On June 2nd, I received this email from Erin Hannen and Dreama Campbell.
Due to the overwhelming response to the women’s trail running survey we sent out recently, we’ve decided to host the Rock/Creek Women’s Trail Running Summit. This women’s-only event will be dedicated to trail running, being outdoors, having fun, and discussing ways to encourage more women to hit the trails!
We’ve gone through race results, volunteer lists, and survey contributors and have selected a few people we’d love to have join us… and you’re one of them! We think you’d enjoy this weekend in August, and we’d value your input to help make the trail running community in the Southeast one of the best!
Soon, you’ll receive an email from UltraSignup with an invitation to register for the event before it opens to the public on June 10th. Space will be very limited. The event page will have all of the details you’re looking for, from an itinerary to a pack list. Check it out, and we hope you can join us!
Women only? Trail running? Outdoors? Fun? Discussion? I did not even hesitate to sign up. From that moment, I was SO excited, not only because I was going to be a part of this but because I knew there were going to be some incredible, trail running women involved. Erin and Dreama invited women from the all over the southeast, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, North Carolina and Florida. Prior to the Summit, each of us wrote a mini bio, which the Rock/Creek ladies compiled and sent to us before The Summit. It was kinda like I was going on a mini-vacation with 30+ celebrities!!!
I arrived about an hour early on Friday, because I am not the best with directions and sometimes, I get lost. 🙂 Soon after, the ladies from BUTS (Birmingham Ultra Trail Society) arrived and I joined them for a run. We came back, cleaned up and rested while we waited for the other ladies. . . the rest of Friday was spent eating, getting to know one another via the “name game”, and prepping for Saturday’s run.
We woke up and walked to the lake for yoga with Becky Cawood. We came back to the lodge to an amazing spread of food. The ladies who prepared the food left no detail incomplete. The food was fresh, the coffee was good and the presentation was magazine-worthy. With full stomachs, we set off to our first trail excursion. We had several hours to run. We could run between 7 1/2 and 15 miles. My friend, Mary and I chose 10. The first trail was a tough, point to point 7 1/2 miles. A rain shower for the last couple miles cooled all of us off. The second trail followed next to the Ocoee river. It was fun to run alongside the river and watch raft after raft go down the Ocoee.
Back to our cars and back to the lodge. Lunch was served. . .again, de-lish! The Rock/Creek ladies lined up many activities for us to chose from on Saturday afternoon, SUP (stand up paddle boarding), trail snacking, strength training for runners, stretching for runners, blogging and writing with Trail Running associate editor Yitka Winn and way finding and emergency preparedness. I wish I could have taken them all! I chose SUP, blogging and writing and trail snacks. I loved each session. I think my fav was the blogging and writing.
Dinner was next and the food kept getting better!! Our kitchen chefs prepared for us a baked potato bar. For dessert, they made an angel food cake with a lite chocolate mousse icing, A-MAZE-ING. After dinner, we got to the ‘heart’ of our time together. We spent the evening talking about getting more women involved in trail running, helping women to overcome their fears and what holds women back from racing on the trail. It was a good, deep and sometimes heated discussion.
We woke up a bit more tired than Saturday but not less enthusiastic to get on the trail. We spent our first waking hours drinking some coffee and ‘assuming’ some yoga positions. Sunday’s yoga was a bit shorter and a bit less intense than Saturday. My favorite comment was from our instructor, Becky, “you guys can run 50-100 miles, but want an easier yoga session?” I guess we were not as relaxed or pliable as we are able to endure the physical “ups and downs” and emotional “highs and lows” of ultra trail running. 🙂
Another delicious breakfast and we were carpooling to our next trail head. I think this trail was my favorite of all three. It was 7 1/2 miles of very runnable trail. It was not technical. It was not overgrown. It was not hilly. It was the perfect finish to our time together on the trail. There was a beautiful waterfall to venture off and see, along the trail. This trail, I could have run again.
Finally, back to the lodge for a “potluck” of food from the weekend’s meals. I continue to talk about the food, but it was just that well prepared and presented. These ladies could cater and make some big dollars!! We finished lunch, packed and said our goodbyes.
It was not hard to say goodbye because I will see these women again. I will correspond with these women. Erin, Dreama, Ginny and Rina pulled off quite a successful event in my book. This will be hard to duplicate. We traveled from different places. Some of us have kids. Some of us do not. Some of us work. Some of us do not. We came together to talk about our love. There was not a conversation where you had to explain, in detail, “why” it is that you run for hours. Those were understood. It was just a time to relax and be together around a common passion.
Rock/Creek Trai Summit: Liz’s Top 10
1. I loved the energy, spunk of the younger women.
2. I loved the energy, spunk of the older women, including me.
3. I loved every conversation.
4. I will not forget your name OR where you were sitting, based on the name game.
5. We are all beautiful.
6. I need to learn to NOT spoil the adventure of trail running. I will still make plans when I run, but you guys have shown me that I have to have a bit of unknown. I need to let go of the perfect scenario.
7. I need to stop saying, “I’m slow or you’re fast.”
8. Life will continue to press in. Let go of perfection. Choose adventure.
9. We each have much to give and pass on to other women.
10. It’s a great time to be a female trail/ultra runner!!
I still think about my time at the Summit. It was good. Can’t wait to see some of these faces soon.
Comments welcome!! Have you done something similar? Want to do something similar?