Be strong… But Why?

 

I have started this post 3 times and can’t find the right words.  Seldom do I feel judged about my fitness choices or workout routines.  I also try my very best to make no judgments about the choices others make, especially when I’m at work.  I know everyone is on a different “path” and have all come to fitness for different reasons.  Some people are looking for strength others for stretch, some want to relax while others want to socialize.  We are all at different places seeking  for various results and some of us will be on the trail longer then others… for some it will be a steep climb while for others an enjoyable stroll.  The fact is that we are all working to better ourselves and only we can do that.  Where we are on the path is not always clear but with support and encouragement from those around us, we will succeed and have amazing results.

Something I’ve almost always loved about working in the fitness community is the built in support system.  Not everyone but most people will share a supportive nod or wave when passing on the running trail… a nice compliment after class… or a commiserating smile while in SPIN class.  For those that partake in this “fitness karma” it’s a community and a way of life.  We know it’s hard but we are all there doing our best and we are all getting through it, together.  It feels good to support and be supported by others around us.

Sure, I’ve worked in the posh gym environment where everyone walks around in their LuLuLemon outfits (not slamming Lulu, I love their stuff!), the body builders strut so pumped up they can’t put their arms by their sides, and the men show off their trophy wives while discussing which country club they will be golfing at that weekend.  Yes, these can be the less friendly places to be… but in the dead of winter when you are out for a 6 mile run along a one way path of packed ice, wearing more layers then you know what to do with (and none of them match) and a runner coming the opposite way shouts “keep it up, great job”, it feels pretty good.  That’s the only other person you pass that day and you both know what a brutal but rewarding run it was.


I digress, where was I going with this?

Oh yes- so I work in yoga and mindful fitness and I see people of all ages, walks of life, and fitness levels taking all kinds of classes.

A few weeks ago I had a very interesting experience that I haven’t been able to shake.

I show up at work and discuss with one co-worker her great bike ride that morning and my TRX class that weekend.  Now, I don’t bike very much and she hasn’t done a TRX class- so we are talking about very different things but can easily relate to the heat, the work, and the reward after.   A third coworker pipes up… this is where it gets good.

“Oh my god!”  she says, “You do TRX?  You take that class?  TRX, isn’t it like so hard and like it hurts your upper body?  That’s like, so much work.  It like, works your arms and like really hurts.”  Her face says it all, the disgust of the thought, as she grips her biceps in figurative pain, and keeps talking… “I can’t believe you do that.  It’s so bad, like, it really hurts your arms and, like, is a lot of work and like, you sweat.”

I shut it down quick and retreat into my office.  I can’t listen to it.  It’s perfectly fine to say “wow that’s intense, I couldn’t take a class like that but it’s intense that you do” or just keep your mouth shut…

Yes, I LOVE taking TRX class.  I LOVE going for a 6-10 mile run.  I LOVE sweating and hurting like crazy.  Cause you know what?  The sweat washes right off and the pain only lasts a few days but the results last much longer.

And I don’t care if it’s not for you.  If you find your best self in a restorative yoga class- amazing!  I want you to know I’m not going to stop you after class and say, “Oh gosh, you take that class?  It’s like SO boring and like you hardly move.  Like, I don’t understand how anyone could do that”.  (I would never say this anyway because I TAKE restorative yoga at least once a week for by body and sanity)…. but the point is made.  I hope.

When I was at the beach earlier this summer the best thing- even more then the sun and my resulting tan, the phone free time, or the air-conditioned abode- it was by body.  For the first time in a long time  I felt really confident in my bikini.  THAT makes all the pain and sweat and cursing under my breath in TRX and on long runs all worth it.  And I get to thank myself for that.

I love being strong.  It’s a point of pride when I can life more weight then the men around me and seemingly feel more confident in my body then most women my age.  That I have bicep and tricep definition as well as abs.  That I’m not mousy and can carry myself with confidence- cause I know if you come at me, I can (and will) defeat myself.  That I can carry my bag and do my own projects.  This is why I work out, why I strive to better myself and develop the best version of me.

Closing words to wrap up this insightful little rant?  Let me do me and I’ll let you do you.  At the end of the day we all got up and out to do something for ourselves, no matter what that is.

What do you do for yourself?  Rant and share!

Always,

C

New York Mini- 10k in Review

I think I should start right off by stating that this race was a hot one.  No, I don’t mean hot like all us runner look good (although we do, but usually not while running) I mean this race, held early June in New York’s Central Park, heats up and is known as the first ever, longest running, women’s 10K.

Welcome to a flash back review of the 2016 New York Mini 10K

My race calendar this year has not been full of duplicate races, save for this one.  In 2015 I ran is shortly after completing 2 half marathons within four weeks of each other, so I was well trained but tired.  Yes, I completed the run in 2015… yes I have the medal on my wall… but the 2016 Mini quickly made it onto the race list so that I could redeem myself in this race.  Did I do that?  I’m not really sure, but at least I completed it again and coming from a better place.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, let’s talk race.

Hosted by the NYRR in Central Park- everything pre race is quick and easy.  Packet pickup, held the whole week before race day, is only blocks from work on the Upper Wests Side.  What a better way to spend my break on a Tuesday then to trot up the street for race numbers and shirts?!  Then Saturday morning the start line is a simple subway ride away by Columbus Circle, easy.  We shut down the streets, with queuing taking up the sidewalks and street, and the first leg of the race going straight up Central Park West.  It’s very empowering to see the pavement live with female runners of all shapes and sizes, young and old from all over the city, the state, the country, and the world coming together to run.  The colors?  You guessed it- black and pink all the way.  And somewhere in this sea of tutus, ribbons, cheers, armbands, and shoes there is little old me.  Charging along just fine for the early first half feeling good to be taking on this race again.

Last year, I came into the race tired and dehydrated.  I passed up water stations, lost my headphones, saw another runner pass out in front of me, and then decided to walk the back half before the finish.  I finished the race unharmed and no worse for wear but I knew I could do better and needed to prove it- to no one other then myself.

So we are back to the now, and me making my way (at my happy 10:42 minute mile pace) up CPW and turning into the park at the 96th St. entrance.  The first 2 miles, no problem.  Mile 3, we have thinned out and paced out which makes it easier to enjoy the scenery- meaning the lovely hills of Central Park that we have all trained on a few too many times and have an endless love/hate relationship with.

But where are we?  About half way through, and as the sun creeps further into the sky, the cool morning air is giving way to the summer heat.  Thank goodness for water stations by each mile marker as runners were “dropping like flies”- pulling over to walk or pour cold water on their heads, and push through to the finish (but things year, thank goodness, I didn’t actually see anyone fall or pass out from the heat).  I had a rough go from miles 4-5.5, walking periodically and feeling overheated already, but I knew I felt better then last year and that I was almost done.  I could finish and finish strong.

That’s something I love about the running community.  For people like me, the only person you are “racing” is yourself.  The only person to challenge you and give you a PR to break is yourself.  So if you have to walk- you walk.  You need a pep talk?  Ok- so stop and give yourself that pep talk, rev yourself up and watch yourself fly!  At the heart of things, only you know how you are doing, how you are feeling, what you need, and how you are going to end things… so do it for yourself and get yourself to that finish line however you need to.

And that’s what I was doing as I revved myself up for the last mile or so if this race.  Also knowing in my head that this is the last little bit of the marathon, so I should be running it.  Which only got easier as I approached the finish line.  Why is it that we runners are so obsessed with the bling that awaits us?

That’s a really good questions for another post!  LOL

I’ll wrap up by saying that while I stopped to walk and drink water, I slowed my pace and kept breathing, I finished the 2016 New York Mini 10K feeling better then the year before and feeling thrilled to receive my medal and carnation upon crossing the finish line.

Taking on a challenging race… knowing it will be a challenging race can be difficult.  Because so much about running is mental, it’s easy to psych yourself out… but if you keep focused and strong, placing one foot in front of the other you will succeed and have memories to share for years to come!

Well, till next year… and maybe tackling another Mini 10K!

Always,

C

TBT- Mind over Madness

With National Yoga Day (June 21st) and  the Summer Solstice (June 20th) both happening in the same week, the yoga and mindful fitness community was all a buzz.   I thought this TBT  would be the perfect time to share the amazing experience I had participating in the 14th Annual “Mind over Madness- Solstice in Times Square” yoga classes.   Yup, you read that right- a celebration of summer event that shuts down one of the busiest interesting in the country and offers free yoga classes to those willing to inhale and exhale together.

I had heard about this extraordinary event sense I moved to the city, but it never fit into my schedule until this year.  Basically, check your schedule and tell your boss you need the morning off or that you will be leaving work early.   Once you sign up for the information emails all you need to do is wait for the classes to open and register for the one you want!  I am very lucky that 1. I work in yoga and have a relatively flexible schedule and 2. my boss wanted to take class too!!!  So it was totally work related.


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Normally I’m a New Yorker in that you practically have to pay me to go anywhere near Times Square, but I braved it for this once a year event.  I was in for an early class on a weekday, so most of the tourists were still in bed when I got up and out to adventure to class.

 

 

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Met up with my boss a few blocks away from the event and strategically entered from the East on 46th Street.  Tickets in hand we lined up, chatted, selfies, and accepted the mat and goodie bag from GIAIM/Times Square Alliance/and other sponsors.

Sense we like to be early, when we got to set up for class, we were in the second row!  Like right there in front of the teacher and the media!

 

 

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We also caught up with one of the founders of this event- Douglas- who is also a teacher at Yogaworks.  The family just kept growing and there were tons of members in the crowd for class too.  It was fun to see and be seen out supporting the yoga community and representing our studio and teachers.

 


As we know, I appreciate yoga… but I’m not a big fan of the practice.  That’s right, I work in “yoga” but really prefer “fitness”… but they go hand in hand so it’s just fine.

However, nothing could prepare me for nor make me forget the beauty, energy, and totally spectacular experience that was taking my yoga practice from the studio to the center of New York City.

We were surrounded by noises, people, buildings, traffic, smells, and dirt BUT when you looked up it was blue sky, when you breathed in it was (relatively) fresh air, when you silenced your mind it was a calm in the storm.

I think my favorite part was savanna, at the end of class when we all lay there still and it looks really easy (but it’s not).  It’s not my favorite because I got to lay down, no it’s my favorite because I got to look up!  Several minutes to be still, to be in the moment, and to gaze deeply into the blue sky of the morning were all mine.  To take in all around me- the breeze, the light, the people, the cars, the energy- and to let it take me in.  This you could not replace or replicate in any yoga studio. 

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Kinda thought it would be easier to explain in pictures!  But even the best picture and caption would not be able to sum up this experience.  Will I be participating next year, quite possibly.  Will I recommend this to friends, of course.  Will it be something I remember for a very long time, most definitely!

 

Where is the most extraordinary or unique place you have taken your practice?   Comment below and share your stories!

 

Always,

C

 

Monday Morning

That’s what it is here in New York today.  The humidity and heat of summer is in full swing as we head into a heat wave that will be lasting for… well, we just won’t talk about that right now.

It’s 10am on a summer Monday morning and I’m just enjoying coffee and the little breeze through the living room window.

Are you sick, Christiane?  Why… how are you still home at 10 on a Monday?

Yes, I ask myself that occasionally, as I’m sure others do.  But gone are the days of waking up at 5:30am to commute to work, ping-pong between jobs, and finally arrive back home around 11pm just to collapse on the bed and to it all over again a few hours later.

Sometimes I can’t believe I have a full time job that has an accommodating schedule and is somewhat fulfilling and rewarding.  I’ve been climbing the rungs on the proverbial ladder-   I’ve been with this company 3 years June and stuck it out (even when it seemed like the end) so a promotion came with open arms.  That’s not to say it’s all fun and games.  It’s a total retraining, relearning, re-strategizing process.

I work in sales.  No, not retail so much anymore.  Not hospitality,  although my Southern charm has come in hand way to many times.  Sales.  Membership sales.  Sales of an intangible practice at lofty prices.

Sure, I can talk about the value and benefits all day long.  I can put you in the right class again and again and know you are enjoying it.  But then comes asking.  Asking for or assuming the sale.  It’s not like selling a pair of shorts– OK, these fit and they look good.  I need shorts, cause it’s warming up and all.  Great, I’ll buy these shorts.  I know they are what I want and I know I will have immediate use for them.

It’s not exactly the same process for a membership.  “Would you like to continue your practice with us?”  Sure, maybe I would… but I’m traveling and what if I get hurt and can’t take class or I get busy with work and never make it in for the classes I want.  I’m sure I will enjoy it, but I want to come 3 times a week and I know I won’t be able to any time soon…  Wait, it’s now much?  Will I be coming enough to justify spending that?

I hear it every day.  Smiles and Southern flair only get you so far.  And that’s where my biggest challenge lies…  in the new uncharted unknown.

I’ve also found myself so much more immersed in the business… the numbers game of a large company.  The stat reports and corresponding percentages are suddenly something I check and actively participate in every day.

So why am I writing about this as I sip my coffee and procrastinate putting on stretchy pants and a blouse for work?  1.  Because I thought my fabulous blog community would be interested in what I do.  and 2. Because of the newest book I picked up the other day for summer reading.

While browsing the shelves of Barnes and Noble on 80 something and Broadway I picked up my usual- the latest edition of Women’s Running, another book on the cosmos, Origins by Neil DeGras Tyson, a book recently turned major motion picture that was recommended by a good friend, Wild, and then I found myself in the Business Management section.  Here I was drawn to a book bearing the Starbucks logo– Onward; How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul, by the company CEO Howard Schultz.

I don’t know what it was about the book or the moment, but I had to have it.  Will it unlock some hidden secret about working in a corporate company?  Maybe… I have no idea.  All I know is I haven’t been able to put it down.  My train commute is now something to look forward to rather then hold off on a long as possible.

While I’m not very far into it yet, a section of Onward stuck with me and I will leave you with it.

 

“There are moments in our lives when we summon the courage to make choices that go against reason, against common sense and the wise counsel of people we trust.  But we lean forward nonetheless because, despite all risks and rational argument, we believe that the path we are choosing in the right and best thing to do.  We refuse to be bystanders, even if we do not know exactly where our actions will lead.”

Always,

C

RUN Mystic-Half in Review

I know… I know, I’ve been MIA from posting and this race was back in May, but I feel like it’s taken me a while to mentally be ready to write about it or write n general.  So here you go, a fun post about running the Mystic Half Marathon 2016, Mystic CT.

So many factors some into play when prepping for and running a half marathon… location, accessibility, the course, the expo, and the bling.


LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION

All I can say is that we were spoiled for this race,   Megan has family just minutes from the start/finish… meaning amazing accommodations and no crazy early morning walk up call.    Beds, showers, food, transportation to and from the race- Can’t beat that!  Like really truly, if you have ever run a race then had to travel several hours to get home much less to get cleaned up and eat, you know what a little luxury this is and should not be taken for granted.

It also means there are familiar things- like the dog to play with, the foods you like, the space you need to roll out, and so on.  Traveling for races is fun and a great way to see new cities, but lets be honest- hotel beds a tough and space is limited.  Words of advice- make the most of your connections.  An additional plus is having people there to cheer for you!


THE EXPO

The experience always starts with the race expo- a day or so before the race when you (and all your closest new running friends) have  to pick up your number and race shirt as well as any additional stuffage you want to buy.  Usually you can learn more about the race course and the sponsors at the expo too.   I find that the organization and structure of the expo can be a decent indicator of the organization of the race.

One of the worst things is if the expo is stressful and confusing.  It kinda sets the tone for race weekend and can throw you off our game.

The Mystic Expo was small and held where the race would  be starting- Old Mystic Village.  I’m not gonna lie, it was a little confusing to find the packet pickup and it was split up over 2 locations- number pickup in location A and shirt pickup in location B.  Once you knew what signage you were looking for it was easier and I get it, they want you  to walk through the village and shop while getting race ready.  Overall, it was smooth.  There were plenty of volunteers and the lines moved very quickly!

I also finally found a solid black tech-half zip jacket!  I’ve been looking for one at race expos for a while now and have been disappointed, so I was head over heals to find one ay Mystic- plus it’s so unique it’s fun to wear!


THE COURSE

I’d run a portion of the race course on pervious visits to Mystic while training for various other races, so I knew it was lovely.  Races with scenery to look at go by so much better and distract me from the miles.  We started at Old Mystic Village and ran around the water by “downtown” before getting into some residential areas and a protected nature reserve.  I mentioned only running half the course… yup that’s right, the flat half!  So I had convinced myself that the race would be mostly flat.  Yeah I was so wrong and my body beat me up for that!  (Note to self… and readers… check the elevation charts)

Something that was hard for me was that this was a 10K and Half Marathon… running along the same route until the 10K-ers split off to finish and the Half-ers continue up a HUGE endless hill to complete the back end of the course.  Can we say brutal… in so many ways!  A 10K is nothing to sneeze at the I’m proud of all those runners, but the energy that they were about to finish threw me off my game… I was not about to finish.  Then of course there was the face that the course got hilly and the road we were on got less maintained.  I had to walk.  I know that’s ok to do and better that then hurt myself… but I underestimated the course… the hills.  (Disclaimer- not as bad a Central Park Harlem Hills or Inwood Hills Park… I just wasn’t ready for it)

BUT, did I mention the view!?!?!  (photos from pervious training runs in Mystic, CT.)

There was also amazing community support out for this race.  Families and groups were out all over to cheer us on and pass out water.  The support is great and keeps me going, so long as it doesn’t get in the way.


THE FINISH and THE BLING

Possibly the most important part of any race, LOL!

I don’t really remember much of the second half of the course.  I was just so focussed on breathing and putting one foot in front of the other that I wasn’t looking at much and I wasn’t thinking of much.  There was “one last hill” and I had to chant that up the whole thing.  Another runner caught up with me to share words of encouragement and then promptly passed me! But I remember coming up on the finish line.  You could hear it before you saw it- surprising you as you came around the final turn, back by Old Mystic Village.IMG_7056

The sidelines were packed!  Announcers, music, spectators, and other runners make any finish line feel like the best thing and even though you know your are not the only one finishing, for a second you know all that cheering is just for you.

Top off being done with hills and over the finish line with the MEDAL!  — A beautiful nautical themed piece that will not only be a great addition to my collection, but a always a reminder of this beautiful race.  — And of course finish line photos before teetering to the post race food and festivities.  This race, again, had some great stuff including ICE CREAM!

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Look out for more race reviews and training posts.  The new York City marathon is creeping up on me and summer training is kicking my butt.  I’ve started taking more classes and I’m excited to share that with you all… plus beach vacay is coming up!!!

Thanks for stopping by!

Always,

C