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!

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.