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A blast from the past at the LUNA Chix Summit

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Back in February, I posted an interview with my high-school-teammate-turned-pro-triathleteTerra Castro who, after a successful 16-year career, has since retired and returned to her running roots, now competing as a LUNA Sponsored Athlete and coaching full-time.

She’s always been such a powerful influence with a positive message, that I have no doubt her business, “Be Bold Crew,” which specializes in coaching teenagers using mentorship and accountability, will make a meaningful impact.

But between learning to balance coaching with training for her first open marathon in fall 2014, Castro also takes time to work with Team LUNA Chix, whose mission is to bring women together who are interested in learning new sports, staying active and inspiring others to do the same.

She invited me to this weekend’s summit in Berkeley, Calif. to see firsthand how the local teams train, compete and support each other, while fundraising for LUNA’s non-profit partner, the Breast Cancer Fund.

I stopped by for yesterday afternoon’s sessions — first up on agenda was a run clinic in which Castro coached captains on how to lead track workouts for their respective teams. We divided into groups and broke the session into segments with each group in charge of a specific aspect of the workout.

Admittedly, I felt a little nervous walking in as a non-official team member, but that didn’t last for long; the ladies welcomed me with big smiles, kind words and open arms.

I even got some great swim pointers from Julie (from the Boston triathlon team) as we warmed up on the track, and Melanie (from the Austin run team) and I pushed each other during the 800 and 400 repeats. Thanks, guys!

After a quick cool-down and recap, we made our way back to the shuttle — but not before exiting the track through an “encouragement tunnel” of cheers.

Castro summed up the team’s vibe perfectly: “Remember no matter what level of athlete you are to encourage and uplift others. True victory and joy can be found there.”

Next up were breakout sessions to work on sport-specific skills, and I chose bike maintenance. Yep, if you remember my flat tire change adventure on my first long ride, you know that this is an area in which I could definitely pick up a few pointers.

Enter Dusty LaBarr, bike mechanic for the Luna Pro Team, who took us through everything from bike cleaning to tire changing , as well as safety precautions and other helpful pointers. While I may not look forward to my next flat, at least I’ll be much better prepared for it now!

The theme of the weekend? Tell your story. As Castro said, “In sharing you story you can empower, encourage and ignite others to walk boldly within their own story.”

In that vein, we listened to all kinds of amazing, encouraging, inspiring and emotional stories during dinner — from Jeanne Rizzo (president and CEO of the Beast Cancer Fund) to theLUNA Chix Pro Team panel, along with several LUNA sponsored athletes and local team leaders.

It’s quite apparent that this group is a force to be reckoned with — not only are they competitive athletes who do well, but they’re also compassionate teammates who go above and beyond to do good, whether it’s supporting one another, encouraging female athletes of all levels, lending a hand in the community or working to raise awareness and funds to support the Breast Cancer Fund.

The best part, though? Reconnecting with a dear friend.

Terra and I have our own story — we ran track & field and cross country together in Michigan many moons ago — and it was such a treat to get together again.

Needless to say, we had a lot of catching up to do…and I’m excited that we were able to start another chapter together after all these years!

For more information about Team Luna Chix — or to get involved in your local team — check out their site here.

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