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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,
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 14, 2013
Gorgeous skies, sunny weather, tank top runs…It’s been a beautiful string of spring weather here in Calgary! But, as this place is known for, it’s very easy for the weather to change on a dime! It went from 12*C and warm to -9*C and snowing from yesterday to this morning! …glad I got some runs in earlier this week!
I ran 6 miles on Tuesday that were hard, slow but done in nice weather! 3.5 miles yesterday plus 10 double unders (still working on those!) in my Zensah compression socks. Felt a little easier but still ran with that “heavy leg” feeling. The best part was just being out in that weather though!
I really go in phases with my running. Sometimes it’s all I do and I have so much joy in it, and other days it’s the toughest thing for me to do and I struggle with it, preferring to stay in the gym and perform shorter, more high intensity workouts. But recently I put down some money to run – which, as you guys know, I rarely do – and signed up for a race! It’s not that I’m stingy or don’t like races, but I run on my own schedule when my body wants to. In other words, I don’t train. BUT two members from my gym are helping to put on the 3rd annual Run for L’Arche and I am excited to join many members from the gym and other staff in this run!
I’m doing the half marathon on Saturday the 23rd in Calgary – the morning after I get back from IHRSA in Vegas. I don’t anticipate tons of running there (early mornings are already filled with fitness classes I’ve signed up for) so I’ve decided to really run this race for fun. That besides the fact that I often don’t and haven’t really trained for this race or other races. I’m motivated to move daily but not to move with the purpose of training. Maybe it’s a phase, but I think it’s how I’m wired. If my desire was to PR in this race, of course I’d need to train and be intentional, but at this point my goal is to enjoy the race, get out on a March day that’s hopefully more sun than snow and be thankful for movement with friends!
Are you a racer? Do you train specifically or just run for fun?
Whether you’re a runner or not, hope you had a great workout today! I did our gym’s challenge of the month, and it killed me! Here it is:
11.34 was my time, but I rested on the squats, trying to recover. My plan’s to try it again and beat my time, which I know I can! Let me know if you give it a shot.
Well, back to training! Have a great rest of your day, snowy or not! Live well & be well,
February 26, 2013
Have you ever seen those programs on TV with the before and after photo shoots and wondered, “Is that real?” only to then convince yourself, “There’s no way that happened. Naw…gotta be a scheme.” But in the back of your mind, you’re left wondering if you, too, could acheieve that change.
No, this isn’t an infomercial (relax, relax!). Instead, it’s simply sharing some fun I had over the weekend with a dose of inspiration in the mix. Sounds corny but it’s true! The program I alluded to at the top is, of course, P90X, one that Mikey and I did for about 30 days before he was diagnosed with cancer, we moved back to Calgary, and he traded in dumbbells and snowboarder jumps for chemo and radiation (if our story is new to you, check out the background on our story here!).
I happened to catch a tweet not too long ago asking if anyone in Calgary was interested in working out with Tony Horton. I jumped at the opportunity and found myself walking down to the Telus Convention Center Saturday wondering what I’d gotten myself into!
The event was a Beach Body kickoff in Canada – coaching just became available to Canadians as of October 1st, 2012, so it’s still very new up north whereas people have been acting as coaches in the States for years. I’m still learning about all that it entails, but it’s something I’m thinking about after learning more this weekend…it’s not gimmicky or all about sales, but about hard work and using the Beach Body programs (P90X, P90X2, TurboFire, Insanity, Brazillian Butt Lift) to change your life and live healthier! …that’s something I can get behind.
But before I wax on about that possibility, you probably want to see a little of Tony, right?
(Me deciding what to wear earlier that morning) That’s what I thought. After hearing from a few high-level coaches and being inspired by their stories, we took a break to try their Shakeology product (which I actually liked!) and then waited for the room to be cleared for our workout. As we got closer and closer to the workout starting, my energy was growing. I was really going to workout with a room full of people and Tony Horton himself?! …It’s a good thing I had some oatmeal with egg whites and blended up spinach to kick off my morning. (looks weird, tastes good!)
Then, Tony Horton himself came out.
If you’ve done P90X, 10 Minute Trainer or P90X2, then you know about Tony’s funny, intense and corny ways on video…and he is JUST like that in person! Pretty hilarious, down to earth, but also full of himself in an endearing way…
I guess he kinda has a right to be: 55 years old and abs of steel! I positioned myself as close to the stage as possible and was dead center in front of Tony. I was ready to bring it! We did a great 5-round workout of 4 exercises, each 1 minute long. The first move was some kind of push up, a cardio/martial arts move, a core/balancing move and a plyometrics move. I loved the workout, the energy, the group of about 100-150 ish people and the fact that Tony touched my arm and said “Thanks for being here.” Here’s a quick glance at the workout we did:
After the workout we got to take pictures with Tony and the event was over. We took some together and then, since I had time to kill before the next bus, I stuck around for my favorite kind of pictures: jumping pics!
And here’s a few words from Tony as we chatted after the event as a group:
It was an incredible event. I loved it and am so glad I stumbled into it (thanks, Kristen!). I’ll keep you updated about my thoughts on the company and my position going forward, but I went into it looking for a fun workout and got a lot more (a connection with a new friend who knows friends of mine in California, Carolyn and connection with others I’d met in past Can-Fit-Pro events too). I’m so grateful for the chance to participate in this fun event!
Have you ever worked out with a celebrity trainer? Who could you workout with if you had the chance? If I could workout with someone else, it’d be Bob Harper a la Stuft Mama (lucky duck!). But it was super fun working out with Tony; I think a one-on-one would be even better because of his dynamic personality and great motivation skills. Moreover, he’s all about fitness that helps your daily life – that helps you ski better and live longer and have more fun!
Until next time, live well & be well!