Just kidding! I am not sure where to start. On Saturday, January 12, I headed to Wilson College as the event photographer for the Eat, Sleep, Grow, Run. As I mentioned before, Brenda Miller, a health coach, mom and ultra runner local to Chambersburg, formed this event. This event was a memorial to her niece Shannon, who lost her life to a controlling relationship in 1998. The event was meant to give women a set of skills and resources to gain confidence and balance in their own lives. She made sure the workshop was packed full of prestigious well-known speakers and excellent local resources.
The day began with an hour of Zumba; people were literally dancing in the aisles. I personally was glad to be hiding behind my camera. I love to dance but having to coordinate with others often gets me frazzled and confused. Plus I could sit behind my lens and watch the transformation of the crowd. It was amazing to see the reaction of the women when Sandi and her two sidekicks hit the floor. They literally rocked the foundation of the auditorium. With Latin music rattling the rafters, they danced with pure joy. Many women seemed uncomfortable and were hesitant at first to go through the routines. As the performance progressed, I looked through my lens and I saw women giggling and laughing, women feeling empowered by the movement of their bodies and you could see how beautiful and desirable they felt. This set the energy of the day.
While we took a deep breathe, Mina Samuels, the author of Run Like a Girl, came out to discuss the idea of balance. There was a demonstration by a self-defense coach, a fabulous presentation by a group of local women sharing ideas of healthy eating and cooking. Robin Humphrey, an elite athlete and Chi Running instructor, shared her story and explained some of the concepts behind Chi Running. Diane Carbonell is a mom of seven and shared her story of losing 158 pounds. She has kept this weight off for 15 years and in that duration she had four of her seven children. Her story has generated a book, and she has been featured in various magazines. Diane has made an appearance on Dr. Oz to share her story and her system. We ended the day with a yoga practice led by Erin, a yogi with a huge smile in her heart.
After the main seminar, I signed up for the mini chi running workshop with Robyn. I was trying to absorb information while hopping up out of my form to take pictures. This was my role all day long. Document, absorb, try to network, go back to my vendor table, chat with awesome woman, forget that I am supposed to be networking, crap, oh well, see a neat looking lady stop to chat, document, document, document, crawl underneath table to get better angle, trip on stairs, trip on stairs again, don’t care I am working, talk to awesome ladies and forget I am supposed to network, document, document, document.
All in all, I picked up a few cool ideas and reinforced a ton I already know. Like using coconut oil as healthy oil with a higher smoke point. In Robyn’s mini Chi Running class, we spent the whole time discussing our core, alignment and form. As a climber, this should be no surprise. The core is the center of your power, it is not your arms or legs or shoulders, it is the muscles deep in your core that stabilize and support. It is where all our strength and energy reside. Strength and proper alignment equal longer better runs and no injury. Brilliant! I know I have lost my core since kids, I keep running, I don’t work on my core, my hamstring is still hurting, I wonder why?? I can be thick sometimes.
Here is the thing about the event. I am so lucky to have access to resources like the woman that presented in my everyday life. I have friends that are elite athletes, martial artists, writers and most of the people I surround myself with live healthy active lives. My sister is a yogi, amazing vegan chef, and she has her Master of Public Health. If I have a nutrition question, she can and will give me more information than I ever wanted to know. Not everyone is so lucky to have this type of resource and support in their lives. What I loved about the event was not the information that was provided. Don’t get me wrong, it was impressive, I was taken a back by what Brenda put together in little ole C-burg. Oprah could not have put together a better event with all her staffers and money. What I will remember about the day, was the transfer of energy, meeting all those wonderful women. I will remember looking around the room and seeing yogi, Erin with a genuine happy smile beaming from her face even when no one was around. I will remember Robyn, her strength her obvious tenacity, her humor, her kindness and childlike softness. She is the emotional embodiment of the needle and cotton analogy used in Chi Running. I will remember that each speaker made me laugh, cry and feel proud. I will remember that I am perfect but there is room for improvement. I will remember that I really stink at networking and I need an agent. Most of all I will remember why we were there. With strength, resolve and love one person can turn a tragedy into guidance and kindness. One person can bring together a group under a common cause to grow and share and love. Thank you Brenda and Shannon for your inspiration and sacrifice.