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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)
April 10, 2013
[Check out the end of the post to see a JUST-RELEASED video of the newest "Valleys" webisode!]
1. Farm fresh eggs from a client! Free run & absolutely delicious (plus one that’s blue!).
2. A drive to a friend’s house…beauty in the foothills of the Rockies.
3. Watching “The Hobbit” on a home theatre system, realizing that friends are gold and my hair is dwarf-like: priceless.
4. Scouting out my Banff Marathon training plan over the weekend with some oats and blueberries…the reality of this race is slowly sinking in!
5. I finally received some gear back from Patagonia that I’d shipped in to have repaired! My down sweater was replaced (yay!) and fleece was repaired…back to adventuring in good gear.
6. A new love seat and furniture arrangement thanks to my in-laws! Oddly enough, the rather outdated blue and pink floral of the love seat kind of goes with our quirky home… Grateful for gifts and family nearby!
7. My favorite ring. #feather #normallyasilvergirl
8. Homemade granola…I winged this one, like I do most of my recipes. Healthy & I’m being great at controlling portions – a win-win!
9. Yoga (P90X-style) on the weekend…felt good to mainly rest and stretch it out, especially while the weather was freezing rain, mist and snow. Wait – aren’t I supposed to be running right now?!
11. Rolling it out after my first “official” run of my marathon training plan: 4 miles at tempo pace!
12. The Simply Bar. Because their stats are awesome, they are Canadian-made and they were on sale.
Want to see more? Check me out on Instagram – I love this app now that I have an iPhone and think it’s a neat way to “see” someone’s life through their eyes.
Also of great importance is the release of today’s newest webisode of “Valleys” which you can watch and check out here on the Huffington Post and watch here:
Please watch & share with others in your life who’ve been through, supported someone w/cancer or experienced what Amy calls a kind of “cruel joke” in life. We share wisdom through stories; hopefully this will help bring light to others!
If you could post a picture to share a highlight from your last few days, what would it be?
Have you seen any of the “Valleys” webisodes yet? No? What are you waiting for?
I’m off to train 3 more clients in a row before hitting the road for today’s run: 7 miles in between clients! Live well & be well friends!
March 24, 2013
Hey guys! Long time no see! If you guys read my last post or follow me here, here or here, you’ll know that I was in VEGAS, BABY! (By the way, is it possible to NOT say “baby” after you say “Vegas?”) I loved my experience here at the IHRSA Conference and embraced lots of information, experiences and new friendships! It was great to get to know my team from Fifth Avenue Club better and enjoyed the time in sessions and at the pool with them! Such a great group.
Here’s a little run-down of the trip to let you in on the action, fun and feel of Vegas (baby!):
Fly in, dinner (late) out and sleep!
…and woke up to a beautiful and unique view at the clean, gorgeous and accommodating Hotel at Mandalay Bay:
And then we were off and running (err – working out)! A few of us got up early for one of the many morning workouts offered. This one was a bootcamp/group-style workout with Todd Durkin, ”MA, CSCS…an internationally recognized performance-enhancement coach, personal trainer, massage therapist, author, and speaker who motivates, educates and inspires people worldwide. He is the founder and creator of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA…Todd is the Head of the Under Armour Performance Training Council, where he helps drive new methodologies and training techniques to help Under Armour develop the highest quality programs and apparel for performance training” (source). Todd is a FIRECRACKER! So dynamic, so much energy and just like he is in his videos if any of you have seen him before. INTENSE! His co-leader was Pete Holman, Director of Business Development with the TRX and creator of the TRX Rip Trainer. It’s a very athletic piece of equipment that forces you to use AND prevent rotation because it’s a bar with a resistance band on only one side. I LOVED using it and also enjoyed the partner exercises and even the dynamic warm up drills with Todd.
We also got to try out Under Armour’s new heart rate monitor system, which acts like the others on the market but uses all your numbers (intensity level, heart rate levels, calories burned) to average out your willpower, a pretty interesting thing to “measure” to see how intense your workout was.
Pretty interesting! And of course I had to get a photo with Todd Durkin at the end (didn’t get one with Pete because I had to run off to the morning’s first session!).
The sessions were full of information. Some were more engaging than others with some speakers on the dry side, and some were focused more on issues in the US (like the epidemic of obesity, for example, and some topics about the government and health care) but overall I got something out of every session. When I get a moment to go through my notes and summarize the most applicable points, I’ll be sure to share them with you!
In between sessions, whether it was an hour or a three hour break, us Canadians got into the sun as much as possible! The down time and sun soaking was definitely a bonus, not being the main reason we went to Vegas; I originally didn’t even think we’d have time for this! But it was a wonderful surprise for this Californian to get my Rainbow flip flops on my feet and head outside!
Ashley & I enjoying the sun!
The view behind me as I lounged.
We also hit up the outlets one evening while we were there and enjoyed eating dinners out as a team every night. Here’s a quick photo-look at some of the sights and scenes!
Picked up these two cute dresses (sorry for the blurry pic on the right), a cute jacket and two work shirts for Mikey at the outlets (score!).
House of Blues dinner, fro yo (when in Rome! …ie: WAY more frozen yogurt options in the States; the first one just opened this weekend in Calgary!) and healthy pre-packed snacks.
I also met some amazing people in Vegas at the Trade Show and outside of it. I chatted with pro surfer Laird Hamilton and was THRILLED to meet Kelly Olexa (founder and CEO of FitFluential), who is just as fun, outspoken, beautiful, engaging and just “Kelly” as she seems on her videos. She took a moment to chat with me and I really appreciated her time as she was crazy-busy between meetings and sessions (we both found ourselves in the same social media session – go figure). We also had a dinner with a group of FitFluential Ambassadors, and it was wonderful to finally connect with Lindsay (who is as cute and southern-speaking and easy to be with as you’d imagine from her blog!) and Lisa (ripped and loud and FUN!) among others.
All in all it was an amazing trip! It’s hard to recap an experience like this one between the social aspect of being with my team from Fifth Avenue Club to meeting new friends from FitFluential to learning lots and being exposed to the fitness industry as a whole for the first real time (as opposed to just focusing on my job as a personal trainer).
Have you ever been to a fitness conference before? What was your experience? How about any conference in Vegas? I’m sure we all have some of those “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” kind of stories from conferences in that city!
I flew in Friday night, was reunited with Mikey who had a super full and busy week while I was away and then went to bed and ran a half marathon in the morning! …more on that later. If you got this far, thanks for reading and have a great start to your week!
Live well & be well,
March 17, 2013
St. Patrick’s Day…no green beer and a very relaxing day – just the way it should be in my book. I wanted to pop in before a trip and share a bit of my fun weekend with you guys! This will be photo-heavy…because it’s late and was a wonderful weekend worth sharing in photo form.
Friday: Girls’ Night!
I got together with a few girls from the gym and had a great start to my weekend/ There was wine, delicious punch and lots of healthy snacks: black bean chips, hummus, popcorn and a big bowl of fresh cut up fruit and fun conversation! My favorite part though? Dancing (and hoola-hooping) with the girls! I love that the night was healthy and not full of junk food and that we moved together – such a great night with lots of laughter.
Saturday: Long Run Day!
I woke up Saturday morning to lots of falling snow. It was cozy and warm inside and cold, windy and NOT inviting outside…but it was long run day! When my friend cancelled on our long run (for a good, legitimate non-weather-related reason), I realized that I’d have to motivate myself to get out there. And so, after a nice morning at home, a phone call home and some much-needed time in my slippers on the couch, I braved the elements.
11.5 miles under snowy skies. That 1/2 marathon might not be fast, but it will be fun next week and now I know I can conquer it regardless of how intense the weather is…bring it on! Loved my Zensah Smart Touch Running Gloves, Leg Sleeves & Seamless Power Jacket – very thankful for good gear from this great company (click for my YouTube reviews of those products)!
I also went to church in the evening and was absolutely blown away by the incredible service – by our incredible God! The message was powerful and so many people were baptized! There is nothing quite like the palpable joy of someone publicly declaring that they love and follow Jesus! I love it!
After the service I stopped by for a visit with my in-laws, mainly to say a one-day-early HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my father-in-law! Maurice is a man of faith, a devoted father, a caring husband and a father-in-law who makes me feel loved, accepted and like his own daughter. To a do-it-yourself, gadget-toting, Apple-loving and joyful man, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MAURICE!
Sunday: Girls’ Spa Day!
My friends arranged a girls’ day at the Banff Springs Hotel and I was happy to tag along! Although I didn’t get any treatments, I thoroughly enjoyed the day relaxing together with Edith and Karissa. I started off with a morning juice and some oatmeal before meeting them for an early drive out to the mountains (mason jar for hydration purposes in hand).
Once there, it was all about the waterfall pools, the cups of tea, the magazines…
…and the wine (that Edith bought for us!) and my packed egg, almonds and apple. Classy act, let me tell you!
What a day! I NEVER nap and I fell asleep twice on the lounge chairs – it was delicious. After a full day of doing nothing (in the best way possible!), we realized it was 7:45 pm and we hadn’t had anything to eat! No wonder we were starting to get hungry. Guess that egg didn’t go as far as I thought!
One delicious and green meal later, we were headed home. What a way to end the weekend!
Good movement, good rest, good food and good friends. I needed a weekend like this more than I realized and am thankful for the way God orchestrated it! Monday evening I fly to Vegas with a group from the gym for IHRSA – international fitness conference, here we come! SO excited to learn lots, bring back fresh inspiration and ideas, hang out with the group from work more and meet some other FitFluential Ambassadors!
Thanks for letting me share my adventures with you here…I’m grateful for this space to document life’s blessings AND the hardships – this weekend was just full of more of the former than the latter. Might as well soak up times like those and remember that God is good, all the time!
How was your weekend? I saw some people racing out there and some PR’s…any one else race, train, rest or eat good food this weekend? Let me know! Have a great start to your week and I’ll catch up with you guys in VEGAS!
March 4, 2013
…because my weekend wasn’t incredibly exciting and sometimes pictures tell a better story that words…
Friday afternoon slow 8 mile run after 6 back-to-back clients – the perfect way to start off the weekend! Check out that sun. And the sunglasses. And the tank top. Wait a second- is this March in Calgary?
Believe it or not, it sure is! Saturday morning kicked off with a great workout: hill sprints!
They are never fun to start, but once you do, it’s a killer workout because you’re only focusing for short amounts of time before you’re already up the hill and recovering on the way down. 8 sprints up, on my toes, arms moving, heart pumping and I was done! Loved running these in my Vibram Five Fingers on my feet (light, quick and fast!) and my Zensah Seamless Power Jacket was perfect in the mild weather (crazy that was all I needed that morning!) – grateful for good gear! Do you have any favorite gear for working out/running?
I trained a client who worked out well with a heavy sandbag and then met my team from work for a lululemon shopping trip. Once a year we get some money for work clothes since we’re required to wear lulu on top and black pants on bottom and then get the tops screened with the club’s logo. Not a bad deal! I got the yellow shirt above, a white long sleeve and used some of my own money for a little jacket. Fun!
And then, this happened:
Yes, winter still IS here. We were hit with probably close to a foot of snow over the weekend after an incredibly pleasant run of spring-like weather. I knew it was too good to be true – winter isn’t quite over yet.
Sure went well with my workout planning and morning coffee drinking, though! We spent all of Sunday at home in robes and slippers while the blizzard raged outside; it was fun to be inside and be cozy as we watched the wind whip the snow around in circles and heard it through our old window panes. Very thankful for a home and husband to be with this weekend!
For the first time, I skipped my parkour class Sunday night because I’d really been wanting to go to our church’s new Sunday night service, The Exchange. We go to a big (BIG!) church and this is a new service that just began and is led primarily by young adults. The snow had stopped falling and the roads were better, if not clear, by the time we left. After a short Sunday afternoon workout TOGETHER (love that Mikey wanted to do a workout!), we cleared off the car and headed to The Exchange.
The service was small and intimate as we met in the huge sanctuary; the worship included a banjo and trombone and the hymns we sang cut right to my heart; the message was clear and an incredible reminder that night of what we’re lifting up as idols in place of God. Mikey and I were so encouraged by the evening and by meeting God there; what a great way to end our weekend and start our week.
A phone call home to talk to my parents on FaceTime (wahoo for all having iPhones now!) and a good sleep later and we’re already into Monday! But now I’d like to hear from you:
If a picture could sum up your weekend, what would it look like? I’d love to hear some highlights from the past few days of your life! [Speaking of pictures, I'm obviously now on Instagram - feel free to follow me there for more life adventures/inspiration for fitness and find me on FB and twitter too!]
Cheers to a full week ahead – let it be full of knowing you have purpose, a hope and that you are loved by a forgiving, gracious, redeeming and passionate God! Live well & be well friends,