27 August 2014

How Birdcamp Changed My Life

Photo Credit: Thomas and Velo Photography
I got home from Oiselle Birdcamp a week ago, but it feels like months ago already. It was five days of blissful running, inspiring speakers and athletes, and gorgeous landscapes.

At Smith Rock
As amazing as all the talks, yoga classes, and runs were, the whole was far greater than the sum of its parts. Birdcamp, for me, was life-changing. I owe a huge debt of gratitude to these women:

With Sally, Oiselle's Founder and CEO

With Lesko, Camp Director and Sisterhero
For the first time in my life, I experienced a sisterhood, and I was completely surrounded by positivity and encouragement. This experience fundamentally changed the way I think. Where before I saw problems, now I see possibilities.

Photo Credit: Thomas and Velo Photography
The past few months have been tough for me. I've experienced new challenges as a runner with MS. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to keep up with the "real runners" at camp. But sometime during birdcamp, I stopped thinking of myself as a potential patient. I became an athlete, a sister, a runner.

Photo Credit: Thomas and Velo Photography
I met so many amazing women.

These two are going to be lifelong friends.

With my roommates @kimmiepearlman and @musingfootfalls
This righteous woman reignited my passion for music.

With @laurenfleshman

She lent me her guitar and made me promise to play for her the following night. I hadn't played in years and I guess I needed some encouragement. It wasn't my best performance, but it was the beginning of something. I've played my guitar every day since. Thank you Lauren - this was such a gift.

I felt almost invincible for five days, and I am carrying that feeling into my "normal" life back home.

On the Oiselle Team, we go fast. We take chances.

Kate Grace and her amazing stride
Thanks to +Sarah Lesko+Lauren Fleshman+Sally Bergesen, and everyone else who made Birdcamp happen. See you next year!


  1. I loved reading about and vicariously experiencing your birdcamp experience--it made me want to be part of your team (maybe in the future?) and definitely got me re-inspired during a time when I was struggling a bit with my own training. It is great to see you so obviously happy and connected with such an amazing group of women, and kind of neat to see all of the interests we have in common, lo these many years since we were children. Wish Seattle and southeast AZ were closer!


  2. Hi Jennie! So nice to hear from you here. Do you ever come to Seattle? I think we are heading to AZ for an ultra (for Sean) in the spring - not sure if it's close to you though. But let's try to hook up! And if you are interested in Oiselle, check out the Flock:

    Also you can always express interest in joining the team - let me know and I will send you the team manager's contact info. :)

    I'm really enjoying following your training as well!

  3. Loved your recap, Portia, and I'm sad I didn't get a chance to meet you at camp! It's amazing how many people I didn't meet, now that I think about it. What a whirlwind of a trip :)

  4. Thanks Alicia! I can't believe I didn't meet everyone! I hope we can meet next year, or maybe sooner. It was a big group of awesome wasn't it? :)

  5. So glad to see you blogging more P! I miss it! Your posts are always inspiring. You know why? Because you're a woman who is present with herself in the moment and chooses to keep pushing despite whatever that moment is bringing you. No excuses. I need that in my life and you represent! Bird Camp sounds awesome. I would love to have a group of running folks who can keep my encouraged and accountable and have fun with! It's so great to know you've found a sisterhood/community. It's such an empowering and amazing gift to receive- and give. :)

    1. Thanks Steph. I'm so lucky that this funny little website brought us together. You are the best pen pal and we really need to meet someday. Soon

    2. Totally! YOU are the best pen pal! I'm a slacker! I would love to meet, whether it be in Seattle or if you're ever near Toronto or even a couple hour drive from us! <3