Yes Gal!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What a brilliantly perfect way to sightsee!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

5th Blogiversary Win-It Wednesday!

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

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

And some of my lows…

You’ve seen me at my most confident…

My most determined…

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

Fought past some injuries…

And worked through profound grief…

And beyond…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

Win-It Wednesday WhOO Wants OOFOS?!?

As promised, Friends, in observance of FIT BFFs’ 4th Blogiversary, let’s continue to celebrate with one last giveaway!

Friends, you’ve heard me rave about OOFOS footwear for the past four years because I have yet to find a better way to recover from my multitude of workouts.

OOFOS has been such incredible support in my endeavors for the past three years…literally!

If you haven’t heard of OOFOS, check out my latest review here: http://bit.ly/2Ly3q8Y

I am not kidding when I tell you OOFOS has been with me every step of the way since I first discovered them in 2015…

I can honestly say, I will never go anywhere without them; and you don’t have to either!

To help celebrate FIT BFFs 4th Blogiversary, OOFOS has generously provided a pair of OOFOS sandals of the winner’s choice for this week’s Win-It Wednesday!

To enter, simply leave a comment below sharing one way you plan to be active this fall to embrace the beautiful season between now and Tuesday, September 4th, midnight central time.

Want an extra entry? Comment “I want OOFOS” on my 8/29 OOFOS posts on Facebook at FIT BFFs or on Instagram @fitbffs…or do both for two extra entries!

This giveaway is open to US residents only. One randomly selected winner will be announced here on Win-It Wednesday, September 5th. Good luck!

In the meantime, stop on over to OOFOS to check out how many awesome ways you can feel the OO!

 

Review: OOFOS Red, White and OO

As summer winds down, and the mindset shifts back to school, I made a horrible realization! And boy have I got a confession to make…summer literally ate my homework! I’m not even kidding! I meant to write a review for a pair of patriotic OOFOS well before July 4th so you could all celebrate with your own pairs of their festive OOriginal Sport Sandal Red, White and OOs…

But time slipped completely through my fingers, Friends, or maybe my toes! Well if you’ve been following me for a while, you already know what I think of OOFOS. But for those of you who’ve only just recently joined in, I can’t tell you how excited I get about a new pair of these amazing sport recovery footwear. The minute I pull them out of the package, I take a big sniff because there’s nothing like that new OOFOS smell! It’s just like the smell of new tires and it immediately makes me consider all the miles I will get on them because I know they treat me oh, so right!

This pair pledged allegience to the flag at multiple lakes as I spent all the time recovering from each workout and embracing the relaxation…and none of the time remembering my assignment. Ugh.

They found me further recovering from my chronic knee injuries with some great reads!

These Red, White and OOs even saw me from (dawn’s early light) sunrise to shining sunset…all the while, forgetting to inform readers about OOFOS’ liberty and justice for all sore and aching feet, knees and backs. Man, I feel horrible. I have no excuses to share, other than I guess I was just so busy being active thanks to all the phenomenal support these and my other OOFOS provided throughout my summer adventures, that it just slipped my mind.

There was recovery from Tour de Pepin in these OOlalas…boy, did my butt hurt, but the rest of me felt the OO!

And then there was my trip to Blogfest at the IDEA World Fitness Convention in San Diego, where I took this sunny opportunity to strategize my time there…

And then was stoked to personally thank these guys at the expo for their company’s incredible impact absorbing OOFOAM technology. Man are they a happy bunch; I know why…even after being on their feet for multiple days on end, they were all feeling the OO tOO!

I walked mile after mile of that convention center and and those beautiful beaches tOO, and I did it all with my favorite footwear!

I could have seriously stayed right there all summer, but I was days away from one of the most exciting events of my life, so back home I hustled, literally running through the airports in comfort to be back in time for my son’s wedding. Sure, I wore a cute pair of insanely uncomfortable wedges for the ceremony and pictures, but the minute they were done, I slipped on my black glitter OOlalas, soft as clouds as I swooned over the enchantment of it all…

And danced on air!

And wouldn’t you know, I was off again this time to Montana, to see more of the land of the free on these brave babies!!!

My summer has seen me through marked healing; my knee is now pain free! I KNOW I owe much of that to my friends at OOFOS! So I hope they accept my profound appologies when I honestly say, my summer ate my homework!

Friends, if you are suffering from foot, knee or back pain, please don’t wait until next summer to feel the OO…OOFOS now has a full line of shoes tOO! Although it looks like the Red, White and OOs are only available in slides right now, check out all the other great, colorful options to help you put your Best Foot Forward at the OOFOS website here.

 

Blogfest Adventure 2018

Friends, this summer is on fast forward…I swear! It’s been a month since I’ve posted, yet my family and adventures have kept my head spinning in the very best ways. It’s time we catch up a bit…I’ll do my best in the upcoming weeks to share with you things my mind is still attempting to put words to. For now, I’ll recall a surreal trip to San Diego I took a month ago that was meant to inspire my blogging, but did vastly more!

I admit, it was an unpack and repack whirlwind that took me from serene, family lake vacation in Minnesota to upbeat, fast-paced west coast adventure…one that has left an indelible impression in my heart. A late-night flight landed me in the Gaslamp Quarter with my soul sister I don’t see nearly often enough! We immediately crashed at our Airbnb and woke the next morning ready to conquer the world!

We carved out an entire week, with Blogfest and the IDEA World Fitness Convention as our main focus, but had so much more in our cache of plans. We hit the pavement running and made every inch our amazing playground!

We did our best to mentally prepare for the information overload and mass amounts of motivation we were about to ingest. There was really only one way to do that while in sunny SoCal IMHO…

 

The extraordinary organizers of Blogfest put us front and center with some amazing fitness and wellness professionals to ignite a blaze of inspiration within. Nadia and I simply fell in love with motivational guru, Petra Kolber. Her message continues to whisper sweet nothings in my soul.

Yeah, true confession…I openly admit to rubbing on her arm to absorb some of her exquisite vibe! And while that exchange still had me giddy, I was not prepared for what came next!

I’ve been captivated by Heidi and Chris Powell since the debut of Extreme Weight Loss on ABC. I savored each episode because I was in the midst of my own transformation and related to and hung on their every word. They won the Jack LaLanne award during IDEA WORLD’s opening ceremonies and gave a stupendous acceptance speech.

Shortly after they concluded and the keynote began, Nadia tipped me off to this cosmically destined moment…

Yeah, another true confession…I shamelessly helped myself to their radiant energy too. I’m still swooning from that one! We were additionally enthralled with Heidi’s keynote at Blogfest, where we all continued to bask in her glow.

Although these were merely a small fraction of our Blogfest/IDEA World events, I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground after that. It all seems a fantastic blur to me now!

We listened and learned from several other great speakers and were spoiled by a number of sponsoring companies like California Almonds, Frog Fitness, General Mills, TriggerPoint, and BeBetter to name a few.

And although the workouts and workshops were all so high energy, nothing could prepare me for the insane amount of energy packed into the expo!

It simply blows my mind, all the great connections made in one place! Shout-outs to my friends at OOFOS and D’moda Sportswear…their generosity astounds me!

 

Was SO happy to run into the fine folks at Great Lakes Gelatin to share with them my injury recovery success with their product!

My favorite new find at the expo had to be these big kid toys by Empower…you all know how much I love to play!

I’m tired just recalling Blogfest and IDEA, but maybe that’s because I jammed way more fun into my trip…like this sailing adventure chartered by some very special friends!

 

And this little pre-dawn hike up Cowles Mountain. Although the sunrise wasn’t spectacular, the climb, view, company and accomplishment were!

Yeah, we embraced every single solitary moment in that paradise!

What a blessing to experience the richness of this enchanting place in the presence of truly outstanding people!

The reconnection and recharge felt throughout this week will echo within forever!

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Black Glitter Winner

Happy Win-It Wednesday, Friends! I want to take this opportunity to thank the generous folks at OOFOS for their unwavering support in my endeavors and providing today’s amazing giveaway prize…thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

I’m excited to announce the lucky winner of the Black Glitter OOlala Luxe Sandals is…

Congratulations to Patty!

I will email you for shipping details, Patty.

Thank you to all who entered. If you did not win but are looking for the ultimate in support and sport recovery relief, you can treat your feet…pop on over to OOFOS website right away so you can feel the OO too!

This FIT BFF is here to tell you, OOFOS is one of the best ways I know to put our Best Foot Forward!

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Did it Again!

Hey Friends, you’ve traveled alongside my adventures, milestones and recovery, and so has OOFOS! They’ve been there, literally supporting me every step of the way; here’s just a peek…

Wow, did it feel great to peel off my running shoes and socks and slide right into my OOahh slide sandals after every race…OOFOS’ OOfoam recovery technology is the BOMB!

Whether I was out for a bike ride, walk, hike or a marathon…the relief of my OOlala sandals were always right there waiting for me!

Through every season, I was so grateful to recover in extraordinary comfort…these OOriginal sport sandals made all the difference. I felt the OO again and again!

When Old Man Winter came, both the OOcloogs and OOmgs really helped me through some long days of work and play!

Just two weeks ago I was still snowshoeing here in Minnesota! And as OOFOS has continued to follow along my journey, they’ve made amazing strides to expand their line of support. They recently released some amazing boots that actually fit within my snowshoes! More news on those later this fall!!!

It’s been so incredible to include OOFOS as part of my Flat Carla pics…here you see what all is needed for one of my races, and those fantastic Project Pink sandals were ready for me at the finish. This particular race was Donna’s in Jacksonville to end breast cancer. How fitting that the OOFOS Project Pink line contributes $10 for each pair sold for breast cancer research.

Just the other day I stopped by OOFOS website to spot their latest release…their OOlala Luxe Black Glitter!

The minute I saw them, I was hooked! My friends at OOFOS generously provided me with a pair to test and recommend. I can’t tell you how excited I am when a pair shows up in the mail. I am addicted to that new smell. What’s more, I can’t get enough of how extraordinary that brand new support feels.

But what I’m most excited about with this new sandal are the many dressed-up possibilities! They’ve really stepped up their game, because this new sandal will allow me to take support even further into my lifestyle. Remember that Flat Carla above? Well, I’ve been thinking about my son’s upcoming outdoor wedding on the beautiful prairies and bluffs of Wisconsin wondering how I will survive the night in my dreaded  dress shoes, so here’s a Flat Carla of a different kind…

Problem solved! Seriously, OOFOS has been instrumental in fixing so many of my issues, and they can help you too! OOFOS has generously provided an additional pair of these exquisite sandals for a reader giveaway on this Win-It Wednesday!

To enter, simply leave a comment below stating which size you hope to win between now and Tuesday, May 8th, midnight central time.

Giveaway open to US residents only. Randomly selected winner will be announced here on Win-It Wednesday, May 9th. Good luck!

Of Closure and Gratitude

It’s been well over a month since I traveled to Jacksonville to participate in the Donna Marathon Weekend’s half marathon. I’ve meant to blog about it for weeks, but I think it has taken me until now to understand its significance.

If you read this post a while back, you know this event has become far more important to me this year than when I participated in 2016. Though I walked it back then too, I was in the thick of my marathon and half marathon addiciton…I was seriously running out of control! The proof is in the bling I earned throughout that year…

Oh how I loved my running, it was an obsession that seemed to come out of nowhere…it was a total escape from life’s crazy, and the endorphins were a reward second to none. So much so, that when I found I needed that lumpectomy, I calmly rescheduled it so I could run a half marathon in California. And when I finally faced the music to have the lump removed, I was running another half only days post-op.

Yeah, that was a tough run for me. When I look back at this pic, I’m right back in that moment with the weight of all the feels. I know now, it was the running that kept my mind north of the worry and fear.

But, it’s also clear to me now, I was’t exactly running toward anything…I was running away from things. That girl had a LOT going on.

The running continued nearly every day until later that year when this dumb thing happened…

I awoke the meniscal beast, and though I eeked out another marathon and one more half that year, that was the end of that. Though the meniscus has quieted down, runner’s knee, osteoarthritis and my sports med doc have made it quite clear. I’m finished.

So there I was in Jacksonville, wondering what in the world I was doing. I picked up my race packet and enjoyed the expo with my friend Julie, because I kind of knew it might be my last.

Although we had walked plenty of training miles and planned to walk every last step of those 13.1 miles, I secretly feared my body wouldn’t be able to cut it.

So I gave my regards to Jeff Galloway one more time, just in case!

Before I left for Jacksonville, I checked in with my friends at OOFOS (my beloved recovery footwear company). Mind you, their footwear has supported my body throughout my injury and eased a TON of my pain since. It just so happens they have a Project Pink line…the same amazing comfort, but as part of their charitable giving effort, $10 from every Project Pink Collection shoe purchased goes to breast cancer research! Check out OOFOS’ fantastic Project Pink line here.

Well they generously sent me a pair for the occasion, so what else would I have worn to the pink carpet Expo?

Same amazing comfort/support, extraordinary cause near and dear to my heart! And I’ll just tell you right now, I couldn’t have recovered from this half later without them!

I was really rusty at setting out my flat Carla the night before. I barely remembered how and hoped I hadn’t forgotten anything important.

It had been well over a year since my last event, Friends. Past disappointment, the threat of pain…it was a crazy-loud loop running through my head I could not silence. Where did that even come from? I thought I was over all that. But there it was, and I barely slept that night.

I tried to reason with myself…I was only walking; but I was walking 13.1 miles on a bum knee. Ugh. Well, there was only one thing to do, so I put my best foot forward…just ask Elvis!

And the moment we crossed the start line, I remembered what I love about Donna’s event.

It’s not about the race or my pace. It’s about something so much bigger, and Julie and I were reminded of that with every neighborhood corner we turned…

Those homeowners embrace this race for the important cause it is. And to keep it light…

Though I felt I might lose my emotions multiple times along in gratitude for my own breast surgury scare results, these people kept reminding me to laugh and enjoy the journey.

 

My knee was getting angrier and angrier, and I hate to tell you how many times I thought about quitting. The emotion was raw as it became clearer and clearer with every mile, the race days I loved were drawing to a close. What if all the running was just a temporary vehicle to ease me through a tough time?

A deep, comforting feeling washed over me like the waves of Jax Beach…a gentle yet unmistakable clarity. What a gift to be there, to be able to take that winter walk with a great friend on a beautiful, sunny day in Florida. A day that’s not promised to any of us. A day I was grateful to be alive.

That medal is a symbol of closure I will treasure forever.

 

 

 

Win-It Wednesday New Year’s Edition

Happy New Year, Friends! I was truly inspired by each of your giveaway entry comments…your goals and intentions for 2018 motivate me to move forward with similar aspirations. It’s time to announce the lucky winners for today’s New Year’s Win-It Wednesday!

I want to take this opportunity to thank each of our generous contributors; many thanks to our friends at:

Aurorae Yoga

OOFOS

Rollga

 

Our lucky winners are…

Aurorae Yoga mat, tote & beach towel: Tina 

OOFOS choice of one pair recovery footwear: Julie 

Black & Gold Mix Rollga Warrior foam roller: Missy

Congratulations, Winners! I will email each of you for contact information. Many thanks to all who entered.

Now let’s all get with it, to put in the strong work and focus it will take to achieve our goals and intentions for 2018…putting out Best Foot Forward!