The signature Eau Claire hat, given to all retreaters and sported by Karyn, and a bunch of happy BAMRs doing a pre-race shake out across one of Eau Claire’s many beautiful bridges. (The half-marathon and marathon courses crossed 11!)

Unlike last fall’s Cape Cod AMR Retreat, during which Ma Nature dumped a ton of rain on a bunch of resilient BAMRS, this weekend in Eau Claire, she decided to let herself shine, and shine, and shine.

Which is, of course, a really good thing 95% of the time.

But before we get to race-day weather, let’s talk about what else was shining as we ran, learned (from Justin Ross, Ellie Kempton, Kolleen, a TriggerPoint guru, and the Train Like a Mother coaches), yoga’d, push-up’ed, ate local cheese and other delicious foods, celebrated, laughed, chatted and chatted, and connected:
Yes, that would be BAMRs shining all.weekend.long!

80+ smiles, representing 31 states, Canada, and Australia!

Smiles from Team AMR lasted the whole weekend—and are still plastered on our faces.

Sisters Judith and Sarah driving in. Attendees included four sets of sisters, one set of sister-in-laws, one aunt/niece combo, a cousin duo, and three mother/daughter pairs join us in Eau Claire, bringing a new dimension to the term BAMR FAM.

100% guaranteed Emi, the race director and a #motherrunner, is smiling as she chats with the BAMRs about the weekend ahead.

Because the ECM team, a family affair, is the kind of organization that pays attention to the details. “Seriously?!,” says Jenny, “What kindness to pick up on birthdays in registration and attach a card to my bib!”

They’re also the kind of race organizers that give BAMRs their own private port-a-john—perhaps the most celebrated part of the weekend.

Some race day lovelies: Kim + the first blue babe.

Sisters Brenda + Stacy and the second blue babe.

Linda, in the half-marathon. In true BAMR style, she befriended this college student in the first mile, and ran with her until the end.
(And her new BRF couldn’t believe how many random people were cheering for her at mile 7.5.)Janice looking like a blue babe: “Beat you to this found change, SBS!”

One of four AMR marathon relay teams: all had excellent names (Perfect Strangers; BAMRS over Bridges for two) and one was a little too overzealous!


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The time your relay team BREAKS the race PR bell 🔔 😳😳 (We fixed it…then quietly walked away!!!) —SBS

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Kathy (on right) who ran the half-marathon: “When you watch your A goal go, and then your B goal, and begin to question your C goal, you just enjoy the mile you’re in and grab a nearby BAMR for a photo op at mile 8 or so … Grateful for a weekend of BAMR camaraderie.”

Back to that Ma Nature and her shining: Most of the crew who joined us in the Midwest were coming off a rough winter, and what looked like a cold, rainy day on most forecasts actually turned into a warm, mostly sunny race day.

It’s hard to complain about a warm day in Wisconsin in early May, so we won’t. It’s always a joy to dust off the tank tops and don the sunglasses.

Instead, we’ll take it as just another reminder to control what you can control on race day—your preparation, your attitude, your effort, your smile—and do your best not to worry about the rest.

Colleen and Nicole, mile 20.5 of the marathon, and they’re smiling—at least for this picture. They met for the first time at the Retreat, and supported each other for hours.

The runners didn’t have all the fun and smiles; our cheer squad, which grew over race morning, brought the noise and the funk.

Cara, who ran the 5K: “Thank you to all of you fabulous women. I came to this Retreat in an injury-related mental slump. But after spending the weekend basking in your amazing positive energy, I can safely say I have my running groove back!”

Safe to say all 80+ of us who landed in Eau Claire on a weekend in early May either found or polished up our running groove.

But we also found so much more:
friendships that will last over years and miles and races around the country;

memories that will continue to make us laugh out loud, even when we’re driving by ourselves (Cinnamon Toast Crunch!);

and, most importantly, the feeling that we can continue to grow individually in many directions because our roots are so firmly planted and nourished in our amazing community.

Want to join us at an AMR Retreat? 
We’ll be in Cape Cod in October of 2019;

We’ll be in Hilton Head in February of 2020;

And we’ll also be in at Rancho La Puerta in February of 2020