Trust His Timing.

In the words of Joel Osteen:

Trust His Timing. 

#teamsutera has been waiting patiently. Hoping and praying for a peek around the corner in our path together — but lately, we’ve been particularly focused on the bend in the road on Scott’s path. As so many of you know, Scott found himself unemployed for a second time, and this time it stung a lot more — being pulled away from a job that he is so passionate about has been nothing short of heartbreaking for him…and for me, the wifey, the one who has tried to put on the strong, supportive face when really, all this wifey wanted to do was curl up in a ball, cry and yell out “it’s not fair!”

But instead, we both took a step back…remembering that thing called faith. The need to blindly trust that our paths would become clear for both of us. And in the meantime, we were blessed with a new job for me, one that inspires me and brings new life to my ‘day job’ while I still have the freedom to continue to pursue my ‘other job’ as a barre n9ne instructor.

 

And just as we were both settling into the notion of Scott being unemployed for the long haul — His timing became clear to us. Just like that. And this week? Scott stepped back through the front door of the school he taught at last year. He’s back doing what he loves — teaching munchkins the skills and tools they’ll need to grow up to be smart, intuitive, and eager young adults. And when I say ‘munchkins’ I mean it — this year he’ll be teaching first and soon enough, third grade. I have to giggle at the thought — every time I think of Scott in front of the first (or third) grade classroom, all I can think about is Kindergarten Cop, hehe. ;-)

But back to my point here — Trust His Timing. Never doubt. And most of all, do not fear the unknowns in life. It’s become very clear to me lately that it’s the unknowns in our days, weeks, months and years that wind up being the most rewarding, worth-the-wait, twists and turns in our paths.

And now…because I can’t help myself: is he *not* the cutest elementary school teacher you’ve ever seen?? <3

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.

On breaking the mold…and making it your own

The one thing that marathon training has taught me — make it your own.

Or — as the Dove chocolate wrapper I opened the other night said, break the mold.’ 
…I don’t know why but I totally dig that phrase.

To me it signifies so much more than just where my head is at marathon training-wise…but I’ll get to that in a second.

First – my thoughts on marathon training and why making it my own has become incredibly important, particularly these past few weeks.  I truly believe it’s why this process has been a totally joyful experience for me. And quite possibly why I apparently make training look ‘easy’ to some of you. ;-)

It’s truly because I’ve made it MINE.

I created my training plan from scratch. 
…based on what I know will work for me.
…what my body will respond best to (hi, no injuries here please!)
…and based on what will give me good balance between my ‘working out life’ and the rest of my life (because there’s a LOT going on there right now too…)

I don’t use anything tech-y to get me through my training runs. 
…no garmin to obsess over my pace (afterall, I just want to run 26.2 proud, no real time goal in mind…)
…no ‘rules’ as it relates to when to fuel/hydrate or what to fuel/hydrate with. (when my body says ‘I’m tired’ it’s time for fuel, when my body says ‘man my throat is dry’, drink please!)
…and no incessant daily mile updates to publicly track how many miles I ran week-by-week. (to me, that’s sort of personal and not something I feel the whole world needs to hear about from me.)

I *try* not to compare myself to other runners, particularly those training for a race like me. 
…I don’t need to start putting doubts in my mind about how effective my training plan is compared to theirs.
…or wonder if I’m working hard enough as they are.
…and most importantly, I don’t ever want to steal the joy out of this process for myself by letting comparison games rule my mind.

I feel the need to preface ALL of these thoughts by saying that this is simply what works for me, what I believe in for my own training goals, my own approach to running and fitness — my own.

Because honestly, no matter what you’re training for, no matter what your fitness goals may be, no matter how structured or unstructured your weekly workouts are — you should always, always, always make it your own. It’s so easy to get lost in the cluster of how everyone else ‘does it’ and by default, either confusing the heck out of yourself, or losing a little piece of you in the process.

So my message to all of you today is simple — Break that mold, lose all sense of preconceived boundaries, remove the limits from your days, and make it your own. 

This week, more than ever, I am truly living that ‘no limits’ mantra I set for myself at the beginning of 2012. And I believe it’s in large part to my continued focuse and commitment to breaking the mold, questioning boundaries and just going for it.

…life is simply too short for anything less. 

(take a deep breath, step off that ledge, have some faith and just go for it. Note to self.)

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. 

Honest and real

It’s about to get honest and real up in here.

I’m having doubts.
…about that *little* thing I signed up for on October 7th.

The Chicago Marathon. My first full marathon.

It’s ironic — and honestly, very frustrating — that I’m having moments of self-doubt and downright fear this week after just posting about how far I’ve come this past year, thanks to the barre n9ne 60-day challenge journey I’ve been on. A journey that has shown me that I have every right to love the skin I’m in, and to be confident in my abilities, in my strengths…in ME.

Yet, I’m doubting the marathon thing. Not just a little bit. But a lot.

…can I do it?

…do I (still) want to do it?

…what am I doing?? 26.2 is ridiculous.

...why am I doing this?

It’s that last question that really got to me.
Why.

why, why why.

Why 26.2?

Because I need to prove that I’m a serious runner? Nope, that’s not it. I run for me, not for a title, not to “belong,” but for me.

Because I said I would? Well kinda…but that’s not a good enough reason to put myself through 16 weeks of training.

Because this is my year — of no limits, no boundaries, and a helluva a lot of “getting uncomfortable?
YES.

Let’s face it — I’m only doing this thing once (and I MEAN that). And this is truly my year — both mentally but also physically. I am the strongest and fittest I’ve ever been. My body is ready for the pounding it’s gonna take from marathon training.  This is it. Game on.

So why am I afraid? I guess its because I’m human and facing something as daunting as 26.2 miles is effing scary. It just is. It’s a powerful thing to say that your body was able to overcome the odds and ran 26.2 miles (because let’s be honest, very few in this world will ever do it). And I *do* want that. I guess I just don’t want marathon training to rule my life for the next four months – and maybe that’s why I’ve felt hesitant, scared, doubtful.

So I’ve made a deal with myself. Quite simply: I won’t allow marathon training to overcome me, my life, my semblance of balance. I know it won’t be all puppies and rainbows each and every week but I’m damn committed to making sure I’m having fun along the way. That I’m still following my #1 fit passion which is barre n9ne (sorry running, you come in 2nd place!). And that I’m still living life fully, happily, healthily and my way.

Ultimately, that’s the only way I’m going to get myself through marathon training without letting fear overcome me, without letting that creeper named “self-doubt” poke his head in the door, and without letting it steal my joy for other things in life.

So yeah, this is me being real, honest and 100% me here. Running this marathon is a HUGE goal of mine. But it’s not my life. It just isn’t.

I know this might sound counter-intuitive to those of you who *have* run marathons before, but I gotta go with my gut on this one.

(and on that note, be on the lookout for my “rebel without a cause” version of a marathon training plan. I’ll be sharing that with you next week!)

Why I run: today.

I’ve talked about this before. Why I run.
I even revisted the topic once after that.

But after this weekend’s race – my 4th, and best, half marathon – I feel the need to revisit the topic once more.

Why I run: today.

It’s been a 2+ year process (my previous two “why I run posts” were from April and September of 2010), but I finally trust myself. To run for me, my way, with a smile on my face. That’s why I run. And continue to run. For me; for that confidence it’s given me; and for that trust it’s shown me I’m worthy of. I run from the heart.

I am who I am because I run. I strive to be better — in all areas of my life — because I can, sure. But after seeing what a little hard work and determination can do for my running journey? Anything is possible. And I now fully apply that “anything is possible” mentality to all areas of my life — an incredibly invaluable life lesson I gained through running.

I run for me, but also for Scott. For us. It’s been one of the biggest bonding moments for us — pushing ourselves through four half marathons and committing, together, to 26.2 this fall? Crazy bonding moment after moment. It’s this unspoken thing between us almost, this quiet confidence we have in ourselves, and in eachother, to see this thing through to the end. Whatever “the end” may be. The “end” of a hard-fought race. The “end” of a training cycle. The “end” of a regular, run-of-the-mill rundate. Or the “end” of a 26.2 mile jaunt through Chicago. We’re in this together. As they say, “couples who run together…”

And, as I’ve said before — I never, ever take for granted the sheer ability to run. To push harder, to strive for more (hello sub-2 I’m coming for you!), to see my body perform like a pro — running for miles and miles, something many people on this earth will never see or experience, even if they wanted to. ((Ability.)) It’s a gorgeous, blessed thing.
…I run for those who cannot.

This is why I run: today. <3

A May(be) plan

Hi, my name is Jessica and I’m a spastic-OMG-must-write-everything-down-and-create-spreadsheets-for-everything planner.

Hilarious, right? But seriously — so, so, so true, at least for me. I think this is largely why I wind up with bouts of OATT regularly…I let the days jumble together to attack me versus taking each day as it’s own “thing.” Y’know, kinda like that “in” thing I mentioned yesterday.

So anyway, when I realized that May was upon us (um hi, yesterday was May 1st, how the hell did that happen?!) — the wheels starting churning. I mean, really – how could they not churn?

…the half marathon is almost behind me.
…the barre n9ne teacher training is long gone and I’m happily in my teaching groove.
…my not new but I keep calling it new job is five months deep.
…we’re nearly at the halfway point in the YEAR.
…my year of ‘no limits.’
Damn.

So yeah, it’s been a busy, jam-packed year so far. Which kinda makes my heart soar with glee, not gonna lie. It’s been a full and happy and passionate five months. Of reaching for dreams, capturing them and chasing the rest. I dig that. This full life that I lead.

But back to my point – the whole planning ‘thang. The OATT-er in me obviously wants to plan the next month down to a science, with every little detail in place (not gonna lie, there have been spreadsheets involved…). The wannabe anti-OATT-er in me wants to *try* to go with the flow more in May. I mean, once June hits — I’ll be in MARATHON training, OMG. The next four MONTHS will be filled with schedules. FILLED.

So this is my little reminder, I suppose, to call this month the month of May(be) Plans vs. all-out OATT-filled plans.

A May(be) plan, you say? Yup, I’m calling this month the one month out of the entire YEAR where I try to stick less to schedules a little bit more. May(be). I’ll be traveling for work this month — which throws me into un-routine. Something I clearly need as a way to un-train myself of these OATT-ing ways of mine. This month also includes the Memorial Day long weekend which always means a gigantic bash for Scott’s birthday each year — and this year being his 35th (!), I want to make it extra special. :-)

The only thing I truly plan on doing this month, if I could quantify it in some way? I’d say it would be filled with lots of  “in” moments — of the barre variety for sure, perhaps of the running (without any rhyme, reason, distance or plans in mind) variety, and most definitely of the embracing each moment variety.

Hmmm…this May(be) plan is shaping up pretty nicely, if I do say so myself. Perhaps this recurring case of OATT Syndrome is on its last days afterall?

(one can only hope. and by “one” I mean my husband, who has the patience of a saint for putting up with my regular OATT-ing ways, heh)

An honor and a priviledge

After watching the Boston Marathon on Monday, pushing through a few really challenging runs the past few days and prepping for a really busy week at barre n9ne as we kick off a “soft launch” series of classes in our second location, I got to thinking.

…what an honor and a priviledge.

Seriously. I have been presented with such opportunity in the past year. To follow dreams, pursue passions, and truly live by my mantra for the year: no limits.

I think it’s just so darn easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle that we quickly forget what priviledged lives we live, by and large, at least.

Thinking back to the marathon on Monday — and how hard those runners fought through the miles. Their bodies never letting them down for a second — their ABLE bodies pushing them through the heat and exaustion and into a realm so few will ever experience in their lifetime.

An able (and fit) body.
…an honor and a priviledge.

Thinking about this marathon of mine coming up this fall — and having the willpower, the strength and the time to commit to training strong for 26.2 through this summer and into the fall. To firmly check that item off my bucket list and come away from this marathon an even stronger person as a result?

…what an honor and a priviledge.

And, thinking about how my schedule is shaping up for this week alone at barre n9ne. I get to teach THREE times on Thursday – once at 6am (subbing for another teacher), again at 9am (my regular class) and again in our new location that night at 7pm. And then I get to come back on Friday to teach my regular 5:30pm class. Note I say “I get to teach” — because I don’t look at this as a job at ALL. This is my passion. I am paying forward all that I’ve learned and experienced during my own nearly year-long barre n9ne journey towards perfecting my own practice, with everyone at the studio, and with everyone who will soon become barre n9ne-addicts now that we have another location to spread the love! (side note: expect much more on this soon, big ‘ol launch party this weekend that my sis and I helped to orchestrate!). My sis and I are very much on the same wavelength with this – as many of you probably saw in her post just yesterday.

To instruct (in a style I adore) with intention and passion:
…it’s an honor and a priviledge.

This is just a reminder to me (and to all of you) to never take for granted the blessings in your life, big and small. Never look at any opportunity as anything less than an honor and a priviledge. With that perspective in mind, you’re going to start seeing your life in a whole new light. At least that’s how I’m feeling right now.

Honored.
Priviledged.

26.2: recommitted

Yesterday was the Boston Marathon – an incredible athletic feat that very few ever get to experience with their own two feet. And for me? As a first-time spectator?

I’d describe the day quite simply.

… as the day I recommitted to 26.2.

You see, these past few weeks, of letting my mind get the best of me, of having quite a few OATT outbreaks…I started to question my decision to run Chicago this fall. Seriously.

I wondered if I truly had it in me. I wondered if I truly wanted it. I wondered if it was going to be worth the hours of feet hitting the pavement. Week after week from June – October.

I wondered.

But after seeing this?

(talk about true grit, right near the finish, just powering through the final .2 miles)

And this?

(I think I’d cry at the sheer sight of mile 26…unreal)

Yesterday was the day that I (and we!) recommitted to 26.2.

I can’t wait to cross that finish line, hand-in-hand with my best friend and the love of my life. All with the knowledge that this body was capable of carrying me all 26.2 miles. And that I just did something that very, very few people will ever do in their lifetime

26.2 proud.
That’s my only goal on October 7.
…26.2 proud.

It was a good day.

<Editor’s Note: This is a long and rambly blog post. I’m apologizing in advance! It took me awhile to formulate my thoughts for this one for some reason. But I promise (hope) it’ll be worth you hanging in there until the end…this is very much a self-reflection style post.)

Actually, today (er, yesterday) was a great day.

It went something like this:

Wake-up at 5am: literally bound out of bed (yes, I *did* “bound” out of bed, Scott can attest to it). Time to get ready to teach my second barre n9ne class. WAY too much energy for a Monday morning, particularly after daylight savings kicked in the day prior. Note to self: if I were not a morning person, I’d be really annoyed by this version of me right about now (visions of Office Space flashed before my eyes at the sheer thought…”does somebody have a case of the “Mondays?” <–said with the most annoying, off-pitchy chipper voice ever). I digress.

Arrive at barre n9ne at 5:30am: get myself settled, turn the heat up, music on, review my notes (briefly). Clients trickle in. My energy picks up another notch. It’s game time.

Teach barre n9ne method from 6-7am: It was even better than my first class, I do believe. I felt more relaxed. I wasn’t worried about the time, or what I was saying or doing. I was simply doing my best to be in the moment, to motivate, to inspire, to get every single person in that room to shake at the barre, leaving nothing but sweat on that studio floor. I walked away from the studio feeling good. Really good.

This feels like a dream…

Get ready for and head into the office (my one day ‘o the week in the office for this week) 7-8:30am: Amazingly, I hit zero traffic *and* I left my house an hour later than I normally do. Whaaaat?? Work my little butt off, knock off a bunch of to-do items, chat up a few coworkers. It’s quitting time before I know it

(again – a Monday that flew by, what is going on here? I must be dreaming…)

Walk out to my car @5pm: I’m sweating. It’s 65 degrees out. In March. My running plans change immediately. It’s rundate time, sister-style. Not the planned hill-style intervals I was aiming for, per the “plan” and all. Nope. Scrapped it. Moved that workout to Friday AM. Yesterday’s weather was legit begging to be run in (“it” told me so, I swear). Banged out a fun 5.5 miler with Jo (thankfully, we wear the same size so the fact that I had zero running gear with me was no big deal!). It was downright muggy. Felt so weird to run in warmth.

(annnnd it’s March and I’m sweating. I must be dreaming…)

Headed home at 6:30pm, dinner-for-one coming right up: Monday nights are my “me time” night. Scott is in a bowling league (yes, he’s totally in a bowling league, and he takes it very seriously thankyouverymuch) so every Monday I’m on my own for dinner. I really embrace this “me time” and make it truly all about me. I made a dinner only I would eat (last night involved shrimp and veggies stir fried and served over butternut squash). I wrote this very blog post whilst eating said dinner (I’m a big fan of using random words like “whilst” now and then, a vastly underused word in my view). I spent time stretching out my hammies and IT band and glutes. I caught up on blog friends. I may have eaten a homemade chocolate chip cookie while blogging. I even worked out a new version of my barre method “plan” for Thursday and Friday’s classes. I can’t even believe how much fun I’m having teaching and prepping to teach (including playlist development! but more on that in a future post…).

This feels like a dream.

And that’s when the concept of this very post hit me (because honestly, I started out having not a clue what or if I’d even blog today): I’m not dreaming. This is my life.

I’m blooming right where I’m planted.
…and this garden of mine is growing by leaps and bounds. <3

(and interesting side note – I first blogged about the concept of “blooming right where you’re planted” almost two years ago to the day — when I first heard the phrase during one of Joel Osteen’s sermons. Two years ago? Well, I feel like who I was then is very different than who I am “blooming” into today. I feel like I’m this refined — or even revised –version of myself.  Not Type A. Not Type B….Type “me.” A “me” I’m really digging these days…)

Sometimes a look back is all it takes to gain new perspective. Something my sister’s post yesterday totally reminded me to do more of (also something we discussed during our rundate – see? running has soooo many side benefits than just the running – and sweating – part!).

< < Annnnnnd end long rambly but hopefully thought-provoking blog post. >>
(wow, my brain does.not.know.how.to.shut.up tonight).