By Angela ‘Sassy’ Gattin
FFCrew + FF Blog contributor + runner, yogi & writer
Let’s say you didn’t meet last year’s DID goals. Maybe you didn’t meet your DID goals the year before. Maybe you didn’t meet them the year before that. Maybe you’ve never met a DID goal. Maybe no one knows what you did or didn’t do because you never told anyone (and OMG, aren’t you glad you didn’t?). Or maybe you did tell everyone (and OMG, you wish you hadn’t!). Maybe you really thought all the goals you set were completely doable, and in truth, they really were.
But then life happened, things happened, injuries happened, crap happened. For reasons XYZ, those goals were not crushed. Maybe you are watching the approach of DID 2016 with a bona-fide credibility problem. If so, you are not alone.
By Trisha Zubert
FFCrew + FF blog contributor + amazing human being
I’m not built for speed. I’m petite (see: short). I’m sturdy (see: rotund). I’m Italian (see: cooks good food and talks with hands).
My desire to be speedy doesn’t overcome the aforementioned issues. However, many of the women I am blessed to run with are fast. In order to keep up with them I’ve had to become faster too. Which is saying a lot, because imagine running as fast as you can, while talking and simultaneously using your hands to convey really, really important things.
Declare It Day is February 6th and we are so excited to watch as women from all over the world participate and declare a goal for the year ahead. Participating is simple – download your beautiful (and free) declaration starting Feb 1st on our website, write out your goal and join in the fun as women share on our virtual event page.
But first, let’s just get one thing cleared up …
Will you join us this February 6th for our national day of declaring goals for the year ahead? FEEL the power, excitement and connection of declaring your goal and saying your dream out loud with thousands of other strong brave women from around the world. Step in to instant accountability, fun and celebration and reminders that we are not alone in the journey of becoming the best version of ourselves.
But unlike years past, this year, Declare It Day has no featured colors or meanings… it’s just about you.
Yes. You heard us right. Who are we to determine and drive your journey? If there is one thing we’ve learned this past year it’s that only YOU know what’s best for YOU… period.
Does your goal make you a better you?
2016 is about your story. Your journey. Your reasons.
No distractions, no glitz, no glamour.
Goals aren’t wishy-washy maybe someday ideas. Goals are action, and when done intentionally, they challenge your greatest fears and ignite your dreams.
This goal, dream or new of living will not be handed to you simply because you want it… your willingness do the work must come from within.
You’ve gotta earn it.
We are very excited to announce that the FFCrew will be opening a limited number of new spots on Thursday, December 3 at 8 am CST. Spots will remain open until Midnight on Friday, December 4, or until we have reached capacity. Get on the ‘first to know’ email list here.
Since introducing the FFCrew last fall, the response has been overwhelmingly positive and we continue to hear from women from all over the country and world who are interested in joining. We launched it last year as a way to grow the Fellow Flowers movement but more so, for women within our community to connect and support one another. We have back-of-the-packers, first-place finishers and everything in between. We have newbies, veterans, 5Kers and Ironman finishers. We have all ages, demographics, motivations and we represent nearly corner of the country, with some international support as well. We are as diverse as they come, each woman bringing with her a story all her own.
Confession. We are beyond excited about our first-ever national retreat, happening this November 5-8 in sunny Scottsdale, Arizona. 150 of you will be joining us from literally every corner of the country. We have gone through the flow of the event from the beginning to end, and end to beginning. We’ve asked ourselves, ‘How would WE want to experience something like this?’ We’re combining classic elegance with sweat and grit. We’re dancing and laughing into the night, and we’re running and hiking before the sun rises. We’ve picked foods that are fun and healthy, and we’ve created our signature cocktails for ladies to sip and enjoy.
And we want to share as much of the fun with you throughout the weekend.
Follow along as we’re inspired by TODAY Show anchor Erica Hill’s personal running journey and are taken through ‘a day in the life’ of Women’s Running Magazine editor Nicki Miller. Hang with us as we learn running form and treadmill tips from expert David Siik and dive deep into the art of intentional nourishment with nutrition coach Theresa D’Ambrose. Watch as we own our stories with speaker Celia Slater and learn how to ‘fight-fall-rise’ with storyteller Denise Logan. We’ll talk goals, running strong, living big and giving ourselves permission to chase dreams AND finish lines.
We’ll create the space for women to be brave with their stories and to connect with other women who get them, fully.
A crown jewel moment during the weekend will be the debut of our thirteenth flower, carrying with it a message that has been within us for the past two years and is finally ready for the world to see.
We will sweat, run, hike, laugh, cry, dance, sip, savor and just be. You won’t have to be in the room to be feel the love, energy and connection we’ll be sending you.
If you want to be part of the fun, check out #rockretreatrun on Instagram, Twitter and follow our Facebook page for photos, videos and takeaways. We know many of you wanted to be with us, but life got in the way. We get it. Rest assured, we are already looking at dates and possible locations for Rock Retreat Run in 2016. We hope you’ll join us then, but for now, we’ll share all of the fun with you.
Mel & Tori
Written by Yellow Fellow Flower, Jenny Moulds, Rockford, MI
My 2015 Declare It Day (DID) goal was actually one of my 2014 DID goals – to train for and complete my very first triathlon. It didn’t happen in 2014, and I was beyond disappointed. So when 2015 rolled around I knew what I wanted my goal to be!
I have always been a runner. Running was my thing! I rode my bike with my family to go get ice cream, and the thought of swimming made my heart race. Deciding to do a Tri was so far out of my comfort zone that if I thought about it for too long, my stomach would begin to churn.
All of my life I have always turned to running to calm my nerves, gather my thoughts, take some time for myself and get away from my fears. In 2006, my then 4-year-old daughter, McKenna, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Our younger daughter, Kayla, was just a year and half at the time. Our entire world turned upside down. I stopped running because I couldn’t breath. Anxiety completely took over my life. Our days turned into clinic visits, chemo, panic attacks and overall sadness, anger, confusion and dread. Running completely gone, I no longer looked forward to getting up, going to work, smiling…
My Declare It Day goal was to complete my 2nd half marathon. However, as running goals tend to do, it evolved into something much different. It was about redefining my definition of my blue flower.
Part way through my training, my daughter saw me clipping in my flower and said, “Mom, are ever going to buy a new blue flower?”. It was really an eye opening comment. I had never considered it. I took a close look at my blue flower. It was the same flower I had worn for 2 years and hundreds of miles. The rich blue had faded into a paler shade as a result of my many sunshine runs, the edges of the outer petals were frayed, threads were coming loose and draped themselves over the sparkly center, and the once firm petals were flimsy and bendable due to the exposure to the wind and rain the flower had been exposed to over the years. In all of these imperfections, I couldn’t imagine ordering a new blue flower. This flower told the story of my running journey. The imperfections were perfect. It was just like me. “Aware of my faults and loving myself anyway.” I was content with my “old” blue flower.
At that moment, my journey changed. I was truly connected to my goal, content with myself and connected to this challenge. And, it was a CHALLENGE. You see, this race had a time limit. Completing a half in 3 hours may not seem like a lofty goal for most, but for me it was a limit that had me shakin’ in my boots. This particular race finished down the stretch of the Cherry Festival Grand Royale Parade, a national festival that brought 10,000 visitors to a small northern Michigan town every year. Runners had to finish before the parade began. It was a firm deadline.
To make myself feel better, I looked up the race results from the previous year. There had to be others in my boat, I wouldn’t be alone. Other people had to be close to that deadline. But, there weren’t. All of the finishers completed the half the previous year in less than 2.5 hours. Apparently, people close to this deadline knew better than to sign up for this race. I have to admit, there was a fleeting moment that passed where I thought, “No one will think any less of you if you don’t do this race.” But then I realized I was wrong. I would. Bowing out would be denying my blue flower. And I wasn’t about to do that. I was content with this goal, proud of it, invested in it. Withdrawing was not an option.
I ran one mile this past weekend. It was supposed to be 20.
My goal of crossing the Chicago Marathon finish line on October 11 is no more… and it has been a heartbreaking process to move through. For the past 23 days I have been nursing a torn ligament in the arch of my foot. I hesitated to share the news because I thought (in classic runner-style) it was just temporary. Denial set in, followed by frustration, anger and tears as I learned it was more serious.
During the past few weeks of struggling with the inevitable realization that I would not be running Chicago, it has been conversations with many of you that have given me perspective, and hope.
In talking about my injury with several of you, I’ve realized how many of us are always running through some type of pain or injury. We are hurt, coming back, grinding it out and for some of us, completely sidelined. I realized quickly… I.am.not.alone.
We are a tough crew. Runners are resilient and we push through. We have a mindset of ‘yes I can’ so when our body roars ‘no you can’t’ we get reeeaaaaally pissed off, and it’s hard to accept and listen. The heartbreak is exquisitely painful when there is readiness within us. When the desire to attempt a goal is held back not by your commitment and mental toughness, but by a physical pain you simply can’t overcome.
I know my running legs have a finite number of miles left in them – I’m coming to terms with this more and more as I get older. After two back surgeries as a teenager and career-ending knee problems while playing college basketball, I have learned to love and rest my body whenever I feel even the slightest injury. This requires self-regulation and patience and these are NOT high on my strengths list.
Three years ago at IRONMAN Wisconsin amidst 2,400 athletes I saw one woman wearing a flower. It was red, and she was unstoppable. I chased her down the street in giddy excitement. We hugged, and I told her how special it was to see her on the course.
Yesterday, I saw dozens, worn by competitors, volunteers and spectators. I saw countless people – men and women – rocking their flowers, and it took my breath away. I hugged more strangers than I can count and celebrated defining moments for some of my dearest friends.
I was humbled, honored and proud that the message of Fellow Flowers served as inspiration for these amazing athletes.
As my friend Angie Krey and I realized amidst conversation (and weepy eyes and full hearts while watching our husbands yesterday) it is an absolute privilege to witness those you love and care about claim and celebrate their truest potential as a human being. Having a front row seat to that transformation is a happiness and joy on a whole other level. There is nothing like spectating on Ironman day – you see true grit, resolve and heart on full display and it captures you unlike anything I’ve ever felt.
Last Friday, we posted a giveaway promotion to give two BRFs a Rock Retreat Run registration totally for free. And you responded. You responded, like whoa.
You must know how blown away we are to read each and every one. How grateful and wonderful it is to know you want to be there. We want you there too…sooooo very much. You took the time out of your day to enter the giveaway, thought about your BRF and what she means to you, wrote a heartfelt “why” in the comment section, liked it and then shared it. Ladies, we thank you all for stepping in and making the effort to attend Rock Retreat Run. Knowing it means that much to you is appreciated…deeply.
Now, we’re so very excited to announce our winners, plus a very cool addition to the giveaway. You definitely want to read to the end!
First things first… give us a drumroll please…a loud one.
Since the moment we met Erica, we felt it. The ease, the connection and the feeling of, ‘wow, she’s just like us.’
When we met her back in April for our TODAY Show taping, sure, we were excited about the segment and the awareness it would bring to Fellow Flowers. Honestly though, it has been the friendship we’ve developed with her since that is by far the most precious outcome of that experience. When the segment aired, there was overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the depth and care of which Erica shared our story. Every single person we talked to said, “Wow, she really gets it, doesn’t she.”
Do you ever wish you could cheer on your friend while she is out there on the course?
Maybe it’s her very first race or maybe she is going for a new PR or maybe she has a Boston qualifier in her sites. All you want to do is tell her how proud you are of her effort! Except most often, getting those inspirational words to her during her race is nearly impossible.
Introducing, Motigo, a new app designed to deliver personalized audio messages to your favorite runners (automatically) during their race so they can #runLOVED.
Seriously. How freaking cool is this?!?! As a runner, you can receive personalized messages from everyone who has been part of your journey WHILE you are running. As a supporter, you get to inspire and cheer on your runner through their race day miles. We’ve decided this is the best new app for women runners, and here our five reasons why.
Can you feel it? The Fiercely United Virtual Run is almost here!
To celebrate the friendships, the miles and the soon to be consumed post-race victory
cocktails (!) Tori and I decided to share two little vignettes about the BRFs (Best Running Friends) who will be running alongside us come race day.
Mel + Lindsay :: 13.1 BRF Team
She is the text message before a big day or a big moment. She is the ‘just because’ gift you receive because it made her think of you. She runs races with you not for the medal, but for the moments. She gets on an airplane and travels across the country because you need her. She is the friend you want to see truly happy because of all the smiles and generosity she has given you.
She is late nights, glasses of wine, dancing with your hands up and laughing until you cry. She reminds you that you can be carefree and grounded all at the same time.
I am blessed to have this friendship.
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Along with avocados being a must have, must do, must eat in our diets, mangos have also made a roaring comeback when it comes to popular health food and good eats. They’re also ripe and in season, so they’re the perfect summer treat as a snack or side.
You know what makes them even more delicious? Slicing them up and pairing them with an avocado!
This recipe, the second in my Avoca-DO’s of Summer (see the first recipe here!), is super low on prep time and high on taste. I felt like a top-notch chef when I put it together. And, as food presentation goes, it looked so pretty! The bold and juicy flavor of the mango pairs perfectly with the creamy texture of the avocado (and let’s be honest, avocados don’t really taste that great alone).
This dish literally took minutes to make, and it was a perfect summer snack. I could also see making a lot more of it, cutting it in small chunks, and using as a side salad to chicken or fish. Try it. You’ll like it.