Sunday, February 27, 2022



Marathon training 2022

I am 3 weeks out from Shamrock Marathon- my first marathon since Big Sur in 2019 (which was my first back since Boston in 2013!)  It’s been an interesting few months getting back into marathon training.  I posted earlier about some challenging runs I have had.  I’ve also had some successful long runs and also important workouts to support these long runs.  It’s been a LOT of up an down.  2 weeks ago, I got so fatigued, I had 3 days in a row where I quit my runs.  It was like I couldn’t even run anymore.  I was tired, both physically and mentally.  After 3 days of trying, I took OFF.  OFF OFF OFF.  I laid in bed for two days.  I don’t even know if I was maybe sick?  I sometimes think maybe I had covid and never knew?  But then again, I know this time of year is ALWAYS FREEEAAAAKING HARD for me.  And this year has been BAD.  NO SUN.  Freaking ridiculously cold temperatures where it is just HARD to get outdoors into the air.  So I am not sure if this was an energy drop because of marathon training/high mileage, life fatigue both physically and mentally, or allergies, or what, but HOPEFULLY I am back on a sustainable energy path!

Today, I went out for what was to be my longest run.  23 miles. My previous long run was 21.5.  That went WELL.  (well means hard, was at the LIMIT LIMIT LIMIT of physically being doable, but I did it which is “well” in marathon training).  I woke up today feeling great.  I had really prepped well this week with a week of backing off/ regaining my energy, a decrease in miles, focused and DID my hydration. (I did it GUYS!  I did it! Anything is possible, haha!)  I went to bed early last night, woke up feeling great.  I began my 23 miles with a definite focus on easing in for a few miles, and then just holding steady, balancing being relaxed, mentally being a bit bored/ reminding myself to not think about time, reminding myself to focus on form, smooth relaxed focus, etc.  Everything was going along VERY WELL- I was pleasantly surprised, up until 16 miles.  I began to feel my hip hurting.  Hmmm…. It was okay though.  Kept focus on form to make sure I wasn’t fatiguing and letting something go weird with footstrike, posture, etc.  Mile 18:  HIP HURTS.  KINDA A LOT.  Of course I always ask on a scale from 1/10.  AT this point, I was like, it is pretty bad, like 8.4/10 I thought.  I reminded myself that honestly, what would be worse, this hip pain or having DIARRHEA?!!!  HA!  I’d rather manage the hip pain at that point.  (honestly there is just nothing worse than needing to go to the bathroom and having no place to go).  I carried on.   Mile 19:  I’m at 9/10 pain.  I said, OK, muddle through 2 more miles as much as you can, when you get to 21, you can walk 1 min, then jog the rest of the mile, and do the same thing once more to the finish.  So, I have 2 more miles in my head, right?  (to get to where I get to walk a bit).  I am head down, muddling.  Have ZERO CARES for how bad this looks to anyone on the road passing me because I am not embarrassed, I am just 1000% managing pain.  Everything I have is just to keep steady form, step by step.  Mile 21, I make it and walk 1 min.  OHHH GOSH THIS IS SO UGLY.  I barely can walk.  I do knee to chest a few steps to try to stretch out glutes (excuse me, it is actually more like knee up 2 inches because that is all that I can manage).  My minute is up, I go to jog again, and it is NOT HAPPENING.  I am completely limping in my jog now.  I cannot land fully on my hip, it is a waddle/limp and I realize this is very bad for my back.  Of course my hip is the most pain, but I know the implications for future hip but also BACK and I know I am just doing damage.  I know I need to stop.  I walk it out.  I now cannot even walk.  My walk limp may even be worse than my run limp.   And I have 1.5 miles left to get home.  I have no phone.  I cannot even walk now, I’m standing on north shore and cannot walk so I grab a speed limit sign post and lean to stretch calves while I think.  OK, maybe that stopping fixed it?  (I know this is not logical, but how did I Just do all of that and now cannot walk, nothing makes sense.  This is also not my hamstring that typically gives me trouble, but the outside of my hip).  So, I try to walk.  Again, I cannot even take steps.  I am 1.5 miles still.  I honestly think of HOPPING home.  We do single leg hops and jumps in bootcamp, but I realize this is not feasible and I cannot hop on one leg for over a mile.  (Not even considering how embarrassing that would look).  I keep trying to walk and cannot do it.  I am crying now, thinking, PLEASE SOMEONE DRIVE BY THAT KNOWS ME and see that I am in huge need of help.  I kneel down.  Have no idea what to do, but also I know I cannot stand there all day, I have to pick up Forrest and his friend from practice.  I realize the back of the townhouses off of north shore back up to baron Cameron and if I can cut through somehow, that will at least take off some of the distance.  I HOBBLE through and finally see baron Cameron.  However, there is a big gully full of water at the bottom before it rises back up to the road. (snakes??!!) I see a bit down that it doesn’t go so low, so I head over there.  Of course, there is no path to the road, it is complete pricker bushes and brush.  I am stepping on some pricker bushes so I can try to get my body through, because I. WILL. GET. TO. THE. ROAD.  Meanwhile, here I come out of the woods, stepping over the guardrail of Baron Cameron.  I’m wondering who will drive by now and see me looking like a crazy person emerging from the woods.  I hobble across in between traffic to the other side, where again, all pricker bushes.  No path.  I could care less, I know I am .5 away from home.  Needless to say, I made it home, this was not my best look, and I cannot believe that happened.  I have zero idea why.  I am praying it was a fluke and will be going to chiropractor this week!

ALL THIS TO SAY:  hey, anyone wanna train for a marathon, haha?! Just joking, because I know this doesn’t want seem to sound like it is motivating.  It sounds horrid, and it was, but…..


At mile 13, I saw a friend on the trail who I am coaching for same race!  As we passed each other, I told her to “HAVE FUN!”  And then I thought for about 30 seconds, OMG, that probably was so stupid to say, this is so hard, and I acted like it was just easy and go have fun.  But I realized right then, that:  this really WAS FUN!  I had seen so many beautiful things during my time I was out yesterday- the amount of beautiful birds during these cold winter months is just awesome. I love their chirps, they are like little miracles, and some of the blue birds colors just AMAZE me!  And I saw so many pretty TREES- some with amazing white bark, and I went by a peaceful stream with rushing water.  It was so quiet, peaceful and serene.  And for so much of it, I felt actually okay- which reminded me that all of my work for the past 2 months has really paid off and gotten me stronger!  Even though the ending didn’t work out, I am stronger and more fit!  And… now I have a lifetime memory of the Saturday morning that I kneeled, crying, on the side of North Shore Drive in Reston, emerging minutes later from the woods and over a guard rail to cross Baron Cameron, nearly having to hop home in 32 degree weather.

I will end this now with one last bit of reminder to myself= it is much colder to finish the last mile or a run in this temperature NOT RUNNING!  By the time I entered my garage, I think my frozen fingers hurt just as much as my hip!

2nd reminder to self….. maybe I should consider carrying a phone on long runs.

Thursday, February 24, 2022




Planning a weeks series of classes, training sessions and workout plans is something I LOVE!

I love how it is truly a bit of science, some art, some sneak attack. 

When I plan a workout or class, I always ask myself a few questions:

1.       Is there a THEME- at the end of the class, do I want you to feel a certain overall feeling?  do we need to do really hard core, am I wanting for this to be equally balanced upper/lower body or should the focus be on one area a bit more, or how interval based- what energy systems am I wanting to make sure are challenged- is it a lot of short intervals with more recovery, or more steady work, maintaining constant effort throughout.  I ask these questions knowing what upcoming goals are coming, what we have done for the previous workout, what is needed etc.

2.       How can I create a really “good feeling” transition INTO the workout.  I am acutely aware that not everyone loves to workout as much as I do!  And even when we do- the WARM UP is one of the most important parts!  If it is too much too soon, you are dooming the entire workout.  If it doesn’t FEEL gradual, good and doable, mentally people start writing stories about themselves and the workout already within the first 60-90 seconds and decide they cannot do it that day.  I like to make sure we just begin moving, warming, flowing, no expectations, all good feelings, and then within a few minutes, it just is almost inspiring like, GOSH I already feel much better- this wasn’t as scary to begin as I thought!

3.       I also love to SNEAK things in.  For example- for yoga classes, every class, I always have a “strength sneak”- for example, I am thinking, I want to make sure we do some challenges for arm strength, or leg strength, or core.  Vice versa- for bootcamps, I am always thinking- how can I sneak some yoga in.  (so yes, each bootcamp class has some element of yoga in it- either a stretch or a dynamic movement which is “yoga based”.  Similar for personal training- if I am training someone who doesn’t also do yoga, well, they do some because I don’t “call it” yoga, but we do it😊

4.       Every class:   we:  do single leg exercises (balance, pelvic floor—ummm yes we need right?!),  we do lateral movement (instead of always front moving), we twist/rotate the spine, we pull the ribs in/shoulders back and down, we circle the arms, move the spine.  I cannot tell you that I GUARANTEE MOVING THIS WAY keeps your body so much healthier, resilient and ready for life.




So, I make sure to do all of these things and I know that I sometimes say the same words over and over…. “can you see your shoulders, pull them out of sight”,  “do you feel your spine wrapped front and back in strength”, “hear your exhale”… but I cannot tell you how much I want you to FEEL these things!  I Hope you do😊

Friday, February 18, 2022

When to "Call it"....


“When to call it”

So, I’m writing this at the end of a week of ughhhh.

I’ve been off- mentally, physically, energetically, the whole shebang.  I’ve tried to muster it up, put it back together, grasp onto any source of strength that I can to both keep myself going, but also provide for others- my family and also my work.  First clue this week was that I declared there wouldn’t be much for dinners.  I had zero to give.  We had oatmeal and smoothie, we scrapped together salad topped with any protein of choice, etc.  But I ended up not being able or WILLING to do that for my work.  I don’t want to give people an “oatmeal/smoothie” quality training session.  I had to cancel almost 2 days of work this week.

I struggle with this.  I struggle with what to do in times like this, because yes, it does happen to me.  I go to zero.  Zero ability to even have a full breath without huge effort it feels like.  And I sometimes think I can try to scrap by and patchwork myself into fullness to somehow still give a quality training session that I would like, but I realize I cannot do my full “thing” and I really don’t want to give LESS than what I feel like people deserve out of a workout with me. 

In a personal training session, I give my 100% attention, my 100% energy, 100% heart, 100% myself.  It isn’t just another session, it is THE ONLY THING to me.  Yes, my therapist has told me that I need to conserve my energy and not feel like I need to be the hardest worker- I shouldn’t be giving more energy than someone doing the actual work/exercise/training.  But, the reality is that I actually sometimes DO need to.  It is my job.  It is what I do, what I expect of myself, what should be expected of me, and sometimes that is the essence of being guided during a workout class or session to do MORE.  So, while I do need to be always aware of my energy output, what is necessary and riding that fine line, I recognize the value of being led to do more and that takes my energy, as it should. 

So, it is hard for me, when I realize I do not have it, to decide what to do.  When I do not have any MOJO to be intense- to move intense, to expect intense, to speak intense, to be IN IT FROM THE HEART, what do I do???  Do I give less?  And be okay with that?  Ewwww, that just doesn’t feel right, and that is not my standard.  I don’t want it to become my standard, I don’t want it to even become an experience.  I realize that sometimes people may actually WISH to have a workout experience with me where maybe my mojo is a little low😊, so I question, maybe that is good enough??

But, I cannot do it.  I do not want to.  I do not want that to be my thing.  I don’t want to be “good enough.”  I am passionate about the mental health benefits as well as physical benefits of exercise, and it means so much to me, that I cannot lower my standards to a level where I can fake it.  That is not me, I cannot do it, I want to be “all in” with knowing I am giving each person what they deserve for a workout.  I don’t want to risk less.

It's something I’ve learned along the way, after doing this for 22 years now (OMG)(seriously).  I go low with energy sometimes.  And what I have learned is, try to not fight it- accept that I Need to get still, get quiet for a day or two, let my heart have some slow beating, let my breathing come back, let my energy build, let my soul rejuvenate, and I can be my full self again.  Sometimes I question- is this fatigue? am I fighting something with my immune system? am I sick, is it allergies?  I am trying to learn the life lesson to stop telling myself stories about what it may be.  It is what it is.  I need energy, for whatever reason, let it be, and I come back.  I always apologize for having to “call it” and cancel, hate having to do that, but I would rather that than have to apologize for arriving not myself, not the full Sharon.

I’m always thankful that people seem to be more understanding of this than I find it easy to do for myself, thanks everyone…

Wednesday, February 2, 2022



There is nothing better than surprising ourselves… and AMAZING ourselves!

I have learned over 22 years of personal training and coaching that one of the most important parts of my job is how I speak.  I love what I do and you all know I am wildly passionate about health and fitness and performance, but I’ve had to really learn to “get over” the fact that I have to talk a lot, and my feedback is very often eye rolls, looks indicating I am crazy, shaking of the head, and very rarely smiles.  (disclaimer: I try to also add in humor, lightness and fun to any and every

 training session because if you have not smiled at one point in it, then I don’t feel good about myself as your trainer.  Simply put, part of fitness is long term consistency and you won’t stick with it if you are not smiling, laughing, having some level of fun and connection).   That being said, I think every person who has ever worked with me has literally thought at some point in our time together, “she is out of her mind.”  And that is okay with me that you have thought that, because that is MY JOB.

Right there:  it is part of my job, I said it.  Part of my job is to SHOW YOU WHAT YOU CAN DO!  Sometimes that is proving to you that you can do 100 pushups in a workout, 100 pushups in a row, that you can run a half marathon, that you can do epic workouts to get you to your goals, that you can train yourself to balance for 30 seconds on one foot, that you can run indoors on your treadmill for 10 miles when it is snow/icy outdoors.  I won’t list all of the fun exercises you may have done with me such as one arm squat thrust, side plank with hip taps and toe touches, all the things.  We move in different ways so that we are challenged, so that our body learns new ways of moving, so that maybe we spot muscle or side to side imbalances, and it keeps it NEW and FUN- there is never a reason to be bored in fitness, right?  But within all of these fun challenges, yes…. I know… there are times that you may not have thought what I was asking you to do was possible.

Which brings me to the importance of my speaking and communication.  I have learned how important it is to make sure I have a plan of “gentle entry” into hard things😊 when possible, and this is not just the physical entry into the movement, but trying to be nonstop with my cues so that one movement somehow just leads into the next with no breaks.  It is much harder for someone to try something if they have stopped their feet, stood and watched me and had time to make a face like “this is insane.”  At that point, I have more work cut out for me.  If I can be quick and smooth and try to make it SEEM like this is just the next OBVIOUS thing to do with our bodies, it can be so much better!  HA! Who knew that it isn’t all about science, physiology, metabolism and anatomy.  Sometimes it is how I can keep us in the moment, in the movement, nonstop.  An interesting thing I have noticed that zoom classes gives us is the “opportunity” to NOT be with each other and looking around finding someone else who also thinks the exercise is unfair!  When everyone is in their little squares on the screen, there is less likelihood of the class rebelling against me, haha!

One of my favorite parts of my job is when people do say after the fact, after the workout, “yea- I did not think I could get up that hill one more time, but I did.”  Sometimes, I have had to hold people accountable and not let them off the hook when they flat out tell me they cannot do something BEFORE THEY TRY.  Uhhh uhhhhh.  We do NOT do that ; we do not say that we cannot before we even try.  BECAUSE:  when we try, we FIND what is possible.

Just last week, someone wrote to me, “I think easing back into exercise is over. We are in it. I thought I was not going to make it through class but I did. During class you had us do a one arm push up and put the other arm up. I thought when you said what we were to do you were crazy there was no way I could do it but I went down and did it. Not pretty but was something a few years ago would have been impossible. So, thank you for that.  (I save emails and notes and cards with things like this and it gets me through weeks of watching people roll their eyes at me!)

And I want you to know that this is not just me doling out challenges to you all.  When I sign up for a race and begin writing my own training plan for that race, one of the things I always ask myself is:  What are some workouts/ training sessions that I’m not sure if I can even do.  For example, if I want to run a marathon and qualify for Boston at my next marathon, what are some key critical run goals along the way that I need to hit, but am not even SURE if I can.  So, I also ask myself to do the (near) impossible.

IS IT NOT JUST FUNDAMENTALLY AMAZING that during our days, we get to do things that surprise ourselves and amaze ourselves!  That we get to FIND what we are capable of?  I remind people often, “I wouldn’t have you do it unless I knew you could.”  Admittedly, sometimes that isn’t the full truth- there are always workouts that maybe you actually CANNOT DO.  (ahem….. I had a long run goal last week that I could not do in terms of executing my pace plan).  However, for the most part, we are capable of so much that we don’t even KNOW that we are!

It's interesting how much we learn through exercise and one of those things is to trust ourselves.  That we can rely on ourselves to focus, to try, and to be OPEN and ADVENTUROUS to the spirit of the effort!  I don’t take it lightly that you all show up at training sessions or classes with me with an open mind.  I fully recognize that you have no idea (sometimes thankfully) of what I have planned.  But there you are, open to the “test of the day” that you may find within your workout.  You are open to working, trying and potentially doing things that you did not think you could do.  I think that is pretty cool.

 I truly think that is living fully, ALL IN. **think on it and email me 1-2 things that you have been AMAZED that you have been able to do that you didn’t think you could!