#b9forboston — the #bostonstrong OneFund event

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A need to move

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

*That* moment.

*That* moment. 

The one with life altering, life changing, transformative implications.
…it’s rare that you can actually pinpoint *that* moment. 

But when you do pinpoint a moment like that, it’s kind of amazing. 

This morning, on my way back from the studio after teaching a super sweaty toned, firm, fit and ready class, I glanced at my email and saw this message waiting for me:

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*That* moment — two years ago today, that I took my very first barre n9ne class. I knew, after taking that first class — with the one and only Tanya Croteau! (<3) — that I had to go back. There was something there, something I needed more of. Little did I know just how life altering that day would be two years ago. I know I say this often, but I seriously could not be more grateful for the home barre n9ne studio has in my heart, for the continued opportunity to teach, to pay my own experiences forward, and to see clients transform on their own, right before my eyes. *That* moment. <3

After thinking about the whole ‘moment’ concept, the second life changing moment that came to mind? This one:

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That would be Scott and I (aka #teamsutera!), after our longest Chicago Marathon training run: 22 miles. It was one week after our WORST long run of our lives (this 20 miler...to jog your memory), and we both desperately needed a redemption run, one that would prove to both of us that we could haul ass for all 26.2 miles on race day. It was *that* moment captured in the picture above, where you can see the pain in my eyes and  in my scrunchy lines on my forehead that I knew: we would cross that finish line on race day. And yup, we totally did. *That* moment was life altering, too.

(and you better believe that our marathon experience is VERY much on my mind lately after last week’s Boston tragedy. I can’t say whether or not #teamsutera has another marathon in us or not…but it is weighing heavy on my mind, and on my heart, for sure).

*That* momentwhen everything falls into place, everything fits, and transformations begin. 

On “found” time

So this past weekend didn’t go as originally planned. You see, I was all set to spend a good 8 hours at barre n9ne in training for Pound – Rockout Workout, a training that was *supposed* to happen this winter but a certain blizzard kinda interfered. But after last week’s events, it proved not to be the safest of times to be traveling into Boston for our friends at Pound, so alas, training didn’t happen afterall.

…which lead to a whole bunch of  “found” time on Saturday. 

Both of my usual Saturday morning classes at barre n9ne were already subbed out. I was supposed to be training for Pound, afterall. So just like that — my Saturday was a clean slate, with absolutely no schedule, no agenda, no plans whatsoever.

The ‘old’ me would’ve whipped out my to-do list…or started an entirely fresh to-do list, and gone to town. You see, I think I’ve done a good bit of changing the past 8 months or so — I suddenly remembered this post: the one where I told myself to chill the eff out. And I remembered how anxious and upset I felt, how all up in my head with mind crazies galore I felt, how utterly strained and unhappy I felt. And I remembered how much I did *not* want to return to that ‘self’ again.

So lo and behold — Saturday became a free-for-all, a day where suddenly ‘found’ time became fun time versus productive time. 

It started with an awesome, but very challenging, run with the hubs. #TeamSutera reunited once again to tackle one of our favorite ‘long’ running routes from our very first half marathon training almost 4 years ago. The route is about 20 mins from our house so we drove to the starting point and parked our car — this after sleeping in, awaking to *no* alarm clock, something that happens very rarely at the Sutera Manor these days — and off we went.

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We chugged along and man, it felt a lot more challenging…but in a very good, very ‘worked’ way, a way my body needed to feel. I admit that I battled my head a little bit at first, getting super frustrated that the run wasn’t one of those easy-breezy-could-run-forever runs. But then I remembered that sometimes you gotta work extra hard for the miles and let your body work. And after I gave myself that gut check reminder pep talk, I felt much better and chugged side-by-side with Scott.

It turned out to be an incredible run.

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I think our smiles say it all — it was one of those cleansing, refreshing, replenishing runs. I think all of the emotion of the week needed to escape and the miles were our escape route. We ran along freshly-rained-on pavement and all around us it just felt clean, fresh and new. All of us in Boston needed that ‘fresh and new’ feeling, I do believe. And we got it on Friday night and into Saturday morning in more ways than one. (SO glad both bombers are no longer roaming the streets of Boston…so, so glad. 

Other than that run? Scott and I spent some time pitter-pattering (this is SO a “Scott” word haha) around the house before we stopped to watch the opener of the Bruins and then the Red Sox games…and watching both ceremonies where the city paid tribute to the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy but also the heroes, I cried. And cried. I couldn’t be more proud of this city, of Boston, our home. <3

After wiping away those tears, we decided it was time to get out of the house for a bit. We wound up at one of our newfound favorite spots for an afternoon drink. They have ample seating at the bar and lots of TVs to watch the various Boston sporting events — and the pours there? They are generous to say the least, ha. ;-)

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It was an awesome break from reality — we chit chatted with our fellow bar-mates, and I even saw my boss there which was kinda funny. But mostly, we just took the time to get away from normalcy, using the ‘found’ time we had on our hands for fun, carefree time together.

So what’s my point here? (other than to blab on and on about how fabulous our Saturday wound up being??)

“Found” time is a gift. Use it wisely.

As recent events have shown us, life is so short, so fleeting and such a blessing. Live every single second of it. My vote? Let’s live a little more like the sentiment behind this Dove Promise message, hmm?

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Gratitude and #prayersforBoston

So this post has nothing to do with running, or pace times, or PR’s or any of that. Yet, it has everything to do with running, too.

Running towards gratitude, running towards faith, running towards *something* that will help me wrap my head around what happened at the Boston Marathon today. Yet, no matter what I do — I just can’t fathom it. Unthinkable. Sickening. Tragic. Gut wrenching. Wrong.

The moment I heard about the bombings at the finish line of the marathon, my heart sank. For about a million reasons. For the lost lives and grave injuries. For the emotional trauma that suddenly encircled this fine city I call home. For the runners who had their moment stolen from them. For the people – spectators, fans, runners — who had their lives thrown upside down…or worse, lost.

As soon as I got home from barre n9ne tonight — where I took solace in the normalcy of teaching one of my favorite classes of the week — I went searching for the right words, His words, to give me comfort, or at least to give me a semblance of serenity.

What I found was this passage:

Incorporating gratitude into our lives is not about walking around with a cheesy grin on our face, denying the heartaches or injustices of life. We don’t have to sacrifice reality to be grateful. We simply need to adopt a gratitude focus that affects every moment of each day (Ephesians 5:20).

To me — today’s events bring everything around me to a screaming halt. All the trivial things that were on my mind from earlier in the day, suddenly went whooshing out of my mind. None of it mattered anymore. I just sat there thinking — of my husband, my sisters, my parents, my in-laws, my friends and sister-friends. And I felt such an immense sense of gratitude. That none of my immediate loved ones were lost today. They are safe. We are safe. I feel extremely blessed and grateful for that simple fact. For safety. For love. For faith.

So tonight, tomorrow, and every other day — please, hug your loves ones tighter, release the trivial frustrations from your day and focus on the good, the grateful, the beautiful. Run towards gratitude, towards faith, towards love. Just run. #prayersforBoston

******

In honor of today’s events, I will be running tomorrow morning in a Runner’s United to Remember virtual run. Every single mile will be run with gratitude and an open and joyful heart. Join me, won’t you? <3

#FitFriday ruminations

#FitFriday ruminations…

Accountability is awesome.

(this would be me both pre-class and contemplating a post-class run and then me after class and after crushing my first solo run in a long time!)

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I talk about accountability a lot, I know. But truly — sometimes it just takes the simplest of actions to truly commit to your intentions — workout related or otherwise. I have to give mad props — yet again — to the barre n9ne community, this group of ladies is nothing short of inspiring and hard working and SO SO committed. Not just to their barre-volutions (you should *see* their transformations — a post for another day…but seriously unreal) but also to their cardio health, too. We have a fun little group of barre n9ne-rs who are part of the ‘barre to 5k’ group Jolene and I launched with Tanya last year. The group started as a way to help clients who wanted to go from walking to running but needed a little support to get there. Today, this group has evolved into one giant cheering squad. Constant words of encouragement and virtual high fives are the norm in this group. And a biggie — the accountability thing. We’ll routinely schedule #b9virtualrundates — reporting back with our progress, post-run. And do you know how hard it is to skip a workout if you’ve *just* told a bunch of ladies that you’d be ‘out there virtually’ at xx time, the next morning? You better damn well believe I’d never miss that run after all that. And the same is true for anyone in this group — you shout it loud and proud, you commit, and you get ‘er done. And then be prepared for an onslaught of “nice job!’ and “way to go’ and “rock on!’ that will come your way, post-run. LOVE. <3

Compliments, while simple in theory, can leave a lasting impact. Case in point:

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That would be a love note my husband left for me on my container of almond milk in the fridge for me to find this morning. I literally laughed out loud when I read what he wrote. (I may have also blushed.) But really? It reminded me that a simple compliment can mean the world. In this case, it reminded me that my husband happens to love me very much and finds me to be pretty cute. How lucky am I?? It also reminds me that I need to be more diligent of complimenting him — as I’ve said before, I have a hard time accepting compliments, especially from my husband. BUT — I’ve been working on it. By not accepting his compliments gracefully, I’m sort of throwing his words back at him in a way, pushing him away instead of pulling him in. So I’ve gotten better at it with time — and I’ve been focusing more on paying *him* compliments back. Especially now that he’s so into Crossfit, my husband is a hottie. ;-)

And finally – paying it forward is by far the most gratifying feeling in the world:

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I came to the studio on Thursday morning to teach my usual 6am toned, firm, fit and ready class and found not one, not two, but three gifts waiting for me at the studio. From clients who have been working their bums off to get fit and healthy for life. And they wanted to thank me and barre n9ne for helping them get there. Wow. Just wow. The sheer fact that I have an impact on anyone to get more fit and healthy (and happy!) is a beautiful thing. I am eternally grateful for the opportunity to use my own barre journey as a means of helping others chase their own fit dreams — teaching is my way of paying it forward and I can’t say it enough: I teach with gratitude. Every single day.

So that’s that — my #FitFriday ruminations. I’m in a very happy place today and really hope you all are too. :-)

The bottom line: sweat

The bottom line: sweat.

As in – I love to sweat. Love, love, love it. 

And this week I’ve been LOVING on some fitdates of the ‘me workout’ variety.

On Tuesday — I proudly crushed a 7-miler before 7am (just love the sound of that, hehe…dweeb alert) and took this picture as proof of the sweat that was dripping from my hair and onto my chest. I <3 sweat. 

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And this morning? I got up bright and early to meet one of my besties at barre n9ne for a fitdate. And not just ANY fitdate, either. For one, I wasn’t the one at the center mat (not that I don’t LOVE being there, I doooo).  My bestie was the one teaching the class. It was my FIRST class with her, a rare treat indeed. I’ve been wanting to take her class for eons but schedules just weren’t jiving. I saw the opportunity to nab a spot in class for Fusion at 6am and went for it.

…and I’m SO glad that I did. <3


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(we look far too excited to be in pretzel, especially after she had us doing the killer side leg series right before this…hehe)

And because I have the rare opportunity to be at home today for work (I usually only work from home on Friday’s now), I took the opportunity to log a few miles on the treadmill. A sweaty 30-min rundate-for-one — perfection. And sure, the reason I’m home today is kind of crapstastic — we’re one car down at the Sutera Manor today (praying it’s nothing major, we’ll find out later today) — I’m looking for that silver lining, obviously. That silver lining? The ability to embrace the sweat. Plain and simple.

The other silver lining? The killer bowl of oatmeal with chopped apples and blueberries I’m about to devour (sorry, no pic — too hungry, hehe). 

Happy WINESDAY friends!!
I’ll be sending ya’ll a virtual cheers around 6pm tonight. Join me, please. :-)

On #presence2013, fitdates and things

I’ve been meaning to blog all week, but for some reason the words just weren’t there. But today? I have a few thoughts on my mind, nothing all that earth-shattering but I wanted to jot them down while they were fresh. I hope you haven’t missed me too terribly — can’t believe it’s been a *week* since my last post! 

On the #presence2013 project…

In a word, I’m finding myself equally surprised, stunned and amazed at what a little disconnecting can do. This #presence2013 project has already left a lasting impact — I shall count the ways here (in no particular order)...

  • My mood – 1000x less ‘stressy.’ My mind is calm, far less cluttered and a whole heck of a lot less “OATT” like than it’s ever been. You know big change is happening on the mood front when your husband starts a text message with “don’t be mad but…” and then proceeds to tell me how amazed he is in how much happier I seem lately. Less anxious. Less scattered. Less unfocused. And a helluva a lot more present. The #presence2013 project: needed
  • My days — far less jammed up. I’m finding myself pulling back on that urge or push to be constantly in ‘productivity‘ mode. Let’s take today for instance. I had a few things on my mental ‘to do’ list that I wanted to tackle. Instead of continuing to add, add, add to that list, I capped it. I told Scott what I wanted to accomplish, he shared what he wanted to accomplish and we agreed to limit ourselves to a couple of hours of ‘go’ mode before we’d shut it down and focus on ‘weekend’ stuff like rummy wars, book reading, and yes, wine drinking. <–y’know, the *really* important stuff…
  • My fit focus – grateful. More on this one in a sec.

I could probably go on for a few hours about how glad I am that we (i.e. ‘#teamsutera’) are embracing and learning from this #presence2013 project of ours, but I’ll stop here. I promise, I’ll share more as the words come, but for now? Just know that the gift of presence has been the best gift I could ever give or receive. <3

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Now — onto that ‘fit focus’ I mentioned. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about how different my fit focus has been lately. I’ve been out of training mode for a good 4ish months and haven’t missed that structure. (I *have* missed running outside in the early AM, counting bunnies along the way…but that has more to do with it being the dead of winter and a lot less to do with training…)

But what I have missed?
…fitdates.

Fitdates for one. Or fitdates with besties. Or fitdates, #teamsutera style.
All of it.

I finally had a chance to take a barre n9ne class last Thursday (my sister took a titch too much glee in kicking my ass I’ll tell you that much lol) and when I tell you I was downright grateful to be in that room working out beside one of my best friends ever (mwah) and among some of the most fun clients *and* to have my sister in the center mat? I was: utterly grateful. It was such a needed set of fit moments for me. Of pushing myself through countless sets of tricep presses and pushups. Of finally getting my shake on at the barre and literally seeing the sweat pour down my cheek, drip from my hair and slide down my shoulder. And, at times, shutting out the rest of the room, closing my eyes and just being presentin my fit moment. 

It was during that workout that I suddenly longed for more of these fit moments and fitdates. Sure, I’ve been making time to get my runs in on the treadmill during the week and/or weekend as much as I can, but I haven’t been putting my own desire for fit moments first as much as I’d like to. And no, I’m not trying to add to my plate here (I know that’s what you guys are probably thinking!) — but I am committing to fitting in those fit moments and fitdates where I can. Even if it’s just one class per week that I take vs. teach, I’ll be grateful. Sure, it might not happen every single week, but where I can, I will.

I’m also getting really, really, really excited for the clocks changing — it’ll mean that it’ll stay light enough at night for some potential rundates with the hubs, #teamsutera style here and there. And as we inch closer towards spring? It’ll mean the potential for some early morning running, NOT on the dreadmill, too. Perhaps I can wrangle my sis into some of those early-AM rundates as the weather and clocks shift, hmm? ;-) A set of fit moments I’ll try my best to patiently wait for. (tick tock, tick tock!)

For now? For this week? I’m SO excited to be signed up to take one of my bestie’s barre n9ne classes on Wednesday morning. Since she got certified a few months back, I’ve been itching to take her class and I finally have my chance. And you better believe I’ll be doing my best to stay present in that fit moment.

Compliments.

This has been whirring about in the back of my mind a lot lately….

Compliments.

Giving them.

Receiving them.

Spreading the love.

Compliments – in my view – are similar to a giant bear hug.

And I think we should give them out even more freely.
…not to mention receive them as graciously as we can, and as freely as we can.

It dawned on me after seeing a string of super-cute comments and ‘likes’ on a pic I quickly instagrammed yesterday morning after a sweatastic run (more on that run in a sec).

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And it made me smile – not just the ‘likes’ on the pic which are always fun and I love seeing them, but the compliments or shouts of support or encouragement.
…like a giant bear hug.
And it got me thinking – why don’t we do that even MORE with one another?  I mean, what does paying someone a compliment take – two seconds?
…and you never know what that two seconds meant to the person receiving the compliment.

It could be the ray of sunshine on an otherwise dreary or bummed-out day.

Or the boost of confidence needed to hold their head high as they walk into an important meeting at work.

And a motivator to keep on keepin’ on.

So today, which just so happens to be Valentine’s Day (total coincidence, I swear!), I’m making a vow to make an effort to reach out more, pay more compliments to friends and loved ones and even strangers, and yes, to work on graciously receiving compliments too. (I noticed I have a horrible habit of *really* brushing off compliments when they come from my husband, and I have no idea why. I picked up on it during our snowed-in weekend actually. Got me thinking…)

So lovelies — will you join me on this mission? 

*****

In other news? My run yesterday was awesome. Another surprising one for me. I’ve had this weird ‘crick’ in my neck for a couple of days so I skipped my run on Tuesday (er, postponed it – to later this week…#accountability) to avoid too much jostling and potential further injury.

But Wednesday rolled around and my neck was still a little sore but not nearly as achy as before. So I went with it – promising myself I’d hop off the ‘mill if my neck bugged me. And part of me kind of expected that to happen. But alas, my neck behaved and off I went. After an hour-long episode on-demand of “Castle” (really good show btw) was over, I looked down at the display on my treadmill (I cover it up for the entire run, upping the speed as needed, but never looking at time or distance until I’m done) and I was shocked to see: 6.98 miles. I happily sprinted the final .02 miles and was SO excited to see that I’d fairly easily hit 7 miles before 7am. I was sweaty, happy, run-high and ready to get a move on the day.

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I’m constantly amazed at the evolution my running continues to take. Since being out of training mode for months now, my running has been on my time, my terms and practically every single run has surprised me – in a good way. My love affair with running is still very much intact, despite how loose and ‘free’ my running has been of late. Kinda neat, if I do say so myself. <3

Why (I) teach.

Remember that awful case of writer’s block I mentioned last week? Well yet another blog/twitter friend to the rescue!This time it was from Daria — she wanted to know why I teach, basically. As in — what drives me as an instructor.
So, let’s get right to it, shall we?

Why (I) teach.

I teach because I love to motivate others to work just a little bit harder each and every time they take a class at the studio.

I teach because I believe with all of my heart and soul in this particular style of workout — it has enacted huge change in me. I’ve never felt stronger or more confident than I do now. And I believe — and KNOW — that barre n9ne has had a ton to do with that.

I teach because it makes me feel alive. The energy that the room gives me every time I step up the front of the mats is unreal. My sis and I joke that this ‘alive’ energy happens every time we teach. And no lie, after EVERY class we teach, we literally text eachother the following: “#everytime” -- because to this day, almost a year into our stint as instructors at barre n9ne, we are still blown away by that energy, that ‘high’ that happens after each class.

I teach because I can. And I cherish that ability. Not just the physical ability to teach, but the actual opportunity to teach that Tanya presented to Jo and I almost a year ago. Every time I see my name on the schedule, I smile. I know that sounds corny but its the honest truth — I feel downright lucky to be an instructor at a studio that 1) I adore, 2) has killer classes that WORK and 3) has amazing clients that has transformed barre n9ne into the beautiful community that it is today.

So while I can’t answer the “Why (I) teach” question with just one answer — I can sum it up like this: Teaching has become a part of who I am today, it’s that simple.

(and after this weekend’s sneak peek POUND – Rockout Workout class at the studio, I am even MORE excited to learn how to teach this class so we can bring another (freakin’ awesome and killer) class to barre n9ne. I’m pretty sure my thighs and obliques hate me right now. The. Best.Feeling.)