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. 

 

Everyone needs a little me (workout) time

I hear this a lot — both from clients at the studio, from family and from friends who just don’t think they deserve, need or are ‘allowed’ to have ‘me’ time. Particularly when that ‘me’ time is of the workout variety. It’s seen by some as a frivolous activity, a nice-to-have versus a need-to-have or it’s a selfish thing to want or need that ‘me workout’ time.

But truly? Everyone needs a little me (workout) time. 
Everyone.

Yes, even I need it. 

You see, I’ve been working on a little experiment these past few weeks. Instead of looking at my me-workouts as nice-to-have activity in between all the teaching that I do each week, I’ve been looking at it as need-to-have time. Obviously within reason, balancing it out with the working out that invariably happens while I’m teaching class. But yes, I’ve been making my me workout time more of a priority. Even if it means shifting my focus a little bit — instead of wishing for or yearning for x amount of miles, I get excited about running a quick 30 mins after class or slotting in a fitdate with a bestie mid-week when schedules allow.  And yes, I #makeitcount.

So I have been committing to my ‘me time’ of the workout variety more these past few weeks and I’ve noticed something. Yup, you guessed it — I’m happier.

It’s not rocket science people, putting yourself first and chasing those endorphins produces, yup — happy, joyful energy. 

Sure, I still love, love, love all the hours I spend teaching, watching clients transform right before my eyes. LOVE. But I also love that me time either at the barre or on the mat where I have time to focus on my own muscle strength and endurance. Or the time I spend in my favorite sneakers, running 3 miles or 7, or somewhere in between, those miles don’t matter distance-wise — all that matters is that they are my miles. Miles I fought for particularly hard for on Sunday in the chilly, windy air. But it was worth it. SO, SO, worth it. Especially because it meant a #teamsutera reunion. <3

photo (46)

So here’s my thinking — I will continue to make my ‘me workouts’ a priority. Within reason, of course, and while still respecting the rest time my body needs. But clearly, based on just the past two or three weeks alone, my mood is just happier, less stressy, more centered. I KNOW part of that has to do with the #presence2013 project. But I also believe it has something to do with the me-workout thing. It’s just needed. 

And please, I hope you all will take that time to remember that you are just important to make a priority as everyone and everything else in your life that is important and that you love. You also love yourself, right? So watch that (self) love blossom, and respect the me (workout) time as much as you can. It’ll only make you a happier, healthier, more content wife, sister, friend, mother, auntie, and daughter (ditto this for the boys who may be reading this post!). It’s important, truly.

A fit slant on gratitude

Here’s the scene:

Alarm clock blares at 5:09am.
I roll over and smash the ‘snooze’ button as fast as I can. 
I lay there and think: “man, I am *so* exhausted.”
Scott snuggled up and got a little too cozy for my liking…making me want to drift right back to sleep.
But then I thought about just how close my little gym is to me: it’s literally a staircase away. 
I promptly got up, threw on my shorts, sports bra, tank and sneakers and was ready to go. 

#makeitcount 
#accountability

But what this morning’s workout *really* taught me?

To be grateful for the sheer fact that I literally have my workouts right at my fingertips. 
…not only do I have no excuse to skip that workout, but I am downright lucky to have such a luxury: a home gym complete with weights and a pull-up bar for Scott and a treadmill and TV for me. I fully realize that this is a luxury not to be taken for granted but sometimes, in the heat of the moment, in the height of a chaotic and busy but awesome week, I forget.

But not today. Today I am grateful. For a little thing like a treadmill and an episode of “Burn Notice” on-demand to keep me company for 5 (wicked sweaty) miles.

photo (2)

Now that I no longer work from home and have a commute to face most days, I have to work much harder to strike the right balance. Between teaching a lot more, a new work schedule that requires I manage my time better to get into the office when I need to and leave when I need to (most often to teach);  my ‘me’ workouts are fewer and farther between, something I’ve mentioned before. My run-time is sacred to me (as is the time I get to actually take a barre n9ne class here and there), albeit shorter, and now on the treadmill most days (‘cept for the weekends) — but I wouldn’t even have the luxury of run-time if I didn’t have that treadmill at home. I’m not a fan of running alone in the dark in the wee hours of the morning so running on the treadmill is where it’s at during the week. So I’ve learned to not only befriend the treadmill but to look forward to that me-time, that me-workout, and the luxury of doing it in my own home? A total blessing. 

So today I’m taking a moment to put a fit slant on gratitude.

It might sound like a miniscule thing to be grateful for but for someone who works hard to stay fit and LOVES working out, it means the world to me. (and trust me, there are loads more that I’m grateful for every single day beyond working out, I can promise you that!). Plus, I have so many loved ones in my life who simply do not have the luxury of a workout at their fingertips or the ability to fit one in whenever they want to, so I try very hard never to take for granted my schedule, my workouts, my time. It’s an invaluable thing — time — and I try to cherish it as much as I can.

And now I ask you: What are *you* grateful for today?

Accountability.

Guess what? 
…even I need a kick in the ass sometimes to get my workout in. 

Shocking, I know. ;-)

But seriously, this brings up a very valid point — accountability can be a huge motivator. HUGE. So today, I’m here to tell you how to find that accountability, harness it, and get that workout in. In three very easy steps. 

Step 1: b*tch and moan vent to your fit friend and sis about how much you really don’t want to get your run in after work. (while sitting in traffic on the way home, NOT texting while driving, I swear). Call your husband and do the very same thing. Only to hear: “I’ll motivate you, and you’ll motivate me, we’ll get it done.” (remember this, you’ll need to reference it in a sec). 

Step 2: Read the following text from the same fit friend and sis while filling up your gas tank (it’s really quite awesome to see your gas light come on while in traffic after a long day…am I the only one who hates filling their gas tank and always waits until the most inopportune time to fill it??)

photo (3)

Step 3: Call your husband back. Tell him you’re almost home and to get ready to work. His response: “I’m tired, maybe we should skip it.” <–what happened to motivating eachother?? My response: “Nope, we’re doing it. My run won’t take as long as your weight workout so get upstairs and get moving, I’ll be home soon.”

The result: 

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Four sweaty miles, done. That’s all I really wanted — I didn’t care about how far I went, I just wanted to get a good sweat, feel that rush of endorphins and get my heart rate up. Something I desperately needed after WAY too much sitting at work all day.

And that my friends, is all it takes to stay accountable to your fitness goals. Three easy steps* is all it takes.
#makeitcount

*Note: it also works well to post your workout intentions on Facebook or Twitter, then it’s out there for the world to see, and do you really want the ‘world’ to know you skipped out on that workout? ;-)

We let the run come to us.

“Let the run come to you.” 

The best piece of running advice I’ve ever received.
(smooches, Meaghan!)

And actually pretty awesome words that can apply to a lot more than just running — insert whatever word you like in that phrase and you might surprise yourself with how profound it actually comes out. (could be a pretty awesome game of madlibs, if I do say so myself…) <—a post for another day, perhaps. 

So after a crazy, chaotic, FULL week this past week, both Scott and I really needed one of those ‘releasing’ runs. The kind of run where you just kind of go, leaving it all out on the road as the miles tick by.

Releasing stress.
Releasing anxiety.
Releasing thoughts.
Releasing

Saturday’s run gave us exactly what we were both looking for. It was a brisk 30 degrees, bright sunshine and crisp blue skies. A perfect fall morning. We bundled up for the first time this season in our winter running gear and I actually looked forward to that. I kinda dig my running tights more this year for some reason.

So off we went — #teamsutera — bundled up, well-rested and ready to surrender to the run. About halfway through I realized we had barely spoken a word to one another — other than the occasional “good morning” to walkers and runners we passed along the way. And I was totally ok with the silence. Hearing our feet shuffle through the leaves, the wind rushing past our faces. It was so invigorating. So connecting. And yet somehow also very emotional. I don’t know why, but ever since marathon training, running has such an emotional undertone to it for me. Releasing…but also very cleansing.

And when all was said and done, we rounded that familiar bend towards home and I felt a surge of emotion — a joyful calmness. On Saturday, we let the run come to us. And it was a beautiful thing. 

#makeitcount
#runsimply

Ruminations (#1 of…)

So I’m titling this post ‘Ruminations (#1 of…) for a specific reason (you know me, I always do things with intention, right??).
…I’m leaving myself room to expand on this into a series if I so choose.

You see, lately I’ve been struggling to collect my thoughts, to find focus. There are many reasons for that, none of which I care to dive into here. Generally speaking, you all know pretty much why that is. Why I’ve been so focused on simplifying, finding or re-creating a new sense of balance, etc. So while I’m figuring out my flow over here, I didn’t want to just plain stop blogging entirely. I have lots of thoughts going on, none all that cohesive per se, but some that are totally worth sharing here, in rumination format instead of my usual ‘themed’ posts.

(wow was that a long preamble to today’s post! Man.)

Ruminations (#1 of…)

Seeing this girl absolutely CRUSH 50 miles on Saturday was an honor and a privilege.  Other than inspiring the hell outta me, she also restored my faith in running joyfully, because you LOVE it, above all else. This girl absolutely lives and breathes running…and I adore that in her.

#runsherpa duties are no joke. I mean, seriously — it was *such* hard work passing time in between Meaghan’s 12.5 mile loops by basically bar hopping in between loops three and four. <wipes sweat from brow> But seriously, it was SO much fun seeing her pass each loop, giving her whatever she needed in the way of support — healthy bites (fueled by Healthy Bites woo!), gummy bears (so glad I packed those from Scott’s secret stash!), refilling her gatorade, handing her love notes to read along the course and shouting words of encouragement as she jetted off for the next go-round. Jo and I were seriously working hard as can be in this pic, hmm? (note the photo bomb by a certain #teamsutera member…)

It similar running related news — I’m scarily excited to run intervals tomorrow morning. Now that I’ve gone into totally unstructured territory with  my running, and because I have much less time to dedicate to running lately, I gotta make every single one count (#makeitcount!). Plus, I’ve neglected speed work for so long that it’s oddly fun to get to that puketastic/sweatastic point. While I DO miss endurance running, I know I’ll get back to that in a couple weeks once things settle down at the Sutera Manor (more on this later), for now — quick and dirty is the way to go (TWSS). Let’s hope I feel this way post-workout in the am. ;-) (I’ll report back, don’t you worry)

Speaking of endurance…ya’ll have to quit running marathons and writing such inspiring race day recaps. It’s making me want to run another marathon. Wait, I didn’t say that…ohhhh but I did. NO news (yet) buuuut #teamsutera is definitely mulling it over just a teensy bit. Not gonna lie. #arewecrazy #maybebutwhatelseisnew #notcommitting #runsimplyisourmantra

“Me dinner” nights are frickin’ tasty occurrences up in here. Tonight’s dinner was jammed full of veggies, apparently my body was majorly craving them given this ‘kitchen sink’ style stir fry I whipped up. In it you’ll spy: mushrooms, summer squash, yellow beans, tomatoes, chicken sausage (woops, that’s not a veggie) and mashed sweet potato with plain greek yogurt stirred in. I’m pretty sure as soon as I took this pic, my plate was clean. #hungryhorrors up in here.

In other foodie news — pretty sure this will be happening shortly: a red velvet ‘cupcake’ made with red velvet cake mix and a can of pumpkin stirred in. Two ingredients — ridiculously tasty and equally ridiculously low calorie (approx. 150 cals in this sucker…a titch more if you add a tsp of melty nutella on top like mine will have tonight…). 

And because I can’t get enough of barre n9ne – my #b94lyf gush-fest of the night? I am way, way, way too excited to be teaching a heck of a lineup of classes this week due to some subbing I offered up, y’know because I’m such a team player and all. ;-) I’m in the studio every single day this week except for tomorrow. I kinda love it. (and don’t worry, I will not be running a lot this week; nor am I taking any classes this week — teaching a ton means pulling back in other areas so as not to burn myself out…remember: balance is good. I loooove balance.)

Hmm. Apparently I had more to say than I thought. This may not be the most organized or theme-driven posts of all but it still follows my blogging personality quite nicely — goofy, honest, real and still with intention, per the usual. ;-)

(here’s to #1 of___ to come?)

Just #makeitcount.

I think I’ve mentioned that my schedule has taken some time to adjust to now that I’m in a new job (which I LOVE) that has me in the office most days of the week.  A very big shift from my last job where I was only in the office once per week (trade-off: I traveled pretty often). The other shift happening right now? Teaching a *lot* more at barre n9ne. Which I LOVE to death. Adore so, so, so much.

But combine a ‘day job’ that has me commuting daily, pair that with teaching at barre n9ne anywhere from 5-7 classes per week (with more to come when the new room in the studio nearest my house opens in a week or two! woo!) and my “me time” workouts are fewer and farther between. Right now, I can *only* take 1-2 classes per week realistically (I used to take 5+ a week before I really started teaching a lot more). I just can’t fit much more than that into my week, plus teaching does takes it’s toll…even if I’m not actively ‘doing’ the entire class…I’m doing enough of it that it adds up over time (plus being ‘on’ for the whole hour is exhausting too…in a *good* way though, suuuuch a rush!).

And then there’s running. Which has most definitely taken a backseat of late. Mainly because I only have two mornings during the work week for ‘me workouts’ and it’s SO dark out now that running on the treadmill has become the norm mid-week (sad face). And then weekends are my  only real time to get outside (unless I feel like running in the dark at night during the week…again: sad face).

So where does that leave me? Why am I telling you suuuuch a long tale leading into the whole point of this post?
(there’s a reason, promise)

It’s forcing me to truly make my ‘me workouts’ count. #makeitcount.
…every. single. time.

As in — never regret a workout for one; but also never take for granted the sheer ability TO workout (physical ability plus literal ability to fit it into the schedule, as it were). #makeitcount

So last night when I got home from work and knew that workout I’d blown off that morning (extra snuggles with the hubs took precadence…priorities!) was looming: I had two choices. Blow it off. orrrr #makeitcount.

I did exactly what I’d tell any one of you to do: I made it count. Every sweatastic mile. Even though it was on the dreadmill. Even though I was tired. Even though I was hungry. Even though, even though, even though (I could come up with a million excuses).

After 45 minutes of sweatastic intervals (I did a variation of this version — third one down), I was riding SUCH a high. So sweaty. So fun. So badass.

Yup, it was awesome. Just what I needed. I enjoyed the sh*t out of those speedy intervals. And for one reason: it was MY turn to workout. I have never appreciated that fact more than I do right now. With time a lot more precious than before. I embrace that #makeitcount mantra.

So again I urge you: anytime you consider blowing off that workout for a million reasons, think twice. #makeitcount.
…embrace the ‘me time.’
…remember that not everyone is able.
…not everyone has the opportunity.
…not everyone can #makeitcount.

(((#makeitcount)))

Source: wanelo.com via Jess on Pinterest

No regrets

If there’s one thing in life that I try very hard to never take for granted — it’s the sheer ability to make choices.

Which is why I strive to live a life with no regrets. 

 

We have just one life to live, right?
…so why not make the most of it by taking advantage of the choices we have in our everyday lives?

To choose happiness first. 

To choose presence more often. 

To choose to shift your focus. 

To choose  (self)love over (self)hate. 

To choose simplicity over complexity. 

And yes, to choose to live a healthy, fit life

…even if that means going for that workout that you don’t *think* you want to do. 

Which is how this happened: 

It was quick. It was dirty. It was sweaty. (TWSS)
…and it was exactly what I needed. 

To get out of my head.
To shoo away the anxiety that was back and lurking.
To find clarity.
To chase and grab hold of presence…something I was struggling with on Sunday for whatever reason.

It didn’t matter how far we went or how fast or slow we went. We just ran. #simply.
…and I most certainly did not regret that choice. 

Never regret. Embrace choices. Live presently. <—my new mantra, likey? 

Oh, exhaustion.

I don’t know why, but for some reason I thought I’d enter my first week of taper with tons of energy, ready to tackle each of our remaining runs with happy running legs.

Um, notsomuch. 

At least not this week. I am just exhausted. 
…I guess my body finally caught up with all 40 miles we put in last week, huh? 

Reminder: I am not invincible.
(duh)

So this week has been a huge one for me in terms of truly and honestly listening to my body. I’m teaching a lot this week which I love — but it’s been adding to the exhaustion factor a bit. I suppose starting a new job can also lead to the exhaustion factor too, hmm? (a new job that’s going *really* well in case you’re wondering ;-) )

My plan for the remainder of the week is this: 

Teach my beloved 9am class today; get ready as fast as I can to hit the road into the office after class. Rock it out at the office (heh). Commute home. Put my game face on and get the 7 miles in that I didn’t get in this morning.
…but be ok with things if those 7 miles don’t happen for whatever reason tonight. Listening to my body.

Teach tomorrow at 6am and 5:30pm and work my bum off in between at the home office. Focus on lots of fueling foods, good hydration and be ready to carb up (yay pizza!) tomorrow night in preparation for Saturday’s long run.

Saturday: long run day (whee! yes I still get excited about these, who knew?!). We’re aiming for 15 miles. And I kind of love that 15 miles doesn’t feel quite so daunting anymore. (especially when I know I taper even more the week after this!). 

Oh, exhaustion? I feel ya, I do. But guess what? I’m not gonna let you do me in this week. Nope. I allowed it this morning. I finally got a restful night’s sleep after two back-to-back nights of tossing and turning and restlessness. Today? After a glorious NINE hours of sleep (yes NINE), I am back on my game. I feel ‘me’ again and that’s what matters.

Because guess what? In 17 (!) days: I’m gonna be a marathoner. Why yes I am. ;-)

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.