Women and their Friendships: Another Key Component of Life and Hormone Balance
By Kyle McAvoy
Summer is winding down, but my Portland to Coast team is gearing up for our second year in “The Mother of Relays.”
Hood to Coast has been around for over 35 years: it is a relay race that starts at Mt. Hood and ends at Seaside, OR. Over 1000 teams of 12 runners make their way over almost 200 miles. In addition, there are over 400 teams of 12 walkers who wind their way from downtown Portland to Seaside.
This is one crazy, but fun, event! A village of runners and walkers travel the 130 or 200 miles in a relay race, complete with vans, headlamps (yes, we travel into the night!) , hundreds of volunteers, vehicle exchange posts, and sleeping fields: quite the endeavor. At the end, there is a huge finish line along the Pacific Ocean’s edge, complete with vendors, food booths and a live band: the party goes on for hours, tired participants dancing until they literally drop in the sand and crawl into bed for a well-deserved sleep.
Two weekends ago , most of our team members, as well as some of our friends from afar, joined together for a mini-retreat up on Mt Hood.
After we all made our introductions in the great room of Timberline Lodge (famously filmed in the movie, The Shining), 18 of us split into various hiking groups and headed off in various directions. I ended up in a small group of women who hiked together for over 10 miles up and down through Zig Zag Canyon(aptly named) and on up to Paradise Park.
We finally settled down for lunch by an idyllic mountain stream surrounded by carpets of wildflowers and capped by the peak of Mt. Hood in the background. It truly felt as though we had landed in Paradise: this particular hike may be the most beautiful one I have ever done.
By late afternoon, after we enjoyed a quick dip in the hot tub at the lodge, we all wound our way back up to ‘the hut.’ The host welcomed us with wine, cheese platters, a roaring fire in the stone fireplace (yes, even in summer a fire feels great atop a mountain) and candle votives on the stone steps. This was truly a feast for the eyes and sore, tired legs. We spent the evening talking with old friends and making new ones, while we enjoyed a lovely meal prepared by our host. After dinner, we sat at the large banquet table, sipping wine, eating chocolate, playing games and reveling in the experience of 18 women gathered together in a magical place.
When I think of the things that have helped me to maintain balance throughout the years, one that always comes to mind is the importance of my friendships and connections with other women.
As women, we often get caught up in the ‘caregiver’ role of many: our families, our work, our communities, etc. Although these all have their rewards, it is equally important to nurture relationships with other women. My life is so much richer because of the friendships that I have with the many women in my life whom I consider to be friends.
Make sure that you carve out time with the women that you love. Your life will be fuller and more balanced if you do.
Wish us luck as we head off for another year of craziness this Friday, as we jump into our vans and walk together as a team. It’s a bit nutty, this whole thing, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Happy trails!