Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Joy and Special Moments - Rise. Run. Retreat 2016

I had never met Kara before that beautiful, sunny, fall day in Burlington, just over two weeks ago. I had just landed from an overnight Los Angeles flight - on a total high thinking about being away from the normal routine of life for the next four days. I could hardly believe that my only "job" for the long weekend was to take pictures, meet amazing women, talk about running, life and anything else we wanted to talk about, listen to incredibly knowledgeable speakers, eat good food and RUN.

I took a short cab ride from the airport straight to the water's edge of Lake Champlain and breathed in the sweet fresh air and gorgeous views. Next came a leisure breakfast with just myself for company, and that in itself was a gift. 
Before I knew it, Kara was standing in front of me with a bright, sunny smile and a warm hug, ready to become friends.

We took a fun trip together into Waterbury, Vermont chatting non stop during our 30 minute drive into the countryside. First stop - the original Ben and Jerry's headquarters, where we took a tour and indulged in some tasty ice cream. We already felt like we were on vacation and both of us were excited about the weekend ahead of us.

Soon it was time to go to our home away from home for the next nearly four days and we contacted Uber once again to take us to our final destination. In the small town of Waterbury, Uber isn't exactly plentiful and we realized it would take 30-40 minutes for a car to reach us. 
In that moment, I immediately thought of Sandra and wondered if she might be able to pick us up along the way. I called and of course she said yes - because that is the kind of person she is - sweet, kind and a really great friend.
Sandra picked us up and off we went - happy, carefree and ready for an adventure with eight other women.

I'd like to share with you in pictures some of the special moments of our weekend. It's been two weeks since we all arrived back home and I can't stop thinking about our time together. The bonds that we formed in just a short amount of time are truly special and we all can't wait to see each other again...

We laughed like this pretty much all weekend!

A house of runners - can't you tell? :)

Sweet bags from LL Bean stuffed FULL of goodies from our sponsors.

I loved capturing this moment with Sarah (creator/co-organizer of the retreat with Jes), Allie and Sandra right before our first run together. Dr. Cool was the presenting sponsor for the retreat and they had lots of special treats for us. Sarah is sporting the headband and Sandra has on a cute tank top! We loved all of our goodies from Dr. Cool!!

Jet lag got to me, and I woke up RIGHT before our yoga session (taught by Ali Ricciardone!) Don't you love my bed head? 

Big smiles from our time together tasting amazing cheeses from Cabot AND a few glasses of beer and wine. I really loved that Christine (who was also my roommate!) and I had matching flannel shirts on from Kuhl - aren't they awesome? Kuhl gifted each of us with something special from their collection.

Listening and digesting important information from all of the special speakers (The amazing elite marathoner Sheri Piers, Jonathan from Inside Tracker, Crystal and Jamie Sheahan) on how to become better runners. As you can tell, we take our running very seriously :)

Crystal came to speak and demonstrate a strength workout with the Wreck It Bag. Crystal is SO awesome and we took in everything she had to say.

To say that Sheri Piers is inspiring is an understatement. 3 time marathon Olympic Trials qualifier, first American woman in the Boston Marathon in 2012 - her talk was a huge highlight for me. I'm pretty bummed that I have a bed head in this pic with her! Ha! 

Jes (creator/co-organizer of the retreat with Sarah) chopping and cooking one of our meals from Chef'd! Chef'd sent boxes and boxes of fresh, delicious food for us to prepare. We divided up into teams and made various dishes.

Sarah and Laura figuring out the next step in our meal. 

 Our dynamic cooking team (we were team pasta!) - Jes, Sarah, Laura and I!! No, we weren't having any fun! :)

Jonathan from Inside Tracker came and spoke to us about getting our blood tested and how to optimize our performance through food. Really learned a lot from our session and I will definitely get my blood tested during this training cycle. #bloodontlie
We also enjoyed an awesome lunch from Fiddleheads Cuisine.

We went back to Ben and Jerry's as a group! I sat on the couch next to Allie and Sue all weekend during our sessions. Love these girls!!

Jes, Sue and I during the Leaf Peepers half marathon. These two are so special and I am happy to call them my friends. We had a blast running, walking and cheering on our friends that were running. This was the MOST fun I have ever had during a half marathon!

The hills were GNARLY, but Sue had such a great attitude! I loved running with her!

Totally hamming it up with Angela, Sandra and Kara. We LOVE our Eureka Balm! Also, we all have on our amazing compression tights from SKINS. Everyone traveled home in them after the race, which was such a treat! Kara and I have on the long sleeved black running tops from Dr. Cool. 

Running is special. It allows you to see such natural beauty and push yourself beyond what you ever imagined possible...

Bonding with friends that have the same passion, is electrifying and truly dynamic.

As I am building back my running again and gearing up for my next training cycle, I am constantly inspired by each of these women. I can't wait for our paths to cross again.

Allie from VitaTrain4Life

Angela from Happy Fit Mama

Christine from Love.Life.Surf 

Jes from RunLadyLike

Kara from One Redhead and Lighthouses

Laura from This Runner's Recipes

Sandra from Organic Runner Mom

Sarah from Run Far Girl

Sue from This Mama Runs For Cupcakes

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