Saturday, September 27, 2014

The Color Run of 2014

My friend and I signed up for the Color Run this year, and I was super excited. Last year, I ran the Color Run in Brooklyn, and had signed up on a team with a bunch of other girls, but I showed up a little later than our start time, and ended up running by myself. Now these runs are supposed to be fun, but I must admit, I didn't have quite as much fun running it alone, as I did running it with a friend. It would be my last 5K of the summer, so I was looking forward to it.

My friend, Amanda, went the day before to pick up our race packets, and a little something extra so we could match. We planned out our outfits, accordingly: our Color Run shirt, black shorts, Color Run socks, Color Run sunglasses, and the Color Run headband. Sal wore his supportive Color Run shirt that he made for my run last year. He picked Amanda up at her house, she passed me my race packet, and before I knew it we were all decked out in our white Color Run gear headed to the race. We left early, even though there were no scheduled race times. The race was in New Jersey so it was much closer than the Brooklyn race last year, but we didn't want to risk being late or getting stuck in traffic going down the shore. When we got there, we walked over to where every runner was gathered before the race. Thankfully since Amanda had already picked up our race packets, we didn't have to wait in the extremely long line. We snapped a few pictures, and decided that we should start the race.

We left Sal waiting for us at the finish line. I love starting races, knowing that he's there waiting for me at the end. He's my biggest supporter, and I'm so grateful that I can count on him to be there for me for anything, in this instance, my races. Amanda and I started off with a jog, and made sure we walked through each color station so that we were covered after each. We didn't bring our phones, so we don't have individual color pictures, but we weren't about to risk breaking our phones or turning them a different color. It felt like we were soaring through the race, but we took our time, soaking in the sun, the wind, the color. This was Amanda's first 5K, and what better first than the Color Run?! We had so much fun, and even ended up on the ground at the last color station, making color angels. I'm telling you, we did not take this seriously. It was hilarious. We headed towards the finish line, and I looked eagerly for Sal. When my eyes found him, I couldn't help but smile. I ran harder and faster as I crossed the finish line, and we grabbed our color packets for the huge color party by the stage. 

Sal wanted nothing to do with hugging either of us. It was still funny to tease him and act like we were going to hug him and get color all over him. We headed into the color pit, and got our color packets ready to throw. I told her that it'd be in her best interest to close her mouth and nose when everyone throws the color, or else it'll wind up in her lungs. We counted down, and with each second passing, the anticipation grew, until we were throwing the color in the air. My cameraman, Sal, got it on video, and it looks incredible from far away!

It wasn't over for us yet though, because as we were walking, we were given more color packets. We didn't feel like going back into the color pit to wait and then throw it on everyone. Instead, we decided to throw them on one another, and it was hysterical. Once again, Sal caught it on video! 

We took a few more pictures of our colorful selves, and then headed out to grab some breakfast - which, of course, was taylor ham egg and cheese sandwiches, or at least variations of the famous NJ breakfast sandwich. We laughed as we walked into the bagel shop, because we knew people would stare at us, and believe me, they did. We headed home soon after, smiling the entire ride as we sat on towels and tried not to get any color on Sal's seats. I'd say it was a great race, and I cannot wait until next year.

Friday, September 26, 2014

A Little Concert on the Beach

Our friend who's in the air force came home recently for a week, and it just so happened to be the same time Eric Paslay, a new up and coming country artist, was going to be putting on a concert on the beach, down the shore. The bar on the beach was putting on concerts every week of summer, but we hadn't heard about it until summer was almost over. This would be our last country concert, and we were going to make sure we enjoyed it. Sal, our three friends, and I piled into the car. We decided to all head down the shore early, and even though we sat in a little bit of traffic. We made sure we packed a cooler so that we were ready to get the party started as soon as we arrived. The parking lot was filled, so we decided to park next to this huge bus, which would end up being Eric Paslay's tour bus, but I'll get to that a bit later. 

We got there early, before people even lined up to enter the bar, so we decided to walk around a bit and explore the bar next door. We got a few drinks, and watched as high tide came in, forcing most of the people off the beach. Heading over early, we stood in line to purchase tickets and wait for our hands to be stamped. Before we knew it, we were standing a few feet away from the stage, and right in front of the bar. It could not have been more perfect if we planned it. Sal and I quickly ordered food, and drinks, because we were starving. Everyone else ordered their drinks, and the night soon began. 

It was such a beautiful night, and the bar opened up out on to a porch overlooking the beach. Even though we weren't allowed on the beach, as soon as I stepped out there, the gorgeous view of the sun going down, and the moon lit, took my breath away. I didn't need the sand to enjoy the beach. 

Dave Hangley opened up for Eric, and even though I didn't know any of his songs, he ended up being really great. We enjoyed the music as we sipped on our drinks, and noticed that as the night progressed, we were getting even more squished, and our spot didn't seems as great as it did in the beginning of the night. Our friends wandered around, but we stayed put, not wanting to lose our 'prime spot.' 

Eric Paslay was up next, and he came out full force! The crowd was already in a great mood, thanks to Dave Hangley, so Eric just made it that much better. He sang all of his hits, and even other ones he wrote, that I didn't even realize were written by him! He played well into the night, and Sal and I were able to see the entire thing! We can't speak for our friends, one of which ended up asleep in the back of Sal's car. I snapped pictures with Dave Hangley, and grabbed a sweet guitar pic from him! He's not famous, but I know he will be one day, and that's just as good as anything. 

We left the bar after it had cleared out, and ended up hanging by the car, waiting for our friends to make their way back. But boys will be boys, and we found ourselves waiting for awhile. It just so happened that Eric Paslay's band was hanging out outside of the bus, and we got to talking, and talking, and talking. It was so incredible, and even though I thought I'd get all giddy and nervous talking to someone famous, I actually didn't. Even though I didn't meet Eric Paslay, Sal did as he was grabbing us a few bottles of water. The band, and Eric, were all super nice, and we may just be seeing more of them in the future! 

Monday, September 22, 2014

The Yoga Cruise

Lately I've been up for trying new workouts to keep things interesting. If I do a workout for too long, I get bored and don't feel like working out anymore. I mean let's be honest, how many times can you do the same routine over and over again at the gym? It's nice to try new things, and get a feel for different workouts that you may or may not like... at least you could say that you tried it.

So, when my friend Kristyn, blogger at Creative with Kristyn, emailed me with an idea to host a Tone It Up Meet Up I was all for it. She wanted to gather the girls together on a Yoga Cruise on Lake Hopatcong. I've been to that lake with Sal before, and I absolutely love it. It's so beautiful, and I thought that yoga on the lake would be so breathtaking and relaxing, I signed up right away. I didn't even care if no one else showed up. The only thoughts that flowed through my mind were thoughts of a boat filled with positive people, calming waves, the sound of rushing water, and the light from the sun peeking down on all of us. I could not have thought of a better way to wake up and get the day started.

It wasn't too far of a drive, and when I arrived I waited for Kristyn and her friend Jenn. It was the last yoga cruise of the summer so it was packed. We claimed our spots, placing our three yoga mats close together in a row. We waited for the instructor to prepare herself, and for everyone else to arrive. We began just as the boat set sail. I gave myself over to yoga. I tried not to let me thoughts wander, and when they did I acknowledged these thoughts, and brought myself back to my breath, and each movement. I felt inspired, and filled with love.

When we pulled back to the dock, I felt lighter. I felt like I was ready to take on the day, to take on the world. We were slowly brought back out of our meditation, and my breathing started to pick up and return to normal pace. We snapped a few pictures all together, and spoke of doing this again next year. I enjoyed it so much, I wish I had been able to go all summer, every week. It was inexpensive to spend an hour and a half out on the boat doing yoga. I mean, who could put a price on that type of relaxation?

Afterwards, I headed home to pick up my mom (she's not a fan of boats or else I'm sure she would have joined us) and we headed to the local diner. I never order waffles, but I was craving them - and of course, I had to go big or go home. I got the waffle with all the fix-ins and it was probably the best waffle I've ever had. I couldn't even eat all of the fruit on top, I was stuffed!

I cannot wait until the yoga cruises next summer! I'll be signing up for quite a few! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

On Becoming a NASM Certified Personal Trainer

I had been researching how to become a certified personal trainer for months. I looked at websites of different certification programs, and fell in love with the National Academy of Sports Medicine mission. It seemed a lot more challenging than the other certifications, but it was based on the science aspect of fitness and nutrition, had the OPT model, and nothing but good reviews. Most of the gyms look for NASM certified personal trainers, above all others. 

When I found my passion for working out, fitness, and nutrition, the thought passed through my mind to share my passion and positively influence friends, family, and even strangers. The thought only passed through, and even though it passed through often, I never made the plunge. I kept saying how expensive it was, and how I wasn't sure I could fully commit to it - I did have a full time job, and a long commute. Sal mentioned time and time again that I should just do it because I'd be so great at it. I was already giving advice to my friends and family, but with a certification, it only made me more knowledgable and professional. It wasn't until, weeks and weeks later, when I found myself on Instagram every night, looking at the NASM hashtag, and feeling jealous of everyone who received their NASM backpacks and textbook, that I knew I needed to enroll. I asked my followers on Instagram, most of who were either personal trainers or fitness friends, which NASM package was the best. Most of them suggested the self-study, I thought I'd do better with the CPT online classroom, and Sal wanted me to purchase the most expensive to ensure a job in 60 days. In the end, I decided on the CPT Self Study because I knew this wasn't going to be a full time job for me, at least not yet, and it was the cheapest. 

When my backpack and book arrived, I quickly tore open the box that looked exactly like a locker. I felt like a little kid again on the first day of school, I was ready to give it my all. I had my binder filled with paper, my pen and highlighters by my side. The program allows 180 days (6 months) to study for the exam. The first few days were relatively easy, but as I kept reading, the chapters seemed to get harder. I followed the syllabus that was provided, which helped provide a guideline to follow that would enable me to study for 70 days and be ready for the test. However, I did about a chapter a week, and it was difficult. There was so much information, and I found myself more worried about what I needed to know than actually learning the information. I found another study guide online in the middle of my studying, and found that it highlighted information from each chapter that was necessary to know for the test. Instead of writing down everything in my notes, I found that I could highlight the important information easier. 

Over the summer, Sal and I headed to our friend's house on the lake. While he fished, I studied. I would write out flashcards, take notes, and perform the moves of exercises, stretches, and assessments. It worked out well. I was able to breathe in the clear air, and have a clear mind as I studied.  I found out quickly that that wasn't enough though. I honestly tried to study more, and carried my notes with me everywhere, but I rarely looked at them. I brought the flashcards with me on vacation, but found that I was just too overwhelmed to even glance at them. 

It wasn't until the last month that I became super motivated to study. I finished reading the book, and created a study guide of my own. I took this study guide with me, and highlighted key terms, and I even went over the flashcards in small sections at a time. I assessed Sal's exercises, and practiced moving each muscle as I went over it in my head. Before I knew it, it was the weekend before the test, so I took the practice exam twice. The first time around I didn't do great, and I was upset, but quickly reassured by Sal that it was the first time I had seen what their test was going to be like, so he pushed me to try it again after reviewing what I had gotten wrong. I did and scored much, much better. I reviewed some information that I was struggling with, and went to be feeling somewhat calm. Whatever was going to happen would happen. The morning of, I had a healthy, energizing breakfast, and then drove to the testing center early. I sat in my truck for a little bit, going over more flashcards, but only the ones that I was struggling with. I walked into the building with my head held high. 

I took the certification exam, and felt extremely confident. There were one or two questions that had been on the practice exam that I knew immediately, and I felt like I knew most of the answers to the rest of the 120 questions. There were a few that I was stuck between two answers, so I flagged them, and went back to them at the end. I submitted my exam, and went out to the lobby area where the man would print my results. I was nervous when he didn't look at me as he handed me my paper, but as soon as I looked at it, I smiled. I HAD PASSED! I was shaking I was so excited. I left, and called everyone that I couldn't wait to share the news with, and then I announced it on social media. I was so proud of myself at that moment, and knew right then and there that I could do anything that I set my mind to. 

I went home to an empty house, and texted Sal asking him what I was supposed to do now. He went on to tell me all of the people I should contact and how I should start my personal training business. It was great and all, but really all I wanted to know was what I should do with the rest of my day. 

I'm sure I'll be making another announcement about my future endeavors real soon, but for now - Go and Like my Facebook page - Get Fit with Kristyn - for the latest fitness and nutrition information, challenges, and motivation. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Country Concerts of the Summer of 2014

Sal and I were all about buying the Country Megaticket at PNC, until we looked at the lineup: Dierks Bentley, Luke Bryan, Rascal Flatts, Toby Keith, Keith Urban, and Brad Paisley. All AMAZING country artists, but Sal isn't a fan of Rascal Flatts or Keith Urban, and we realized we were not able to make it to see Luke Bryan, so we decided to buy individual tickets for Dierks Bentley, Toby Keith, and Brad Paisley. These were all shows that we knew a bunch of our friends were going to, and we would be able to meet up to tailgate, to enjoy the parking lot party!

First up was Dierks Bentley in May. We got to the concert early to tailgate, as usual, but there weren't many people to tailgate with. Even so, we enjoyed our time, and walked into the concert to get a nice spot to stand on the lawn. We didn't have the best view, I mean who does when they're in the lawn? But we could hear Dierks, and that's all we needed.

In June, we saw a bunch of country artists at the Florida Country Superfest. Up next in July, we saw Toby Keith! We ended up sitting in traffic trying to get to the concert, which I was not pleased about. It was on a Friday, so of course, everyone was on the parkway trying to get down the shore for the weekend. We made it eventually, and decided that we wouldn't try to see any of his opening acts, instead we'd enjoy the time tailgating with our friends. My brother and his girlfriend came along with Sal and I, and our friends, and we met up with a bunch of people we knew. 

We were having a good time, drinking, and playing corn hole, when a cop stopped me and asked me for my ID, assuming that I was drinking underage. My heart immediately started beating fast even though I'm 24 and have been legally able to drink for 3 years. He thought he had me though, which was kind of funny. He also ID'd my friend; both of us clearly still have baby faces. 

We saw Toby Keith last summer and he put on a great show, so we were excited for this show. Unfortunately, I did not think his show was all that great. It's sad because we had been looking forward to it since we bought the tickets. I do love that he pays tribute to the USA and our troops, and I will forever be blessed for that. He gives us all a few minutes to think about nothing else but the bravery and loyalty of the US military. It means a lot to most, I'm sure. The rest of the show went on, and we ended up making our own fun. 

The last of the summer shows was in late August, which really did solidify the summer. Brad Paisley, proved to put on the concert of the summer. It all starts in the parking lot though, so we were pretty rowdy just walking into the venue. Our friend, who had been overseas for the air force was able to come home for a week, and he joined us at the concert. We were all just so happy to see him, that we quickly forgot the reason why we even came to PNC. Sal brought a pitcher of Mai Tais he made, and I brought pineapple sangria, since I don't drink beer. We played corn hole, and listened to the boys play songs on their guitars. We enjoyed burgers and hot dogs on the grill, because what's better than that while tailgating? We were having way too much fun to even realize that it was getting to be about the time the concert starts. 

Before we went to the lawn, everyone was able to do a little karaoke, and of course my friends signed up. It wasn't took long until we took our place on the lawn. We lost a few people in the crowd every now and then, but we all found our way back to each other. Brad put on a good show, but let's face it, he always puts on a good show. Although, last year or the year before, I can't remember, he played the guitar with... a beer. Yes, you read that right. It sounded awesome too. 

I can't wait to see what country concerts we'll attend in the summer of 2015.