Isn't it amazing how doing one new thing can be the beginning of so many lucky events happening in your life?
Many of you may recall last fall when I announced I was "learning to run" so I could participate in a 5K race with my niece, her step mom and sis, and my niece's friend (who actually came up with the idea in the first place). From July to October, we followed a running program in order to build up our endurance for that event.
I am adding the link to that big day of the run (HERE). I have to say, it was one of the best times in my life. Not only was it amazing to be in the middle of thousands of other runners. . .but specifically, to be there with my niece and her family and her friend. . .but to also be there with my very own son!
He is a real runner....with marathons, half marathons, 10Ks and many 5Ks under his belt. On that memorable day in October,2010, he stuck by my side every step of the way until we crossed the finish line together! I'm tearing up as I write this. . . excuse me while I grab a tissue.
SO, as I started. . . .isn't it amazing how one thing can lead to another?
Since last October, I have been in four additional 5Ks.
Continuing to "train" has not been easy for me this Spring and Summer. First, because I have been dealing with Plantar Fasciitis and secondly...it's been MISERABLE in the Kansas City area weather wise.
While I "learned" to run during the same time of year last summer.....the conditions were totally different. We didn't have the extreme heat and humidity that we have had this year. This Summer totally took the wind out of my running sails. So often I have gone out. . .only to hit the 2 mile mark and call it quits.
As I said the Plantar Fasciitis was another issue that was really bad, especially in March. I had to lay off of the running. . . plus do all sorts of stuff .....like lots of icing and stretching my foot, getting new orthotics and different shoes and sleeping with a night splint ( a miracle worker).
Anyway, on my quest to seek out advice from anyone and everyone who was a runner.....and who had dealt with the same foot issue....I was constantly talking to folks.
It was during this time of seeking Plantar Fasciitis advice that I ran into one of the most amazing women I've ever met.
She is 77, has been running for 30 years. . . and knows the pain of Plantar Fasciitis. She told me she once ran in a marathon with that condition. What a trooper!!
She had my undying admiration from the first conversation I had with her. I peppered her with question after question. You see, she works for a local running store, so not only is she up to date on what's hot in running and running issues . . . she's an experienced runner. . .having participated in longer distance events (with her friends....one who is in her 80s!!) all over the USA!! So, to say I am in awe of her is totally an understatement.
I met her last Spring at the running store. After we'd talked for quite a while I explained to her that I have this blog and would love to interview her for it. It took us several months to make that happen....but it finally did a week ago.
Of course, I HAD to take her a little token for her time and it just wouldn't be right if my gift was in a bag that was any color than PINK!!!
THE STONE RABBIT was so excited when I told him what I was about to do. He hopes he gets to meet her in person one day. . . I'm betting he probably will!
We spent about an hour and a half together that evening. . . and it was SO much fun. She's so interesting and sweet to share her stories with me. I have to say, I had trouble taking notes quickly enough, so we will need another time or two together before I feel I have the information I'd love to share on some of my posts.
She's truly an inspiration to me in every way.
AND If I hadn't been a runner, I probably would never have met her.
The Friday of that same week, I had another amazing experience. . . one also related to running.
Let me back up a bit. Nearly every Sunday my husband and I have breakfast with two folks who attend our church.
Last fall I started talking about how I had been training to run my first every 5K. . . I jibber-jabbered over the program I was using and how this was gonna be a family event. . .I was pretty giddy.
I figured they thought I'd lost my marbles that I was starting this running thing so late in life. However, instead of the reaction I had expected, the lady said to me "I have someone you need to meet."
She went on to tell me about a friend of hers, also our age, who just competed in a half marathon in Disney World with a buddy of hers. . . and how they had gone to other states to do the same thing.
Well, I was blown away by that information. . . another older runner- - -and one who does longer distances, too!!!! I could hardly wait until we met. So, earlier in the Summer we met for lunch, to get to know each other, then last Friday, we met to RUN together on a local trail.
She is more of a distance person. . .10K's and half marathons. In those events she's a runner/walker. . . meaning she does both. . runs a while, then walks awhile.
She was impressed that I could actually run the entire 5Ks I'd been in. . . well, cept for the last one and I had to stop and walk a couple of times,but prior to that, I ran them. And I was impressed that she could do a half marathon!!!
So we made a deal. . . I would encourage her to completely run a 5K and she would encourage me to increase my distance....by starting with running/walking!
Prior to last Friday, she had been working on her endurance using the same program I had when I learned to run, "THE COUCH TO 5K RUNNING PLAN". She had worked her way up to where she was alternating running 5 min., then walking 3 min. for a total of 30 min. She was at the level on the program where she was to move from 5 min. to 8 min. and just hadn't gotten the nerve to do it.
WELL...on that day, she not only ran two 5 min. runs, but the last one was for 10 minutes!!! It was thrilling to see her accomplish that and she was so happy with herself as well!
When we finished our run, we headed over to a local coffee shop so we could visit a bit. I took this picture with my cell phone. . . so I was turning it around backwards and trying to get a closeup of us. . . after our first run together.
I told her that we had to immortalize the beginning our running journey. . . and also, if she was gonna be my friend, she'd just have to get used to me taking lots of photos ! :)
That's me on the right with my PINK visor and Mary on the left! Doesn't she look happy? Yep....and so was I!!!
And to think. . . if I wasn't a runner, I would probably not have met her.
OK, so now, hang on. . . I have one more amazing thing to share.
When I started running and using the Couch to 5K Program, I became a Fan of the program on Facebook. On that page, runners can leave comments about where they are in the program. . .how they are doing. . . when a race was coming up, etc. Folks are very encouraging to one another on this.
It was during that time that I "met" Patti on the Couch to 5K Facebook Fan Page. We realized we were both older runners and certainly had a lot in common. We encouraged each other through the program and through our 5K runs.
Patti also owns an internet business. . .of which I became a fan of on Facebook. Recently, she shared that she was taking a cross country trip to find her "roots" on the east coast. . . and that she would be passing through my area and would love to meet me. In fact, she had already arranged to meet lots of people along the way. . .family, friends, internet business connections. . .and now me. . .a running buddy of sorts!
Well, that actually happened last Friday evening!
I thought she might enjoy some Missouri steaks or bar-b-que, so I suggested a spot that was easily found off the interstate and we met up!!! Since it was a Friday night, at a really good restaurant, I asked my hubby if he wanted to come, too.
We had no problem spotting her as she had bought a new van for the trip. . .and had her business logo placed on the sides!
Of course, I had to bring her a little gift, too. . . in a PINK bag.
We had the most enjoyable couple of hours together. . .dining and talking about nearly every topic under the sun! Running, her interesting business, travel, computers (she really knows her stuff in that area), our families, etc.
She is such a go getter and super interesting person. . . another lady I truly admire and feel so fortunate to have met.
And to think. . . if I wasn't a runner. . . I would never have met her!!
Lucky, lucky me!!