I had a great experience at the Minnesuing Acres Women’s Running Retreat that I attended last weekend. I had never attended a running retreat, but I definitely will be doing more in the future if I can!
My sister Erin and I registered for the day camp only, which was $295. The full weekend camp (Friday through Sunday) was $745. The full weekend option included your stay at the beautiful Minnesuing Acres retreat, all your meals, and apparently all you can drink beer and wine too! Our $295 included everything on Saturday- breakfast, lunch, dinner, all the seminars, (and a few drinks) etc. just not the overnight stays on Friday and Saturday.
Though Erin and I missed out on some of the social/friendship building of the full weekend, I think we still received the majority of the benefits of the camp while saving a significant amount of money. I would like to attend the camp again next year the same way- staying at the in-law’s cabin nearby instead of at the retreat.
Erin and I arrived at 8 am for the day camp registration, dropped our bags off in the locker rooms provided for us, and then headed out for the first run of the day. It was a beautiful 5 mile trail run around the retreat. We chatted a bit with the other runners and enjoyed the lovely fall weather. Two deer zipped across our path! ‘Tis the season.
After the run, we took quick showers in the locker rooms that were for the day campers. There, I was joking with Erin about how quickly I could shower- I told her and the woman next to me that all you need to wash is your “pits, tits, and lady bits!” <– (I think that’s from OITNB.) The woman next to me laughed…I did not realize at the time who she was. I noticed her Run n Fun sports bra and asked her if she ran for their racing team and she said yes, but she lives in Arizona now. I remember thinking, wow, this woman is in amazing shape, but I was so clueless and assumed she was another retreat participant.
We settled in for the first seminar…which was with Katie McGee <– i.e., the same woman from the locker room where I made my pits, tits, and lady bits joke. Way to make an impression Jessie- whoops.
It’s no surprise that I had noticed how great of shape she is in -she is quite an accomplished runner:
“As a mother of three and full-time teacher, she understands the desire to compete at the highest level possible while managing life, family, and work. She is currently enjoying success as a master’s competitor and is hoping to qualify for her fourth Olympic Trials Marathon at CIM, or California International Marathon, which is the National Master’s Marathon Championships.”
Caveat: As my seminar recaps often are, this post is a little disjointed, but I based it off of the notes I took along the way. There was so much more information covered in both of these seminars that I’m sure will come back to me at different times. Even so, I hope this information is somewhat valuable to you and that you get a good feel for what the retreat was like!
Katie McGee: Running As You Age:
Katie McGee’s seminar was about Running as You Age and it was probably my favorite seminar of the day. She was a great speaker- funny, confident, relatable, and interesting. She started by walking us through the different types of runners:
The Honeymooner: This is the person who is just getting into running later in life. He is setting PR’s at every race! He is LOVING running and thinks it’s SO easy. The risk here is that he might be too fast for his musculoskeletal system and could potentially get injured quickly.
The Comeback Kid: This is the competitive runner in high school and maybe college, who then took years off for kids, career, or maybe burned out. Often times this runner may come back as fast as or faster than before!
The Grizzled Vet: This is what Katie claims to be. She can rely on a long history and experience with running. Her improvements are hard-won but possible.
(There were a few other types that I didn’t write down!)
Katie also talked about the challenges for each type of runner, but said that the following tips apply to all of them.
- You must obey your stress/rest rule in your training. “Hard/easy/easy“ might become “Hard/easy/easy/easy” to ensure you recover fully. (I have noticed that my coach Antonio usually does hard/easy/easy on my training schedule.)
- Katie stated that speed work is still incredibly important for runners of all ages. As we age, the speed might be harder to do, but it’s still possible.
- When doing workouts, its more important to run the fast paces perhaps with a longer recovery in between intervals.
- Runners must focus on their RUNRR– Runner’s Ultimate Nutrition Recovery Routine. There is a really short window for recovery (this was a common theme throughout the seminars- the importance of recovering after a run RIGHT AWAY within that 15 minute window after a hard workout or long run.)
You have to build yourself into a complete runner. How?
- Pre-hab – do the physical therapy exercises even when your injury goes away.
- Strength- must make time for this! You lose 7% of muscle mass after the age of 35.
- CORE- a large majority of running injuries can be prevented by a strong core.
- Drills– do your form drills!
- Dynamic Stretching
- Find your sweet spot- how many miles, how many quality days per week- this is unique for each person and takes a little trial and error.
- Train your strengths in season. Train your weaknesses off season.
- Have planned down time during your training seasons.
Fitness is on a continuum. Each day you’re making progress, staying even, or you’re going backwards. Make the choice every day to take actions to MOVE FORWARD.
THINGS THE BEST RUNNERS DO:
Katie talked about the myth of Sisyphus <– (refresh your memory at that link) and how it relates to the lifelong runner.
- We are always setting higher goals. You have to love pushing the rock. You have to love the challenge and you have to love the toil. It’s the struggle and the training that keep you coming back for more!
- Keep setting high goals- keep trying to reach higher!
- Be curious. Wonder what’s possible.
Throughout the seminar, there were unlimited healthy snacks and beverages available. I loved how everywhere you turned, there was water available. Seems like a small detail, but for a group of runners, it’s pretty awesome to always have hydration on hand.
The snacks were also great for runners. I enjoyed this Banana Nut Muffin flavor of Quest Bar. Yum!
Adam and Kara Goucher: How to Take Your Running To The Next Level:
After Katie McGee’s presentation, Adam and Kara Goucher took the stage. They are the CUTEST couple and it was fun to learn that they actually met in high school at the Foot Locker, the national high school cross country championships, where Adam approached Kara asking to meet her friend Carrie (i.e. Carrie Tollfeson!) Ha! They ended up reconnecting in college at Colorado University.
They shared their stories as examples of different paths runners take on their way to the next level.
Kara said that in additional to having goals and a plan, you also have to think about the things that will stand in your way. What are things that will take away from your goals? You have to think about how you will deal with those detractors. Awareness is key. Am I taking the right steps to get to the next level?
Work Your Core. <– another common theme of all the seminars. Core strength is KEY.
No more of the status quo: You have to stress your body to get faster. You need to shake things up. Race a mile. Having a coach and plan keeps you accountable otherwise you will always be okay with the status quo. You’ll head out every day for your run, which is fine, but you won’t get faster that way. Again, you have to stress your body by doing the things that are uncomfortable. You have to do the workouts you hate- that is how you get stronger.
Post-workout nutrition is so very important. Kara recommends tart cherry juice and a protein shake after a long run or workout within 15 minutes. Recover with calories in a 4-to-1 ration of carbs to protein.
How has training changed post-baby (Colt?)
Colt has given Kara more perspective. She is able to get over a bad run much faster because she realizes that it is JUST a run. She has also had to become more organized and focused. Training with a baby takes more planning and creativity, but when she’s at the track for a workout, she knows how important it is to focus at THAT time.
What are her tips about sleep deprivation? Is it more important to do that workout or get more sleep?
She said you can’t ask your body to keep pressing and pressing without recovery. It won’t work. Sleep is SO, SO important and you will have to compromise your training to ensure you get sleep.
Kara also gave the recommendation to runners to keep a training log of one positive thing from each run, separate from your normal training log. Then you will look back and see that you are asking yourself to do something that you have prepared for and proven to yourself that you can do it.
Throughout the weekend, Kara was so welcoming and kind. She honestly seemed like a very down-to-earth humble and nice person. I felt lucky to have had this opportunity to meet her.
She’s pretty amazing. I think she’s my new idol!
Background information about Kara Goucher from the retreat website:
Kara has left her mark on U.S. distance running numerous times during her exceptional career including at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics when she represented the U.S. in the 10,000 meters and marathon, respectively. She was one of two Americans – along with Ryan Hall – to appear on the podiums at the 2009 Boston Marathon with her third place finish (2:32:25). Kara turned in a history-making American performance by finishing third in the 2008 NYC Marathon. Crossing the line in 2:25:53, it was the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman, the fastest time ever by an American at the ING New York City Marathon and marked the first time in 14 years that an American woman placed in the top three in New York. Kara made history at the 2007 IAAF World Outdoor Championships by winning the first American medal ever in the women’s 10,000 meters.
A former Duluthian, Kara started running in the seventh grade because she wanted to win an award at her junior high school. To get the award, she needed academics, arts and athletics. She chose cross country because they didn’t make cuts. She was a psychology major at Colorado. In 2001, she married fellow Colorado alum, distance runner Adam Goucher. The couple lives in Boulder, Colorado and have a son, Colt.
Background information about Adam Goucher:
Adam Goucher has a long list of accomplishments both as a student and as an athlete. In 1994, during his senior year of high school, he was not only the student body president, but also managed to run away with the Foot Locker national cross country championship. Adam signed with the University of Colorado as the nation’s number one recruit and quickly made a name for himself by placing 2nd at the NCAA cross country championships in Arkansas and leading his team to a second-place finish. During his collegiate career he was an eleven-time All-American and captured four individual NCAA titles. In his career, Adam has won eight individual USA championships and qualified for the finals in the World Championships seven times. In 2000, Adam represented the United States in the Sydney Olympic Games.
Adam continues to run and battle through injury, but also has an eye towards giving back to a sport that has given him so much. Adam is co-author of Running the Edge with his college teammate, Tim Catalano.
Stop back again soon for part 2 of my recap of the retreat!