Finding the Confidence to Strip

I can’t pinpoint an exact date. There was no epiphany that took place one day. But, over the past year, slowly but surely, I’ve started to enjoy living each day just a little bit more.

For 30 years, I wasted time and energy worrying about what others thought. Would they like the dress I was wearing? Would they think I was too slow? Would they notice those extra layer of softness on my arms? I spent countless hours comparing myself to everyone. This constant struggle caused self-doubt and affected every aspect of my life.

What took me so long to realize is that 99.5% of the other people are too busy and focused on their life that they don’t have time to think about that girl next to them. Whether it’s the girl running next them at the gym or the girl lying next to them at the pool.

In the past six months, I have felt more confident and happier than any other time in my life.

On Saturday, after ten years of running, I finally found the confidence to run in a sports bra. The slight breeze felt cool and refreshing against my skin, and I couldn’t help but smile. I don’t have a six-pack and don’t have a perfect body but I felt strong and I know how hard I’ve worked to feel that way.  Even though the miles didn’t come easy, the feeling of freedom and confidence gave renewed meaning to the run. 

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After sharing the picture on Instagram and Facebook, I was amazed the number of women who commented. These are women who I’ve considered my inspirations whether for fitness or physique. Somehow, they were amazed that I ran without a shirt. Many of them said they wish they could reach that point.

Unfortunately, there isn’t a magic pill I can prescribe or a book I can recommend to each of you so that you can feel the joy that is, for lack of better words, “not giving a shit.”

The only thing I can do is to beg and plead that each of you find the courage to strip down, whatever that means in your life. Try just one thing that scares you or intimidates you. If you want to strip off the shirt and run in a sports bra, try running in a new area, where you won’t be recognized or run earlier in the day. If you want to practice hot yoga in one layer less, try it at home first, so you get comfortable in your skin. If you want to clip in, but are scared of falling, try riding with only one foot clipped in until you feel comfortable. Want to wear something that isn’t on the pages of this month’s fashion magazine? Own it and wear it with pride.

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Don’t believe it’s that easy? Two of the women who inspire me daily stripped down for their workouts for the first time this week! Both Bonnie and Mindy shared that it felt liberating and helped them realize how far they’ve come in their journey. All it takes is a little bit of confidence and the freedom to not care what others think. I bet you’ll have a high from all that libration and far more time on your hands to focus on the important stuff.

Oh and don’t forget, it is a gradual evolution. As I said, it didn’t click overnight. Slowly but surely I worried less about other people and spent more time focusing on me.  There are moments when I lack confidence or worry about what others think, but it’s far less often than before.

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So, What’s Next

Hey gang! I’m currently in the midst of packing and saying goodbye to Geneva.

Last night was all about the fun, while today is all about packing.

I’ll let you guess which of the two I prefer more. Luckily the movers are also packing the majority of our things but I ended up spending most of the day packing the air shipment goods, the things we’ll check on the plane Saturday and then helping the movers. It went better than expected but is still stressful.

Instead of focusing on the move, let’s talk about something that is more fun: RUNNING! After Sunday’s race, I’m anxious and excited to run ALL THE RACES! Luckily, we’re moving back to New York City this weekend which means that I will have easier access to races of all lengths. Since I have a tendency to over commit, I’ve only signed up for the below races so far. We have a lot going on this Summer with the move, finding an apartment, moving into the apartment and getting reacclimated. But, I’m excited to have a mix of races on the schedule that I can race and others like the Nike Women’s Half Marathon, that I can run for fun and enjoy with friends.

NYRR Boomer’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breath 4 Miler – July 18th

  • I’m hoping to run this with my sister-in-law Meg and her fiancée, as they have recently started running.

NYRR R-U-N 5k – August 6th

  • A NYRR race in Central Park on a Thursday night? Heck yes! I’d love to race this one and then celebrate with my runner friends over beers and burgers post race. You should join us!

NYRR Bronx 10 Miler – September 27th

  • Jess suggested that this could be a great half marathon warm-up race to check in with my fitness levels and practice everything for race day.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Brooklyn Half Marathon – October 10th

  • Excited for an awesome race weekend with LOTS of friends! Amy, my original running buddy is flying in from Cincinnati for the race and lots of fun.

Nike Women San Francisco Half Marathon – October 18th

  • Running for fun with Kristine and my Geneva friend, Lauren, who just moved to San Francisco. Here’s hoping we get in via the lottery.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Savannah Half Marathon – November 7th

  • Running it and then walking with my Mom, Aunt and my brother’s girlfriend Madeline. SO excited for another great Savannah race experience!

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In addition to running, I’m looking forward to taking advantage of Summer in New York City with free outdoor workouts,  trying standup paddleboard yoga with a local yoga studio at Rockaway Beach,  and supporting friends for a few of their miles as they train for fall marathons!

I hope to see a few of you out running! Are you signed up for any of these races? If so, which ones?

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Using Exercise to Maintain My Sanity

Moving is stressful. Saying goodbye to friends is tough. Transitioning from one job to another brings a lot of unknown and complexities. Based on these three facts, the next six weeks should be a joy.

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Luckily, these days, even thirty minutes of physical activity can help relieve stress. Gone are the days when I crave a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to eat away my stress induced anxiety after a long day.

These days, I’ve decided that my mantra for the next six weeks will be to lace up my sneakers and go.

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Today I spent 30 minutes outside letting my thoughts run wild while I ran through a local park, enjoyed the sight of the Spring flowers and completed a quick 30-minute run. I didn’t track my pace or distance.

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I stopped twice, once to complete my 5-minute strength circuit and again to say hello to a friend. This was far different from the training runs a few weeks ago. But, don’t get me wrong. It served a purpose that was equally if not more important. It helped me relieve the stress that comes along with moving two people on two very different dates, while managing a full-time job and trying to enjoy the last few weeks in Europe.

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If April training focused on the half marathon, then May and June’s training focus will be using exercise to maintain my sanity.

I’ll be living alone for June, which means I’ll have plenty of time for evening yoga classes and early morning workouts. I’ll try a few new Les Mills classes at our office gym before I say goodbye to that membership.

What are your suggestions for managing stress the next six weeks?

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A Soaking Wet Half Marathon

IMG_9173While I’d love to give you guys a full rundown of today’s half marathon, we’re heading out to celebrate with friends! The evening plan includes pints of beer and burgers!

But, before we head out, here are a few things I learned along the way. 

  • I finished in 2:02:37, a 1-minute improvement versus last year’s Geneva Half Marathon, which was run in far better weather!  
  • Running in the rain is not fun. I have so much respect for those athletes who ran Boston or any other marathon in the rain. 13.1 miles in the pouring rain was tough enough.
  • I loved my outfit for today’s race! We both debated wearing jackets but the hats and technical tops worked perfectly!
  • I didn’t remember last year’s half including a mile of trails. Trails that are normally packed dirt were muddy, rocky and packed today due to the weather. My ankles and calves are the sorest parts of my body!
  • This is the first half marathon where I have stuck exactly to my coaches plan for the race. The first 10 miles were exactly on pace and felt amazing.
  • Miles 10-13 were tough. I pushed on and was far stronger than most races, but physically my breathing was very shallow and my legs felt like I had lead weights tied to them.
  • Mentally, this was the strongest race I’ve ever run which I owe to both Jess and Bo.
  • I’m so excited to keep running with Bo and watching both of us improve, physically and mentally!

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