Presidio 10-Miler Recap & A Look at What’s Next

April 24, 2017

Some runs make you feel on top of the world, and thanks to some big hills and mileage taking us over the Golden Gate Bridge, the Presidio 10-miler had me feeling all the feels.

Presidio 10-miler

It’s been a hot second since I’ve run a race and I’m so glad this weekend I got to feel that rush of sprinting across the finish line again. A couple of weeks ago I decided to sign up for the Presidio 10-miler. Not because I was training or was ready for a 10-mile race, but because the opportunity presented itself and the course was one I couldn’t pass up. Despite not feeling 100% ready for the mileage, I’m so happy I signed up.

Presidio 10-Miler Race Recap

I’ve been doing a little bit of running around SF, typically a few miles to and from my apartment. This race got me out of my neighborhood to explore one of the most popular SF running routes. I ran into two coworkers at the start and ran with them the whole time, making the miles pass quickly and giving me extra motivation to keep pace. The race started at Crissy Field and almost immediately we headed up a giant hill, taking us around the Presidio and to the Golden Gate Bridge. Maybe it’s because I’m an SF newbie, but does it get more incredible than running over that bridge? Not only do you get to take in the iconic structure, the surrounding ocean views and cliffs are incredible. I can’t get enough and hope to make this route a part of my regular(ish) running routine.

The bridge is long and fortunately took up most of the race. We ran over the bridge, then headed down a long flight of stairs that took us on a path underneath the bridge, bringing us to the other side to run back towards the city (the bridge wasn’t closed for the race, we ran on the walking and biking paths on each side). By the time we made our way back over the bridge it was already around mile 7, just 3 more to go.

We ran down a pretty big hill and next we’d head back towards Crissy Field. Still running with coworkers, on the big downhill, a runner fell in front of us, tumbling a bit and dislocating his shoulder (yikes). We took a brief pause in our run to stay with the runner and make sure help was on the way. About 10-15 minutes later, help arrived and we picked up our pace heading into those final 3 miles. We looped around Crissy Field and then some, and soon we were at the finish line.

Just the smiling face I want to see after finishing a long run.

I’m not really sure what my finish time was and I don’t particularly care. This race was more about getting back into that running rhythm and taking in the epic scenery. I think my pace ranged from high 9 minute miles to low 8-minute miles.

The race was pretty low key–in a good way. It was well organized (like 3 minute waits for the bathrooms, unheard of!) and had a hot breakfast and bloody marys at the finish. My only constructive criticism is to better staff the water stations. Water wasn’t poured and ready, which meant you were waiting at some stops. Not a big deal, but not the most professional race feel.

The Presidio 10-Miler is a great combo of a small race feel with a big crowd and a great course. In addition to the 10-miler, there are also 10k and 5k options. I highly recommend this race, sign up next year!

Presidio 10-miler

The start & finish line area on a perfect SF day.

Running Inspo & My Next Race

The most important takeaway from this race was my renewed inspiration to run. I feel very grateful that my body can handle 10 miles without much prep. But I’m ready to do more than just get through the miles.

I’m still disappointed in myself for skipping the upcoming Santa Rosa Half Ironman. Part of me still wants to do the race, but the more responsible part of me knows that I’m not prepared and for a race that big, you need to be prepared (more on my decision HERE).

That being said, I need to put that race behind me and look ahead. The next big race on my calendar is the San Fransico Half Marathon on July 23rd. I just signed up and with 13 weeks to go, now’s the time to start training!

And when do I ever get serious about racing? I’ll admit it, it’s pretty rare. There are a few races I’ve trained properly for, but to long-time blog readers, I probably sound like a broken record. I often talk about big training plans, then I write about how I failed to follow them, but oh well!  And hey, no promises it won’t happen again. BUT, I really truly want to train for this next race. I haven’t attempted a PR in really long time and I’m feeling ready to take it on. Yesterday’s race gave me the inspiration to focus on a goal. I’m going to dig deeper into my training plan and will share more with you next week.

Presidio 10-miler

Running beautiful routes and comfortable paces inspires me to keep running. What inspires you to sign up for that next race?

 

What It’s Really Like to Be a Full-Time Fitness Instructor (+ why it’s not for me)

April 19, 2017

An inside look at what life is like as a full-time fitness instructor, the good, the bad and the exhausting.

Full-Time Fitness Instructor

Hanging at the gym all day (not sitting in an office), working out, getting free classes and living that fitness dream. Sounds pretty great, right? Well, it might sound like a fitness fantasy, but the reality didn’t exactly match up. Not for me anyways. Here’s a look at what it was really like to be a full-time fitness instructor, and why I couldn’t hack it.

Back to the Start of the Fitness Journey

I started teaching fitness classes in college and for nine years following that taught a couple of classes a week, typically early morning before heading to the office. In all the years that I taught, in the back of my mind I had the question of what it would be like to be a full-time fitness instructor. When MM and I moved to San Francisco,  this was the time to give it a try. I was craving flexibility in my schedule as we relocated across the country and as I finished planning our wedding on the east coast.

Full-Time Fitness Instructor Opportunities in SF

Fortunately, I almost immediately got hired at three studios; Equinox (which I already had taught at in NYC and was able to easily transfer to the SF locations), Orangetheory Fitness and Core40. Let me say this upfront, I know I’m very lucky that I was able to score spots at three solid gyms and I’m thankful for that. From the get-go of getting hired, each week I taught around 12-20 classes.

The first couple of weeks were incredibly hard. In NYC I typically taught two classes a week and suddenly I was teaching up to five in one day. My throat constantly hurt, my voice was scratchy, my legs ached and mentally I was exhausted. I very quickly began to question this new lifestyle. While it did allow me some flexibility while wedding planning and traveling, it wasn’t quite the dreamy life I thought it would be.

Not a 9-5

One of the things I thought I wanted was to not work a 9-5. My thinking was very naive because you know what can happen if you don’t work a 9-5? You work early in the morning and late at night, a really tough combo. My earliest classes started at 5am (wake up time: 4am!) and my latest classes ended at 9pm (dinner at 10pm, horrible). Those 9-5 hours were starting to look really sweet.

You’re Always On

I’m not saying at an office job you can slack off, but when you are leading a class you have to be very ON. You’re connecting with clients, talking non-stop and are always on your feet. Typically in an office, your work will ebb and flow, crazy stressful moments and more relaxed times. When people are depending on you for their workout, you better be at 100%, 100% of the time.

Lots of Protocols

Because I was working at three different studios, the rules, protocols, and language you’re supposed to use at each studio is different. If you need a sub, there’s a different way to secure and confirm them at each studio. Things you should and shouldn’t say in a class varied by studio. It was very confusing and stressful to keep track of what to say and do at each place! Instead of choosing to teach at three studios, I could have taught at just one studio, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to secure enough class times and teaching at one place felt repetitive. And speaking of repetitive…

 

It Gets Repetitive

At one studio I taught at, I’d teach four identical hour long classes in a row. Not only was it hard to keep my energy up by hour four, my brain felt like it was turning to mush, repeating the same thing over and over again. Some classes allow you to be more creative, but the super templated studios leave very little opportunity for that.

The Pay…Yikes

Happiness and life isn’t about how much money you can make, but yeesh, being a fitness instructor (at some studios), is very underpaid. A girl’s gotta pay rent! I recently met a woman in her 60s who said she taught fitness classes in the 80’s. We discussed the pay rates and I was extremely shocked to find out that for some of the studios I was teaching at, the pay is the same! Literally, what I was getting paid in 2017 was the same as what she was getting paid 30 years ago. Not to mention I live in one of, if not the most expensive city in the country. In order to make the amount of money I wanted to be making a week, I would have had to teach twice as many classes. In speaking to some instructors, they teach upwards of 40 classes a week. I can’t even imagine how they do it, I’m truly in awe.

Impossible to Track Finances

So the pay isn’t great, but on top of that, it’s really hard to keep track of the money. Ok, maybe I could have been better at this, I admit I was not on top of it. Each studio that I taught at had a different pay structure. Some places pay you the same thing for each class. Other studios pay on a sliding scale based on how many students are in your class. On top of that, some of the studios that have multiple locations will give you a different paycheck for each location. So basically each pay period I’d receive 3-6 paychecks, all in different amounts each week. It’s pretty much impossible to know how much you’re going to make each week.

No Paid Travel or Sick Days

I’m very passionate about travel and it’s a priority for me. Teaching gave me that flexibility because I could get subs to cover classes, but when you get a sub, you don’t get paid, making travel that much more expensive.

Exhausting on your Body

Some of my classes required me to intensely workout, others I demoed a few moves and walked around. Combined, all those classes in one week takes its toll on your body. Not to mention just being your feet for 5 hours without a break (major props to school teachers who are on their feet all day. what’s your secret?) is tiring AF.

Constantly on Display

You may notice that a lot of fitness instructors are actors, dancers, and performers. And it totally makes sense; teaching a class is like being up on a stage and putting on a show. But me? I’m definitely not an actor or dancer (my friends can attest to that). Sometimes teaching made me feel self-conscious, especially when you get reviewed in your classes (by management or ClassPass ratings). You definitely need a thick skin and strong confidence to be a fitness instructor. I think I have this, but being in front of people and putting on a show for many hours a day got to be a bit too much for me.

Comparison Struggles

Being a fitness instructor is a competitive business. So again, I am thankful I got hired where I did, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t constantly comparing myself to other instructors. Why does she have a full class and mine isn’t? How is she wearing a full face of perfect makeup while sweating through a spin class and I look like a mess? Are people liking my class? Are they mad I’m subbing and wish it was the other instructor? Not fun thoughts. I know it’s important to stay in your own lane and focus on yourself, but sometimes those not so positive thoughts creep in.

And Finally, the Positive Side of Being a Full-Time Fitness Instructor

I hate to dwell on the negative, but I also want to give you an accurate depiction of how I felt in the 8 months teaching full-time. Am I saying everything about being a full-time fitness instructor is bad? Absolutely not. While the hours were nutty, I was home during most of the day and got to hang with my dog (life goals, right?). I was able to cook most of my meals at home and spend time creating new recipes. You get to work out a lot, and for free! You get to meet new people and positively impact their health and wellness. By teaching classes in my neighborhood, I met so many new people quickly. It was pretty cool that after only a couple of months in SF I could walk around my neighborhood and run into people I knew; it made a big city feel smaller. And had I not been teaching or working when I moved to SF, I’m pretty sure I would have gone crazy; teaching got me out of the house, exploring new neighborhoods and experiencing my new city.

While I wasn’t a fan of being a full-time fitness instructor, I am truly inspired by those that are. To be so on, connecting and motivating tons of people a day, is a true gift. While I decided teaching full-time wasn’t for me, I’ve found that the balance of teaching and working a full-time job is right for me. Here’s the thing about teaching. For me, it was always a side passion that I loved. By doing it too much, it became something I resented and it began to feel like a burden. I wanted to keep doing it, but in a way that I still enjoyed. Once I decided that teaching full-time wasn’t my path, I kept teaching while also looking for a job. Now that I’m back to that #officelife, I get my much-desired combo of working in a strategic and business savvy environment and gives me time on the side to pursue my passion for wellness.

While it turned out not to be right for me, I’m happy that I had the opportunity to teach full-time and experience that alternate path.

Full-Time Fitness Instructor

Are you a full-time fitness instructor? Or do you balance it with a 9-5? I’d love to hear about your experiences below.

Spring Cleaning (for your workout gear) & What to Do with Old Workout Gear

April 17, 2017

I’m sure I’m not the only one tempted to upgrade some of my workout pieces, but first I’ve got to clear out the old workout gear. Read on to figure out which pieces to toss and what do with them.

old workout gear

Spring has sprung, and it’s a great time to give your closet that ole’ spring cleaning. It feels funny to call out Spring when I live in San Francisco, where more or less, all seasons kind of feel the same. But even so, I’m using the season “change” to encourage some apartment clean up.

My task isn’t too daunting. My closet underwent a serious detox when we prepared to move across the country. But just nine months later, I feel like my closet is once again more full than it needs to be. Really, I haven’t shopped much at all since the move, but I know there are many things taking up unnecessary space–mostly workout gear.

While I did a good job donating and selling clothes prior to our move, I brought WAY too much workout clothes. In New York we didn’t have laundry in our building and I did a wash about once a month. Meaning I needed about 30-40 of each piece of workout clothes (30+ pairs of leggings, sports bras, tops, etc). I accumulated quite a collection over the years and while it was annoying by the end of the month having to wear workout clothes I didn’t even like, it was worth it to avoid laundry day.

But now in SF, we’ve got a washer and dryer in our unit (life-changer!) and typically I only wear my top 10-20 favorite workout items on repeat. All those items at the bottom of the pile? Sorry, you gotta go.

To help in my workout gear spring cleaning, I read Well+Good’s The 5 Activewear Pieces You Need to Get Rid of ASAP. The summary is: old items that are stretched out, stained items, sneakers after 300-400 miles. Knowing these rules, man I have a lot of stuff to get rid of.

The one rule I disagree with is the suggestion to ditch sports bras after one year. Sports bras are expensive and I can’t imagine throwing them out after only a year. Also, when you’re shuffling through 40 sports bras at a time, one likely won’t wear out after a year. If you’re wearing it multiple times a week, maybe.

With that being said, these are the rules I live by with my workout gear.

 

Three Items To Say Goodbye To

Items that you don’t feel good in

It’s time to Marie Kondo your workout gear. Try on a tank top and if it doesn’t bring you joy and you don’t feel like your best self, consider getting rid of it. Feeling good while you workout is key, and if your gear is making you feel like a schlub, move on. All those items at the bottom of my workout gear pile? They fall into this category.

See Through Pants

I mean, obviously. But do you actually know which leggings are giving everyone a peek at your undies? I speak from (embarrassing) experience. Some of your favorite leggings that you thought had you covered, might not be as opaque as you once thought. Leggings that are too tight, are cheaply made, or have been worn so much they’ve lost their elasticity, may be see through. Before you make your way to yoga, bend over in front of the mirror and make sure you’re good to go. Iffy or see through? Toss ’em.

Broken in Sneakers

If you’re an avid runner, remember to get a new pair about every 6 months. Keep an eye on when your favorite shoes are on sale, it doesn’t hurt to buy a new pair early and have them ready to go when your current pair gives out. Don’t ignore the 6 month or 300-400 mile rule, you can really hurt your feet and legs if you keep going in worn out shoes.

And a bonus rule: One in, One Out

If you’re addicted to buying new workout clothes, control your closet by setting the rule: one in, one out. Whenever you want to invest in a new pair of tights, think about which pair you’re willing to get rid of in order to make space. Can’t think of a pair to donate? Then you probably don’t need that new pair after all (sorry!). If a long list of leggings you don’t like anymore comes to mind, start that clean up!

Now that you’ve accumulated your pile of gear to get rid of, where’s it all going to go?

 

Three Things to Do with Old Workout Gear

Pass It On

Maybe you’re tired of that Lorna Jane crop top, but your bestie might love it. We’ve all bought new gear to only wear once and later realize we don’t love it or it doesn’t fit right. The money has already been spent; someone might as well enjoy it, pass the goodies on to your friends.

Sell

If you spent a pretty penny on a Lululemon gear, it can be painful to realize you’re over something and it’s time to go. To ease the pain, sell it on ThredUp and maybe get a few bucks back. Whatever they don’t sell, they’ll donate. I’ve sold a ton of clothing on ThredUp and while you don’t get much money per piece, sell enough and it adds up. It’s super easy to sell which is why I like it, but if you want to put in more time and effort and likely get more money out of it, sell on eBay or Poshmark.

Donate

What about those beat up sneakers? Donate them to Soles4Souls, a non-profit that distributes shoes and clothing around the world, find out how to contribute here. There’s also Goodwill, or donate old shoes to Nike and they’ll recycle sneakers into sport courts and other products, read more about that program at NikeGrind.com.

Happy Spring Cleaning Everyone!

Life Update & My New Routine

April 12, 2017

It’s taken me a while to find a routine in SF and with a life update or two to share, you’ll see where the journey has taken me so far.

life update

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know, but I’ve got some life updates for you! When MM and I moved to SF last summer, it was the perfect time to give teaching fitness full-time a try. It had always been an alternate path I’d considered in the back of mind. Very quickly, I realized it was not for me. I have an entire post devoted to why, and I’ll be sharing that next week, but for now let’s just say I was not super happy with my routine, salary and overall quality of life.

There were definitely some positives to the routine though. Mainly it was perfect for getting settled in a new city, meeting a lot of people very quickly, and the flexibility was helpful while planning a wedding across the country. With all my trips back east and a honeymoon, it made sense to have a fairly flexible schedule until things calmed down. Also, not working a 9-5 gave me tons of time to hang out with my dog, but unfortunately cuddling with Ollie does not pay the bills. If only…

Life Update: Work

But trust me, it was not just about the money. There were a lot of things that led me to want to find a full-time job in SF. I started my job hunt casually towards the end of 2016 and then got more focused in the new year. Holiday timing is probably the worst time to look for a job, but you gotta do what you gotta do. Emotionally, there were a lot of ups and downs as I looked for a job. Moments of excitement when I came across a role that looked promising, and moments of despair when nothing looked appealing.

But I kept at it and reminded myself that everything happens for a reason.  My big goal was to find a marketing job in the health/wellness/fitness world, but I was open to exploring anything and everything, casting a wide net. In my search, I came across things I thought I was qualified for but wasn’t particularly passionate about. I also came across things that I felt super passionate and excited about but wasn’t actually qualified for. But then, I found a role that almost seemed too perfect to be true. A marketing job at a company focused on wellness, hallelujah!

I’m in week three of working on brand partnerships at Fitbit and while I have a ton to learn (going from publishing to tech is no joke), I feel extremely fortunate to have this opportunity and to be working for a company that I truly believe in–I’ve been wearing a Fitbit for years!

Life Update: Teaching

And thanks to my new work hours, I had to make huge edits to my teaching schedule. When I was in NYC I taught 2 classes a week before work. I loved the balance, teaching a little bit to compliment my 9-5. My weekly class schedule in SF before my new job was 12+ classes a week, and I was ready to drop that down.

First up I quit Orangetheory. As much as I love the actual workout and think that it can truly change your body, I did not like teaching it. Also, Orangetheory expects their teachers to devote a lot of time to the studio and it’s not possible if you also have a traditional office job (like OTF meetings in the middle of the day). Quickly and easily I dropped OTF from my schedule.

Next, I tried to hang onto one of my three classes at Core40, but unfortunately, that only lasted a couple of weeks. I quickly realized that I was overdoing it and for my mental and physical health, I had to cut this one too. I love the laid back and friendly vibe of this studio so I was sad to drop the class, but I knew it was the right thing to do.

And that leaves me with Equinox. Full disclosure, Equinox is my fave. I’ve been with the company for 9 years and it’s a well-run business, respects its instructors, encourages growth and understands my scheduling as many instructors also work full-time jobs. Also, do you know how much money I’ve saved not paying for an Equinox membership for 9 years? A lot.

So my beloved Equinox is the only place I’m teaching now. For my SF readers, my schedule is below. If you’re interested in checking out a class, shoot me and message and I’d love to have you as my guest.

Equinox Class Schedule

  • Mondays 6:30 am Cycling @ Pine St.
  • Mondays 6:15 pm Precision Running @ Pine St.
  • Mondays 7:05 pm Bootcamp @ Pine St.
  • Wednesdays 6:45 pm The Pursuit Cycling @ Pine St.
  • Thursdays 6:30 pm STACKED! @ EQ Sports Club Market Street

Compared to my two classes in NYC, this schedule of 5 seems a bit overwhelming, however, I think I’ve got it. I’m giving myself time to try it out and see how it goes, and if it does become too much, I’ll be easy on myself if I have to drop something. On Mondays, I teach three classes (1 before work, 2 after), which is pretty exhausting, but it gets most of my classes out of the way and then the rest of the week seems like a breeze!

Life Update: Seeking Balance

Getting back to the working world and seeking balance between an office job and some side hustles has re-inspired me in this space. I’m excited to share my experiences of constantly searching for that ever elusive balance.

So if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to SF, there’s a quick glimpse at what life’s been like lately. While I won’t talk much about my job in this space (though I’ll probably be coming atchu with my favorite Fitbit products in a post soon), I wanted to give you that little status update.

Next week I’ll be back with more of an inside scoop at what it was like teaching fitness full-time. Chat with ya then, friends!

My Triathlon Plans: To Tri or Not to Tri

April 10, 2017

To race or not to race, a question that has come up for my future triathlon plans. Read on to hear why I may skip out on my next scheduled race.

triathlon plans

Triathlons are near and dear to my heart. I love the race and how it never gets boring; just as you’re tired of swimming it’s time to bike, just as you’re ready to hop off the bike, it’s time to run. This week I wrote a story for DCRefined.com, 7 reasons to Try a Tri and if you’re considering adding this race to your summer plans, I encourage you to take the plunge.

So if I love triathlons so much, why am I considering backing out of the one I’m supposed to do in a month? Currently, I’ve got a spot in the Santa Rosa Half Ironman in wine country, but every day I think about whether I’m actually going to do it. I’m no stranger to signing up for a race and failing to follow a training plan, but I still tend to do the race, just not quite as prepared as I hoped to be. But a half ironman sounds a little intense to be unprepared for, which is why I’m still on the fence.

I’ve been working out a lot (per usual) but not tri training so to speak. I’ve been swimming a handful of times and have gone on some short runs, but oh yea, I still don’t have my bike out here. Whoops, that would be a key piece of getting through this race.

I hate to be a flake and back down from things I said I was going to do, but sometimes it’s best to take a step back and ask why. If I do the race, is it just because I said I would, but in reality, I don’t want to? Or is there a greater reason why I should do it?

When I take a step back from this particular race, most signs point to backing out. I’m not prepared and I don’t (yet) have all the necessary equipment. Oh also there was a different tri in Napa this past week and 30 participants got hypothermia because the water temps were 37 degrees, yikes! But then I look at the Ironman website and read about the race and it looks so pretty and I question my decision. The good news is, I don’t have to decide right now. I’m already signed up, and my race registration fee was waived so I’m not losing money (you better believe if I paid for the race, I’d do it no questions asked) and I can take all the time I want to decide (ya know, up to race day in 6 weeks).

The other good news is that there’s always another race around the corner to train for, and I have my eye on a few.

And while I may back out, I also want to say one more time, that I really do love triathlons! I did a ton while living in NYC and it was so fun to train and race with friends. Out here, I had thought about joining a training group or team, but never pulled the trigger. Training alone just isn’t as fun and inspiring. I’m bummed that I might not do the race because I know how fun and exciting race day can be.

The point of this post is to let you all know where I’m at, since I told you about training for this race months ago. The other point is to let you know that sometimes it’s okay to change your mind. I’m not saying flake out on commitments, but remember it’s okay for your feelings about things and events to evolve and change, and as long as you aren’t breaking a commitment that involves someone else, it’s okay to have a change of heart.

I’ll keep you posted on what I ultimately decide to do, but I think we can see where this one is headed.

Slope Style with Obermeyer

April 2, 2017

Giving my ski style an upgrade thanks to Obermeyer!

obermeyer

What’s one of the best parts of a ski day? The apres ski activities, of course! Usually after a day of skiing I look like a disheveled mess, sporting my warmest spandex and an embarrassingly frizzy french braid. But what if you could wear a cute ski outfit that perfectly transitioned to post-slopes drinks? Fixing my hair…that’s a bigger issue that we’ll tackle another day.

MM and I sported these super comfy Obermeyer sweaters in Tahoe last weekend. Made with merino wool, these tops are incredibly warm, in fact, thanks to a 60 degree ski day, they were too warm! I’m not one to complain though, I’m always freezing on the slopes (that warm day is probably the only exception).

These sweaters are good for the slopes and apres activities, and also were my top choice to drive around and check out the most scenic spots in Tahoe on our last day, no jacket required. I’m wearing the Cable Knit Pullover and MM is in the Bryce 1/4 Zip Sweater.

I have one complaint about ski gear. And that’s that I feel guilty when I buy it. Since I only ski a couple of times each year and for the most part ski gear sits in my closet, there isn’t really a need to spend money on new stuff each year, even though I love a good gear upgrade. The good thing about ski layers, like these sweaters, I don’t have to feel guilty since I can wear them beyond the slopes.

Obermeyer

 

obermeyer

obermeyer

obermeyer

And speaking of those slopes, I know it’s officially spring, but here’s hoping we can get to the mountain just one more time this year!

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