Elena S.

Elena S.

Alumni
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Wedding season lifesaver! :-) 

Though I still have a few days before I've made it through all the lessons and workouts, I'm so glad to be here at the finish line of Kenzai Run 10k again! This time went splendidly - no injuries, lots of energy, and my love of running was really rekindled this time around.

Also, great stress relief in the weeks leading up to my wedding, and a nice space for savoring the feelings after it all! :-)

Here's a final question for the trainers: the one thing that didn't improve at all during this training cycle was my speed. I didn't see progress in my pace as it related to my effort level. If I want to continue doing a running-focused routine through the end of the year, how can I best develop more running efficiency (faster at the same effort level)?

Any suggestions are much appreciated as I try and take this a bit farther! :-)


I feel like this week's strength training hit on my weakest spot: shoulders! Generally I get shocked at how little upper body strength I have. I can barely do a set of good form push ups, and Da Vinci's just hit an amazing wall for me, only about half-way up.

I'm thinking about doing Reboot after this, but I want to keep running for a few more weeks before the season ends. Hmm.


Dead lift...whaaa?!

Was anyone crazy sore in the hammies after those faux-dead lifts??! What does it mean that I was? I've always suspected that I have over-developed quads and under-developed hamstrings, and the level of soreness I experienced after those dead lifts (without any weights even!) seemed to confirm that.

Also: I love fartleks! :-)


Wow, Team Ohio I am sorry for the neglect this past week or so! One week ago today Josh and I got government married at City Hall, then two days later we renewed our vows in front of 130 of our friends and family. Couch those events with days of family stuff and then a little trip to the beach at the end. What a crazy time!

The whole wedding event lasted pretty much a full week, and I'm very happy to say that I felt great throughout it all! Super energetic and happy, and then I slept amazingly well when we went out of town for two nights on a mini-moon of sorts. :-)

I am officially ready to get back in the swing of everything starting tomorrow. I am finally back up to speed with work and my regular life tasks and it feels amazing to not have that endless wedding to-do list hanging over me all the time now. I'm FREEEEE! :-)

What I really am is essentially a week behind the rest of you. Even though I did do some running during wedding week, it was all over the place and I hardly ate anything out of nervousness, excitement and busyness so it was not the most optimal Kenzai week in a nutrition sense. I'm looking forward to getting back on track and kicking off married life feeling sexy and healthy! ;-)


Hi everyone! T minus 2 days until the wedding week events start to kick off and I’m feeling so happy and thankful that my body feels injury free and energized going into all the fun!

I took yesterday off from the workout because I was feeling pretty run down, and it was definitely the right thing. I did the 6k this morning instead and it was great! I felt that old familiar “I could run forever!” around mile 3 and that was a huge boost.

As the wedding approaches it’s nice to reflect on things during the runs, and get into the spirit of this time (easier to do when I have some space from my to-do list!).

What is everyone doing for cardio days? For me, I’ve been taking them as pseudo rest days. I say pseudo because I bike for around 30 minutes in a regular day (not as designated workouts, it’s just how I get around) so I do get the technical minutes in but I think overall that biking adds up and my body could use a rest day once a week instead.

In terms of my mantra from last week’s lesson, I have to admit I’ve been doing more visualizing about my wedding during the runs than anything else. I do generally come back to a feeling of gratitude though, an appreciation that I’m lucky to have a body that can do this at all. not really a mantra, but it has been really motivating for me!


wedding countdown!

We are less than 2 weeks out from the big day and sh*t is getting real!

So many details and things to double check, I probably won’t be on the blogs too much until after 10/7. I’m starting to fantasize about married life post-wedding. I’m going to have so much free time and clear mental space! Not to mention the drop in anxiety! Plus, that whole commitment thing! 😉 Woohooo can’t wait!

In the meantime, I’m really glad that I’m doing KRun in the midst of it all. It’s helping me with stress management, and I’m sure I’d be sleeping even worse without it. I’ve also been meditating which I’m really thankful for. I feel like I plugged these healthy elements into my life just before things got insane, and that is so crucial! Once things are intense it can be really hard to make the healthy choices. No brainer when you’re on program though!

I’m sending good vibes to my Ohio teammates! I hope everyone’s 5k went well this weekend. I did the run at night which was totally different for me (had to squeeze it in somewhere...). I love the perspective you can get when running long. In a weird way I find it deeply relaxing!


Running in Bean Town

I'm in Boston for a friend's wedding this weekend, and I'm about to head out on my run (I'm switching running and cross-training days so that I can run around the Boston harbor!). This is something I love about running - that it's an amazing way to get a unique perspective on places. When I used to run a lot years ago I was also traveling a lot internationally for work, and I felt such a kinship with cities I visited, because I saw so much of them by running around!

Hope everyone's feeling good. I also feel like I've dusted off the cobwebs these past two weeks. The body feels good, a little creaky but I feel strong and energized. The diet has also been do-able, despite my insane schedule these days (2 full-time jobs, 2 consulting gigs and wedding planning is all happening this month, but luckily I operate better when I have less wiggle room so everything is still getting done!). One thing I think I've mastered through years of Kenzai programs is the food prep. It's still a lot to do, but I am much more efficient with it now than I was five years ago! :-)


Can't wait for the last run of the week today! (I'll be doing it later this afternoon.) I've been happy to rein it in this week concerning my diet, preparing mentally for the grams ahead!


Day 1!

I feel so darn READY for this program! This will be my second time attempting KRun 10k, and I'm really excited! Last time (back in May) I had to bow out early because of back pain, but I've since [mostly] overcome that (it's something for another blog post, but the book "Healing Back Pain" helped in a huge way and really rocked my world!).

The little baby workout today was certainly achievable, and it just felt good to put on the gear and get it done. I can't wait for tomorrow's run!

p.s. Teammates, don't be put off by my day 1 pic please! I took that the evening after a cross-country plane ride, on the heels of a week-long vacation. The vacation was super healthy in many ways (good rest, lots of physical activity), but we were in Oregon and there is so much great beer and wine there! I didn't have a blow-out, but 8 days of having a drink or two every day does not do a body good...especially not mine. I'm excited to see a significant de-bloat in my end of week 1 pic!


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Final Reach post! 

Wow, I can't believe Reach is already over! This was a hard program for me because of my lack of time to be a real presence with the team and on the website. I started a second full-time job throughout this summer and I'm officially at my time and energy limit - I just couldn't scrape any more from that barrel.

The great news, for me, is that my main goal in doing Reach has been achieved: no back pain!! Okay, there still might be some lingering tweaks, but I am SO much improved it's wonderful. I credit the whole program, but I think the morning movements alone really made the difference for me. I will be doing them post-program, for sure!

Now my plan is to ease back into more intense cardio. I had to cut my Kenzai Run program short this spring because of my back pain and I'm excited to revisit that program again (starting today, in fact!). I've found that more intense exercise is really necessary for me to maintain my mood and my body weight. Of course on the latter there, 80% is diet and that's always a challenge, but I have seen the loss of that 20% so I'm excited to start moving again.

Congratulations to all of my Reach teammates! I'm sorry again that I wasn't more present on the blogs, but you all helped me a lot in spirit! :-)


hello from Denver!

I'm feeling a lot of Kenzai love right now, and my plane is waiting to get to my gate so I finally have a moment to write on this dusty blog! :-)

I just flew from MYC to Denver and I have no back pain or discomfort of any kind! I am so happy, and I know that the Reach movements are to thank.

Yay for pain-free travel!


MIA but still reaching!

Hi everyone! A quick update from Brooklyn: 2 full time jobs and wedding planning has left me with nothing for my Kenzai blog or teammates. I'm sorry I haven't been more of my normal presence during this program!! I'm loving the exercises and I feel such progress with the morning movements especially - those are my favorite part and I've completely made them a habit. My back pain is abating, slowly but surely, and I'm sure Reach is helping.

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer! I've also got a ton of travel coming up, so I'm not sure my blog presence will improve...

Heading to Vermont then Colorado (both work trips for cheese stuff!), then Minneapolis and Chicago to visit friends. Then at the end of August we are going on an epic 9 day trip to Oregon! I really can't wait for that one. Once we're back we will be about 5 weeks out from our wedding - woohooo!!


Weekly Question Catch-Up!

A Kenzai first: I got not one but TWO reminders to blog post! Life is a little full these days, but I'm happy to say that incorporating Reach has been easy and a welcome addition to my other body-healing efforts. I have been a little less strict on the diet front, but that's been necessary as both of my jobs have ramped up in the past few weeks and wedding planning is getting into full-swing (staying sane, don't worry!).

Okay, time for these weekly question answers:

What part of your life feels locked-up and closed-off? What's one thing you can do to create more space and openness around the issue?
The answer for this one that comes to mind is less about my life and more about my Mom's. I've become increasingly worried and concerned about her health and longevity, but she has not been open to talking about it. In terms of what I can do to create more space and openness around the issue, I really don't know. I've tried the whole "model the behavior" thing, but that hasn't yielded anything. Direct conversations about it don't seem to work at all, and I was kind of interested to see if she'd take my pending wedding as a prompt to jumpstart some health goals but that's not happening. Honestly I think the best thing I can do to create more space and openness around the issue is to stop thinking something will change and just accept that my mom is not going to change in this realm.

When you look at your life, what trends are moving in the wrong direction? What trends are moving in the right direction?
My professional trends are moving in the right direction! I have a really fun and interesting new side gig, filled with the most friendly, kind and smart people I've worked with in years. Also, my relationship is moving in the right direction! We're getting married and with that has come a lot of great dreaming and planning for the future. It has been a really nice new chapter already. :-)
In terms of trends moving in the wrong direction I'll point to my ailing body. I have had a really hard time this past year in overcoming back pain and hip issues, and I'm not out of the woods yet. It feels like being in debt - like I'm paying for stress and neglect in the past, and that sucks! I'm just trying to keep my head down and get through it though, no other option when it comes to taking care of the bod!


Beliefs q

What beliefs and philosophies do you base your life choices on?

I feel like these ideas are too big to explain in detail, so a list seems like the only way to just get them out:

Kindness and patience: creating an environment that nurtures those traits.
Low impact: living a life that doesn't destroy the earth or disrupt the experiences of people around me.
My destiny is a choice: I believe anything is possible, it's just a matter of choosing to go down a certain path and aligning things to make a desire come to fruition.
Experience over ownership: this is a little more of a surface-level philosophy, but it's a BIG part of how I live my day to day. I try to have very few belongings, I try not to acquire things. I try to use the sharing economy as much as possible and spend my energy and resources on experiences and ideas, not on material goods.


Update!

Wow that last week went by fast!

Overall things are going well. I struggle with the diet sometimes still. I think what happens is something occasionally triggers a short descent into unhealthy consumption. I'm going to try and identify the triggers in a real way over the next month. After seven years of doing Kenzai I know that it's not as simple as following the diet and consequently feeling fine. I can feel that my hormones go through phases where they effect me in major ways each month. Do other women Kenzai veterans see/feel this as well?

This makes me think of a program I would love to see in Kenzai. Could even be a skill build thingy (I forget what we are calling those), something like "get to know your cycle" - a women only program with an emphasis on understanding mood changes and nutrition needs throughout the month. I guess what I experience is that week to week my body and hormones can be very different, and I think that might be at the heart of why the diet part of Kenzai only works some of the time. I feel like I've spent my life trying to "just muscle through" the times when the diet doesn't work. What if we could anticipate those times and have different game plans for different times in our cycles??

I'm really "thinking out loud" here, but have I just struck a nerve with any of the Kenzai ladies out there??


May 5th, 2016

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