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.
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.
If you aren’t following these ladies on social media and/or their blogs, you should be!
- Allie – VitaTrain4Life
- Christine – Love.Life.Surf.
- Kara – One Redhead and Lighthouses
- Jesica – Runladylike
- Laura – This Runner’s Recipes
- Natalie – Nat Runs Far
- Sandra – Organic Runner Mom
- Sarah – Run Far Girl
- Sue – This Mama Runs for Cupcakes
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.
Leaf 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.
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.
Team 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.
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!
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.
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.
Have you ever attended a running retreat?
What’s the hilliest race you’ve ever run?