2016 Mission Accomplished!

It has been a fantastic day of multi-tasking, and I’m so excited about that, Friends. I finished something I’ve been working all year to complete! My 2016 goal of a half marathon each month was realized today in a unique and heartwarming manner. Yesterday I told you how I intended to fit in those last 13.1 miles here at home. With several participants along for the walk, it was a blast!

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I walked 7.2777778 laps around Silver Lake with great company. As a few friends finished a lap or two, others arrived. I was thankful to have someone with me for each and every mile from beginning to end. Their presence really warmed my heart on this 30 degree day!

We shared wonderful conversations and bounced some ideas around for a new challenge or two for 2017…something I’ve been trying to figure out for weeks; but you’ll have to wait to hear about that.

So remember the part about multi-tasking? Not only did I finish my 2016 goal, I continued to chip away at my Facebook Friends Resolution…you know the one, to do something fit/active with each of my Facebook friends. I’m happy to report I marked Sherri and Marisa off my list. Thanks for your willingness to join me, Ladies!

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But the awesomeness didn’t end there, fellow FIT BFFs! I was also able to record today’s activity on my December challenge…the Advent Calendar of Activity!

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If you haven’t joined in on the fun this little calendar provides, stop by here to read about the challenge and print off your own little gift of motivation right now! It’s never to late to get with it…start today!

It feels great to have achieved my goal, but I must admit, I am tired. I plan to retire to the couch tonight. But I won’t plan to get too comfortable, because tomorrow is another opportunity to be consistent…one more way to put my Best Foot Forward!

To Arizona and Back!

Hey Friends! I know it has been a while; I’ve been on another adventure where I had very limited writing time and wi-fi. But it’s all good! Remember how I’ve been devoting one day a month to me, to rejuventate and recharge? Well, I took that one giant leap further to enhance something I don’t normally look forward to…here’s what I mean.

For the past few years, my brother and I have taken turns driving with my mom in her RV, accompanying her to and from her winters in Arizona. Although I enjoy spending time with her, I never looked forward to this trip. It was three days of nonstop driving and very little sleep, and also required extra travel to either fly there or home to complete the journey. I had a tough time imagining the trip again this year until I considered reconfiguring it into something more fun and enjoyable for both of our sakes. Continuous improvement at its finest!

So why not make this a we trip. Not the kind where we kill ourselves to get there in three days, but an adventure with multiple stops to make memories? Looking at my November calendar, it was very right that this trip would coincide with my monthly me day and some races I had previously registered for. So here’s a look at Arizona Roadtrip 2016!

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We left Rochester early one morning, determined to put lots of miles behind us before stopping for the night. My mom traded in her previous Winnebago for a shorter, sleeker model this year, one that’s a diesel dream to drive…great choice, Mom! We headed west to avoid major construction to the south of us. I mean, why make things any more difficult than they need to be? As we stopped for gas that night, we were treated to this amazing sunset…

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We ended up in Rapid City, SD that night. Incidentally, it happened to be election night. It seemed only right we take a little time that next morning for a bit of a detour here…

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A chance to ponder some amazing presidents of our country’s past as we hiked along the Presidential Trail. A chance to become one with nature as we were greeted by this goat, perhaps enjoying some me time of his own.

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That was a great opportunity to get some activity in before we hit the road for several hundred more miles. As it grew dark, this guy wouldn’t budge, so we took his suggestion to stop for the night in Rawlins, WY…

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Our next day was filled with breathtaking scenery as we traveled through the rest of Wyoming and into Utah. Here are just a few glimpses of what we saw from the road…

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I made a point to continue my healthy eating on the road and was delighted to find two of my favorites just yards from each other in Provo. We have neither of these at home, so what tremendous luck!

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Thanks Pita Pit and Bowl of Heaven, just for being there! We stopped in Cedar City for the night and indulged in a soulful pause the next morning where I enjoyed a coffee for my favorite peep currently deployed in Afghanistan. We texted over a delightful Ethiopian blend…

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And we were off! I was really looking forward to this part of our journey…Vegas, Baby! I had plans to meet up with some running buddies at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Expo where we picked up our race bibs…

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Soon we were running the 5K together. My legs had had several days of rest, so things went well. It was a gorgeous night to earn some bling! Incidentally, I was able to mark Lindsay (in the pink) off my Facebook Friends Resolution…YAY!

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Meanwhile, my mom and I had parked the RV in front of my cousin’s new home in Henderson and we enjoyed some R & R the next afternoon…what’s not to love about this?!?

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And being mere days from snow at home, I relished in the chance to soak in some sun…ahhh!

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Later that evening, it was back to the strip to complete my 13th half marathon this year. I’d like to say it was my best, but with all the injuries, aches and pains this fall, it turned out to be my slowest and most difficult. Regardless…a WIN!

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We spent one more wonderful day recovering/sightseeing with my cousin and her husband before we continued on our way. We made a stop in Flagstaff for some shopping and more Pita Pit. I had one more magical stop in mind before our destination, a place that feeds my soul…Sedona! We spent the night there and woke up to this natural playground!

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We took time to wander to places we hadn’t seen the last time we were here…

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There is stunning beauty around every corner in this place!

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After some shopping and lunch, it was time to finish our trip…we rolled on toward Coolidge, AZ. We just finished setting up in my mom’s winter playground when we were greeted with this…

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And just like that, she was all tucked in and home for winter!

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What a fantastic trip we had, stretching out our travel to take in some beauty, family, friends and fun along the way…a major improvement from the migration of previous years. I think we got it right this time! There was only one more thing to do, just a few more hours of me time before I as back home.

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And as Delta says, there’s no stop in me, only go! This turned out to be the perfect trip, but I have to admit, there’s no place like home!

Friends, next time you are faced with a task you are less than excited about, look at it from another direction. Figure out how to make it time well spent doing something you love. It’s one more great way we can all put our Best Foot Forward!

Ragnar Relay Resolution

Friends, I’m coming off another one of those weekends. One packed full of adventure, determination, endorphins, frustration, exhaustion, hilarity, non-stop forward motion, teamwork, triumph and victory!

This past weekend was all about coming together with someone I met in December at a murder mystery dinner theatre. We became Facebook friends and when that happened, it was time to think about marking her off my Facebook Friends Resolution…you know the one, fellow FIT BFFs; to do something fit/active with each of my Facebook friends. Emily invited me to join her Twisted Blisters team to run the Ragnar Great River Relay, where together we would continuously run 200ish miles over the course of two days. And since I will try anything once, of course I said yes! But here’s where the storyline was altered.

Circumstances kept Emily from participating, so I dove headfirst into this event with ten perfect strangers, nearly all new to Ragnar! Luckily we had a seasoned veteran join last minute to provide expert guidance and support. Heck, she even gave me her guestroom the night before…thanks, Kristine! Our team was split between two vans; my van was the half to begin the relay bright and early Friday morning…this pic is Van #1 plus Kristine.

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And before I was even able to consider how far out of my comfort zone I was about to be hurled…it all began. Once set into motion, there was no turning back. Zero! I was runner #4, which allowed me to observe the first few legs and exchanges to get a pretty good feel of how this would all play out.

My first leg came up quickly and I was thrown out on the road with some pretty typical Minnesota heat and humidity that is August in the Midwest. But that barely factored into my mindset as I plowed through my first 6.6 miles. I was embracing the beauty of the banks of the mighty Mississippi.

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And soon our van was finished with our first rotation of the relay. We stopped for lunch, then went on to meet the other half of our team, as a few legs had been cancelled due to a little flooding. Yeah, I guess it might have been a bit tough to run and shuttle through areas such as these.

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The day flew by as, one by one, we took our turns.

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Each stop gave us opportunity to cheer our runner to the finish and get out of our van that, by then, was escalating in stench.

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Soon it was time for my second leg of this thing. Coincidentally, Emily turned up at my exchange as a volunteer. It was a perfect time to see her, was encouragement I took along for my next leg.

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Because it was evening, I was outfitted with my required vest, blinking tail lights and headlamp. I was running into a drizzly abyss that cleared up to reveal sunset. I found myself smushing through sloppy, gooey gravel, between cornfields in the darkness of middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin. Thanks to an earlier deluge, the temps were quite comfortable and the stillness of night was settling. It occurred to me that although completely alone, except an occasional runner passing me, I was not afraid. I had a comforting sense of contentment. And just like that, my quick little 3.4 miles were done.

Upon completing our second rotation, Van #1 slammed some grub and headed to a motel where we took in a quick 2 1/2 hours of restorative sleep. I enjoyed a life-changing shower and very soon we were at it again!

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I made a critical error in grabbing a gas station breakfast. I guess they call it a gut-bomb for a reason. I don’t know if it was that, the exhaustion or nerves that hit me, but my belly revolted at each of the next four exchanges. The porta-potties were less than user friendly, and I found myself attempting to stifle my gags. By the time my final leg rolled around, my stomach was mad as hell.

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The last thing I wanted was to run, especially since this was my most difficult leg through the rolling, rough and unpaved trails of Afton State Park. I dug pretty deep to get that one done. I did my very best to embrace that 5.5 mile leg but came up pretty short in the gratitude department. It was not one of my finer moments, but I got it done. This will probably go down as my least favorite race pic of all time…

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Or maybe this one…

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But Andrew was right there ready to crush his last leg in rockstar fashion. It took a couple drags on my inhaler and the relief in knowing I was done to put that one behind me. We hopped back in the van and soon finished our final rotation with a quick meet-up with Van #2.

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As they left to finish it all, Van #1 drove forward to the finish line by way of a fantastic little brunch detour. Once at the finish, we had some time to kick back as we waited for Van #2 to arrive.

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It was inspiring to see each team join in the final few yards as their last runner arrived. And when Kristine came flying down the hill, our team put closure to this wild, warrior experience together!

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Just like that, it was done. The Twisted Blisters finished what they’d set out to accomplish.

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Just 35 hours earlier they were all strangers, but I left with 10 amazing friends. Even though I wasn’t able to cross Emily off my resolution list, I had others to mark off…I love how it all worked out.

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Moving Forward

Friends, today is a pivotal day for me. I’ve recovered from riding Ragbrai over a week ago…420 miles throughout 7 days across the state of Iowa on my bicycle. I’m heading into my next challenge this evening. It seems so metaphorical…I’ll tell you why in a moment. Tonight I will travel to Winona, Minnesota where I will sleep on the couch of a perfect stranger. The invitation, a wonderful gesture of a teammate I’ve yet to meet. I need to be there this evening because at the crack of 4:45 tomorrow morning we will be briefed on the rules, regulations and safety reminders of Reebok’s Ragnar Great River Relay.

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Together, with my team of 11 other runners called the Twisted Blisters (none of whom I’ve met), we will begin an epic run around the clock beginning in Winona and ending in Minneapolis. That’s something like 200 miles divided among the 12 of us. When we are not running one of our 3 legs of the race each, we will be hanging out in two team vans ultimately headed toward the finish line.

Why would I do this? It began as one of my Facebook Friends Resolution activities with a woman I met in December, who unfortunately, will no longer be participating. I will miss you, Emily. But, fellow FIT BFFs, as you know…I will do anything once. And Ragnar seems like a challenge I should participate in at least once! So I will give it the best that I’ve got in this crazy Minnesota summer heat and humidity. It’s all about fuel, hydration and will!

It seems quite fitting that I should embark on this challenge. I’ve come upon the end a chapter in my professional career today, and this event seems to be the symbolic turning of the page to the next. Although I don’t have the details sorted out to share with you just yet, know that it seems to be a logical life purpose for me following my own total transformation with the help of so many…

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It’s the next step for me in helping others attain their own wellbeing; I couldn’t be more excited!

For now, I pack…three sets of clean running clothes, my running shoes and all the other necessities involved in running toward reaching my goals and chasing my dreams. If, I mean when, I finish Ragnar, I’ll let you know how it went lol! In the meantime, keep an eye on my Facebook page FIT BFFs for updates. It’s going to be one wild ride!

4th Grade Reunion Resolution

Hello, Friends. I’ve had the best day because it included marking another friend off my Facebook Friends Resolution…you know the one, to do something fit/active with each of my Facebook friends. Much like many of my other resolution activities, I messaged my friend Connie and we set up a meeting after not having seen one another for years. Like 15 years!

She and I taught 4th grade down the hall from one another about 17 years ago. She was the most amazing mentor as I was pretty new to the teaching thing. Although she was one of the busiest teachers, being everything to everyone, she always had time for me. I loved her then and although I haven’t seen or spoken with her for years, she continues to be one of my favorite people on Earth. Today reminded me of that and, wow, do I ever love her still. She just gets this crazy thing called life like no one else I know. And she does the best Sean Connery impression I’ve been dying to hear forever!

We began walking around Silver Lake this morning and in the process of catching up, we rounded that lake twice before we even noticed. With only a few more yards, we hit 4 miles…yay, US! We could have walked 20 and still not have run out of things to laugh and cry about together. With that walk, I marked her off my resolution list, but I can’t wait to get together next week and do it all over again!

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Ragbrai Resolution…the Long AND Short of It

Friends, I apologize for my absence lately, I’ve completed something profound and it has taken me an additional week to recover and wrap my brain around the experience. If you follow me on Facebook (at FIT BFFs), I kept you up to speed.

For years now, several friends and I have tossed around the idea of riding Ragbrai…the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. We joked about it because it seemed like an insane idea, spending an entire week doing nothing but cycling across the entire state of Iowa and camping out every night during the hottest time of year. We laughed about it, because it seemed like daring each other to die!

I admit, it became a challenge that began taunting me with its allure. The time never seemed right and when I started being tempted, no one else would commit. It should also be noted that, at the time, I was riding around on a 20-something year old, 10-ton Huffy that would have made the ride an absolute hell on wheels.

Two years ago, following a serious car accident that left my body and spirit broken, a miraculous thing occurred…I won a bike from the Rochester Post Bulletin’s giveaway, generously provided by Jennifer, owner of Essence Skin Clinic. I couldn’t help but think it was meant to be!

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The timing could not have been more perfect. I needed an incentive to quit the pity party and get back to the business of increasing my strength and stamina. Slowly but surely, this was the vehicle that brought me back to life. I regained my zest and was soon accompanying my Boy Scout buddies on their 50-mile rides to earn their cycling merit badges. I thought that would be the extent of my long-distance adventues, but boy, was I wrong!

When I resolved on New Year’s of 2015 to do something fit or active with each of my Facebook friends, I never imagined how far it would take me. I messaged a former SuperStar Video co-worker from ions ago, Tim, and asked what he’d be up for. As crazy luck would have it, he owns a Ragbrai team and invited me to ride Ragbrai. And if you know me, you know I can’t refuse a challenge and will try anything once, so I couldn’t say no. I read up on this year’s route and learned, contrary to what we Minnesotans believe, Iowa is very hilly! One look at the route’s elevation had me freaking out. Good grief, what had I agreed to?!?

There was only one way to deal with this knowledge…TRAIN! It was difficult to balance my marathon and Ragbrai training, but I did the best I could. I biked whatever miles my schedule allowed during decent weather and hit the gym’s studio cycling classes too. I’d love to tell you I felt fully prepared, but that would have been a flat-out lie. And before I could even comprehend, it was GO time!

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This was the extent of my gear…bike, helmet, trunk bag, water bottle and a rubbermaid tote…CRAZY! I drove three hours south to Cedar Rapids to set this one-of-a-kind adventure into motion; at that point, there was no turning back. None.

It was surreal seeing Tim and meeting three of his six children; keep in mind I hadn’t seen him in something like 18 years. Although I was a bit apprehensive about this thing I was about to embark on, I knew in the event of disaster, Tim had my back. Probably.

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Tim’s outfit, Team Wimpy, gathered that morning to pack the bus, load the bikes atop and travel to the westernmost point of the ride. Here we are, ready to roll…

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Upon arriving in Glenwood, we set up camp in someone’s yard, much like most of the other teams. It was miserably hot and humid. I constantly hydrated through the rest of the afternoon and evening as that fluid spilled right back out of my pores. I hit the expo, grabbed some food and retired early to my tent where I maybe got a total of an hour of sleep in a sweat-drenched stupor. That seemed to be the experience of most of the team…that was one unforgiving night. None of us were well rested, but we eagerly started out the next morning!

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This was the extraordinary view of riders from all over the world ready to get this party started! Sunday, that first day, there were over 19,000 cyclists working their way the first 50 miles. I quickly learned the importance of clear, concise communication on the road. I’d done my homework to know how to RIDE RIGHT, but reading about and experiencing were two very different things.

Although I rode up on multiple accidents and difficulties throughout that first day, I never felt unsafe. There is an amazing sense of security on Ragbrai, knowing members of the Air Force Cycling Team are nearly everywhere, ready to lend a helping hand…for any reason. I LOVE those guys!

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I feel fortunate to have not required their assistance along the way, but so grateful in knowing they were there!

It felt great to be putting those first 49 miles behind me. I was constantly inspired by the makeup of this event…people of all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities embracing a common goal in unique and creative ways on all sorts of wheeled vehicles.

It was a mercilessly hot first day. I can’t tell you how relieved I was to arrive in Shenandoah that afternoon, ready for a shower, some refueling and a restorative night’s sleep.

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I just love how the towns embraced all the riders, and was thrilled in knowing this was an enormous, economic boom for them too…win/win!

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Props to Team Wimpy for the abundant source of power; so nice to be able to recharge all my technology!

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Distance wise, Monday…Day 2 was a new PR for me. I’d never ridden 77 miles before in one day. I was able to use my handy 24alife app daily to record all my stats. Although I think the calorie expenditure seemed pretty inflated, it gave me permission to eat. whatever. I. wanted!!!

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I wasn’t sure how Day 2 would treat me with the heat and distance, but I kept on top of nutrition and hydration. It was Military Veterans Appreciation Day, and I appreciated having a secret weapon momento of my dad along for the ride…his memory has seen me through some pretty tough stuff lately and I was glad to have him on board! The hills were unceasing that day…3,994 feet of climb.

I came upon a wonderful distraction that day named Linda. We rode together for several miles and found we had a lot in common. When I told her about how my Facebook friends resolution got me into this, she wanted to become FB friends too. Though she didn’t want to count this as our activity together, she invited me to go whitewater rafting in Colorado…see how I get myself into these adventures! I couldn’t say no! Those few miles we rode together really bolstered my spirit. I’d been riding alone so far and Linda’s exactly what I needed!

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I was happy to roll into Creston that afternoon…time to set up camp, shower, eat, sleep, and repeat again Tuesday.

Tuesday was only Day 3, but it was kind of a blur for me. The days seemed to run together in my mind. I kept comparing the day-long riding with so many others with the East Austrailian Current Marlin rode in Finding Nemo. I felt like once I was on the road, I was in continuous forward motion with thousands of other turtles, umm, bikes, I mean. I felt like I had no control over that motion…I just had to let it take me. And later, when I was taking a lunch break, I had to remind myself to get back on my bike and just keep swimming…or biking, I mean. I guess that many hours and miles on the road in the heat of the sun does some pretty strange things to a person’s brain lol. Before I know what hit me, I arrived in Leon…Day 3 done!

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I took full advantage of the enormous calorie deficit I’d created throughout the day and decided to enjoy some downhome cooking from the fine men and ladies of the Methodist Church…these people know how to refuel hungry bikers, both physically and spiritually. I felt as though I had dined with family!

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Day 4 was 65 miles of Carla’s getting tired. So I made more frequent stops and indulged in several of the tempations along the way. It helped. I was thankful to land in Centerville for the evening.

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I set up camp, showered and headed toward their town square. I will be returning to Centerville for a girls’ getaway weekend sometime soon. I was enchanted by the charm of their unique boutiques and quaint coffee shop where I realized how much I appreciate wi-fi and just how weathered I was beginning to look. I thought if this kept up, I would likely resemble the Marlboro Man by week’s end.

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  I grabbed some grub at The Garage while soaking up some much needed air conditioning.

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That burger was a game changer! Having refueled, I felt more like myself and was reminded why I was here…

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I stayed up late that night to blow off some steam at the Hairball concert…rock on!

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Day 5 threatened to bring me down. As I hopped on the team bus to grab up my stuff off the closeline, I was horrified to discover that someone (probably unknowingly) went off with my bike shorts. They were nowhere to be found and my hiney went through the next 51 miles with zero padding…good thing I have some of my own, I guess. I was determined to not let it destroy my day, because I had something I was looking forward to in Ottumwa…well besides the finish line for the day.

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I knew a favorite little something was waiting for me in Ottumwa. Little did I know I would have to climb a vertical hell to get there, but it was SOOOO worth it! Some of you know what lengths I will go to for my Pita Pit!

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I got far more than my most coveted chicken souvlaki pitas…I had the most incredible conversation with Elliott Oil Company’s Foods Supervisor Joyce P! Our chance meeting was a much needed heart-to-heart in divine timing. Joyce, your story inspired me and those two hugs were PRICELESS. I love how life sends you exactly what you need, when you need it!

It happened again on Day 6, thank God, because I hit a major wall! My shorts did not turn up and my hiney was on day two of crabby. The weather was overcast and much cooler, so at least I had that in my favor. I was suffering from the effects of cumulative exhaustion. Although I slept well, this week was really taking its toll. My confidence was shot and I imagined my emotional eating came out of its four-year hiatus with a vengeance. Really, I wasn’t doing all that bad, foodwise, but after having lost a ton of weight and having counted, measured, portioned everything out for so long, I was starting to feel out of control on this ride. Like 246 lb. Carla out of control; a mind can really play tricks

What I needed to remember was that the 72 miles I rode that day needed fuel. I started out fast and should’ve taken time to eat more earlier in the day because by the time I hit a wall, it was too late. I attempted to revive myself with this…

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But I was too far gone. I continued to ride and ride because that was the only way I was going to get from point A to point B. I had come way too far to jump aboard the sag wagon now. I was determined to say I rode every last mile across Iowa.

However, the final mile of the day became my toughest all week. My positive thoughts and self affirmations were long gone. A 58-year old man from Des Moines rode up next to me and asked me if I was okay. I told him I was having a moment. He told me he and I were not like all the serious bikers out there. He asked me if I felt like I was going to cry because that’s how he felt with each town he reached…like each is a victory.

The tears started. He asked if I’d been riding the entire week and I nodded, inches from bawling. Then the magic words came…”Do you realize what you’ve just done?” Um yeah. Tears pouring down. And then exactly what I needed to hear at the very moment I needed it…”You should be DAMN proud of yourself!” He went on to talk me up the final hill into town. And of course, the moment we hit town, he disappeared. Yeah, I know exactly who sent him.

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I skipped the hoopla throughout town and rode directly to the vendors and bought my sorry butt a new pair of bike shorts. I was determined to end this thing on a high note! I grabbed some Chinese with some of Team Wimpy, okay a TON of Chinese. And got my aching ars to bed. I knew what tomorrow was and I was going to do this thing!

Day 7, oh how I’d waited for you! Just rehearsing in my head how this day would play out was heavenly. I had renewed resolve. I was nearly giddy as I ripped my tent down for the last time…I don’t care if I ever see that thing again! Because guess why? I was sleeping in my own bed tonight!

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I only had 50 miles left. After 370, that was NOTHING! And much fewer hills were icing on the cake. As I was riding pretty early on, I heard someone from behind…”Is that Carla?” Music to my ears! Another one of those what I needed, when I needed it kinds of things. It was Linda of Colorado, from Day 2! What a gift in a sea of over 20,000 riders that day to meet up with her. She introduced me to her sister Donna and we stopped to enjoy our last meal. Together!

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I don’t even remember most of the rest of the miles that day.Those last couple were dreamlike. This had been the biggest physical and mental challenge of my life. When Muscatine came into view, relief washed over me. I was finishing what I’d set out to accomplish. I rode every last of 420 miles, 7 days, 2 wheels. The Mississippi River was a sight for sore eyes. In true Ragbrai tradition, I dipped my tire…

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And it was done. And there was only one picture left to take. One I wasn’t sure I’d ever have, because I didn’t think I’d ever do this crazy thing.

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A Couple More Resolution Buddies

Hello, fellow FIT BFFs, I’ve been MIA for a while…on the run and keeping busy. It was nearly three weeks since I was home and although I was making awesome memories…I was ready to sleep in my own bed. Last week I shared with you some pics from my adventures at camp. I just wanted to share a few more because I completed a little work on my Facebook Friends Resolution, you know the one…to do something active with each of my Facebook friends.

As luck would have it, fellow Boy Scout parent Tom was at camp too. Although he was busy across the lake all week, we managed to fit in a quick walk to the beach.

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Anyone who knows Tom knows what a great chef he is. Tom made our day when he showed up with a special delivery of savory grilled chicken on a night our dinner was less than stellar. Thanks, Tom!

I also had the privilege of marking TJ off my resolution list. He’s a former counselor at Many Point and also an Eagle Scout from our Troop. I was honored to do a little climbing with him when I know he must have had better things to do with his short visit to camp than to hang out with me. Also want to thank this guy for driving hours out of his way to tow the troop trailer home for all of us; thanks, TJ!

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It was hilarious monkeying around with this goofball!

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So glad to have the opportunity to get some climbing in and mark another friend off my list!

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It felt great to move forward on my resolution…reminded me why I did it to begin with. Thanks, Tom and TJ for being such great sports!

The Gift of a Simple Message

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

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

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

hailie

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

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

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

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

 

 

A Quick Little Catch-Up

Friends, I’ve been running non-stop lately with adventures and events. Come along with me as I give you an abbreviated version of the past five weeks of AWESOME that is my life right now…I won’t bore you with the details of my ups and downs I’ve had lately…all of us have them and no one wants to hear it lol! So here goes the good stuff:

I spent spring break in and around Vegas with some fantastic friends Christy, Cody and Matt, doing some amazing things like exploring Calico Basin at Red Rock Canyon and Black Mountain in Henderson.

Vegas Vegas 2

My cousin Andrea flew in and joined as we took a series of zip line shortcuts through Bootleg Canyon.

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We road-tripped to Utah for something we’d been excited about for months…hiking breathtaking Zion!

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We eagerly tried floatation therapy at Float Sanctuary of Las Vegas.

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Then it was on to Henderson to run the Beginner’s Luck half marathon trail run to celebrate my cousin Andrea’s first half marathon and my birthday!

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Then immediately back in the car for a drive down to meet up with my mom in Arizona where we ditched the rental car for this beauty that we drove all the way back to Rochester, MN.

Arizona

Once home, I had several days to rest, recover, run, rest and oh, a little thing called work before I was on another plane and headed to San Deigo for more epic adventure! Once there, my friend Matt introduced me to cryotherapy…felt like I was back in Minnesota on the coldest day of winter, only in my undies with frostbite EVERYWHERE hahaha! Refreshing!!!

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Then it was time to run the La Jolla half marathon with my Alaska and California friends Matt and Rhonda!

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And to celebrate, we eased our way into San Diego’s Float Sanctuary to allow for some race recovery relaxation.

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Everything felt a little better after that session in the float tank, but I took an angry foot home with me thanks to some unforgiving cobblestones on the race route. I went straight from the airport to ortho/radiology where I was saddled up with this little number.

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Told it was likely a stress fracture and to stay off it for two weeks. Well, fracture or not, with no pain after a week, I was back running because I was stir-crazy from sitting still! Next thing I know I’m running the Rockin Robin half marathon…finally one in my hometown!

Rockin Robin Rockin Robin 2

And then it’s Mother’s Day, and there’s no better way to celebrate with my beautiful baby boys than with a hike!

Mom's Day

So there you have it…my best excuses for not blogging lately…five weeks of running, hiking and adventure with little else in between. Thankful for each and every one of these experiences and that I marked Matt Ebeling off my Facebook Friends Resolution!!!

Race Chapter Three OR San Diego Take Two

I’ve been spending the week catching up on work and sleep following another epic adventure that was beyond my wildest dreams and a near overdose of gratitude.

Last weekend I took off for beautiful San Diego for the second time in two-months…blessed, again, by the generosity of someone with a HUGE heart! This is how it began…me in FIRST CLASS!!! I took the opportunity to remind myself of the amazing feeling that is the “state of awesomeness,” and to refresh my Oola balance!

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Meanwhile, I took in this breathtaking sunset that just wouldn’t quit…literally; we were flying west, right into it!

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I was returning to San Diego to run another half marathon. Or rather, thanks to a biospy I had earlier that week, I was to walk it.

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These two are the very reasons I was there. I first met them both in December, brought together to run our first marathon in Honolulu…you can read about that here. Then, just a month later, I flew to San Diego to complete the Carlsbad Half with them…that story’s here. How surreal to be back with them three months from when we met!

The weekend got me out of Minnesota to enjoy some relfection…

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It was a major souce of renewal, rejuvenation, restoration.

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And that made way to some shopping…

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Some sightseeing and fueling…

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I hid behind the “carb-load” mentality and ate whatever I wanted…correct carbs or not lol!

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And so it continued as we gathered for a breakfast of like-minded running buddies. This was a roomful of sheer ambition!!!

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And on to the expo and bib pickup where Beyonce would be proud of me…I left my mark so everyone would know I WAS HERE!

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We got that job done and it was back to carb loading hahaha! Pieology seems to be our place!!!


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And then it was time to rest one last night for what we came to do!

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These two mean the world to me! Three months to the day we ran Honolulu, we were back at it!

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Had my secret weapon along, my lucky charm…thinking of you, Dad!

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Kim, Rhonda and I stuck together for most of the race. I thought I was going to walk, but my recovery went well and running felt good, so I went for it. The route was beautiful, weather cooperative and the experience PRICELESS!

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And before we knew it, we finished!

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I tracked my performance on 24alife’s app and felt accomplished with my result…after all, this race was a privilege I wasn’t sure I’d be able to enjoy. What a blessing of an experience with fantastic friends! All told, I marked another three friends off my Facebook Friends Resolution…Jackie, Kristen and Kim…carb load breakfast, bib pickup and running should count, right?!?

It was quickly time to return home with a fantastic Delta meal…a breakfast of champions, right?!?

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That weekend went by in fast forward mode…explains why it has taken me a week to recover!