Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Pie, anyone??

So I'm minding my own business strolling through the grocery store when this woman comes running up behind me...

"You look amazing! What do you do? I work out and teach group classes and I can't seem to get to where I want to be."

I was taken by surprise and humbled by her kind words.

We chatted for a moment exchanging names and the like before the natural progression of questions began:

I bet you work out all the time, right?
I bet you eat "clean" all the time, don't you?

It is always interesting to me to watch the expression on someone's face when I tell them that, in fact, I DO NOT workout all the time. And that if I wanted to eat a piece of cake or pie that I would do it.

Saturday night's dessert options
I didn't get into the details about the dessert I had on Saturday night, I figured we could discuss that at a later date.  It was however important for me to let her know that you CAN reach your health, performance, and physique goals and NOT give up on living your life.

Trust me, I've been there.  I spent years following the most boring meal plans and doing endless hours of training and cardio.  Guess what that did for me-- left me burned out, exhausted, and hungry, no not hungry-- STARVING!!

I found myself wishing the days away until I could drop the routine I was following...and I'm sure everyone around me was wishing the same thing.  Talk about no fun to be around..sheesh.

So I get it, I've been there.  Getting people to really understand that it doesn't have to be that way is certainly a challenge...until I tell them what I am doing now.

What if I told you that I train for only a handful of hours a week- never more than one time each day-that I eat more food than most guys I know, and that I eat dessert when I want it.

Oh and on top of that I'm leaner than I was when I was doing things the "old" way!!!

Yep, it is all true.  And you know what else???? I am happier too!

Don't give up on your dreams of great health, amazing performance, and a stellar physique because you think you'd have to give up living and enjoying life to get there.

You truly can have your cake (or pie) and eat it too!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Reclaiming Boston

I've been trying to find the words to adequately describe the experience that was the 2014 Boston Marathon...that has been my delay in writing this post.  Alas, I don't think that there are adequate words.  I don't think that you can truly capture what each and every one of us was feeling as we ran down the streets from Hopkinton to Boston.

With signs everywhere proclaiming "We all run Boston" and "We run as One" the attitude throughout the race expo was one of thankfulness- thankfulness for the ability to be there, to be a part of something so significant, to continue the tradition, to be there to represent the city, to run for the city, and for all those who were affected by the tragedy last year.

One of the many signs hanging in Copley Place

The elevator door at my hotel

Security was heightened and no one seemed to mind.  We all knew that it was in everyone's best interest and that all were there to ensure that the event went off without incident.

Staying at the hotel that served as race headquarters meant extra hoops to jump through for security- especially on race day.  No one was allowed in without proper race credentials, room keys, and having your name cross referenced with the hotel registry.

On race morning the ride to the start line in Hopkinton gave us time to reflect on many things- last year's race, how we planned to run this year, and how we were so thankful to have the opportunity to be here again.  Something that we all had decided was a MUST after last year.

Arriving at the athlete's village it was hard not to notice the increased police presence.  Uniformed officers canvassed the area while others manned the rooftops.

Regardless, everyone seemed at ease, just happy to be there.

We waited in the village for our waves to be called.  When they were we walked in our groups to the start area about .7 mile away.  Along the way we passed more police and military as well as volunteers collecting our "throw away clothes".  Due to a change in pre-race happenings, there were no athlete drop bags at the village.  This meant that anything that you did not want to physically carry with you- or wear- to the finish of the race must be discarded at the village.

Not to worry, those throw away clothes are donated to the homeless shelters in the area.  Just one more way that the marathon supports the communities it touches.

Boston Strong Daffodils were seen everywhere.
Especially along the marathon route where they had been planted.

The cool morning gave way to a sunny sky as we lined up for the race start, just as it had last year.  The Boston Marathon doesn't have a typical start time of 7am.  In years past it would start at 12 noon.  More recently that time has moved up with elite females starting around 9:30 am and the first wave of the rest of the field starting at 10am.

With roughly 11, 000 additional participants, this year's race was the 2nd largest in history.

Lining up in our corrals you could feel the excitement in the air-- from both the athletes and the spectators.

The gun went off and we were on our way down the hills away from Hopkinton.

Boston Marathon spectators are a special group.  They line the streets and spend countless hours cheering for people whom they have never met and will likely never see again.  Children smile and wave and high five everyone that they can reach.

But this year it was different.

Yes, people still stood for hours lining the streets handing out water, oranges, bananas, tissues, ice-pops, Twizzlers, and high fives.  They showered us with sprinklers and hoses and wet sponges. And they cheered.

They cheered for each and every one of us and we could feel it.  It was as if we were there running for THEM.  You know the kind of cheering you see and hear when someone is cheering for a friend or family member, or someone they really care about? You know THAT kind of cheering??? THAT was how they were cheering.

As if each and every step that each one of the 36, 000 of us took was bringing all of us closer to the finish line.  Together.  As one.

There were so many times that my emotions were in my throat. (And incase you were wondering it is next to impossible to run while crying)

I had to refocus on the road ahead and the goal of making it to the finish line.  Not for me, but for all of us.  It was a symbolic taking back of the streets, the marathon, the city, and the finish line.  As each person passed through the cities along the route- Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston- we were slowly, one by one reclaiming the day.

I've run a few marathons and I've even had a few that made me want to quit.  I tell you what, there was no quitting THIS marathon.  It was like everyone was counting on you to do it.  To cross that finish line.

I have never experienced anything like this before, and likely won't again.  We truly ran as one.  We did it, we finished strong.

After the race and safely back in my hotel I placed an order for room service.  My food arrived via the hands of the very same gentleman who delivered it after the race last year. This year was a little different as we both exchanged smiles and not tears.

The next morning exiting the hotel I was elated to see the city just as it was the day before.  Alive and well, full of happy marathoners and void of any of the military vehicles I had seen last year.

Making my way through the airport I could over hear a conversation going on behind me.  A few of the gentleman who had come in from other areas to help with the security detail along the marathon route were discussing their experiences.

I turned and asked if they had worked the event.  They replied "yes".  I thanked them for being there and told them that we couldn't have done it without them. ( I may have failed to mention it, but there were police and/or military personnel stationed every 30 feet along the entire marathon route- along both sides of the street.)

They looked back at me and thanked me for running. They too felt the energy, the unity, the resolve, and the strength that flowed through the streets.  We were one.  We were Boston.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Boston Strong

It is hard to believe that tomorrow marks one year since this happened.  I had written this blog post a year ago and had never posted it.

I started writing it in hopes that it would bring me some sense of release or relief in expressing my feelings and experience.  It didn't. I didn't post it.

As I sat here today about to write another completely unrelated blog I stumbled across this post and decided that it was time...

There is so much that never made it in to this post... so many tears, sleepless nights, days spent staring at the news feeling numb.  So many texts, emails, calls from friends and people I hadn't talked to in years...

Yet a year has passed... some things have changed, some things haven't.

I will board a plan Thursday morning to head to Boston for this year's Boston Marathon.  I am certain many tears will be shed and many smiles will be shared.  This will be a race to remember for sure.  This year I am again praying for a "feel-good" race, and one that lasts.


I don't even know where to begin with this.  As I was running the Boston Marathon this year I was trying to decide how best to capture the experience...what words and pictures to use. What emotions to discuss, what lesson I would share. You see, it is nearly impossible to be a part of something and not have it affect you in some way.

The 2012 Boston Marathon was an ugly race for me.  While I was thrilled to be there,  just to qualify to be a part of the most historic, most prestigious marathon there is was beyond amazing.  The race experience itself was less about the race and more about the amazing support from the community.  With temperatures near 90 degrees, I am certain I would have collapsed on the course if it weren't for the spectators.

(Read about my 2012 Boston experience here)

The spectators at the Boston Marathon are not only spectators..they are participants as well!

If something cannot be completed without the aid of another person or thing, then those people or things become a part of the event.

Coming into the 2013 Boston Marathon I was focused on one thing- feel good.  I just wanted to feel better than I did last year.

The weather looked as if it was going to be perfect.  Highs were expected to be in the upper 50's, no chance of rain. Perfect.

Boarding the bus to Hopkinton at 6:30am went off without a hitch.  I even made a new friend on the ride over.  Audrey was from Maine and drove down with her husband and her running partner.  While we were on our way to the start of the race, her husband and friend were headed to Dunkin Donuts to have their own marathon...eating 26.2 donuts.  So far they had managed to eat one.  Audrey and I agreed that she would more than likely need to do the driving home since eating 26.2 donuts was going to be more painful than running 26.2 miles!

We arrived in Hopkinton at the runner's village and wasted no time finding a spot of grass to call our own.  It seemed like no time at all had passed before we began our journey to the start line. Once there we made our way into the corral and waited. Excitement was in the air as I could hear the many conversations going on around me.  Some mentioned that they were first time Boston Marathoners, others said they had been here many times.  Didn't much matter- everyone was just as excited and everyone seemed to be saying the same things: don't go out too fast down the hills and enjoy the crowds.

The day seemed almost perfect. The weather, the crowds, everything seemed to come together just as it needed to.

I was thrilled to feel good.  Like I said, after the 2012 experience I was just praying for a "feel-good" race.  "Perfect!" I was thinking.  In my mind I just kept saying "Boston, thanks for a great ride!" I'm not sure what my face really looked like during the run, but I felt as if I was smiling from ear to ear.

Somewhere around mile 12 or 13 I had decided that I would take my time after the race, and sit and have lunch along Boylston street and enjoy watching other Boston Marathoners complete their journey.

Yep, sounded like a great way to celebrate a fabulous day.

I'm not sure where I was when I changed my mind.  It was somewhere in the later stages of the race.. maybe mile 20 or 22.  I was hungry and just wanted to get back to my room.  I was still having a great race and feeling strong, but for some reason I really wanted to get back to my room.  Weird.

I remember turning the corner onto Boylston street, I cut the left pretty hard and was an inch or so from the barricades that kept the crowd back.  There I stayed, far to the left all the way across the finish line.  I was so far to the left as I crossed the finish line that you can only see half of me crossing the finish line in the race photos and videos.

I was on a mission when I crossed the finish line-- find my drop bag and get back to the hotel.  I'm not sure if you've ever been at the finish of a marathon, but people aren't generally moving too quickly.  I was almost pushing through the crowd trying to find the bus that served as my bag transport.

Finally I found it and collected my bag.  I sat for a moment -- only long enough to put my warmer clothes on and I was on my way.

I remember looking around almost helplessly "how do I get out of here??" I finally found someone who was working the race and asked "How do I get out of here?"

"You have to head back that way, " she said pointing back in the direction of the race finish line.

I didn't hesitate.

I felt like a salmon swimming upstream dodging and weaving through the runners as they were streaming across the finish line and down through the chute.

Dodging and weaving all the way back to the Fairmont.  I had almost made it there, but the street was closed, I had to make my way around the back of the building.  "Sigh, just get me back to my room," I thought.

Finally I made it to the hotel door and was inside.

I was on a mission and it was evident.  As I made it in the door someone looked at me wrapped in the mylar race blanket and said "Wow, you're really moving well for just finishing a marathon!"

"Yeah, " I said, "I just want to get back to my room."

I hurriedly made my way to my room, turned the heat on and started the shower.

As I was in the shower I heard the heat turn off, and then turn back on.

"Huh, that was weird," I thought and carried on with my shower.

Getting out of the shower I had decided I would order some room service and watch a movie.  I grabbed the remote and turned the T.V. on.

I have no idea how long it was that I was standing there staring at the scene on the T.V. before it started to sink in.

What I saw was an image of where I had just been-- the finish line of the Boston Marathon.  Except the image on T.V. looked nothing like what I had experienced.  The scene on the T.V. was of a deserted area.  Cups were strewn everywhere and the road was soaked.  No people.  It didn't make any sense to me.  Was I watching a movie? What was this?

It could have been 10 minutes, it could have been 45 minutes, I really don't remember...but at some point I realized what they were saying.  Bomb.

I grabbed my phone and called my mom.  Thankfully she had been napping and hadn't seen the news.  I told her, not to worry, I was ok and go back to sleep.

Then as I was calling my husband, I was posting on Facebook and twitter to let everyone know that I was ok.

I sat there not really knowing what to do.  Do I try to leave? Do I stay? What do I do.

Then I saw it on the news- we were on lockdown.  I couldn't go anywhere.  I just sat there watching and listening.  Over and over again the reporters kept saying "bomb".

Slowly more information trickled in.

Putting it all together in my head I realized that I had run right past where the bombs had been placed on the left side of Boylston street.  Literally inches away.

The noise I heard while I was in the shower that I had assumed was the heat turning off and then back on... that was not the heat... those were the bombs exploding.

I felt sick.

For hours all I could do was watch and listen to the reports.  I wanted to turn it off, to make it go away, but I couldn't.  I needed to know if I needed to take action.

To say that was a sleepless night would be an understatement.

The next morning as I emerged from my hotel I felt like I was in a third world country- or what I imagined it would feel like. There were armed military personnel everywhere.  Tanks and military vehicles of all kinds, police officers, police cruisers, and TV cameras and crews everywhere.  The streets around my hotel were blocked to traffic and minus the military and police they were deserted.

The hotel Bellman helped me lug my suitcase to the next black where traffic was open in hopes of finding a taxi or someone to take me to the airport.  It all felt so surreal.

I was thankful to be leaving. Yet somehow I felt like I shouldn't be happy about anything. How could you be happy after what had just happened?

I was just kind of numb.

Arriving at the airport the security was beyond heightened.

After passing through security I was approached by personnel from Homeland Security as well as the Boston Police Department.

"How was your race?" they asked.

I couldn't even respond, I just looked at them and started to cry.

I'm sure that wasn't the first time that morning that they had encountered that response.

They were looking for any information that would help in any way- asking for all photos and videos to be sent in to be scrutinized-- anything that we thought might help they took.

Sitting at the gate with other runners waiting for my flight gave me both a sense of relief and more anxiety.  A relief to be around other people, to share what we had gone through, the be thankful that we were all there.  Yet more anxiety as I heard people recounting where they and been and realizing just how close we all came to NOT being there.

Sunday, March 16, 2014


The alarm goes off.  You reach over and quickly hit the snooze.

Your bed is warm and comfortable.  Your pillows and blankets seem to be in THE most perfect positions as if they are pleading with you to stay.

They are saying: "Don't leave.  It is warm, safe, and comfortable here."

"You don't need to go now, " they say "whatever it is you are going to do will be there waiting for you later."

"Ahh, I don't want to get up" you say as if continuing the conversation your bed has started with you.

But you do.

You drag yourself out of bed, maybe grab a cup of coffee and head out the door.

Once you are out the door the calm and peace of the world surrounds you.  The crisp air dances on your skin. The dark sky slowly begins to change colors- from deep, dark, blue to lighter blue with hints of pink, orange, and red coming through.  The birds begin to chirp.

You can feel it coming.  The beauty, the splendor, the magnificence .....The dark sky has given way to the most gorgeous sunrise.

There it is before you.  As if it had always been there.  The bright, warm glow of the sun surrounds you.

You stop for a moment to reflect on what it is you would have missed if you had stayed in the warm comfort of your bed.

Often it takes moving from a warm, comfortable, safe place to witness the beauty of what the world has in store for us.

So it is with change.  Whatever that change may be you will find yourself moving from a warm, comfortable, safe place out into the quiet darkness.  That quiet, dark place may surround you for a while before you start to hear the friendly chirping of the birds and begin to see the colors of the sky change.

Hold on.  Don't turn back.

Yes, I know that safe place is still calling you to return.  It is there waiting for you; taunting you.

You can hear it: "I am a warm, safe, comfortable place.  Come back, you are always welcome here."

Before you turn and go back stop for a moment and count the number of sunrises you've seen on days  you didn't get out of bed.  How many have you seen in that warm, comfortable, safe place?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Food ruled my life

I have a confession to make.

I have a cupcake in my freezer.

Well, ok there are ACTUALLY two in there.

Why they are there and how they manage to stay there is really a long story so I will do my best to give you the cliff notes version.

Food ruled my life.

There was a time in my life when all I can remember thinking about was food.  Thoughts about what I had eaten.. what I actually WANTED to eat but didn't...what I was planning to eat later...what I might eat tomorrow...

That was all I really thought about.  Food had so much power over me.  It controlled whether I was happy or sad-- which really meant if I felt horrible because I ate something "bad" that I "shouldn't have eaten" or if I felt good because I was able to will myself away from something delicious.

I couldn't understand how people could go through their day not concerned at all about food.  Didn't everyone feel like this?

What was wrong with me?

Somewhere along the way, early in my life, I developed an unhealthy relationship with food.

I would either eat way too much or nothing at all.

I couldn't be around something sweet without eating it, or dream of eating it ...until I gave in and took a few bites and then stood over the trash can trying to decide if I should just inhale the rest or throw it in the trash...and if it went in the trash it had better touch all of the nasty stuff in there or there was a good chance I might take it back out!

Food had power over me.

I can now say that I realize that I GAVE it power over me, but hindsight is always 20/20 isn't it??

So how did I go from there to having 2 cupcakes in my freezer?

I'm not going to lie, it took quite some time to get here, but it all started with education.

Not the kind you get from sitting in a classroom - at least no classroom I had ever been in.

It took educating myself about food, nutrients, and what happens when we eat.

It took learning about what happened in my body when I ate certain foods, and when I ate them at specific times- like before, during, or after my training sessions- or what happened if I ate them when I had not trained.

Slowly I learned how to put food to work FOR me.  I was no longer AT THE MERCY of my food.
I finally had the upper hand!

That is such a wonderful feeling because I love to eat, and for so many years I walked around thinking that I couldn't eat; that I had to avoid food especially the foods that I liked to eat if I wanted to look and feel a certain way.

Truth is the really delicious foods that I loved to eat included steak, veggies, potatoes, chicken, and fish.  Not just sweet things. You name it, I loved to eat it...well, ok just don't say "liver" I never liked that :(

I just didn't realize that I COULD eat all of those wonderful things.. and my cupcake.. if I fed my body according to the plan.

The plan?

Yes, the plan.

The plan to build muscle and not store fat!

Where did I get that plan? I got that from learning what happens when I eat certain things at certain times... really nutrient timing.  Just big words for put the right stuff in at the right time.  Just like you put the right kind of gas in your car when it needs it.  Same thing.

Sure this took some work in the beginning, but now it is just my normal way of eating and I don't really have to give it much thought....which is why I can have 2 cupcakes sitting in my freezer.

So if YOU are feeling like I was.. I am here to tell you that you don't have to go on that way.  Food doesn't have to rule your life and you don't have to run from food either.

It is time to start a new, healthy relationship with food.  One that puts food to work FOR you!

If I did it, you can too!!

Monday, March 10, 2014

How to reach your health, fitness, and fat loss goals

It is tax season! if you weren't already aware of that...

Like anything in life, you could do your taxes by yourself in an effort to save money by not paying someone to help you. BUT did you ever consider that the small act of hiring someone to help you might result in your saving even MORE money???

It is true. And I'm sure you have heard many stories of people who didn't realize all of the deductions that they had missed until they had a professional look things over.

The same thing happens in the gym.

Many people opt for the "save money" training version by not hiring a trained professional or worse yet opting for the cheapest "diet plan" they can find.

While both of these seem as if they are saving you money-- AT THE MOMENT--but they are likely COSTING YOU MONEY in the long run.

How many times have you tried to lose that 10 or 20 pounds? How many times have you succeeded? I mean succeeded in terms of NOT having it find its way back to you...

How long have you been following that training plan only to realize that you have seen little to no results from doing so?

As Albert Einstein said "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results".

What if hiring an educated professional would help you reach your goal in half the time with one tenth of the headache?

What if hiring the right person meant that you would be educated you so that NO MATTER WHAT happened in your life you would ALWAYS know how to eat and train to achieve your health and fitness goals??

I can't help it when I am at the gym- I look around and wonder how long this woman or than man have spent doing that exercise THAT way.  If they could just tweak their form slightly to actually activate the muscles that they are trying to use... WOW the results that they would see from their training would be so different!!

Are YOU one of those people??? The ones who don't want to invest a little bit to get the MOST from your training, your nutrition, your life?????

Did you realize that when you DO invest in this you are investing in YOURSELF.  It is like putting money in the bank.

I can't help it, I want to help everyone! It frustrates me to no end to see people spinning their wheels day in and day out; following this crazy diet or thinking that that shake will help them achieve the body they want.  IT WON'T!

Because this drives me so crazy I am opening my schedule to work with a select few.  My time is precious - you all know how my travel schedule is- so I am NOT going to work with just anyone.

You must be 100% committed to yourself and to the plan. You must know WHY it is that you want to work with me, to achieve great results.

My website will be up and going before long and I anticipate to be booked long before that happens.  If YOU are ready to take the next step, to REALLY learn how to achieve your health and fitness goals and you are 100% committed submit your email address to me and I will forward you an application.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Who do you surround yourself with?

When we lose focus sometimes it just helps to get away and clear your head.  Is it the getting away that does it? Or is it where you end up and who you end up there with that does it?

It seemed like lately I just couldn't get my brain to focus on the tasks at hand.  Didn't matter what I tried I was just caught up in circles in my mind and accomplishing very little in the way of working.

I knew I had an upcoming trip to Australia and COULD. NOT. WAIT. to go.

I'm not really sure what it is about being on an airplane that helps me to clear my mind.  Maybe it is literally just looking at the world from a different perspective.  Maybe it is that I am forced to just sit and not busy my mind with everything else around me.  Who knows, but what I do know is that I do feel different when I am on a plane.

When that plane lands in Australia and I am instantly surrounded by 45 high-energy, health-minded, focused, creative, business owners who want nothing more than to help people transform their bodies and lives I can't help but to get energized and focused myself!

The brick walls I had created were falling away and I was able to again see the vision I had created once upon a time. A vision for reaching people, educating them and helping them to help themselves.  Really transforming lives.

The trick is carrying that drive and focus with me as I fly half way around the world and arrive home.

Whether it is drive and focus relating to a business plan, a nutrition plan, a training plan we have to set ourselves up for success.  How do we do that?

One key is to surround yourself with people who are doing what you want to do.

Truth is, we become like the company we keep.

Who are the 5 people that you spend most of your time with? Do those people fuel you or drain you? Do they share the same goals and visions that you do? If they don't, do they support you in your efforts to achieve your dreams?

The first step in creating what we desire is to surround ourselves with people who support us.

Maybe now is a good time to take a look around.