This past weekend, I met my mother and sister for a weekend to celebrate my moms 70th birthday. This is something we haven't done before. We met in Decorah, Iowa at a winery for lunch on Friday and headed out to a place called Little House on the Farm for our overnight accommodations. This was quite the place. We had chosen to stay in the cabin, but they also have a barn that has been converted and both places are amazing! I kept waiting for Joanna Gaines to walk around a corner... it was THAT cool. The woman who has done all the decorating was actually headed towards the Twin Cities on the day we left to catch a plane. She was going to Waco, Texas in the hopes of meeting the famous Fixer Upper stars. Donna is very proud of how she has managed to capture a simpler time in her decor. She referenced Laura Ingalls Wilder several times and wants her Bed and Breakfast to be peaceful and less complicated than most people's daily lives. Donna and her husband brought very hearty breakfast options both mornings. Everything was fresh from their farm and homemade. She wrote a menu out with a positive little bible quote-of-the-day to go with it.


There was only one moment when we all looked at each other and went... ”What? No WiFi?” We got over it quickly. The only sounds we could actually hear were the chickens and the doves. When night fell the yard was filled with fire flies and I instantly felt like I was 10 years old, I had the almost uncontrollable urge to chase after them, catch them and put in a glass jar... I'm not entirely sure why we did that but it sure was fun back in the day.

We did get into a pretty intense game of Yahtzee at one point. And yes... we are all slightly competitive (even though my mother tries to pretend that she is not). My sister and I just have a silent understanding that we are out for blood. We had so much fun with that silly dice game, cheering and laughing. We had so much fun the whole weekend. There were points, that I know... I had tears running down my cheeks from laughter. My sister has a more subtle sense of humor than my own. She has quite the delivery sometimes... straight faced and just loud enough to hear. What struck me is how similar all three of us are. Now in years past, none of us would have really wanted to admit that. The reality is that all three of us are caretakers, we are fixers, and we never stop moving, we find it extremely difficult to shut off our brains. We are never left to just us three, so it was an experience to be together. We are super polite and helpful to each other... and everything has to get put away, cleaned up, and organized. My sister and I did have a discussion about trying to stay in the moment... which was aided by that no WiFi situation. We listened to oldies, drank wine, ate chocolate, and really got to spend quality time with each other. We visited a fish hatchery, a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum, the local eagles nest that actually has an eagle camera. Apparently, this eagle family is famous and people watch them... who knew? We went to get pedicures and had lunch at a local sports bar... giggling and chatting with each other about every little thing... never missing an opportunity to lovingly chide each other when the moment presented itself SO many times!

I got up on Saturday morning knowing that my half marathon training required a seven mile run. For those of you that have been to Decorah... you know that the country side is full of bluffs and hills. Well, LHOTF is located on one of the hilliest gravel roads that I have ever seen. It was like a roller-coaster. My run went pretty much like this: Up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, down the hill, up the hill... get chased by a farm dog, down the hill, a hawk dives at my head, up the hill, OMG it’s SO humid, down the hill, almost get taken out by an F250, up the hill, this is such great prep for the Rugged Maniac, down the hill, up the hill....what? I ran out of gravel?... this is mud and an old dirt road... I am turning around...

It was a great run and I could use hills like that at least once a week. I didn't see another human being, not even in the F250... too much dust. I never once thought... this sucks... it hurts and I want to be done. I didn't think about anything except how happy I was in that moment, to be feeling healthy and free. I sometimes go several weeks feeling weak and tired with MS, but not last weekend. I felt great! There is something about the noise in the city. It is constant and there are signs of humans every where. I had forgotten what it felt like to be on a farm like that. I miss it. I miss the simplicity of it all. I'm not originally a city gal. I like nature, I like quiet, and I do like the sound of chickens clucking softly in the background. I honestly did not want to come back to the big city and my busy life. I even offered to do chores if I could stay... which I think Donna may have actually contemplated for a minute.

You may be thinking to yourself, cute story, Trainer, but what does this have to do with fitness or training? Well, I feel like it has everything to do with it actually. The punch line is this: Keep it Simple. Your life, your relationships... your fitness. It is easy to get caught up in all the trends, the business of life, the pressure of fitting everything into one day, the newest fad diet... but keep it simple. Do not over complicate your fitness lifestyle.  Remember what makes you... you. Keep your food real, your support system close... never missing an opportunity to tell people you actually do like them, love them, and the reasons why, try to keep your life simple...take a breath, take a break, do what you love, be who you are, and your fitness will find you. When it does, stay in the moment... don’t think about the 20 things you have to get done later. They will still get done an no one is going to die or be seriously hurt if they don't get done (unless, you are a surgeon maybe?). You have to do that for yourself, if you are serious about living your best life and getting the most out of your fitness. Just keep movin' and keep it simple!

Trainer out!

A few videos from class:


Click to View Volunteer Opportunities on