Today is all about “get after it” motivation since I didn’t get in a solid workout ALL last week.

Monday I skipped my yoga class for a good-by-friends-moving-back-to-Michigan party. I don’t know what happened Tuesday. I might have come home and fallen asleep on the couch. Wednesday was dinner with friends. Thursday…. by Thursday I was probably too tired. Wednesdays are such long days for me, plus the evenings out… relaxing and sleep were most important. Except not so much sleep I guess, since I stayed up reading in bed.

Friday was the most perfect relaxed day ever. I read much of the day, finishing my book. Then folded laundry, scrubbed the bathroom top to bottom, cleaned the kitchen, made dinner. Productive and restful. Saturday was more house stuff, started another book, and I did practice yoga and do an arm workout.

Then Sunday. Oh, Sunday. First I managed to tweak my back a little doing some yoga back bends. Then we spent 5+ hours packing a family of six’s things out of a three-story house onto a 27-foot truck. We actually worked quite fast for the amount of stuff and packed that truck like nobody’s business. But we didn’t start until 6:30 pm. Thanks U-Haul. So I didn’t get to bed until 12:30 last night and my body is feeling sufficiently worked out this morning. Yoga class tonight will feel really good.

So THIS week I’m determined to get in 2-3 days of yoga, 1-2 days of weights/HIIT/strength work, and at least 1 good length run. After basically a week off, I’m ready to work.

What are your goals this week?
How was the weekend?

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“Oh man, this could be weird. I’m not pretty enough to hang out with them.”

I followed up that thought by mentally scanning my closet for something that would make me feel more confident. It was easily a full minute before I caught myself.

What on EARTH am I doing? Where did that thought come from??

This happened a couple of weeks ago and it hasn’t left my mind yet. So here you go, blog friends. I’m writing it and them I’m leaving it.

Honestly I’m not sure if I’m more annoyed that I had the thought in the first place, or that I didn’t catch it right away. I have my insecurities just like anyone else. On a “fat day” my introvert self is especially wary of being around people I don’t know that well. So I’ll chalk up the original thought to just an off day.

I know better than to let someone judge my worth – or imagine that judgment – based on how I look. That’s just ridiculous to me and not the sort of people I hang out with anyway.

And holy SMOKES does this sound like high school. Good grief, L. Get a grip. I need to think about the ever stunning Jennifer Lawrence and all her goofy awkwardness that makes her one of the most likable women in Hollywood. Then I feel better.

P.S. I think this post just became an excuse to search “Jennifer Lawrence embarrassing gifs.”

So there it is. I had a high school-esque moment of insecurity. The solid lack of self-confidence felt foreign; maybe that’s why I haven’t been able to shake it.

At the end of the day, we all simply want to be valued/appreciated/liked/accepted/etc. and the uglier side of that desire rears its head every so often. That face is getting a kick in the teeth as I strut my confidently imperfect self on my merry way.


How do you handle those insecure moments?

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Last weekend we drove to Jon’s family in Ohio. With his parents, brother and SIL, aunt and uncle, cousin and his wife (CIL?) we celebrated four family birthdays and Father’s Day x2. It was a record I’m sure. Guinness? Call me.

One meal had three cakes, apple strudel, brownies and ice cream. ONE MEAL.

Honestly. It was ridiculous. I wish I had a photo, but I’m the blogger who rarely has my phone out and I haven’t been emailed any that were taken by others. It’s for the best I think. 🙂

Here are the healthy choices I made this week:


• Walked the track, ~ 2 miles. Joined my SIL and a friend of her’s in the morning.

• HIIT, ~30:00.
I stayed after for some strength reps: 20 each pushups, walking lunge, squat jumps, dips, high step ups (thank you bleachers), “box” jumps on the bleachers and dive bombers.
+ 200 high knees and 4 sprint sets (½ the track running, ½ walking) for another mile.
+ dumbells at the house: 20 each curls, tricep extensions, T raises, bent flys and chest press pulse.


• Drive home from in-laws. SORE AS HECK. Honestly. I thought Saturday was a good workout, but nothing killer. Oh how wrong I was. Everything hurt Sunday and Monday. Everything.

This was from the week before, but I didn’t post it, so here you go.
I live here people. Come visit.


• Yoga class, 90:00
Yet another great class. We really worked the shoulders and neck today, then went into headstand, handstand and shoulder stand. I’m gonna be KILLING my inversions by the end of this session.

Also not from Ohio. You guys the Library of Congress is gorgeous.
Easily my favorite place in D.C.


• HIIT, 30:00
I wrote my own workout today based on targeting four body areas: chest, back, legs/hips and core, plus cardio. I did in my apartment and don’t want to pound on my neighbors below, I my cardio intervals were toned back. Got to keep those jumps landing softly, ya know?

The intervals are noted below. Each circuit was 5:00, 6 circuits for 30:00. The chest and back intervals are a bit general, with moves hitting arms and shoulders as well. I used 8 lb. and 10lb. dumbells and a 15 lb. kettle bell.

                       First four intervals: :30/:15. Cardio interval: :60:60.
Circuit 1: Pushups | Flys | Squats | Plank knee tucks | High knees
Circuit 2: Dips | Plank rows | Lunges | V sits | Squat jumps
Circuit 3: Dive bombers | T raises | “Crab” alternating-leg hip lifts | Plank knee drops | High knees
Circuit 4: Tricep pushups R | Curls | dead lifts | V hold | Jump lunges
Circuit 5: Tricep pushups L | Shoulder press | Step ups | Plank pike  lift | High knees
Circuit 6: Front raises | Chest press pulse | Table alternating leg lifts | Back extensions | Skater lunges


• Rest day. Up early for my studio shift.

First harvest from our garden. Green beans for all the days!


• Yoga, 30:00. This power yoga class from focused on upper body. Hello shoulders.
• 15:00 arm workout from Tracy Anderson, part without weights, part with weights. Hello shoulders again.
• 15:00 butt workout from Tracy Anderson. Ouch. Seriously.

Happy birthday sundaes for me at work.


• Fartlek run | 3.21 miles, 35:00 (10:54 pace).
First morning working in AGES. Just felt inspired Thursday evening. Got up early and hit the treadmill. I just set it on a programmed workout and adjusted as I went. Rolling incline intervals and speed/recover intervals. This workout was honestly FUN and I haven’t felt that about running in a while.


Any news from you all?
What races are you running?
Have you tried some new workouts or had a recent success?

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“It was one of those experiences you don’t forget. Many years ago, when I was a neurosurgery resident, I was awakened in the middle of the night by a call from a new patient named Tom.

‘If I had a gun,’ he said, ‘I would blow my brains out.’

My heart pounded as I tried to figure out how to respond. All I could think was ask the simplest, most obvious question: ‘What’s wrong?’ The floodgates opened. Tom told me he was suffering from excruciating pain in his back. He had sought help from various providers over the years, he said, but nothing was working….

After listening to Tom, I tried to dispel his darkest fears by explaining to him what was happening – why his back likely hurt and what might happened over the coming days. I suspected that most of his pain was the result of muscle spasm. I assured him that as painful as this episode was, it was a common occurrence that would subside within a day or two. I provided Tom with a plan, complete with a timetable of when to expect some relief.

I was curious as to whether the pain he was experiencing had changed how that his fear had decreased and his anxiety was under control. ‘Do you need some medication for the pain tonight?’ I asked.

‘Doc,’ Tom said, ‘I have to tell you the strangest thing. At this moment, I have no pain at all.

Dr. Patrick Roth, M.D., is a top neurosurgeon and author of The End of Back Pain: Access your hidden core to heal your back (and avoid back surgery). I have never experienced back pain to the extent of Tom in this excerpt. I have had issues in my back lead to problems in my legs and been through physical therapy to finally address this.

I was intrigued by a holistic approach to back care written by a neurosurgeon who’s career is back surgery. My conclusion: if you have back pain – especially recurring or chronic – get this book (here).


For the most part it’s an easy read, though I will warn you the chapter on the anatomy of the back kind of lost me a little. Who knew the front, sides and back of the core was so detailed? And, btw, my chiropractor said that every nerve in your body runs through the spine; puts into perspective why back health is so important to our bodies as a whole.

Dr. Roth takes a two-pronged approach to back health:

#1 is the mental aspect. “The brain and spine are intertwined – not only developmentally, but functionally…. The brain has a crucial role in enabling health. Education has consistently been shown to be an independent enabler of health. In fact, the brain’s capacity to learn and become educated may be its most important link to health (p. 14).”

Roth encourages his patients and readers to take charge of their health. “Every back pain sufferer can become an active participant in facilitating the body’s natural healing and shielding ability and mitigating back pain for good (p. 17).” He goes into detail about ways out brain and body are connected, how our brain processes “pain” and the significant role that plays in healing.

In fact, the nervous system and pain is fascinating to me. “Pain nerves never connect directly with the brain; rather, they ‘synapse,’ or form connection with, a second group of nerves that do connect to the brain. This extra step gives the brain an opportunity to influence what it experiences in term of pain…. The brain sets its own threshold for pain to get through, depending on how important the brain views the pain (p. 34).”

#2 in the physical part. Dr. Roth includes a 6-week progressive workout to build strength in the entire core. This is where the detailed anatomy lesson comes in. To fully support the back, we need to strengthen around the entire core. Front, sides, upper back, lower back – it all plays a role in a health, strong core.

“The ‘hidden core’ is both the most important and the most overlooked part of the core. It consists of the important multifidus muscles, the superficial erector spinae muscles, and a supporting cast of muscles that include the glutes, the quadratus lumborum, and psoas, and the hamstrings (p. 82).”

Roth describes a “circumferential built-in brace.” Strengthening this brace, which consists of superficial and deep muscles, will improve most back pain.

Some exercises included in the workout include planks, standing hamstring stretch (or forward fold with a straight back), kettlebell dead lifts, bent rows, back extentions, kettlebell swings and burpees. The moves build on each other each week, starting simple and leading to more advances ones.

Final thoughts: Everything in the book mirrored what my physical therapist said and did. And I did heal my spine in the process. I also enjoy health science-y stuff and appreciated how in-depth Dr. Roth went. It could be a little overwhelming, but you can easily skim some portions. The chapters are very well outlined and the organization is easy to follow.

And of course, I love the message of surgery as a last option. He makes clear that in some cases, surgery is in-fact necessary. But many times we can manage and heal back pain simply by understanding what’s happening and strengthening our full core to support the back.

I’ll leave you with a last quote:

“Our healthcare system spends too much time and money on treating disease. We have made fantastic progress in various disease states, such as certain infectious diseases and cancer. The time has come, however, to prioritize the promotion of health over the eradication of disease (p. 17).”

* Discplaimer: I received this book free-of-charge prior to publication for review purposes. Opinions are my own, of course. I’m picky about reviews and don’t do them often, so be confident that I really value something if I post it here.


Have you experienced regular back pain?
How have you managed the pain?

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I’ve been thinking about the concept of listening recently, in two ways:

• What does listening look like? How do I do it?

• How do I know I am being truly listened to?

Because everyone wants to be heard, right? And anyone who knows another well enough to have more than 4.3 arguments is familiar with the back and forth “you’re not really listening to me!” “Yes, I am listening, you’re not hearing me.”

Or, if you’re a confidant and a friend shares with you drama with their partner/friend/co-working/etc., it’s often easier to see where the parties involved aren’t truly hearing each other.

So we are good at spotting when someone else isn’t listening. Not so good at realizing it about ourselves.

I think listening takes a lot of courage. It’s hard to stop talking. It’s hard to not make your point. It’s hard to hear something you think is wrong and not correct it. It’s hard to be vulnerable. It’s hard to face something you want to ignore. It’s hard to be wrong. It’s hard to walk away when necessary.

Just some musings from the last few days. I’m challenged to listen more. To think outside myself more. To trust my instincts more.

What do you think?
Does listening take courage?
Do you think you listen well or are listened to?

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