantly sensed dehydration looming for him…and maybe for me too, given the weather.

The bottom line: we had a lot of ‘things’ working against us on Saturday morning. 

However.

I’m as stubborn as they come. I wanted 20 miles on Saturday. Really, really, really badly.
…so we got 20 miles done. 

But it was ugly. Very, very ugly. 

There was walking. A lot of walking (for those of you who know us well, we *never* walk during a run, ever ever ever. This should tell you how desperately tired and worn out we both were). 

There was a stop to fill our water bottles at a water fountain in the park. Again, something we *never* do. We usually are fine with the water we brought, or we simply power through and are fine to chug along, regardless. But not today. Nope, we needed that water stop.

There were mini-arguments between us when one of us wanted to turn around, and the other wanted to push forward. (I’ll let you guess who is who in this scenario…heh)

So we fought for it. We fought hard. We walked, we ran, we walked, we ran, and then we ran and suddenly, we were done. 

Utterly spent. Disgustingly sweaty. Salty-faced from all the sweat, and dead tired. 
…but proud. We fought…and even if we surrendered just a little bit…we won the battle for 20 in the end. 
And that’s what matters. 

What also matters a heck of a lot? That this didn’t happen during our last long run before taper. (silver lining, perhaps) I need that redemption run in a big way. I  (and we) need that 22 miler to give us the confidence boost that will carry us through in Chicago. We’re both determined as hell to make it our best long run yet.

A few lessons learned, and we’re good to go:

…we are not, in fact, invincible. Even *we* have bad runs too. 
…we cannot afford to be careless with our prep leading into a long run. More water. More mental fortitude, too. 
…we *can* push through, even if our minds try to tell us otherwise. 

22 miles on Wednesday: Game. On. 

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

15 miles on a prayer

This morning we ran 15 miles. 
…on a prayer. 

You see, I took some very wise, beautiful words of advice from one of the strongest, most wonderful souls I know: Lindsay. She told me that she often would use her long runs to pray, spending some of that time with Him. It not only centered her for the run but it gave her a chance to have a little chat with God along the way.

So that’s what I did this morning, just as we were hitting mile 2,  I said a little prayer.

This morning, I pray for
…strength. 
…courage. 
…confidence.
…endurance.
…and faith.

Faith in the process, faith in our training, faith in eachother. 

This morning I also give thanks. 
…for this opportunity to challenge ourselves. 
…for physical and mental toughness.
…for the blessings this experience has already provided us. 

I am thankful. 

As simple as that. I was praying it to Him as much as I was saying it to myself and silently sharing those words with Scott. Between those quiet  prayerful words, and the beautiful rainbow I saw on my ride home last night, and I was feeling extremely calm and centered for our 15-miler, our longest run to date. 

And I truly and firmly believe that it made all the difference. We ran those miles as if we’d been running 15-milers our whole lives. It was surreal just how good the run felt, how well our bodies responded, and how quickly the time passed. I never, ever thought I’d get to this point — where 15 miles doesn’t feel daunting. (I even said to Scott when all was said and done: “well, that *didn’t* suck!”)

…who am I?? 

I’ll tell you who I am — who WE are.
…we’re becoming the marathoners we dreamed of becoming ‘someday.’

But instead of ‘someday’ — this fall is our someday. October 7 is inching closer and closer (something like 9 long runs away!). And with each day that passes, we are both stronger, more confident, and most of all — happier runners.

This is just amazing. I can’t even begin to put it into words. It’s just…incredible. 

Of (fit) bucket lists and things

Hi friends! I’m baaaack! :-)

And this pretty much sums up our glorious ‘lakation’ in Maine:

That would be me stealing a spot on my sister’s chair to lounge my legs on while we sat dockside for pretty much the entire trip up to the lake house. It was so perfect. Perfect time with friends. Perfect sister time. Perfect hubby time. Perfect gram and gramp time (complete with gram teaching us to make our first blueberry pie!) Perfect me time. So perfect I really can’t put words together to describe the trip properly.

…so I won’t even try. I hope you don’t mind.
(and for those of you following me on instagram, I apologize in advance for all of my annoying “omg it’s so beautiful here” pics, hehe)

In other news — I *did* successfully knock an item off of my fitness bucket list while we were away. A (fit) bucket list I’ve been keeping up with over on pinterest with lots of fun items on it, a few of which I fully intend on knocking from that list this year.

One of them is hitting that 26.2 goal of mine. 
…but you knew that already. 

The other one? Feeling confident enough to go for a run in just a sports bra and shorts. 
…seems pretty simple, right? 

But for me — this marked a pretty big milestone moment. Of me finally feeling comfortable enough in my own skin to not give a rat’s ass care what anyone thought of me (good, bad or otherwise) while I was out there running some miles. The confidence I’ve been working towards since the barre n9ne challenge first began for me last May, a confidence I’ve been chasing for years and years. A confidence in who I am today, tomorrow and forever — a confidence I’ve finally chased and snagged. And am holding onto for dear life.

So yeah, this happened:

With my sister and bestie Steph — two of my fit friends that have been right there with me on this journey of mine from the start. Quite fitting if you ask me. Also fitting? That it was muggy as all hell when we took off for our run last weekend in Maine. Holy sweatfest.

So how did it feel, you must be wondering?

To be honest, I was expecting to have some sort of an epiphany. To feel this giant rush of some sort. But instead, I felt…normal. As if I should have been / could have been doing this all along and why-did-I-wait-so-long-to-do-this sort of thing. It sort of felt like no big deal. But I guess that’s kind of the point, right? If it DID feel like a big deal, if I DID feel exposed or conspicuous or something then maybe it would mean I’m not quite ‘there’ yet. As in not quite as confident and comfortable being me as I thought I finally was.

I guess that’s my takeaway then. It was no big deal. But not because I had built it up way too much in my head and it was a giant fail. Nope. It’s because I really *am* that confident and happy person at last. I am who I am. And happily so. 

…and maybe this big 14-miler (holy PDR time!!) I have planned for tomorrow will be done sports-bra style too. Just maybe. ;-)

#marathonmojo

#marathonmojo

That’s the hashtag I created after Saturday’s long run was over and done with. 

Because guess whose BACK in action? THIS GIRL!!
(and if I wasn’t so tired after we got back, I would’ve snapped a pic, in all my sweatified glory!) 

Saturday’s run was JUST what I needed to get my head back in the game. My body did the work — leading by example instead of allowing my mind to lead me down the wrong path as it’s had a habit of doing lately.

My husband kept commenting to that effect, too.
…that I was doing great, working hard, having a great run. <– And he never says these things unless they are indeed true. He knows I’ll call him out on it if he throws motivational speaker-tone at me mid-run. ;-) 

Truth be told? Both Friday night and when I first woke up on Saturday morning — I felt ready. My mind had calmed way down. I hadn’t run in two days so my legs were runner -fresh (well, they were “fresh” from not running but not quite so fresh given all the barre classes I taught / took towards the end of the week, woopsie). We had a restful, carb-filled, hydrating Friday night. I was actually itching to run.

So when we set out at 5:15am on Saturday morning, I wasn’t anxious or nervous. I was happy to be out there. Happy to be up and active while the rest of the world was fast asleep (and trust me, everyone WAS fast asleep for at least the first hour of our run, it was so quiet and peaceful, which is a rarity on most of our running routes, it’s not like we live in the boondocks). Happy to be doing what I love: running. Scott and I didn’t talk all that much for at least the first hour, we were lost in our own thoughts, listening to our feet hitting the pavement, watching the wildlife scurry around (bunnies, squirrels and even a DUCK!), just running. Joyfully so.

By the time we got to the second half of our run, I was tired – sure. But I wasn’t beat down. I knew I had the 7 miles in me and I tried like hell to pick up the pace, on Scott’s order, of course. ;-) And even as we got nearer and nearer to the end of our run, and were into the double-digits at that point, I found myself doing a status check. My breathing was great. My legs were still fairly peppy (but very sore in the quads region — blaming that fully on the barre!). I was doing *really* well for coming in at 12.5 miles.

…and that’s what really struck me throughout the day on Saturday. Even though I definitely felt like I ran hard that morning, I wasn’t dead or feeling all that beat up. My body was holding up just fine. My body had not failed me. Nor had my mind.

To me, that was a real breakthrough point — my body can do this. It can, it can, it can. It just proved that out on Saturday. So I’m going to go ahead and stop doubting myself now. It’s silly, it’s wasted energy, it’s not getting me anywhere fast. Instead — I’m channeling the CAN attitude and seeing where it takes me next.

…hopefully towards more joyful runs, long, short, and everything in between. :)

(totally stole this pin from Heather’s post on Friday…*so* spot-on for how I’ve been feeling lately. It’s like we share brains, I swear. ;-) )

 

An open letter to me: do not fear 26.2

Hey you,

Yeah, I’m talking to *you* over there. The girl who’s been talking the talk about this little thing called “your first marathon,” but hasn’t been walking the walk. As in — you’re letting fear and anxiety steal the joy right out of this journey towards 26.2. You are anxious, nervous, and stressed. And it shows. Um hello, meltdown city last week. Back-to-back headaches the past few days, too.

But why?

…because you’re secretly afraid of 26.2 miles. It’s downright freaking you out vs. fueling that fire in you (you KNOW it’s in there). You’re also far too stuck on that lovely spreadsheet of yours — the one with all the boxes for your miles, for your barre n9ne classes — both for teaching class and taking class…you’ve become fixated on making it perfect.

Well guess what? You aren’t perfect. You’re not supposed to be perfect. And in fact, I believe a certain blog friend of yours once told you to stop striving for perfection and to start striving for excellence instead. At that time, you adored that advice and started to heed it right away.

…so why are you straying from that mantra now?

Because, once again — you’re allowing your mind to trick you into thinking you can’t do this. That you can’t possibly face down 26.2 miles and run it like a champ. But guess what? You *can.* You just have to get back to believing in yourself.

…and the best way to do that? Get back to basics. Stop looking at your training plan as well, a ‘training plan’ and start looking at each run as just that: a run. Something that up until recently, you adored. Stop letting anxiety and fear steal your joy in these runs. Embrace every single mile, particularly those long runs you’re gearing yourself up for in the next few weeks. The long runs that will push you into new PDR territory. Those very same long runs that will give you the confidence that your body can and will push through all 26.2 miles on October 7.

And remember: you are strong. You are fit. You are ready. And most of all? You are a joyful runner.
…don’t ever forget that last one. It’s the key to this entire thing.

Love,
Me

60 days…one year later (before/after)

This girl?

Sad. (but very few knew this)

Feigning confidence (that most mistook for genuine confidence)

Working harder, not smarter. (and getting nowhere fast)

Frustrated with her current “path.” (career path, life path, fitness path…all of it)

…I don’t even recognize this girl anymore.

This is me.

The “me” I’ve always dreamed of being but never quite got there.

The “me” that is joyfully confident and not afraid to say so.

The “me” that loves her path…career, life, fitness, all of it.

The “me” that works smarter (not harder), always.

The “me” that is the happiest she’s ever been.

…I love this girl.

Honestly – I can’t properly put words to paper to adequately describe what this past year has meant to me. And for my sis. And our sisterly bond since we set foot in the barre n9ne studio on May 12, 2011 as the inaugural 60-day challengers and barre n9ne spokesmodels.

It’s been life changing, transformational, joy-filled, intention-driven.

Sure I could sit here and tell you how many pounds I’ve lost, how many inches I’ve whittled away and how many classes I’ve taken in the past year to get me where I am today. But that’s not what this is about. The numbers part is the obvious part. You can see it in the before/after pics clearly. What’s harder to show and share is the way I’ve changed on the inside.

This picture (below) was taken on May 12, 2012, one year to the day since we started the 60-day challenge. The look on my face and my sister’s face says it all: pure joy, happiness, confidence, pride. We did this.

All I can say is this: I am blooming right where I’m planted. And loving every single fit-filled moment.
…and I owe it all to the barre (n9ne).