A little less than a year ago I got an email about the Another Mother Retreat which was scheduled in Little Rock, Arkansas. That’s right, Arkansas! (I actually went back and re-read it.) I assumed they were having retreats in various places all over the country but after talking with a friend I realized they chose one central location- Little Rock! How could I not join in on the fun?!
If you’ve never read Run like a Mother by Sarah Bowen Shea and Dimity McDowell you need to! A friend recommended this book to me in 2011 after baby number four was born when I was recovering from a c-section. It made me laugh, cry, and remember why I loved running. It also gave me something to look forward to when I started back again.
When the AMR Retreat registration opened in the fall, one of my good blogging friends who knew Sarah suggested I contact her and mention that I live nearby. I emailed Sarah and said I would love to lead a running group, guest speak, attend the retreat- whatever! She asked if I might be willing to speak on one of the panels they had planned on “Goal Upping.” (This session was for those with some running experience who were interested in setting bigger goals, such as qualifying for Boston or breaking a certain time barrier.) Would I? You bet! I also planned to attend as much of the retreat as possible.
On Thursday afternoon I arrived at the Capital Hotel in Little Rock for the AMR Retreat reception. I’ve stayed there twice before the Go! Mile race and it is wonderful! (My kids are huge fans as well!) The Capital Hotel was the headquarters for this Another Mother Runner event and women from all over the country (and a few from other countries) had come to retreat: run and refresh.
This retreat was for mother runners of all ages and at all levels of experience. It was interesting to listen to moms introduce themselves and share their story. The Another Mother Runner community became very real and present.
Thursday night after the reception I drove home since Anna had something going on at school the next morning. I headed back to Little Rock after lunch on Friday to catch up with the group during the afternoon session. I was just in time for strength training with Dimity down at the River Market pavilion. She shared many simple strength training ideas that we can all do without spending any money on weights or other gear. It was a great workout and yes, I was sore!
Friday night the big AMR group went to dinner at Dunbar Gardens. My sweet friend Beverly hosted me Friday night and made a delicious dinner. Then we chatted running much of the night!
Saturday morning Beverly and I met up with the AMR crew at 6:30 in the lobby of the Capital Hotel. It was time for the big group run on the River Trail! I must say it was the most organized group training run I’ve ever been on with special water and Nuun stops along the way which also included GU gel and chomps at every station. Everyone split off into various pace groups. There were four of us in our running group.
When we finished the 10 mile run we were greeted by the crew from Trigger Point who were ready with everything we needed to work out our tired and sore muscles. There was also plenty of food!
After the run Beverly and I went back to her house so I could get ready for the late morning/ afternoon sessions. She was the best host!
I jumped into a training session with Coach Christine. She gave great practical advice for training, as well as race day strategy.
Following this session we all had lunch in one of the banquet rooms of the Capital Hotel. Afterwards was another breakout session on Nutrition with certified Nutritionist, Cassie Dimick. Everything was geared towards runners which was awesome. One of my favorite quotes from Cassie’s session, “Focus more on what you SHOULD be eating, not what you shouldn’t.”
After the Nutrition session was a speed training with Sarah who shared some speed tips and strategies.
Saturday evening I needed to head back home for a family birthday party but the other mother runners had a fun night planned which included Dimity’s favorite pre-race dinner. I am so glad I was able to be a part of the first ever AMR Retreat. I really loved the time I spent with so many sweet and fun ladies who like me, enjoy all things running!
I had no idea the extent of the Another Mother Runner community. I’m so thankful I was able to be a small part of it this past weekend! The ladies I met this past weekend were so welcoming, kind, and downright hilarious! If you are you looking for support, encouragement, advice, or a community to lean on in the mother/ running world- this is your family!