Thursday, January 10, 2008

Friends & Running

The XC ultra marathon Quebec

I'm not the religious sort but I do feel things happen for a reason and an interesting chain of events have led me here starting in 2001, the year I started running. People often ask how I started running, well I started running simply because I was going to Europe for a few weeks and wanted to keep up with my work out routine and I needed some cardio in the mix.

At the same time I ran into old friend I used to know from my 'rock star' days who became a personal trainer and was a runner, she introduced me to the whole damn thing, came with me to get running shoes and later on to races etc.

But that didn't really happen right away, you see I had a girlfriend that lived on the upper west side of Manhattan, which was again far from the gym I went to, so when I stayed over I ran because I wasn't able to get in a workout and being the obsessive gym rat at the time I needed something, so I forced myself to run about 6 miles every time I stayed over, which for a beginner was murder.

I ran all right, I ran in the pouring rain, snow, the brittle cold and the dog days of summer. And then it happened, she brought me to see her brother's girlfriend do a triathlon. When I saw all those fit fuckers running toward the finish I knew this was for me and I knew these are the people I wanted to hang with.

And so it began I ran my first race in Central PK in 2003, The Nike Run For the Parks a short 4 miler I ran with Julie another friend of mine who convinced me we should do the NYC Marathon.

Julie and Ericka my two running gurus we all ran together on Tuesdays until E. kind of bailed on us to get married. I ran a few races with Julie but I ended up doing my first ½ marathon alone, the Manhattan 1/2 , which at the time was held in Central PK in late July and in 2003 during a heat wave. I was told that if I could run 10 miles I could finish this, so I did.. the Friday before the race which was, by the way on Sunday. My girlfriend at the time didn't come to show her support as she was getting bored of me getting up at the crack of dawn to run these races, I took it as a sign of things to come.

As time went on Julie didn't have the persistence I did to train for a Marathon I became too fast for her and we stopped running together.
I also broke things off with the girlfriend because I was interested in others things like being around geeky runners and endurance athletes.
So there wasn't much for me to do except join a running group on Tuesdays to replace Julie and get tips for my first Marathon.

Here's where I started to meet my current crew. I made friends with various people who came and left the running group but one of the first people I met was Elizabeth a devout Jehovah Witness with abs of steel who has probably 25 marathons under her belt a PR of 3:18 and she runs each one like a newbie (nervous and full of questions.)

A year later I met one of my closest friends Cara, who from the moment I met her I knew we were going to be good friends and that for some reason she would play an important role in my life, call it intuition if you will. But I still wouldn't realize this for at least another year because only after a few weeks she bailed on the running group because of wk, but I did manage to run into her at the NY Half where she invited me to have lunch with a few friends who ran the race which at that time she introduced me to Rich and Cherie who in turn introduced me to Mark.

Cara kind of disappeared for a while but I never forgot her and there was a reason for this, after that rainy afternoon I exchanged phone numbers with Mark (yes I picked up a dude) well everything happens for a reason right?

During the course of a few months I found myself running into Cherie more and more who was always quick to blurt out "Cara's not here!' I started to think, "hey, what's up with this girl, Can't a guy just say hello?"

Then as fate would have it Cherie shows up one Tuesday night in the running group and we were fast friends, Cherie introduced me to all her friends and was really great about wanting her friends all to be friends.
She is such a sweet and upbeat person all I can say is I am so grateful to know someone like her, and I suspect everyone who knows Cherie feels the same, she's like the blond little sister I never had.

Strangely enough months and months later in comes Cara back to the running group I can't say to her what I owe her as a friend for being the catalyst for all my latest running adventures. It was after meeting her she said she did an ultra marathon and I thought, 'this is the coolest girl' she had some serious bragging rights and I was impressed to say the least, even more it's been a dream to do an ultra and before I knew it her, Cherie, Rich, and myself were off to Jay Mountain to do the Jay Challenge.

And the rest is history as they say.. The point of this blog was to link all these circumstances in my life in the last few years. I've broken away some negative things in my life through running and made a conscious effort to surround myself with positive people. I feel just by making that decision and meditating on it that I have brought it all into my life. To Cara, Rich, and Cherie Thanks. Here's to all the crazy adventures and new friends we meet along the way!