Saturday, June 30, 2018

Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat 2018

The first weekend in June was the annual Skirt Sports Ambassador Retreat - a weekend of camaraderie, inspirational talks, yoga, hiking, and culminating in a Half Marathon, 10K or 5K race. I missed it my very first year as an ambassador and was so bummed that I've made sure to make it a priority these past couple of years (and I'm so thankful to live within driving distance!). This year marked year three of being able to attend and it was once again a blast and a reminder (not that I need one!) of what it is I love about this company and the community they have created!

I drove over on Thursday night because I knew I wanted to attempt the Boulder Skyline Traverse on Friday morning before the festivities began. That was an epic adventure of its own right which I posted about separately if interested. I ran it with a fellow ambassador, Dawn (one of the reasons I love this community - I always have friends to run with wherever I go!), and we finished mid-afternoon, giving us just enough time to head our separate ways for showering and getting dressed up (Skirt Sports style!) for the first retreat event of the weekend - the Friday evening cocktail party. As an added bonus, this year, my mom also became an ambassador, so we got to go to all of the festivities together!

The Friday Cocktail Reception is basically just a fun time to shop, meet new ambassadors and catch up with old, hear fun stories about the company from founder, Nicole DeBoom, and get a glimpse at the upcoming seasons attire coming out later in the year (via fashion show that I've had the privilege to be in the past couple years despite definitely proving that being a runway model is not my forte). It's the first event of the weekend and always goes by so fast - there are so many new and old faces I swear by the end of the night I haven't even had a chance to catch up with half of the people there! It's a lot of fun though and this year was no exception. Many thanks to our sponsors of the night for the wonderful food and drink - Ska Brewing, Jackson Wineries, Kim & Jakes Gluten Free Bakery, Illegal Pete's and Justin's Nut Butter.

Photo Credit: JoAnn Vaughn

Having fun modeling some of the Fall 2018 product!
Photo Credit: Jenn Allen

Photo Credit: Jenn Allen

Day #2 consists of a slightly more formal event with speakers, yoga, break out sessions, and a hike. Our speakers this year were Kara Burns, Mirna Valerio, and Colleen Cannon. They all had very different but all incredible stories and talks. Kara and Mirna have actually been on Nicole DeBoom's podcast "Run This World" and both have some great stories - you can check them out here. Colleen is a former professional triathlete who now puts on women's retreats which sound AMAZING). After the morning's event, we had a grab-and-go lunch from Mad Green's before venturing to Davidson Mesa in Louisville for a short hike and ending the day mid-afternoon. Many thanks to our Saturday sponsors: Alpine Start (the best instant coffee around!), The Tea Spot, Noosa Yoghurt and Mad Greens.

Photo Credit: JoAnne Vaughn

Photo Credit: JoAnne Vaughn

Sunday was race day. I did a lot of speedwork earlier in the year leading up to my BQ at Revel Mt Charleston Marathon, but hadn't been maintaining it, so I decided to see if I could "race" this Half at that same pace and see how it went. While I'm not training for speed right now, I have a lot of ultras coming up and I would like to try and keep some of my speed just because it helps keep my "easy" pace up, which is good for ultras! The half marathon course changed a bit this year from one larger loop with a big hill at Mile 9 to two smaller loops on Davidson Mesa (a crushed gravel trail) with a slightly smaller hill at the beginning of each loop (although it did not feel smaller for the second loop, that's for sure!). Loop #1 started out great and I was definitely on pace to run the entire thing at 8:00 pace as planned, but by a Loop #2 that second uphill followed by the crushed gravel trail made it a little difficult to maintain and my paced slipped a little...but I still managed to run a 1:46:28 which is pretty good for me and to my surprise, was good enough for 1st place in my age group as well!

After I finished I decided to head back out again and see if I could find my mom who was walking the Half. This is also a great race to head back out on since there were so many ambassadors to cheer on - so I spent the time cheering on and taking pictures of ambassadors as I made my way back out, eventually catching my mom and then walking it in with her and the other two ladies she was walking with.

Pleasantly surprised to win my age group!

Some of the many pictures I took!

Mother/Daughter Ambassadors!

THIS is what it's all about! Supporting everyone from the first runner to the last runner!
Photo Credit: Jenn Allen

After we made it in to the finish line, we cheered on the remaining runners still on the course before heading to brunch. The brunch is always a great way to finish off the weekend, and I enjoyed chatting with a few other ambassadors I hadn't had much chance to see thus far in the weekend!

Post-race brunch!

Normally post-brunch would have been my time to head back home, but this year I had the awesome opportunity to stay one additional day and be part of a photo shoot for the company with a couple other ambassadors! I had a such a fun time at this, although I once again am not sure I can pull off the whole "model" thing very well (it's a good thing Skirt Sports is all about using "real" people). This day was a blast though and a great opportunity to get to know (or know better) some ambassadors I hadn't had a chance to meet yet or spend much time with. We had six of us at the photo shoot coming from all different backgrounds, abilities, and sports - Emily, who just finished her first full Ironman with one leg, Mirna Valerio - author, teacher, ultrarunner, and the 2018 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year (NBD), Dyenna - ultrarunner and triathlete, Latoya - blogger, chef, and ultrarunner, and Sam - ultrarunner and running coach who just ran 80 miles of Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run. Honestly I felt a little out of my league, but thankfully everyone there was awesome and didn't make me feel that way (just my own insecurities tugging at me :)! Overall, it was a lot of fun and the point of our shoot was to show that Skirt Sports is for EVERYONE no matter what walk in life you're on! Here's a few of the awesome pictures taken by Bobbie Turner Photography.

We might've been having a little fun!

So, overall this was once again an AMAZING weekend. I know I say it all the time, but I just love being a part of this company and community. While the retreat was almost a month ago, I also find it fitting that I'm finishing this post up today because tomorrow, July 1st, marks #31DaysofSkirtSports and #31DaysofMoving! These are great challenges throughout the month of July to get yourself moving everyday and experience a little of what this community has to offer. If you're interested in joining - check out the hashtags on Instagram and join the #REALWomenMove Challenge Group on facebook - a completely free group for women looking for inspiration and motivation. It is run by Nicole DeBoom, founder of Skirt Sports, but you don't have to have any Skirt Sports to join this group - it's just about women supporting women and encouraging you to lead a healthy and active life! The #31DaysofMoving challenge is to encourage you to get at least 15 minutes of "moving" per day - open to whatever that looks like for you - running, walking, biking, yoga, strength training, swimming, ANYTHING!

I stopped off at Vail Pass on my way home for a short run to these views!

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