Please reset.

You know how sometimes you see the ‘please reset’ button on your hairdryer and have to go through the rigamarole of pushing that little button in at the *exact* right time and angle so when you plug it in, it actually resets and doesn’t just sit there lifeless on your bathroom counter?

Well that’s kind of how I feel right now — in need of a reset

I kind of feel like that hairdryer – sometimes it takes a few tries before the reset actually works. You know the drill — you think you pushed that button just right and plug it in and then: nothing. So you try again — and nothing. And after the third or fourth time, you finally figure it out and the ‘reset’ actually sticks. (this can be the most obnoxious process, am I right ladies??)

I was doing so well with ‘just being’ me. 

With learning to disconnect more to reconnect. 

With being present. #present2013

With letting go of perfection and striving for excellence. 

With seeking out silver linings vs. harping on the little things that frustrate you but are out of your control. 

But just like any habit, sometimes it’s hard to truly kick the habit without concerted effort and (for lack of a better word) practice.

So what’s my ‘please reset’ plan look like? It’s quite simple – it’s about getting back to basics. I’m going to use this long weekend to reconnect with friends and family, to let my mind go and just be, to stop stop stop vs. go go going, and to focus on excellence above all else…not perfection.

This is a toughie for me — I’m not great at admitting faults or weaknesses or flaws or imperfections and I’m *really* not too great at letting go of perfection and my Type-A-ness. I know, I know. I’m too hard on myself. I know this. BUT — I have gotten *so* much better at letting go more, I really have. I’ve just gotten out of the habit and it’s time to reign it in before the spiral happens (and we all know what that spiral looks like – ala ‘chill the eff out’ remember that?). 

So anyway — this post was really more for me to get my thoughts out of my head and onto paper. Sometimes blogging it out (and/or blabbing Scott’s ear off incessantly) is the only way to gain clarity. And clarity is exactly what I needed today.

Reset: let’s go. 

The fit truth.

Two years ago (yes, TWO years ago), I wrote a blog that covered my ‘fit truths’ at the time – many of those things I talked about still ring true today, of course – but my idea today of what a ‘fit truth’ is has changed pretty markedly.

To me, the concept of a ‘fit truth’ is akin to the age-old running question: Why I run?’ A question I’ve answered a few different times on this blog, and with different answers (I’m mysterious that way, apparently haha).

My definition of a fit truth is simple – a ‘fit truth’ is your fit mantra, your answer to ‘Why fit?’ – what drives you to focus on fitness, what the underlying reason is.

For some – fitness is pretty black and white. It’s to lose weight. To look better on the beach. To fight back against genetics that may have dealt you a difficult hand. It could also be a much more serious reason like training for a major fitness event (marathon, triathalon, fitness competition, crossfit games, and the list goes on).

All very good, valid fit truths.

For me, my ‘fit truth’ is a little bit less black and white than that. And it’s a whole heckuva lot less black and white than it used to be.

It’s not about losing weight. (it used to be)

It’s not about training for a race. (it used to be…up until verrrrrry recently)

It’s not about running faster or farther.

My fit truth – it’s about Health. Wellness. Vibrancy.
…and feeding my passion for movement, ability.

Ever since crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon last October, my fit truth has evolved significantly. Evolved towards simple vs. more complex, more rigid or structured.

Sure – I have a loose goal of 3-4 runs per week and fitting in just one class at the studio that I can take vs. teach. Some weeks it’s 2 runs. Some weeks it’s 4. Some weeks it’s no classes, other weeks it’s 1. Or very rarely, 2. The rest of my ‘fit time’ is spent teaching. I adore it.

I reach for running as my ‘me’ time (and ‘rundate’ time!) and my ‘sweat’ time. I reach for barre n9ne for my ‘strength’ and ‘shake’ time. (and let’s be honest, my ‘me’ and ‘sweat’ time fit in here, too).

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Truth be told, I have never felt more healthy, active or strong as I do today. And I firmly believe that has a lot to do with shifting my focus, to simplifying. I also think that has a lot to do with finding comfort in my own skin and not railing against ‘me’ but learning to love myself, learning to be my own best friend. Granted, this last part has taken a good couple of years to discover, mind you, but recently its sort of all come together for me. Something that  bubbled to the surface for me the other day on a rare – but much-needed – solo run.

My fit truth, today.

<<Editor’s Note – For some reason, I’ve been having a really hard time finding the right words on this blog. So I apologize in advance if this post is as rambly as it feels like it is to me!>>

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. 

 

Little, simple things.

Given all that’s happened this week, I’ve been struggling (like so many of you) to find peace among the sadness.
…the one thing that has given me some semblance of comfort this week? Little, simple things.

Like running with Scott, reuniting as #teamsutera on a few occasions this week (he’s on April vacation from work so I am taking full advantage of our ability for rundates!), including on Tuesday morning where we ran for Boston, as part of the “Runners Unite” movement that swept Facebook on Monday night.

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Even something as simple as opening up a Dove promise to find this message hiding inside:

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Fabulous *and* flawed — amen, amen, amen. <—Please, please, please remember this the next time you mentally berate yourself, or slip away from self-love and into self-hate, or any other form of self-doubt or mind crazies. I need this reminder as much as anyone else. We are *all* fabulous and flawed and that’s what makes us unique, beautiful wonderful people.

Now, I wouldn’t call this next one a ‘little’ thing so much — but my husband, the man I adore and love and cherish more than anything else on this earth, well — he sure knows how to shower me with love and affection. And this time, the man outdid himself. These showed up at my door yesterday when I got home from work:

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Apparently, Scott spied over my shoulder while I was ogling these beautiful Tieks online over the weekend and took it upon himself to go back and order me a pair (knowing full well I would never spend that kind of money on shoes myself). Seriously? Can I keep him please?? <3

And finally – the simplicity of a long walk on ‘date night’ which is always Wednesday night for us. The one night during the week that neither of us is busy. We cherish that night together. And normally, that night involves a great meal, a couple of glasses of wine and a movie or a catch-up-on-DVR night. But last night? Last night was different. We opted for a long walk after dinner — to a local frozen yogurt spot for a sweet treat. We wound up walking over 10k steps or a little over 5 miles. And we just talked. And talked. And talked. About the Boston marathon tragedy. About the possibility (or not) of running another marathon. About random little things we noticed along the way — like the big dipper in the dark night sky while walking home. Or how the crickets sounded while we made our way back to our house along our favorite running route. There were no distractions. No tv’s with news stations sharing more sad stories. No iPhones with text alerts and Facebook updates. Not even a picture to commemorate the occasion. Just us. And it was perfect.

Little, simple things. #needed

Things that make me feel good.

Things that make me feel good: 

 #1: Fun notes next to the various alarms I have set up on my iPhone. Sure this involves a fair amount of early wake-ups each week but just these little notes next to each one make me just a little bit more excited about the dark-thirty wake-ups.

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For example, the ‘b9 6am class’ alarm goes off on Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays, while the “Tues AM run” is set for Tuesdays (obvs, lol) and then “b9 fitdate/rundate with Steph” goes off each Wednesday. So yup, pretty much every day of the work week involves a 5:xx alarm. And somehow, I’m totally ok with that. <– will be even MORE ok with that when it’s bright and sunny out well before my alarm goes off #hurryupspring

(and yes, I realize that these are all pretty random alarm times I’ve set here. I can’t ever choose a normal time like 5:00 or 5:30, it has to be random. Am I weird or do you guys have these random alarm rules too?)

#2: Accountability by way of new fit gear. Yup, accountability comes in many shapes and sizes folks. Not just from shouting it out loud and proud on Facebook for all to see and hear, but sometimes just the sheer thought of rocking out some new fit gear can get my butt shifted into #ampitup mode.

Wednesday morning was one of those occasions. (aka “b9 fitdate/rundate with Steph”)

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I finally got a chance to test out my new Ellie gear and I am IN LOVE with both pieces. The top is suuuper flattering – looove the neckline and the thumbholes. Perfect for a post-class run or a pre-class layer to keep me warm and cozy before teaching or taking a class at the studio.

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And the bottoms are lightweight, also very flattering and fit just right, totally true to size (top was also true to size, btw).
But best of all? I felt GREAT in my new gear. Energized and excited for class and then a quick run today, just the ‘me workout’ I needed mid-week. #accountabilityrocks

(If you want to try out Ellie, I’m an ambassador for them and so far have really appreciated the new gear so much. If you want to snag 20% off, you can click this link.)

#3: New food finds! Oatmeal lover up in here finally tried a new (to me) way of prepping my oatmeal. Baked!! I am in LOVE with this style, especially during the week when I’m at work and reheating my oatmeal vs. cooking it fresh on the stovetop.

Before:

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After:

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(I practically licked the bowl clean!)

Perhaps this requires a ‘foodie Friday’ post to dig a little deeper into some of the recent new foodie finds I’ve discovered lately. It’s been awhile, hmm?

So there’s that – my “what makes me feel good” list for the week. Fitting seeing as its winesday and I’m off to enjoy a much needed date night in with the hubs.
And yup, wine *will* be served. Cheers! ;-)

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

Patterns

Have you ever thought about patterns in your day?

How you structure your free time?

What habits you fall into, without ever realizing it?

…yeah, neither did I.

Until my sister pointed it out to me while I was in the midst of what I thought was a brutal case of Sunday night blues.

Let’s backup for a sec. This weekend? Awesome. Needed in every single way. Lots of time spent at barre n9ne (my ‘happy place). A little bit of ‘me’ time spoiling myself silly at Lululemon on Saturday afternoon (keep an eye on instagram tomorrow, ha!). An incredible date night out with Scott, something we both needed so badly after the week we both had. A date night that was just so perfect, I can’t even put it into words…so I’m not going to even bother trying (sorry…). And then today. Much-needed family time with my grandparents who were visiting from Maine, my husband, my beautiful niece Isabel, my mom (aka ‘mimi’ according to Isabel) and my two sisters (and brothers-in-law).

But now? I find myself sitting here sad, blue, blue, blue and unable to shake it.

Sitting here on the couch while Scott is busy preparing his lesson plans for the week, I’m just sad. And I couldn’t put my finger on it, nor could I shake it off. So I texted Jo. Told her I was tempted to go run a few miles on the treadmill just to grab some endorphins (even though today is my rest day, a much-needed one, too). She promptly ‘tough loved’ some sense into me, even though I resisted it at first.

You see, she pointed something out for me that I wasn’t seeing clearly at all. The pattern, or habit, I fall into a LOT lately. Rather than embrace ‘me’ time or any sort of chill time and use it as actual chill time, I fill that time with as much productivity as I can. I guess I just look at that ‘me’ time as my time to catch up, or get ahead, of the things that I have a hard time controlling during the week. Like laundry. Or food prep for the week. Or cleaning. Or whatever I can get my paws on to keep me in control.

…there’s that word again: control.

I clearly don’t know how to let go of control. And I really have no idea how to use ‘me’ time for anything other than productivity, in an effort to stay in control of the chaos that my weeks become with all that I try (usually very successfully) to jam into it.

Sure, I thrive on being busy and filling my days. I LOVE how full and happy my life is right now. And yes, I do have good balance most of the time. But to say that I take my own advice that I am constantly giving all of you? To find balance, harness it, own it, and never let it go?

Welp, I fail at that sometimes. The balance thing. And it all goes back to that pattern thing. Or habit.

I don’t know how to let go, to not be in control all.the.time, to just be.
I promised myself I’d do more of that this year, that I’d simplify.

And I need to get back to that place — simplifying. Even if that means *not* using an hour of unexpected free time for something productive (like building a few new playlists for classes, something I am in dire need of doing…). And instead, pick up one of the countless magazines sitting in the magazine rack in the living room and – novel idea – read a magazine. Or literally just sit and listen to Scott typing away on his keyboard and…just be.

So this is me — being utterly honest and true — and admitting that I need to let go. Stop focusing on ‘getting ahead.’ Stop needing to be in control and overly productive all the time. Break the pattern. And start new ones: patterns that focus on embracing the GREAT life that I have, a life that I do not need to control down to the teeniest of details all the time.

…can I get a big ass cheers to that please?
<clink>

The simplicity of a workout.

I have to say — I’m really digging the simplicity of a workout.
…particularly when that workout is a ‘me workout.’

You see, my ‘me workout’ time has been so much less structured than it’s ever been. Which is particularly interesting given just a few months ago, I was tied to a pretty regimented marathon training plan intermingled with sessions at the barre.

And not that I didn’t LOVE training or being tied to a schedule of sorts, I actually did. It felt damn good to cross those workouts off the list in my handy-dandy little spreadsheet each day. There were days, however, where I wanted to throw that spreadsheet out the window entirely, too.

And it’s days like that that remind me of how beautiful the simplicity of a workout can be.

Source: habituallychic.blogspot.com via Jess on Pinterest

For example — so far this week, I’ve run twice (yes, on the good ‘ol dreadmill) and both times I was utterly shocked at how great the run felt. Even though in both cases I woke up thinking: “there is NO way I’m getting more than a couple of miles in.” Only to step off that ‘mill after 50 minutes, drenched in sweat, with a serious case of runner’s high (yes, runner’s high on the dreadmill!) and clocking in 6 miles in each case.

And even though I’m sitting here sore as all hell from both of these workouts (plus countless sessions at barre n9ne kicking cute bums this week!), I’m so, so content. Content with this simple approach to my ‘me workouts.’ Content with no structure. And particularly content with how my fitness has evolved over time.

I guess I really nailed it when I said I wanted to embrace simplicity for awhile. Just like the Longfellow quote above, supreme excellence really is simplicity. And right now, I’m digging the simplicity of a workout. No frills. No schedules. No goals to crush. No pace or speed or numbers of any sort to speak of. Just simple — yet killer and effective workouts —  preferably with ample sweat and lots of post-workout aches (the good kind of ‘worked’ ache).

And, this time of simplicity has given me a chance to remember why I love working out, why I surround myself with all things fitness as much as I can and why I am who I am: at it’s very basic – I truly am a fit-geek at heart. No doubt about it.

 

Run less…love it more?

Ever since the marathon in October (which feels like a lifetime ago, btw…), I’ve been running less and less. Not entirely by design mind you, I had every intention of keeping up the mileage to a certain extent, trying to stick with a longer run per week, yadda yadda yadda.

But then, that didn’t happen.

For lots of reasons –

– I needed a break from the intensity of marathon training. I didn’t realize it until a few weeks had passed, but man — marathon training is no joke. I *may* have mentioned this before. ;-)

– I missed the barre. And wanted to have time to weave in a couple of classes to take vs. ‘just’ teaching classes at barre n9ne. I missed embracing the shake at the barre on my time, not teacher time.

– I also started teaching more classes at barre n9ne (thanks to the studio growing by leaps and bounds, whee!) Slowly but surely and over time, I picked another up class and then another — and now, I find myself at the studio almost every day teaching a class(es). *Swoon* I’m LOVING it every second of the way, clearly. <3

(sorry, digressing…)

In the midst of all of that, which took place over the course of the past few months, I did run but it was along the lines of that #runsimply mantra I set for myself a couple of weeks, post-26.2.  I chose to run when I wanted to run and I chose not to really plan the runs all the much — just running because I loved it, wanted a good sweat, was looking for that runner’s high that truly nothing else compares to.

And now? I honestly don’t even know where my mileage stands per se — I’m mostly running 2-3 times per week, MAYBE 4 times in a week but that’s been a stretch of late. And the distance varies from a quick and dirty 3-miler to somewhere in the 5-6 range if I’m on the treadmill during the week or in the 5-7 range if it’s the weekend and I have the luxury of running outside.

What I noticed the other day, though? Was that even when I’m running on the treadmill – the TREADMILL — I’m running something fierce. I’m the happiest runner you ever saw, my legs are humming along, the miles seem to just tick by, and I’m even returning to those hilly intervals I did a few weeks back that nearly killed me (the one where my a$$ fell off, yeah those…).

To run less has meant loving it more.

I am in deep passionate love with running. I’m not obsessed with it, I’m not thinking about my distance or pace or speed or runs-per-week constantly, I’m not thinking about it at all — unless I’m in that moment, that ‘run-moment’ and then? The love story continues.

It’s sort of like those friendships where you may not see that friend for months or even years at a time, but you can pick up right where you left off, as if no time had passed at all — never once skipping a beat.

That’s what running has become for me — a love story with no ending in sight, no definitions or rules or boundaries needed. It can change at any time and it’ll certainly continue to evolve this year, that much I am certain of.

But for right now, love? Running less means loving you more. <3

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The proof is in the sweat — and that smile on my face after one of those NEEDED get-out-of-my-head-shake-the-funk runs is all the proof I need.

2013: both big and small

Why hello, 2013 — it’s nice to see you. It’s sort of a nice to think of you as a fresh slate, new beginnings, with lots of wondering what will be around the next bend in our paths. But on the other hand, I’m also looking forward to a little bit less…change.

This past year was a pretty big year of ‘no limits’ – of letting go of preconceived boundaries and just going for it. And ‘going for it’ we (‘we’ as in #teamsutera) did, huh? Two job changes, lots of ups and downs for the hubs on the job front too, the introduction of one of my favorite jobs - as instructor at barre n9ne — all while spending a giant portion of our year training for our first marathon. All of this change has been GOOD and NEEDED and WELCOMED change — but with change comes lots of upheaval, lots of embracing un-routine, and lots of thinking, wondering, waiting — all of  which has required patience and endless faith.

Like I said, 2012 was a pretty awesome year in many ways — but it was also an exhausting year. Let me be honest, #teamsutera is tired. It almost feels like 2012 was one giant marathon (both literal – ha, and figurative) and we’re coming down from that looooong training high.

Over dinner the other night, Scott and I got to talking about 2013 and we both agreed — while we’re both huge fans of goals, we’re looking at 2013 a little differently. While we’re both in that ‘think big’ mindset which runs through all that we do — it’s who we are, really – we’re both ready to embrace the little things this year, little moments, little victories. Being more present, even more intention-driven and yes, a little bit less hard-and-fast goal driven.

It might sound like an oxymoron to you, but it makes perfect sense to me — for 2013, we’re both thinking big *and* small.  Now don’t let me fool you, the ‘big’ and ‘small’ will take many forms, this much I can guarantee — it’s how we roll, am I right?? ;-) But 2013: Can you get on board with this mission of ours please? We’d both greatly appreciate it. ;-)

Cheers friends, make 2013 your own, mmk?