Happy trails

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A few months ago, my friend Jenn sent me a link to an awesome sounding women’s trail-running and yoga retreat up in the Methow Valley. I informed her that it was even better than she’d realized because it is led by the super-awesome Alison Naney, who had coached my training group for Deception Pass. Alison is one of those rare people that is not only a certified bad-ass ultra-runner, (yes, they give certificates for that now!) but somehow manages to be super supportive without it feeling condescending. She’s the perfect person to lead a retreat full of women you’ve never met before in the middle of the mountains.

Unfortunately, the retreat was the weekend before the Sunflower Marathon relay that we’d already signed up for and we just couldn’t make the logistics work for Jenn to attend. (I’ve already told her she needs to put that the top of her “to-do list” for next year. Seriously, Jenn, get on this. For reals.) So, I’d be on my own, but after my years of tri camp attendance, I wasn’t that nervous about it.

I ended up driving up to camp with a brave Colorado woman Colorado named Lucinda, who was trusting that she would find a ride back to the airport after camp, as I’d be staying at Jenn’s cabin for the week between the retreat and Sunflower. (She did.) We hit it off immediately and the drive went by quickly as we chatted about life, the universe and everything.

The retreat was held at Sun Mountain Lodge, which is gorgeous. We got checked in. This hovel was where I’d have to spend my weekend:

Retreat_RoomInterior

I mean, look at this crappy view. #slummingit

Retreat_RoomView

We then met up for a little shake-out run/hike. The scenery was stunning and set the backdrop for what was looking to be an amazing weekend. (Get excited for LOTS of pictures… )

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Then we got cleaned up and met with the whole group for some wine, appetizers and introductions. As I’d anticipated, this was going to be a fantastic group of ladies and I was excited to get to know them better. The next morning, we were up early for an ab session, followed by breakfast and then out for a run. I tried to hang with the front of the pack, which was a mistake that I paid for later on in the run, but I couldn’t help myself. it was so fun to run with these ladies:

7H3A2880Photo credit: Hannah Dewy

Alison gave us technique pointers:

7H3A2937Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

And had us practice our downhills:

7H3A2895Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

Sometimes, we weren’t so organized, but we had fun!

Retreat_DayTwoGroupWe were very fortunate to have the talented Hannah Dewey photographing us. Watching her run the trails with her big DSLR camera was impressive:

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And, again, incredible scenery:

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Then it was back to the lodge for lunch, followed by a strength training talk/session, yoga and then another nice little recovery hike around the lodge. A group of us ventured into Twisp for a fun group dinner.

The next morning, we started with a talk on nutrition, followed by breakfast and then a longer trail run. As usual, we had a terrible time:

7H3A2868Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A2935Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A3224Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A3417Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A3386Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A3436Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A3833Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

And did I mention the scenery?

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We even saw some wildlife. There are actually around five deer in this picture, even though you can only see 1 and a quarter:

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We came back and had lunch, followed by a foam roller session on the lawn:

7H3A3498Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

It was so nice out that we opted to have yoga out there as well:

7H3A3546Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

7H3A3558Photo credit: Hannah Dewey

I’d been toying about going into Winthrop, but opted instead to go for a walk with Lucinda, Emily and Hannah. Hannah was nice enough to get a picture of us. Emily decided to adjust for hanging with the two tall girls:

Retreat_AfternoonHikeGroupI also took a nice picture of Sun Mountain Lodge from our hike, just to give you an idea of how it’s situated:

Retreat_SunMountainLodgeWe opted to have dinner out on the patio and were joined by a number of other ladies, as well as Hannah and her hubby (who is a smoke jumper!). It was such a lovely evening. I didn’t want the weekend to end.

Our final morning, we started with an early morning yin yoga session, which was great. And then breakfast, followed by a hike (or run, for those so inclined) up Patterson Mountain:

Retreat_TrailLadiesRetreat_Scenery7

There was this little cement structure at the top, that we of course had to pose with:

Retreat_EmilyRetreat_PattersonGroupShot

Or in front of (this is me with Michele, we were differentiated by “one L” or “two L”):

Retreat_MandMThis chalk graffiti seemed particularly apropos:

Retreat_ChalkGraffittiHannah got some cool pictures of us on the top:

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Then it was back to the lodge for a quick shower, followed by lunch/good-byes. It was such a fantastic experience and I feel so lucky to have been a part of it. But my luck was really just beginning, as I headed over to Jenn & Bryan’s cabin for a whole week in the Methow.

After so much socializing, it was weird to be on my own. Luckily, I had Austin to keep me company, once I picked him up from his boarding place. The cabin was chilly, so I wrangled a fire from Betsy the cantankerous wood stove (which might be the most impressive accomplishment of the weekend):

Retreat_WoodStoveAnd then a little later, I took Austin out for a little walk in the sunflowers:

Retreat_SunflowerAustinIt was all fun and games until I saw a bear and Austin was off-leash and not coming back as promptly as I might have liked. Thankfully, it all worked out and this week didn’t start off on a tragic note.

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