In the next chapter of "I couldn't have dreamed this up" that is becoming my personal story as it intertwines with Oiselle, I had the honor of attending and speaking at Kara Goucher's first ever women's retreat in Napa. There's so much to say, so many ideas generated, and so many bonds made, that a short post doesn't do it justice. And yet, with Bird Camp just around the corner, I want to pounce on the opportunity to acknowledge the incredibleness of the experience. A few thoughts...

1. Easy is hard
When someone does something big that looks effortless, whether it's hosting a retreat for 50 women or setting an American record, the truth is that a huge, HUGE amount of work went into it. Apparel design is a version of that...often the best fitting styles are ones in which there were 7 development samples and the team just - wouldn't - quit - until it was perfect. My hat is off to Kara and Adam for making this look effortless...everything from the topics, to the flow, to the activities were just right. And you could tell by the tears and hugs at the end that it was a transformative experience for everyone there.


2. The sisterhood is strong
50+ women. Different geographies, different jobs, different goals, different personalities and tastes. And yet a growing realization that we are in this great big life dealio together, and that our strongest assets and backers are each other. Building others up - and therefore ourselves - and staying away from mean girl bullshit was a huge theme.


3. A few good men
Adam Goucher and Tim Catalono put on an amazing presentation based on their book Run the Edge. I highly recommend it. It's motivating, human, they used one of my all time favorite YouTube clips from Louis C.K. on what Adam and Tim call "feeding the right wolf" (the positive people and activities in your life, vs. those that are "negative evidence collectors")

4. Strong is vulnerable
Kara's friend Anna, who is an experienced social worker and all around amazing person, gave an incredible talk on vulnerability. And ultimately, by letting yourself accept, see - and yes share - things that aren't perfect in our lives, out of that is born growth, community, strength, and peace. It was a powerful, honest message.


5. Kara on a mission
As attendees discussed, evaluated and shared goals; as runs happened, and pilates and a core routine that left me crumpled in a ball -- there was something big happening in the background. Something you could feel and sense, but that wasn't being flaunted. It was the quiet power of a woman on a mission...up earlier, and doing extra work between sessions was Kara staying on track with her training. As I rode an $80 Walmart bike, carrying her water bottle on a 17 mile run, you could see it taking shape. Like an image in fog, or lifting clouds. A single athlete on a quest. The woman, the runner, the comeback. We love you girl. Thank you for inspiring us ALL.