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When It’s Good, It’s Great

I taught my normal Monday hot class this evening but it was one of those classes where everything seemed right. I felt instantly engaged and connected. The moment I walked in the studio door after a long afternoon at work, I knew it was going to be good.

This is in stark contrast to last week’s class where I felt disconnected and stumbled over my words, nothing came naturally. My mind was somewhere else.

I talked to my class this evening about accepting both the good and the bad practices. Some days it’s easy and you leave feeling on top of the world. Other days require a bit more digging to make peace with your body and mind and you leave kind of wondering what just happened there.

If it was easy all the time, it wouldn’t be any fun.

This has been one of my biggest lessons as both a runner/yoga student and as a teacher. Some days it’s just not there and you really can’t force it. These days, instead of getting frustrated with my run or my practice, I figure out a way to get something out of it that I perhaps wasn’t looking for when I started out. When I am teaching and discover that it’s one of those days I give myself a break instead of beating myself up. It’s impossible to be 100% on every single day. And I know my students are okay with a little imperfection…it’s what makes us real.

That said, when it’s good…it’s great. I always love teaching but classes like tonight’s leave me feeling so lucky and grateful that people actually choose to allow me to guide them through their practices. I only hope that when they roll up their mats, they feel a sense of personal achievement and self-worth for the things they accomplished.

It’s much the same with my personal practice and running. The tough ones make the good ones so much better. There is no better feeling than the triumph and rush that comes with a really strong practice or run. I feel endless thanks for the things that my body does for me.

What lessons have you learned from making it through “bad” workouts/runs/practices?

I was up waaayyy before the sun this morning (like 4:45 a.m. before the sun) to teach BodyPump. After class I came home and made a pot of oat bran/oatmeal while I got ready for work.

This was a mix of rolled oats, oat bran, ground flax, banana, pumpkin, cinnamon and dried cranberries. Topped with TJs pumpkin butter and almond butter.

Lunch was an open-faced sandwich with hummus, mashed avocado, heirloom tomatoes, spinach and cheese on whole wheat. Carrots, tortilla chips and a peach on the side.

I packed a Greek yogurt/fig/granola mix for an afternoon snack.

And finally, dinner was leftovers from Saturday’s get together. Pulled pork, baked beans, collards and cole slaw. Just as good as round one!

Oh…and then this happened. 😉

I used my powers of Twitter persuasion (uh…never mind he was sitting right next to me) to convince Brandon to go to TCBY with me.

Brandon, Sullie and I loaded into the car and took a trip to TCBY. I won’t even begin to start listing what went into this concoction but the highlight was the cookies and cream yogurt flavor + waffle cone pieces as a topping.

Must go prep for my day tomorrow and then get in bed to read. Trying to finish the last Hunger Games book. Call me crazy but they’re no Twilight series for me.

{ 28 comments… add one }
  • Holly @ Pink Runner September 12, 2011, 10:18 pm

    Ahhh so glad you are a Twilight fan 🙂 I’m ready to re-read Breaking Dawn before the movie is out next month!

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 9:50 am

      i really loved the twilight books…and while i think the hunger games are entertaining, they are not sucking me in like twilight. and i miss edward! 😉

  • Laura September 12, 2011, 10:20 pm

    This is so true!!! “If it was easy all the time, it wouldn’t be any fun.”

  • pamela September 12, 2011, 10:37 pm

    Jen, I really just have to thank you for being the person you are and blogging about it. You have no idea what an impact you have had on my life. In so many ways, I am going through similar things: I had a bad hamstring injury and had to stop running and I’m going through a yoga teacher training (with Rolf Gates in Washington, DC). Last weekend in my teacher training, we talked about what makes a good class. And Rolf said that in his first 5 years he had an awful class and a great class. An awful class and a great class. Etc. He told us about how being connected to our students is the most important part. And we also talked about compassion as part of the yoga sutras. And how we have to have compassion for ourselves in order to have compassion for other people. I just want you to know how much I love your blog. I tend to be too hard on myself and often, when I read your blog, I lighten up on myself, I recommit to a healthy lifestyle, and I smile again. Namaste.

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 10:57 am

      pamela – thank you so much for your comment. i read it right before bed last night and it brought a smile to my face and warmth to my heart. sometimes blogging feels very one-way and to hear comments like this completely makes me feel connected to the amazing people reading my blog and makes all the time that i put into it worthwhile.

      our similarities are crazy. i hope you are enjoying TT with rolf. how interesting that you just had that discussion in training last weekend. honestly, i’ve found the hardest part about teaching yoga to be connecting with my classes and not just being a voice up there talking. but when i do connect…the feeling is incredible and i know that the best decision that i ever made was to go through teacher training.

      enjoy your experience. soak it all in. let it transform you. and love yourself. xoxoxoxo

  • Kate September 12, 2011, 10:41 pm

    Learning lately that you’re right, the bad makes the good so much better. Not only in my yoga practice and running, but in all aspects of life!!

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 10:58 am

      very true kate! this is definitely a lesson that applies beyond working out. alaina has a great example below of how this relates to work too.

  • Joanna September 12, 2011, 11:04 pm

    Just started following your blog and I love it! I am not a blog reader but yours drew me in! I am a runner w/ degree in nutrition and I am also from GA living out of state so it brought me comfort to read about the South again 🙂 Can’t wait to continue reading!

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:00 am

      joanna – thank you so much for not only reading but commenting too! i am happy to hear that you are enjoying my blog and that i can give you a little reminder about the south!

  • erica September 13, 2011, 7:45 am

    i just finished a 4 month break from running bc of achilles tendonitis! ive learned how impprtant it is to appreciate every run i am able to start and finish. im still working on stretching/foam rolling~ im usually to lazy to do it.

    side note: ive been reading your blog forever and im actually road tripping down to charlotte for a grad school info session next week. if you only had 48 hours to spend in charlotte, what are some must see sites/restaurants(vegan/vegetarian)/stores (clothes) to visit?? thanks in advance!!! (:


    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:02 am

      hi erica! i am so sorry to hear about your achilles tendonitis. i dealt with that injury while training for my first marathon and i know how painful and frustrating it is. keep up with the stretching and foam rolling. lengthen and loosen those calf muscles! 😉

      i’m not sure what part of town you are going to be in but i can definitely give you some recommendations on what to check out. shoot me an email! peanutbutterrunner (at) gmail (dot) com.

      you’ll love charlotte! 🙂

  • Mary Beth September 13, 2011, 8:19 am

    Hi Jen- did you follow a recipe for the oatbran/oatmeal? I just bought some Oatbran at TJ’s and am not sure what to do with it…

    I’ve learned with bad workouts to at least celebrate the fact that I got to workout! I’ve never regretted doing it, but often regret when I don’t get out there and exercise.

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:05 am

      i did not follow a recipe…this was actually my first time trying oat bran. i didn’t think that i would like the texture of straight oat bran so i mixed it with regular oats. here’s the mix i did.

      1/4 cup oat bran (scant…not quite a full 1/4 cup)
      1/4 cup oats (scant…same as above)
      1 tablespoon ground flax
      1/2 banana, sliced thinly
      1/4 cup pureed pumpkin
      dried cranberries
      sprinkle of salt
      1/2 cup water
      1/2 cup skim milk

      cooked over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. i vigorously stir it at the end to get the banana to break up and the oats to fluff…if that makes any sense.

      let me know if you have questions!

  • Alaina September 13, 2011, 9:19 am

    I actually feel that way about my job. There are some days that seem so tough and I can’t seem to make any guest happy or they’re just a bit too demanding, and I go home feeling like I didn’t give 100%. Then there are days where everyone is happy, the guests are appreciative of my help, and it makes me feel so good about what I do. 🙂

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:10 am

      alaina – i definitely agree that work can be like that too…some days are “i love my job!” and others not so much!

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:10 am

      alaina – i definitely agree that work can be like that too…some days are “i love my job!” and others not so much!

      i think it is really cool that you have direct communication with guests in your job. i know it is rewarding when you really help them out!

  • Tiff @ Love Sweat and Beers September 13, 2011, 9:43 am

    Great post! Is it to negative to say that a bad run only teaches me how much I despise running? haha. I know what you mean though. You’ve gotta’ bust out of that comfort zone.

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:12 am

      tiff…your honesty is refreshing! 🙂

      and such a testament to not everyone has to be a runner or like running! i don’t know why it seems so much like “the” thing to do!

  • Alyssa September 13, 2011, 10:00 am

    Jen…I was in both these Monday classes you are talking about. I know each day can bring different energy; but trust me, as a student my practice was just as full in each of those classes. Just goes to show that as a teacher, your style isn’t effected, even though you think it might have been. I look forward to my practice with you. You bring out a calm, and focus in me that I am so greateful for.
    Thank you for helping me grow as a yogi and a person! See you soon girl.

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:17 am

      alyssa – you are so sweet to comment. thank you so much. the most challenging part about teaching yoga for me has been the desire to not just be saying the right words and taking you through a tough class but feeling present there with you and connected. when it does happen…if feels right and good. it seriously is the highlight of my day to spend time at the studio, both as a student and teacher.

      you are amazing and i can’t wait to see you again soon.

  • Kelly @foodiefresh September 13, 2011, 10:20 am

    I had pumpkin in my oats this morning, but it really could have used some pumpkin butter. I might have to break down and buy some from TJ’s since I can’t get to the mountains to stock up on my favorite butters. I’m sad that you don’t like The Hunger Games that much. I really really loved the series so of course I want everyone to like it as much as me. So glad you’re really enjoying being a yoga teacher. 🙂

    • Jen September 13, 2011, 11:21 am

      it’s not that i don’t like the hunger games…it just isn’t twilight for me! edward just carved out a special place in my heart. 😉

      i really like the TJs pumpkin butter!

  • Lauren September 13, 2011, 3:53 pm

    I just started following your blog and you are such an inspiration! I have recently taken up running and while I’m nowhere near your level, I hope to be someday. This post inparticular is great to read, because I definitely feel discouraged some days. It will definitely be something I will try to keep in mind the next time I have a bad workout.

    Thank you for posting this!

  • Q. September 13, 2011, 4:50 pm

    I so needed this. Have had a string of “off” Combat classes and it gets REALLY frustrating! I’ll just patiently wait for the good class…I know it’s coming.

  • lindsay September 13, 2011, 5:32 pm

    way to go! Its easy to convince my hubs to go to FROYO. he loves it! in fact, he often has to convince me instead. I’m an ice cream girl.

  • courtney September 13, 2011, 5:57 pm

    I miss TCBY. It was how I made hot summers in Texas bearable.

  • Clara September 13, 2011, 10:10 pm

    I felt really frustrated during my run today, but thought of this post and decided to let it go! Yesterday felt great, but today was such a challenge. It’s nice to know I’m not the only one!

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