Happy Quote Friday everyone – today’s post is a little different in that my quote – while still inspirational – is very much focused on my challenge ahead. In less than 16 hours, I will run my very first half-marathon.

Gulp.

My goal is so perfectly stated in today’s quote, borrowed from a post my sister wrote a few months ago:

“Run if you can, walk if you must, crawl if you have to – just don’t stop.”

THAT is exactly my goal for tomorrow’s Wicked Half Marathon – with 950 runners (a record number!), it’s going to be insane…not to mention the temps tomorrow are supposed to hit 86 (Indian Summer – bring. it. on), so it will be a little warmer than I thought, as well. But, right now, at this very moment, I am a ball of nervous energy, excited to tackle it and even more excited to cross that finish line. I know that no matter what, that is going to be one of the best feelings in the world.

Me.

A half-marathoner.

Running 13.1 miles with my sister, my brother in law and one of my close friends  Steph – we’ve come a long way (literally as well!), and I am excited to get ‘er done!! It already feels amazing to have run 12.4 miles, which was a huge mental and physical challenge, last week, but it gave me the confidence I need to run that last .7 miles to the finish. And when I’m done, I hope I can utter these words…mentioned by yet another great friend (who will be coming to celebrate with us in wine country in less than a week!), Meg:

“The woman who starts this race, isn’t the same woman who finishes it.”

*Chills*

Damn straight.

GAME ON!!

~~

As for the rest of my weekend? A kick-ass Wicked Half party at my sister’s house – which will include friends as well as Doctor Boy, and then a wine tasting event (with Doctor Boy as well, whee!) in Boston on Sunday for Boston Wine Week.

Cheers friends!

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Okay, so not *quite* famous – but check out how many times my sister and I (and Heather, in glimpses!) are in the Cathe Road Trip promotional video!! Count how many times you see us and you win a prize…an autograph! 😉 Just kidding, that won’t be worth anything until we’re *really* famous!

Balance is something crystallized for me during the Cathe Road Trip (and is something that runs through my veins, and given I’m a Libra, is no surprise!) this weekend…in a few different areas.

Well, first of all, I crave balance. Not too much, not too little, juuuust right.

It makes me calm.

It makes me feel like life’s right where it should be.

When I don’t have balance, I feel like life’s out of whack and I struggle.

Balance means routine…even though sometimes I need to buck routing and just go with the flow (which means balance, right??)

Balance, to me also means moderation.

In attending this year’s Road Trip, I looked around at the 100+ women (and two men – brave troopers!) and saw some mega-ripped hard bodies, six-pack abs and guns like whoa (which of course, I envy. Good arms are hot!), and almost immediately compared myself.

I’m not *as* ripped. Not nearly.

Yet I work out probably as much as many of them.

I’m not as skinny as some of them.

But I enjoy a glass of wine here and there (okay in moderation, but sometimes quite a bit, though I try to cap it to weekends!) and that’s my choice.

Balance.

But I AM as dedicated – if not more – to my health and happiness. Which also means mental happiness. Which means not depriving myself, but believing in “everything in moderation.”

I think some of these women at the Road Trip could take a page from the book of moderation and balance, because sure, they look ridiculously fit, but isn’t life also about enjoying life, including food and wine? Maybe it’s just me, but I love food (don’t we all?!) and if I tell myself I can “never” have a bagel or “never” have a piece of cake…do I really want to look back at my life when I’m in my 80s and say “wow, I never got to eat cake, did I??” – but for what? To feel like THE best looking, hottest body around? What’s wrong with the way I am now?

I guess I realize that I don’t have to be perfect to be beautiful and love my life. And calling myself beautiful is not something I easily do, because I – like many woman – compare myself to almost everyone I see. On TV. At work. On the street. Among my friends. I can always find some feature in someone else that I want…which I know isn’t the healthiest thing in the world, and a habit I’m trying to break – but the fact that I am writing this out and saying it – is huge (and I hope I now don’t sound egotistical! I think all women are beautiful!!).

So…in going back to balance. It is a choice for me. One I think about every day and sometimes struggle with. I am my own worst enemy, as we know, and I overthink. A lot. All the way down to “did I really need that Skinny Cow ice cream?” <– hello, it’s 140 calories, not 500! See how my mind works?!

And I think balance should be applauded and embraced. Join me, will you? Do you crave balance? Are you really strict in some areas of your life and not in others? What drives your balance factor?

As I draft this blog post in the Philly airport, my calves are on fire, my thighs are aching and if someone asks me to do one more jumping jack, plyo jump, mountain climber or tuck jump, I may cry or quite possibly slap you...however, I am happy – that workout high that just won’t quit!

So, rather than go through a play-by-play of the Cathe Road Trip weekend (much of which you can gather from the agenda I posted the other day, however, they DID add a spinning class in right after bootcamp once we got there, stepping up the intensity like whoa!), I thought I’d post some of the most memorable moments of the weekend:

  • Co-teaching a couple of kickboxing tracks with Cathe – yes, I’m serious! Within the first 5 minutes of our very first workout on Friday night, Cathe called us out by name to come up and teach a couple of moves! Jess and I about died and went to heaven in that moment – we were thrilled (and okay, a wee bit scared!) and we taught a simple hook/upper combo, but it was amazing!! So fun and I will never forget that moment!
  • Meeting Heather! That was awesome – we had a great time rooming together, laughing and sweating it out (and blogging across the room from each other! Surreal!). One random fact – she’s shorter than I thought she would be (not that I should talk, ms. 5’3′ me!).
  • Wearing our ‘I heart Cathe’ tank tops that were a huge success with the group of 8 of us wearing them proudly and getting not only a great shot with Cathe, but a group shot with the other instructors in her DVDs! Amazing (and we’re sooooo making it to the Cathe calendar again this year, I can feel it!)
  • Loving doing a bazillion jumping jacks – NOT. Wow, I never realized a) how much I hate them and b) how hard it is to jack when your calves are on fire. Why were they on fire? Step class! They always kill me. I’m literally hobbling around as we speak. But a good pain…no pain, no gain!
  • Sweating more than I have ever sweat before in spin class (which was back to back to bootcamp class). I was literally completely drenched from head to toe and had no towel and was sitting there in complete awe that I could in fact be sweating as much as I was. Can you tell I love a good adrenaline rush?!
  • By the numbers? 8 workouts – spin (our bonus class we took Fri morning before things kicked off, cuz why not!) and step/kickboxing on Friday night, step/abs, bootcamp, spin, yoga, and cardio core circuit/upper body weights on Saturday (and Zumba that night but I watched only, had no more energy left!) and lower body blast/plyo legs this morning. Total calorie burn? about 2500 calories throughout the weekend. Damn.
  • Sneaking a glass (or two!) of wine during our shower/rest break before dinner at the gym Saturday night. Seriously the wine could have been 2-buck-chuck and it would have tasted like a $50 bottle of wine. Much-needed and savored!

So, all in all, it was a fantastic weekend. I had an amazing time with everyone from last year, and meeting new friends this year. Looking back, a lot has changed in the year that I’ve been at the roadtrip, but a lot has also stayed the same, and though some of the things that have stayed the same (like still being single) felt like a bit of a downer at first, I feel good, I know my life is on the track it should be and quite frankly, I feel blessed.

Hope you enjoyed your weekends – and here are a few pics from the weekend below.

Jess and me upon our arrival Thurs night - all smiles pre-RT!

Our crew of chicks with our cute 'I Heart Cathe' tank tops that were a huge hit!

Scored a group shot with the 4 other instructors that are in Cathe's DVDs!

Group shot with Cathe and she has her hand on my arm - star moment 😉

Pre-5-workout day (and pre-sweat)

Yay - Cathe and me!!

Jess and me sporting our super cute 'Cathelete' tshirts at brunch today.

Happy quote Friday everyone! Just a quickie from the Cathe Road Trip (we have a quieter day today, though we did kick it off with a wicked hahhhd spin class at the gym, things don’t get rolling till this afternoon though, officially) – today’s quote”

“The only failure is the failure to try”

This one grabbed me today because of how much I try to push, push, push to new levels with everything that I do – and in this case, with this weekend, this signifies my constant interest and pursuit of challenging myself physically (and also mentally) with the workouts and goals I set for myself. It’s something I’ve dedicated myself 10X over since getting divorced, it’s just something that I love and makes me feel alive.

This year already, I am proud of myself for not failing in the face of challenge – when Group Kick got frustrating, extremely hard, and tiring, I kept at it, and passed, when running becomes overwhelming as I try to up my pace to hit the 13.1 miles for the half marathon, I keep at it, and it will come…and when I wake up tired and don’t want to move, getting up and moving actually makes me feel better. And I try my best not to fail, because this is what runs through my veins, this is what I am passionate about and if I’m passionate about it…I won’t fail.

What are you passionate about? What do you keep at and not want to fail at?

~~

Enjoy your weekends everyone and of course I’ll share a recap of the weekend ahead. I’m going to drink it in and enjoy every.last.moment.

We’re off today, folks – a caravan of fantastic friends, including my sister Jess,  our friends sisters Andrea and Jen (this is their second RT), Shannon (her first RT!) as well as Heather (who I am so excited to meet when she arrives tomorrow!!), and friends from last year coming again this year. It’s going to be fun, it’s going to be “wicked hahhhd,” it’s going to be tiring, but it’s going to be memorable and one of the highlights of this summer – and year – for sure.

Here’s a taste of what we’re in for – the schedule!

Friday
3:45 PM “THE CATHE BUSES” DEPART FROM HOTELS FOR GYM.

4:15 – 4:50 PM – ROAD TRIPPERS’ REGISTRATION AND SHOPPING

4:50 – 5:15 PM- Road Trippers change clothes for class.

5:15 – 6:15 PM- FIRST CATHE CLASS
Join Cathe as she leads us through a grin-filled hour to start Road Trip 2010 with a bang. The energy in the room will blow you away!!!! CLASS FORMAT: 30 minutes of step and 30 minutes of kickboxing (WOO!)

6:15 – 6:45 PM- Time to freshen up!

6:45 – 8:45 PM- 2010 ROAD TRIP MEET & GREET PARTY AT CATHE’S GYM
Our hostess Cathe invites you to join her as we continue the Road Trip kickoff evening in high spirits! After you change into comfy and casual clothes we’ll enjoy lots of yummy food, beverages, prizes, hugs and an introduction to all the fun of your upcoming weekend! Remember to wear ONLY soft-soled shoes (e.g., sneakers or flip flops) in the gym. Also, bring a pair of PJs or yoga-ish clothes for a special treat – our end-of-evening Pajamas Nightcap Stretch Class!

8:45 – 9:00 PM – Road Trippers, change into your Jammies!

9:00 – 9:45 PM – SECOND CATHE CLASS — Pajamas Nightcap Stretch Class

9:45 – 10:00 PM – Road Trippers, QUICKLY gather your gear!

10:00 PM BUSES DEPART GYM TO RETURN TO HOTELS

Saturday
6:30 – 7:15 AM BREAKFAST SERVED AT HOTELS

7:15 AM BUSES DEPART HOTELS FROM FRONT DOOR OF FAIRFIELD INN

8:00 – 8:30 AM OFFICIAL ROAD TRIP GROUP PHOTO WITH CATHE
Photographer comes to do one big group shot of the 2010 Cathe Road Trip attendees with Cathe.

8:30 – 8:45 AM Break to grab your water and get ready for class!

8:45 – 9:45 AM THIRD CATHE CLASS
Join Cathe as she leads us through a high energy step class followed by killer core. CLASS FORMAT: 50 minutes Step/10 minutes Abs

9:45 – 10:15 AM Break for bathroom, cleanup, change clothes, shop, photo op, autograph op, then split into Groups A and B.

10:15 – 11:15 AM – We’ll split into two groups (A and B) of about 50 people each for the next two hours. As one group spends a little quality time with Cathe, <wicked wink , the other group will have a choice of two activities. Then we’ll switch places!

GROUP “A”: Road Trippers each choose:
• Q&A Info Session with Chris Williams, Cathe’s business partner OR
• Yoga Fit class with Nikki, a staff instructor at FSHS
AND
GROUP “B”: FOURTH CATHE CLASS – Boot Camp…run, jump, pump sweat

11:15 – 11:30 AM Break for Groups A and B to switch places!

11:30 AM – 12:30 PM GROUP “B”: Road Trippers each choose:
• Q&A Info Session with Chris Williams, Cathe’s business partner OR
• Yoga Fit class with Nikki, a staff instructor at FSHS

AND

GROUP “A” : FOURTH CATHE CLASS – Boot Camp…. run, jump, pump sweat

12:30 – 12:40 PM Cleanup break

12:40 – 2:15 PM LUNCH AND…
Ahhhhhhhhhh… After a quick change into fresh clothes, it’s time to refuel with yummy food and refreshing beverages. We’ve included extra time for socializing, taking pics, autograph signing too.

2:15 – 2:30 PM Bathroom/change clothes/shopping/pics/autographs/hugs from new friends

2:30 – 3:30 PM FIFTH CATHE CLASS
Okay Cathletes, it’s time to put your game faces back on! Let’s finish our day STRONG with another great hour of nonstop fitness. CLASS FORMAT: 30 minutes CARDIO CORE CIRCUIT/ 30 minutes INTENSE UPPER BODY CONDITIONING…YOWSA!

3:30 – 3:45 PM Road Trippers, gather your gear!

3:45 PM BUSES DEPART GYM TO RETURN TO HOTELS

4:00 – 6:00 PM Shower and dress in casual, comfy clothes you can move & groove in! Ahhh! That shower feels GOOD!

6:00 PM BUSES DEPART FROM HOTELS FROM FRONT DOOR OF FAIRFIELD INN

6:30 – 10:00 PM -FITNESS FEAST ……Plus 15 Minutes Of Fame, and ZUMBA DANCE PARTY AT CATHE’S GYM

AT 6:30pm, Cathe is your hostess once again for a delicious catered dinner. Let’s relax together, continue getting to know each other and give our tired bodies a little rest & refueling before we hit the fitness floor together AGAIN for the night! Yes, you read right, lol….

AT 8:15pm it’s time for 15 Minutes Of Fame. Workout live on the set with Cathe and cast for a quick minute (you can do anything for a minute, wink) and give Cyndi (our awesome RT Cathlete photographer) your camera so she can capture your lifetime memory for you. Don’t worry, you won’t be up there alone, other Cathletes will join you too. But wait there is more.

At 8:45pm, after everyone has had their famous moment captured on the set, we will all head back to the main fitness room for our ZUMBA DANCE PARTY!!!! If you are unfamiliar with ZUMBA, it is the hottest fitness craze sweeping the nation right now (check out ZUMBA.com). I’ve invited guest instructor Gladys (born and raised in Puerto Rico and one of our top instructors here at the gym for 25 years) to come share her ZUMBA moves and grooves with all of us. If you don’t want to ZUMBA, no worries, just enjoy the party!!! The latin passion Gladys exudes while performing is worth the entertainment itself. Bring or wear Sneakers and comfortable workout attire !!!!

AT 9:45pm ….GATHER GEAR FOR THE BUSES
10:00 PM BUSES DEPART GYM TO RETURN TO HOTELS

Sunday

Time Activity

6:00 – 6:30 AM BREAKFAST SERVED AT HOTELS

6:30 AM BUSES DEPART FROM HOTELS FROM FRONT DOOR OF FAIRFIELD INN

7:00 – 8:00 AM SIXTH CATHE CLASS
C’mon Cathletes, you can do anything for… an hour! Let’s make it a good one! CLASS FORMAT: Lower Body Blast combined with Plyometric bursts….Yes you can!!!

8:00 – 8:30 AM Time for a quick clean-up before the bus comes!

8:30 AM BUSES DEPART FROM CATHE’S GYM FOR FIVE POINTS DINER

9:00 – 10:45 AM FAREWELL BRUNCH AT FIVE POINTS DINER
We’ve earned it and now it’s time for some sinfully good New Jersey diner food, and one last chance to take pictures, exchange addresses and phone numbers with new friends, and enjoy some great big hugs!

11:00 AM BUSES DEPART FROM FIVE POINTS DINER TO RETURN TO HOTELS

How bout them apples?! This will be a blast – and if you are REALLY interested, there *might* be a webcam showing some of our workouts (though I can’t promise you’ll see us, there ARE 100 of us!)

I’ll leave you with a pic of a few of us from last year – and many, many more pics and a recap to come. Have a wonderful weekend all! (and I’ll have a few posts up in the next few days too).

And yes, we're wearing our I heart Cathe tanks again this year!

And yes, we're wearing our I heart Cathe tanks again this year!

These are some of the girls coming, and posing with Cathe (center)

These are some of the girls coming, and posing with Cathe (center)

I’m guest blogging for my sister on why I run.

If you run or have a passion for any kind of exercise…why do you?

Or, if not, what drives you?

Check it out…while I continue my blissful vaca in Maine…XO!