TIME: The only thing ALL of us don’t have enough of

Time needs to slow down. No, really. I’m serious. It’s going by WAY too fast.

A lot has happened since I last blogged, which is why I haven’t blogged in so long…no time! If I could just get another 8 hours added on to every day I just might have enough time in a day to get everything done that I both need AND want to. Unfortunately, that will never happen. So I’ll just have to keep on doing the best I can.

SOULBODY

In May of this year I stumbled upon another group fitness opportunity, thanks to some info provided to me by my Pound Master Pro. It is called Soul Body Body Barre. After hearing about it I immediately had to learn more. I went to their website and looked around, watched the videos and knew that I had to learn how to teach this! A mindfully intense, full-body workout that pulls from the practices of barre, yoga and pilates, and incorporates a lot of body weight training. This particular class uses a ball and a body bar in pre-choreographed routines that are suitable for any and all fitness levels.

As soon as I heard about a training opportunity that was within a reasonable distance for me, I didn’t hesitate to sign up.

About a week prior to training, the instructor emailed information about the class, along with an instructional video to teach us the structure and choreography. I immediately got to work. I printed out my notes and started the video. I made it through the warm-up with no problem! Then the first real track came on. I made it through, but had to modify my technique drastically, and honestly started to wonder if I could teach a class like this. Then the second track, and third, and so on…Wow! That was one intense workout! I had a lot of work to do.

Well, to make a long story short, I went all-in and busted my tail to complete my training because I couldn’t WAIT to bring this to my community! After taking the certification course I had to submit a video of me teaching a full-length class as my “practical exam.” I had a month to submit a video after the certifying course, but I jumped right on it and one week and one day later my video was recorded! It did take me 2 takes to get one, but I did finally get it.

I have to share this little side note with you. After I completed the “final cut” video, I packaged up my laptop and when I got home the file was GONE. No joke. I panicked and just about totally lost my cool. Are you kidding me? I had to get some volunteers to be my class “guinea pigs” two days in a row, had a nearly perfect take and it didn’t save? I was almost in tears. But I took 5 minutes. Did some breathing exercises. Then went back to my laptop. I was able to find a cached file with the full length video. IMMEDIATELY saved it to my desktop, to my external hard drive, and to drop box! Crisis averted.

So I submitted my video. Within a day I received an email that I had passed! Celebration time! I was now certified to teach the class and couldn’t wait to do so! Now, to find time to teach the class. It was, and still has been, very difficult to find times to make this class available due to my current full-time job that has irregular hours, and I was already trying to find more time to make Pound available. I was also teaching a SPIN class on days when I was available too. And there’s all the running.

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Now you see why I need more hours in my day? And I don’t even have (human) kids.

We have managed to fit my classes into the schedule, but they each only happen once (sometimes twice) a week. I hope to one day be able to free my schedule up to be able to offer more fitness classes at regular and at a variety of times. I’m working on it…

CHOMPERS

Our oldest dog, Chompers, had to be put to rest on July 15th of this year. He had just turned 14 a few days prior. Chompers has had orthopedic problems his entire life, starting with Osteochondritis Dissecans when he was a 6 month old puppy. He has spent his entire life on joint supplements! About 2-3 years ago he started to slow down some and was diagnosed with arthritis in one of his front legs. He’s been on pain medication and NSAIDs since then. Eventually his back legs started to show a lack of proprioception (neurologic issues). We managed him by keeping him comfortable with medications, light exercise and lots of love. In June he really started to decline and by the first of July his back end was giving out on him altogether at times.

We had to make the decision when we were home with him one day and had to witness him have an episode where his back end gave out on him. He struggled to get up and was panicking because he just couldn’t. I started to wonder how often that was happening when we weren’t home. It would be selfish and unfair of us to not allow him to have a dignified farewell. So, after much discussion, we planned his peaceful departure.

The day of, things couldn’t have been more obvious that the time was right. That morning, Chompers was not able to use his back legs at all. I spent the entire day with him, loved him, cried over him, and took in every last bit of him that I could. He was my heart dog and I was dreading this day for years!

Chris came home and, after he spent some time with Chompers, we headed to the animal hospital. Things couldn’t have gone more peacefully. It was sad, yes, but it was also a great relief knowing that he was no longer in any pain. He will always be my “heart dog!”

I cannot begin to say enough words about the company who took care of Chompers afterward.  I entrusted Agape Pet Services to have Chompers cremated with his ashes returned to me.  As I sought the perfect urn for Chompers on their website, I saw this glass crystal cube that you could have your pet’s image etched into it.  It looked really neat and I already knew which picture I wanted to have etched!  My all-time favorite picture of Chompers from back when he was 4 years old.  I had to have it.  And I found the perfect urn.  The company was great to deal with, ordering was easy and everything was absolutely perfect upon arrival.  Thanks for taking care of my boy Agape!

The etched crystal & Urn


RODAN + FIELDS

It’s now been a few months since I’ve been teaching both Pound and, recently renamed, Soul Body Barre Unhitched. All of my time is spent now working my full time job at the animal hospital, teaching group fitness classes, trying to squeeze in some miles whenever I can, keeping current on my class choreography, every day chores and the dealings of life, and occasionally I’m able to sneak in some entertainment with my love. No time to spare. I need more hours in my day!

Then a friend starts talking to me about her business as a skin care consultant with Rodan + Fields dermatologists. It sounded quite interesting, especially the part where she said she was able to free up some time from a job to do what she really enjoyed, which is teaching a Spin class to people with Parkinson’s disease (pretty cool, I know!). She asked me if I was familiar with R+F and I said of course, they’re the Doctors responsible for Proactiv. She started to tell me more about the business and asked me if I’d be interested. At first I was not. But then I thought about it some more. If I did this, I just might be able to free up some hours myself to be able to do what I really WANT to do. Even better, I could earn more money to help pay off bills, to be able to afford to visit my family in the midwest more often, and to fund my many hobbies (like running). And, what a great complement to group fitness this would be! Helping people feel their best on the inside AND outside! The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I had nothing to lose to give it a try. I know R+F, and I know they’re product lines do what they claim.

RodanandFields LogoSo, yes, I am now trying to launch and grow my own business and I’m loving it!

I love my job, don’t get me wrong, but over the past several years my passions have changed. I am still very passionate about animals. But I have become more passionate about making others feel their best through group fitness and run coaching, nutrition advice and now premium skin care. My ultimate goal is to, over the next 5 years (give or take) flip-flop my job and my hobbies.

It seems to be working a little bit since I now have time to sit down and write a blog post!

By the way, if you’re interested in learning more about Rodan + Fields, feel free to contact me!

So that about sums it up.  That’s what I’ve been up to, and if all goes well, you’ll be hearing more from me soon!  Until then, hug your pets and live your best life.

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THE Rugged Maniac…Part 1 of however long it takes me to finish this post…The Beginning

Saturday May 2nd, I along with several friends and acquaintances took part in the Rugged Maniac at the Virginia Motorsports Park in Petersburg. Speaking for myself, but certain that all of my team participants would agree, it was AWESOME! What a blast and what a great group of people (both my team members and all of the others who attended).

Ever since I did my first mud run in 2012 at Camp Ramblewood in Darlington, MD, I couldn’t wait to do another. It all started with the no-longer-in-existence Run For Your Lives, a 5K Obstacle Course Race where you had to escape zombies. It was an awesome time. Even though we had to swim across a freezing cold river in late October, I’d have still chosen to do it all over again. And there were zombies.  Fun!  What an awesome feeling of accomplishment it was to make it through all of the obstacles that I never thought I’d ever be able to do! Like crossing a freezing river in October. Had I known that was one of the obstacles beforehand, I probably would have never signed up to take part in the event. Smart move there race directors at Reed Street Productions.

Since that first experience, I did another Run For Your Lives in Illinois in September of 2013 at Byron Motorsports Park. It also was a blast, but not nearly as fun as the first one. The obstacles weren’t quite as good, most likely due to the location of the event. There were no rivers. Plenty of mud and plenty of zombies, but it was lacking something. Like a freezing cold river. I didn’t feel quite as accomplished after that one. I didn’t feel like I overcame anything, if that makes any sense. None of the obstacles were “OMG!”

Not because of my disappointment with the 2nd RFYL, I didn’t do any more mud runs until last weekend. There just weren’t any convenient ones for me that I could get time off for; at least none that made me go “I have to do this.” Then the Rugged Maniac ads started to fill my email and social media feeds. I can do that. It’s relatively nearby, and I had plenty of notice to ensure I would be available that weekend! So I put some feelers out to see if anyone else was interested in joining me, because a mud run is SO MUCH more fun with a group than solo. The fish started biting almost immediately. So we signed up. Over the course of a couple of months our team grew to a total of 11. I knew this was going to be one hell of a fun weekend! And I was right.

The majority of the team drove to a nearby town the night before.  A few of them carpooled with me.  We made a weekend out of the event; why not?  By doing this we didn’t have to worry about traffic, especially at the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, which could have delayed us if we left the day of the event.  That HRBT is a bear sometimes.  Not a soft, cuddly teddy bear; a grumpy, nasty, mean Grizzly Bear.  Sometimes traffic moves like a hibernating bear.

We arrived at our hotel unscathed and went out to dinner at a mediocre sushi restaurant.  At least the Nigori Sake was good (a little too good as I may have had a bit too much of it).     After dinner we returned to the hotel rooms and had fun playing Cards Against Humanity (we are horrible people!) and drinking beer.  I don’t really remember exactly how the night ended, I just woke up the next morning bright and early and ready to get muddy!

Sushi Dinner2

Sushi the night before

 

Our wave time was 12:15PM, so we headed over to the event site around 9:45AM as it was a 20 minute drive from the hotel.  We arrived just in time to see some parachuters landing.  That was pretty cool.  After checking in and getting our race gear we perused the event grounds to see what was happening!  There was a mechanical bull that we just HAD to try.  So we did.  That was fun.

Mechanical Bull BC01

My first Mechanical Bull Ride

 

There was a beer tent (yay!) and several food vendors that were serving anything from greek sandwiches to funnel cakes.  I steered clear of all of that stuff.  If I’m going to have something that’s going to make my guts sour, I’ll stick to the beer.  They have bananas and other fruits post race, and I snuck a bagel and a banana from the continental breakfast offered at the hotel before we left.  Always thinking ahead (or at least TRYING to be prepared!).  There were some other gym/fitness tents but, unfortunately for us ESVA folks, they’re not anywhere local enough for us.  But I did chat with a few of them to see what they offered, to encourage them to bring POUND to their gyms (because it’s awesome), and to try to talk them into coming to the shore!  We’ll see how much influence I had on them.  I’m sure it wasn’t much.

There was this one awesome group there called OCR Unleashed.  They had a mini obstacle course set up that consisted of crawling, leaping, lifting huge tires and box jumping.  After talking to the gal at the tent I convinced my team to “warm up” here.  It was GREAT FUN!  It reminded me of CrossFit, which doesn’t exist on the shore but I really wish it did.  If there were a place convenient for me to get trained, I’d do it and bring it here.  But there’s not.  So I’ll continue to dream.  Back to OCR Unleashed…the mini obstacle course was a blast and I learned that they have an Obstacle Course facility in Great Falls, VA that I WILL visit one day in the near future.  The folks involved with the group are just totally cool, even the ones I haven’t met are cool.  Trust me, I know people.  Check them out and if you are in the area, visit the facility!  Just don’t rub it in about how awesome it is because that will make me feel sad.  Not really, it will encourage me to get out there that much quicker actually, so tell me all about it!!!

OCR01

Crawling Under

OCR07

Leaping Over

OCR16

Lift and flip over a heavy tire two times

OCR35

5 box jumps

 

After our warm-up we took a group shot of all of us girls!

PreRaceGirls01

Rugged and Powerful Girls!

 

Then we headed to the start line because our wave was next!  Just to start they make you jump over a wall.  Awesome.  I love this event already.  And it hasn’t even really started for me yet…

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It’s about to go down! Getting fired up at the start line

I’m ready to get muddy now!  Let’s go!…

…to be continued…

 

The best POUND I ever gained

So sorry for my lack of blogging over the past few weeks. Things have been crazy busy around here lately! I’m still training for my first half marathon that is going to take place next week! And I’ve had a lot of other stuff going on as well. Not much end in sight, but I took tomorrow off from work after this weekend’s festivities because I knew I’d need a “catch-up” day. But I’m not going to write about this most recent adventure just yet. I’m going to go back and start from where I left off…then we’ll work our way through the timeline til we get all caught up! By the time June gets here, things should start slowing down, so by August I should be all caught up on my blogging.  I hope…

Group fitness has always been an interest of mine. I enjoy getting together with other people who have the same or similar fitness goals, and love to help others get or stay motivated. I know, from my own experiences, how important positive motivation is and consider my motivating others a form of “Paying it Forward.” Additionally, by being a motivator for others, watching those who I have inspired to reach their goals helps to drive me toward reaching my own personal goals. It ends up being a positive continuum; an addiction of sorts.

I officially started my journey toward becoming a group fitness instructor in December of 2014, where I began the process of obtaining my AFAA certification. I’m still in that process and hope to have it completed by mid to late summer. On March 22, 2015 I officially became a POUND Pro! That experience was exciting and educational. If you are not familiar with POUND, it is a group fitness platform that uses lightly weighted drumsticks in full-body workout routines. It’s a fun and effective way to burn calories and to get toned. It was developed by Kirsten Potenza and Cristina Peerenboom, two women who value health and well-being that also happen to be recreational drummers. Visit the official POUND website for more information about the workout, and to learn more about Kirsten and Cristina’s amazing story. It really is very interesting! There are at-home videos available if you don’t have a local fitness facility that offers POUND classes. If you do have the opportunity to attend a live POUND class, I highly encourage you to do so. And if you live on, or are ever visiting, the Eastern Shore of Virginia, let me know and I’ll let you know when and where you can find me teaching classes!

POUNDing has been my first opportunity at teaching group fitness and I absolutely adore it. The POUND community is amazing, both online and in person. They are launching their first ever 60 day fitness challenge, Tour to Summer, that starts April 6, 2015 (tomorrow as I write this!) and runs through June 4, 2015. It’s a virtual tour that is sure to be AWESOME!  It’s not a weight loss challenge, nor is it a restrictive diet challenge. It’s a challenge that encourages healthy eating habits and activity. It’s about incorporating things into your daily routine that will improve the way you feel, both inside and out. When you eat food that is healthful, you feel good. When you are active, you feel good. When you feel good, you like that feeling and want it to continue so you keep doing those things that make you feel good! Then it becomes habit, and ultimately you become the best possible version of yourself. It’s not about a number on the scale. It’s about you feeling AWESOME. That’s why I’m taking on the challenge and I think you should too.

Check out the official POUND website to learn about POUND and sign up for the Backstage access. You’ll be happy you did, trust me! Then go to the POUND TOUR site and get ON THE BUS! It’s totally free, and it will be worth it. Hope to see you along the way.

A Great Finish to a Fun Weekend in O’Nancock, VA … and it’s not over yet

It all started last weekend.  We visited our local Irish Pub, The Blarney Stone, as we usually do to say farewell to the week that has just come to an end, and to say hello to the weekend.  It’s a great place to have a drink or a few, some good food and to meet some fun and interesting folks.  If you’ve never been, you need to go.  It’s a fun and friendly atmosphere!

Saturday afternoon I did some fundraising for the Run for the Animals outside of the Book Bin in Onley, VA.  For 2 hours “work,” we did pretty well!  I sold 44 feet of duct tape, several raffle tickets, and some dog toys and other miscellaneous items.  Saturday night we met some friends at the pub for dinner and drinks.  While there we were told about the “Selfie Scavenger Hunt” that was taking place in the town in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.  Last year was the first year of the O’Nancock St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  It was a hit!  So they were doing it again this year and adding some fun new additions to the weekend’s celebration (like the scavenger hunt).  No matter what “prizes” were involved, I just thought it sounded like FUN!  There I go again, just looking for anything to do that might be fun.  Wandering around town trying to figure out which business or landmark was being described in the clue, then taking a selfie in front of said business/landmark…um, yeah!  I can make that fun!

Fundraising in front of the Book Bin

Fundraising in front of the Book Bin

Sunday came along, I ran 12.5 miles which is my longest run to date, then went to bed early.  My Run for the Animals Half Marathon is only 4 weeks away!  Monday was uneventful.  Tuesday after work I finally made it to Attitudes Fitness for a Pound class!  I really need to start getting into a groove with that since my Pound Pro Camp is next weekend!  I want to start teaching classes ASAP, so I need to get busy getting a clue as to how to construct and instruct a class.  It just so happened that Tuesday was The Blarney Stone‘s 10 year Anniversary so we had to go and give our blessing!  And have a couple of drinks and dinner.  Also it was my mom’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

Happy Birthday Mom!

So much to do, so little time!

I spent all afternoon Wednesday getting supplies and putting things together for the O’Nancock St. Patrick’s Day Parade.  I, along with some friends, were taking part to help promote AnimalWhiz’s fundraising for the Run for the Animals!  I didn’t have anything big planned.  I mean, I had all kinds of ideas!  But with such little time and not enough resources, I just planned on dressing up CJ in some celebratory green garb and made some t-shirts to promote AnimalWhiz for myself and anyone else that wanted to sport one.

Thursday after work, it was such a nice day, I thought it’d be perfect to go for a run and then wander around Onancock to get my selfies done!  So, that’s what I did.  I went home, picked up CJ and Chris, dropped Chris off at the pub while CJ and I ran 5 miles, then wandered around and took my selfies for the selfie scavenger hunt.

The first place we stopped was Kerr Place.  I tried to get a good selfie of myself, but have come to learn that I’m not very good at taking selfies.  So I took a nice photo of CJ in front of the historic landmark!  Then I attempted to get one of the two of us.  Not so good. Oh well!  I had a nice picture of CJ at Kerr Place!  Kerr Place

Our second stop was the Roseland Theater.  Again, I made a miserable attempt at a selfie, but got a great shot of CJ with the theater behind him!  Lightbulb moment.  CJ should be the star of this selfie scavenger hunt.  So the rest of the photos were CJ selfies, with a few here and there of the two of us.  It was so much fun!  People would stop by and say hi and some would ask what we were doing.  When I told them they thought it was great!  CJ was a great sport and has since been a feature at a couple of the local businesses where he selfied.  If you want to see his selfies just look for the #stpatsonancock tag on social media.  You’ll see all his photos!17 Roseland

Me and CJ at the Historic Cokesbury Church

Me and CJ at the Historic Cokesbury Church

CJ at the Chesapeake Bay Pizza Company

CJ at the Chesapeake Bay Pizza Company

CJ outside the Blarney Stone Pub

CJ outside the Blarney Stone Pub

Today, Sunday, was parade day.  I had a long run to get done, so I planned on heading out early this morning so I could get back and have plenty of time to get a few things done and to get prepped for the parade.  I ended up getting off to a late start, decided to run 10 miles instead of the 8 I had “scheduled” (it was just too nice and things were going so well!!!), and when I got home I had to stretch and foam roll for about 15 or 20 minutes.

While I was in the shower I thought of something I wanted to put on the t-shirts I made to wear in the parade, so I had to try to get that done real quick because I only had about a half hour before I had to get on my way to line up.  I was able to get one t-shirt completed.  Good enough.  Gotta go!

When we got to Onancock, there were people everywhere!  So much for getting there early to get a decent parking space and to have a drink beforehand.  My fault!  But CJ and I made it to the line-up with plenty of time to spare.  I got CJ all dolled up in his parade gear, then we took some pre-parade photos with ourselves and some of our parade “neighbors.”  The parade itself was fun, there were tons of people, and CJ got to visit with dozens of kids and other people along the way.  Some people even recognized him from all of his selfies.  He’s kind of famous now I guess!

CJ selfied in front of the practicing bagpipers before the parade

CJ selfied in front of the practicing bagpipers before the parade

His Handsomeness all decked out for some O'Fun!

His Handsomeness all decked out for some O’Fun!

Me and CJ posing with Elroy the Elk!

Me and CJ posing with Elroy the Elk!

After the parade was over, my friends and I headed to the pub, and so did everyone else!  It was PACKED!!!  The inside was packed, the outside was packed, it was the place to be! We had dinner and a few drinks, then headed home.  CJ was spent.  He’s been sleeping all afternoon.  He did run 5 of the 10 miles with me and then there was all of the parade excitement.  I can’t say I blame the poor fella!  That’s one heck of a busy day for a 9-year-old senior puppy.

One Last Selfie pair outside the Pub with Gus the Bardic Troubadour playing in the background!

One Last Selfie pair outside the Pub with Gus the Bardic Troubadour playing in the background!

Tomorrow should be a nice rest day for all of us, then it’s back to being busy come Tuesday.  I should be able to make another Pound class in the afternoon and then it’s back to the pub for some corned beef and cabbage!  Wednesday through Friday will be busy with preparing for a road trip, baking because I plan to hold a Bake Sale for the Run for the Animals the following week, and then we’re heading to Philadelphia for my Pound Camp.  More excitement awaits…and you’ll all hear about it soon.

5 weeks to my first half marathon

Only 5 weeks left until my first Half Marathon (finally)! Today I ran 12+ miles, of which my running buddy CJ was able to finish the last 5 miles with me. He is almost 9, so I only allow him to run with me for up to 10Km. More than that is just too much. And when the weather gets warmer, unfortunate for him, his distance gets much shorter. Today he joined me at mile 7 and we ran for 5 and walked the last half mile.

Not only am I preparing for my first half marathon, but two weeks from today is when I go to get my POUND certification! I’m really excited about this because I really enjoy Pound, and I am looking forward to sharing the fitness phenom with others.

I’ve been asked to teach Pound at my local fitness facility during the month of April. It’s so soon! There’s no way I’m going to be ready to teach a class by April! But I have been working on songs and routines and think I might just be able to come up with something in a month. Playlist is set, now I just need to get the routine set…in my brain…so set that my nerves won’t F*%k it all up when class time rolls around! So I agreed to do it.

Why do I do this to myself? I’ve got a half marathon I’m training for, I’ve got tons of fundraising to accomplish for the Run for the Animals between now and my half marathon, and now I have to learn a Pound routine and have it ready to go by April! And there’s a trip to visit some friends in PA smack-dab in the middle of all of this. Oh, yeah, and I have a full-time job. I do this to myself because it helps to motivate me to get stuff done! Yes, sometimes I get stressed out, but nothing so serious that a beer or three can’t take care of.

Oh, yeah, and I’m still taking classes for my AFAA certification too. But I have until November to get that finished…

We are given this one life. I am trying to make the most of it. For myself and for others. That’s what makes me go. If I don’t get all of it accomplished on my schedule, I hope that I am given enough time to accomplish whatever it is that I am here to do!