Yes, that’s right. Super. Wild.

In one week, I will hop on a plane bound for the West Coast and make my way to an event I’ve been looking forward to since December: Wilder 2017.

Led by the amazing Lauren Fleshman, this running and writing retreat aims to bring together women whose lives are dedicated to these passions and explore the connections through “a stripping down to the heart of it by pen and by foot” (Wilder’s words <3). I’m clearly nerding out HARD about this whole thing, so hold onto your seats.*

Lauren Fleshman in the wild. Photo: wilderunning.com

My first reaction to hearing about Wilder: Seriously?

Running? Writing? Yoga? My 3 absolute favorite things broken down and explored outdoors alongside awesome women? Can this be real life??

Running, writing, and yoga have always been intertwined for me because they are different forms of my life that bring me clarity, challenge, perspective, and friendships. It was so exciting to learn that there are so many other people who share an interest in the power of and connection between movement, words, and reflection.

I first found out about this retreat while listening to Running on Om, one of my favorite podcasts (Julia is not currently recording new ones but the archives are available and amazing!). ROO drew my attention for the subjects covered (running and yoga) and I was hooked after hearing her interviews with some seriously inspiring individuals, especially the “Ask Lauren Fleshman” series. It was clear that Julia and Lauren had a strong connection, and their conversations were perfect to listen to on a long run: inspiring words, soothing tones, and grappling with some tough and interesting topics in the running and yoga communities.

But for real, Julia’s voice is like honey and she’s a great listener – two key qualities in an podcast host! Photo: wilderunning.com

Lauren’s bold spirit, honesty, and perspective made me a fan right from the start. The more I read about her, the biggest my woman crush became, so I’m really going to have to play it cool. From her athletic accomplishments and work with Oiselle, to her perspectives on injury and exploring many passions, she’s a total badass and she’s pretty hilarious to boot.

As soon as Lauren described Wilder, I was hooked. I had missed the first go around, but I signed up to be on their email list and tried to be patient–my least favorite “virtue.” As the sign-up date got closer, I reached out to a friend who had attended the first Wilder retreat in 2016. Erika and I grabbed lunch, and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about the experience. She gave me the confidence and excitement boost I needed, and I found myself hitting “send” on an application that was all heart, zero room for BS. It was all I could do, and then there was a bit more waiting (ugh, patience, again?!).

I found out I was selected to join on a Bolt Bus en route to New York City. I jumped out of my seat, when on a little aisle stroll, and then asked Chris if I should do this. He stared at me and said, “Nothing could be more you. You have to do this.” I think that’s just about what I said to him when he asked me what I thought about him becoming a November Project co-leader. Partnership can be pretty great.

Casual mail from Lauren. Can I call her just “Lauren” now?

I accepted, and then experienced a few months of pure excitement before nerves set in.

Last month, I started to become pretty anxious about the whole experience. What if I wasn’t ready? What if I wasn’t fit enough? On and off injuries and loads of skiing but minimal running left me feeling unprepared for the athletic challenge, which in turn left me worried about diving so deep into personal writing. I’ve been writing in the scientific sphere for some time now and while it’s challenging in its own way, there’s nothing quite as tough as getting real with your writing and being vulnerable. I was worried that I would fail at doing two things: Keeping up and opening up. 

 

And then, like magic, Lauren read my mind and sent the following email:

wilder

In keeping with the “great news from Wilder received while in suboptimal modes of transportation” theme, I opened this email while in a Lyft and might have cried a little. I had been bottling up a lot of fear about this timing being off, and this was exactly what I needed to hear. 

I decided to embrace the spirit of her words, accept myself as ready just as I am, and just let the excitement build. No matter where I am in life, I know that I have so much to gain from this experience. Life moves so fast and there is never a perfect time to do something. If you wait around for a better time, that time might never come. I knew that with it was time to make a choice and be bold.

I had just read Amy Poehler’s Yes Please before my yoga teacher training and this quote was huge motivation for me.

So here I am, ready to explore Bend and the Cascades with some wonderful women I’ve already been connecting with over the past few months.

What am I MOST excited about?! So glad you asked:

  • Traveling to a new and beautiful place
  • Spending time immersed in activities I love and hopefully diving a bit deeper
  • Taking a break from work and the distraction of social media
  • Getting to know new people with common interests
  • Enjoying the outdoors
  • Meeting several women that I’ve admired for a while!

As you can see, I am brimming with excitement and love for this upcoming experience. It’s like May 26 is Christmas and every day until then is Christmas Eve. And Lauren Fleshman is Santa. Fingers crossed she doesn’t somehow see this nonsense analogy and uninvite me.

Can’t wait to share more post retreat!

 

 

*butts.

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