Yes Gal!

Once upon a time, several years back, I adopted a new mindset that has vibrantly colored my life nothing short of astounding at times. If you’ve followed me for a while, you may recall some of the many adventures I shared here…none of which would have occurred if not for a single, solitary word. YES!

This mindset was encouraged, in part, by the humorously thought provoking 2008 Jim Carrey film, Yes Man. This movie portrayed a man living a mundane existence until he learned to unleash the power of simply saying YES. The thought intrigued me. What would my life be like if I said YES more often? I admit, I was careful about what I considered because I’d become a big believer in saying no to things that did not serve me. But what if I said YES to opportunities meant to enhance my life?

The crazy part of it all, the more often I said YES to things like running marathons in Honolulu & Washington DC, participating in a 24 hour urban scavenger hunt/adventure race in Vegas, hiking the Narrows of Zion, walking Key West over and over, climbing a mountain here and there…the more these opportunities seemed to seek me out. Here’s a fun example of how this YES mentality worked for me…

A few months back, my neighbor asked if I’d like to accompany her on a business trip to Chicago. An amazing hotel was covered and I’d just need to come up with airfare. There was never a moment of hesitation…the answer was an obvious DUH! And before I knew what hit me, I was on a plane, and the Universe seemed to nod with exulting approval…

In anticipation of the possibilities of this playground, I did some recon before we left. In doing so, I was able to make some preparations to assure our trip’s awesomeness; as soon as we landed, it began to unfold!

Of course, Jane was there to work, so while she was occupied, I jumped into an event I knew I was meant to attend.

Weeks before, I found the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K walk and could already envision myself helping make a difference. Armed with generous American Cancer Society donations contibuted by friends (thanks again!!!), I joined thousands of others that morning with a united aim to put an end to this vicious killer! No need to guess how I felt about it…

It still blew my mind how easily I found myself in the very place I was meant to be in that moment. And how surreal to find myself surrounded by abundant love and a common goal as I walked across the start line.

What a brilliantly perfect way to sightsee!

Before I could even comprehend what happened, I found myself talking with a girl I have no doubt I was meant to meet in this sea of fuschia. Emma and I had an instant connection and spent nearly the entire 3.1 miles sharing our stories and lives. I LOVE when this happens!

Oh how that serendipitous time flew! Lovely to meet you, Emma! As we went our separate ways, I came upon someone else I felt destined to meet.

Melissa is a BADASS WARRIOR SURVIVOR…no other way to describe how she’s chosen to pay forward her struggle. She is the co-director of Ginger The Movie, inspired by her courageous, ongoing battle with breast cancer. I can’t wait to see her movie when it hopefully hits the big screen in my area or shows up on Netflix soon. Friends, keep your eyes open for it!

I was also grateful for the opportunity to sing OOFOS’ praises for the love they’ve shown me over the years. I walked in memory of Duncan Finigan, OOFOS fearless Brand Leader & Marketing Director, creator of Project Pink.

With my heart broken wide open, and my awareness greater than ever, the event came to an end and I was reunited with Jane for some sights and tastes of Chicago…like how can you hit the Windy City without some deep dish?!?

Oh, how we celebrated with a heck of a YES to that pitcher of sangria! Uff-da! Or explore the city without a stop at an icon or two…

And you’ve got to love this chance encounter…imagine me running into a health expo at the church I chose to attend lol! No way I could say no to free acupuncture (I’ve been dying to try) and massage…thanks, Healing Paradise Acupuncture!

And if I hadn’t done my research, I’d never have known my beloved Powell’s in Portland originated from this treasure in Hyde Park…what a fun place for this book addict to play!

Time and again on that trip, I was reminded just how glad I was that Jane invited me (thanks, Jane!) and that I had the good sense to say YES!

My favorite line from Yes Man kept washing over me again and again, “The world’s a playground, but somewhere along the way everyone forgets it.”

That, Friends, is something I refuse to forget! The world is a playground and I just can’t seem to get enough. As I tuck Chicago away in my precious cache of memories, I look onward because I’ve said YES to much more in the near future. I’m preparing for an upcoming trip to Spain in a few weeks and it’s time for this YES GAL to do her homework!

Trusting My Intuition

Friends, it wouldn’t be a normal week for me without some kind of bizarre adventure; this one was no different! For the past several weeks, I’d noticed a very curious growth forming on my right upper arm. Now I’m not one to jump to conclusions and consume myself with worry, but the thing certainly had my attention.

It’s hard to ignore something that dripped blood every time I snagged it with a towel after showering. It was bothersome as it didn’t seem to want to heal and insisted on sticking with me. I’d like to think I’m pretty in tune with my body, and this was not a harmonious little bugger. As a few weeks passed, I kept recalling something I’d learned in health class many moons ago, a few warning signs to get checked: a new mole or growth (check), a lesion that bleeds (check), a sore that doesn’t heal (check). Yeah, this was all of that and I kept wondering if my swollen lymph nodes a week ago had anything to do with this too. Team that up with the facts that I am pretty fair/light skinned and I have spent a lifetime in the sun, having acquired my fair share of sunburns in the past. Yeah, I suspected the “C” word, but no need to put that out into the universe haha!

If you know anything about me, you are aware I am no-nonsense when it comes to proactive/preventive care, so I tried to schedule an appointment with dermatology. It blew my mind that they couldn’t get me in until February…seriously?!? If this was anything serious, I knew better than to wait that long. A friend encouraged me to take a different route, and I stopped in at an acute walk in clinic the same day.

Though the practitioner did nothing more than look at this little crater-shaped thing, she advised me to make an appointment with a primary care provider who is willing/able to send a sample biopsy to pathology. Though that may seem like a wasted trip, it was the best advice because I was able to make an appointment for just a few days later…not FEBRUARY!

So I headed off to my clinic Tuesday. Many of you know I see all kinds of signs throughout my days. Well, walking into the lobby and spying this lone magazine…

Chop Chop indeed! I literally LOLed hahaha! And just below, I was reminded…life IS a picnic, my gentle reminder to keep worry out of this.

I lightheartedly continued on to my appointment. My doc assured me I did the right thing by coming in. From the shape and my description of the little guy’s behavior, she had a usual suspect in mind. She numbed me up, razored the pea-sized sample, controlled the bleeding and sent my specimen and me in separate directions.

I wouldn’t hear results from pathology for days, so I employed a little strategy I used back when I had a more nerve wracking breast biopsy. Every time I began to think about the results, I calmly reminded myself that this is nothing until it’s something, and right now, it was nothing. No use getting worked up over nothing, right?

The rest of the week quickly passed, and my results popped up yesterday afternoon on my portal. I took a couple slow, deep breaths and opened it up. The big long named skin cancer variety my doc suspected? Not! This thing was nothing more than an innocent little irritated capillary hemangioma for the win!

Folks, I realize I dodged a bullet, but I also took great relief knowing had it been something far more serious, my self care take-charge, proactive approach was important in early detection/treatment.

So here’s the take away, Friends…if you notice something not quite right, trust your intuition, get checked out and move on. Peace of mind is PRICELESS and one more way to put that Best Foot Forward!

Win-It Wednesday 5th Blogiversary Winners!

Happy Win-It Wednesday, Friends! This marks the end of FIT BFFs’ 5th Blogiversary Giveaway. I’d like to take one last opportunity to thank all you readers who continue to join me throughout this most surreal, healthy lifestyle blogging adventure! And in case you think I’m winding down, don’t go anywhere…because this journey continues to unfold in exciting and unexpected ways. I’m working toward all new goals, education and adventures just around the corner…so stick around!

I am ever-grateful for OOFOS and Rollga’s generous and unwavering support of my endeavors and willingness to partner again and again!

Without further ado, today’s winners are:

Pink Rollga…Kasi!

OOFOS recovery footwear of your choice…Jenny!

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

I will contact both of you with details.

Thanks to all who entered! If you didn’t win, you will still want to check out Rollga’s website to learn more about their contoured foam rollers and OOFOS’ website to find out how to feel the OO with their recovery footwear!

5th Blogiversary Win-It Wednesday!

It’s incomprehensible to me, but fitbffs.com turned 5 this summer, so it’s time for a GiVeAwAy!!!

Friends, thank you for joining my healthy lifestyle adventure every step of the way. If you’ve been reading for a while, you know with Focus, Inspiration and Transformation, I’ve been putting my Best Foot Forward…thus FIT BFFs! It’s been cathartic these past five years to share with you my highest of highs…

And some of my lows…

You’ve seen me at my most confident…

My most determined…

You’ve been with me at my most vulnerable as I faced some fears…

Fought past some injuries…

And worked through profound grief…

And beyond…

Thank you for your continued loyalty and encouragement. It means the world to me and drives me forward!

So it’s time for me to give back, Friends! In my previous post, I reminded you of two companies that have had my best interests at heart, supporting every step of my endeavors, literally!

OOFOS has been my sport recovery footwear of choice for good reason; they’ve seen me through my entire journey, turning fatigue and ache into OO!

And I can’t for a minute forget Rollga‘s part in all my activities. Rolling around on their phenomenal foam roller has enhanced my abilities, turning frequent pain into comfort.

OOFOS and Rollga have generously contributed some gifts to help us celebrate! One lucky winner will receive a pair of OOFOS recovery footwear!!! And another winner will win a pink Rollga!!!

To enter, simply leave a comment below between now and Tuesday, September 24th, midnight central time.

This giveaway is open to US residents only. Randomly selected winners will be announced here on Win-It Wednesday, September 25th.

But wait, there’s MORE…if you would like an extra entry, here’s your opportunity!

Next month I will be traveling to Chicago to participate in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer event. I’m actively helping the American Cancer Society in fighting for a cure. I would be most grateful if you would donate to my fundraising goal for this event, and any amount will earn you an additional entry for the OOFOS/Rollga giveaway. Donate here!

Taking an active role in the fight against breast cancer is one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Trading Fear For Action!

Recently, I took care of some annual business I don’t necessarily enjoy. Just before riding RAGBRAI, I went in for my routine mammogram. You may recall why I experience some anxiety surrounding this simple exam…

Following some previous mammograms, I’ve experienced some adventures I hadn’t bargained for including multiple recall mammograms, ultrasounds, a core biopsy and lumpectomy. None of it fun, but all of it paramount for my ongoing health.

One of the most difficult things about a mammogram for people who’ve had a history such as mine where I doctor? Patients at my clinic are made to wait about a week for results to be mailed. Those can be long days of stress and worry if a person gives it energy. Luckily, I had a seven day bike ride across Iowa to keep my mind off what that piece of mail could potentially say this year…so, well, I was too busy to go there for most of that week.

I was blessed to have ongoing support from a few of my very favorite companies along for this year’s ride. My friends at OOFOS provided me with an incredible care package including a pair of their Project Pink OOriginal sport sandals to allow me to better recover after each long day.

I’d recently visited my friends at Rollga and they provided me with another of their amazing foam rollers to reach and target my road weary muscles.

Not only was I tickled PINK to have both these products along for my continued comfort and recovery, it turned out to be quite a coincidence, I thought, that both beloved companies promote breast cancer awareness through supporting research. For every pair of OOFOS sold, they donate 3% directly toward the Dana-Farber Breast Cancer Research Team. 25% of all proceeds from Pink Ribbon Rollga sales are donated to breast cancer research and awareness programs. Thank you, OOFOS and Rollga!!!

While riding 427ish miles that week, you can imagine I had a lot of time to think! As my mind returned to those pending exam results, I formulated a bit of a mindful strategy going forward. I could choose to spend that week following my mammogram each year waiting for those results with uneasiness and worry, but I feel that gets me absolutely nowhere but stressed. A better choice? I could focus my efforts in a more positive direction, taking cues from companies like OOFOS and Rollga…actively working toward a cure! I thought more about how I could put that second choice into practice, as I found it a much better option than worry!

I finished that week’s event feeling pretty fantastic…my feet and legs were in great shape thanks to daily recovery with OOFOS and Rollga!

I returned home to a letter I received from my healthcare provider stating my mammogram results were normal! PHEW!!! Though I was relieved with that news, I knew I still needed to find my role in making a difference. As I thought off and on about it for the next several weeks, that perfect opportunity surfaced…more about that coming up!

Stay tuned, Friends…you won’t want to miss out!

In the meantime, ladies, the American Cancer Society is now recommending women at average risk of breast cancer should get annual mammograms beginning at age 45. Is it time for you to make an appoinment?

Well…Here I Grow Again!

Wait! What just happened?!? An entire season has come and gone without nary a blog post. Apparently my life has been put on an even faster forward…do you relate? I can’t fathom where summer has gone, so it’s time I share with you a peek at what I’ve been up to since my last entry back in (gosh, oops…) May! If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you already know haha!

I welcomed the warmer weather by tilling and planting my garden because I love the gifts the growing season provides. I knew homegrown veggies would add a fresh flavor to all my favorites.

I got a few early season 5Ks in, but my jerk knee’s knee jerk reaction was not pleasant, so that was that.

My husband joined my beloved athletic club and I gained a brand new source of live-in gym accountability! This pic was from the morning of our 25th Wedding Anniversary…got the workout in before we celebrated!

We observed our anniversary by continuing Eric’s Hop Passport Brewery Tour…we knocked out a few of the 68 breweries in his passort while playing in Minneapolis/St. Paul. That passport has challenged me to work off all the empty calories I’ve been consuming with each tour, a battle I sense I was losing.

Next came our annual family vacation up north; though relaxing, I did all I could to keep it an active one…

Loved the time it allowed me to spend with our oldest and his wife…feels like there’s never enough time, so this week was a great chance to put everyday life on hold and just play!

Ahhh, but that fresh air and lake vibes!

And the sunrises!!! What a beautiful place to catch our breath as summer began to take flight.

I got a quick room overhaul accomplished, turning our oldest son’s room into a place of mindful rejuvenation. I don’t mind telling you, I worked through some emotions as I painted over a little boy’s youth.

It seems to have helped me work through the feels I needed to release. I managed to get the room pretty close to finished just in time for a houseguest.

My soul sister flew in from Portland with that giant bag…part of an epic plan! What a treat to have this Lady with us for an entire month. Pinch me!

Eric and I had been training for RAGBRAI, a weeklong bike ride across Iowa, and Nadia decided pretty last minute to join in…YAY! I rode RAGBRAI back in 2016 by myself, so I was pretty excited with the prospect of having some really fun company this time!

We got some great training rides in with part of our fantastic team…such important preparation for success.

Even on days we didn’t feel like it, we still figured out how to keep moving forward…air conditioning helped haha!

A few short weeks later found us in Council Bluffs, IA at the RAGBRAI expo, ready to set this adventure in motion. Remember, I’d done this before and once was actually enough for me, until this 50-year-old decided it was time for him to do it too. Now how could I say no when he asked me to join him?

And just like that, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa happened…427ish miles of it!

Was pretty much an exhausting, seven day party as we ate our way across the entire state of Iowa…fuel, you know?!? Uff-da!

Felt good to see completion of another training schedule and event. Goals can get a person pretty far!

My job continued allowing me to share the great outdoors and fitness with the mentors and mentees I work with. I’m grateful to say I love the work I am doing…seems more like play if you ask me…WIN!!!

I spent a portion of the summer partnering with the Rochester Police Department encouraging the youth in our mentoring program to accomplish some of their 10 mile bike rides. How amazing it would be if one of them goes on to ride RAGBRAI in the future…how cool would that be?

My flexible part-time work schedule has afforded me some important time for much needed self care. I’ve taken many opportunities to work on me this summer. Sure, I spent a ton of time being active, but I also took time delving into some healing modalities that I’ve been meaning to explore. I’ve been holding on to some baggage it was time to unpack and release.

In the process, I’ve enjoyed profound relief from things I’ve felt were holding me back from being my best. It was challenging but necessary work to move forward.

Time and again, I put myself in the way of beauty and let nature facilitate the healing.

I’ve made my emotional and spiritual health big priorities this summer, and the shift I’m experiencing is a divine gift. One that is right on time, because life is constantly changing and I want to be ready for what’s coming next…case in point…

See, this is something else we accomplished this summer…senior pictures. How is our youngest already here? As I know all too well, this will be the fastest school year yet. This young man has been busy with incredible academic government and musical composition programs this summer, as well as traveling abroad. I feel like we barely saw him. And my heart knows what little time we have left before the nest is empty.

I know how important these fleeting moments are, so I’m tucking the memories away one by one, as long as I can.

So I look back at this summer with such joy as this guy and I evolve into a deeper relationship. The one where we begin to remember who we are without our kids, and what that looks like going forward. I think about how quickly 25 years really go and what I want for myself and for us.

And this right here is it. I want to go forth with love and longevity the best way I know how. That means it’s time for me to take way better care of myself, to get honest on a very vulnerable level. I know I’ve been neglecting myself when it comes to mindful eating and that mofo scale has been shouting obsceneties at me. Or maybe it’s the other way around lol! So it’s time to show the damn thing what I’m made of. Again.

So, well…here I grow again. I already know I can.

I’m embarking on a new leg of this transformational journey I’ve been on these past 8 years that will ensure I go into our next 25 years with my very Best Foot Forward.

I’m Back!!!

Wow, it’s been a really long time, Friends! If you follow me on Facebook at FIT BFFs, you know I’ve continued to put my best foot forward despite the ridiculousness of a winter we barely survived!

If you’re from around here…well, you just know. Seriously, the kids had like 10 snowdays!!!

I did my very best to stay consistent with strength training at the gym, but my heart was not in it at all. I mean, there were reminders everywhere a person looked that we were all trapped.

I felt as though I was in a dark state of disequilibrium that may have been avoided if one could simply hibernate. If you read my previous post, you know I’ve been dealing with a wide array of new, adventurous hormone curiosities that could potentially lead to insanity. Couple that with a shrinking house due to a year-long houseguest…my zen little crafting getaway/general storage is occupied and its previous contents are strewn throughout the rest of the house. I spent plenty of wasted time feeling literally and completely snowed under…not. even. kidding.

Every time we turned around, there was a new pile to shovel, only where were we even supposed to put the stuff? I actually didn’t mind getting outside and tackling it, because out there, I enjoyed the fresh air, the good vibes and the amazing workout! But, Friends, I was RESTLESS.

A while back I shared with you an upcoming event I was looking forward to, I mean who wouldn’t; it was in Florida! Everwalk Key West was a walking adventure that included 10 miles of walking every morning and Habitat for Humanity hurricane repair every afternoon. Ten miles every morning meant this gal needed to prepare! You may remember how much I loathe the dreadmill, so I trained outside the best I could…

But because there were multiple feet of snow on the ground, I resorted to creativity. My snowshoes afforded me the ability to walk above the drifts while breathing deeply the fresh air I so desperately needed. It became clear what a renewed person I’d become after spending a few hours out there.

It got to the point where the winter fog had lifted each time I escaped outdoors. Tapping into what my body was feeling, I yearned to be outside more and more! Mother Nature’s beckoning became stronger by the minute and I found myself truly embracing that freaking winter wonderland!

I took every opportunity I could find to travel, to change up my surroundings. I took full advantage of my husband’s work conference so I could run away to the woods.

I savored every second of this spacious indoor retreat I had all to myself!

I continued to work out, enjoyed some Tai Chi Chih and yoga on the mezzanine, some snowshoeing across the frozen lake, and a last minute 10 mile practice walk in prep for Key West.

I hit the target mileage, but those all too familiar aches and pains hit back. But no matter, the plan was set into motion as I jetted off to the Sunshine State.

I instantly forgot it was winter when my hotflashes became blow torches. But I barely noticed because paddleboarding!!! I was thrilled to spend some quality time with my twin cousin who loves the great outdoors as much as I do!

And what a perfect place to start training for another upcoming event!

And suddenly I find myself face to face with the morning 10 milers I’d been obsessing about for months, with a host of fellow walkers on the same mission…

What an honor to spend some time walking beside swimming LEGEND Diana Nyad!

Even though it was just walking, it took a heavy toll on my angry knee. So I took a much needed morning to rest in a place I return to again and again in my soul. An enchanting spot to read, reflect, journal and relax. I soaked in hours worth of sunny, cosmic, healing vibes!

I flew home from two weeks of paradise IN a potent snowstorm, telling myself I could easily survive whatever winter had left to dish out. But I quickly lost my warm weather buzz and slid into a familiar slump. I was going through the motions at the gym, tolerating/ignoring my knee’s chronic crabbiness and nearly succumbing to cabin fever. But I continued to force myself outside and soon rekindled my love affair with Old Man Winter. And before I knew it, the snow all but disappeared. It was time to make good on a promise I made my newly 50 year old hub. I agreed to ride RAGBRAI one more time so he could experience it too. A 427 mile ride across Iowa required a better bike than he had, so Happy Birthday to HIM!

I admit, thinking about all that riding scared the crap out of me…I cringed just imagining how my knee was going to wreak its revenge. Again, no matter…we hit the trails immediately!

Within a few weeks, I noticed some profound improvements! Maybe it’s the gorgeous weather, perhaps the piles of new endorphins? And it might have something to do with the magical outdoors…

My mood is markedly more positive, I am EXCITED to get to the gym for the gains, and I can’t believe I’m even about to say this…

With each training ride I assumed would anger my knee more and more it’s, in fact, the opposite!!! I’m feeling stronger, I can put full weight on that leg and the pain I’ve learned to mask for almost three years is GONE! Now if I could just talk my sore behind into enjoying the ride haha!

If this is the knee fix I’ve been looking for, I’m never going to stop biking! I’ve found alignment, Friends, and I eagerly proclaim…I’M BACK!!!

MIA

Hi Friends, somehow we are a quarter of the way through this new year and you may have decided I must have fallen off the side of the Earth. I have been absent here for a few months, meandering my way through some uncharted territory in my life. I’ve been off on my own, in an unusual headspace, but I feel strongly compelled to share since yesterday’s International Women’s Day.

See, what I’ve been slogging through these past months is completely female. And though it may have been considered taboo to talk about in past generations, it’s high time we bring about a healthy shift because women can feel lost and hopeless where I find myself right now. We gals need to know what to expect because none of us will escape this thing…and not one of us is alone here.

So where am I? I’ve literally been MIA! But maybe not what you are thinking…I’m smack dab in the throes of Menopause is Activated! When I put it like that, it feels more like a superpower haha! What does it even mean? Means I’ve been dealing with a pile of changes I find difficult to navigate on a daily basis. Had my mom’s generation warned me, I feel confident I would have been better equipped. So let’s start that conversation!

Menopause affects each woman uniquely, so I can only tell you what I’m experiencing…that list is long and unpleasant. I’ve got frequent hot flashes that have me peeling off layers at most awkward moments. I find it difficult to concentrate and find myself forgetting important things. My sleep is abruptly interrupted by night sweats, followed by unfounded anxiety that keeps me wide awake and deposits bags under my eyes the next morning. So I guess that’s why another common symptiom is exhaustion. I’m dealing with headaches, irritability, moodiness…pretty much a feeling of perpetual PMS…ugh. The weight gain I’ve read about on the hips, abdomen and thighs…yup, I’ve got that too. I feel like for me, that’s the result of lack of sleep, general depression and the insatiable hunger trigger of this emotional eater.

These are rough enough, but throw them at a gal and expect her to continue juggling the daily grind, while possibly coping with emotions surrounding a shrinking nest and the continuously unexpected with a smile…seriously?!? Guess that’s why they called it a mid-life crises…makes perfect sense to me. Also guessing that’s why valium aka Mother’s Little Helper was so popular back when they wouldn’t talk about it?

So what the heck is a gal supposed to do? It’s easy to see why this is such a difficult time in a woman’s life! Luckily we have the choice of fight or flight here, and I simply refuse to quietly retreat to a corner and allow this to defeat me. So I fight!

I’m grateful to find relief to many of these issues by remaining physically active. I’ve found exercise to be of great help and relief in improving not only the physical changes but the mental and emotional as well. I’ve thrown in some extra heavy doses of yoga and meditation too for a mindful boost…adding in some of that self care reminds me to love myself. Getting outside to breathe deep is priceless too. Sure, I still have moments when it all feels like too much and I succumb to a full-blown tantrum. That’s a great time to just let the emotions come and let it all go!

So there you have it, kind of a laundry list of why I’ve been MIA lately. Not excuses…just taking some time to gently deal with some of the rites of passage associated with the privilege of being a woman.

I’m reminded how blessed I am to have a spouse that understands what I’m going through and picks up the slack without missing a beat. #rockstarhusband!!! He gets me because I tell him how I’m feeling. Communication!!! I’m grateful to not feel alone…exactly why we all need to talk about this.

Have you found yourself MIA? Do you have any wisdom to impart? Or dealing with something you’d like others to weigh in on? Leave a comment, we could all use some help here!

2018…I Can’t Believe I Did That!

Friends, another year has come and gone and it seems right to look back before moving forward. If you’ve followed me this past year, you know I set an intention to look less at the numbers and more mindfully at the heart of what I was doing. Simply stated, I aimed to change things up, try new things…LOTS of new things. It seemed everywhere I turned I kept coming back to two wise quotes that resonated deeply…

It’s better to look back on life and say, “I can’t believe I did that,” than to look back and say, “I wish I did that.” – Manthan Sharma

You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go do them. – E.J. Lamprey

With those thoughts in mind…I decided I wanted to be able to say, “I did that,” so…I did! Here are a few of those things…

There was blacklight cycling that seemed to shut the entire world off around me…COOL!

Then there was blindfold yoga that had much the same effect, while exponentially raising the difficulty level of my practice.

A Pilates Reformer series really tested my limits and increased my strength in a challenging, refreshing new mode.

Though I was unsure another 13.1 was in my future, I completed Donna’s Half in Jacksonville. Having walked nearly every step, I made peace with knowing my running days are now behind me.

I’ve become the biggest advocate for self-care, enjoying my first facial. Heaven.

Though some classes offered at my gym were well outside my comfort level, I decided that was no reason not to at least try.

I’d been dying to try a new bungee workout forever. I located the only one offered in the US at the time, so I worked a visit to Tough Lotus into my travel. Similar classes are now available much closer to home than Arizona, so I’ll be bouncing around again soon, no doubt!

I’d also been longing to see what all the hype was surrounding goat yoga, so I checked that out while in Arizona too.


And why in the world would I hike Tempe Butte or A Mountain? Well because it was there, of course!

I made it my mission to explore any National Parks that were anywhere near where my travels took me. So imagine my delight when I got to hike down the equivalent of a 75 story building to behold the wonders beneath the ground at Carlsbad Caverns. And because the elevators were out, I got a great workout hiking back up those 75 floors!

I invited a new tradition into the family. Instead of gifts for Mother’s Day…please take me on a hike!

A role for me this year was training buddy as we initiated our son’s fiance into our Tour de Pepin tradition.

I finally took the opportunity to test my balance limits with stand up paddleboard yoga while making some extraordinary new friends!

A trip to San Diego made this serendipitous Cowles Mountain hike a must-do with this outstanding tribe!

And my IDEA World Fitness Conference/Blogfest finally allowed me to meet Chris and Heidi Powell face-to-face…solid gold manifestation for sure!

I never could have imagined how enchanting it would be to dance with my son at his wedding…pinch me!!!

Earlier this year I accepted a position I knew was perfect for me as a program coordinator for the mentoring organization I previously mentored for. I’m ecstatic to have given this job a try and am so fulfilled in what I am doing!

My new job enables me to have a larger impact on our community’s youth while staying connected to my mentee. She and I were blessed to explore three more national parks together…Theodore Roosevelt, Yellowstone and Badlands on an alumni trip to Montana.

Gave a trampoline park a whirl for the first time with my extended family of kangaroos…who says we have to grow up?!?

Continued my education in a most hilarious way. That’s right folks, I’m a certified laughter yoga leader and that’s a laughing matter! I’ve also been spending a LOT of time on the Duo Lingo app learning Spanish for a milestone that’s still a few years out.

I tossed apprehension to the wind and facilitated my first women’s mindfulness retreat, a sacred space to sample a number of modalities. I don’t know about them, but I LOVED it!

An unexpected trip to care for my mother allowed for a quick rendezvous with my soul sister, climbing another mountain in Arizona simply because it was there. Why wouldn’t we?!?

One thing more to include…this has become my most beloved bench. I’ve been here so many times this year to meditate, read, pray, to ponder, breathe and just be. I’ve had several challenges and struggles in 2018, but who hasn’t? Through it all, I’ve found the more I’ve come through, the brighter the sun shines on the other side. I will treasure everything the year has taught and brought and can absolutely say, “I can’t believe I did that!”

It is with a full heart of gratitude that I look onward to what 2019 holds. I will continue to tackle each new day putting my Best Foot Forward!

Happy New Year, Friends!

Onward!

Hi Friends! As I looked back today, I realize it’s been two months since my last post. I’ve been quiet, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy practicing what I preach. I stepped away from blogging for a bit to make extra time for myself…some extraordinary experiences of personal growth and much needed self care. I took time for what my body/mind/soul craved…

I joined family in making new memories.

When alone time was needed to heal some hurt, I savored a quiet getaway to feel instead of avoid.

And I’ve learned when I face what weighs me down, head-on, I’m lighter, more ready to move forward. After nourisning some grief last month, I went ahead to become trained and certified in Laughter Yoga Ho-Ho Ha-Ha-Ha!!!

 

Next thing I knew, I was facilitating a Women’s Wellness Weekend getaway so others could recharge too.

 

I continued, this past month, to be mindful of what I needed to feel most myself as the hum of the holiday preparations began to sound. I made consistency at the gym(s) a priority.

 

But soon I felt as though I was spinning my wheels. Something was missing. Something that hasn’t been there for quite some time…I needed a new challenge to work toward, a new goal. If you’ve been following me for a while, you know it needed to be BIG! I did some soul searching and came up with some driving motivation that will take me well into 2019.

I’ve always been so inspired by Diana Nyad’s courage and perseverance. She’s the DIE HARD that conquered the swim from Havana, Cuba to Key West. I knew of her incredible walking initiate EverWalk, and recently saw on the website she is hosting a life-changing event in Key West…a wonderful week of walking 10 miles every morning and volunteering for Habitat For Humanity–helping rebuild what Hurricane Irma destroyed every afternoon. This was exactly what I was looking for…a fitness event with a service component! EPIC!!!

Though it will be tough to wait until April to embark on this next adventure, that leaves me time to diligently prepare. I put great thought into how I will train to be ready to rock Key West; I devised a plan that will help keep me accountable. I’m going to set aside the more stressful aspects of the holidays, the ones that no longer serve my family and me. In saying no to certain things and people, I am saying yes to what I truly need and want. I’ll spare you the family portion, but for me, that looks like walking. A LOT of walking.

My plan is to walk at least 110.86 miles…the distance Diana Nyad swam from Cuba to Key West, and to do it this month…starting NOW! Thanks, Julie, for helping me kick this off despite the 17 degree wind chill…I LOVE fellow walking warriors!

A couple quick laps around the lake and my challenge has begun…

Onward!