Rise.Run.Retreat {2016}

Rise.Run.Retreat 2016 | happyfitmama.com

There’s a closeness about people who run together. We become better friends, athletes, and better women by the company we keep. – Kristin Armstrong

That quote constantly floated around in my head all weekend long at the 2nd annual Rise.Run.Retreat.

I’ve been trying to find the right words to the emotions and gratitude that I have for being a part of such a rewarding experience. But, alas, I’m speechless.

After last year’s retreat, I wasn’t sure it could get any better. When in fact, it did immensely.

Of the 10 of us, there was only 3 girls I had not met yet. The crazy thing with blogging is that you feel like you know other bloggers “in real life” even though you may have never met in person. For the most part, it’s very true – “In real life” and real life are the same thing. I’ve only met a handful of bloggers who weren’t as they seemed in person.

But not with this group.

We all came together like we had been friends for eons, gathering together for our annual girls weekend away. The wine flowed, our plates were full of yummy food and the sound of laughter (TONS of laughter) and deep conversations filled the air all weekend long.

The Cabin

Thursday evening, as I followed the directions to the house in Waterbury, Vermont, my first thought was – HOLY F@UCKING HILLS! We were completely surrounded. If my car was chugging up the hills, I knew I’d be doing the same thing. My second thought – this place is amazingly gorgeous. I love the beach but the mountains tug at my heart just as much.


That view though.


The Attendees

If you aren’t following these ladies on social media and/or their blogs, you should be!

The Running

Saturday morning we set off on an easy (hahahahaha) 5+ mile run. Remember the hills? Yup, they were still there. Especially the beast after running to the reservoir. I had Mount Washington flashbacks. Btw – foreshadowing to Sunday’s half marathon.

Running in Vermont for Rise.Run.Retreat | happyfitmama.com

Rise.Run.Retreat | happyfitmama.comLeaf Peepers Half Marathon – Remember those hills? Yup. Still there. The first three miles of this race was nothing but unrelenting hills. According to Laura, we climbed over 1000 feet. And I’m not sure, but I think the big ass Perry Hill Road was a 17% grade. At least that’s what a sign on the side of the road said. I’ll save a recap for another day. Let’s just say I got a little bit of my racing mojo back even though I had a less than stellar end of the race.

Don’t be jealous of my circa 1994 American Eagle sweatshirt. It was supposed to be a throwaway but I just couldn’t part with it!

The Food

Each morning we enjoyed a breakfast spread full of Stonyfield yogurt, Blissful Eats Granola and Pete & Gerry’s eggs. You guys know I love my Stonyfield.

We enjoyed a catered dinner on Thursday night from Fiddleheads Cuisine. Everything tasted amazing! We also enjoyed a lunch sponsored by Inside Tracker specially prepared by Fiddleheads for optimal nutrition for runners.

thumbnail_img_7790Team Cooking Challenge with Chef’d. We split up into three teams to prepare a main chicken dish, a salad with roasted veggies (my favorite!) and a pasta dish. Every single dish tasted amazing. Although, Allie and I should have worn gloves while chopping the hot peppers. Let’s just say it’s not fun taking your contacts out and finding that there’s still traces of pepper on your fingers.

Cabot Cheese & Local Beer Pairing with Sara Wing, RD from Cabot Creamery. Cheese, beer, wine? Obviously, we all had a good time with this one.

wine-beer-and-cheese-tasting-with-cabot-cheese-happyfitmama-comThe Speakers

Strength for Runners with Crystal Seaver, a WreckIt Bag Master Trainer, ACE Certified Personal Trainer and badass Ultrarunner. Crystal doesn’t believe that a runner needs to spend hours in the gym lifting weights to be strong and injury free. All it takes 15 minutes and bands and/or weights of some sort to get the most benefit. We tried out the Wreck Bag too. It’s no joke! After doing just a few reps of a squat sequence, my muscles were burning.


Jamie Sheahan, MS, RD gave us the rundown on nutrition for runners. She was full of information on what to eat before, during and after in training and racing. The take away – food is fuel! Use it for taking care of your body the right way.

Restorative Yoga with Ali Ricciardone – It felt so to stretch out after running the hills the day before.


Sheri Piers If you don’t know who Sheri Piers is, you should. She is a fierce competitive runner who just so happened to have run in the Olympic Marathon Trials three times and finished 24th female and 3rd Master at this year’s Boston Marathon. She does this while being a mom to three and working full time as the medical director at St. Joseph’s College in Maine. She is not only an extremely talented runner, she’s also wicked funny. And completely real. She talked a lot about her training partner, Kristin, and the special bond they have. They’ve been training together at 3:30 a.m., 7 days a week for years. I need a running buddy that committed!

Sheri Piers | happyfitmama.com

I could have listened to Sheri’s stories all day.

Jonathan from Inside Tracker joined us in discussing what exactly runner’s are usually lacking nutritionally and how your blood does in fact, not lie. I’ve been thinking about getting my blood tested for months ever since I read about Tina doing it. I may do it this winter if I start to train for something in the spring.

The Sponsors/Swag

We were spoiled rotten with swag from the sponsors such as Dr. Cool, L.L. Bean, KUHL, SKINS, Darn Tough, Gatorade Endurance, Propel, Garuka Bars, Tiger Tail, FuelBelt, The WTF Factory, Eureka Balm, Moji, and the others I listed above. I can’t wait to try every single thing. Be prepared for reviews coming soon!


I can’t thank Sarah and Jes enough for making their dream a reality. This weekend renewed my running spirit and has me doing some dreaming of my own. I know I can achieve those dreams because I have the love and support of my Sisters in Running.

Linking up with Wild Workout Wednesday and the Coachesโ€™ Corner.

Have you ever attended a running retreat?

What’s the hilliest race you’ve ever run?






38 comments on “Rise.Run.Retreat {2016}

  1. ((sharing)) but had to share here as well I LOVE THE FIRST PHOTO and adore how real and authentic this retreat seems.
    The perfect size.
    Women who love and support other women.
    Women who KNOW another woman’s success is not her failure and CELEBRATE that success.

    1. The size is definitely what draws me. And I think it’s Sarah Jes’ intention to keep it small and intimate to really build the connections and lasting friendships.

    1. I’ll let you copy and paste because you, indeed, raise me up. My only regret of the weekend is not blasting that song prior to the race. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. This looks like so much fun. You are so right about feeling like you know bloggers IRL. I’m got something similar to look forward to in December–altho without any sponsors or speakers–just 7 lady bloggers who are running a half together. I’ve only met one, but I feel like I know them all!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted..The Best Kind of RunMy Profile

    1. It’s kind of funny but before Sarah and Jes put this dream into a reality, a few of us had planned on getting together for a girls weekend anyway. They just made it even better with more friends involved and the swag. I’d be just as happy without any of that!

    1. We talked about maybe running a race on a Saturday so then that night we can party it up and have a relaxing Sunday as the last day. Miss you too! I think Mount Washington needs to be on your bucket list for next year – you killed those hills!

  3. I’ve never been to running retreat but this sounds like so much fun and THOSE VIEWS! Beautiful. So much good food and a great learning experience. 3 a.m. runs for Sheri, DANG! And I LOL’ed about the peppers, that always happens to me!

  4. I really wish I could have made it work this year… I definitely want to be back next year- I missed catching up in person with all of you!! So glad you had such a fantastic time, other than the first 3 miles of that half!!

    1. We all missed you too! I told Christine that I have to find a way to make it down to NY/NJ to see you guys. Maybe I can convince Sandra and Sarah to do a girls road trip? We could pick up Allie on the way! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I haven’t enjoyed a weekend this much in a long time. The only ways I can think to describe it just come out mushy and cheesy and sappy. It was seriously the best, and I’m so grateful I got to spend time with you. And holy hills was right. You definitely know who between Sarah and me picked that race. Mrs. #EmbraceTheHill herself loves to watch the rest of us suffer. Hee hee. Can’t wait to do it again! Hugs.
    Jesica @rUnladylike recently posted..Remembering Why I Run after Rise.Run.Retreat.My Profile

  6. OH my gosh this looks like such a fun time! I am super envious- it is definitely my kinda retreat! SO happy you got to hang out with so many awesome ladies ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. It really did feel like our annual girls weekend away. When I try to explain to other people some of the friendships that I’ve made through blogging, it’s hard to capture what it means to me. I’m so happy that we got to hang out IRL and can’t wait until next time. Maybe minus the crazy hills!
    Christine @ Love, Life, Surf recently posted..Leaf Peepers Half Marathon RecapMy Profile

  8. What a wonderful recap to our amazing weekend!!! I am so happy that we got to meet in real life!! Such a treat to meet you and I loved talking and getting to know each other. I will never forget seeing you at the top of that hill on Friday morning – I was struggling – and you stopping to encourage and wait for me. That was so incredibly kind – thank you so much!!!
    This is what it is all about – friendships!!
    I can’t wait till we meet up again!!! xoxox

  9. Ha! Those darn hills!! And you know I loved your A&E sweatshirt, so glad you kept it! So much to love about every word in this post! The Rise. Run. Retreat was an incredible experience! I loved chatting with you-you have such a warm and easy going spirit! The energy, support and friendship from everyone this weekend was incredible! Hope we can catch up in Maine this summer!
    Kara A. Forrest recently posted..Chasing 13.1-Fall Races and Celebrating Autumn!My Profile

  10. I had such a wonderful time talking about Cabot cheese & local beer on Friday afternoon plus getting to cheer you all on during the race. You have inspired me to put a few more miles on my sneakers and tackle Perry Hill next year. ~ Sara

    1. Thank you so much for spending the afternoon with us! You introduced us to lots of yummy cheeses and beers. I’ve already picked up a few cheeses that we tasted from my grocery store. And I think we all got a little excited when we saw you near the turn around point of the race. Sorry for yelling “Hey Cabot Lady” at you! ๐Ÿ™‚

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