Weekend Wrap-up: Trail Sisters Retreat Part 1!

Wow. This weekend was one that I will never forget. I came home with such a full heart, lots of new friends, and an inspiration to crush some more trail time. Since the weekend was full of so many amazing things, I’m going to break it up into two posts. In this first post, I will cover Thursday and Friday. On Tuesday, I will cover Saturday and Sunday.

I seriously wish I could start this weekend over again from the beginning. If you’re a lady and you ever get a chance to go to one of the Trail Sisters Run With Her Retreats – do it. I promise you’ll love every second.

Let’s rewind to Thursday morning – I got up at 4:30AM, showered, had breakfast, then headed to the airport. My Dad dropped me off because Jake was on call and couldn’t be that far from his office. (Thanks, Daddy!!) I was hungry when I got to the airport, so I grabbed a fruit cup and some coffee.

I get so nauseous when I travel. These motion sickness bracelets are game changers. They work great for both car trips and plane rides. I got these at Walgreens and always have them with me.
Sleepy, but so excited for the mountains!! I read and listened to a podcast on my flight to Denver.
First mountains sighting! Always gives me butterflies.
This whole trip was special for many reasons. One of those reasons was that I did it on my own. Before Thursday, I had never traveled alone before. I have now flown and taken public transportation by myself. I definitely felt unsure and nervous a few times, but overall, the entire trip was flawless. Once I landed in Denver, I took the bus to downtown Boulder. I had a few hours to waste, so I grabbed a seat outside at a brewery and had lunch. I had a delicious salmon patty burger.
And a beer flight!
I just sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. It was wonderful.
Then my phone died, so I found some random charger in an office building. I was sitting on the floor charging my phone when a super nice guy brought me a chair to sit in. I think he felt sorry for me.
How cool are these lights?
Once my phone was charged, I got an Uber and headed to the lodge where we were all staying. Check out our itinerary – we were able to fit in SO many amazing things.
I got settled in our room and changed into my running gear. I didn’t know anyone at this retreat, other than Gina, the founder of Trail Sisters. That was another new thing for me! I was nervous about traveling on my own and not knowing anyone, but every single woman was so friendly. I never felt uncomfortable or out of place. That alone made the weekend SO special!
This creek was right outside our room!
We all met up and went on a short 4 mile shake-out run. I always forget what it’s like to run at altitude – woof. You can’t breathe and your heart rate gets high very quickly. It was fun to run with the girls and get to know them. 

After our run, we came back to the lodge and had dinner. It was AMAZING. We had vegan nachos, greens, soup, and dessert. I was in heaven.

Also, how cool is this wine?? You can reseal it! I was obsessed. It’s called CANTEEN WINE
We did some meet-and-great things, then got totally spoiled with all kinds of swag. And when I say all
kinds, I mean EVERYTHING. We got hydration packs, Oofos recovery flip flops, Skratch nutrition, a Trail Sisters shirt, a Buff, all kinds of snacks, CBD oil, Black Diamond headlamps, Lily Totters compression socks, Handzies, some recovery oil with MCT oil, trail shoes, and some other stuff. How crazy is that?? So. Much. Swag!
We had a pretty big day the next day, and we were all wiped from traveling, so we went to bed early Thursday night, then it was up by 6AM for breakfast Friday. Gina provided us with all kinds of goodies to choose from – I had a bagel and a banana. And of course coffee.
We had planned to get between 12 and 14 miles on Friday, so I loaded up my pack with all this goodness.
I was so excited for some trail time! I hadn’t been on trail in about two months, other than one or two easy runs, so I was VERY ready. I was a little unsure how my ankle would hold up, so I wanted to stay conservative and not get too crazy. (Remember when I sprained my ankle last November? HERE. It’s still a little wonky. But it’s healing!)
Look at all these trail babes!
Oh yeah, the best part of Friday – I got to run with COURTNEY DAUWALTER for five freaking hours!!! It was amazing. Like, once in a lifetime opportunity amazing. She’s also the reason I ended up running 17.5 miles. HA! I had never run more than 15.5 miles on trail, so Friday was a big day for me. This is me, my new friend Lauren, and Courtney at the beginning of the run.
Check out these views.
We went up there. It’s called Green Mountain. And it hurts.
I was full of all the feelings. So dang happy.
Does it get any better than that? Nope.
So, here’s where things get crazy. We had 21 girls at the retreat. We ended up splitting into 3 groups on Friday’s run. We all climbed up Green Mountain together. After that, people who wanted a lot more miles went with Courtney, people who wanted a few more miles went with Gina, and some gals headed back toward the lodge. It was incredible to have all of these options. No one felt pressured to do anything outside of their comfort zone. Well, I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to run with Courtney, no matter how badly my legs hurt…or the fact that I ran out of water at mile 8. HA! So, me and 4 other girls continued on with Courtney. She told us there was this super cool area where a wildfire had gone through 7 years ago. Here it is!
It’s hard to tell in this picture
, but this tree was the same color as the clouds. So white.
Courtney took pity on me and gave me one of her water bottles. One of the most badass ultra runners in the world gave ME water. Out of her bottle. What?! I told her it was going to make me crazy fast. (It hasn’t happened yet…)
The group with Courtney ended up climbing up Bear Mountain after we climbed Green with everyone. Our legs were shot! But look at this view. This is from the top of Bear.
There’s the top of Bear. Courtney is in the yellow. Did I mention that she’s amazing?
I mean, come on. She’s hilarious, too. And super down to earth. I kept wanting to be like, excuse me ma’am, do you know how incredible of an athlete you are? It was such an honor to run with her all day. Not that I kept up with her, but just running near her was sweet.
Again, these views. WOW.
Here’s the long run gang!
Smiling through the pain!
We finished up our run and got back to lodge around 1:30, just in time for lunch! I think this was my favorite lunch – veggie fried rice with chickpea pasta and hummus. So delicious.
A beer sounded amazing, but then I was so worn out and feeling kinda sick that I couldn’t drink it. So sad! Those miles and running out of water definitely hit me, but I wouldn’t have changed it for the world! (Except maybe having more water…that was dumb.)
Jake sent me pictures of my angel girls. I missed them!
I was so grateful to Jake for encouraging me to go on this trip. 
Our dinner on Friday was amazing, too. We had meatballs and veggies, carrots and beans, and a chickpea pasta with veggies. 
I inhaled this…
I had never been away from Rhea before. I didn’t want her to forget me! 
I burned all the calories on Friday. The second my head hit the pillow, I was out! 
Can’t wait to share the rest with you tomorrow!
Happy Monday, friends!


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  1. Michelle Hartgraves

    Finally getting around to reading this. Those views are amazing and such an awesome experience. Were most of the dishes served vegetarian? And I am so jealous of #allthatswag

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