You know how when you were a kid and you went to summer camp and it was just THE BEST thing ever because you got to eat and play and have bonfires and meet new friends and stay up late and then do it all again the next day?
Well I just got to do a grown up version of summer camp at the first (annual?) Minnesuing Acres Women’s Running Retreat. And it was THE BEST. Seriously.
I originally signed up for the retreat in the spring when I was returning to running after my third tibial stress fracture in 18 months. I knew I should be smart about returning to running, so shouldn’t sign up for a Fall marathon. But I wanted something running related to look forward to. So when I saw the Minnesuing retreat was going to be coached by Kara Goucher (and that my bestie Adam Goucher would also be there), I decided the retreat was exactly what I needed.
Boy was I right. The retreat was fabulous. From the second I walked in to the lodge on Friday until I left on Sunday afternoon, I has in heaven. The weekend was filled with daily runs (a double on Saturday), presentations by elite runners (olympians Kara and Adam Goucher, olympians Janis and Barney Klecker and Katie McGee), TONS of fabulous food, unlimited drinks (note to self: next time you have a 7:30 a.m. run scheduled, don’t drink red wine until after midnight), meeting and hanging with awesome new running friends, fun non-running activities (a bonfire with s’mores and an awesome acoustic singer, skeet-shooting) and tons of selfies and pictures with the coaches and other women.
The presentations by Kara Goucher, Janis Klecker and Katie McGee were all so inspirational. I got teary eyed during all of them. Each of them is amazing in their own right in terms of their running careers – olympics, world records, crazy fast race times and accomplishments. But what really struck me during their presentations was that Kara, Janis and Katie are just like me (ok – except for the crazy fast race times and rock solid abs). They have the same struggles all women runners have: juggling running with family, school and work; feeling guilty about taking time away from the kids in order to run; worrying about not living up to expectations – of others and of themselves; worrying about changes that happen to their bodies/running when they age. Each of them offered tips, tricks, wisdom and insight on how they have dealt with these issues and on how women can deal with these issues. And the learning that we did from the coaches wasn’t just in their presentations – it was during our group runs and at social events and meals. The coaches actually hung out with us the entire weekend. SO very cool. I learned so many things that will be helpful to me as I age and continue with my running and my desire to be physically and mentally healthy and fit. I took lots of notes and I’ll blog more about them in the coming weeks.
Although the interaction with and lessons from the coaches was great, the best part about the weekend was hanging out with the other women retreat attendees. There were 60+ women from 20 different states (and South Korea and the UK!). Everyone who I talked to had a unique story, a life experience or a tidbit about what has shaped them and their running. I made some connections that will last a lifetime – all because of a shared love of running. So very cool.
I drove away from Minnesuing Acres today feeling inspired, motivated, relaxed, rejuvenated and SO thankful for running and all that it has given me.
The weekend, in pictures: