Powerful and spring-y

I’m titling this post ‘Powerful and spring-y’ which might sound kind of like an oxymoron, but I promise it’ll all make sense by the end. Hopefully. ;-)

So first up — the powerful part of the equation.

As in a powerful run. Powerful on many levels.

powerful in how it reconnected Scott and I (aka long-lost #teamsutera). Even though we barely spoke a word.

powerful in how present I felt during the run. Present in each and every step I took, present in taking in my surroundings, present in listening to Scott’s even breathing next to me, silently pushing us both along. #presence2013 is a beautiful thing. (more of an update on this project of ours in a future post…)

powerful in how my legs felt pushing up and down the hills on our *favorite* 7-miler rundate route.

powerful in the rush of memories that came flooding back during that 7-mile route we circled. It’s the same route we doubled and tripled and nearly quadrupled during Chicago marathon training. Memories. <3

powerful in the incredible HIGH it gave us both. The rush of the cool, fresh air breezing past our faces. The strength we both felt in our legs, and in our speed. And the incredible DOMS we both felt the next day (and are sure to feel even more tomorrow…I’m a two-day-later kind of girl).

powerful in the JOY it brought us both when all was said and done. As evidenced by our GIANT (albeit sweaty) smiles. <3

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Now, for the spring-y part.

spring-y as in the antsy pants I now have for spring to actually arrive. We went from blizzard conditions on Friday to sunshine and 50 degrees on Monday. Kinda makes me crazy, for SPRING. I love it so. <3

spring-y as in the joy I already feel for the mere opportunity for many more of those powerful runs like I described from Sunday. Those reconnecting, rejuvinating and energizing runs. Trying so very hard to be patient…patience pants don’t suit me so well. ;-)

spring-y and the absolute geeked-out high I get from trying out new fitgear at the studio during three-fer Monday that put a big ‘ol spring in my step as I set foot into the studio I love so very much. You see, sometimes *all* it takes to get me going on an early-start Monday (especially after the daylight savings time change the night before!), is a new outfit. Yup, I’m easy to please. And yup, I’m a giant #luluhoarder. But I won’t apologize for that part. I am who I am. Take me or leave me. ;-P

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Soooooo, that’s all I got after a very long start to my week — but doing what I love most of all, and with that extra spring in my step totally helped matters. So is the glass of wine I’m savoring the heck out of as I type this. (note: blogging with wine is something I need to do more often. #noted.). Happppy (powerful and spring-y) Monday, friends! 

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. :-)

Of kindness and sweat

(Kind of a random title for a post but trust me — the two go hand-in-hand I swear.)

So by now you’ve all heard me talk about the #b9poseadaychallenge going on at the studio the past two weeks, right? And you’ve no doubt seen me posting my fare share of poses on instagram in support of the challenge. I’ve had WAY too much fun both sharing some fun #instaposes and seeing what our clients can come up with for creative poses and such.

However. What really did it for me? The ‘twist’ that Tanya put on the challenge for the final four days (it ended yesterday). In the spirit of the #26randomactsofkindess movement going on in support of the school shootings at Sandy Hook a few weeks back, Tanya asked clients to start sharing their #b9actsokindess on instagram in lieu of ‘just’ sharing poses. And if I was blown away by how many were participating in the pose portion of the challenge, the overwhelming participation in the acts of kindess movement has been unreal.

Just take a look at that quick little snapshot I took of the #b9poseadaychallenge hashtag on instagram:

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There are 560 pictures in there!! And if you looked at how many are just for the random acts alone? It’s kind of amazing. Our clients are a special breed, I do believe — the kindess they’ve shared with both complete strangers and fellow clients has been so, so cool to see. Talk about paying it forward — everything from buying a stranger behind them a cup of coffee in line at Starbucks, to dropping off clothes at a homeless shelter or dropping home-baked treats at the door of every single neighbor in her apartment building (YES, every single one!).

Kindess, particularly the ‘random’ kind — beautiful. And far too rare in this day and age. This is as much a note to self to me as it is to all of you — let’s be more random with our moments of kindess going forward, shall we?

*****

Now for the SWEAT part of this post — which still relates to the ‘paying it forward’ aspect of the #b9randomactsofkindess story I just shared above. You see, on Saturday, I had the chance to teach my first-ever barre n9ne intensive class — essentially a 75 minute class where I was given the chance to create an even more challenging version of our classes, with fewer breaks, more compound moves and a LOT of sweat.

I won’t lie — I was a wee bit nervous that all the build-up to the intensive from clients who were SO anxious for the big day to arrive would work against me. I wanted it to be PERFECT in every way. I wanted our clients to get the best damn workout of their lives. And I wanted to be the one responsible for it.

…and wouldn’t you know, it turned out far better than I expected. And not because I think I’m some crazy-awesome instructor or something. But truly because each client in that room poured their heart and soul into that workout. Just as I poured all that I had into teaching a killer class, they showed me their gratitude through their hard work.

And when all was said and done, and I had sweat dripping from the tips of my hair all the way down my shoulders and onto my forearms and back — I looked around that room and was overwhelmed with my own sense of gratitude. That yet again, I had been given a chance to pay it forward — the ‘it’ being all that barre n9ne has meant to me this past year-and-a-half since my own personal barre journey began.

Just awesome. It just keeps getting better. <3

(and if you didn’t believe me on the sweat factor — here’s picture proof!)

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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.

Hills + Speed (er, sprints) = FUN

So I’m titling this post: Hills + Speed (er, sprints) = FUN. 

But really, the title *should* be: The workout where my ass fell off. 

Seriously — if you EVER need to get your ass literally handed to you, just talk to my fit and fab friend Meaghan who happens to be my running idol and one of my dearest friends (reason #3,478 why I love blogging: ‘finding’ friends like Meaghan who I’d NEVER have met if I never started blogging to begin with…)

This was our text exchange midway through my workout this morning:

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And this was what I looked like when all was said and done:

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What you can’t quite see in that pic is just how sweaty I am — particularly my hair: I. Was. Drenched.
…and exhausted

But deliriously high from the rush of the endorphins this workout gave me. For real, it was KILLER. But I managed to keep my promise to Meaghan – I had FUN with the workout even though it was quickly kicking my ass. And you know what? That, to me, is what working out *should* be about, bottom line: having fun.

Sure, we all have goals for ourselves when it comes to our own physical fitness and those goals come in many shapes, forms and sizes. But honestly? Setting hard and fast goals aside can be such a liberating thing and can be just the reminder you may need to get your ‘mojo’ back. At least that’s what I’ve been LOVING lately — having fun with my workouts, not focusing on any real goals other than staying as fit as I can while having as much FUN as I can. And making as many fitdates as I can fit into my schedule (something I’ve been failing at miserably lately, but I’m determined to fix this in the new year!). 

While I’m not going to share every last detail of what this workout looked like (since it was Meaghan’s creation, I think it’s only fitting that she share it if she so chooses…maybe if you ask nicely, she’ll post about it soon, hehe #peerpressure), I will share what it felt like:

The warm-up was fun, nice easy pace and it shook the cobwebs out (fighting off some weird sniffly thing over here, bah #notsicknotsick)
The first set was all about hills mixed with speed. There were SIX (very intense) rounds with tonnnnns of incline work.
The second set was all about speed, speed, speed. Sprinting FAST, but not so fast that form suffered. My core is now killing me from focusing on my form so much during this set (it also didn’t help that I taught arms & abs last night at the studio, heh)
The final set was a mix of moderate speed mixed with a small hill. I needed this set, like whoa.

In all? I managed to kick out 6 miles of INTENSITY all before 6:30am this morning. If THAT doesn’t make you feel badass, nothing will I’ve decided. 

And on that note — I’m off to find my ass, it fell off somewhere around mile 3 or 4 during that first set… ;-)

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? 

If all else fails…

…intervals FTW. 

Seriously. I was a sweaty, smelly, exhausted mess after this, but I NEEDED this workout. Like, whoa. 

Before: 
I was grumpy (needlessly)
I was annoyed (again, for no real reason).
I was snippy (I hate when I get that way, especially for no real reason). 

After: 
I was energized.
I was renewed.
I felt like me again. 

…just a sweatier, smellier, more exhausted version. ;-) 

So my advice to you — if you’re ever whacked by the grumpy stick out of the blue like I was last night: run intervals. Preferably like the ones I did last night (a throwback from last winter’s stash of interval runs). 

I say it again: Intervals: FTW! 
(that’s all I got today, nothing more profound than that lol)

 

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.