Phoenix Women's Half Marathon Weekend
When I joined the Oiselle women's running team in July 2014, I had no idea what wonderful connections I would gain within the (then) relatively small community; I now have over 3,000 teammates.
After my prison experience, when I'd finally connected, for the first time in my life, with women that I felt comfortable opening up to and allowed myself to be vulnerable, I knew that I needed to find ways to build meaningful relationships with other women on the outside...but it was a daunting task.
I also knew that I wanted to take advantage of every opportunity to do more: travel, experience, enjoy life, and make those things a priority. I may be driving the same car until I'm 85 years old, but I'm going to go on some trips, y'all!
While I was in Eugene, Oregon, last summer for the USATF Olympic Trials, a little bird (pun intended) told me that there would be a Oiselle team meet up this year in Phoenix, centered around the 2nd Annual Phoenix Women's Half Marathon; I began making plans right away. My friend Marilyn agreed to share a room with me, and she got us hooked up with a great deal. The hotel in which we stayed is very tropical-looking...
but the view was "in progress." We had a good laugh about our pool view!
I arrived on Friday, the 27th, and quickly met up with Ali and Sheila for a drink on a patio in the sunshine; when in Phoenix, right? I've decided they have sunshine 365 days a year.
Later, once more of our teammates had a chance to arrive, we hit up a nearby burgers and beers spot for dinner and catching up/meeting up; I was thrilled to meet women that I'd only interacted with virtually since I'd joined the team, like Rebecca, Dana, Mary and Erica.
Saturday morning, we had a short shakeout run planned; it was another gorgeous day! The weather pattern seems to include long sleeves when you first get outside but, as soon as the sun blazes, you want to shed layers quickly.
I also began to notice that the air is so dry, like really dry; maybe the humidity at home serves a purpose? I'd definitely need some time to get used to this climate. We all enjoyed some down time at a local park on Saturday afternoon, to relax before Sunday's race, and then dinner together and an early bedtime.
By Sunday morning, it was time to fly! The atmosphere always feels so magical when there are this many singlets around at once; several spectators asked us about Oiselle, where we were all from and how we met each other.
On Monday morning, we met at Phoenix Mountains Park for a little hike...
hmm. It was a bit more challenging than I'd expected, but so worth it for the view and conversation.
With some time to kill until my flight home, I joined a few other gals for a little trip over to Old Town Scottsdale for, you guessed it, more food, drinks and shenanigans.
Even though our weekend was centered around a race event and other fun activities, I was most fulfilled by the opportunity to spend time with these beautiful women. I met Courtney, in real life, for the very first time after having "met" her (through Oiselle and her blog) three years ago.
These women remind me of the importance of meaningful relationships and the tingly, joyous feeling that is, for me, associated with open, honest conversations and genuine support. No matter where I have to go, I will always find a way to join in when there is an opportunity to meet up with them; they are my people.
If you ever have an opportunity to visit Phoenix, especially during the winter months, I highly recommend it; I had so much fun and I'm excited for the next adventure!
Until then, I'll be racing again tomorrow - for real, this time - at the local River Trail 15K; my current PR, from last year, is 1:22:29 and I'm definitely going to beat that (confidence is key, right?), especially since the weather looks so great. There may not be any other Oiselle singlets there, but I'll have these ladies with me every mile until I hit the finish line.