It was Thursday night, the beginning of Rise.Run.Retreat. 2016. All the retreat attendees were gathered on the porch, I’d gone back into the house to get something from the kitchen. On my way back out to the porch I turned the corner and saw this:
I stopped, paused for what seemed a long time and simply watched. What I saw was exactly what I envisioned when the idea for Rise.Run.Retreat. hatched in my mind two years ago. I took a deep, satisfied breath.
When I initially decided to stop day dreaming and make the experience Jesica and I had talked about creating a reality, I knew I couldn’t go it alone.
“Will you do this with me?” I asked Jes.
Every girl needs a sidekick, who when you ask “will you go with me” without hesitation–and without even knowing the outcome–answers with a resounding “yes.” I’m so grateful to Jesica for being that for me when in regards to Rise.Run.Retreat.
In it’s first year in 2015, the retreat was scaled back: a “beta” version of what we really wanted to do. This year we gave even more life to the vision, scheduling inspiring speakers and planning meaningful activities for our attendees. We wanted there to be real value in the retreat beyond the connections we knew would organically happen between the women who attended.
Planning the retreat took considerable time and at different points my motivation wavered, especially when our family moved in July–a critical time in the retreat planning. With a project of this size it’s easy to get overwhelmed, but when I felt down Jesica was always there to help and encourage me. Honestly, at times I felt like she carried the retreat planning, bringing life and excitement when I was worn out and lacked confidence. That’s what a great partnership is all about. You do it together, there’s an ebb and flow to the effort and when one person is struggling the other person steps up. I am just as much inspired by Jes as she is by me.
As Jesica and I collaborated on the retreat schedule we became more and more excited about what was in store for our attendees. And thanks to our fantastic headline sponsor, Dr. Cool we were able to make it all happen. We had Cabot Creamery, based in Vermont, scheduled to host a Cabot cheese, beer and wine pairing. We also partnered with Jamie Sheahan, an incredibly knowledgable Registered Dietitian from The Edge Vermont, to speak specifically to women’s nutrition in regards to endurance sports. Her depth of knowledge had everyone hanging on her every word.
I was able to get my Instagram friend, turned real-life friend Crystal Seaver to come and speak about strength training and demonstrate a few moves with Wreck Bag. And of course, our guest speaker Sheri Piers, well-known runner and decorated Master’s athlete Sheri’s unique story (she took her marathon time from 3:47 to 2:36 and has run in three Olympic Marathon Trials alongside her training partner Kristin Barry, and was the top US female finisher at the 2012 Boston Marathon) and her down-to-earth personality made her the perfect choice for the group.
The content from the weekend was extremely valuable, but the real magic lies in the connections. During the down time: the meals, the runs, the porch-sitting…we talked. It was in those conversations, the ones that start with running and take a turn towards real life, that we discovered each other.
We were not just women who run, we were women who had experienced postpartum depression, the loss of a loved one, a health issues that plagued our past or threaten our future–we were real and raw and uncensored. And that is powerful. When you are around women who let their guard down, who are genuine and authentic and real, you see the struggle and you see the strength and you cannot help but walk away inspired.
When I looked out onto that porch on the first night I realized that I was living my dream. And that my dream had become a powerful reality for the women who came to Rise.Run.Retreat. I’m more excited than ever for the future of Rise.Run.Retreat. There’s something magical in this gathering and I want more women to experience it.
If you are interested in attending Rise.Run.Retreat. in the future please go to our website and click the “Contact” button at the top of the page. Fill out our contact form and you’ll be added to our Newsletter. We’ll be sending out information regarding 2017 shortly.
I’ll be sharing so much more about the weekend in the next few weeks, especially highlights from the amazing guest speakers. In the meantime, check out the blogs of all the attendees they’ve all written great recaps (or sarcastic ones in the case of Allie, but that’s who she is and that’s why I love her!).
- Allie from VitaTrain4Life
- Angela from Happy Fit Mama
- Christine from Love.Life.Surf.
- Kara from One Redhead and Lighthouses
- Laura from This Runner’s Recipes
- Natalie from Nat Runs Far
- Sandra from Organic Runner Mom
- Sarah from Run Far Girl
- Sue from This Mama Runs for Cupcakes
I love connecting with readers! You can find me here:
Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com