When I think about taking time off it usually involves heading somewhere for a race. I love the grit and grind that comes with getting away for a few days. But my appetite for what I consider a “vacation” may be changing thanks to Molte Wellness & Adventure.
Nestled in the mountains of Montana at the Diamond J Ranch, Molte Wellness & Adventure offers trail running and hiking retreats for women—add yoga and meditation and you have the perfect blend of endurance, outdoor bliss, and mindfulness.
The trail running retreat, Running Om, workshop is led by elite ultrarunner and physical therapist, Nikki Kimball—consider her your personal coach for your three-day mountain escape. From beginner runner to veteran, Nikki has you covered on workshops ranging from biomechanics to injury prevention guidance, and more.
As both a partner and a fan of Molte Wellness & Adventure, I was eager to learn more about Running Om, so I reached out to women who experienced the retreat firsthand and will share their stories over the next several weeks.
First up is Iolanda from Elko, Nevada who came with two of her friends last June. While new to trail running, she’s been lacing up her shoes for a couple years and has participated in many road races of varying distances, ranging from 5Ks to half marathons, and was eager to hit the trails.
What inspired you to attend Running Om?
It started out as a girls getaway, but I wanted to deepen my yoga practice and become a better runner. I believe they go hand in hand.
As a new trail runner, what was your biggest challenge?
Staying on my feet—I fell quite a bit. It was embarrassing the first couple times, but then I remembered Nikki telling us you need to fall so you won’t be afraid to fall. I was surprised how incredibly hard it was; I’ve been a road runner for a couple of years, but I wasn’t as prepared as I thought for the trail. Unfortunately, I woke up the morning of our first trail run feeling sick, but I wasn’t going to miss it. I pushed through and had to battle between my mind and body—my body screaming, “I’m sick, I feel like I’m going to puke; I’m hot and cold at the same time.” My mind saying “this is an amazing opportunity—you’re getting your a## up that mountain. You can be sick later, but right now you’re running with NIKKI KIMBALL!”
What did you learn from Nikki?
SO Much. As far as my technique, she looked at how I ran and gave me suggestions; for example, she had me bend my knees more and lean slightly forward; her tips were different for the other girls, because every runner is different. Nikki also taught us how to stretch according to our body type, which was very helpful. Nikki is inspiring and motivating, you just can’t help be awestruck by her.
How did a combined retreat of yoga and trail running benefit you?
For me yoga and trail running is a perfect combination—you work your tail off running, but then you get restored with yoga. Yoga has helped me become a better runner.
What were your favorite parts of the retreat?
The amazing women I got the privilege of being around; not only my friends I went there with but with Turi, Nikki, and Amy who lead us in our yoga practice. The beautiful Diamond J Ranch and surrounding area was a perfect setting for running and yoga.
What did you learn about yourself?
Wow—I’m mentally strong! I love trail running even though I struggled—and yoga is a must in my life.
How have you incorporated your retreat experience back home?
I’ve taken the tools Nikki shared and have applied them to my running. I don’t feel guilty about taking time to care for myself, so I can better take care of my family. I am a runner even though I don’t fit into the box society says I should.
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
I loved every minute of the retreat—it was a blessing to me and worth every penny, and I would do it again. Turi, Nikki, and Amy are incredible women and I’m grateful to have met and spent time with them.
The next Running Om is September 8 – 11 – learn more about the retreat and how you can give back to the Montana community as part of your retreat experience.