(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)