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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 15, 2013
Hey guys! Happy middle of the week to you all. The sun is shining and it’s a beautiful day here in Calgary and although life isn’t perfect, there is certainly reason to smile. My main reason? The joy that comes from reading this truth this morning:
What amazing and incredible words! And not just words but a reminder of truth that we can stand on and live by. I’m very aware today of what God has done through Jesus in my life and my hope is that others experience the same freedom, relentless grace and redemption in their stories too.
Something for your mind and heart and now something for your body that will make you weak before you feel strong again. I present to you…
I’m not sure about my form with the battle ropes; I was told to pump your hips like in a kettle bell swing, especially as the arms get tired. I switched between different swings, kept my core tight, got out of breath and today am feeling it in my hamstrings, glutes and back. Is this right for what I should be working for anyone who is experienced with battle ropes? Either way, I’m not sore in a bad way anywhere, I felt great doing it and I LOVED this challenge! Let me know if you give it a shot!
I just got back from a tough but great (not to mention sunny and beautiful!) 8 mile run…Still enjoying marathon training for the most part and can’t believe that June 23rd is coming so quickly! Pretty excited about the Banff Marathon.
I rocked my Zensah reflect calf sleeves and refuled with a green smoothie at the gym. Now I’ve got one more client to go and am ready for a night in, some Scrabble with Mikey (just bought the game yesterday and for some reason REALLY want to play! ha!) and to enjoy the night.
Anyone else got fun evening plans (goooo, Scrabble!) or got a great workout in today? Lay it on me! And give that challenge a shot if you’re up for something intense but fun!
Live well & be well friends,
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,
April 5, 2013
Hey guys! Happy Friday to you! Can we just take a moment to appreciate the fact that it’s the end of the work week and the weekend is just around the corner? Yes – let’s appreciate that photo above (and maybe wish that we were in that water this weekend)!
In the hopes of keeping things short and sweet on a Friday, here’s my top five Friday things from the week!
1. I love grocery shopping when I’m unrushed and have no agenda. Anyone else? I know Janetha is in this camp. It’s just so fun for me to explore the aisles, to hunt for healthy or new-to-me items and to browse without a problem. I look at the nut butters for ages, scour the tea section, love the produce options and always, ALWAYS go down the candy aisle. I can probably count on one hand the number of times I’ve actually bought something from that aisle, but I love looking down it – and we don’t even have Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods here, where the REAL goodies wait!
2. Fast Friday Workout. Looking for something to do in your gym today? Try this quick killer workout and be on with your weekend!
Google any of the exercises for a demo; this is a great workout if you’re already familiar with kettlebell movements and CorssFit-style workouts. You can sub the rowing for a 200 m sprint outside or on a treadmill and the double-unders for 200 single jumps. I’m still loving but working on my double-unders by doing a DU and then one single hop and alternating between the two until I reach 100 reps of the DU’s. It’s a work in progress!
3. Time Well Spent. There have moments this week that I’ve wasted and moments this week that I’ve been productive and used to the fullest. But the best use of my time? It always seems to be when I’m reading my Bible, even though my effort isn’t always 100% and my focus often wanders. Thank God for his grace to meet me in those moments and to forgive my lack of discipline…I am a work in progress even more than those DU’s.
4. Have you heard about “Valleys” yet? It’s the webseries we (Survive & Thrive Expeditions) are releasing on YouTube for free with Hands On Films via the Huffington Post. Please help us spread the word and watch the episodes as they are released every Wednesday through mid-May! Here’s the trailer:
…and the link to the first webisode which came out this week here. Mikey and the team have worked SO hard to get these episodes out and we want everyone to know about them! If you know anyone, supporter or (cancer) survivor, young adult or older in age, that might benefit, please share the link with them too.
5. Extra Goods. I’m pumped to get my dreads worked on by a former client this weekend! She has great dreads and offered to do my hair after a lot of my extra, “fuzzy” hair has come loose again. I might also get a pedicure this weekend too. It’s about to crazy-indulgent over here in Calgary! Although they aren’t huge things, they are definitely luxury and I am grateful for the chance to enjoy those moments in life.
Got a “Friday Five” to share? Lay it on me! And then go have a great rest of your Friday. 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,