You never forget your first kiss, your first run, your first marathon. That is how I feel about the my first Podium Retreat in Napa CA. this past weekend. 43 incredible women, 7 guest speakers, and myself bonded, shared our stories, and empowered each other. The weekend was a dream come true for me and gave me a sense of fulfillment I have never experienced. I hope it will be the first of many more such experiences.
Back in 2000, while I was still running for the University of Colorado, I began to have lots of success in running. I ran PR’s, won national titles, and got to run in the Olympic Track Trials. All of this was incredible, but I remember thinking, “how does this help anyone else”? What good did my running success do in the world?
Fast forward 10+ years and my running has taken on new meaning. It never ceases to surprise me that women follow my running and are inspired by it. It is strange to think that I could inspire people I’ve never met, but somehow I have. I started to think about helping women believe in themselves, learn from my resources, and feel empowered to help others. Finally, after a few years of toying with the idea, Podium Retreats was born. A place for women to feel safe, trust others, and see the power they have in themselves.
We kept pretty busy over the weekend. Friday we sipped wine, chatted, and had a great dinner. Saturday we got up and got the day started with an inspiring Pilates session from Tracey Katona. Then we ran around Napa followed by a core session that Adam and I led. We enjoyed a cooking demo by Lottie Bildirici and learned about proper hydration from Arielle Knutson. We listened to a talk about living the extra ordinary life given by Adam and Tim Catalano, and then we got personal and listened to a talk from Anna Paffel about stoping the myth that we all must be perfect. We had another social hour before dinner and a powerful talk by Sally Bergesen from Oiselle. After dinner I and many retreaters stayed up late.
Sunday morning we had an amazing run through wine country followed by a farewell brunch where we all said something we were good at and something that we would do. It was an emotional goodbye. So many amazing women, so open and unguarded. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of women to attend.
We chose a phrase that described us all. “We are unlimited”. We are strong, capable, and able to achieve limitless possibilities. We were all very different women, brought together with a love for running, but we left as friends, confidants, and forever grateful for our experience together.
As I drove to the airport I was blissfully exhausted. I was tired yet invigorated from all the emotion, passion, and inspiration shared. I knew this was a weekend that will change my life in the most positive way. We chose the phrase “We are unlimited” to describe ourselves at the end of the retreat. This phrase and its meaning played over and over in my head. We are strong, capable, and empowered to achieve limitless possibilities. At the beginning of the retreat we strangers brought together by a love for running. At the end we left as friends, confidants, and forever grateful for our experience together.
Thank you to the class of 2014 for taking a chance on my crazy idea. You have all given my running a deeper meaning. And to every runner and friend I have yet to meet, please remember that you are strong, capable, unlimited.