Some of my amazing trail crew, after we hit the trails and then devoured our weight in omelets, pancakes, and coffee.
A little over a year ago, I stumbled across this company called Fellow Flowers. They are an amazing company that celebrates female runners, and the joy the running brings to women’s lives. This past fall, I had the opportunity to join the Fellow Flowers Crew, which is a more select group of women who promote the company and its values, but also lift up and celebrate one another and our accomplishments. We’ve spent the past couple of weeks gearing up for today, February 6th, which is Declare it Day (DID). Declare it Day is a chance for us to put our goals out there and make a commitment to ourselves.
If you read this blog regularly (thank you, by the way), you may remember that I already went ahead and declared my goals about a week ago. I didn’t want today to go by without celebrating though, so of course I turned to my favorite running group. Spending time with them today, both on the trails, and at breakfast afterward, made me realize that while running is about the personal journey that I take, it’s also really about the people that I’ve encountered along the way. So today, instead of being redundant and talking about my goals, I want to talk about the people that help make those goals happen.
Without a doubt, I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my husband. I don’t want to diminish his importance in any way, but since I already wrote a post dedicated to him last year, we’re going to focus instead on the support I receive from my fellow runners. Because to be honest, no one else truly understands unless they have been there. Last week I had that amazing run at Worlds End on Saturday, and then Sunday rolled around and it was just a normal day. And none of the people I encountered on Sunday really could understand how incredible Saturday had been, because they weren’t there to share it with me. But other runners understand. They get it. So here’s my salute to my running crew.
I can’t talk about my running crew without talking about Jen. Our paths crossed over ten years ago, and our friendship has grown stronger ever since. In fact, now that I think about it, Jen really warrants her own post on this blog. For now, suffice it to say that she’s one of my closest friends, really more of a sister than a friend, and we’ve been through more running related adventures together than everyone else that I run with combined. That will happen after you’ve run together, in training and in races, for more than 10 years. She’s dealing with some lousy physical stuff right now that’s causing her to put running on the back burner, but I still know that I can always reach out to her with a running related question, or celebration, or complaint.
Jen & I, before one of our many races together.
The other members of my crew are all a part of my trail group. These are my “new” friends. We’ve been running together for just over a year, but they’ve become such an important part of my life. In my mind, Nicole is our de facto leader. She is the one who reached out and invited me to join these women for a run last New Year’s, and she’s the one who continues to keep us on track, organizing weekly runs, nudging us into races, and sharing training plans. As an introvert, I can’t imagine reaching out to a total stranger and inviting them to hang out. It is completely inconceivable. In fact, as an introvert, just agreeing to show up for a run with people I didn’t know was a scary thing. Somehow I did though, and I am tremendously thankful that first run occurred.
These women are amazing. There’s a core group of us who show up almost weekly, and then others who join us from time to time, but the overall feel of the group is such a happy and welcoming one. We’re bonded by our love of running, especially on the trails, and I think that all of us would say that the time we spend together in the woods is transforming. I run with these women every week, and yet I am continually awed by them. We have met up for runs in the rain, runs in sub-freezing temps, runs in 100% humidity, and runs when the trails are coated in mud and snow. Barely a week goes by without someone falling, and we always just pick ourselves back up and carry on our way. Our runs usually average about 90 minutes, but can also last for multiple hours. I’ve been running for over 12 years, and the pace that these women set is often blistering. I usually find myself lagging at the back, feeling like a newbie runner and hoping that my turtle speed isn’t annoying them too much.
This morning, sitting around and listening to them share their hopes & dreams, I found myself so thankful to be a part of this group. Life is hard, and when you are trying to balance being a wife, and a mother, and your job, it can feel overwhelming. These women provide encouragement and challenge and humor on a weekly basis. They truly make up my running crew, and I am so grateful for their presence in my life.