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May 20, 2013
(photo courtesy of Travis Wright)
How do you sum up a weekend of genuine fellowship, tasty and healthy food and fitness with a group of women who are so unique yet share so much in common? Yeah, that’s a big task. And if you’re in this community, you’ve likely read more than a few recaps of this year’s BLEND Retreat in Park City, Utah. I’m not a good blogger and I didn’t document the weekend in detail but I did have an incredible time, made some real connections and am so grateful to be able to share a glimpse of an amazing weekend away.
I want to first say thanks to Lindsay, Katie and Janetha and their friends and family for the hard work and amazing organization and heart that went into this weekend. We are all blessed beyond belief! There were also a TON of sponsors – so many that I had to pack a bag and check it on the way home full of swag! Special thanks to the main sponsor, Chobani, for healthy food throughout the weekend and a killer breakfast spread on Sunday morning! Thanks also to: SimplyChoices, Attune Foods, Swanson Health Products, Larabar, Zevia, Green Mountain Coffee, Healthy Bites, Silk, NatureMade, The Laughing Cow, Core Power, Bob’s Red Mill, Muesli Fusion, ProBar, Onnit, SoyJoy, FitMixer, BluePrint Cleanses and GPP Fitness!
(This was just the swag I brought home! I wasn’t even able to bring it all, believe it or not! Very thankful for all these great products to fuel Mikey and I through life and as I finish training for my first marathon!)
Here are a few photos from the weekend that share those glimpses into the fellowship, food and fitness I lived out with about 100 other women (and a few men)!
TOMS and a short, black americano – it’s those little constants and rituals that I love about traveling! I was able to travel with a friend, Christa, and was so grateful for the chance to get to know her better and hear a bit about her and her husband Marc’s lives, dreams and direction. She rented a car and we started things off like any Canadian blogger in the States would – by hitting up Trader Joe’s! I grabbed my favorite coffee and a few other goodies and we then wandered off to hit up Whole Foods where we ran into this great group:
(photo courtesy of PurelyTwins) The twins, Ashley, Christa and Debbie
We all headed up to the Hyatt Escala and were greeted with an amazing facility with helpful staff and a great view. Check it out:
(photo courtesy of PurelyTwins)
And these are the PurelyTwins from those stolen photos above themselves! Got to be roommates with the fun, fit and fabulous twins, Michelle and Lori! Great to get to know them in person and love their sense of humor and approach to fitness.
After receiving our amazing swag bags (seriously so.much.generosity from companies and so much work from our favorite BLEND organizers!), we settled into explore the rooms and soon got ready for the cocktail hour, sponsored by Silk. It was fun to get a bit dressed up and mingle for an hour before dinner began.
Although I only had about half this drink, it was fun to branch out and try something different with some unique ingredients! Loved the bite of ginger in this one.
The dinner afterward was incredible – delicious and healthy, as you can imagine. Lindsay, Janetha and Katie said a few words and I could feel their excitement at everything coming together – I know how that feels to have planned something for so long and then see it executed! So neat.
Lindsay of Cotter Crunch fame, the twinos (as we call twins in our family) and a shot with Lindsay and Katie – lots of goodness in one picture! I just don’t have enough positive things to say about these women! Very grateful for them and know that our paths will cross again, hopefully with more time to sit and chat and really dig into life together.
The night ended for me around 10 pm or so – I was tired from a 4 am wake-up call earlier that day and from so much socializing (which I admittedly love). Christa and I hit the pull out and I was zonked soon thereafter with an early morning call to…
Get my run on!
Bobbi (who knows a good friend of mine from California – small world!), Amanda, Kindle and I were out the door running by 6:30 am under gray and threatening but still beautiful skies. It was the perfect running temperature and some of us (Bobbi and I) were training for marathons (Bobbi’s is next weekend!) and the others were resting from a recent marathon (Amanda) and just wanted to get to out to run (Kindle). Pretty awesome to have a group to run with! Bobbi needed 10 miles and I needed 12 for our plans, but I was flexible with mine – as long as I don’t compromise this coming weekend’s 20 miler I was fine! – and we ended up running 9 miles, mainly downhill on a path down the canyon in the rain for much of the run. It was a blast. I loved running with these girls and kept up just fine (one of my worries when running with running superstars!) and had some great talks while moving. Thanks for the run, ladies!
Breakfast was up next followed by a few fitness options: zumba lead by the funny and talented Annette or a hike out behind the resort. I was going to zumba for something different but decided I couldn’t pass up the chance to get outside, even with the on-and-off rain, and got my gear dried by the fire after a wet run, put it back on, and headed outside with a big group!
After a de-mudding shower and some down time, there was another great snack break sponsored by Onnit.
I loved the shake, the protein powder and their nut butter mixtures but mainly loved the chance to enjoy all that while chatting with Neil from GPP Fitness, a gym that’s focused on optimal health in Utah who I follow online. I loved the chance to meet him in person and talk about industry trends and the past and present direction of the fitness industry. Passionate, focused and kind man – really liked talking with Neil and my new favorites, Amy and Candice, from GPP!
Saturday afternoon came with some outlet shopping, dinner out and then PJ’s at night for homemade pillows of heaven (aka Utah scones) by Momma B (Janetha’s amazing mom!). They.were.delicious. So fun to have everyone piled into a room chatting loudly and munching on these delicious doughy treats!
All in all it was an incredible day, and Sunday kicked off with a great GPP bootcamp with all sorts of drills that have left me feel SO sore in all the right places today,
a great Chobani-sponsored breakfast and a fun raffle and closing ceremonies with the group.
Some exploring around historic Park City continued followed by a great meal out, time wandering Salt Lake City and already beginning to reminisce about the weekend and the girls. I loved this experience so much!
Thanks again to all who made this happen and cheers to “old” and new friends alike! I am blessed with this community and loved embracing every bit of it this weekend. The holiday Monday here in Alberta didn’t hurt either – a sleep in, breakfast with the swag, biking around and matinee plus time with my in-laws topped it all off.
Have you ever gone to an event like this, or connected with people you either didn’t know or had to put yourself out there for? It’s so good to do…looking forward to doing it again on this summer’s Survive & Thrive trips!
Have a great week, friends! I’m hobbling off to live the rest of it to the fullest, sore muscles and all. Live well & be well!
(photo courtesy of Christine)
May 12, 2013
Play not only keeps us young but also maintains our perspective about the relative seriousness of things. Running is play, for even if we try hard to do well at it, it is a relief from everyday cares.
- Jim Fixx
That’s exactly what this weekend was about: PLAY! And I love how in the quote above trying hard and putting forth effort is still connected with play because you’re taking a break from the day-to-day events. What a great thought! It started with a BBQ dinner and video games (play, anyone?) after catching up with friends on Friday night, involved sleeping in on Saturday and a long run in the sun and ended with a Mother’s Day celebration of good food, fellowship, kite flying and biking around the river.
I was so excited for Saturday’s long run because the schedule was 19 miles, it was supposed to be beautiful out and because my husband agreed to bike with me as I ran! With a backpack full of a few snacks (a GU, an orange each, a bag of 5 sour patch kids + some cereal and 2 water bottles) and the trails before us, we set out for this long training run before the Banff Marathon is upon me! A few thoughts on the run…
It.was.hot. Like, smokin’ hot! And while I’m not complaining about the temperature, I did wish we’d started a little sooner than 11:30 am. The good part of that? We got some good Vitamin D on our skin and in our blood and shared the trails with MANY people taking advantage of the good weather. I always love that!
Mikey was a great supporter. He checked in with me to give me water and see how I was doing and snapped some pictures – more than I anticipated (see below). It was fun to have another person along for the trek and hearing him hum along to songs from his headphones made me smile (most the time. On the hills sometimes I found it annoying). I couldn’t believe he agreed to go with me seeing as I am WAY slower than a bike, and I cannot express my thanks about that enough.
We had mapped the run to his parents’ house – and then some to make the total distance of roughly 30 km or 19 miles that I needed – and somehow along the way I thought I would end up going further than 19 miles. The run, in the heat of the day, took me 3 hrs 24 min, which at first I felt great about but after mapping it noticed it was “only” (I know, I know – it’s all relative when you’re training for a marathon!) 19.57 miles, not the 20 or 21 I thought I’d for sure run. In other words, my pace was even slower than I thought. A bit discouraging, but I’m banking on an early morning cooler-weather run and the excitement and adrenaline rush of race day to push me a little faster.
All in all I felt great about this running adventure, despite it being crazy-hot (27*C or almost 81*F) and my time being slower than I anticipated. What an accomplishment! The longest I’ve run to date…that’s pretty exciting.
But instead of talking about it, check out for yourself what 30 km of running around Calgary actually looks like (I have Mikey’s creativity and patience to thank for this one!):
It was all about play, even in the hard moments and slugging-it-out times on those pathways, because every run helps get me closer to my goal of crushing my first marathon! That’s #whatsbeautiful – #iwill keep pushing forward and doing so with joy as I find the play in these moments.
Sunday was beautiful! Not only the weather (we’re on a roll out here!) but mainly the people. Church was great followed by a BBQ at our place with Mikey’s parents and our friend Donna for Mother’s Day. [Happy belated Mother's Day to all the incredible moms out there - it's perhaps the most thankless but powerful "job" in the world! We love you guys and are so thankful for you!] I’ve yet to snag the photos from the in-laws’ camera, but here is a glimpse of our time playing today after some good food:
Biking together, flying kites and just enjoying one another’s presence and the good day – it was wonderful! We came home and Mikey and I got a TON of work done around our place: laundry, dishes done, changed over our winter to summer wardrobe, sorted through more GoodWill clothes…Love that accomplished feeling!
It was a great weekend of play and accomplishments and enjoying people – so thankful for days like that! How was your weekend? Any long runs or times of play of your own this weekend?
Have a great start to the week! Live well & be well,
May 9, 2013
Hey guys and happy Thursday! The buzz is going around about Under Armour’s new campaign, and it’s definitely one I can get behind! The “What’s Beautiful” 3.0 campaign is all about redefining the female athlete by setting goals and encouraging one another in a community and through accountability. To join in the fun and life change, here’s all you need to do:
Set your own personal goal.
Document your journey by posting videos and photos that tell your story from start to victory.
Watch for challenges for you from the UA folks (and weekly prize bags!).
But then continue to show your journey – what makes your story the one that stands out from the rest. “If you meet your goal, set a new one. Make it even bigger. Prove to everyone, and yourself, that you have more than what it takes.”
From UA’s website,
After 8 weeks, we’ll announce the 10 finalists who’ve documented the most impressive, motivated, monumental stories. Winners will be announced mid-July.
The top 3 performers will be flown to Costa Rica for a surfing and yoga retreat together – can you believe that? Sounds pretty incredible to me! The “competition” is steep, but the truth is that this campaign is all about pushing each other to be better, setting your own goals to push harder and rise above who you thought you could be and celebrating the female athlete of every shape and size and sport! Now THAT is something I can get behind, Costa Rica or not.
You guys know I’m not much of a goal setter. But this campaign coincides perfectly with the first huge, fitness-related goal I’ve set – to run my first marathon! It made me think about what other goals I could set and the larger goal I’d like to frame my health around, which leads me to my team:
Team “Focus on Fitness,” because I want my focus to be on what I can DO, achieve, enjoy and live rather than on how clear my abs are or what the scale says. To check out my 2 specific goals in greater detail, check out my video here:
If you’d like to join Team Focus on Fitness, please sign up here! We can encourage one another and I will also be posting “mini goals” to help us focus on fitness better. ANYone, with ANY goal can sign up! Join me and join the movement – or create your team or sign up as an individual. However you choose to do it, set some goals and get moving!
So…are you in?! Hope to see you on the roads, in the courts and on the fields either virtually or around Calgary!
Live well & be well,
May 7, 2013
So many great things to anticipate! There’s not always an event or something exciting to look forward to in life but it is fun when there are some neat things around the corner, you know? Here are a few things I’m pumped about right now:
BLEND Retreat (“blend” = blogger/friend)
I am so excited to be going to this now-annual event that is in it’s second year put on by some lovely ladies! I don’t really fly to see friends very often or take trips over long weekends to visit friends, but I did book this trip a while ago and just said “Let’s do it!” after being in Cabo San Lucas with my family (which ROCKED) last year and being unable to attend. I can’t wait to explore Salt Lake City with Christa (we are getting there early) and meet lots of people I know but haven’t met face to face! The fellowship, the experience, the break, the workout/bootcamp, the food and sponsors…It’s going to be a blast and is only 2 weeks away. BRING ON BLEND!
I got an update email today about my first upcoming marathon that is, confirmed now after reading a little more, the FIRST annual full and half marathon in Banff, Alberta! Right in the heart of the Rockies, the course is now an out-and-back course (still processing how I feel about this…hopefully it’s okay but my preference was the initial course layout which started near Lake Louise and finished in Banff) and is now a Boston Qualifier race!
Truth be told, I have no idea how fast I’ll run, and I have to run way faster than I’m training to BQ, but it’s neat that a race in my own backyard is such an official one! I can’t wait for the experience and to be done with such a neat accomplishment – I’m going to be drinking it all in, TRYING (the operative word here) to not stress about time too much and just go for a long run in the mountains.
My Mom’s Visiting!
Guess what just happened? My mom booked her ticket to come up and see me run! She paid for my race (great early bday present!) and is coming to be a part of the experience, to cheer me on, to stay with Mikey and I in our apartment she’s never seen and to just be generally a mom “in person” to me. I am SO EXCITED! Love my family so much and can’t wait for my mom to see a bit of our life since some things have changed. Wahoo! (And can I say, not so secretly, that she ran her first and only marathon while injured at age 40 in 4:12…and I kind of feel like I should beat her time since I am only 28. Pressure! Not from her, but me. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous… just a moment of vulnerability between you and I). And with that, WELCOME, mom!
Now, let’s hear it from you – what are YOU looking forward to in life? Even when the days are dark there is always, if you have hope, a light at the end of the tunnel… I encourage you to take the time to seek for hope in your life, a hope that is grounded and doesn’t change, because trips will come and go, family will pass away, your body will break down and there needs to be something else to be that light for you every day. Find it! And hold tight.
Here’s to Hope!
Live well & be well,
May 6, 2013
Sunshine. A long run. Time with Mikey. Relaxing with friends. 2 BBQs in 2 days. Frisbee in the park. A great church service. That about sums up my weekend! I’ve been on a bit of a blogging hiatus lately as I tend to only blog if I have something to say rather than for the sake of blogging…But it was such a beautiful weekend that I thought I’d at least share some photos of life in Calgary when the weather finally (hopefully?) turns! So here are a few ups and downs from the weekend.
Stopping for a few ingredients on my way to home to make a batch of cookies. I rarely do this, and should have realized it was a craving and not just doing it for company later and steered away, but I caved! Too much cookie dough later, I was feeling sorry for myself and finally decided to snap out of it, move on and go for a walk. Gotta realize that those eating behaviors aren’t right but also give yourself grace and don’t dwell in the dough.
Gorgeous weather and a movie with our friend Craig once the sun went down with our projector! (“Gangster Squad” – still not exactly a “clean” movie but way less violent and not crude or lude like I thought – the main reason I’d avoided this. Just a back-in-time, good vs bad guys flick.)
Although I had time, I used Saturday to completely unplug and not do anything like laundry, prep for workouts for the upcoming week, phone home, mail a few cards that need to go out…Time management, Bon, come on! It’s good to unplug, but it’s also good not to be lazy…Hmm…
Had a great long run! My 13 miles finished up in 2 hrs, 1 min, which I think is a pretty good pace for when I’m going long and not racing. I wondered if I could keep that up for 2 more solid hours and have visualized that 4 hour marathon mark…But for my first one, I’m looking more to finish and have a great experience as I have no idea how my body will respond come game day.
I’ve got to add another high point to the day: we got a chance to visit with Mikey’s parents, fire up our BBQ (which ended up being about propane and we had to use the oven) and had some friends over for the evening. So great to reconnect with people we love, play a game and chat about life over good food and drink!
(Oh – and being able to wear a dress? Such a fun boost after a long, dreary winter!)
Perhaps the realization that I haven’t been as solid in my relationship with God lately. Going to church always reminds me of that – once a week is not enough to build a relationship! My attitude has admittedly been a bit off at work and I’ve been struggling inwardly with patience at home – and I know it’s all because I have not been taking the time to stay connected to the vine, to Jesus. That needs to be a focus for me this week if I want to love God and love others as per my personal mission statement! So that was a fresh reminder of some conviction that I needed to be made aware of in the best way.
On the flip side, church was really great on Sunday, and we continue to enjoy the community we find ourselves in and be encouraged by solid teaching from our pastors. This past Sunday was the last sermon in the series on relationships called “Crazy Love” and was about resentment. It was such an applicable and honest message and made me think about if I am resenting anything or anyone and how I do not want to be someone who holds onto those feelings now or in the future. Very thankful for the chance to go to church and, hopefully if I apply God’s Word, to leave changed every week.
The rest of the day was spent outside at the park with our good friends Roger, Heather and their cutest little girl Shawna playing frisbee, soccer, scootering and eating Spiderman popsicles from the ice cream truck!
This, followed up with a BBQ at our friend’s Jon and Karissa’s place and then some catch in the field as the sun went down, rounded out a wonderful, sunny and stress-free weekend. It sure feels like we skipped spring and went straight to summer – the weather was hot and there are still no buds on the trees! But I’ll take it and welcome summer along with the rest of Calgary.
Give me an up and down from your weekend – anything! I’d love to know what you’re going through these days and sure hope the sun is shining where you are. And with that, I’m off to the gym and ready for a pretty full day of training clients. Catch ya later this week with a bit more substance and hopefully a video or two! Live well & be well!