As the small group gathered clad in spandex, hand held water bottles in hand, it looks like any other running group you might find visiting a new city.
Except the run is being lead by an Ultrarunning elite, his ultrarunning wife and father-in-law…and yet with that impressive line up, the feeling of calm and belonging is heavier than the smell of sweat.Instead of standing around trying to remember names, the group heads out on a get to know you run along the waters of the stunning Malibu coastline.
There’s a 15 year-old who says this retreat changed his life last year, a number of runners from Japan who are endurance runners, newbies to trails like myself, people recovering from injuries, super fast runners and others who would spend more of the time hiking.Unlike a previous retreat, this differences aren’t acknowledged as much as they just are.
Guides are available at every pace, the group pauses at intersections to keep everyone together, different distances are offered and everyone can be proud of whatever they accomplish.
Who cares what your speed is, if this is your first time meditating, trying yoga or eating beets; we’re here to smile.
Per normal, I have so much to say about my experience that this will cover a few posts! I wanted to share the experience not only because I loved it, but because I think many of you are looking for active getaways but have no idea what to expect and since they are all different I hope this review helps.
A Little Backstory
When my friends at Under Armour Women asked if there was anything I’d really love to enhance my running this year, I knew a retreat was on the list. Adventure Mindful came to mind because my brain is still toying with the idea of an Ultra, plus it’s in California, swoon.
I wasn’t anticipating a 2 month knee injury leading up to it, which had me concerned I’d be unable to run at all. And for all my “see running is bad for knees folks,” this wasn’t a running injury, but likely a step in a hole and twist your leg wrong injury.
My nerves were on edge, until I met this group and immediately realized they wouldn’t care if I needed to walk the whole thing or had to cut it short.TO my immense relief, after much YouTubing I found a taping method designed to support a torn meniscus and minus a few cringe worthy searing pain moments of bad steps, it worked like a charm! I’ll be getting an MRI this week to figure out a long term solution…though I’d consider just living with the tape.All right, now I’ve set the scene, so what the heck was this retreat?
Why was it so appealing to me? Why was I driving everyone crazy with IG stories and Instagram posts that shouted of joy simply bubbling forth uncontrolled?!Need a break from your brain? How about #running retreat like this one @runtothefinish attended #runchat Click To Tweet
Run Mindful Retreats
A few years ago, meditation and mindfulness started to become more mainstream. Dr’s were prescribing it, Dan Harris wrote the incredible book 10% Happier, we heard about Oprah, Steve Jobs and other mega-superstars crediting mediation for their success.
Meanwhile, runners have known for years that our solo time is a great chance to clear the head. But there is a more focused practice which can indeed make us better runners.
Timothy Olson is a two-time winner of the Western States 100, an endurance runner who travels the world racing year round and yes a man with younger years that would never have foreshadowed such a healthy lifestyle and mindset. Running came first, but he believes has been greatly enhanced by his meditation practice. And more importantly, simply learning what it means to live more mindfully. After watching the impacts on those around him, he enlisted the help of his wife and in-laws to create a space where other runners could learn about this journey.
Enter Adventure Mindful – Run Mindful Retreats.
Where you could for a moment step out of the craziness, discover what it means to breathe and maybe just find out that you can do so much more with your life and runs.
Krista Olson, not to simply be written off as the side-note of wife, you need to know her story too!
Next time you have a little ache or pain, consider this…Krista has had Rheumatoid Arthritis since the age of 4, which has meant periods of agonizing pain that made it difficult to get out of bed, years of meds and Dr’s who pretty much told her it was a manage it, not beat it scenario.
In short, as an adult Krista began looking to alternative therapies for help. She found major relief through changing her diet, acupuncture and finally to her surprise (and to Tim’s complete understanding) through meditation. All of that allowed her to continue pushing her own love of active living, until she too was running Ultra’s!
That’s not something you hear of those with any type of Arthritis, let alone Rheumatoid which is in every joint.Pictured above is Krista and her father finishing a 100 mile race together! That’s right, Bob one of our trail leaders, is 60 and happily running injury free for miles and miles! He knows all about running as you age without injury!
The contentment radiates off this family.
It’s not that life is perfect; they simply know how to deal with it.
Because Bob and his wife Debbie help to run the retreats, along with trail leaders who are great friends the entire atmosphere is one of being a close knit family. Not a single person feels left out or as though they’re missing out on some inside joke, they just feel welcomed in to the hug.
On the Mindful side of things, I’ll touch more on those lessons, but the short of it is don’t worry no one will be trying to convince you of any certain spiritual leaning or forcing you to sit in silence for hours.
Need to Know
In the next post, I’ll break down the day by day with lots of photos, but here are a few other things to know before you go!
- There are 4 back to back days of running, so you need to be prepared to be on your feet.
- Different distances are offered daily, so you can do what suits you, but the avg will be a total of 25-40 miles.
- Expect it to be cooler for the morning yoga and evening sessions, that’s just the wind off the ocean which you can see from the Inn. Then plan for it to be nice and toasty 60-70’s during your runs.
- For the Ambiverts like me, have no fear you’ll have plenty of time to be alone or with the group.
- This is not meditation running! You’ll be chatting and laughing away the miles.
- You won’t feel pressured to do anything you aren’t comfortable with, but you will feel supported to push yourself.
- A yoga mat will be provided for your sessions.
- Everything is outside, so plan to enjoy the fresh air.
- It’s definitely easiest to stay at the recommended Malibu Country Inn, but you could probably find cheaper options.
- Don’t expect great WiFi at the hotel and ENJOY being disconnected.
- Real Athlete Diets of Boulder will provide all the meals, which eliminates wasted time traveling to restaurants AND more importantly can be a great way to get you focused on fueling with whole foods. They always provide a 100% plant based option, which could show you some new foods and all meals are dairy/gluten free.
On the gear side of things, for once I over packed!!
I’m usually the one freezing or missing something, but I had it down this time. I’m glad I anticipated a variety of temps and activities.
- Under Armour Fat Tire Trail Shoe – Everyone asked about these and loved them because the wide base provides more stability, the grip prevents slipping and that big Michelin footing is comfy too. No feeling sharp rocks through my shoes. I don’t think they still make that version, so the other I’m running in with the same feel is the Ascent Low.
- 3 Threadborne short sleeve shirts – you want super light clothing when you’re topping it with a pack and going to be sweating. That kept me cooler and no seams to rub on.
- Under Armour Capris were perfect for the afternoon mindfulness sessions and post shower lunch. Go for their super cool 3/4 capri to make your legs look uber long
- Base leggings were perfect for the morning yoga flow our last day, while it was still cold but I didn’t need to bundle up (also perfect for layering)
- Hydration pack – I have used the heck out of my CamelBak because I can put my phone in a front pocket for easy picture snapping, but can also grab some jerky from the back when my tummy grumbles.
- Gloves and hat for those morning sessions.
- Trail socks to keep the dirt and pebbles out of your sock
- Bring sunglasses, sunscreen, band-aids, body glide or tape for potential blisters
- Favorite fuel for hours on the trails! I went with Perky Jerky and Blue Diamond almonds since I’m trying so hard to up my protein intake.
- Everything is very casual, so unless you want to get cute don’t feel the need for any outfits
- Swim suit because you gotta walk the few feet over to the beach at some point!
Do you think your running is like meditation?
Ever done a running retreat?
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