I have had nightmares (some real, some imagined) my whole life about spending extending amounts of time with large groups of women. It was with a mixture of trepidation and excitement that I set out for Oiselle's annual bird camp this past Friday-Tuesday to be held in Leavenworth, WA. I was excited to meet and spend time with many of the Nest, Haute Volee and Volee, the majority of whom I have either never met or have only known through social media. But let's be real, I was nervous. Would they like me? Would they accept me? Will I fit in?
I kind of chuckle to myself now that I was even nervous because I wouldn't be on this team or a part of this "run family", as Sally calls it, if it wasn't made up of accepting, sweet, strong, beautiful, interesting, badass women who many of the same fundamental principals (all beautifully summed up in the Oiselle Team Manifesto). In fact, the experience didn't just exceed my expectations, it was problem the most satisfying four days in a row I've spent doing anything for a long time.
And these days were not magical because of some over the top production or bought experience. It was the people, the experiences we shared together and the community we got to build and deepen. We got to run with different ladies from all over in extraordinarily beautiful setting, we ate amazing food at our retreat location Sleeping Lady, we enjoyed smart, funny and insightful talks, we got to sit down together as a Haute Volee TEAM and discuss how we continue to grow and support each other across disciplines. I loved being able to spend time with women who inspire me deeply and are my "sister-heros" and connect with women of all abilities, backgrounds and experience.
I walked away from these few days absolutely inspired and happy, having learned a great deal from each and every person I had the pleasure of spending time with.
This is what I believe. Oiselle makes the most amazing clothing for female runners. Watching nearly 100 women walking around in every stitch the brand makes all weekend really brought this home. We looked fierce, all of us different shapes and sizes, and put together and ready to run, hike, bike, chill or take on the world. We witnessed some design ideas that were so excited I think our minds were all blown. Oiselle's product game is on point. But as a brand, they are much much much more than that. They are trailblazing towards a new paradigm in women's running. They are changemakers, who want to see the sport evolve, grown, deepen and include. They want to build a community that accepts us all, from short to tall, from 100m to 100 miles (or less or more!) to throwing heavy objects or jumping over things, that supports us, that drives this sport in the right direction with passion and love.
I don't just believe this, I witnessed this in action this weekend. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of #birdcamp15 and to be a part of the Oiselle run family. I cannot wait to see the heights to which we can soar together.