It's a Wonderful Life

If this weekend taught me anything it is that I have such amazing friends in this crazy world.. even if sometimes I don't make plans for a really long time because I am a spazz. Every day of this past weekend, I got to see some of my favorite people in the world and was reminded just how special these people are to me.

Friday night started out with some old work friends, some of who I have not seen in almost a year.

We went to dinner at our local Bonefish Grill and enjoyed all the delicious food and a few drinks. It was so much fun catching up with this crew and having SO many laughs with them. I think we might have scared some of the people around us when we burst into laughter, but oh well. I can't say enough about the few hours I got to spend with this wild group. I do miss the days we all worked together and could catch up in between our appointments, but I am not sure I miss being at the job. We have all since moved on to other things but still keep in touch!

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to run my first 5k since November as part of a team for work. More on the race later because that's not the reason for this post. 

I met up with my coworker, Allison, before the race since she had my bib. After we got ready, we walked over to the starting area. Earlier in the week we had decided to make breakfast plans after the race and I am so glad we did.  I hadn't seen her in person in quite a while (even though we talk every day) and it was really fun to be able to do so. 

We had a super amazing breakfast complete with a yummy beverage. We got some weird looks when we walked in with our running clothes and race bibs on, but again I said "oh well." We were there to get some food and catch up. I think we accomplished that mission. It is always a joy to see her and share stories, laughs, and thoughts. We had so much fun that we stood in the lot by our cars for another 2 hours chatting and both ended up with sunburn-- OOPS!!

Sunday I had a long run to get in and had amazing company while doing so. My awesome friend Michele met me at 7 to get started with 6 miles. She had a busy schedule ahead of her so she was happy to get her miles in early!! She even traded her scheduled 6 easy miles for my alternating easy/hard miles. She's the best!! She even went with my crazy idea to take some pictures along the way (and play with snails on the one path.) We were able to catch up and reflect a little on life- always a pleasure to have these chats with her. Sometimes someone else's perspective on things is so needed. 

Another friend came to the group run that started at 8 (a send off/shakeout run for the HUGE group running the Pittsburgh Marathon and Half this coming weekend) and became my surprise running partner for the last 5 of my scheduled 11. I love running with Kelly because she always pushes me to be my best even when I feel like I am GOING TO DIE. In fact, she pushed me to the finish of my first marathon with a few expletives to get me going. Sunday all it took was her telling me "you can do anything for a mile, right?" Yes m'am that would be correct. And as an extra bonus she made fun of all the gnats I had all over my forehead when we were done running. What are friends for?! 

Next up on my wildly amazing weekend was a top secret mission. You see, there was a 15k/50k happening about 40 minutes away and I knew a few of the people running the race; including our coach from Fleet Feet, Fred! The races started at 9am and 7:30am respectively so I had enough time to shower, grab food, and head back out the door to make the trip. 

I got to the race site and walked over to where the finish was. My timing was impeccable because as I walked past the porta potties, I found my friend Michelle who I was there to meet!!

I got to see Fred heading up the final hill to the finish line about an hour or so after arriving. I told him I almost didn't get a picture and he told me "you should have told me to slow down a little." Yea ok. I almost missed it because I had my hands full of an amazing cheeseburger (that I failed to get a picture of due to my level of hanger).

One particular participant I wanted to see was Leanne. She is both a Solemate with Girls on the Run AND is in the training class with me at Fleet feet. She was doing the event as her first 50k and I was SO excited for her that I had planned kind of last minute (and secretly) to head up to the race and catch her in the last 7 or 8 miles to run with her to keep her company. Unfortunately, we learned that she had not made the cut off at mile 19. I know she will move forward a little bit stronger and kick butt next time. 

Before we learned the news about Leanne,  Michelle and I walked to where the runners were coming down from Pole Steeple and obnoxiously excitedly cheered for our friend Brad as he descended. Like I said no one really knew this was the plan, not even us at that moment. 

He told us that we lifted his spirits after the last climb and we snagged this shot with him. It was pretty warm and he was ready to be done even though he still had about 8 miles left to go.  Michelle had set out an awesome water station complete with snacks,  so he grabbed some refreshments and headed on his way.   After we learned about Leanne, we pondered about what to do next. We quickly had a conversation and decided we would go find Brad again! Michelle drove and navigated a road that we weren't sure we should be on, but we proceeded anyway. We had someone to find, after all. She dropped me off and I hoped for the best as I started to run on my tired legs, no Brad in sight. Remember I already ran 11 variable paced miles this morning and raced a 5k the day before? Why did I think even more miles was a good idea??

I kept wondering what would happen if I never caught up to him and just ended up running all of these miles myself.  Of course that was ridiculous!! I caught up to Brad about a mile later and waited until I got really close and yelled "CAUGHT YA!!" He might have jumped a little. Not long after I caught him, we had quite the climb. But not without an equal reward.

This photo does no justice to the amazing view. I quickly told Brad that I knew this was 100% where I was supposed to be that afternoon. There was no doubt that the events of the day had happened for a reason and I was where I needed to be.

We kept trucking along and I tried to keep Brad entertained with endless chatter. We got to catch up and also chatted back and forth with another lady who we ran into many times that afternoon. Each chance Michelle had, she would meet us with water and offer any assistance she could. Brad was tired and his back was hurting, but he was such a champ and finished that 50k. 

I was so happy that I got to be part of those last miles and really enjoy the journey with Brad. Some of the climbs were hard and it was definitely super warm, but I wouldn't have traded it for the world. After Brad got to the finish line, we hung out there for a little before heading back to Michelle's cabin. We sat there for a while, with another friend Jen who had been out to support Leanne at Mile 19. It was nice to sit and relax on the porch before making the drive home. 

All of this to say that this weekend reminded me that I really have some great people in my life. Sometimes it is so easy to get wrapped up in all the madness of life; the to-do lists, the traffic jams, the races, and everything that life throws us that we forget we have this amazing network of support. These are people who aren't related by blood but we often consider family because of shared life experiences. By the end of the weekend, I got a little teary-eyed thinking about all these amazing people that I got to share space and time with. Obviously, the people mentioned here are not the only ones that make me feel this way, just the ones that reminded me how important it is to find "your people" in life.

Some times I crawl into a cave and socially disappear; I need to remember these moments on those days that I don't want to make plans or would rather stay home. I need to remember that I have all these amazing people to call my friends and that genuinely enjoy being with me as I do spending time with them. I need to remember that even if I am having a rough day, that maybe they are too and we just need that time to forget about it all for a little bit. 

Do you ever have those moments where you just sit and think, man I am lucky?? If not, take a moment, call someone you haven't seen in a while and make plans. You won't be sorry.


  1. What a busy weekend you had ! how many miles did you do on Sunday?


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