When The Dress Fits…

In November, a few days before the NYC Marathon, I attended the NYRR Five Borough Bash. It’s an inspiring fundraiser to raise money for NYRR’s youth programs.  Theodora recapped it better than I could, so you can get the details there.

As soon as I was invited, I decided to wear my favorite dress. The dress I wore on my first day of my new job in August, 2011. I tweeted a photo of myself that morning, actually.

I LOVE this dress. It’s made by Theory and I somehow managed to get it for 10% off at Bloomingdale’s last year in some sort of fluke involving a rude customer. Still very pricey, but it’s something I knew I would have forever and would never go out of style. I was in love with it.

My plans on the night of the Five Borough Bash got thwarted when I attempted putting on the dress. I couldn’t zip it all the way up. It felt way too tight and I looked awful. I was a wreck, and beyond upset. I went with a much stretchier, more forgiving dress. But the issue weighed on me all night, especially when I saw how good my friends looked despite also training for the marathon.

I know that many people gain weight while training for a marathon. I know I stopped taking Refine for the months leading up to the race as my mileage increased. I know I ate a lot more pretzel croissants and croissant French toast (see a theme here?) than I ever did when I wasn’t training.

I get it. I just didn’t like it. And like most people, I worried I wouldn’t be able to get back to my old self. I couldn’t believe that just a few months earlier, when I filmed my Microsoft Bing Friends Matter webisode, I was in the best shape of my life.

After the marathons, I gave myself a couple of weeks to rest and recover. In December, I went back to my Refine Method classes.


When I first tried Refine back in 2010, it was really, really hard. Starting any new fitness class or routine will be tough the first time. All I remember is push-ups and push-ups and more push-ups. And also planks. Going back after this break, however, was so much harder than starting it for the first time. I don’t know why, but I almost walked out of my first class a few minutes in. And my second class. I felt inadequate. I felt weak. Brynn adjusted me during a push-up and I belly flopped. Collapsed right onto the floor. Doing an exercise I’ve done hundreds of times before.

Everything was so hard. I wanted so much to leave and never go back, but as grueling as each class was, I felt good after. I was happy I did it, and I always went back. I experienced some serious anxiety before each class, and felt nervous in a way I never have before. I felt terror and dread going to Refine. To REFINE — my favorite exercise in the world! The one I credit for making me a faster runner and fixing my knee issues that plagued my running, and getting me back on track after my debilitating hip injury  (My Hip Injury – Part 1 and My Hip Injury – Part 2). The one I thought about all the time, loved going to, brought my friends to, rearranged my schedule for, talked about to everyone who will listen (and sometimes those who won’t) and just really, truly enjoyed. I was totally addicted.

And I was scared to put on some of my workout pants. I knew they would feel too tight. I stuck to the looser fitting ones.

Brynn told me it was OK not to be an all-star, I could just be a regular student in class for once. I don’t know when or how or why I got into this mindset that I’m this awesome worker-outer, but somewhere along the way I did. And when I become something that I like, I cling to it.

I believe it was about a month later that I felt like myself again at Refine. It really didn’t take long at all; it’s true what they say about muscle memory. I wasn’t struggling nearly as much, my muscle definition was coming back and I felt comfortable there again.

And just like that, I was back in my Refine groove, scheduling my classes out for the week and actually looking forward to them. The exercises no longer felt impossible and I stopped feeling hopeless.

It wasn’t long before my workout pants fit again. I kept taking Refine and in March I started running again. I knew, when I did my assessment for Refine ReGroup, that I was back to being an all-star.  I killed it with my push-ups, pull-ups and plank. I felt strong and I could tell the instructors running my assessment were impressed.

But I waited until today, June 22, before attempting the dress again.

I think we all know where this is going.

10 comments on When The Dress Fits…

  1. Katherine
    June 22, 2012 at 4:19 pm (5 years ago)

    Congrats on getting back to be your awesome workout-er self! I hope you’re celebrating and taking the dress out some place fun :-)

    After my first Refine class I felt the same way of extremely inadequate/weak and when I started ReGroup I hadn’t done strength training for a long time. After the first 3 weeks of ReGroup I’m feeling fantastic and strong and starting to finally feel like I can actually do all the exercises! I think Refine is also helping my injury — thanks for getting me hooked!
    Katherine´s last blog post ..No Regrets

  2. robert
    June 22, 2012 at 4:47 pm (5 years ago)

    nice dress… but that’s too much black in that picture 😀

  3. Mariastylesny
    June 22, 2012 at 5:16 pm (5 years ago)

    you look fabulous!

  4. Katie
    June 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm (5 years ago)

    Congratulations! I did my first half marathon a week ago and while I did go on a walk the day after the stretch and loosen….I haven’t actually worked out since. And while I want to, I just don’t seem to have the energy. I also didn’t lose weight while training. But you have inspired me to get back in the swing of things, thank you!
    Katie´s last blog post ..Soaked and Hope

  5. Nikki
    June 22, 2012 at 8:58 pm (5 years ago)

    Dori is shining from the inside out–congrats!

  6. cameo
    June 23, 2012 at 7:16 am (5 years ago)

    You are adorable. I never once thought you looked an ounce different while marathon training. It sucks that a couple measly LBs can make or break a dress. I have had some dresses in my closet – waiting to be worn ever since the “weight-gain of 2009” (which Refine has helped me lose half of!) and it’s the worst feeling not being able to zip them. I am hoping that after a few more months (and maybe another ReGroup) I will be back in mine too! It goes to show that efficient training that combines resistance and short bursts of cardio is the way to go. I can’t believe how different the ladies look who have been taking it for a year. Results.
    You look gorgeous!

  7. Missy Maintains
    June 26, 2012 at 4:50 pm (5 years ago)

    You look amazing in both photos but I completely understand how awful it feels to not be able to fit into clothing! Your hair looks very nice too in the pic above…surf spray? Okay, time to sign up for a Refine class this week.
    Missy Maintains´s last blog post ..Win a Case! Gatorade Energy Chews

  8. Shauna @ Pleasure, Not Punishment
    July 2, 2012 at 12:44 pm (5 years ago)

    Looking fabulous! It’s so interesting that despite a proven track-record of workout success, weight gain can make us feel like we’ve done some irreparable damage. Good for you for committing to and kicking the ass of the thing that you know works the best for you. Brava!
    Shauna @ Pleasure, Not Punishment´s last blog post ..In Love.

  9. Bianca
    July 3, 2012 at 11:38 pm (5 years ago)

    You are tiny thin. Easier to buy a new dress than beat yourself up for months for gaining an inch. Seriously.


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  1. […] DoriPosted July 10, 2012 at 3:56 pmOn July 4, I woke up, checked my phone and read a comment on my When The Dress Fits… post that felt like a punch in the stomach.  I almost responded via email right then, but I know […]

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