Go ahead, say it. “Gasp! What?! Really?!” (Insert droped jaw and wide eyes characteristic of a look of absolute shock here). That’s how I’m guessing most of my NC and CO peeps would respond if they heard me say that.
Soooooo maybe NC’s Office of Travel and Tourism isn’t exactly knocking down my door to offer me a job as their new spokesperson today. Or, um, maybe, any day. To quote Cher from one of my top three absolute favorite movies of all time, “Oops! My bad.”
Hey, I’ll admit it when I’m wrong! And, I will freely acknowledge the fact that I am always incredibly fortunate to see beautiful things and to meet amazing people, many of whom I subsequently consider friends, no matter what the circumstance.
Take, for instance, the view at my and Melissa’s turn-around point in our long run on Sunday:
I didn’t even mind the bite of the bone-chilling gust that met us at a right-hand turn on the way back – The kind of gust that smacks you square in the nose, taking your breath away for a second. Once that hit, I had a flashback to my college cross country days on then deserted dirt roads that now mark busy byways of a housing subdivision.
That, along with the big, fat, fluffly snowflakes that calmly drifted from the white sky to the ground the day before - even though they melted immediately upon hitting the ground (‘A’ for effort, Mother Nature!) - felt a little like home.
That covers the ‘beautiful things’ part. If, that is, you consider a frozen punch to the face that knocks the wind right outta ya a beautiful thing, which, apparently, I do.
The ‘amazing people’ part is complete, in part, compliments of the Carolina Godiva Track Club. In the absence of my beloved Irish Snug Running Club‘s Thursday night soirees in Denver, NC offers Thursday night runs with Godiva – 7.25 miles during the winter through Woodcroft and adjacent neighborhoods and alternating 8ish-mile routes including the infamous American Tobacco Trail during the summer.
I don’t much care for either course, honestly. The hilly nature of the winter route offers enough of a mix to keep you on your toes, so to speak. Ugh, don’t even get me started on the Tobacco Trail, though! I don’t particularly care for the stretch of the trail in the summer route. What keeps me going back (beyond the promise of burning calories rather than consuming them while sitting on my behind) are my fellow Godivans.
Enter Jim and Carolyn, Godiva head honcho and honchoess. Not only do they help to organize and to distribute the monthly club newsletter, provide a warm welcome to new additions to the run every Thursday, play major roles in organizing local races, and probably a bunch of other stuff I don’t even know about, they host the annual Godiva chili night following a winter Thursday night run.
Additionally, they introduced me to my NC running buddy Melissa and invited us both to Thanksgiving dinner. Go ahead, say it. I know you wanna: “Awwwww!” ‘Awwwww!’ is right! They are GREAT and have really helped this dry-climate-loving CO girl to feel a little more at home in the foreign jungle of EEEWWWY humidity that is NC.
While I do hope to go home soon, I can’t help but think of all of the good things that came out of my move to NC. Lucky for me, the world is full of crazy people who look forward to making new friends while out for a run. That’s worth a nod and tip of your cap, even if it means I have to eat my words from time to time – which, by the way, don’t taste nearly as good as the chili.
Melissa Mincic studies child development at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is a long-time road and trail runner. Follow Melissa on Twitter at @nerdinrunshoes.