Category Archives: Goals

29 hours in: 200 Hour YTT {Embodiment Project}

As of Sunday evening, we’ve logged 29 of our 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training (YTT), and completed the first full weekend of everything yoga! My “weekend”, as I typically know it, didn’t exist. Instead it was spent with 15 gals on the same adventure, led and inspired by Coral Brown (via Om Oasis Studio). From Thursday to Sunday evening my mind dipped in, swam around a bit and then fully dove into the heart of a practice that, so far, has only been asanas and Oms to me.

Completing a 200-hour training is akin to kayaking out to that tiny island that looks close enough to swim to, but is actually miles away (like whoa, depth perception!). You’re wading through much deeper water than you probably anticipated – there’s so much more to know and digest. It’s the first giant leap to your initial destination; you can stand on solid ground again, but then you have to decide whether to stay comfy sun-bathing on the beach, or getting dirty exploring various trails.

I’m much more of a hiker than a beach baby.

This weekend was a lot of history and introductions, and a little bit of moving around! For one of our first Omwork assignments, we took pictures for the Embodiment Project –  a list of poses to document now, and again at hour 200. “No retakes, or omg-these-pants-suck!, or let-me-fix-my-hips” – just pose-and-shoot, fashion choices of the day be damned. These are straight-up stage 1, how things are looking ~15% of the way in:

tadasana_HC utkatasana_HC

Utasana_HC downward facing dog_HC


upward facing dog_HC

warrior 1_HC warrior 2_HC

reverse warrior_HC - Copy side angle pose_HC - Copy low lunge_HC  twisted high lunge_HC

wheel pose_HC 
Our training didn’t happen to be outside perfectly situated in the direct sunlight, but these pictures got lucky.


And that’s that! I couldn’t begin to sum up what we learned in a short 29 hours with one blog post, my brain is still busy doing that for itself. But this photo journal will be one of very few objective benchmarks, along with the hours counting up to the first 200.

Questions? Thoughts on YTT, or yoga in general? If you want to do your own little journey along the way with these poses, hop on in! The next round won’t be until May, so we have plenty of time to strengthen, root down and rise up.


Filed under balance, Goals, motivation, training, Yoga

5 Down: 200 Hour YTT

My research began long before we physically arrived in Monterey. Yoga Teacher Training (YTT) has been on my mind for years; as with many major life goals, there will be a lot of things that seemingly keep you from checking the box (really, you just stubbornly stand in your own way). But this little break from DC life seemed too perfect an opportunity to pass up. I found a studio, found their training schedule, and kept it bookmarked for months.

I barely mailed my deposit in on time, as the ghost of resistance finally faded with moments to spare. Adios, yo. We’re gonna do this.


We’ll have seven weekends of Thursday – Sunday trainings over the next four months. We’ll complete at least 180 hours of training, 15+ classes of Prana yoga, and multiple other projects and observations. Last night got the process started – 5 hours in a small room with 15 other anxious yogis. In the 5 minutes spent sitting in silence, waiting, transitioning from student to teacher-in-training, my brain flipped through every yoga moment I can remember from the past 5 years. It also sat there being like “Do you have everything you’re supposed to? {Nope, not yet…} Don’t forget to bring a check tomorrow. 8 hours is a long time in one room. I wonder if it’ll be sunny this weekend…”, reveling in the last 5 minutes of the unknown, I s’pose.


We completed a 90-minute heated class in the middle, sweating out any lingering nerves, doubts, annoying to-do lists or fears. We have 5 hours in, and endless asanas to go. This is exactly where each of us are meant to be, right now.

Ommmm, y’all.

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Filed under about me, Goals, Yoga

Planning for the Training, Not Just the BQ

I qualified for Boston at the 2012 Marine Corps Marathon. Even though I was “in”, I knew I probably wouldn’t be in. It’s a tight race these days, and the faster you go the more likely you are to get that highly sought-after bib! For 2014, 3:34:04 didn’t quite make the cut, and that’s totally okay. Boston is prestigious, that’s why we strive to be there. If thousands of other females between the ages of 25-34 are faster than me, then they should have their hard-earned bib. Women running marathons these days are nothing if not a quick and determined group of gals!

And if I have to qualify again to be among them in 2015, then so be it.


“The body achieves what the mind believes.”


I can and will run a sub-3:30 marathon.
Declare. Run. Repeat.

A folder has been created in my bookmarks, the search is on! I’m not looking for the perfectly flat course or the best climate or the easiest destination to get to. I am looking for something that doesn’t scream HILLS everywhere or snow in May or require worldly trip (that’s happening on its own, without running).

I’m looking for a race that will check a few boxes, and will get me here:

Boston Finish Line

As the fate of the internets would have it, this research has been interrupted by a few reads that totally changed my mindset. The goal: re-qualify for Boston (2015). Sure, that will fill miles of mind-games and internal monologues next spring.

But, more importantly, the training? That’s a lifestyle. It changes your everyday routine in ways that we, as runners, {eventually} miss when it’s not all-consuming. We change our weekend agendas. We plan ahead for runs, cross-training workouts, meals, rest and sanity-checks. We think about the Finish Line countless times from Day 1 to Race Day, and anxiously await those tapering weeks.

But what about everything in between?


“The goal is absolutely secondary: it is the functioning toward the goal which is important.”

Hunter S. Thompson


The training is what really challenges you – physical and mental exercises that get you ready for everything that can/will happen from mile 1 to mile 26.2. The training is a way of functioning that (hopefully, all-fingers-crossed) gets you ready for that goal time.

Whether or not that race goes exactly the way you plan? That’s {unfortunately} somewhat unpredictable. But the work you put in to get yourself there can’t be taken away.

Challenge & Change

You will learn the importance of the journey. The journey is the reward.


As the end of this fall marathon season marks the beginning of spring race-planning, just keep these thoughts in mind. Remember that you don’t choose to run a marathon (or any other distance) just so you can show up on race day and pound the pavement for 26+ miles. (Let’s be honest, that’s not always the fun part.) Sure, the goal is to finish, but the motivation is the challenge of getting yourself in shape enough to do so.

The fun is in the miles that lead you up to that startling line, in realizing that yes you can survive 10-20 milers and adjust your schedule to fit in ALL-things-running and dedicate yourself to something and see it through.

Join me: pick a challenge that will change you (whatever that may be), then enjoy the journey that gets you there.


Filed under Goals, marathon, motivation, running

Attack a Weakness: Working Out with Tony Horton (P90X)

Sure, I thought it would be fun to run a 5K this weekend (adios humidity, hello September PR-potential!). Of course I thought it’d be pretty cool to meet Tony Horton – the P90X brain. I didn’t hesitate to jump on a chance to join a “Tweet-Up”…

But no, sir, I am no P90X enthusiast. Confession: I do not bootcamp much these days. I’m not a fan of burpees. My sister has made me do your “Yoga X”and it almost killed me. She can do a pull-up thanks to your workouts, and I can run a 3:34 marathon. Different strengths…right?

Well, Tony, when you said “Yoga is the foundation of youth. I wouldn’t be where I am without Yoga,” tonight, and that “it forces you to work on your weaknesses”?  Well, then I knew we were on the same page. And I knew that your workout might totally demoralize me, but that’s 100% okay.

I definitely have some weaknesses, and there’s only one way to make them strengths. Work it out…


A few of us had the huge privilege of some one-on-one time  (#NPCTweetUpTony) with Tony before the Beat the Deadline 5K workout at the National Press Club tonight. We literally sat around the table with him, exchanging stories, picking his brain, laughing loudly and writing notes furiously. So much to remember! Great quotes! Freaking. Great. Stories.

Quite the character, this fitness guru!

Tony Horton TweetUpTony Horton Group_TweetUp

Then we all headed down to the Ballroom for a “Tony Horton Workout”. He warned us it would be about an hour, which really meant closer to 90 minutes, and actually (luckily) flew by.

Tony horton Workout_X
Tony Horton workout_erika & anne
Thanks for the photo, Erika!

After our warm-up & stretch, it was right into the sweat-sesh! Push-ups, planks, down-dog crunches, MMA/boxing-inspired burpees, side-plank crunches, jump-spins, warrior lunges, banana-crunches-to-boat-pose, more burpees, more push-ups, more planks….

Tony Horton Workout_Plank

This guy can MOVE, but his teaching style seems more yoga-inspired. He offers modifications, encourages you in a great way but also reminds you to do what works for you. Know where you are, and know your limit – then know exactly how far you can push it, and attack your weaknesses.

DONE. Whew.

Tony Horton workout_after

I would workout with him again any time, any day. His motivation is you – he wants you to succeed, to gain strength, to really LOVE physical fitness and to have a blast. His energy is nonstop! As a mostly-runner, this workout shows me a completely different level of exhaustion. But if it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.

“The first two letters of NOTHING are “No”. If you say “no” to experiences, you get nothing. If you go for it, you have a story!”


My not-quite-as-weak (now) muscles might still be screaming at me by the time we toe the starting line on Saturday, but it’s worth the burn. Challenge, accepted!

Who else is running / racing / challenging a weakness this weekend? Anyone joining us at the NPC Beat the Deadline 5K?


Filed under challenges, DC, Goals

Ex2 Adventure’s Backyard Burn: Trail Racing in Wakefield Park

When we signed up for this race it just flat out did not occur to me to consider the difference between 10 miles on the road vs. the trail. If I have an option of running a 5-mile vs 10-mile race and no “good” reason to not do the latter? I choose 10!

       Backyard Burn Wakefield bib

We totally lucked out with what was deemed the “flattest” course of this Backyard Burn Trail Race Series (5 total). It also seems to have been the least technical, only including “a few shallow stream crossings” and a lot of twisty, windy, up-and-down sections. But, nothing so steep that we had to walk and nothing so deep we had to sacrifice our non-trail running shoes.  Win!

BackyardBurn Wakefield group

We arrived expecting a 60-degree day, but were greeted by a 28-degree morning. Layers = on! It was very well organized; our race-brief began promptly at 8:50 in the parking lot, and we promptly started by lining up in the street and…going!

BackyardBurn Wakefield start

Photo credit: Anne @ Fannetastic Food

The first mile had a few paved parts and a lot of wide spaces – plenty of time and room to make some passes, settle into a pace and get your feet ready to dodge, weave and stream-hop!

BackyardBurn Wakefield stream

Photo credit: Anne @ Fannetastic Food

Kate, Jill & I took it pretty easy and settled into a line. The course was a 1 mile start followed by a 4.5 mile loop that us 10-milers would do twice:

Round 1 was a lot of head-down, don’t-fall, conserve-some-energy running! When we closed in on the Finish Line and were directed toward Round 2, it was go-time.

I settled into the front of our line and took advantage of the space ahead. Knowing what to expect on a trail makes a big difference! It had warmed up enough that I shed a layer, and we had sped up enough that our second loop was an average 1-min/mile faster than the first.

There was one steep up-hill section within the last 1.5 miles that stole any energy I might have held onto. Lesson learned: don’t sprint up those. The last 0.5 mile was flat, open, leave-it-all-out-there terrain. I chased Kate across the Finish line….

1: 25: 55 – 10 trail miles – 8:35 min/mile

…immediately thought I might vomit, and then thought I am definitely doing another one of those.

Aside from dirt, climbs, streams and rock-hopping, the main difference between a road vs. trail race is this:

BackyardBurn Wakefield food

Food swag!


Color us muddy & impressed – we had a great time! It was a small group of 400 runners that very graciously spent some time in close quarters on the trails of Wakefield Park, VA. I’ll definitely be back for another run in the woods!


Filed under DC, Goals, running