Fit thoughts.

Fit Thoughts…

The first bite of what I consider more of a ‘winter’ fruit – a pear – and thinking: “man, I need to buy these more often, so yummy.” <– love how good ‘healthy’ tastes…

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Glancing in the mirror while washing my hands in the bathroom at work the other day and doing a double-take, thinking: “is that really ME staring back at me in the mirror?” <–fit ‘self-love’ moments like these are rare, but when they happen, embrace them: note to self but also note to all of YOU to celebrate you and your unique beauty and strengths more often…

Shamelessly shooting ‘selfies’ and sharing them on instagram after particularly fun sweat-fests and resisting the urge to think: ‘man, I must look so vain by posting this,’ and instead thinking: ‘Sweat just feels good. Maybe someone will see this and get motivated to get their workout in today…’ <–this actually happened after I posted this pic the other day on instagram, and seriously it made my day.

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Excitedly discussing ‘fitdate’ plans with my sis over IM – both in advance of last night’s fitdate at the barre (where my sis royally kicked my ass at barre n9ne thankyouverymuch) – but also in advance of next week where schedules will finally allow us more fitdates together, and thinking: “how geeky do we sound right now chit-chatting about when we’d like to run together and what classes we can take together…but I wouldn’t have it any other way….” <3

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Taking the extra time this week to throw a few fun curveballs into my barre n9ne classes – which took the form of killer core and glute work, two of my favorite areas to work (if I *had* to choose…hee) – and thinking: “I hope clients don’t throw the silver balls at me after class is over…” ;-) #Ilovethisjob #livingthedream

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Fit makes me happy, what can I say? What also makes me happy? Spending the next few days with the ones I love most on this earth, cherishing every memory made, every moment big or small. And I hope you’ll all be doing the same. <3

Live your dream, not ‘the’ dream.

On Monday night, while teaching my third barre n9ne class of the day (which firmly makes Monday my new favorite day of the week, no lie), I took a moment to look around the room at one point towards the latter half of class. It was our signature long and lean legs class and one that I have always loved to take since joining the studio last May, but now I have the opportunity to teach it every single Monday night — LOVE.  As I looked around the room at the women working so hard to get through the set, their legs shaking, their focus intent — I had this rush of total joy. And no, not because I was inflicting pain on them (!) but because I was in my element, doing something that I *love* to do more and more every single day.

I was living my dream. 

Finally having that outlet to fuel my passion for fitness has been an incredible blessing. Especially since I’m feeding that passion at barre n9ne — a place that has utterly transformed my life in the year-and-a-half that I’ve been a regular client and, now, instructor. Paying it forward as an instructor — yes, please. And thank you.

So where am I going with this? (I swear, I do have a point.)

I urge you each to live your dream, not ‘the’ dream. 

In other words: find your passion, your dream, your ‘happy place’ — and make it yours. Carve your own destiny — even if that destiny seems like such a far off trek. Trust me, it’s worth it. I’m thinking about this in the broader context of this season — not just Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow where we have an opportunity to really sit back and show gratitude — but in this season called life. Making the most of every single day, even the days that aren’t ‘dream-filled’ and finding a way to make it a good day, no matter what.

And in between all of that? Live your dream, express gratitude, and shower your family and friends with love and adoration. As often as possible — not just in the Thanksgiving spirit.

So that’s what I intend to do, especially during these next few days while off from work. Be present. Disconnect from the plugged-in world (which I’ve been doing a LOT of lately, I’m sure you’ve noticed). Live my dream. In whatever shape or form it takes.

#gratitudeIsbeautiful

On my mind.

On my mind…

My next trip for work. Booked for mid-May. At first I was feeling anxious about heading back into un-routine mode, but now I’m kind of looking forward to the change of scenery. It also helps that I now have coworkers that love to be healthy and fit like me (score!). I already have a trail run and a healthy dinner planned for one night while I’m there. However, I *will* be seriously missing my barre workouts though — so here’s my call for entries: who wants to meet up with me for a barre class while I’m in Cali? (ahem Naomi??) <—don’t all raise your hands at once now ;-)

A week, run-less. It’s happening. Probably the week after the half marathon. Or perhaps the week I’m in Cali for work. Though, I did just book a rundate while I’m out there. Fail. I guess the run-less week will happen the week prior then afterall! Note to self.

My Nonna. Her birthday is this week (today, actually). And the anniversary of her death is coming up this May. I’ve found my mind wandering to thoughts of her a lot more lately, particularly given the time of year. I had a dream about her the other night and woke up sensing her presence nearby. It was comforting. Everytime I see my little niece Isabel, my mind rushes to Nonna…she would melt in Isabel’s presence, I am sure of it.

*Updated*
One year of barre n9ne classes. Yep, today is also our one year barre-versary. The first day that my sis and I set foot in the studio for the very first time. Little did we know that just weeks later, we’d be embarking on the 60-day challenge and months and months later, our lives would be transformed in far bigger ways than either of us ever imagined. Stronger. Confidence blooming. And now, joyfully fulfilling our passion through teaching.
…one year later. Transformed.

Friends I adore. My friend from college (who is by far the funniest yet most loving and kind person I’ve ever met) just welcomed her first child into this world yesterday. I’m so happy for her and her husband – the two of them are going to be a riot as parents, I can’t wait! And another friend — a friend I met at work seven years ago and instantly connected with (one of those “I feel like I’ve known you since birth” connections) — has a birthday coming up. We’re celebrating the big 3-0 together this weekend. It’s going to be epic. I promised her that and I never reneg on a promise. ;-)

Sisters like mine. Jen is thisclose to defending her PhD dissertation and then graduating with her PhD in May. She’s in the final throes of it — all while raising the most perfect like 17-month old I have ever seen. I am constantly amazed by her. And my other sis Jo is constantly giving me the perspective I look for, the encouragement I need and the inspiration to dig deeper, push harder, reach farther. She’s come a long, long way over the past few years and sometimes I think I forget to tell her that. So this is my reminder to both of them — I am proud to have sisters like you. xo

A husband who gets me. Truly gets me. Who’s gonna push me all 13.1 miles in just over a week. Who I cherish date nights in with more and more each week. Who I can’t wait to celebrate our 8 year (!) wedding anniversary with in June. And who I *really* can’t wait to get back to wine country with at the end of June. It’s long overdue. We’ve earned this one. No doubt.

On my mind.

Work. Workouts. Friends. Family. Loves.
…totally not in order of priority either. ;-)

Where did this passion come from?

As I sat in Terminal B at Logan Airport yesterday waiting for my flight to San Jose to board, I flipped through blog comments from my post. I smiled at the words “inspiration” and “passion” that seemed to be popular themes among the comments.

…and, as I settled into my seat on the plane, I got to thinking.

Where did this passion (for healthy living) come from?

I mean, I know that passion tends to be ingrained, but it’s got to start from somewhere, or something, right? I sat and turned the question over in my mind and suddenly, my mind returned to a childhood memory.

Of opening my lunchbox to find applesauce and “ants on a log” (celery with peanut butter in the middle as the “log” and raisins as the “ants” – to this day, I still love this snack!) sitting there staring back at me. Looking around at my fellow classmates, who chomped on bags of chips and cookies, and I knew my snacks were “different” than everyone else’s but that was ok (mostly) by me.

I remember looking back at that time and thinking, “wow, my mom really buckled down on the healthy eating thing when we were little. I dig that.”

Fast forward to middle school.  My parents had split up. My mom was now raising her triplet daughters on her own. She did so with one income and not much in the way of child support, all while putting herself through college and working full-time. She was (and still is) supermom. I admire her strength, perseverance and commitment to giving us the best possible life she could at that time while working on giving us a better life by finishing her degree (she later graduated summa cum laude from Wellesley College – go mom!!).

But it was during that time, when money was extremely tight, that I first experienced what it was like to be unable. Unable to choose the healthiest and highest quality foods to eat. Unable to dedicate large chunks of time (and money) to physical activity (we weren’t the “typical” kids who were granted the luxury of taking ballet, dance, or gymnastics classes or participating in school sports).  Unable to do many of the “typical” things most kids our age totally took for granted,  having no idea what it was like to be unable.

It was also during this time, that I distinctly recall feeling extremely grateful. That I had a mom who worked her tail off to put food, any food, on the table for us. That we had incredible grandparents who routinely made us dinners and carted us around while mom was busy with school. That my sisters and I had each other – to look after one another every single day, taking turns making dinners (which is a whole post in and of itself, lots of funny stories from that time), and being our own mini-family when mom was in school or at work or at home but distracted with homework.

Sure, we didn’t have the best options for meals – Chef Boyardee beefaroni made regular appearances at the dinner table, as did Tuna Helper and other quick-fix meals that offered nourishment of sorts, but very little in the way of fresh, healthy, wholesome ingredients, to say the least. But at that point in time? We didn’t care – it was food, it didn’t matter where it came from or what was in it.

Fast forward to high school and then college. My mom finished her degree, got herself an excellent job at an area school as a technology director, and the money strain lessened a bit. Fresh ingredients returned to the table. I started going to the YMCA, and then the gym at my college, and I started to see just how incredible the world of healthy living was again. I had it as a child, missed out on it as a pre-teen/teen and had it back in my life in my early-20s and onward.  

…and the rest, as they say, is history. My passion for healthy living took center stage in my life for good.

I say all of this not to create some sort of pity party that we endured a bit of a “rough patch” growing up (because honestly, during that time my sisters and I didn’t really even recognize how tough we had it until years and years later and we looked back in comparison one day…). I say all of this, sharing this bit of history with you, because I now see that this is where my passion comes from.

I’ve seen both sides of the equation. The inability to choose to be healthy. And then the ability to make my own choices and to naturally find myself gravitating towards a  healthy, fit and energetic lifestyle. One that I completely credit to the early years when my mom insisted on raisins over m&ms, bananas over bags of chips and tree climbing and fort building outside over hours spent motionless in front of the TV.

This is why I am who I am.

Because I’ve seen both sides. Experienced both sides. And now I can fully appreciate the ability to choose healthy. Gratefully so. Yet another reason why this journey towards becoming barre n9ne-certified means the world to me. Just like I said before, it’s my chance to pay it forward. In way more ways than one.

So next time someone asks me: Where did your passion come from? I’ll say – it’s a long story, shall we chat over coffee? ;-)

8.3 miles later

8.3 miles. 

That’s the equivalent of how far we “ran” yesterday during my sister’s big move into her new apartment with M.

And let me tell ya, my body is feeling every single one of those 8.3 “miles” after the fact. Moving is no joke.

But what this weekend’s big move showed me? That I am kinda really strong. (of course I’d relate the moving party back to fitness somehow LOL)

But seriously – we spent almost 8 hours doing the following:
Packing up all of Jo’s goods into the moving van. Out of her apartment, down the steps and into the van. Repeat many times.
Packing up all of M’s goods into the moving van. Again – out of his apartment, down the steps and into the van. Repeat many times.
Unloading the cars (that were all packed to the brim) and the moving truck at their new digs. But not just unloading, no, not so fast.
Unloading into an elevator, up to the third floor, and down a long (very long) hallway to their unit at the very end of that very long hallway.
Pushing, shoving, lugging those boxes down the hall – there was a lot of shoving done on my part – low to the ground, pushing from my glutes and shoulders and driving that box down the hallway (worked well for the particularly heavy boxes that were too awkward to carry in my arms)
…Being on the caboose end of the two-team carrying of Jo’s couch (times two!) down the hallway. Scott was on the front end, I was on the back (TWSS??).
Repeat process many, many, many times. Until the elevator was empty and every single box and piece of furniture made it safely into their new place.
…And THEN, returning back to Jo’s old apartment to take apart her bed and bureau and kitchen table that were all coming to my house (yay for “new” furniture!). Packing it all into the moving truck and off to our house where we promptly unloaded it all, up the stairs and into the spare bedroom and down the stairs into the basement.
…and then, we were done.  

Woof.  We were all sweaty, smelly, tired, and hungry. Thank god for the big bowl of irish oats/chopped apple/pb I had for breakfast around 6:30! By almost 3pm, I was ravenous, to say the least. I guess that’s what 8.3 miles worth of moving will do to the appetite. ;-)

So yeah, it was a long day – but it was so, so, so worth it. The look of glee on Jo’s face when she showed me her new digs was priceless. Her eyes were shining, her smile was so big and proud. I LOVE this for her. She is embarking on a whole new phase of her relationship with M (future BIL, I swear!).

And if I ended up with a killer “accidental” workout and a nice reminder that this body is built for endurance, isn’t a bad after-effect either. ;-)

When was the last time your strength or endurance or power surprised you? Kinda nice, right?

Thoughts, 13.1 of them

1. I ran this morning. All 3.1 miles worth. It felt glorious, especially charging up that last hill, envisioning the finish line on Sunday. I want to charge towards it. Must remember this on Sunday, note to self…

2. Oats in a jar is quite possibly the best invention ever. I tried them for the first time today (yes, the FIRST time, can you believe it?). In a word: epic jar of oats was devoured – complete with irish oats, chopped warm apples and cinnamon and the remnants of my organic Trader Joe’s peanut butter. Ridiculously good. 

3. I’m running a half marathon on Sunday!! My second one…which somehow makes me feel totally qualified to be a “runner.” Weird, I know.

4. I heart my friends - of the bloggy, IRL and sister friends variety. Amazing how much love and support is around me as I stare down 13.1 <3

5. My husband bought the most perfect bunch of bananas at the store today. Definitely on my race day breakfast menu – sliced atop a cinnamon bagel thin smeared with peanut butter (don’t worry, I have a spare jar on hand at all times). 

6. Carb-loading Sutera pizza style tomorrow – it’s ALL I can think about. You have no idea how good our pizza is – we’ve perfected the craft really. And no, I’m not ashamed to admit it. Pictures to come…maybe. ;-)

7. I swear, faith is coming in handy these days. The forecast is looking up for Sunday – weatherman says “the storm is taking longer to arrive at our doorstep than anticipated…showers should hold off until mid-to-late morning” <—can’t you just see God working his magic here or just me?? 

8. “Run the mile you’re in” might just be the best race day mantra around. Thanks to Jo’s blog friend for uttering such a true statement in one of her blog comments on my sister’s blog recently. It’s totally stuck with me ever since.  

9. I wonder how many bunnies I’ll see during the half on Sunday…hm. Personal goal? 5 bunnies! 

10. Faces I’m excited to see as I cross the finish line: My mom, my dad, my mother and father-in-law (best in-laws ever, hands down), and my sister-in-law (she’s also racing with us but um, is super fast, so I fully expect to see her at the finish line well before me!). This is what gets me through those tough moments during a race – smiling supportive loving faces, both there at the finish and cheering me on from the virtual sidelines (my sis JenHeather, Lindsay, and Melissa, to name just a few!)

11. Given the revised forecast, I *will* be rocking my Lululemon run shorts afterall…y’know, in case you were just dying to know. ;-) 

12. I seriously can’t get the thought of that 25k on labor day weekend off my mind. Please – someone tell me I’m crazy?! 

13.1. I’m ready. To run proud. My one, my only goal for this half marathon. To run proud. 

Celebrate: you

Thanks to the always-inspiring Tina for prompting this very post. Her “I will say it loud and proud” post totally stuck with me yesterday – the fact that we, as a culture of women are the first to admit to our flaws, but the last to admit to our strengths? It’s sad really. We should embrace who we are and own it. All of it.

So today, I urge you to celebrate: you.

I’ll start – and you can take it from there. :-)

I am passionate. When I love something (or someone, hehe) you KNOW it. I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve. Whatever emotion I’m feeling, I show it. I’m a lover, not a fighter. ;-)

I am loyal. To my sisters (to my niece!). To my husband. To my friends. I hold those that I care about very close to my heart and would walk across fire if it meant putting a smile on a loved ones face.

I am obsessed with love challenges. A half marathon - sure, bring it on. Another one? Yup, I’m on it. Putting myself into uncomfortable situations (new job, new approach to working out, food logs, etc.) has taught me so much about myself. And I’m thankful for every single challenge presented to me – even the ones that stress me out now and then.

I’m a gigantic dork. Giggle fits halfway through Barre N9ne. Who, me? Rummy wars with the hubs? Playing “wanna know how I got there?” with whomever will listen to my ridiculous rambles (usually Scott gets stuck holding that bag)? Giant dork. Always have been and that is a-ok with me!

I am me. A “me” I’ve grown to love more and more in the past year or so. I’m settling into my 30s (eek, 30s, as in plural??) and it feels good to be getting more comfortable in my own skin. It’s about time.

So, I started us off nicely, I’d say. Now it’s your turn. Let’s call today, June 2: Celebrate: You day. Are you in?

Blog detox, runner’s high and Barre n9ne week #3!

Wow. Lots to cover off on today! I guess that’s what happens when you give yourself a blog “detox” for the long weekend, huh?

So the blog detox, what’s that all about? It wasn’t something I planned but it actually worked out really well to be completely disconnected from blog-land this weekend. A weekend full of celebrations (happy birthday, babe!), lots of family and friend time annnnd some much-loved beach time. In all, a pretty damn fantastic weekend all around. And of course, I have to share at least one or two pics  from the party on Saturday.

How adorable is my niece?? I love her!

And one of the birthday boy, he’s so cute. ;-)

As for runner’s high? Well, I’m still riding that high as I type this. Had one of those “I could run forever” runs this morning. The weather was crisp and comfy. The birds were chirping away and the roads were silent. In fact, this was probably the least chatty Scott and I were on our run in a long time. It was just us with our thoughts, our feet hitting the pavement, our breath even and strong. It gives me full confidence that in ten weeks, I’ll be ready to kick the crap out of the YuKanRun half marathon.  :-)

In other news, barre n9ne – crazy to think that we’re already into week three of our eight week challenge! And here’s how it’ll look (can’t wait!):

Sunday – muggy and hot 5-miler (complete with super-sexy sports bra tan lines LOL)
Monday – barre n9ne toned, firm, fit and ready (which was my first time taking this class, it was awesome. A mix of barre n9ne signature method, lean & tone and long & lean legs, kinda perfect if you ask me!)
Tuesday – runner’s high worthy run (4.5 miler)
Wednesday – 5 miler; barre n9ne lean & tone
Thursday – 4 or 5-miler with the sis; barre n9ne long & lean legs; barre n9ne fusion
Friday – rest
Saturday – first long run day of training, aiming for 6.5 or 7ish

In related barre n9ne challenge news? I totally rocked the food log at the annual memorial day bash and I am SO PROUD of myself for it. I stuck to my plan, I ate lots of fruits and veggies and hummus and fresh fruit, and steered clear of the stuff I usually kill for at parties (read: all the bad stuff!). Annd I was able to fit wine into the mix, a must for this wino, I’ll tell you that!!  I call this a MAJOR win for me, especially considering I am suuuuch a sucker for cocktail party food!

So yeah, a great weekend, an awesome blog detox (despite the growing google reader feed I must trim down!), and a great week of workouts ahead. How does your week look, my friends? Let’s rock it out together, shall we?  

“I put my money on joy and I’m so glad that I did”

“I put my money on joy and I’m so glad that I did.” 

Uttered by Oliva on the Biggest Loser this week, just one week before finale week. She looks amazing. But even more importantly? The joy is welling up inside of her. Her eyes sparkle. She truly has banked on joy and come out a winner.

And it’s a feeling I think we should all feel – if not every single day (because let’s be honest, we all have bad days), almost every single day. Joy is the one thing that nobody should steal from you. It’s yours to share, to embrace, to hold close to your heart.

That sense of joyfulness is especially close to my heart today – on the two year anniversary since my Nonna’s passing. She meant the world to my sister’s and I – and we meant the world to her as her first grandchildren, and triplets at that. One thing she always reminded us was to be happy, to live joyfully, to be good to eachother, to embrace life and all that’s offered to us.

I was thinking of her this morning as Scott and I ran our familiar loop around our neighborhood before work. And, just as I was remembering her so dearly, the bells started chiming at the chapel around the corner from where we were. Now – I realize that it was chiming because it was the 6:00 hour by then, but I can’t help but think it was also Nonna’s way of saying “I’m here – I’m still watching over you, I love you.” 

And even though I sit here typing this, with tears in my eyes, they are tears of joy because my sisters and I were lucky enough to have her around for as long as we did. And we still have two wonderful and healthy grandparents on my mom’s side that we cherish so very dearly. They’ve instilled good, strong values in all three of us. Values like faith, and perseverance and confidence and strength and family.

So today, as I remember my Nonna, I ask you to do just one thing: Put your money on joy – both today and everyday. 

A bit of gratitude

Gratitude.

Let the meaning of that word sink in for a minute.

It holds such weight doesn’t it?

Yet – at the same time, it brings lightness to your life the minute you realize all of the wonderful things you have to be grateful for.

I’m overwhelmed with gratitude lately.

….for the overwhelming support for me and my sisCore Fusion Challenge. I am so encouraged and inspired and floored by your support. The meaningful comments you’ve all left for me lately, just wow. And to think that some of you are considering the challenge yourself, or your own version of it. So awesome.

for a job that puts me on a rollercoaster everyday. Yes, there are moments where I am frustrated that I’m not “there” yet…that I’m still the new kid and I don’t know it all. Yet. But it’ll come. For now, I’m trying to embrace that rollercoaster – a rollercoaster I can’t believe I’ve only been on for a month. It seems like way longer.

…for inspiration through others. My sister Jen just signed up for her first-ever 5k. This is an awesome step forward for her, and something I know my super-duper cute niece will be proud of her mom for doing one day. I am damn proud of her and so inspired. Can’t wait to run it with her…and maybe, just *maybe* I can convince her to guest blog for me here on her couch to 5k journey. Whatcha say, Jen?

.for a husband who “gets” me and pushes me to reach my goals. Even the simplest of goals like to be able to do a proper set of push-ups. He pushed me WAY outside my comfort zone today and it was just what I needed. (maybe not *right* after a 45 min interval run but I digress…ha).

for ability. Ability to take on new physical (and very much mental) challenges. I say this all the time but it’s so true, and I always feel smacked with that gratitude everytime I embark on a new challenge. I am freakin’ lucky as hell to be healthy and able to do whatever it is that I want.

for friends. Who I can’t wait to spend time with tonight at a mini girls night out and tomorrow at one of my best friends’ house for the Superbowl. There won’t be much football-watching but there *will* be some good eats and drinks. I dig it. ;-)

What are YOU grateful for lately? Sometimes just jotting down a list like this can be eye-opening…