Some Simple Summer Advice

Summer starts now, Friends, this we all know. Make active your plan, are you set to go?

Remember all those things you loved to do as a child? Are you ready to do them again, that’d be wild!

Set fear aside, try something new. Grab up some friends and they’ll have some fun too!

Pack up some packs, then hit the trails,

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Or walk along a harbor with sails.

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Choose a new path to ride your bike,

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Or pick a majestic mountain to hike!

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Climb up a rock, repel to the ground,

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Explore that National Park you just found!

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Glide over glass, embracing the quiet,

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Toss around a football, come on…try it!

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Check out some animals, pet a camel named Clyde,

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Jump on a horse for a giddy-up ride!

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Don’t have a dog? Borrow Capone,

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Then neither one of you has to walk alone.

Head to camp, pitch a tent, work on your tan,

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Challenge your kid, Iron Mom vs. Man!

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Pack up a fun bag to be prepared,

Be prepared

‘Cause you never know when a badminton challenge is declared!

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Borrow some kayaks and hit the lake,

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Or work out with a view…it’s not hard to take!

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Game, set, match all starts with love,

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Try out a ropes course high up above!

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Run through some mud, you’ll be dripping in goo,

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Google something Olympic to do!

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Transform on a beach, mermaids you pretend…

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Tube down a river you wish would never end.

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Friends, be active and have fun every single day. Make plans to be AWESOME…don’t let summer slip away!

Another 13.1 Done!

Friends, if you’ve been following me lately, you know I’ve been struggling with some medical stuff and wasn’t sure I’d be able to run or walk today’s Med-City half marathon…it wasn’t looking like it would happen. After all, as of today, I’m only 11 days post op from my surgery adventure (you can read about here if you missed it). It’s been a week since I had some respiratory challenges that earned me a visit to the ER. Several well-meaning friends tried to discourage me from participating. They argued some very valid points and made a lot of sense with complete concern and sincerity. And I knew in my mind they were probably very right.

But, more and more lately, I’ve ignored my head and gone with my heart; and my heart was saying, “Go for it!” I knew what my potential issues were and I took measures to ensure I was properly prepared for the event. My husband Eric paused at multiple stops throughout the course, so worse-case scenario, I’d just bail. But I already knew in my heart I had this one.

The race registration was a Christmas gift from my father-in-law, and although that still didn’t mean I had to do it, I wanted to. I was initially signed up for the full, but downgraded it weeks earlier due to a foot injury. Skipping the race due to health concerns would be acceptable and something I know he’d understand. But to me, in my heart, I felt like it would be a failure if I didn’t at least try. And those of you who know me know that I have a hard time backing down from something and, rarely if ever, quit.

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So that’s why I was out there this morning. I was determined to walk this thing to the very finish! Only that’s not what happened at all. I have been anxious and emotional about this race for days. I was even dreaming about it. I had so much mental junk bubbling to the surface at the starting line that I decided to run. If it didn’t feel right, I could stop, right? Only it felt good…it felt very good. And although it had been 12 days since I’d done any running and I had no idea how my incision area would react, I was fired up!

Although I was running alone today, I was far from it. I was replaying past half marathons with friends or family in my head and it really helped remind me why I was doing this. I took all that mental crap I’d been saving up for the past couple weeks and pounded it out on those beautiful country roads toward my hometown. Once in town, I noticed the back of a woman’s shirt that intrigued me. It was a 50 States Half Marathon Club shirt and by the looks of it, she had a wonderful start to accomplishing that goal. I had a lot of time to ponder the 50 states thing, because I saw a lot of that shirt today. We held a pretty consistent pace between our walk-run intervals. I had a few opportunities to speak briefly with Carmen from New York, as we passed one another off and on. She’s got the lead on me here at mile seven.

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Things like a 50 State half marathon challenge are the things that get turned over again and again in my head throughout a race and keep me moving forward…I was inspired! I couldn’t help but think how cool it was that I’m running the very path I train on next to a New Yorker who came all the way to Rochester to color Minnesota in on her shirt.

The miles went on as I did my familiar things…hydrate, fuel, hydrate, hydrate, fuel. I took an occasional puff of my inhaler and kept moving forward. And because this is my seventh half marathon this year, I knew it would eventually end. As always, it felt fantastic to spot that finish line…

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And even better to cross it!

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I was thankful to catch up with Carmen one more time after the race. Look how amazing she looks after 13.1, and maybe don’t notice my horrendous hair and bagel-filled gopher cheeks hahaha!

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Carmen, thanks for giving me a challenge to think more about than my current issues. I’m honored to have witnessed your MN half!

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Check out her shirt. Guess what my next goal just might be?!?

Well there we go, fellow FIT BFFs, another 13.1 DONE. There will inevitably be a day I am no longer able to run a half marathon; I’m grateful that today was not that day!

Many thanks, Paul Anderson for a Christmas gift filled with more motivation than you or I ever expected!

I LOVE a Good Sale!

Memorial Day Weekend signifies the beginning of summer; I can’t tell you how excited I am about summer being here! I made a pretty fun little purchase tonight, an investment in my family’s summer enjoyment.

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I have extra confidence in my purchase because this tent came from REI. I’ve watched my sons’ Boy Scout Troop camp with their REI Base 4 tents again and again. If you know anything about teenage boys, you know they are hard on everything! These tents have stood up to that and some pretty rough weather…they’ve seen rain, hail, wind and snow. With proper care, they’ve stayed in great shape through the years. That’s why I knew this REI Base 6 was perfect for us!

And if that wasn’t enough to help me decide, REI’s return policy was. They stand behind everything they sell with a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee. Could it get any better than that?

Well, yes it could…and it did! Between now and May 30th, REI is having their giant Anniversary Sale. They don’t have sales often, because their durable, long-lived products are an outstanding buy at regular price. But when they do have a sale, it’s cause to celebrate! I’m doing the happy dance because this tent normally sells for $429 but today, with a member coupon I saved $85! I wasn’t a member before today, but for $20, I’m thrilled to be a member with benefits for life!

And that’s great news because REI…Recreational Equipment, Inc. has been sharing their passion for the outdoors since 1938! I can’t believe I waited this long to join! It’s time for me to plan our great summer treks!

Click the ad below to go straight to REI’s sale info. Check out all the amazing gear and gadgets they stand behind 100% and check out their great sale; but hurry, it ends May 30th! It’s time to plan your summer treks too!!!

Fun at my Front Door!

Fellow FIT BFFs, few things are more exciting that this…a surprise waiting for me when I got home this afternoon.

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Only I already know what’s in there and it’s something super fun to share with you very soon.

I’ll give you a few hints…it’s something related to fitness, it will be perfect for summer, and you’re going to want a set too. And if you know much about FIT BFFs, you know there just might be an awesome giveaway involved…wink, wink!

Stay tuned to find out what fun is contained in that box. In the meantime, give it your best guess…what do you think is in there?!?

Win-It Wednesday OOahhs!

Happy Win-It Wednesday, just in time for summer, fellow FIT BFFs! You are not going to want to miss out on the opportunity to win a great pair of recovery OOahhs by OOFOS. You can read the review I posted earlier this week here.

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True North Brand Companies provided me with a complimentary pair to test-drive and review. They have also generously agreed to award THREE lucky (randomly drawn) readers with a pair as well…these retail for $59.95/pair.

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OOFOS makes OOahhs for both men and women, so EVERYONE should enter!!!

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To read more about this amazing product or to order your own because you can’t wait to see if you won, check them out here.

To enter, simply leave a comment below between now and midnight on Tuesday, May 31st/central daylight time stating your shoe size (whole sizes only).

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Giveaway open to US residents only. Winners will be drawn and announced here on Win-It Wednesday, June 1st…Good luck!

 

OOfos Review…OOahh Sport

Hey, fellow FIT BFFs, back in March I was on my way to San Diego to continue working toward my goal of a half marathon each month in 2016. I escaped the frozen, snow-covered tundra of Minnesota with my sights set on surf, sand, sun and a little run. It was time for me to leave my favorite winter recovery footwear, my OOcloogs at home. I contacted my friends at OOfos to let them know I’d love to test out their OOahh Sports and that I would give them plenty of opportunity for race recovery review. Those generous folks provided me with a pair that arrived just in time for my new adventures!

Knowing my feet are sensitive to new footwear, it may have been a great idea for me to wear socks within my OOahhs the first day out. Instead, I slipped them on and took off on foot to cover miles of San Diego sightseeing. Truth be told, I developed a blister underneath one of the bands. I should have considered waiting until after my race to break them in. But no worries, the blister caused no ill effects on my run and I had those OOahhs back on immediately after the race. Why?

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Because I craved the impact-absorption and arch support of these OOahhs. They share the utmost in after-sport recovery comfort with my previous favorites the OOlalas and OOcloogs. You can read my past reviews of those two here and here.

Honestly, I don’t know how they do it, but OOfos technology seems to miraculously support all the parts of my feet in exactly the right places.

Slipping into these OOahhs with my weary, road-worn feet was like stepping onto heavenly pillows. Really, Friends, they felt that good! To further prove my point, check out my well-loved OOahhs following my recent monthly races…the Beginner’s Luck Half trail run in Henderson, NV.

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The La Jolla Half in La Jolla, CA.

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And the Rockin’ Robin Half in my hometown of Rochester, MN.

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I’ve put many miles on my feet so far this year, but happily report they continue to hunger for more. I attribute this to the excellent comfort provided by those fantastic OOahhs! With the right recovery support, my feet are ready to go the distance again and again. Runners, walkers, hikers and more, if you can’t say this about your recovery footwear, allow me to recommend it’s time you check out the amazing products at oofos.com.

I’ve got several events coming up and because I have OOfos with me, I’m all set!

 

 

Happy Birthday, Lotus Conrad!

I couldn’t go through today without celebrating something big!

Birthdays have always been of great importance to our family, and celebrating was big business when my dad become ill. Here’s a huge milestone we were blessed to celebrate ten years ago, my dad’s 70th birthday…one we were not sure we’d have opportunity to observe.

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We held our breath each year, hoping to see him through another birthday. Here’s another glimpse of grace under fire six years ago…a celebration of my dad’s 74th birthday. It was another moment of joy in a difficult time. A rhyme within a riddle, really.

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Throughout those years, my dad was fighting the ever-changing effects of a multitude of health issues. We watched his warrior spirit fend off everyday challenges related to lung cancer, Lewy body dementia, Parkinson’s disease, restless leg syndrome, and diabetes. He lived six memory-filled years past those diagnoses, putting his Best Foot Forward one day at a time. We were grateful to see him to 75 years here on Earth.

In retrospect, when I wonder where my warrior mentality for transformation came from, I don’t have to look far. I got it pretty honest from this tenacious, determined fighter. In fact, he’s instilled a lifetime’s worth of gifts within us.

As I celebrate his 80th birthday today within my heart and mind, I’m at peace. Although he’s no longer here in body, he’s never left my side in the hundred different ways he assures me he’s still here and isn’t going anywhere. I will continue to take him with me on some pretty fantastic adventures this summer including several half marathons, RAGBRAI, Ragnar and the Marine Corps Marathon. No doubt, I will feel his push everytime I need it and never feel alone…an enormous gift!

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Happy Birthday, Dad; and many more!!!

 

Surgery Strategies Worked Wonders

Jacksonville Boob Ape

Happy Friday, Friends…the boob saga continues! For those of you that have asked, I thought I’d give you an update on my little adventure this week. This was the surgery I postponed back in April when I literally ran away from it to San Diego to run the La Jolla half marathon. As the rescheduled surgery approached, I can’t tell you how badly I wanted to run again!

Wednesday morning I had a lumpectomy to remove a benign tumor from my breast. But not before some strategic planning to make things go the way I intended; I was going to control as much of this situation as I could to make it as positive as possible.

Last week Eric and I bought a ridiculously awesome new bed. Our last one was (gasp) 22 years old, providing zero support and moderate discomfort. The bummer was that it was out of stock and had to be ordered. I had a feeling it might come in time…wink!

I spent the weekend very active with a cycling class, a mile swim and a great walk, all aimed to reduce the anxiety that kept attempting to take me down.

Monday evening I took advantage of a great opportunity provided by massage therapist-in-training Matt at anewbeginning.life. A 60-minute complimentary massage to relax my body and quiet my nerves…worked like a charm. Stop by the website to score your own free massage before it’s too late, Rochester peeps!

Tuesday I had a tough workout with my trainer Kasi. The “tough” is exactly what I needed. It was my goal to put my apprehension, stress, anxiety and worry to rest by kicking the daylights out of it in the gym!

I put one of my favorite bible verses into action…Philippians 4:6, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” So that’s just what I did and combined mine with the help of the prayer chain peeps at both the churches I work at…what a great perk!

I’ve been through minor surgeries before, but always with raw emotions. This time was different.

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I was ready to get the thing over with and out of me! Had to laugh when my surgeon stopped in to initial me with his sharpee. I guess it’s a Minnesota law aimed at fewer errors. Thanks, Dr. C.!

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When he asked if I had any questions, all I wanted to know was how soon could I run after surgery. At that point he knew I was trouble. As they wheeled me into the OR and had me climb off the gurney, I told them I wanted to be one of those ladies you see who dance in the OR before their surgeries. No go…it was a tough crowd. They were way too serious, but I respect them wanting to get the job done, and with that I was out.

Next thing I knew, I was awake and looking for the coffee I needed several hours before. Dr. C. stopped by to tell me things went great, margins were clear and I was good to go…AMEN! I recovered for a bit with some family along for the fun and soon I was headed home.

I was tripping on Vicodin and felt nothing but content. But when the call came that our mattress had arrived and would be delivered yet that night, I was on cloud 9. Here’s a blurry look at that miracle…kind of how I saw it too. Impeccable timing!

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Between the narcotics and that pillow top I slept like a baby…yup, wide awake at 3 am! The drugs wore off and I had no pain, so no need for more. I was raring to go! By 9 am I was stir crazy sitting home doing nothing. I figured if I could sit around home, I could sit at the gym too, so that’s what I did…

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I may have gotten a minor scolding or two, but got a couple affirmations that more than made up for it. Hey, what can I say…my body craved the activity! I promise I took it easy for the rest of the day.

This morning I underwent the final piece of my strategy puzzle, a reiki session with Cody at anewbeginning.life. I arrived with an irritated, angry airway from the breathing tube. When I left, I was breathing easy and felt renewed balance inside and out.

I had the best possible experience this week by putting my Best Foot Forward. I know if the outcome had been different, I’d likely not be quite where I am right now. But regardless, Friends, thanks for all the well wishes, thoughts and prayers!

 

 

The Gift of a Simple Message

Friday evening I was sprawled on my couch with little to no ambition. I was feeling a little sorry for myself which could have easily set the tone for the weekend. Then something phenomenal happened…something that came completely out of nowhere but had the power to snap me clear out of my funk. Here’s what I’m talking about.

I received a message on my FIT BFFs Facebook page from a reader that stumbled upon my blog. She found a post I had written on a local running page last year and found me “incredibly inspiring!” She had a few questions so we began to message back and forth. Thrilled that we belong to the same athletic club, I suggested we meet for a walk so we could talk further.

I was so excited Hailie was willing to meet Saturday. Little did she know she rescued me from my self-wallowing…so much so, that I arrived a couple hours early to the club before we were to meet so I could catch a studio cycling class and a mile swim before we walked. Two things I probably would not have done otherwise.

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Our walk was amazing! It was cold and windy, but our little 4.82 mile chat kept us warm. I shared some of my journey with her and lucky for me, she shared hers too. I love that her courage to reach out to me because I inspired her truly worked both ways. I really needed that! I also love that she’s exactly half my age…how cool is that?!?

It was clear to see we will be fitness buddies, I can’t wait to see what we do together next…maybe yoga?!? We became Facebook friends, so I just marked another person off my Facebook Friends Resolution!

So the moral of this story:  if you’ve been inspired by someone, tell them! It might be the motivation they need too!

Meeting you Saturday was a gift, Hailie; thanks for reaching out!

 

 

Reclaiming My Youth!

Fellow FIT BFFs, I’ve been working hard for the past four years on living a healthier lifestyle. Something which has helped me feel much younger! I have focused my efforts primarily on the intricate balance of nutrition, fitness and mindfulness. Throughout this time I’ve made small changes in other areas of my life too. I’m always on the lookout for new ideas and strategies to help slow the aging process. This is becoming increasingly important to me now that I’m middle-aged.

Earlier this year I began glancing in the mirror at my maturing face, noticing a new crease here and another laugh line there…lines I didn’t find funny at all. Coincidentally, as I looked into options for combating these little proofs-of-age, the folks at Timeless Skin Care reached out to me. Their timing was impeccable!

They generously offered me two of their anti-aging products in exchange for an honest review. When I stopped by their website to select the serums, I was happy to find that Timeless Skin Care’s products are formulated with simple, all-natural, pure ingredients. I was even happier to read their products are never tested on animals. You can check out their full line of serums right here. When this showed up in my mailbox, I was like a kid on Christmas morning!

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I began using these serums immediately…after all, there was no time to spare! I applied one in the morning; it easily spread evenly over my face and left a nicely conditioned palette ready for moisturizer and make-up. I applied the other serum before bed. This was a simple process that quickly became habit. I was glad to notice neither of these products caused breakouts or dry skin…just left smooth surfaces behind.

Through continued use for three months, I saw some nice changes. Although I didn’t take a before picture, I’m very satisfied with the results and appreciate how my skin glows.

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Even better proof for me than the photo was something one of my husband’s co-workers said to me last week. She told me I look younger every time she sees me! BOOM!!!

If you are ready to turn back signs of aging, stop by Timeless Skin Care’s website here to view their full line and read more great company/product information.

Thanks, Timeless Skin Care for the privilege to try your anti-aging serums…I’m SOLD!