Camp Fit Fun Continues!

My week of Boy Scout camp continues, Friends, and I’m having the time of my life! I think I’m having more fun now than when I went to camp as a kid. I’ve had so many wonderful opportunities to stay active and hope I’m being a great example for the boys as well.

Yesterday found me on my first run of my 18-week marathon training program in preparation for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. I had no idea how hilly it was around here and was not a fan of how dry the gravel roads are either…I ate a lot of dust, but got it done!

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I was excited to tag along with the boys during their hour of archery. It’s been a while since I last shot, but it kind of all came back to me…felt good to hit a few bullseyes…not bad for a mom!

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How awesome are these guys to let me tag along for all the fun?!?

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Later in the afternoon came the Ironman…a little canoeing, a little swimming and a whole lot of running lol!

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They sure know how to make someone feel good about accomplishing something around here!

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And here we are…Ironmen and IronMOM; so proud of these guys!

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Looked forward to seeing this guy…our buddy Dave delivers food to each campsite before every meal. He also does what he can to make sure requests are satisfied. I can’t tell you how glad I am that he can scrounge up some extra fruit and veggies for me!

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We finished off our crazy-active day with a calming session of sunset beach Broga. How cool is that?!? Here’s our cobra…

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So proud of these warriors!

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So thankful for the end of the day…I was completely worn out!

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Fresh air, activities all day long…that’s the beauty of camp!

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I’m looking forward to a little breather tonight…adult leader banquet. Hopefully a steak, baked potato and a respite from the plague of the official Minnesota state bird…the mosquito lol! Planning on a good night’s sleep so I can attempt to keep up with these guys again tomorrow. Hopefully rock climbing, sailing, kayaking…sky’s the limit here at Many Point!

The Work(in) Review

Hey Friends, I recently received a package in the mail that I couldn’t be more excited about! The fitness equipment contained in this package was generously provided to me in exchange for a blog review. Although I was packing for a family vacation at the time, I decided to toss it in my suitcase and take it along so I could try it out at soon as possible. Here’s what arrived:

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Two very convenient-sized pouches…

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One pouch contained a core ball ready for simple inflation with the included straw and plug. The other contained three resistance loop bands of varying levels of resistance. I appreciate the ball can be easily deflated and everything fits right back into the pouches for travel convenience…it’s like a portable strength training gym right there in my suitcase!

I’ve used both types of equipment before with my trainers for various strength training exercises, so I was eager to put them to the test. I noticed right away the core ball was very durable and of commercial gym-grade quality. I know this is an item that will be with me for a long time; and that’s great because I have some pretty important uses for it. I love that I will have it available for both at-home and on-the-go use.

The resistance loop bands (although not as thick as the bands I’m accustomed to at the gym) are a nice weight quality that will be very useful too. And great news, both the core ball and set of resistance loop bands retail for $14.99 each…in my opinion, that’s really affordable equipment!

Both items are designed to improve balance, core strength, posture and flexibility. Both are great for all fitness levels. Having used similar items in the gym, I was familiar with some exercises, but I decided to stop by The Work(in)’s website to check things out further at theworkinmovement.com

The website includes several video examples of uses. Once I’d taken a look, I decided to play around on the pier of the resort I was staying at…I can’t think of a more perfect place to work out! Here’s the glute bridge I’ve done a million of haha!

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And then, something a little more advanced.

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And judging from the videos on the website, I have many more challenging things to try, moving forward!

I had a great time trying out the resistance loop bands as well…here’s a little plank variation that had me breathing heavy haha!

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Then a little hip abductor action.

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And finally a fun little squat-stepping action…boy did I feel that one as I worked my way up and down that pier!

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I give both of these products two enthusiastic thumbs up, fellow FIT BFFs! If this is something you might find useful in your quest for fitness, stop by the website to find out how you can get yours, and what to do with them here.

The Work(in) core ball and resistance loop bands…convenient gym equipment for your home or travel…one more way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

That’s SO Camp!

This afternoon I joined my husband, Scoutmaster Eric, and his Boy Scout Troop at one of their favorite places!

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The guys have been here since Saturday, so they’ve already done the preliminary stuff…among other things, the all important swim test.

The weather was pretty rough the day they took their test. Waves were not their friends, but they rocked that test anyway. Luckily, the waves were pretty calm tonight when it was my turn.image

I’m going to call this my NSV…Non Scale Victory for today. Because before I began my weight loss journey, I know I didn’t have the stamina to complete the test. But today I jumped off that dock and got it done. I can’t tell you how awesome that feels! Because I earned that swimming tag, I can participate in all the awesome aquatic activities the place has to offer!

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It’s going to be a fantastic week at camp!

Happy 2nd Birthday, FIT BFFs!

I don’t know how, but another year has passed, Friends…FIT BFFs is two years old! In celebration, let’s have cake. On second thought, let’s enjoy this instead, a zero-calorie treat. Not only did I not fashion this festive fruit, I borrowed it from Pinterest so I don’t get to eat it either. But someone sure was creative!

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This would be a wonderful way to celebrate nearly anything by simply changing that two to whatever appropriately fits the occasion.

I’d like to take the opportunity to thank all of you, Readers! Thanks for your kind words, encouraging comments and inspirational messages. I’d also like to thank all the companies that have shared their products with me and you! Not only has this blog continued to be a huge gift for me by way of accountability, it has literally changed my life!

Stay tuned, fellow FIT BFFs, in a few days it will be time to celebrate! Think PRESENTS!!!

And here’s to all of us celebrating another year of putting our Best Foot Forward.

Thunderbird Real Food Bars Review

Friends, you know healthful eating is very important to me as I strive for a healthy lifestyle. I’m also constantly on the lookout for that next great food item. That’s why I was excited when John at Thunderbird contacted me. He generously offered to provide me with a complimentary sample of all nine varieties of Thunderbird Real Food Bars in exchange for a review. I was not only intrigued by the creative food combinations, I respect that these bars are 100% all natural, gluten-free, zero sugar added and non GMO.

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I lead a very active lifestyle, so I thought I’d put these food bars to the test in a variety of active ways. My first Thunderbird Bar adventure was a cycling trip on the Root River Trail. Eric and I each chose bars to fuel our ride.

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Half-way through our 38 mile ride, we took a snack break. I couldn’t wait to try the Hazelnut Coffee Maca bar…it was great! Eric chose the Almond Apricot Vanilla bar; that one was good too, I know because I might have taken a bite of his haha! Reading through the list of ingredients for both bars, we noticed it was short and all words that we could pronounce. Each bar is a combination of fruits, nuts, seeds, and spices; and that’s it! The bars were a satisfying snack that fueled us well for the remaining 19 miles.

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On vacation, I packed another bar for a mid-workout snack while kayaking the perimeter of beautiful Lake Aaron in central Minnesota. Mid-way through my 1:39 paddle, I took a Lemon Cashew Apricot bar break. It was a fantastic recharge for the paddle ahead. I found the ingredient combination to be unique and delicious. That bar kept my energy level high to complete my 4.78 mile journey.

Although I would have loved to keep them all for myself, I still had several more bars to sample and thought it was time I should share with others. So I gathered some family to sample some for themselves.

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These volunteers took time from fishing, boating, gaming, reading, walking, movie-watching and relaxing to taste-test a few. I chunked the bars up and passed the plates. Everyone enjoyed sampling the various ingredient combinations of each bar. The Pecans Goji Pistachios came out the favorite of that bunch.

I saved the last bar for myself to energize my workout. The Hemp Sunflower Pumpkin Seed bar was satisfying fuel for some running and strength training.

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I don’t think there is an activity these bars wouldn’t handle. I plan to pack them for upcoming camp-outs and hikes.

Thunderbird Real Food Bars are real food, for real energy, for real people…energy for today, health for tomorrow. Thank you, Thunderbird for the opportunity to put these bars to the test. FIT BFFs gives them two enthusiastic thumbs up! This fitness finatic has an amazing product to add to the grocery list…one more way to put my Best Foot Forward. And so can you, Friends!

Another Half Done!

Last weekend I flew out to Mammoth Lakes, California to meet up with friends for the Mammoth Lakes Half Marathon. Just getting there was quite an adventure. My friend Rhonda and I met at LAX for our final flight…one we weren’t quite sure about.

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We found it curious that the flight offered complimentary beer and wine service. Soon into that flight, we realized why. Combine the smallishness of the Bombardier Q400 with the very turbulent area, and we gladly took them up on that glass of red! I was never so relieved to be back on solid ground!

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We were here to run this half on Father’s Day, and that had been weighing on my heart for days. I lost my dad 4 1/2 years ago and Father’s Day is a tough one, friends. I take him along wherever I race…his dog tags around my neck for good luck; today was no different.

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Because much of this racecourse was downhill, I assumed this would be the perfect opportunity to PR, so I set my intention to beat my personal record for my dad…I would light that road on fire! Unfortunately, that was not exactly what happened. The race began at the top of a hill in a creepy area riddled with bare-naked, dead pines.

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Closer inspection revealed the area suffered from naturally occurring carbon dioxide, but I didn’t learn that until after the race.

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Here, my friends Matt, Rhonda and I are ready to run; they’re the best!

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Now ordinarily I would stay with them, but since I hoped to PR, I took off on my own. I didn’t fly off at the start, I took it easy at first. Not because I wanted to pace myself, but because I could barely breath. The altitude was killing me. I felt like my lungs were so full they would burst! Miles 1 and 2 were ugly, but I did the best I could. I knew I’d need to make up time. So as the hills continued, and I began to breathe easier, I took full advantage of the decline. Mile after mile I was in awe of the beauty that surrounds a person in this area.

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As the miles wore on, my legs were burning and I found elevation and hills were taking their tole. It eventually became clear I would not PR, so I continued the race with new goals… to embrace the beauty and simply finish this thing!

I was grateful to have someone by my side when Matt and I met back up for the last few miles. We ran a portion of them, but mostly walked as we compared our experiences throughout this beast of a race.  As the heat started taking its toll, all we could focus on was getting it done. And eventually, the finish line came into sight.

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Funny how quickly perspective can change…at the beginning of the race I fully intended to PR, and by the end I was happy to finish. Others were not so lucky that day. Because this was a challenge series, I took home two medals…one for this half and one for finishing both the Mammoth Lakes and the San Diego half marathons.

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We spent the rest of the day in active, sightseeing recovery mode. We headed up to the breathtaking Minaret Vista where we had some great fun in the snow.

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Being from Minnesota, I was fascinated to be able to play around in the stuff in the middle of June and not have to shovel…what a perfect place for a little snowball fight!

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As we checked out the top of Twin Lakes Falls, it became clear to me why there’s a bear on California’s flag. Check out the photobomber…I was too busy running away to pose for this one!

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Baby grizzlies make me nervous! We packed a ton of fun into that day. The day after was spent in much-less-active recovery time, to which my feet had zero complaints!

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And that was our whirlwind weekend. We climbed back aboard that Bombardier and were whisked out of those amazing mountains and back to reality. It was a phenomenal place to run, but I have to admit, I’m looking forward to running the next half in my hometown…in air that my lungs are accustomed to.

Happy International Yoga Day!

Friends, I’ve been on the move again lately in a big way. Last weekend found me in Mammoth Lakes, CA. I’ll tell you about that later this week. Although I’ve just traveled 16 hours to reach my next vacation destination, I couldn’t let today go by without observing International Yoga Day.

I LOVE yoga, FIT BFFs! I’ve tried several different classes including hatha, vinyasa, aerial, hot and paddle board yoga. Although these types differ, they all allow one to tone the body while soothing the soul. Yoga is a mental, physical and spiritual discipline that is developed through practice.

I don’t work on my yoga practice nearly enough, but instead of stating that I’m not very good at it, I choose to reflect on how much I’ve improved since I began. The thing I appreciate most about yoga is how centered, focused and peaceful I feel following each session.

Today I share with you some poses I attempted on a paddle board while vacationing in central Minnesota. I have a tough enough time balancing on solid ground, but add the unstable factor of a lake, and the challenge is much greater. At first glance I am critical of both my form and body appearance. But I quickly correct my thinking. After all, in yoga my soul honors your soul.

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I honor that very place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor that light, that love, that truth, beauty and peace within you, because it also resides within me…no matter our ability, size or shape!

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We share these things, we are all the same and we are one. If I honor others in this way, I must honor myself just the same.

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And no matter where you are in your practice, you should too. What a wonderful way to put your Best Foot Forward! Namaste!

 

My Running Career Kick-Start

Friends, those of you who’ve been following me know my story…I’ve just completed year-four of my get healthy transformation…

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If you missed it, you can read more about that here.

And, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know the story of how I got serious about running after my friend Kris gave me this crazy dare of a birthday gift in April of last year.

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If you missed the unabridged story, you can check out the miraculous details of how I pulled off that dare here.

Here’s the short of it though…the challenge consisted of earning the charms on this necklace one at a time, running a race of each distance, in order, and completing the challenge before my birthday this year.

So here’s a quick review…Unleash the She 5K in April 2015 with my John Marshall High School friend, Rhendy.

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Next up was the Stay Out of the Sun S.O.S. 10K, cheered on my my dietician Branda and my trainer Kasi.

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It took some coaxing and convincing after that, but one crazy thing led to another and I found myself running the Chicago Half Marathon in September supported by new friends of 24alife, Maja and Andrej.

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One miracle after another occurred and somehow I found myself running the Honolulu Marathon in December with Rhonda a woman I met through her weight-loss Facebook page Living Instead of Existing. I was also blessed to meet her friend Matt (Facebook Page motiv8life) there too.

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I kind of thought this might have been the end of my running career, as my body was tired and I had no upcoming events planned. But in January, Matt messaged me and the next thing I know, I’m in San Diego to run again with Rhonda and Matt to complete the Carlsbad Half.

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Something happened on that run that has inspired me to complete a half every month this year. So, February found me in Jacksonville for Donna’s Half with some girlfriends I grew up with.

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March had me back in San Diego with Rhonda and Matt for the San Diego Half where I also met Kim.

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And now, it get’s really good because the one-a-month thing turned into two in April with my Desert Dash Trail Run Half in Henderson, Nevada with my cousin Andrea…

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And then right back to San Diego…I postponed surgery for the La Jolla Half with Rhonda and Matt.

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May was a miracle of a double-header too as I ran (and walked) the Rockin’ Robin Half in Rochester with an angry foot. Luckily, I met an amazing young lady, Analicia, who helped pass the miles.

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Later that week I had some surgery and wasn’t sure it would happen, but I’m stubborn and refuse to quit. So ten days post-op, I ran (and walked) the Med-City Half in Rochester.

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Tomorrow I’m flying to Mammoth Lakes, CA to run the Father’s Day Mammoth Lakes Half with Rhonda, Matt, Kim and Patricia. I’m well on my way to reaching my goal of completing a half every month this year. I never imagined where that gift of a necklace would take me. This running gig has surpassed my wildest dreams and the best part is, it’s far from over!

Now if I could just manage to fit some cycle training in haha. I’m riding Ragbrai in just 36 days…that’s 420 miles across Iowa. Giddy-up!

I Didn’t Come This Far…

Friends, I’ve been at this weight-loss thing for a long time. One would think that by the beginning of year five I’d have it all figured out. Someone recently told me the way things sound and appear on my blog, I must have all the answers. Well I’m here to tell you, I am no different than anyone else. I have my ups and downs too; I struggle every single day.

I’ll admit, the past four weeks have been tough for me. With surgery and reactive airway issues slowing me down, I’ve had a less than stellar month. My activity was limited which left me frustrated and crabby. I let those crap feelings get the best of me and lost sight of what I could do. I still had complete control over what I put in my mouth, but I let it go…which made me even more frustrated and crabbier. Monday I stepped on the scale for my weigh-in, and to my horror, I allowed myself to gain around five pounds. Seriously…what was I thinking?

I only have two more weigh-ins left before my program is finished. That really stung. I’m not at my goal and the chances of getting there in a month are pretty slim. I really needed that moment of stark reality…thanks, Branda.

At first I was ashamed…I felt like a failure. Then I stepped back from it to realize, this doesn’t have to be the end. I was sharing my frustrations with a friend who provided me the perfect analogy for perspective. She has been at this weight-loss thing for a long time too…she totally gets where I’m coming from.

She suggested I look at it in terms of a marathon. Hey, I can relate to that, after all, I am a marathoner haha! She explained that not reaching my weight-loss goal is like stopping short of finishing a marathon. And there it was, an epiphany! Kim, you are a genious! I never would have considered anything less than crossing the finish line of my marathon, why would I choose to accept anything less where this goal is concerned?

I contacted the manager of the weight-loss program I’m finishing and I was relieved to find I have the opportunity for six months of maintenance support. Why didn’t I just seek this information out before going down the shame and blame road? Thanks for holding my hand through this, Jodi. I’m going to kick maintenance squarely in the butt!

Last night I had a session with my health coach…what impeccable timing! She really helped remind me of my triggers and assured me that whether I’m in a program or not, I already know exactly what to do, that I’ve got this. Thanks for the recharge, Christy!

The sting of my weigh-in has been transformed to renewed determination. Since Monday morning I have tracked everything I’ve eaten, refrained from eating out, increased my activity and water intake and the scale is practically smiling. My attitude has done a 180.

I know things are going to continue to pop up throughout life and I will likely find myself struggling again. I need to remember to talk about those challenges with friends that can relate. When it comes right down to it, I focus on this thought…

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And with that, I promise myself, I will not settle for stopping short of my goal…I will finish this weight-loss marathon!

Friends, if you are struggling with eating, activity, hydration, mindfulness, don’t feel alone and don’t keep it to yourself…it can be scary, lonely and detrimental. Talk it out with someone who gets it, then get back to it; it’s a great way to put your Best Foot Forward!

It’s Smoothie Season!

I’m so happy it’s that time of year again, fellow FIT BFFs…smoothie weather! I’m not a fan of them when it’s cold out because I have a tough enough time staying warm. But now that it’s summer, bring on the real breakfast of champions!

That’s exactly what my smoothies are because I can doctor them up with whatever I choose to meet my nutritional needs and goals. Smoothies can be a bit time consuming to throw together unless steps are taken to streamline. I like to prepackage the dry ingredients together so I don’t have to measure everything out each morning. Here’s a previous post on my little prepackaged smoothie power boost.

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Depending on what I’m in the mood for or what I have handy in the fridge determines what goes into my breakfast. I toss it all in my NutriBullet, let it do it’s magic and I’m set to go.

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I’ve had my NutriBullet for two years and I absolutely LOVE it! It completely emulsifies whatever I toss in so I can drink my breakfast rather than chew it. On a busy morning at the office, that’s a good thing!

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If you haven’t already jumped on the smoothie train, consider giving it a try. Here’s one of my favorites…a summer recovery smoothie recipe.

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The smoothie adventure is real, Friends…with so many possible combinations, you’ll never get bored. Smoothies…one more way to put your Best Foot Forward!