Yep, I'm Injured.

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After a year of really, really great destination half-marathons (Brooklyn, Vancouver, Kauai), I'm taking a break from running for a bit.

So let's just get it out there - I didn't run the NYC Marathon because I'm injured.

I am still raising money for St. Jude's Children's Hospital (technically I've deferred to next year) and would so, so, so appreciate any donation you're able to give. Donate here.

Amazing how saying it... doesn't make it any better at all. Imagine that.

I'm not good at being injured or having physical limitations. I'm really bad at slowing down.

And yet, I've had to do just that. 

My runs have turned into long walks.

Weights are 1-2 lbs and nothing overhead. 

I'm the one modifying exercises at Pilates. 

Cutting to the chase, I have a Biceps Tendon Tear.

What does that mean?

The Biceps tendons attach the biceps muscle to bones in the shoulder and in the elbow. 

Your shoulder is a ball-and-socket joint made up of 3 bones: 1) the upper-arm bone (humerus), 2) the shoulder blade (scapula), and 3) the collar bone (clavicle).

The biceps muscle has 2 tendons that attach it to the shoulder and travel the entire length of the upper arm and insert just below the elbow. There is a "long head" of the biceps muscle and a "short head".

A tear can either be partial, when part of the tendon remains intact and only a portion is torn away from the bone, or complete, where the entire tendon is torn away from the bone.

The cause?

Likely overuse and a result of wearing it down overtime. I changed up my fitness routine to include a lot of weights this summer/fall and a lot of overhead exercises. Most of them repetitive. Specifically I was doing Kayla Itsines Bikini Body Guide - there's quite a bit of overhead exercises, push-ups, burpees, etc.

How was it diagnosed?

I noticed about 6 weeks ago that I was having this weird, intense, non-muscular pain when I would lift my straight arm out in front of me. Reaching up to grab anything hurt. Even driving was uncomfortable (spoiler: you apparently use your shoulders for EVERYTHING.) After a couple of weeks of rest didn't change anything, I went to an Orthopedic Specialist, who, after a practical exam and an ultra-sound for imagery, confirmed it was the Biceps Tendon. Whether it's a partial or full tear remains to be seen. (If there's no change/improvement after a couple more weeks of PT, an MRI can confirm that full extent of the injury).

What next?

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I've received a cortisone shot from my Orthopedic Specialist, and have been going to Physical Therapy 2x a week for the last few weeks. A mix of the Graston Technique (really pleasant), UltraSound Therapy, and Rotator Cuff/Mid and Lower Trap strengthening exercises.

I'm laying off any type of intense exercise and instead doing a lot of walking, Pilates, and some barre. Running for any longer than 30 minutes aggravates it, so ultimately, running a marathon was out. The Bay Club and ALL the cardio machines, all the rollers, thera-bands and mat Pilates classes are essentially saving my life.

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How's it feeling?

It feels like it's getting better and that my range of motion without pain is improving but then there are days where it's totally painful again and I feel like I'm back at Square 1. The cortisone shot should apparently last ~3 weeks and it's been about that, so I'm a little worried that the "feeling better" was merely just the Cortisone actually working vs. the tendon getting better.

So that's where I'm at. Taking it a day at a time. Trying to baby it, while also doing my PT exercises every day, walking pretty much everywhere, and modifying as needed at Pilates or any other class. 

And honestly, if something doesn't feel right, don't push through it. I'm guilty of that a LOT but it got to a point where I knew something was wrong and I needed to get it checked out.

The end goal? To avoid surgery at all costs.

Stay tuned....

 

When Too Healthy, Isn't Healthy

Well, it's been a minute. It was a busy summer and it's still full-speed ahead as we get into fall. I wrote this post a couple weeks ago and it's just been sitting pretty in draft status. For no real reason at all, other than I just wasn't ready to hit "publish".

But as I see Instagram spiral into "healthy" rabbit holes, I wanted to speak what's been on my mind. So like, YOLO right? (You only live once mom...)

Sometimes, too much of a good thing isn't a good thing at all.

We practice moderation, but sometimes even our moderation needs to be moderated.

I remember back in the prehistoric days of "clean eating" when we didn't eat solely gluten-free this or grain-free that.

When dairy wasn't the devil, but rather celebrated for being delicious.

When gluten was something no one cared about, and the only people who avoided it had a legitimate medical condition.

When we ate a salad here and there but didn't live off of them.

When every possible vegetable and pricey supplement didn't make it's way into a smoothie.

When eating dessert, having a glass of wine, or downing a cheeseburger (of, holyshit, not-grass-fed meat) wasn't followed by a "#cheatday". 

Ahhhh.

NOSTALGIA.

I remember, when I was training for my first marathon in 2011, the idea of nutrition was suddenly presented to me. Prior to training for an endurance event, I ate a massive and delicious sandwich from a local spot (Focaccia), every single day with a bag of chips and a Diet Coke (turkey, smoked gouda, greens, balsamic, toasted on a wheat roll in case you're wondering).

I ate "well" by my own personal standards - boyfriend introduced me to smoothies in the AM or I'd have bowl of cereal or a Greek Yogurt with granola and fruit. Maybe some almond butter banana toast as a snack, maybe a sandwich with a side salad at lunch, an energy bar in the afternoon and then a sensible dinner. 

I didn't nitpick every goddamn ingredient that I was consuming. If I had bread or grains at one meal, they weren't suddenly off limits for the rest of the day. I was never "starving". I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was satisfied. I still do. 

Yet I see more and more people getting sucked into the idea of the "ingredient perfection" mentality. There's actually a term for that, it's called Orthorexia. It's "obsessive behavior in pursuit of a healthy diet." 

And I'm calling myself out right now for having been there, albeit for a short period of time before I got some sense knocked into me. Would I die if I didn't eat the most perfect quality of foods 24/7 like the "wellness gurus" do?

Now before we go any further, I'm not a doctor, I have zero qualifications and I'm not attempting to give you medical advice. A simple Google search can give you this information. I'm not trying to tell you how to eat or what to eat or anything of the like.

Let's be clear.

There's also a whole slew of other things that have surfaced as this "wellness movement" has grown legs and taken the F off, specifically on digital publishers' sites and on social media. Calorie counting, eliminating entire nutrient groups from one's diet, shilling out HUNDREDS for supplements not actually regulated or legit, and the "...If they ate it and posted it on Instagram, maybe I should too..." mind-set.

Wrong.

You don't need to eat the way you perceive someone else does. Ever. What works for them probably doesn't work for you. What works for me probably doesn't work for you. Instagram is, in actuality, probably 10% of a person's actual life or consumption. I will promise you I post a fraction of what I am actually eating, or what I am actually doing. Because I'm busy doing it, eating it, and experiencing it.

People post what they want you to see, just like you do on your own feed. Just because someone else ate or didn't eat this or that and has a bajillion followers doesn't necessarily make it healthy, doesn't necessarily make he/she an expert, and doesn't necessarily mean... anything. Seriously. It's a social media post.

And before we go any further, people offer advice and opinions all the time on what's healthy, and what's not. It works for them. You can listen to it, take it to heart, or ignore it completely. But I urge you to consider the qualifications.

Are they a doctor, nurse, or Registered Dietitian? Yes? LISTEN. The amount of schooling and education they have to go through to get that title isn't a joke. 

Are they a wellness or fitness enthusiast? Yes? Maybe take that with a grain of salt. I'm not discounting anyone's opinion, but when it comes to doling out health advice, consider the credentials.

I currently eat whole foods that fuel my body and don't make me feel like shit as much as I possibly can. Simple as that. I believe you should to. But do what you want.

As the kids say, do you.

I also eat dessert (dark chocolate every single day) and well, I really like wine.

You shouldn't ever be proud of yourself for going to sleep hungry (you'll sleep terribly- this happened to me one time when I was jetlagged in London and it ended with a Luna Bar at like 3am - I'm not sure if it was 3am London time or PST but there you go), and you shouldn't ever eliminate entire macronutrients from your diet unless told so by an actual medical professional. 

But again, it's easy to get sucked in. I've been there.

I used to buy into the idea that gluten was essentially the 5th circle of hell.

That dairy would make you miserable.

That carbs should be limited in order to live a healthy life. 

Because it on the internet, so it was definitely true, right? 

SO NAIVE KRISTINE.

I eat a diet naturally low in gluten, but I eat it (HELLO PIZZA NIGHT). Smitten Ice Cream and burrata cheese are two of my favorite things. Grains? I'd be a real hangry bitch without 'em. Not to mention my athletic performance would majorly suffer.

I eat real foods with real ingredients. That don't use chemicals or processed things. But if I happen to down something that does? That's cool too. 

I lived until age 17 without consuming a single salad or vegetable of any kind (truth), I'm fairly certain some Cheez-It's here and there won't actually kill me. (Or they will and you can just tell me... told ya so.)

My message to you, reading this, is that no, you do not need to buy into every single health trend you see on the internet. You do not need to stress over it or fill your brain with the idea that more more more is always better. You do not need to feel like you're constantly trying to keep up or comparing yourself with people you don't even know and probably never will.

You know what's healthy.

You know what's not.

You learned that growing up, when your parents told you to, "Eat your broccoli" and, "No you can't have ice cream for breakfast".

You know you should probably try to move every day.

You do you. (Damnit millenials, you do know a thing or two.)

 

Let's Fly A SeaPlane to Tahoe (via Blackbird Air)

Not a secret that we spend quite a bit of time in Lake Tahoe. We love it.

The biggest pain in the ass is all the strategy that goes into GETTING THERE. Seriously - if you don't leave by like 9am, you hit crazy traffic - Bay Area, Sacramento, heaven forbid there's an accident (or 12) in Davis and Vacaville to slow you down even further. 

Then it's like make sure you've got a full tank of gas, snacks packed for the 4+ hour trek you're about to make, playlist loaded, etc, etc. Let's not forget the 3+ bathroom stops because I drink water like a goddamn camel.

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BUT THEN WE FOUND A BETTER WAY.

We've been so curious about the seaplanes that do tours of the SF Bay and leave from Sausalito. So after Googling one night, we saw that Blackbird Air now offers a 75-minute FLIGHT from Sausalito to Lake Tahoe VIA SEAPLANE. 

No BS.

Here's how it works.

  • You download the app.
  • Create a profile.
  • Pick your locations (currently it's just Sausalito --> Tahoe) but you can also go Palo Alto to Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, New York to the Hamptons, etc. 
  • Pick your dates (further out you book, and on off-days the cheaper it is)
  • BOOK YO FLIGHT

Then you show up 15-20 minutes before take-off, with 15lbs or less of luggage. Board.

FLY.

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75 minutes later you literally land ON LAKE TAHOE.

A Zodiac boat takes you to shore in Tahoe City and you're like thisclose to Jakes on the Lake for beers and truffle fries. Which totally beats airport food. 

It was EPIC.

In Flight:

  • You're at about 7500-10K feet the entire time so you have cell service, you can use a hot-spot for WiFi and actually get work done if that's your thing
  • Noice-cancelling headphones are provided with microphones
  • The incredibly informed pilots let you know exactly what you're flying over and juicy little tid-bits and fun facts. 
  • Since you aren't flying crazy high, you never get the ears popping, "I need gum, NOW" feeling
  • You can talk to other passengers with your headphones on
  • The ride and landing is incredibly smooth. Smoother than most commercial flights.
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The take off is one of the most gorgeous views I've ever seen of the San Francisco Bay but the descent ON to Lake Tahoe?

SPECTACULAR.

Seriously. Hands down one of the coolest things we've done in a while. And we arrived in Tahoe refreshed, not stressed out, and ready to weekend.

Want to take flight? Use code PL7TW for $25 off your first one! 

 

 

How to Race-Cation Like a Pro

Fact: It's been 4 months since my last blog post. I make no promises that I will be posting on a regular basis, but, I'll try?

So there's this thing I like to do.

It's all about travel + exploring a new city/country/town... whilst running 13.1 miles through it.

THE RACECATION. 

Yes, it's a thing. 

Here's how it works: 

  1. You find a race or endurance event of some kind in an appealing city/country/town.
  2. You recruit friends for said race.
  3. You book bibs, travel, plan the weekend out together.
  4. You dominate - the city/country/town and race.

This year, two amazing girlfriends and I did just that in Vancouver, for SeaWheeze, Lululemon's annual Run Yoga Party weekend. It's a half-marathon (run), yoga (...yoga), music festival (party - including an outdoor cycling class put on by Ride Cycle Club, which was AMAZING) and essentially the greatest love letter to the company's hometown, Vancouver.

The course is 13.1 miles (21.1km) along the SeaWall in Vancouver. It's stunning, mostly flat, full of aide stations, cheer stations, and so many distractions I literally got to mile 10 and thought to myself, "What in the actual f*ck, I'm ENJOYING every step of this run."

We ran the race last year, and let's just say our logistics and planning left... things to be desired. Trying to secure cabs in a different country, lack of Uber, lack of air conditioning, other guests in the Air BnB Guest House complaining we were "awake too early".... etc.

This year though, this year we NAILED IT. And you can too. 

Here's how.

How to Race-Cation like a PRO. 

  • Book a convenient hotel: We stayed at the Westin BayShore, and it was perfect. We arrived late Thursday evening and the last thing we wanted to do was deal with an Air Bnb - figuring out keys, WiFi, etc. We got to the hotel, checked in, and conked out. The hotel was exactly a 10 minute walk to/from the start/finish and the convention center, there was a Starbucks downstairs, and all the amenities you'd want. It was also a ~25-30 minute walk to Stanley Park for the Sunset Festival since the arranged transportation had 1 hr+ lines. Convenience - worth paying for.
  • Avoid the crowds: Easier said than done, but frankly, the "SeaWheeze Showcase Store" for us personally, isn't worth it or a draw of any kind. Especially when you work out in black/grey/white/navy only and don't do prints or bright colors. It's also absurdly overpriced (although not surprising). Instead, enjoy your day in Vancouver then pick up your race packet and do the "expo" thing before you go to dinner Friday evening. You'll be in and out in under 20 minutes and not waste your day. (That said, take advantage of the USD to CAD exchange rate and shop your little heart out everywhere you can.)
  • Book reservations in advance. I scour Eater in every city I travel to, ask friends for recommendations, and check out all the popular hashtags on Instagram. As such, we've been to Fable for our pre-race dinner every year, and inhaled a bomb brunch post-race at Forage. That said, 10K people are in town for the race weekend, so plan accordingly. (Places for next year: Hawk Nightingale)
  • There is no Uber in Vancouver. NONE. Taxis are hard to hail, so schedule them in advance.
  • Get an International Plan on your phone. Most places have free WiFi but relying on that is annoying. For $40, I was able to add my unlimited talk/text/data for 30 days. 
  • Know what else you want to do where you are. Last year we headed to Whistler post-race to go zip-lining. It was AMAZING. This year we explored more of the city. Plan plan plan.
  • ENJOY THE WEEKEND. You're in a fantastic city with friends to exercise, explore and soak in everything you can. Eat the local food and desserts. Drink the wine. Pit stop for a beer and fries. I can honestly say I've never had multiple drinks the night before a half-marathon and now, I don't ever want to do it any other way. YOLO.

In just under 3 days we explored Vancouver, ate amazing food, listened to live music, ran 13.1 miles together, and had a hell of a time. 

SeaWheeze 2018, let's go.

It Takes a Village

So now you know my run plans for the upcoming year. (Full disclosure I'm sure more will be added.)

I am OMG FREAKING OUT excited to run TWO races in New York, run the scene of my very first half-marathon - the SF Half, go back to Vancouver for SeaWheeze, AND RUN A RACE IN HAWAII. Kauai, specifically. (Hawaii is my favorite place on this planet.)

So to get race-ready for a pretty GD full calendar, you already know I’ve consulted the pros at The Bay Club to get my running form in check, strengthen my glutes and core, and ensure I have enough variety that I don’t over-train, get bored or get injured. I hit the Bay Club a few times a week for neuromuscular strength training, and early morning treadmill runs. I've come to this weird realization I actually like the treadmill at times. 

(I like running on a beach much better, as evidenced. I like anything on a beach much better, as evidenced.)

To the surprise of no one, I also rely on a bevy of my favorite San Francisco fitness studios.

I LIKE CLASSES. I love the community. I like being with my people. When it comes to weights and yoga, I'll do the work, I just like when someone takes the "thinking" out of it. Or the "everything" out of it when it comes to yoga because they are the pros and I am (very clearly) not.

So it’s like this – bear in mind this is to be half-ready. Marathon training will commence in July – at the baseline of being fully half-trained.

Mondays: Short run (5-6M ) + strength

Tuesdays: Cross (SoulCycle) + Yoga/Pilates

Wednesdays: Mid-length Run (7-8M)

Thursdays: Cross (SoulCycle) + Yoga

Fridays: Barry’s Bootcamp (Speed-work + full-body weights; usually ~3 miles)

Saturdays: REST

Sundays: Long run (10-12M)

This works for me because:

1) I love boutique fitness. Hi, have you met me? I love a fitness community. (OMG weird did I mention that already?) Running can get real boring. I love it, but it’s true. It’s also pretty solitary when you’re not a big group runner. 

2) SoulCycle gives me HIIT training on a bike, strengthening my glutes and core. Also it’s a dance party in a candlelit room to my favorite music with my favorite humans.

3) Barry’s gives me a chance to work on my speed (sprinting at 10.5-11.0 MPH), and also to work on my strength with heavier weights than I’d ever use on my own. I get comfortable being uncomfortable here. (In a good way.) They also make delicious smoothies.

4) Yoga. Stretches everything. Loosens everything. Good for the body, but also for my Type-A mind to just relax and shut up for a minute. I don’t love yoga, but I know it’s a necessity. (Also I recently found out I can in fact do a supported handstand). I know.

So that's the (completely complicated and full) plan I've been following/will continue to follow. Forever.

JK, just until those long runs start getting into teens and then 20-something territory some summer/fall.

For once, I'll be living in the moment and reveling in those "shorter" distances. (All relative folks.)

 

Run Run Run

BEEN A MINUTE, HASN'T IT?

Since we last "chatted", boyfriend and I have been to Vietnam and back, Tahoe a time or two, and balancing everything from work to workouts to life in general.

Vietnam was amazing and frankly, deserves it's own post, which will be coming, trust me. Or a series of posts. We hit the city, the beach, an ancient town... and more beach. Because we're beach people. What'd you expect?

On the "me" front, I've been working my tail off base-building my mileage and training for the Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon - happening 30 days FROM TODAY. I literally can't tell you the last time I went into a race trained and prepared. I kid you not, maybe 2013? It's been a bit. 

I spent January - March building up my running base again. I ran, I SoulCycled, I swam, I hit the gym, I ran some more. It was hard. (<--Pity Party for 1).

When you don't run, you unsurprisingly, lose running fitness and endurance. The muscles you use to run, aren't in use and ergo... need a little time to come back to full force. 

So I consulted a team of professionals at The Bay Club through their Endurance Training Center, Breakaway Performance. Trainer Dave and Coach JD analyzed my running gait (heel striker and pitch-my-body-backward no more), gave me drills to do several times a week (high knees, butt-kickers, karaokes, combinations of the three) and a training plan that included:

  • Running (clearly)
  • Neuromuscular Strength Exercises (when your nerves and muscles work together in compound strength exercises which involve more muscle groups and in a format which involves slower movements, more control and focus)
  • Cross-training (I see you SoulCycle)
  • Ample rest.

It was ROUGH at first. I didn't feel like the runner I once was. That's a TOUGH pill to swallow. I had those dark and twisty thoughts that asked if a full marathon was even possible. My paces were abysmal. I got discouraged but I kept at it. I know what it feels like to be out of running shape and I detest it as much as I love when a run feels effortless.

I would come out the other side, stronger, leaner and faster than before.

This week, it all finally clicked. My long run has hit 10 miles, my paces have dipped below 9:00, and I'm able to hold my form for longer and with less fatigue.

Which I'll need because I've got BIG plans this upcoming race season.

Ya ready?

Happy running (training, swimming, biking, etc)!

A Little Bit, Every Day.

Progress is a funny thing.

When you're in it, day-to-day, sometimes it's hard to notice change.

It's easy to get discouraged.

It's difficult to see progress.

Then one day, it just hits you in the face. 

And you're like, damn, I'M IN IT.

I was always an athlete. I played soccer and I swam competitively for 10+ years growing up. In college, I went to a gym for the first time and got real cozy like with the Elliptical. Never touched a weight. Never ran a mile. Running was always punishment in soccer. I stayed far away.

Post-graduation, I moved to SF, and joined 24 Hour Fitness. Where I did the same workout every single day. Literally. Boutique fitness didn't exist. I figured out there were people that actually ran for fun, so I signed up for a 12K; the Bridge to Bridge in the Fall of 2007. I had no idea what I was doing. I didn't train. I was unaware people "train" to run. But something shifted.

I ran a few more 10K's and signed up for my first half-marathon with this cocky mindset of, "It's running. I got this." And then I got served a HEAPING slice of humble pie. 

Actually screw it, I got served the whole damn thing.

I wore the wrong shoes, never ran more than 3 miles at a time, had no idea about any pre-race rituals (ahem, like using a restroom), didn't know people eat while they run, and Gu was a term more foreign to me than kale at that time. (It was 2008, kale wasn't cool. JUDGE ME.)

Then I met runners. I learned you follow a training plan. That there are running shoes and there are gym shoes. That you fuel to keep from hitting the wall. That you eat, coffee, use the facilities before runs. (Sorry not sorry, we're all adults and it's true.)

But it wasn't until the summer of 2011 when, while on a booze cruise in the San Francisco Bay celebrating a friend's birthday, that a dear friend and I (over multiple Sprite and Vodkas) decided it was a wise decision to register FOR A MARATHON. WHILE ON THE OPEN SEAS.

So the next morning I woke up to a raging headache, a craving for a breakfast burrito, the very real "YOU'RE IN" e-mail sitting in my inbox and my bank account down ~$150.

Huh. So we're in this.

I downloaded a training plan (literally Google searched: "Marathon Training to not die") and a Hal Higdon plan came up. Novice 1. Perfect. Great. I'm a Novice and 1 is a beginning number.

I'm a very committed person when I have a goal I want to hit so I threw myself into my training.

I went from struggling through a 3-mile run, stopping every mile to "tie my shoes" (i.e. breathe and will myself to not lie down on the street to call an Uber home), to running 20+ miles on a Saturday without stopping. I cross-trained. I checked PR distances and times off the list. Racing became second nature. A 5-mile run followed by a Pilates class was a normal Wednesday.

Little by little, I started to look the part, and little(r) by little(r) I started to feel the part.

I could see my own progress. I could feel the hours upon hours spent paying off. 

I was stronger. I was more powerful. I had core strength. I was mentally focused and driven.

On Day 3 of Week 2, I couldn't see it. By Day 5 of Week 7, I felt like a different person. 

And come Marathon Day? I ran all 26.2 miles and finished in under 4 hours. And I felt pretty freaking good about how far I'd come. The cheeseburger I had afterwards was also pretty freaking good. And the multiple Peppermint JoJo's from Trader Joe's (it was Christmas time).

My point is - progress doesn't come easy. It's not instantaneous. It's not even quick. It takes a lot of work, and more importantly it takes time.

At SoulCycle the other night, Chris (come take his class with me ASAP) said something that resonated with me, and continues to resonate.

It's not 1,000 steps.

It's 1,000 hours.

It's making small decisions that lead to big changes.

It's progress, not perfection.

As Justin Theroux would say in one of the greatest movies of all time, Wanderlust, "Suck on that for a little while".

A little bit every day. Commitment. Focus. Determination. Grit. Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable. Because it's not all fun and games and sometimes it doesn't feel great.

Training faster to run faster, pushing harder against resistance, using heavier weights, jumping in a freaking POOL to swim laps after 13+ years out. 

Whatever it is, in Chris' words, be about it. 

Find a pack or a community that supports you. Recognize those are your people. Support them. Give back what they give you. 

Oh, and don't forget to work your ass off. 

Crushing goals doesn't exactly come easy.

The Couple That Sweats Together...

Um you guys. 

First things first - THANK YOU for all of your words, notes, comments, like, etc on my last post. Means the world to me, and I'm truly practicing what I preach. Goals are never met but ticking off boxes. They're met with hard work.

They're met with effing GRIT. I'm all in.

Exhibit A: My weekly SoulCycle double. Turning it up. 3lb weights. Even if I was "tired".

Exhibit B: Today (okay and yesterday's) run. Not stopping, showing up.

And in a seamless transition, today is VALENTINE'S DAY. Love yourself, love your significant other/partner/spouse, love your friends, love your family, love YOUR LIFE.

(Fun fact: this guy has never missed the finish line of one of my races in OVER 9 YEARS, spanning multiple states.)

I was thinking all things love, and then I was thinking that something that's been a part of my relationship since the beginning some 9ish years ago is our mutual love of exercise.

I've tried every possible workout class, run, walk, weights, swim, etc. Boyfriend has stayed true to weights, running and basketball. But the overarching factor? We (often) do it together. Even if we just show up, start, and end at the same time, it's something that bonds us.

(Also he's 6 feet, I'm 5'4, and our running paces aren't exactly the same.)

But I'm convinced the couple who sweats together… stays together. Essential to our current routine is heading to The Bay Club multiple times a week together. He usually does his thing, I usually do mine, but it's this time we have together. We grab a bite after, or have a "lifestyle Sunday"" - watch a game, sauna, spa, etc. We love it.

I get a run in and some weights or pop into a class, he plays basketball and hits the free weights. We're both there together. We make plans around it. It's our thing.

Because life gets BUSY. Between work, family, friends, social obligations and having time to breathe, relax and sleep, time isn't exactly unlimited (even if it does seem like it is at 2pm on a Wednesday in the office, just sayin'.)

DID YOU KNOW: Exercising together rebuilds connection, allows you to have fun together, and gives you pre-planned time in your otherwise busy and unpredictable week. ("Shhhh don't talk to me, Scandal is on. BE QUIET OLIVIA IS HANDLING IT.")

So grab the love of your life and get your sweat on.

Seriously. Here's 5 reasons it’ll benefit you and your relationship. (And c’mon, who doesn’t want to see their guy/gal all glistened with sweat?) 

5 Ways Exercising Together Benefits Your Relationship

1)   New opportunities together – When you’re working out together, your significant other is seeing you as strong, fit and capable. In the future when they want to try something new, athletic or extreme, they think of you to join them. Cue new experiences, memories and passions together.

2)   Chase a common goal – Whether it’s a half-marathon you train for together, or simply hit the gym or take a walk, working out as a couple gives you a chance to bond over attaining a common goal and also to spend some damn time together. Cue support and motivation of each other in and out of the gym. 

3)   Find something new – When your significant other drags you to his-or-her favorite spin or yoga class at the gym? You never know, you may have just found a new class to add into your weekly workout routine. It goes both ways, introducing your partner to your favorite workout gives you something new to do together and new healthy habits to create. (This is a strategy I'm currently employing with boyfriend and SoulCycle.... and failing.)

4)   Your, ahem, bedroom life will thank you – Working out creates endorphins and produces pheromones. Watching the love of your life sweat, pulse, grit and grind it out? Does it get any hotter?

5)   Dinner dates just got a whole lot better – All that sweat, all those calories burned, all that effort… now you get to refuel together, order ALL the things, have a drink (hello, beer = carbs) and spend time not in spandex (or do, because athleisure is super trendy and YOLO.)

XOXO

Time to Cut the Ish.

I figured something out recently.

The key to "your best body ever" (vomit, I know) or "your fittest self" isn't at the other end of a $40 boutique studio class you roll into.

Say whaaat?

Stay with me.

I used to shell out money for any and every type of class - yoga, barre, Pilates, bootcamps, you name it. I figured because I was "going", that I'd see the most optimal results regardless of effort put forth, how much I truly pushed myself, etc, etc.

I mean then I found The Bay Club and life changed but that's another story for another day.

Oh so, SO wrong Kristine.

It's not about showing up to class for me. Truthfully that is the hardest part and for some people it makes all the difference to just be there. Because it's that or nothing.

But for me?

Not the case.

I've got big goals this year. And showing up, well it just won't cut it.

So I had this revelation recently while out on a run when I was in that "uncomfortable zone". You know it - it's when it stops feeling like puppies and sunshine and starts feeling like that dark place Meredith Grey often went to on Grey's Anatomy (yep, still watching.)

It hurts. It's a little messy. It's completely not fun at times.

But this revelation?

YOU GET OUT WHAT YOU PUT IN.

Sorry for yelling, but really let that sink in.

Show up vs SHOW UP.

How many times have I showed up to Bar Method or Pilates just to go through the motions of the moves and left like "Haha I went to a class now I'm good"? Dropping to my knees for push-ups because "I'm tired", using lighter weights because, "But what if I bulk?" How many runs have I slogged through miles telling myself, "NBD you're out here." How many SoulCycle classes have I half-assed turning it up because it would "be uncomfortable"?

Time to cut the shit Kristine. Time to SHOW UP.

When 2017 started I made a commitment to myself - I'd cut the shit, I'd stop half-assing, and I'd give every workout the effort, the focus and the presence it deserves.

No more reading Us Weekly on my iPad on a treadmill (Sometime tell me who wore it best please?) Also, no more treadmill period because I abhor it. No more half-assing that resistance knob on a SoulCycle bike. No more cutting reps and sets because it "feels like I did enough". 

The last 6 weeks?

My runs have meaning. I bust my ass for as long as I can and I make every step count.

My strength training sessions at The Bay Club are effective. I use weights that challenge me but that are realistic to complete sets. I complete all my reps.

My SoulCycle classes are worth every dollar and every minute. I CRANK that shit up. I run my heart out. I participate in 3-lb 2017 and challenge myself with weights, even if it meant that last Friday during a Warrior Survivor I had to physically put the weights down on my bike for the last 30 seconds because I'd fatigued my muscles to the point of exhaustion. DO YOU KNOW HOW MUCH IT PAINS ME TO DO THAT? A lot.

I met with a trainer at Breakaway Performance (an intensive sports training program housed within The Bay Club focused on swimming, cycling, running, and triathlon training and diagnostics - the full shebang) and we talked about everything from goals to current workout routine/regimen to nutrition.

I'll be sharing my athletic goals in a post coming up next week, but for now? My running form is shit (but hooray - easy fix), I'm a heel-striker, I need to activate muscles via strength training that will benefit my running, and my shoes ain't doin' me no favors. 

I'm excited to chronicle this training session/journey through 2017 as I work towards my goals, experience the inevitable setbacks, celebrate the successes, and share my sweaty learnings.

So long (long) story short here? Showing up is great if that's what you need. If you've got bigger goals you want to hit? There's a difference between showing up and SHOWING UP. With purpose. Be someone who SHOWS UP. Physically, mentally, emotionally.

The changes you'll see are pretty amazing, I promise you.

Big year ahead people, BIG YEAR. 

Let's go.

But first, like, anyone else need a nap?

 

Goal Crushing.

Can I tell you guys something? Spoiler, you don't really have a choice. 

I mean you do but... you get where I'm going with this.

2017 feels to me, like my goddamn year. I don't know what it is, but I've got this feeling.

That I know where I want to be and I know the steps I need to take to get there.

I love to workout. Running has come back into my life with this fiery passion and I'm so into it. SoulCycle is a staple. I even do (light) weights now. 

The last few months I've worked my ass off - running, weights, form on the bike, on cross-training, on endurance, on nutrition, to be the strongest athlete I can be.

Recently, while my dear friend geared up for a quad (that's 4 classes in a single day peeps), I got the opportunity to ride her podium.

By myself.

To me that was everything. The biggest honor. 

Not familiar? Riding the podium mean's riding the instructor's bike. Being up in front of the entire class - completely exposed and completely accountable to being on your game, and giving it absolutely everything you have. 

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I reveled in it. It was one of the best 45 minute periods OF MY LIFE.

No bullshit.

It felt like 3 years of classes, of community, of building relationships, of making SoulCycle my haven, had come to a tipping point and I was given this experience. 

And I made the most of every, single second.

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It was scary. It was thrilling. It was unknown. It was exciting. It was inspiring. 

I have a tradition of housing Pressed Freeze after 105 minutes of SoulCycle. 

That was the start of my 2017 year of #goalcrushing. I got into the Brooklyn 1/2 Marathon last week and I'm excited to kick off a new kind of training plan that works for me to run my best in New York later this spring - full of weights/strength training, SoulCycle and a few runs per week. (Ugh, fine and yoga. FINE.) I've got more goals to work towards later this year as the opportunities present themselves.

I've left extremes and excuses behind.

I'm ready.

I'm focused. 

So 2017, let's get on with it.