Crash Course: Georgetown Pilates is a small, boutique, classical Pilates studio focused on quality instruction and attention to detail. They offer private reformer sessions, group mat classes, tower classes, massage, acupuncture, and muscle activation techniques. A private Pilates apperatus session will deliver a tailor-made workout integrating breath work, stretching, and various strength-building exercises. It’s not cheap, but the level of care and personalized approach were truly second to none. The experience was luxury fitness at its best. For a full list of services and prices, check out the Georgetown Pilates website.
where: 1230 1/2 31 Street NW
perks: filtered water, one-on-one instruction
sweat score: 4 out of 10
wear: comfortable clothes
instructor: Lissette Valdes
cost: single private apparatus session is $103*
The Georgetown Pilates studio is really tucked away, located in a gated collection of offices called Hamilton Court. If you’re having a hard time finding it, it’s almost directly across from the Georgetown Post Office on 31st Street. The gate should be open during normal business hours, but if not, there’s a call box to buzz in.
Walk all the way to the back of the courtyard and head to the the right, where you’ll find a small pathway that leads to the front door. The entrance is hidden from the main area – I had to be directed via hand signal by one of the instructors already inside.
Ta-da! Found it. You’ll be greeted at the front desk by one of the trainers, who will walk you through new client paperwork and give you a little tour of the studio. From the first moment I arrived, I knew this place was special. Everyone was extremely warm and welcoming, and the entire space gave off a calm, serene, spa-like vibe. There were no loud noises, there was no smell of sweat, there was plenty of space to move around in, it was well lit, and a member of the team was always available to answer questions. And the entire studio from top to bottom was gleaming with clean. Be still my heart.
I tucked around the corner to the small bathroom to change into my workout gear. There is no changing room, but the bright, cheerful purple bathroom does the trick in a pinch. It’s stocked with a few essential toiletries should you need to freshen up after class. There’s also a hallway with a row of hooks and hangars for your coat or clothes. I’m so used to rolling up my work clothes and smushing them into my backpack, being able to hang them nicely was a total luxury.
I almost forgot to mention this handsome fellow – the rescue pup who serves as chief-greeter, frazzled-nerves-corrector, and mayor of the studio. I’m sorry the photo is blurry, but the little guy was wagging his tail so hard it was difficult to catch him in stillness. Can you could see his amazing mustache collar? So fashionable! As an animal lover, it was a delight to be able to chill and de-stress with this dude before class. I know studies show animals in the workplace make for happier employees, but I think the same goes for customers too. Love!
The session I had with Lissette was unlike any other Pilates class I had ever been to. I’ve tried the reformer at Reformation Fitness, and done mat classes at Fuse in Dupont and other places. But this was something else entirely. From start to finish, the entire class was tailored for my specific needs, whether I knew what those were or not. I mentioned a few target areas I’d like to work on, but as the session progressed, I realized that often times we would work on muscle imbalances or weaknesses I didn’t even knew I had (until I was hanging over the cadillac machine, shaking like a leaf, wondering where my core strength went).
Every move, every breath was carefully guided and closely watched. I couldn’t get away with cheating if I tried. Lissette was right there to make sure every inhale and vertebrae was exactly where it needed to be. We worked on stretching, strength, and everything in between. I was pleasantly uncomfortable the entire time and sweating within 5 minutes, and it was wonderful – I knew I was in professional hands and trusted in the technique. After the warm up, I blurted out, “wow, I didn’t know Pilates was hard,” and got a few approving smiles and laughs. But really, I have never been to a class or session so focused or so challenging. It was absolutely wonderful.
This smile is fake – the chair machine torture device was absolutely my least favorite part, probably because it so clearly highlighted my biggest weakness: my knees. A few reps on this thing and I was toast. My thighs were burning, my core was shaking, and I was looking at Lissette with an “are you serious” face of panic. It was an eye-opener for sure, and made me realize how much work I still have to do to make sure my muscles are balanced. She calmly guided me through the exercise and encouraged me to do just a few more reps than I thought possible. That said, I was happy to leave this machine behind!
Here was my initial reaction after walking out the door:
It truly was mind blowing in every way. The studio was beautiful. The class was the most carefully constructed yet challenging Pilates session I had ever been to. It was completely customized and I never had any doubt that I was in the best, most professional hands available. I was greeted by name and spoken to genuinely. My clothes hung neatly on a hanger. The floor and equipment was sparkling clean. I got to pet an adorable dog.
Now, let’s get one thing straight – I’m a federal employee paying grad school loans and live within very real budgetary boundaries. At $103 per session, it should be this mind blowing and you pay for what you get. The honest truth is that I could not afford to come to this studio regularly, no matter how much I would love to. It’s just not in my budget at this point in my life. But if it is in your budget and you are looking for an incredible, one-of-a-kind Pilates studio to get you into tip top shape…this is the place for you. I wholeheartedly recommended the awesome work they do.
What’s your favorite high-end exercise indulgence?
*Georgetown Pilates generously waived the fee for this session. This review, including all of my opinions, are my own.
Last week’s “The Crash Report Round Up” got rave reviews, so I’m back this week with a fresh collection of crashes to share with you. If you have any ideas or suggestions for making this column more helpful, please drop me a line!
And let’s not kid ourselves. You probably want to know why I’m showcasing a photo of my spilled smoothie. Well, I can’t seem to figure out what kind of photos would best compliment this new column, so until I work through that dilemma (ideas welcome), I’m treating you to a random assortment of odds and ends from my camera. Consider it your daily dose of visual awesome. And now…on to the round up!
Wicked Healthy Washingtonian crashed a power flow yoga class at Stroga
not only was the power flow class I went to really well done, the space is absolutely gorgeous.
Heather from Dietitian on the Run crashed the Ex2 Adventure Series Backyard Burn 10 mile trail race in Wakefield Park
We totally lucked out with what was deemed the “flattest” course of this Backyard Burn Trail Race Series (5 total). It also seems to have been the least technical, only including “a few shallow stream crossings” and a lot of twisty, windy, up-and-down sections.
Anne from fannetastic food also ran the Backyard Burn 10 miler (followed by a hike at Fountainhead Park in Fairfax – whew!)
The race itself was awesome – since it was on a trail, we had to pay a lot of attention to our feet so we didn’t trip on a root or rock, so the time seriously FLEW by. I could hardly believe it every time my watch beeped another mile because I was so distracted by not falling (and by chatting with the girls)!
and gave a killer recap (complete with taking photos while running) of this weekend’s Rock ‘N Roll half marathon (congrats on the PR!)
I’m so proud of myself for getting out there and staying strong. What I really love about running is that unless you’re insanely good and actually winning races, running is totally a personal battle…Never say never! Just get out there and run and do the best you can, and the speed (and longer distances) will come.
Alex from The Run Within also ran the Rock ‘N Roll and gave a hilarious recap of her experience
Marvelous is… the hardest race course teaching me more about myself as a runner. I went into this saying I will not race it, I didn’t but I sure sucked air at some points. I ran this race last year with a different course. This year they added hills, and when I say hills I mean ‘holy shit is this a joke’ hills.
Amanda from Running on Waffles joined a few fitness blogging friends for a Revolve Real Ride spin class with instructor Stephanie
With the lights practically off and the music blaring, I did my best to zone out the pain in my legs and pushed with everything I had. And it felt AWESOME!!!
Here’s Jen’s rundown from A Knack for Nutrition
By the end of the first song I knew this was my kind of place: loud music, dark room, and lots of motivated people.
And, last but not least, Ashley from Coffee Cake and Cardio added her recap of crashing the Real Ride at Revolve
Don’t let her fool you, Stephanie will make you SWEAT!! By the second song I was sweating profusely… It. Was. Awesome.
The Sweet Life with Ericka went to the South by Southwest conference and gave us a glimpse at what it’s like to join the Brooks Cowboy Run
We ran around a popular Austin trail so I was able to see the buildings, the water and different parts of the city.
Mary from Oh, To Have The World On A String ran the Four Courts Four Miler (which sounds awesome and is officially on my list for next year)
Race-wise, this is always a fun run. There is a leprechaun that starts about 17 minutes after the start, bangs out 5 minute miles and laps as many people as he can. If you beat the leprechaun, you receive a race premium at the finish line, and if you get leaped, Pacers donates $1 to the Arlington County Police Benevolent Fund.
Johanna Cracke from Vigor Fitness and Wellness crashed the St. Patrick’s Day 8k & Leprechaun Leap
ok, new favorite racing distance…8k! Had a great run this morning. It’s far enough to feel like you accomplished something, but man is it over fast.
Bianca over at Skinny To Be In DC wrote about her new favorite exercise addiction: Dance Trance
Sweat and move – like you have never before. No bulky muscles just lean, mean DanceTrance machine bodies being created here. While having fun. While smiling. While rockin’ out under disco lights. Oh yes. Come and check this one out to see it, experience it and believe it.
Saturday was the Rock ‘n Roll Marathon. Before I start my recap, I want to offer my heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all of the kind, encouraging comments I received from Friday’s post. I put it all out there and the response was overwhelmingly positive. So thank you – all of you – for making this little blog a safe space for honesty and taking risks. And now…off to the races!
Let’s start with the expo. I waited until the last 15 minutes of the last day to head over to the Stadium Armory to pick up my race packet…and paid for it.
The place was a bit of a mad house with lines out the door and people frantically trying to make their way through as vendors were closing down. Not crazy enough, however, to keep me from taking a shameless selfie amidst the chaos. That’s right, I totally pulled this one off for the sake of the blog. Don’t judge me. I wanted to show you the cool mirror with “here is your inner Kenyan” painted on it. Wonder how I could get one of these in my apartment?
I really have no right to complain about the stress level at the expo because I waited till the last minute. Lesson learned. One real complaint though: why were we emailed digital confirmation sheets but then required to transpose the information onto pointless paper forms before picking up our numbers? Made me wonder if they were going with the DC bureaucracy red tape theme or if it was really supposed to be that inefficient. Mystery.
I drove home and got right down to the business of making my traditional pre-race chow. I have a very finicky stomach, and when it comes to fueling up before a big event, blander is better. In college my go-to dinner before a triathlon was white rice with salt and butter. As you can see, I’ve upgraded to plain pasta, white chicken breast, and sautéed veggies with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. It did the trick and sent me to bed with a full (and happy) stomach.
I laid out every single thing I would need to get ready in the morning, right down to the plastic zip loc bag for my iPhone. Having everything prepared the night before cuts down on time in the morning and calms my nerves about forgetting something. I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m., did a little bit of foam rolling, and called it a night.
When I woke up, I immediately opened my window and checked for the forecasted rain. Nothing! What luck! I got dressed, made a bland breakfast of almond butter toast and banana, and spent a few last blissful minutes on the foam roller to get my muscles ready for the journey ahead. After hopping on the metro to Metro Center, it was just a short walk to the blaring music and huddled masses of the starting line.
Despite the gloomy clouds, the temperatures were perfect for running and there wasn’t a drop of rain falling from the sky. Hooray! I moseyed over to corral three to wait out the final 30 minutes before the start with a few stretches. And then we were off! Well, at least the first corral was off. The Rock ‘n Roll race starts each corral in their own separate wave, so we had to wait for the first two corrals to go before it was our turn. Talk about building up the excitement and suspense!
As I crossed the starting line, I took a deep breath and decided to take the entire race one mile at a time. And as the first mile beeped in at around 7:30, I knew this was going to be an adventure. A few details:
Crazy apparel seen on the course:
- Full suit and tie with “Jesus Saves” taped to the back
- A denim jacket
- Mini Mouse costume
- Green body sock
- Star-spangled full body spandex
- Spectator in a ketchup costume, spectator in a gingerbread man costume, spectator in a Mr. Incredible costume dancing to disco music
- Tiny gold lame shorts
- Tuxedo t-shirt and black shorts
Things I didn’t like about the race:
- My watch clocked the entire course at around 13.5 miles. I can’t tell you how devastating it is to think you are just around the corner from mile 11 and then realize it’s another few tenths away. My watch consistently beeped way before the mile markers. Anyone else have this problem?
- Calvert Hill at mile six
Things I loved about the race:
- Great spacing out of the bands along the route
- The spectator support was incredible (except for the guys offering beer – the smell was atrocious)
- The route was really fun despite Calvert Hill
- I never wondered when the next water/gatorade spot would be because there were plenty
- Runners genuinely seemed to be having a good time
- Lots (and lots) of free food at the finish area. Potato chips, chocolate milk, smoothies, bananas, Gatorade. I was in heaven!
My official finish time was 1:42:20 – about three minutes under my goal. I was so shocked and thrilled and shocked some more! According to my watch, my time at 13.1 was somewhere around 1:39, but since that’s not an official time anywhere other than my head, I’ll have to let it go. But breaking 1:40 is now in the crosshairs for next time. Oh yes, there will be a next time.
An enormous thank you to my parents for coming from Ohio to support me on the course. The original fit crasher is an accomplished marathoner and she has been my chief coach and motivator since I took up running in college. My parents have been my race-day support team from the very beginning and I couldn’t have done it without them. And check out the sign they made – so official! Thanks guys! Another big thank you goes to Bonnie, Jeff, and Heather for spotting me on the course and cheering me on along the way.
This is one of my favorite photos from the day. These are two of my friends from the Georgetown Triathlon Team, Jenny and Michelle. I don’t know how long it’s been since we’ve all done a race together, but part of me wants to put it way back to 2008. It was such a fun throwback to have a mini-reunion at the finish line. You ladies are the best!
And what do you do after running 13.1 miles? You eat, of course! Well, you change out of the wet and sweaty clothes from the race and then you eat. I took my parents to Ted’s Bulletin on Capitol Hill for an enormous celebratory breakfast. Mom tried a home-made pop tart and some breakfast classics, dad went with the biscuits and gravy, and I inhaled the ten-grain hot cereal with toasted coconut and dried fruit. Oh, and a bottomless cup of hot coffee.
We walked off breakfast with a trip to Eastern Market, and then it was time to call it a day. Whew! So many months of training and worrying and agonizing over 13.1 miles…and it is finally successfully behind me. What a wonderful sense of relief. This medal will be proudly hanging in my apartment as a reminder that anything is possible with a little chutzpah, faith, and a whole lot of good old fashioned hard work.
Did you run the Rock ‘n Roll? Share your story!
Saturday is the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon.
The culmination of three months of training. Eleven weeks of Saturday morning long runs, pre-dawn miles before nine-hour desk days, and two pairs of Mizuno running shoes.
But more importantly, it should be the raging crescendo of so many of my hopes, wishes, and expectations. If you read the story of my previous half-marathon experience, you’ll know why. You see – I used to be one of those devil-may-care runners who bounded through ten miles on a “light” day and casually dropped marathoner like it was my new last name. It got me my first job. It even got me a few dates. I was a runner. The daughter of a runner. And I had every expectation to be that lady pushing a BOB all-terrain baby stroller up hill repeats. Being a runner was the very pit of my core.
But that all changed when I hurt my knee in 2010. A torn meniscus separated me from my running shoes for two long years; twenty four months of physical therapy, bulky knee braces, gentle yoga, and orthopedic shoes. I struggled to hang on by my fingernails to the identity I had built my home in. That runner I thought I always would be was now aqua jogging on the road to nowhere somewhere in the middle of lane five.
Fast forward to last fall, when I was miraculously cleared for running again. And it really was a miracle. With no surgery and just a few injections, my meniscus had repaired itself. I remember seeing the grainy ultrasound images with a sense of wonder and disbelief. It was enough to bring me to tears in the parking garage below the doctor’s office, my hands shaking as I dialed my marathoning mother to share the good news. I was going to be a runner again, mom. Maybe never another marathon, but a runner all the same.
I trained tenderly for a few weeks before deciding to make my quiet debut at the Baltimore Half Marathon. Again, for the nitty gritty you can read here, but the long and the short of it is that I entered with the expectation only to cross the starting line and maybe even the finish line, too. And you know what? I did.
So I signed up for another race – this time with the audacious expectation to train well, thoroughly, and with some fire under my feet. The goal time? Somewhere around 1:45. I laid it all out in a day by day plan, even designating days for cross training and rest. It was – in my mind – the perfect plan. I had it all under control. My knee was feeling better and able to handle the miles, my confidence was boosted from the thrill of being back on the road, and I. Was. Unstoppable.
That is, until last Thursday, when my wisdom tooth ruptured and needed to come out immediately. In one swift yank, I was minus one tooth and one solid training plan. The mileage, the hill repeats, the track workouts – all pushed to the side as I recuperated on the couch. At the very peak of my training, in the critical final stages of preparation, everything came to a screeching halt.
Which brings me to today – the day before race day. The day when I have to readjust my expectations and approach the starting line with a sense of humility and grace. The fact that I’ll be lacing up my shoes Saturday morning feeling unprepared and disjointed is not an easy pill to swallow. Not after I had diligently planned for this, for this race to be my grand re-entry into the world of being that competitive, watch-out-here-she-comes, “how many races this season” kind of runner.
And you know what? It’s perfectly okay. Because expectations are funny like that. We weave them into bold designs and wave them at the world with reckless abandon. Look future, this is what I’ve made for you. It’s a thrill, and it’s part of the excitement of being alive – to feel like we can control the intangible. To feel like lists or color-coded training plans will serve as safety nets when things start to look rocky. But life has a funny way of reconfiguring your design and watching from the sidelines as you struggle to figure out the “now what” part of things.
There are two options: mourn and pout and wave fists at the things that didn’t pan out the way you had planned.
Or carefully study what is in front of you, take a deep breath, and bravely run with the present moment and see where it leads.
I know I have.