You never know where life may take you, it’s so true. I definitely never expected to live in NC. Still, it’s turned out to have its perks. Most recently, a job perk for me included my third conference trip for the spring to San Francisco! That carried with it more exciting perks – visits with two of my previous runnin’ pals!
First, Maria. Maria and I ran cross country together during my first year of college – I was a freshman, and she was a sophomore. We fell out of touch after she graduated and left good ol’ Trinidad State Junior College up until about three years ago - about 11 years after Maria graduated.
On some random week night, Maria called me. I don’t remember how she got my number, but I was so happy to hear from her! I really appreciated the fact that she made the effort to seek me out. We caught up on each other’s lives for about an hour, and we’ve kept in touch ever since.
We even flew to Japan together a few summers ago to visit yet another former member of the TSJC Lady Trojans Cross Country Team, Makiko:
Maria ended up back home in California, and she was nice enough to meet me for dinner and a walk around Fisherman’s Wharf in San Fran on Saturday:
As if that weren’t awesome enough, I met up with Dave, a good friend from the Irish Snug Running Club, after this. I don’t think Dave had any plans to move across the country for a job; but, as was my case two years ago, life had other plans in store for him as well.
When he learned that I would be moving to Durham, NC, in May 2011, he wasted no time in recruiting me to pace him for the last 11 miles of the Outer Banks Marathon on the NC coast in November 2011. It was then that he earned his nickname, thanks to a few marathon spectators without filters who thought out loud before we were out of earshot on along the course.
We rounded a corner where two women were standing in a residential neighborhood. We may have only gotten a few feet past them when we heard one of the women say, “Look at that man running with his granddaughter!”
We looked at the other for a sec then laughed, and I’ve called him “Poppy” (what his grandchildren call him) ever since.
And again, just when I thought the night couldn’t get any better, Poppy gave me this, a memento from the marathon:
Not only had I had a great time with Maria and with Dave, they both traveled at least an hour to meet me in San Francisco. If that’s not the sure sign of good friends, I don’t know what is! The best part? I know this wasn’t the last time our paths would cross.
I am a very lucky winged feet gal to have such amazing running peeps, only one of the many reasons I run, even if we can’t run together right now.
There’s nothing like an awesome blast from my running past to round out the end of my mini running sabbatical. San Fran was fun, but now it’s time to get to work – This week marks week one of marathon training. The Pikes Peak Marathon is 108 days and about 8 1/2 hours away. The countdown has officially begun. . .
Melissa Mincic, Ph.D., 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.