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?

 

On Focus.

One of my goals this year is to pay more attention to this little corner of the internet of mine.

I want to have more focus.

Health. Fitness. Travel. Musings. 

I want to have more focus on each of those things too.

I don't know if it was turning 32 in November, or finally feeling like I've hit my stride personally and professionally as of late that has me feeling this innate sense of calm and focus.

It's weird. But I like it.

When it comes to health, I've experimented with every method of eating out there - Whole30, Paleo, Vegan, Gluten-Free, eat all the things. When it comes down to it, I can instantly feel and tell a difference in how I feel inside and out when I fill my body with stuff that doesn't agree with it. Gluten and dairy rank high on that list but lately I know I've been over-doing it with sugar and grains (toast, oatmeals, smoothies topped with granola) which in turn has me constantly hungry and craving more sugar and grains. Even if it is natural sugars or those at their purest form (fruit, raw honey). So I'm making an effort to cut back on that and to fill my diet with whole, nourishing foods - lean proteins, vegetables, healthy fats, nuts and seeds. (Luckily ya girl's an avocado addict so that's not too difficult.) Oysters are also chock full of protein. Wine is chock full of happiness.

Fitness too. Over the last year I've been a walker, yogi and Bar Method addict when things got stressful professionally and I needed calm. I've been (and continue to be) a SoulCycle addict because... well it's the most fun 45 or 60 minutes I ever have working out. (That's never goin' away by the way). Recently? I've fallen head-over-heels back in love with running and incorporating weights, toning and strength into my routine. A different body part each day after my run. When it comes to running, I'm trying to get faster - tonight I ran my 3 miles at an 8:00/mile pace - a speed I quite literally haven't seen in YEARS. (2011, training for CIM to be exact if we're keeping track.) I find when presented with too many options I go an inch deep and a mile wide and don't focus or commit to any one thing. So lately? My daily weights, and alternating SoulCycle classes twice weekly with 4 runs is working for me. I'm trying to go to yoga once a week because goddamn I'm sore and tight and know I need it. We'll see. Namaste-away from yoga is usually my motto even when I try to like it. 

I love to travel. Doesn't everyone? Seriously, what type of person is like, "No I hate going to beautiful places, eating amazing food and disconnecting for a week"? In an effort to see as much as this world as we can, we've booked a trip to Southeast Asia this spring. I'd love to make it back to Europe in the fall if we can and explore some other countries. For us, we love to explore beach towns, beach culture, fresh food and get a local vibe. That's our thing. Get me in the ocean/sea immediately. I want to share more about our travels (including a recent meltdown when I was informed we'd booked the airline ranked 60/60 on world safety ratings and insisted we cancel and rebook on the #1 safety rated airline. That was a fun and not at all anxiety filled evening).

General musings. I like to talk a lot about a lot. Some days it'll just be that, talk. I'm all for it.

So there it is - things I'm focusing on when it comes to this blog.

Expect to hear a lot more from me, I've got a lot to say.

Top Things I Learned in 2016

As this year (or any year) comes to a close, there seems to be a common theme : rather than reflect on the year we've just lived and experienced, we seem to want to just forget it ever happened and pledge to make next year our year. 

But a lot of shit went down in 2016 you guys. Good and bad. 

And no matter how much you didn't love it and how much it may have screwed us (I'm using "us" liberally as in the entire country), we learned something from it. So let's not just pledge to black it all out. Let's actually reflect on the past 365 days.

Okay fine, I'll go first. (Grab some coffee.)

I learned what I love to do career wise. I'm a Community Manager at an amazing advertising agency and I'm in and on social media all day every day, I get to put my passion for writing to good use, and be creative and strategic. I absolutely love it. I learn something every single day, I'm surrounded by creative, insanely intelligent and ambitious people who push me to be better and I'm genuinely, 100% interested and passionate about what I am doing. I can honestly say that while spending a large chunk of time in tech and sales, I never once felt that. (#truth).

I learned how to accept rejection. And it didn't define or break me. We all deal with rejection - in jobs, in relationships, with friends, in life. Last summer I took a big fat risk and auditioned to be a SoulCycle instructor... and I was told thanks but no thanks. Or in the simplest terms, no. But you know what? I didn't take it personally, I took it as a sign that I wasn't ready, that the timing wasn't right and my butt was back on a bike the next day. I don't regret auditioning for a second. The relationships and friendships that were made or deepened because of that singular experience means so much to me, and I'm better for it. #soulpeoplearethebestpeople

I stopped comparing myself to anyone or any one ideal. Social media can be a beautiful thing and it can be incredibly detrimental. It's 100x easier to fall into a comparison trap when it's thrown in front of your face, filtered, and edited to within an inch of it's life. So I just... stopped caring about any of that. I love this life, I love what I'm capable of, what I have and where I'm going. I hope you love that about you too, and I'm happy for everything you have and all of your successes, but I don't wish I had what you have. I love what I have, who I am, and what I do. 

I didn't GAF (give a... well you get it) what other people thought. I'm not a huge drinker and when I don't want to drink at a social function? I won't. If I'm exhausted and don't want to go out? I don't. If I feel my best after a 6am workout class even if it means bowing out of an event early? I'll do it. If I know that gluten and dairy make my stomach a hot mess and make feel all kinds of meh? I embrace being high-maintenance and assertive and I ask for what I want and how I want it. If I want to be a huge nerd and wear holiday jammies for like 8 weeks? Damnit, I'm going to.

Vegetables don't need to be a part of every meal. OMG I know. As the trend to put vegetables into literally everything took off in 2016, I rebelled. Oatmeal with just oats, peanut butter and almond milk for breakfast? HECK YES. A sandwich for lunch? A GD Roam Burger with Sweet Potato Fries AND A (GF) BUN? Sometimes chugging a green juice because you realized you've eaten no plants in a single day? Embrace it. You actually won't die, promise.

I did ME. I took part in the workouts I wanted to do (Pilates, Bar Method, SoulCycle, Walking). I left projects or jobs because they weren't the best fit for me career wise and life's too short to be complacent or unhappy. I prioritized my relationship, my family, and my friends. I didn't wear anything but a bathing suit and/or cutoff shorts for a solid week over the 4th of July. As of last week, I pledged to not wear real pants until January 3 (currently winning at that).

I still don't have a dog. THIS NEEDS TO BE FIXED.

So there we go, a full year of learnings. So as much as we all want to forget 2016 happened (or put some grim emoji face next to it on all of our social media posts) - learn from it. Take the good. Ditch the bad.

So your turn - what'd you learn? The good, the bad, the BS, all of it.

 

On Balance.

I get asked a fair amount how I "do it".

How I can commit to my (aggressive) workout schedule and never falter, and then only eat picture-perfect foods made with nothing but health, rainbows, and sunshine all day and all night.

You want to know how I "do it"?

I don't. For real.

Life is all about balance and moderation - even when it comes to workouts and nutrition. I'm very up-front about the fact that about a fraction of what I eat makes it onto my social media pages. A fraction. (This girl's got an appetite like a teenage boy folks.)

I try to balance my life like this:

  • Weekdays

    • Nutrition: Clean and balanced: smoothies, salads, lean protein, veggies, whole grains with minimal sugar and booze
    • Workouts: 2x cardio (usually SoulCycle) and 3x Pilates/Yoga
  • Weekends:

    • Nutrition: I typically eat the way I do during the week but I leave room for indulging, going out to eat, dessert, and most certainly, wine.
    • Workouts: I love to sleep in and get in a late morning run with boyfriend, a long coffee walk with a friend, or a SoulCycle class. If I can fit it in, a long yoga class is amazing when you don't have to rush off to something immediately after. But if I don't exercise all weekend? Just fine.

When we vacation, it's a holiday or a special occasion - I treat myself and I indulge in local specialities, wine, or homemade goodies. I don't think about it. I feel my best when I don't overdo the sugar, booze, gluten or dairy but I'm not opposed to every once and a while when the setting calls for it (or when I'm craving it). If someone makes their family's speciality, I'll try it, regardless of what's in it. If I've had a few I'm far more likely to reach for the cheese platter. I don't make a daily habit of it, but if it's there, (and if it's Mt. Tam Cheese), I'll probably have some (a lot.) 

Case in point - I'm usually not one for donuts but there's a time and a place, like when you're dancing your face off at a close friend's wedding and there's a donut bar and you wash it down with a glass of Pinot in between songs. Not an every day thing, but hot damn it hit the spot in that moment.

I also love to exercise on vacation - for once, I'm well rested and I've got time. On a beach? I love to run barefoot in the sand. (And I love the breakfast that comes right after it.) In cities I love to explore local fitness classes or go for a run to really take it all in - I've found the best discoveries running through Paris and London, and my favorite route in the world is the Central Park Reservoir. 

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The key is to not beat yourself up for not eating "perfectly" all the time - in your every day life or on a vacation. So you downed multiple baskets of chips and one too many margs while out with friends? I bet it was a hell of a night with people you love.

You went to Hawaii and didn't move from your lounge chair for 5 days? You obviously needed a break. Traveled to Europe for a week and lived off of chocolate croissants, steak frites, red wine, pasta and gelato without consuming a single vegetable? You walked around the city rather than going to your gym and doing your routine workout? Congratulations - you're living. 

Promise that green juice and your cardio conditioning class will be waiting for you when you get back.

Monday Monday

So it's Monday, it's gloomy, it's raining. 

AND I'M SO EXCITED. 

Get at me Fall I'm into you. 

I don't particularly have anything insightful to say, probably because someone chose to buzz our apartment at 6:30am this morning and then I was in and out of sleep until my alarm went off for Pilates.

YEP. I'm baaaaack.

I'm aware there's been a lot of yoga talk around here lately but about 6 weeks or so ago I got back into my Pilates game. Way back, in 2011/2012, I was a total Pilates addict and it remains my favorite form of exercise. I went 4x a week (while marathon training like a psychopath) and I truly believe that the combination of strength/cross-training and following my training plan to a T (with zero emphasis on nutrition - truly) helped me hit my goal time of sub-4 in my first 26.2. All about that core strength you guys. Then I got Pilates certified and taught off and on. 

Problem was, I never found the studio that I was truly, 100% obsessed with so my Pilates dedication waned and I just decided I'd live at SoulCycle instead (not a bad alternative).

Anyway, I recently found the GREATEST PILATES STUDIO IN THE LAND (or... San Francisco), in Mighty Pilates and I essentially just can't get enough. I SAW TWO ABS TODAY. (Also I'm over you Chestnut Street. Sacramento Street is where it's at.)

So now Soul and Mighty have to split me 50/50.

But rather than profess my love for Mighty and Pilates (which I assure you, will be coming in a later post) - I just feel like rambling on a variety of topics.

  • I listen to a lot of Spotify and I get irrationally excited about New Music Friday. Which is typically a huge let-down after the first 3 songs. Last week though I got a new Chainsmokers, one of the lads from One Direction (I couldn't tell you his name if you paid me), and a DNCE song. So really, I'm satisfied with that. 

 

  • We went to the Ayesha Curry x Michael Mina Pop-Up, International Smoke on Saturday night with some friends and it was SO GOOD. I also ate more food than the average person does on Thanksgiving and I trained for this - I went to SoulCycle Survivor Saturday, I was ready. And I still couldn't finish all of the tasting courses. Also neither Ayesha or Steph (OR RILEY) were there but I promise I'm not that mad about it. Definitely worth trying.  This dessert in particular - Pineapple Granita with Macadamia Nuts and Mango Mochi. OMG.

 

  • On the music topic, someone this morning told me I "looked just like Selena Gomez", and "Do you get that often?". No I don't because that is 100% not accurate but like, fine I'll take it.

 

  • Because I have great taste in... everything, I watch a lot of television (our DVR is at 92% currently - WELCOME BACK FALL TELEVISION) and I'm probably the only person alive still watching Grey's Anatomy like a crack addict. (It's fine, I've been Meredith Grey for Halloween like the past 10 years). It dawned on me last night that like pretty much all of the original characters except for like... 4 are dead. Sorry if that's a spoiler for you, but even McDreamy's gone. PS - I promise I'm actually cool and I also watch The Night Of, Ballers (duh), Narcos, and Game of Thrones.
  • I spent $14 on breakfast last week. Truth, and it was the best $14 ever. Across the street from Heaven (Mighty) is As Quoted, which I've talked about before. But like it's right there and the lattes are amazing and the toast is gluten-free and thin and topped with almond butter and banana and honey and it's PERFECT.

 

  • I'm 10 years late to the GoT party but I'm here and I'm obsessed. So much that my phone has started autocorrecting my boyfriend's name to Sansa. No BS. 

That's really all I got today. 

PS I wish it were still the weekend.