Don’t you already have a job?

A lot of people have questioned my decision to become a Beachbody coach over the past few months. I get everything from sarcastic comments to well-intended questions, and everything in between. And it’s ok, because I admit, it’s a little weird.

Don’t you already have a job? 

Isn’t that just an expensive protein shake?

You seriously only work out at home?

It’s a marketing scam, right?

Players, please.

While I’m usually the type that gets defensive about these kinds of comments, for some reason it just makes me laugh when it comes to coaching. I think it’s because the whole thing was as much of a surprise to me as it was to everyone else, so there’s a hilarious irony to it all.

But here’s the thing: if anyone is a freak about health and fitness, it’s me. I have binders of workouts organized in my house. I’ve belonged to every gym there is, and have easily spent a year’s worth of mortgage payments on personal training. I’ve practiced Bikram yoga, hatha yoga, Sumit’s yoga and Pilates. I’ve trained in functional fitness, Crossfit, long-distance running and aerobics. I’ve worked out in warehouses without air conditioning and pristine multi-million-dollar health clubs. I could do 100 push ups at five months pregnant. It’s just in my DNA. That being said, I ate half a container of chocolate frosting on Saturday night, and way too many tacos yesterday. I recognize that health is an ongoing balance and journey, and that it should never take away from living your life.

But coaching? That’s where the story gets really interesting. Those judgy comments up top are exactly what I said before I joined on. I disliked the shiny packaging, the company name, the endless selfies coaches posted in sports bras. It didn’t feel like anything I could get on board with.

And yet, here I am. I started to see the “why” behind the work and I was sold.

Helping others? Check. Encouraging heathy living? Check. Having a ton of fun and learning new stuff everyday? Check. No coach is perfectly trained or magically qualified, but every coach’s unique story gives her something unique to offer others. You don’t have to be an “after picture” to coach. You just need a drive to inspire.

So if you’re wondering what it’s all about…I don’t have fancy certifications. I didn’t get my degree in kinesiology. I don’t pretend to know everything (or even close to everything) about the human body. But…coaching lets me take what I know and love and use it to inspire others. I’m able to connect people to programs and tools that help them improve their confidence and their health, and I get to create communities of accountability and support. I unite people looking for an outlet — something just for them — and help them do things they didn’t believe they could do.

We all just want to be a tiny bit better today than we were yesterday. That’s all.

I know not everyone gets it, nor will they. And I’ll continue to laugh at myself right along with you! But in just five months, I’m amazed at the ways this opportunity has changed my life.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I might even get a little giddy.

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In other news, I have a fanny pack.

Against my better judgment, I shed the final remnants of my youthful dignity and went running with a fanny pack tonight. It’s purple, and I purchased it last week in a moment that can only be explained as Being 30.

Running while holding keys, a phone and a dog leash is a recipe for disaster; I have the scars to prove it. My magical pack o’ goodness has given me new hope though, and I’ve spent the better part of the evening envisioning all the activities I can now engage in hands-free. This is the cardio version of switching from dial-up to DSL. Everything is faster and easier and better.

But back to the run, let me tell you, it was a most FREEING experience. I may have been striding down a hot asphalt road, but for all I knew, it was a serene, dewy meadow.

These things could make a wild comeback at any moment (along with everything else from the 80s) and I would totally vouch for them. So handy, so fanny.

 

fanny

Adult Foam Party

I think anyone that went to college between 1995 and 2005 is familiar with the infamous foam party. To those falling outside those years, this phenomena can be explained as a cheap night club filling it’s entire capacity with foam for young people to dance around in (and hopefully not die), while wearing bathing suits and moving awkwardly to house music.

Where the foam came from? No idea. Magical foam machines I assume.

I went to one such party when I was 20 at a classy joint called Club Rio in Tempe. And despite feeling slightly awesome for doing something the cool kids were doing, I was mostly terrified and fighting for breath the entire time. Girls Gone Wild was filming in the parking lot if that gives any indication of the type of place I was at or the caliber of university I attended…

I had flashbacks that night to when I was seven years old and fire fighters came to my summer camp to dispense a bunch of foam for campers to play in. I got it in my eyes. Cried. Brother laughed hysterically at me and still feels remorse.

Flash forward almost a decade and I’m ready to tackle it again. Only this time it’ll be part of a 5k race with mud and army-like obstacles. I’m completely terrified but also pretty excited. Assuming I exit unscathed, I’ll post a follow-up next week. Until then, feast your eyes on the course and details here.

journey toward a half marathon

Runners are tall and thin and wear short shorts and visors. They have strange contraptions for drinking water and wear big watches. Runners breeze past me as I jog at a snail’s pace.

So basically, I’m not a runner. A jogger, maybe, but not a real runner.

Am I?

Up until last November I had never run a race longer then 4.2 miles (Pat’s Run). For some reason, around my 26th birthday, I began having hallucinations about completing a half marathon. I call these inklings hallucinations because that’s how unrealistic it seemed that I would ever actually pursue this. Because every time I went running, all I could think about was stopping.

Nevertheless, with the support of my friend Bailey (a real runner, she’s done marathons – plural), we began training together for a half marathon about a year ago. We had the best of intentions, but the problem was as life got busier, training got more demanding. We both realized about halfway through training that it wasn’t a good idea to attempt the race. We instead opted for a 10-mile race that was going to be held around the same time.

After the 10-miler I was really sore and really tired. And really mad at myself for not working a little harder and going for the half. A few months later, when I got an e-mail announcing the Rock N Roll marathon in San Diego, I decided to try again.

Training for the half was more successful than before, I think in part because I told everyone I encountered about it. I made myself so damn accountable that even my coworkers were tracking my mileage.

In the month before the race I ran into a few challenges that almost threw me off course again (two puns, both intended). My hip started bugging me, work got painfully busy and I caught a cold. I thought, several times, that this was not meant to be. The difference was that I knew better than to come this close and bail again.

The race was about a week and a half ago and I’m still amazed – and thrilled – that it happened. It was a struggle, no glossing over that, but what a rush to cross the finish line.

Bailey stayed with me every step of the way – bless her heart. I had some moments of serious whining and self doubt but refused not to finish.

Revelations? 1. Can’t shouldn’t be in anyone’s vocabulary. 2. Anyone can be a runner. 3. Your time doesn’t really matter, you just ran 13 miles. 4. A race expo for 45,000 people is completely overwhelming. 5. Medals are the new black.

I was astounded by the array of people participating in the race. The Rock N Roll series is hugely popular and for good reason. There’s so much going on throughout the course, and so much support, there were actually moments I forgot what I was doing. I saw people of all ages/shapes/sizes/abilities/whatnot along the course. I started to have the heartwarming epiphany that not only was I NOT going to finish last out of 45,000, but if all these people were runners, maybe I was too? *Cue emotional acoustic interlude*

Thanks Dan and Jenny for meeting me at mile 11, I definitely needed the encouragement. Thanks Jimmy for coming with and carting me around. Love you all.

the little jessie that could

I recently met up with an old friend and spent the evening catching up. When I mentioned my upcoming plans to run a ten-mile race he really wanted to know why I was doing this. His questions weren’t out of contempt – he just  wanted to understand my motivation.

I gave a textbook answer; running was good for my health. This satisfied his curiosity but I felt like it was artificial. Aaaaannd I sounded lame. I thought about it all week, hoping I could figure out a better (and cooler) reason for why I was taking this on. 

*five days later*

This morning I ran my ten-miler. As I crossed the finish line I was in shock (and a fair amount of pain). Along every mile I’d been asking myself why on earth I signed up for this nonsense. Then suddenly it dawned on me.

I did this because I didn’t think that I could.  And that’s an awesome feeling.

 In my entire life I’d never run more than four miles before training for this race. I figured that if I attempted and failed, no one would be surprised. But, on the off chance I could pull it off, I’d totally increase my badassness.

I can’t pinpoint a specific moment or event where this change of heart took place. My first thought is that it happened because I’m at a very good and settled point in life and wanted to shake things up. I wouldn’t change a thing about my life and I am extremely happy, but I think that as soon as I feel too stagnant I want to rock the boat just a little. I’ve always felt that while it’s a blessing to be content, it can be dangerous to become complacent.

I know another part of my motivation comes from having completely amazing parents. My parents have always believed in me, and more importantly, they’ve taught me to believe in myself. Nauseatingly corny? Very. Am I grateful? Beyond.

Even after living on my own for the past eight years, I’m still thankful that I was taught at an early age to challenge myself and try new things. Aside from the assurance that I’ll never be bored, this mentality has helped me build confidence and succeed. Thanks Mom and Dad for your love and support!

Misery loves company. And running.

I have never liked running. Not at all. It’s always seemed to be a good idea, and I’m envious every time I drive past joggers on weekend mornings in their swanky athletic attire; they look like gazelles! When I try to run it likely resembles a far more awkward animal. A rhino comes to mind.

Oh sure I can run…Running laps. Running suicides. Running ladders. Running stadiums…I’ve been subjected to the torture of all of these on many occasions during years of PE classes and organized sports. I dreaded the day each semester of middle school when we had to run a timed mile. I tried EVERYTHING to get out of it, and even cheated on my lap count once, all while my hatred for this activity intensified.

Despite my lack of enthusiasm for running, I’ve been hugely involved in exercise since I was a teenager and have had phases in all kinds of things ranging from bikram yoga to spinning to weight training. I always envied the elite joggers from afar, but had given up hope of ever becoming one and rising to the top of the exercise hierarchy.

This all somehow changed a few months ago when it dawned on me that seven of my closest girlfriends were all training for half marathons this fall. Suddenly I felt left out, and I don’t like being left out. In fact, I think I dislike being left out of things more than I dislike running. Who can guess what happens next?

I jumped onto the running bandwagon without pausing to remind myself I would actually have to complete the race. I’d conquered the 5K race many times, and even a 4.2 miler, but 13.1 miles? People do this voluntarily? Oy.

With the help and motivation of my friends I developed a training plan for a half marathon this November. The first few weeks – those were rough. I was anything but graceful and full of aches and pains. I wondered if this was even worth the aggravation, and if it would ever become easier.

Sure enough, as the weeks went by, very slooowwwly, running became just slightly less of a hellish challenge. I remember thinking I’d never be able to run five miles without stopping, but it happened. Then six miles. Then seven last weekend. I’m halfway through my training program and am still in shock that I’ve gotten this far. I’m terrified that my long runs keep increasing, but I have gotten into the mindset that slow and steady wins the race.

I’m not hoping to finish in any specific time or stay at a certain speed. When race day comes my goal will still be exactly what it was in the beginning; to complete the race.

Today’s List

To distract myself on my run this morning I tried to keep a running tally of the positive aspects of the run, since it’s not entirely enjoyable to wake up at 6 to run and it’s already in the 90’s.

1. A house that had their children’s artwork displayed all over the front door.
2. A church marquee that told me God loves me always.
3. These hysterical lawn gnome children’s scooters parked in a yard.
4. Not getting catcalled on Glendale Ave (rarity).
5. Not rolling either ankle (also a rarity).
6. The satisfaction of not having to go to the gym after work.
7. The fact that when I got home my puppies jumped on me and left perfect muddy paw prints on my shirt.
8. Getting to say good morning to strangers who were also out exercising.