6 months of planning
3 guest speakers
the greenest hills you’ve ever seen
and you’ve got this year’s Rise.Run.Retreat.
That’s an oversimplification. Rise.Run.Retreat is so much more than the sum of it’s parts.
It’s the relationships, the laughter. The strength, humility and vulnerability of everyone who comes. It’s the knowledge and inspiring stories of the each guest speaker. It’s the in-between moments that make Rise.Run.Retreat. so special.
In four years of organizing this retreat, this was particularly is special and here’s why…
In planning the each retreat we have always tried to pick a special location. I’ve always had a soft spot for Woodstock, Vermont. How could you not? It is quintessentially New England, charming and quaint in all the right ways.
I’ve been to Woodstock many times before, but never in May and we picked a weekend when the trees were in full bloom and the green is it’s greenest. It was absolutely stunning.
Our proximity to the local Woodstock Famer’s Market and Long Trail Brewery, meant that good food and great brews were in steady supply.
The whole group enjoyed a generous lunch on Long Trail, with a river-view to boot. Seated under the tent outside we ate, drank and laughed heartily while the rain fell softly on the tent roof.
The retreat location was also situated closely to some of the ravest runs I’ve ever been on. Each run was beautiful in it’s own way, whether taking us over the river on covered bridges or through the woods to an eagle’s view of the Valley. The runs really need no description, the pictures speak for themselves.
While the location and the runs are an important, the heart of the retreat is the people. It’s brave women who say, “You know what? I’m going to do this for myself” and show up to a group of strangers with an open heart. It’s not easy to fly across the country or drive up the East Coast to spend five days with people you have never met, but the beauty of it all is that we have one amazing thing in common: we run. And through running we’ve found a way to thrive, a way to survive, a way to better be our most authentic selves. Which is what this retreat is all about: tapping into that woman who started running because she believed she could and finding inspiration in others who have done the same.
The group we had this year was diverse in age, pace and experience and it was special to watch everyone share their own journey. And that included our guest speakers too. Stephanie Bruce was with us for the first half of the retreat staying Thursday through Saturday. She joined our group-run on Friday morning, which was followed by her chat with us.
Other than her smoking’ fast pace on the way back to the house from our morning run (we drove back and she ran the remainder of her workout) you would think that Stephanie was just there for the retreat.
She was all-in and the most down-to-earth and real person you’ll ever meet. Top that off with some of her inspirational performances and you have someone you want to hang out with and learn from. Bringing in someone like Stephanie would not have been possible without the help of Runner’s Alley. I’m so grateful to Jeanine and her crew for their amazing support of our retreat!
Later Friday afternoon, trainer Crystal Seaver kicked our butts with a simple (but effective) strength training workout. It was equal parts challenging and fun. Crystal put us at ease as we laughed our way through awkward missteps. Because Crystal is so approachable, we were all learning from her even beyond the class as she stayed with us Friday and joined us Saturday for lunch.
A rainy Saturday afternoon, proved the perfect backdrop for functional nutritionist Erin Holt talk on mindful and intuitive eating, and the mind-body connection. Her insights, high energy and humor helped all of us open up about some of our deepest insecurities around food making her talk equal parts informative and therapeutic.
In our final, departing activity, Kristel Fillmore led us through a relaxed restorative yoga practice: the perfect way to distill the activities and energy from the weekend and have one last moment of reflection before transitioning back to real life.
While there are times when organizing the retreat (and wrapping everything up afterwards) can be a bit stressful, more often than not it doesn’t feel like work. Each task, each moving piece and detail to line-up is a joy for me. Watching everything I’ve put in place unfold over the course of the weekend is a thrill for me. My goal is that everyone feels welcomed, accepted and strengthened by their experience and as far as I can tell I think I’m on the right track.
Pulling off this weekend would not have been possible without the help of Rebecca and Carly! Rebecca was our fearless group-run leader and Carly made sure dinner arrived on time. I’m so grateful for these ladies and their willingness to help.
Want to learn more about Rise.Run.Retreat? Join our mailing list by clicking the CONTACT link on our home page.
Interested in our next event? Join us for a Training Camp with Lift Run Perform September 7-9, 2018 in New Hampshire. Find out more HERE.
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Email: RunFarGirl [at] gmail [dot] com