Finding Your Happy Place

All day today, I was looking forward to this evening’s workout date with Bo. While we rarely workout after work, this morning the snooze button won and instead, we decided that we’d find a class on Classpass that worked for both our schedules and make it a date. I know guys, we’re so romantic sometimes but seriously, when you’re working long hours, sometimes it’s nice to be together even if it’s sweating  in a class and then commuting home together.

Unfortunately, as soon as I sat down on my bike I realized the vibe of the class wasn’t what either of us wanted. The teacher we were excited to try, whose classes were called challenging and inspiring on the ClassPass site, was out sick. Instead, the substitute teacher said that his goal was to make us dance on the bike and have fun with new moves. After a long day, I wanted to zone in and just sweat out the day’s stress. I didn’t want to focus on choreography moves. I wanted a class that would push me physically. Within a few minutes of class starting, I was tempted to leave. While I’m sure some people love this teacher, his constant reference to the co-ed class as “ladies” and “girls” annoyed me and his focus on fun choreography just isn’t my style.

During the warm-up song, I tried to look past my disappointment and frustration, instead, taking a moment to focus in on why I came to class.

  • I came to class to sweat out the knots in my back, the stress in my head and the tension I was holding after work.
  • I came to class to feel strong physically.
  • I came to class to spend time with Bo.
  • I came to class hoping I would leave feeling the endorphin high.

Instead of leaving, after the warm-up we moved from our front row bikes to empty bikes in the back row. In the anonymity of that back corner, we were able to spend the next 45-minutes zoning out and focusing on what we each needed and wanted from the class.  We didn’t change the vibe of the class or stand out since no one could see us. I ignored his complex choreography cues and instead did mini sprints during the bike dancing. During the climbs, I pushed the tension on the wheel, progressively making it harder until reaching the top. Changing my mindset allowed me to enjoy the 45-minute class and even find myself smiling and nodding my head to the final song of class,  Evanescence’s, Bring Me To Life.

Sometimes it’s important to remember why you walk through doors of a workout studio or class. While the teacher may be one aspect, it most likely isn’t the only reason. So next time you accidentally end up with a teacher or class that isn’t your style, take a few deep breaths and find your happy place. Then spend the rest of the class doing your best to make the time meet your needs – whether that is physically or mentally. After all, it’s your workout and your time, right?


The Biking Date from Hell

Yesterday Bo and I took our new bikes out for their first ride. After sleeping until our bodies woke up naturally, I had a huge smile on my face when I saw the blue sky and sunshine streaming through our window. As soon as I stepped out of bed my quads and calves let me know just how they felt about the idea after Saturday’s hilly trail run. I couldn’t let Bo head out with me and instead requested that we do a flat, scenic ride instead of hills.

Even though we took longer than normal to get our act together by 1pm we were on our bikes ready to go. We had oatmeal and coffee as our pre-ride fuel and each carried a water bottle and some fuel. I grabbed Clif Margarita Shot Blocks along with a small bag of pistachios and dried apricots.

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Before pulling out of our driveway I asked Bo what our plan was for the ride and he said he’d mapped a great 20 mile route that looked like it would be scenic and take us through the French countryside. I told him that I’d assess how I was feeling and may turn back early but I secretly figured the flat ride would help flush out my legs’ soreness.

I didn’t have many goals for the day other than enjoying the scenery and getting comfortable on my bike. I immediately felt a difference riding this bike, which was fitted to my shape and size on Friday night, versus the rental bike. Everything felt so much more comfortable and I felt like I was able to get more power out of every rotation, thanks to proper adjustment. During our first few miles, while we were in a calm flat area, I practiced clipping and unclipping each foot as we were riding. I’ve read on multiple sites that it’s better to practice doing this when you don’t have to so it becomes second nature when you have to quickly unclip.

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At around the 5 mile point we approached the Saleve, which I’ve run a few times but never sumited via the roads. Bo took a moment at a stoplight to study the map and realized that the path he mapped evidently included the Saleve. In that moment I remembered the stories of co-workers who summit it via bike after work and decided that this was as good as any to give it a try. I told him to turn his phone on ring in case I needed to stop and turn around due to tired legs.

From this point we started a 1,000 foot climb including a few hair-pin curves and a few breathtaking view points.

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I think Bo heard my choice words coming out of my mouth before he actually saw me come around the corner. At 11 miles and 1,100 feet of elevation climb my body was done. I felt defeated, annoyed and frustrated. He’d tempted me with this awesome adventure and bike path but my body wasn’t ready for it yesterday. He gave me a huge sweaty hug and reminded me of two things – today was my 3rd bike ride and he’s been spending a lot of time in the spin bike saddle over the past few months since his IT band injury.

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Before turning around to head down the mountain we took the pictures in this post, including the gorgeous vistas and took in some fuel and water. I’m not very comfortable on the bike yet so drinking water while riding doesn’t come naturally.

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As we came to the bottom we decided to start along another path, which we thought would lead us back towards Geneva. We also both thought this would be a flat path. That seemed to be the trend yesterday because just like the previous one, this had plenty of incline as we rode through La Muraz, Annemasse, Thonex, Carouge and finally back into Eaux Vives. Two 300 feet climbs and 17 miles later we found our way back to our flat in Geneva. I was covered in salt, there were tears of exhaustion in my eyes and we both vowed to study maps and trails better before our next long ride.  While riding, this ride felt like the ride from hell. But now reflecting on it a day later I’m thankful for the experience.


His MapMyRide app captured the entire ride save for the last 3 miles pretty accurately, within 3 tenths of a mile of my Garmin.

Lessons learned yesterday:

1. Always carry more fuel and water than you think you need.

2. Double check your routes using the elevation button on MapMyRide before starting the ride.

3. Wear and bring extra sunscreen with you because it will need to be applied.

If you’re an avid cyclist, what apps do you love?


Life Is About Balance: Half Marathon Training Week 3

On Sunday, I had the great pleasure to do my long run along side Elisabeth, a good friend of ours who is training for her first half marathon, The National Half in DC this March. While I won’t be down in DC with her the weekend of her half due to my half in NYC that weekend, it has been a blast to get her excited for the race.


It works out wonderfully that our half marathons happen to be the same weekend as it allows us to do our long runs together since our training plans are similar, at least in regards to weekend mileage.

During our run Liz asked me tons of questions that are normal for someone running their first half marathon. One of the best discussions we had during the run had to do with her upcoming tropical vacation to Hawaii. Like any person who is trying to follow their training plan, a vacation can cause lots of unnecessary stress. She was worried that she’d fall behind in the training plan and return not prepared for her race which at that point will be less than a month away.

My coaching to her was the same coaching and self pep-talk I’ve given to myself over the past few weeks as my training plan has been a difficult one to manage and navigate due to constant travel.

“Focus on activity while you’re traveling versus your normal training run and do your best to front load your training the week you’re leaving for vacation.”

Now don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying that every business trip or vacation means it’s time to abandon your training plan. Sometimes it’s even easier to stick to a training plan when away from home because you may have a more flexible schedule or easier access to a treadmill, gym, or scenic running path.

However, when traveling to somewhere like Hawaii where there are many hills, humidity, narrow roads, and so many other activities to enjoy such as hiking to the top of volcanoes, surfing, and paddle boarding those type of things make sense to take priority. It took me a while to learn this lesson but even when training for a half marathon or marathon the #1 priority is to make sure you’re enjoying life and enjoying the process. If a training plan ever causes more stress than good it’s rare that you’ll stick with the plan and succeed.

Life is about balance. 

Therefore, my training plan this week is also a bit altered in anticipation of my week long trip to Geneva, Switzerland beginning Thursday.

Sunday: 8 miles with Liz

Monday: Barry’s Bootcamp at 5am (arms and abs)

Tuesday: Barry’s Bootcamp at 5am (legs and shoulders)

Wednesday: 5 miles outside

Thursday: 8-9 mile early morning long run (anyone care to join me?)

Friday: rest day

Saturday: Skiing and attempting not to die in the Alps

Sunday: Skiing and attempting not to die part 2 in the Alps

So while my schedule is a bit front loaded, I was able to squeeze in 2 hard workouts at Barry’s before our National Sales Meeting began today and feel better about both my emotional and physical state this week.

Life is all about being flexible and balancing the things we need to do and want to do.

How about you? Do you take a similar approach when traveling?