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!!!

Crushing My August Goal

Recently, my friend Katie and I loosely planned an outdoor adventure on Minnesota’s North Shore with the option of a visit to Canada because the call of the wild loudly beckoned both of us! Incidentally, this fit quite nicely within my August fitness goal to embrace summer before it’s gone!

My temperamental knee behaved well during training sessions in the weeks leading up to our adventure. I set an intention to experience everything I could, but to listen well to my body…a simple mindset.

I was nearly giddy with anticipation on my drive to Minnespolis. Katie was kind enough to put me up for the night so we could get an early start the next morning. This was to be a whirlwind of a weekend trip…non-stop from beginning to end. And, we were off! As we caught up with each other, the miles flew by…

Our energy was through the roof and we were ready to conquer the world! With no concrete plan, we were free to explore at will. So we hopped out at Jay Cooke State Park so Katie could get a taste of what I love about that place!

Yeah…I think she liked it!

We took advantage of this magnificent backdrop to enjoy a quick hiker’s lunch on the banks of the Saint Louis River. And then is was back in the car to put down some more miles.

Next stop, the SHT office…(careful spelling that one) the Superior Hiking Trail office in Two Harbors.

The woman there was a wealth of wisdom as we considered our options for the weekend. I’m not sure if this stop solidified our plans or overwhelmed us with countless more ideas, but we left with expert info. Back in the car! Next it was Katie’s turn to introduce me to a thoughful spot.

 

Yeah, I might have enjoyed Palisade Head just a little haha! What a perfect place to stretch our legs before jumping back on the road. Katie’s so full of surprises because she knew what was just ahead, and I’m so glad she did…

Seriously! What an extraordinary peek through a bridge!!! And then back on the road because we were headed to one of our best kept secrets…the Hungry Hippie Hostel just outside of Grand Marais.

This place had everything we needed and more. I’d never roomed in a hostel before but after this experience, I’d do it all again!

 

The ambiance was so “summer camp” reminiscent. We were very comfortable there and enjoyed the exquisite view of Lake Superior and the sunset.

 

And that was my sign to head to bed!

Because we had some pretty extraordinary plans early the next morning…

Plans that involved a sunrise and some sun salutations on the tranquil shore of Lake Superior…ahhhhh.

It was a quick savasana though because we had some international plans…how namaste?!?

We quickly traveled up to Ontario where we stopped to savor one of Katie’s family “up north” traditions…a smoked fish. It’s what’s for breakfast lol!

 

Yum! Well fueled, we headed into Thunder Bay to explore a bit of the Canadian lifestyle. Then stopped at a Gouda cheese farm; it was gooood-a (see what I did there?)! And then we were off for the real reason we crossed the border. We were on an elusive waterfall hunt and Pigeon River was home to this!

We weathered quite a rainstorm to behold this beaut, but so glad we did! I am in love with waterfalls, the roar of the water, the kiss of the mist, the energy you feel from your head to feet. SWOON!

My how the time was flying! We headed back to the states and Grand Marais, enjoyed some local fare despite the hustle and bustle of Fisherman’s Picnic Weekend; time to rest up for our last action-packed day!

This one started bright and early because there was still much to see! We had the amazing Judge C R Magney State Park to ourselves and beheld the mysterious Devil’s Kettle…

The gorgeous morning seemed to cheer us on in our endeavors as we took off for our next destination. Dear God, the stairs…these views did not come without a price and my knee was beginning to pay.

But the effort was well worth it! Cascade River State Park did not disappoint!

The climbs and decents were worth it every time! Check out the view on our next hike at Temperance River State Park!

There was beauty around every turn! This state of ours is such a playground, and such soul food too. But heavy-duty hikers can’t subsist on that alone, so refueling was necessary, but so welcome in a dining room like this…

Our legs were pretty fried at that point and we were feeling pretty weathered too, but there was one more waterfall we refused to miss, so we decended and climbed some insane terrain to take in our final award for our efforts…

  

Wow, Tettagouche State Park. Just Wow!

Sadly, our North Shore trek came to a close as quickly as it had arrived. Friends, we left everything we had on those trails but would do it all over again.

Because what this wildnerness sojourn took from us physically replenished so much more.