Living out loud with Team Film
BY LINDAHL WIEGAND | PHOTOS BY WIL FOSTER
The name started as a joke. A group of women were training for Dances With Dirt, an all-day backwoods trail relay race in southern Indiana, all while holding down careers, tending to families and without sacrificing their social time. People wore costumes for the race, and these women were going as starlets.
But then they realized the camera was already rolling on their own life stories.
“We said we wanted to dress as movie stars, and it spun off that,” says Holly Wheeler, a Carmel ultra runner, cyclist, teacher, mother of three and Team Film co-founder. “Team Film is about women living the life they want to live—today. If someone were to make a movie of your life story, right now, you wouldn’t hold back. You’d be living your film.”
For years, the group had been running, biking, hiking and even going on vacations together. They realized making time for themselves was making them stronger, more balanced and happier, and that sharing that lifestyle with other women would be an exciting next challenge. And so, Team Film LLC was born, founded in 2013 by 12 women scattered across the country in San Francisco, Denver and North Carolina, with its home base in central Indiana.
Team Film’s objective is to support women who want to “live their film” by connecting them to each other and offering members perks from businesses that can help them live an exciting, active life. The group’s membership ranges from women in their 20s to 60s. Anyone and everyone is welcome, and you don’t have to be an experienced athlete.
“Being a member means you’re living the life you want,” Holly says. “Whether you’re going to do yoga once a week or training to run your first 5K race. Yes, we have some total badasses who are Ironman finishers. But we are here to support different goals—baby steps and big steps.”
Lights, Camera, Action
For founding member Tess Woods Joven of Indianapolis, Team Film gave her the team connection she missed after being a Carmel High School athlete and on the track and cross-country teams at Eastern Kentucky University.
“When you get out of school, you lose those opportunities,” she says. “Running and exercising can become a solo endeavor. There’s something about doing physical activities together that creates a bond you don’t get other places in life.”
Today, Tess, also a mother of three, can be found playing soccer, doing yoga, cycling or trying something new, such as an upcoming urban adventure race.
Holly and Tess both stress that women don’t always give themselves permission to take care of themselves because they are too busy doing things for everyone else.
“There are women who are looking for us. They need permission to say, you know what, I need to be healthy, I need to have fun, and that’s OK,” Holly says. “It’s super inspiring to see some of these women take their first steps, having never done much for themselves health wise. They have a career, they have a family, yet they do these unbelievable physical challenges.”
The Team Film website offers race recommendations, invitations to Team Film socials, training tips, personal stories and swag for sale. And it’s not just about the sweat. Their mission statement sums it up—to empower women to go beyond their physical comfort zones through support, connections, adventures and serious fun.
“I look forward to the run, but it’s more about the company and what we might do after,” Tess says. “We’ll say, let’s meet for a run tonight at 6, so we can be at the brewery by 7!”
Inspiration and a healthy dose of peer pressure drive Team Film. Holly is motivated every day by her girlfriends and her children. When one of her teammates suggested a 50-mile trail run, she knew she couldn’t say no.
“My kids are so fearless. I see them do stuff they’ve never done before without thinking twice,” she says. “I told my friend she was crazy when she asked me to do that 50-miler, but I still did it. And I thought about my kids when I was running. I wanted to show them I go outside my comfort zone, too.”
A few years ago, several Team Film members accomplished another impressive physical challenge—qualifying for the Boston Marathon. But the marathoners didn’t make the trip to the starting line in Hopkinton alone. A crew of Team Film members, runners and non-runners alike made the weekend trip to eat a pre-race seafood dinner, binge on gourmet desserts in Little Italy and cheer on their teammates.
“They wanted to be part of it, and it meant so much to those of us running,” Holly says. “During the race, we were able to focus on each other, on having fun and that feeling of accomplishment.”
Most recently, Tess and other members of Team Film served as bike escorts for the Indianapolis Women’s Half Marathon. Just before the start of the race, one of their members who had signed up for a 5K decided to do the half marathon instead. Supported by Team Film pacer Maria Harper for those 13.1 miles, she finished and earned her medal.
“Those are the stories that I love,” Tess says. “That’s what Team Film is about.”
Joining Team Film is simple. Sign up at goteamfilm.com and receive all the benefits (racing tank, event and apparel discounts, and more) for a $65 membership fee.
Right now, the group is expanding partnerships with businesses and organizations that support the Team Film lifestyle and are working on a tool for women who want to start their own Team Film groups across the country. And down the road, they hope to bring everyone together for a larger Team Film event.
As far as the future goes, it’s safe to say there are no limits. For this group of movie stars, this just might still be the preview.Check out Team Film online at goteamfilm.com, on Facebook and Twitter.