June 24, 2016

Taking a mental health break from running

At times, running can become a chore.  Sometimes you don't feel like following a plan. Getting up a o' dark hundred is no longer appealing. Has this ever happened to you?  Over the last 8 months, I have run 3 marathons with a 4th to come in less than 4 months.  In other words, I have been "in marathon training" for a long time.  While running is a passion and I love racing and training, the last few months have been a struggle with my mind and body.

Taking a step back, certain things came into focus including long term health and a body that did not feel constantly worn down. Here are some things that I have done to make the month of June a good one in terms of fitness and well being.

June 22, 2016

Then and Now

Every once in a while, I'll think back to things that I did when I first started running. Sometimes I laugh. Sometimes I cringe. Other times, I simply shake my head. I generally operated in a blissfully ignorant posture. In some ways, I think that really worked for me and there were definitely things that I could have benefited from knowing about. I figured it would be fun to look back about 5 years and see what I was doing then as compared to know.

June 20, 2016

Weekly Workout Roundup: June 20th

A big lesson was learned this week and boot camp type classes will no longer be part of my training.  After working really hard on Monday, I ended up being so sore on Tuesday that I cut my run short and walked instead.  It's hard to resist classes, but being sore for too long afterwards is not productive or fun. So back to the personal trainer I will go after testing Orange Theory Fitness and the classes at Axis Fitness Studio.

Besides working out, my time was spent working on special treats for the upcoming birthday celebration for my mother who turns 90 next month.  Since her wish if for a small celebration, we have planned a dinner party. Decorations and party favors have kept me busy while Christine works on a slide show for the event.  A photo magnet and some special order M&M's will be in the take home bags for the attendees.  And if you want to order the special M&M's, be sure to look for an online code.  I got 25% off the order and free shipping with a simple Google search.
We love the way these came out.

June 17, 2016

Let's Talk Fitness Bodies

I knew it would happen. It was inevitable really. As a member of the fitness industry, I assumed that eventually body image would become "a thing" that I was drawn into. After all, the fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is largely focused on looking fit, chiseled abs, and thigh gaps. In recent years, there have been improvements and progress to have a more diverse range of bodies represented but we still have work to do.

The other day in my post, I made a random comment about wondering if my body is right for the fitness industry and I was really interested in the comments that rolled in. For the most part, I'm pretty comfortable with my body. I understand it. I know it. I am honest with myself when I need to cut back on the treats. I know when I need to bulk up on calories when I am marathon training and historically, have dropped lbs. Most of the time, I don't obsess over my size. Every once in a while, I'll think about what would happen to my abs if I quit eating ice cream. But then after dinner, I say "screw it," cookies and cream ice cream is delicious. I have a pretty healthy relationship with my body and food.

It started last week with a few simple things. A meeting at the gym led to discussions of fitness videos and ensuring the trainers had the "right look" for the videos. Immediately I wondered if I fit this image. In my head, I assumed not, thinking about my thicker thighs and less than perfectly sculpted abs. And then a client asked if I had played soccer. I told them "no" and tried to put it out of mind. Deep down, I knew the question was an inquiry into my thicker (read: strong) legs. It stung a bit. I'm not ever going to be a leggy girl. It's just not my build.

When I think about my legs, I don't usually worry about their size. Instead I worry about what's going on inside. Are my quads strong enough to support my creaky knee? Are my hamstrings smooth and long, instead of adhesion-filled knots? These legs have carried me countless miles. They have helped me hike technically challenging trails. They have pushed off thousands of pool walls. They helped me leap off the blocks at swim meets. They have carried me across four marathon finish lines.

And then there are abs and the ever-present photos of abs that often surface in the fitness industry either as motivation or progress photos. In the last year, I have developed my own set of baby abs. I don't really bare them much unless I am in a bathing suit. I have to work really hard for them. My mid-section tends to be the spot where any excess fluff collects. So when my baby abs start to pop out, I feel psyched. But they're not Jillian Michaels-quality abs. They are Christine Suter abs. And in all honesty, I'm pretty stoked to see them peeking out these days. They remind me that I am getting strong and lean.

When the topic of fitness bodies or runner bodies surfaces, I can usually count on my circle of friends to come to a quick and simple consensus - there isn't one body type that represents fitness (or running). And I agree, 110%. It isn't about being a size two, having ripped abs or a big thigh gap. As a trainer, I would much rather see a client improve basic health metrics like blood pressure, BMI, lean body mass, and waist to hip ratio than get down to a size two. So I guess it's time to apply this logic to myself, yes?

I've spent several days pondering this and have arrived at my own thoughts on what having a "fitness body" means.
- Strong
- Capable
- Resilient
- Possessing endurance
- Flexible

That sounds pretty generic, doesn't it? Well in some ways it is. I don't really believe being fit is about having a specific look. Some people are blessed with a predisposition for slender legs while others are blessed with dense muscle fiber making muscle definition easier to attain. At the end of the day, if someone is an appropriate weight, and seeks opportunities to enhance their physical well-being, they're good, right?

Related articles:
- Why aren't more gyms and fitness trainers embracing body positivity? from Well+Good
- Yoga Bodies discussion from Well+Good
- Fitness Professionals: Do you Feel Pressured to Maintain 'The Look'? from Fitknitchick
- The Fitness Industry: Does it REALLY pressure you to look a certain way? from LAQFitness

So tell me, what does the term fitness body mean to you? How do you define fitness in a physical context...or do you?

June 16, 2016

Luvo Frozen Meals Product Review

Disclaimer: I received several Luvo meals as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador) and check out BibRave.com to review and find race reviews!
Luvo Frozen Meals Product Review

When I think of frozen meals, two things generally pop into my mind. The first is those gross meals with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and some rock-hard brownie, and a whopping calorie, fat, and sodium content. The second thought is generally around the stereotypical diet-esque frozen meals that lack flavor and texture. When I got the chance to try Luvo meals, I was sold. I had heard good things and had seen them in stores, but hadn't taken the plunge.

June 15, 2016

Disneyland Paris Half Marathon Preparations

With just over three months until the inaugural Disneyland Paris half marathon, we are in planning mode to make sure everything is in place before we leave the US.  Hotels are booked and airplane tickets have been purchased, but our day to day plans need to be put in place so we don't waste any time once we arrive at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

Here are some of the items you will need to consider if you are traveling for these races.  After purchasing your airplane tickets, make sure to book some kind of transfer to the DL Paris location if you are staying at a property adjacent to the parks.  While the location is considered Paris, it is actually in Marne-la-Vallee and you need to either study the train maps and brush up on your French, or plan to have a driver take you to the location.  There is also a magical express option if you are staying onsite.

June 13, 2016

Weekly Workout Roundup: June 13th

Sometimes I am reminded why I love living in Hampton Roads...and that usually happens during the summer! We are so lucky to have a fantastic beach, actually several beaches, within reasonable driving distance. When we woke up on Saturday, we debated a few options for activities. I went outside to water the flowers and immediately realized it was the perfect beach day. We tweaked our plans to head to the gym and instead, did a quick run through the neighborhood, changed into our swimsuits, packed a quick lunch, grabbed our beach necessities, and jumped in the car.  We had a glorious day on the beach and even spent some time with one of my dear friends from high school. Yes, it can definitely be a pain to park down at the beach, but that small headache is totally worth it. After living near the water for 11 years (whoa!), I'm not sure I could move inland.
North End of Virginia Beach