I caused a Ruckus - Ruckus Boston Baby!

Has anyone seen my mind? I think I lost it after signing up for another obstacle course race. No? No one has it?

Yeah, apparently I didn't lose it ... I am just living a new "normal."

Last week, I was chatting with the social media crew from Ruckus Sports - an organization that puts on a race series in nine or 10 different cities in the US.

Simply put on their website:

The Ruckus obstacle race series combines best in class obstacles, unparalleled spectation, a wildly popular kids course, and an after party for all. The result? The most fun, rewarding, and family friendly event anywhere. Ruckus is challenging enough for the elite, yet achievable for all.

So I was tweeting with @ruckussports and next thing I know, I have a complimentary entry into the June 15 9am wave of the Ruckus Boston event. (Note: thoughts on the race are 100% my own!)

boston ruckus


How does this happen?

Okay, I know how it happens. I keep seeking out new ways to push the limits of my comfort zone ... and an obstacle course run fits the bill.

On Saturday, June 15, my #1 spectator (the wife) and I woke up at 6am and got our butts in gear to head to the race in Marshfield, Mass, which is about 45 minutes away from our house.

We had to be out the door by 6:45 in order to hit up Dunkin' Donuts before embarking on the trek to Marshfield. We parked ($10 per car) at 7:45, which allowed plenty of time to get squared away before the Start.

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The registration area was nicely laid out with bib #s posted for those that couldn't remember theirs (like myself), a table with waiver forms for those who forgot theirs at home (again like me) and plenty of volunteers distributing bibs. While I picked up my bib and my wristband for my complimentary post-race beer, the wife hit up Spectator registration and paid the $10 to be able to watch me run the course.

Ruckus Sports wrote on their website:

This year’s course was built specifically with spectators in mind, and as a result, much of the course is visible to spectators. Spectator passes can be purchased on-site for $10 (cash only). Children under the age of 10, and registered participants do not need to purchase a spectator pass.

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How cool was the entrance?

This entrance actually doubled as part of an obstacle so those entering the field for later waves actually walked under the racers. Cool!

We walked past the "expo" area where companies were set up with samples, etc.

But, I was too wrapped up in my own nerves to stop at any of the tables.

Just after walking past the sponsors, I noticed that the 8am wave was kicking off.

Okay then, less than an hour til GAME TIME!

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This large contraption was the final obstacle ... a large inflatable slide!

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Yes!! I knew this would be my favorite part. :P

Before I knew it it was 8:45 and time to head to the Start area. Eek! I was more nervous for this race than the 3 marathons I've done.


Because I am still working on my upper body strength so obstacles scare me.

BUT, as I stood in the Start Area, I was turning my nerves into fuel!

I just kept telling myself: "I am stronger than I think I am!!" And this race was going to prove it.

Each wave went off at the top of the hour and was broken into 5 mini waves: Wicked Fast, Pretty Fast, Solid Fast, Kinda Fast and No-So Fast. I put myself into the second group - Pretty Fast - since I had no idea what to expect ... and I really wasn't going for time, but to just complete the course.

At 9 on the dot, the Wicked Fast group was off and after a couple minutes - it was our turn.


Since there were obstacles and mud involved, I left the Garmin at home. I felt naked, but it's too expensive to ruin so this run was not going to be at all about pace or time.

I just pulled up my Superman socks and let loose. Since I am training for a Sprint Tri and marathon, I knew I would be taking each obstacle very carefully as to avoid injury.

We ran for what felt like a minute before we hit the first obstacle. Thankfully each station had volunteers on hand to help people complete it.

(Note: that was the biggest thing I overheard from veteran participants, this race is about everyone completing the obstacles and having fun so people help each other out!)

Thank goodness those volunteers were there. They offered a leg up or an arm up whenever needed ... and there were a couple spots they came in super handy for me.

Once I successfully made it through the first obstacle, which included hopping up on a hay bale, then onto the large container like at the entrance, then back onto another hay bale then on to the ground ... I knew I was feeling stronger and was ready for the challenge.

(At the end of the post, there will be a video including some action shots of me completing a few obstacles!)

The course was 4 miles long and included some trail running in between the obstacles. Thankfully they spray painted the rocks and branches to help avoid some injuries.

I nearly lost myself in the Tirefield since apparently I couldn't hear the volunteers who kept yelling "Stay of the small tires they collapse easier." Ummm yeah - helpful note to adhere to for future Tirefields I encounter.

During a section called "Barricade Boulevard," where you climb over barricade walls at varying heights, there was a family sitting out on their lawn, cheering on the runners and blasting music. It was great to get some cheers on an otherwise isolated stretch of the course.

Now, I have a small fear of heights so all large walls scare me, but I went into the Gr8 Walls of Ruckus full force - pulling myself up using the rope offered and the pegs for stability. But, unlike when I ran the Warrior Dash in 2012, I felt like I was strong enough to get myself over. My upper body wasn't trembling having to hoist my body up the wall on this tiny rope.


Special thanks to Jillian Michaels 30-Day Shred for making that possible. :P

Now there wasn't a single mile marker along the course, which was kind of disturbing. I like to have some idea of how much longer I have to go.

Plus, it felt like we had been out there for an hour and had no perspective on what was really going on since we were out of earshot of the Finish Line MC for most the middle leg of the race.

Finally, we emerged from another section of trail running, and 2 nice high school girls kindly shouted that we were over half way done. The gentleman next to me loudly yelled: "Really? That's it." Where as I shouted, "Oh man, already?"

Sooo we can see who was having some fun and who wasn't. ;)

Right after seeing those girls we hit the Mud Garden, which included 4 mud hills leading to 3 mud pits. Yeah! The rule was you had to go feet first into all mud pits for safety and if you didn't you were pulled from the course.

I definitely know why they enforced this rule as I slid into the first mud pit from the first mud hill and immediately felt a large boulder under my butt.

Safety first friends!

This was about the time I started worrying I would lose a Superman cape or two, but thankfully they made it through the mud garden in tact.

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Once sufficiently covered in mud, it was back to a little trail running before emerging back on the original field/area we started on. I even spotted the wife as I emerged from the woods. YAY!

To make the 4-mile length, we actually ran through the large containers we jumped over during obstacle 1. Obstacle 1 also seemed like it had happened about 3 hours ago or 15 minutes ... again no watch I had no concept of time. :)

As I cleared the balance beam (thankfully there was an inflatable safety mat underneath) and twisted fences, I knew I was in the home stretch.

We twisted and turned through the Marshfield Fair grounds (which is really just a big open space that they made twisty and turny) and headed towards the Nose Bleed Nets you could hear the announcer shouting out Finisher names and times.

Once I made it to the top of the Nose Bleed Net, I heard him exclaim "And 15-year old" so-so finishes in blah blah blah. And since I have no filter I yelled "You've gotta be f*ckin' kidding me! 15 year old." Thankfully the gentleman next to me felt the blow to the ego like I did and we hustled our butts back down the cargo.

Thankfully, I had talked to someone that ran the course before and their big advice on the horizontal cargo net...

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... was to roll across it rather than trying to walk/crawl across. So that's what I did. Well, as best I could. The people behind me knew the same trick so we all tried to do it, but apparently the people in front of us didn't get the memo so it led to us getting trapped in the middle of the net.

Sooo before the people in front of us could get on the next cargo, we just kept screaming: "ROOOOLLLL!!! It will hurt, but you will get across faster."

Finally, it was time to tackle the final 3 obstacles:

1) 3 large walls that lacked any sort of rope or footing help. You basically had to run up it, grab on to the top and pull yourself over.

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Well that wasn't happening for me. Thankfully there was a volunteer at the top of Wall 1, who would grab your hand as you ran up the wall to help you grab the top - SUCCESS! On Wall 2, I asked a fellow runner if he would stop at the top so I could grab his hand - SUCCESS! Then Wall 3 (pictured above) had a LARGE mud puddle in front of it, which was throwing off my running start. So a volunteer suggested I run from the side (where guy is standing on the left). Same gentleman waited at the top for me to help. After 3 failed attempts, I told the guy to go on and I dejectedly walked around Wall 3. It was the only obstacle on the day I failed to complete.

2) mud pit - who doesn't love climbing through mud on rocks. I don't know how people were doing that part in shorts. I could feel my knees bruising through my pants and couldn't imagine having shorts on.

3) The climb to the Inflatable slide ...

... and then the glorious free fall!!

Here is a short video of me in action:

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I DID IT!! I caused a RUCKUS! :)

I was beaming besides a slight pain in my ankle after I awkwardly landed on it during the final wall obstacle.

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What a rush of excitement, pride, strength and overall awesomeness!

Instead of medals, they gave out sweet pint glasses...

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... but you know I would've rather a medal! Maybe next year? ;)

We headed to the wash station so I could hose myself off after changing in the Women's Changing Tent and heading home.

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But before we left, we donated my shoes to Barrel Aid.

Ruckus Sports is excited to partner with Barrel Aid to provide shoes to children and teens in need. Barrel Aid will collect your muddy shoes post-event, clean them and ship them to Mission-Haiti’s schools in the mountains around Ti-Rivier, Haiti with all of the remaining shoes going to children and teens in need in the Dakota area. Barrel Aid supplies clean shoes, fresh water, food, schooling and hope for over 1,600 children in Southern Haiti where no other groups are serving and the need is extremely urgent.

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I decided to skip the post-race beer (sorry I think it was Coors Light) and head out.

The grounds were bumping with people partying/celebrating their run being over and people arriving for the later waves.

Racewire did the timing and before we left the parking lot I had a text with my official time.

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Racewire used live results so you could refresh the website to see the results change as the heats went on. I was pretty darn impressed with my numbers.

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Excuse me I ended up in top 4.4% of my age - say wha???

Overall, Ruckus Boston was an amazing experience. Once I started, the nerves went away. The field was truly made up of all ages, sizes and athletic abilities. It was amazing to see so many teams of friends coming out to get active together. Plus, people's costumes were phenomenal.

If I do this race next year, I will be sure to have a team full of friends with me ... with some badass costumes of course! :)


Have you done an obstacle course race before? Did you compete alone or with a team?

Journey To Becoming A Spinning Instructor...

Never thought I would title a blog post like that. I mean when I started this weight loss/fitness journey almost four years ago - Spinning wasn't even on my radar.

But, as the pounds starting coming off, I found myself comfortable ENOUGH to take my first Spinning class.

Yes, I hung out in the back row ... in the corner ... where no one could really see what I was doing.

Thankfully the Spinning Instructor I usually attended also liked to keep the lights low ... maybe because it was like 5:30 in the morning. :P

But, once I started attending Spinning classes I got hooked. Especially because of the diverse population of the class. There were people of all ethnicities, sizes, athletic abilities and ages.

Spinning appeared to be a class that ANYONE could take ... and I loved that.

The more and more I attended Spinning classes the more comfortable I felt on the bike.

Oh don't think I started plopping my big butt in the front row. HELL NO!

I - to this day - tend to keep myself in the back row, but I don't tend to think that everyone else is staring at me judging my form.

I love Spinning because you get in your OWN zone and can make the class what YOU want. LOVE!

When I was featured in TimeOut Chicago in December 2011 about my weight loss - I talked about my love of Spinning so they had me do my photo shoot on the Spinning bike! :)



Who would have thought that 1) I would be in a magazine and 2) They would want to take my picture on a Spinning bike.

But that whole experience just solidified my love of Spinning.

So when we made the decision to move back to Boston in 2012, the idea of possibly becoming a Spinning Instructor started popping into my head.

I got wrapped into running road races and becoming a Weight Watchers Leader during that time so I just attended my usual 2-3 Spinning classes a week and the idea of becoming a Spinning Instructor was pushed to the back burner.

But that all changed in December 2012 when I finally took the plunge and signed up on December 18 for the Spinning Instructor Orientation for March 9, 2013.

There was no looking back now.


And if I didn't like it or didn't do well - at least the all-day orientation would give me a nice lesson in the background of Spinning.

Before I knew it it was time to attend the Orientation in Manchester, NH ... which was yesterday.

It is roughly an hour trip from Boston to Manchester so I woke up at 5:45 to make sure I had all the essentials packed - lunch, snacks, water, workout clothes, manual, etc - and hit the road at 6:30.

I made sure to stop by Dunkin' Donuts for an Iced Coffee before I hit the highway. ;)

The drive was simple since pretty much everyone else was probably asleep at that time. It was simple until I was about 1/2 a mile from the facility then I got into trouble. I kept circling and circling, but couldn't find the right path to the Executive Health & Sports Center.

Thankfully I found a local Dunkin' Donuts and the women there knew exactly where to send me and within 3 minutes I was there. :)

And THAT is when the nerves really started setting in...

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This adventure was FAR out of my comfort zone and as I saw the other students walking in and looking super fit ... I started to doubt my right to be there.

But, with the help of my other half and my Twitter peeps, I got the courage to walk into the conference room.

There were 20 of us in this particular orientation with an amazing Master Trainer Jennifer Ward.

We went around introducing ourselves and of the 20 people in that group, 4 had lost over 100 pounds ... including one woman who shed 198 pounds. Wow did I feel lame with my 60+ lb weight loss. (I was the third person to introduce myself so those 4 people were all after I shared).

(Editors Note: Yes I know I cannot compare my weight loss journey to anyone else's because I didn't have 100 lbs to lose - but I still get caught in that initial reaction of "man, my story isn't that great.")

The majority of the morning was spent learning the background and basics of Spinning - which was thoroughly entertaining - before we actually got on the bikes to ride.

We learned all the basics of the Spinning bikes and how to truly fit someone to a bike ... and then it was time to ride.

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 Our first of two rides of the day was all about the forms and moves of Spinning.

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It was a great experience. I felt more knowledgable just walking out of that ride.

We then broke for lunch at about 2:30/2:45, which made the afternoon fly since we were supposed to end around 5:30.

The afternoon was looking more into how to put together a Spinning class, which I was most interested in. It was enlightening. There is SO much that goes into a 45 minutes Spinning class.

Before we knew it, it was time for a shortened final ride - since we were running a little over - and then the day would be complete.

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The Master Trainer put us through a great 30 minute Spinning class. Boy was I feeling it, but loved every minute of it.

And with that the day was over and I officially completed the Spinning Instructor Orientation...

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... but the journey isn't over.

This certificate does give me permission to now lead Spinning classes, but I still need to pass an online assessment to officially be a certified Spinning Instructor.

And then of course I need to start searching for a gym to teach at. Eeek!! Another "out of the comfort zone" experience I will be going through. :P

But I went into the day frightened and doubting whether I deserved to be there and left feeling stronger and more determined to reach the Finish Line! :)

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Additional Note: After publishing this post, I actually took ... AND PASSED ... my Spinning Instructor Assessment!! WOOOO!!!

Really Self A Triathlon?

TRUTH! I went so far out of my comfort zone on Friday and signed up for my first triathlon ...

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... and immediately made this face:

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Yup - exactly. :P

This is the face expressing:








If you told me four years ago, that I would be training for the Boston Marathon, that I would be attending a 9-hour class on Saturday to try and get certified as a Spin Instructor or that I would be constantly going outside of my comfort zone ... I would've told you to stop dreaming!

But thanks to Weight Watchers and shedding 60+ lbs - it is happening. It is the truth.

In December 2012, I was thinking back about how I had set out my goals for 2012 and completed them all, which I was proud of on it's own. But, it got me thinking about what I wanted to see happen in 2013.

And a little voice in my head kept repeating "triathlon ... triathlon ... triathlon" over and over and over again. So I took that little word and stored it in the back of my brain for safe keeping since clearly it wasn't something I would ever really do.

I mean I'm not built to do a triathlon.

Plus, I was focusing on my Boston Marathon training plan and making sure I could follow through with that.

Then a few weeks back I started thinking - what am I going to do after the Boston Marathon? What do I want to do next?

I've been toying with the idea of trying to qualify for Boston (aka take 24 minutes off my current marathon time), but then that pesky little word crept back into the front of my mind: triathlon.

Now, I'm not sure if it was a high power or fate or destiny or dumb luck, but on Friday I was wasting some time on Facebook and up posted a status update from Boston Triathlon. I really don't remember ever even liking their page.

So I had to click through to their Facebook page, which led to clicking on their webpage, which was followed by reading through the event details, which somehow ended with me pulling out my credit card and registering.

Do we see how this all happened because of Facebook. Can I blame them? ;)

I was gchatting with the wife while I kept clicking through from page to page and asked if I should really do this. But, before she could really say yes - I had already hit SUBMIT ... and the rest is history.

It's like the stars aligned and it was just meant to be as I was looking for something to train for locally so I'm excited that my first tri will be in Boston so my family can come cheer me on. :)

So now once I run the Boston Marathon on April 15 I will take a couple weeks off and then begin Tri training.

The Boston Triathlon is on August 4 and looks to be a Sprint Triathlon (or closest definition of a tri I could find). It features a 1/2 mile swim, a 9 mile bike and a 4 mile run.

I know I can complete all of the components now I just need to make sure I can do them consecutively on the same day. :P

I am currently shopping around for Sprint Triathlon training plans so if you know of any, please pass them along!

Now that the registration is complete - it's time to buy a bike and a wetsuit.

I am excited to share the training process with you all ... since this is completely new to me!

Let's Do This!

I Tried Crossfit ... Seriously!

This is a sentence I never thought I would utter: I went to a Crossfit session.

Yes, me.


I follow so many people on Social Media that are Crossfitters that I had to give it a try.

I worked the Red Sox employee Wellness Fair for Weight Watchers earlier this month and my table was set up next to CrossFit Fenway. I got to chat with Eric, who ended up being the owner of CrossFit Fenway, and he let me know a lot about CrossFit and that you could try a class out for free.

He gave me his card and the seed was planted.

I decided that I had to try Crossfit before 2012 ended so last week I emailed Eric and let him know I was down for the December 26th 6pm "basic training" class, aka beginners.

Basic Training is:

"Our Basic Training class is an opportunity for new CrossFitters to work on building a solid foundation of movement, or for veteran CrossFitters to brush up on their technique.  It currently runs Monday through Thursday at 6 PM on a 2 week cycle."

I arrived at CrossFit Fenway 10 minutes early in order to sign the waiver and see what I got myself in to. ;)

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After filling out the waiver, Eric had me wait for the instructor, Mandy to start.

It really worked out in my favor to pick a class the day after Christmas because it ended up just being 2 of us, Vida & I, in the "basic training" 6pm class.

We kicked it off with some great dynamic  stretching. I actually felt more flexible than normal and I think I owe a lot of that to Pure Bare Burlington and the techniques I learned in my month there that I still use now.

After the stretching portion, Mandy had us work on the correct form for squats. We started with air squats then worked on it using a pvc pipe instead of the bar.

But then it was bar time. :)

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This was my squat station when we moved up to using the actual bar. :0) We did 5 reps of 5 squats. I decided not to up the weights as the reps went on because I really wanted to make sure I had the technique down.

Plus I had just done hill repeats earlier in the afternoon so I wasn't going to push the quads too much. :P

After squats we moved on to the W.O.D. (Workout Of the Day) and today we did the "Half Cindy," which meant we needed to do as many reps as possible of the workout in 10 minutes. A regular Cindy workout would have been 20 minutes.

Our workout was:

5 Pullups

10 Pushups

15 Air Squats

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Here is where the pullups happened.

No no no I didn't do pullups on this with my own strength. Thankfully for weaklings like me they have bands that you can use to assist you with the pullups. As JT said "You can have the sensation like you're flying through the air."

(Note: since it was a slow post-holiday night, we ended up with man-on-man help during our class. Wicked beneficial for this newbie. Mandy helped Vida through the W.O.D. and JT helped me)

Since I also am new-ish to pushups (started regularly in November), I used the box below to assist me.

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I owe a big thanks to JT for keeping me going and helping me with my form throughout the workout.

10 minutes passes really quickly when you are trying to fit in as many reps as possible. :P

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This means I am weak. :P

Okay it means I completed the workout 5 full times plus 5 pullups and 9 pushups (hence 14). Vida dominated it.

Then before I knew it we were done.

It was over ... and I hit my snack! ;)

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I want to thank Eric, Mandy and JT for giving me a great CrossFit experience.

I sucked. I felt weak. But I am proud of myself for walking through the door and giving it a try. As I said at the beginning, I never thought I would walk through the door to begin with.

This just showed me that I need to keep working, keep pushing and anything is possible.

Have you tried CrossFit? What did you like about it? What didn't you like?

Pure Barre Bursts My Comfort Zone

Ever since I joined Weight Watchers in November 2009 and started my weight loss and fitness journey, I have been constantly trying new things outside of my comfort zone.

Scared? You bet!

With each passing experience - trying my first Spin class, my first Body Pump class, joining road races - you would think going into a new class would get easier. But for me, that hasn't been the case.

Despite losing over 60 lbs, many times I still see myself as the 217 lb girl when I walk into a new adventure instead of the new fitter version.


I think that other people in the room still see that version of me on the left rather than the one on the right.

BUT, I don't let the inner fear hold me back any longer. I use it to fuel me. That and my amazing support system of friends, family and social media.

If they believe in me then I should believe in myself.

So all of this, helped me break through that cozy comfort zone and attempt Pure Barre ... and I am incredibly happy that I have.

Plus the staff (Jess, Dana, Danielle and Becca) and the other members create such a safe environment that my worries of looking like an idiot or doing the move incorrectly and being judged for it completely go away. You don't find that everywhere.

I was even more excited for my Third Class at Pure Barre Burlington on Friday because I had not 1, but 4 friends joining me!

Thankfully Jess was offering a "Bring A Friend" deal on Black Friday so I invited my friend and fitness accountability buddy Lindsey to come with me.

Then as the class got closer my cousin Jen let me know that she would be at the noon class with 2 of her friends as well.


The Pure Barre love is already spreading amongst my friends and it has only been a week. :)

They were ready to Lift, Tone & Burn.

The Friday noon class was packed - I think people were taking full advantage to get in a good sweat after Thanksgiving. I know I was.

It was funny being the Pure Barre "veteran" amongst my little crew since it was only my third class, but I was wicked excited to hear what they thought.

This was my first class with the instructor Becca, but had met her before - she is super nice and super motivating.

I wasn't quite sure how the class would go for me after doing a Thanksgiving 5k the day before, but I was up for the challenge.

We started off with the warmup of arms and core. I usually use the 3 lb weights since I have a weaker left shoulder from a 2006 car accident. But, even those were feeling a little heavy so for part of the warmup I went weights free and still felt it working my muscles.

After the warmup, we moved on to the thigh work. It's interesting how such tiny movements of your leg or thigh can work so many areas of your body. It really does shock and amaze me.

But, just working on stretching out my leg and making small dime-sized circles with the foot pointed can be felt throughout my entire leg/hip area. I love that ... and hate it at the same time. ;)

For some reason, my hips were a little sore on Friday so I had to take more breaks than usual while working at the barre for seat work. But to keep myself working, whenever I took a break I continued to "tuck my tailbone" so the abs weren't missing out on anything.

Maybe I was just having an off day, but I was having a tough time keeping up with the tempo, but I appreciated how others were also taking breaks when needed and just getting right back to it when they felt comfortable and ready.

I could see my cousin raise an eyebrow when they announced that we would be finishing the class with seven minutes of abs, but I promised her it didn't really feel like 7 minutes. :)

But, after we finished our final 2:30 of class with some great tucking while in a bridge, I checked in to see how the girls liked the class.

And - not shocking to me - they all loved the class and told Jess they would all be back again. Yay! We had some more converts already.

(Note: my cousin just texted me that she will be attending the noon class today)


I have now taken three classes at Pure Barre and had each of the instructors (Jess, Dana & Becca) and I LOVE how each class has a set formula when it comes to which parts of the body need to be worked, but each class and instructor make it their own. So they tweak and change up which how you do the thigh work so you don't get bored.

Now I can't wait to see what Dana will have in store Monday morning...