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!

 

Why Wait for the New Year!

Friends, it occurred to me on this first day of October…there are only three more months until the New Year! How did that happen?!?

I’ve been in a funky headspace the past couple of days. Maybe it’s the drastic transition into fall that killed my summer buzz, perhaps an overdose of fake, sensationalized social media…who knows, but it stirred up a bunch of yuck in my mind that has taken me days to clear…I keep thinking I’m beyond this, and yet, here I am again.

See, I made a few drastic lifestyle changes back in June that I thought would make significant progress toward my long-term wellness goals. I thought I had given them a fairly decent shot, but real life seemed to pull the proverbial rug out from under me again and again, leaving me with no measurable results. It would be easy to declare defeat…something I defaulted to over and over again in the past. Compelled to avoid the old habit of backslide, I dug up a tangible reminder why I won’t do that again.

I pulled this photo out of the vault for some valuable perspective. I can’t believe I’m sharing it!

This was my exhausted reality eleven years ago. I yearned to be active outdoors, had strong desire to be well but was crushed in a number of suffocating ways. I was struggling with obesity, high blood pressure and great sorrow knowing my dad’s cancer journey was nearly over by then. I look into the eyes and heart of that girl, knowing she felt about 80 years old back then on any given day.

When I revisit that image, I’m so grateful for the perspective! I’m reminded that although I didn’t get to where I was hoping to be by Oct 1st, my summer looked very different from that 2007 version.

My body allowed me to continue exploring new fitness modalities.

Despite coping with some chronic injury pain, I was able to move forward in ways that recharged my spirit!

 

I was able to embrace and celebrate special days I wasn’t completely sure I’d be around to witness.

I was able to tackle new adventures in a way that old body would never have allowed.

   

This newest version of me, despite not hitting that latest health target was able to play every inch of the way!

And so I may not be exactly where I’d hoped to be…I’m far from feeling as sick, tired and broken as my 2007 version. As a matter of fact, in ways, I am more driven, more balanced than ever before…

Friends, as we head into these last three months of 2018, I can choose to forget my routine notion of that past…that the upcoming holidays are a big giant train chugging closer and closer to derailment. That it will be time again to care for myself as the festivities wind down and the New Year reminds me to start trying again. Well, I could. And I used to. But why would I do that now?

There is no need to give up hope! We have such a great opportunity to be your best you, to start again today! Wherever we may be right now, we can make some loving, caring changes for ourselves one day at a time. Why wait until January?

I forgave myself for not hitting that bullseye I was aiming for these past few months. As I look back, I realize I didn’t miss the target altogether…I just need to slightly readjust, refocus my aim and give it my best shot. One more way to put my Best Foot Forward…and you can too!

I

Come Away With Me!

Friends, I have been very busy on a project I’ve been dying to tell you all about! You know these past four years that I’ve blogged my transformational journey, I have worked hard to get where I am today. I’ve loved myself through a multitude of adversities, learning and implementing everything I can regarding self care.

It has made ALL the difference! You may also have noticed how frequently I take fun little breaks and getaways from my normal, everyday life. These have become instrumental in allowing me to live my best life…so much so, I’m inviting you to join me this time, Ladies, and I’m sharing my plethora of wellness secrets with you!

I’ve reserved some cozy rooms in the Miracle Lodge at Ironwood Springs…one of my favorite places just minutes outside of Rochester, MN (only a couple miles from the RST airport). Each room comfortably sleeps three (or up to five if you are really close friends/family haha), though one of you may need to climb a bit…

 

Plan to spend the weekend of November 9-11th unplugging to recharge your batteries! I’ve also reserved a wonderful meeting space for us to enjoy…

And we will be treated to some delicious, nourishing meals right next door in the dining hall…

Invite your besties you know could use some renewal too, but don’t feel at all nervous if you are coming alone. I will welcome you with open arms and you will probably leave the weekend with a bunch of new BFFs! I only ask that you arrive open-minded with a kind and open heart, willing to try some new things…who knows, you may just find some new favorite interests! Of course I won’t force you to do or try anything you don’t want to, but I invite you to explore and grow while you are here!

The weekend will offer some very gentle introductions to meditation, yoga and Tai chi chih, some exploratory journaling designed to guide you forward on your own journey, a stunning guided hike…

…a breathtaking zip-line ride or two (if you dare)…don’t worry, I promise to go first haha!

…a sunset hayride, some nourishing meals, some gifties from some generous sponsors, a bit of pampering and spoiling (think facials and chair massages!!!), a bit of crafting, an unforgettable girls’ night in, and some free time to enjoy all this beautiful venue has to offer!

You won’t want to miss some unique photo ops, like this giant adirondack chair that makes me feel like a kid every. single. time…

This getaway may leave you feeling like a kid again too; did I mention they have animals? We will likely catch a glimpse of some deer, turkeys and an eagle while out hiking. But if we don’t, Ironwood is also home to bunnies and chickens and llamas, OH MY! But that’s not all…

Look how happy those two are; you will totally understand when you get here! And if we’re lucky, maybe the peacocks will give us a show…

And you certainly won’t want to miss meeting my friend, Clyde!

I specifically chose the weekend of November 9-11 so you can destress before the holidays this year. When is the last time you went into the holiday season with a renewed and energized spirit? I’m telling you, Friends, the secret to all of this is self care…it’s time to show yourself some love, to treat yo’self! Consider giving yourself that first gift this season!!!

Of course we should talk details…

I will require you to sign a liability waiver/hold harmless agreement, as you will be involved in outdoor and physical activities…it is what it is.

Plan to arrive Friday evening, 11/9, at 6:30 pm, to get moved into the lodge before we begin our adventure together. We will need to check out of our rooms Sunday, 11/11, by 11 am, but can remain until 1 pm before you head home ready and motivated to be your best you.

Spaces are limited and will fill quickly, so free up your schedule, talk with your friends, and arrange for child care if needed, as this is a LADIES ONLY WEEKEND haha!!!

Cost for this amazing, all-inclusive weekend is $309 per person! Email me at fitbffs@gmail.com to sign up today!

 

A HUGE thank you to our sponsors: Momentum Jewelry, MassageZen with Tylynn, BeBetter Bars, Eco Lips and Essence of Vali

 

 

 

52 Fridays…How Far You’ve Come

Friends, we did it…we made it to Friday! Some weeks are tougher than others. Some leave us with a sense of accomplishment, others pass with no noticeable progress.

This week seemed to slip through my fingers. Though I worked HARD on me…nutrition, workouts, headspace, I saw no evidence on the scale. I’ve learned that number rarely reflects my efforts. If I got hung up solely on that number (as I used to), I would have considered this week a failure. Once I get that stinking thinking going in my head, the old patterns of sabotage threaten to return.

So instead of looking back at my week as a total wash, I chose to take a quick peek much further back for perspective…

When I think back over six years ago, how broken and empty I was, then consider the kinds of things I did this week to enliven my soul…none of that would have been possible back then. This week’s weight training sessions, a 5k, two hikes, a bike ride, some Tai chi chih, multiple walks and an earth shattering vinyasa yoga class would have killed that girl!

I make a point to refrain from looking back too often in useless guilt or regret, but today’s recollection was solely motivational. Journaling some of these thoughts helped me keep this week in perfect perspective.

Wow, I sure made this one all about me, didn’t I? I guess I wanted to make this 52 Friday’s quote relavent and gave you a look inside my journaling journey. Friends, it’s your turn. Take some time to explore what looking back does for you. Does it leave you feeling stalled or does it inspire you to endeavor forward? Where were you then? Where are you now? Give it some thought, then write down what comes…

 

52 Fridays…Sacred Space

Happy Friday, Friends! I’m SOOOO on top of this week’s 52 Fridays thought! I’ve had my coffee and was already relaxed into my chair as I did a little end of week meditation…just part of my mindfulness practice. I couldn’t help but think how calm I’ve been this week and as I dug into the why, it kept coming back to something I don’t often talk about.

So, Friends, grab your journal, pen, soothing beverage and settle in for a few moments to adventure with me on this journaling journey of you!

What is sacred space? It’s a term that I have heard more and more, lately, as I’ve delved deeper into my spiritual awareness. As I searched the internet for a simple definition, I realized no two explanations are alike. Why? I feel like we have such varying interpretations because each of us experiences sacred space in our own unique and individual ways…so much so, I had great difficulty finding an all encompassing definition that applied to me, let alone everyone else.

I did find one vague enough that resonated for me on thefreedictionary.com…see what you think.

sacred space,

n space—tangible or otherwise—that enables those who acknowledge and accept it to feel reverence and connection with the spiritual.
Give that some thought; feel free to jot down what comes forth. Do you take time within what you would consider your sacred space, whether it be in a physical or non-physical place. If so, what does this space look like for you? Is your space within or outside of you, indoors or out? How does it feel? Do you associate any smells or scents with that space? Any sounds? Is this a space you can go freely, at any time? Do you wish you could spend more time within that space? If so, what’s holding you back? Has your sacred space shifted throughout your life?
Is your space inside or outdoors…within or outside of you?

 

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Sandals Winner

Happy Win-It Wednesday, Friends! This marks the end of FIT BFFs’ 4th Blogiversary Giveaways. I’d like to take one last opportunity to thank all you readers who continue to join me throughout this incredible blogging adventure! And like I said not long ago, don’t go anywhere…because this journey has only just begun. I’ve got some pretty exciting things in store, just around the corner…I’m just getting started!

I’m ever-grateful for OOFOS’ generous and unwavering support of my endeavors. Each time I attempt to tell you what OOFOS footwear means to me, you are only getting part of the story, because, really, there are no words. The longevity their technology has provided my joints (and spirit) throughout some pretty tough and painful times remains priceless.

Today’s lucky winner will be introduced to feeling the OO tOO! So excited to announce the winner of their choice of OOFOS sandals generously provided by OOFOS is…

Congratulations, Sarah!

I will email you the details.

Thanks to all who entered! If you didn’t win, you will still want to check out OOFOS’ website to learn more, because, IMHO, there’s no better sport recovery footwear on the market!

52 Fridays…What Do You Believe?

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends…means we’ve successfully made it through another week! I’ve got a pretty deep thought for you to examine this week, so grab that journal, pen, beverage and ease into that cozy place.

Some have known and trusted their whole lives; others have picked up and pieced together unmistakable clues along the way. Still others remain closed off to the notion, feeling solely responsible for their own destinies.

Where do you fit into the belief that your life is divinely guided? What evidence have you witnessed one way or the other? Have you noticed any shifts? Are you comfortable where you are? Happy?

Take some time to consider where you are in the big picture…

Take some deep breaths, let go and explore this on a soul level, Folks; you might be surprised to read what words and ideas land in your journal! No judgement here, Friends, just pure encouragement for you to better understand yourself. I invite you to feel deeply into this one, to discover for yourself what you believe and why. The journey inward can be quite enlightening!

Have an amazing weekend!