Initially I was going to break this down by day, but do you need to know every second?!
No. What you want to know is what were the runs like, the meditation, the food and the yoga!
Once you start trail running, everywhere looks like some place you should be able to run and you start pondering why no one has made a trail there yet! California consistently surprises me with the number of trails because we usually just hear about celebrities and beaches, not the inland beauty.
This was one of the first times, I genuinely felt like a trail runner and not a fast hiker.
Why? Likely because coming down from altitude made the hills feel a lot easier, though there were still plenty, and because the trails were often more dirt packed rather than extremely rocky or uneven.Each run had an underlying theme of fun, enjoyment and playfulness. It’s a great reminder that though trail running is hard for me, running in general remains so much fun when we just relax and let it flow.
Our first run took us right along the coast to explore the beach and some amazing views of the coastline. Being Cali, it was no surprise to find ourselves running through a TV show being shot on the beach (Scorpion). Let’s be honest, that’s always just fun to see!The next 3 days of running were on trails near the hotel, which meant limited time being spent in car as we could often run from the hotel. I adore this mindset because it meant more time for running and quicker access to food upon finishing hours later.
The heavens really were pouring down the good vibes for me, first with my knee and next with the California Superbloom. Apparently it happens less than once every decade, but the influx of rain recently sent the orange poppies, yellow daisies, cala lilies and other plants in to overdrive.
We often found ourselves running through shoulder high flowers! How could you not feel like a kid bushwhacking your way through this beauty with every step wondering what would pop up around the corner.Each run had at least 5 guides to ensure that whatever selected distance you were doing and whatever pace you set, someone was always there who knew the way and had encouraging words.
We spent the time chatting about life, various races and learning a lot from Tim about endurance trail running or how he engages mindfulness. Like when you keep trying to get around someone on the trail and they refuse to budge. Instead of getting angry, just taking a moment to breathe, enjoy your surroundings and appreciate the rest.
Or when you feel a little pain creeping up, learning to just accept it, rather than trying to fight it, which never works.The views really were spectacular from every vantage point.
Sweeping views along the coast, clear radiant blue skies, mountains for miles…it’s easy to see why living here is pricey, it’s paradise.
In total, I happily rocked out 30+ miles on the trails over the 4 day retreat!! As noted, I was also thrilled they had Real Athlete Diets providing food because it saved me from needing to think about what to eat and ensured the meals were truly anti-inflammatory, perfect for recovery and delicious.
One of my only concerns heading out to the glorious sunshine of Malibu was will they make me run in silence? Will I be doing a 11 mile trail run without being able to speak to anyone or listen to a podcast?! An hour of that, hey no problem…but many hours in my head alone, that’s too much.
Turns out the answer was NO. It’s not a silent retreat where you need to be meditating non-stop, rather Tim and Krista’s focus is on helping you learn to be mindful.
Mindfulness is about being aware of yourself and the world around you. Meditation certainly helps with that process by allowing you to slow down, focus your attention and recognize thoughts that might otherwise be lost in a windstorm of daily emotions.In the above, we’re doing one of my favorite guided body scan meditations.
Each day included 1 or 2 sessions devoted to the different areas of mindfulness, which honestly I’d say were often just lessons that gave you time to reflect on how you want to live your life and be your best self.
While the lessons have a running angle to them, they apply to all areas of life:
How to set intentions
How to handle those raging emotions
How to determine your motivation, which helps us stick with things
How to flow with highs and lows of running and life
They hope via these retreats to simply create a world where we’re all a little kinder to ourselves and those around us. I can get behind that mission with my whole heart.
I love when my yoga teacher is also an endurance athlete, which was absolutely the case with Ted McDonald.
Another close friend of the family the warm environment continued as he took us through my first ever Yin Yoga session one day and a short vinayasa flow before our run on the final day.For those uninitiated to yoga, he did a great job keeping it clear, simple and explaining WHY.
Why he had found it so useful as an athlete, why we could benefit from even these short sequences and why not practice outside where we already love being.Yin Yoga specifically is a very slow style of yoga where every pose is held for 2-5 minutes depending on whether you are beginner or advanced. Unlike many poses, theses are designed for you to relax in to them…though not passive like restorative yoga it’s still a good feeling stretch.
Ideally these poses are going to help open up your hips, pelvis, hamstrings, quads and lower back where we have so much connective tissue that becomes tight during our workouts.
Ted actually runs his own yoga/adventure retreats and now I’m completely intrigued and pondering my next adventure! Especially because as always these getaways allow me to meet some very cool people and push reset on my mental crazy town.If I haven’t convinced you yet that this was a spectacular experience, let me simply say I’m already looking ahead to future retreats with them because I know it’s designed for the runners soul.
Movement. Meditation. Memories.
What type of retreat would most interest you?
Running? Yoga? Hiking? Sleeping?
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