Wednesday, July 15, 2015

it's better with friends

Do you ever dream of stopping time, so you can do all the things you want to do, and then resume your life? I do! I have been having trouble keeping up with everything, including this blog, but I wouldn't trade my time on the trails, roads, and track for anything.

Summertime is in full swing which means training, racing, eating, sleeping, and traveling have taken priority (though I love public service and am grateful for my position with Coconino County, running brings me alive in ways that writing grants cannot!). It's already mid-July (how did this happen? it feels like 2015 just started!).

Lately I have been pondering the value of friends. The past six months have been rich.

Kara, Kristina and I raced as the BROOKS Babes at the 8th Annual Kahtoola Agassiz Uphill
It was friends who inspired me to get out the door and run last winter when I was still in lazy mode and friends who joined me on our local mountain for my first race of the year (check out this sweet video by Kevin Riley of Action in Solitude!).
I've known Jenny nearly my entire life! Love her!
It was the draw of visiting childhood friends that made me fly to Texas in spring, then jump into a road half that I had only minimally prepared for (ouch! at least it enabled my highest heart rate effort of the year!). Meanwhile, Jenny and her best friend Cynthia whom she does every race with hit PRs in the 5K, 10K, and half marathon that weekend as Team CynJen (I was honored to be their +1)!
Only lifelong friends will have sock monkey slippers waiting for you on race weekend!
It was friends that lured me back to Team Run Flagstaff track workouts on Tuesday nights, after a long hiatus, and friends who invited me to join their 6 am dog runs (I'm sans dog but sure enjoy their company!) on Wednesday and Friday mornings. While I have to get up when the birds start singing outside my windows to make it on time, it feels tremendous to get 9 or 10 miles in before work, to earn that shower.
John, Paul and Keith are the heart of the dog runs and make fine Beer Mile relay team members
It's friends I look forward to seeing when I hang on for dear life at the Bagel Runs on Thursday mornings.
They don't make 'em much better than my TransRockies partner Caleb

It was Caleb who dragged me to the Grand Canyon for six runs this spring, stretching me beyond anything I had ever done there.

Can you spot my bright pink hat at the very top of the trail?

It's the community of running friends that keep me in Flagstaff when career opportunities arise that would pay so much more elsewhere...if you don't know what I'm talking about, then just go to a Run Flagstaff Summer Series race. You'll feel it, too.
Receiving handmade coral and silver jewelry for my efforts in the 32nd Annual Sacred Mountain Prayer Run
It's friends that convinced me to run twice around Heritage Square, in the Downtown Mile, before the Fourth of July parade.

Stepping outside my comfort zone

It was the pull of the running community from a time I lived and worked on the Navajo Nation years ago that enticed me to drive three and a half hours to race a mountain 10K in New Mexico the very next day.
36th Annual Narbona Pass Classic

It is friends I share trails with, even if I rarely see them in daily life. Last week a bunch of us assisted with the inaugural Rob Krar Ultra Camp here in Flagstaff. What a treat to be out in the woods during times when I'm typically in the office, especially with a cadre of volunteers and visitors who not only have a deep respect for our natural surroundings, but for one another.
Enjoying 12,000' with guests Erica and Line
It is friends who make me smile when I get too serious about life.
Taking a jaunt around the San Francisco Peaks (thanks Janet, for snapping this photo)

Running has a way of humbling  us. While sponsorships, top finishes, and accolades are amazing and can illuminate the path, the stuff that really stays with us, what actually comprises our path, are the memories we create by showing up each day, particularly with those we admire.

Even when we don't see them (say on a solo run), we know they're out there somewhere, too, energizing their days in vibrant fashion. Plus there's the satisfaction that facing challenges with others brings. It's not easy to leave a snuggly bed to be up by 5 am for a run. There are so many times when one doesn't feel like going to the track in the evening, pushing through a workout, or embracing other hard efforts, either. However, when friends are there with you, either physically or in spirit, it's easier somehow...easier to make that coffee, lace up those shoes, and get out there, setting the tone for all kinds of possibilities.
It's awesome to get there together

A while back a friend said to me, "These are my people." I've come to realize they're mine, too.

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Live the way you run. Run happy.

Live the way you run. Run happy.
Thanks to Kevin Riley at Action in Solitude for this Buffalo Park (Flagstaff, Arizona) photo