The dishes sat in the kitchen sink. We changed into our pyjamas, poured ourselves a glass of wine and sat in the living room to talk. In many ways it was the cliche girls weekend. On my last vacation days of the year with no real plans, I decided to explore Western New York and booked the cottage at Thirty Mile Point Lighthouse. Most of my friends were already scheduled for the weekend, but thankfully not Linda. She drove in from Rochester. I drove north from Buffalo. And we ate and drank and gossiped. The gossip wasn’t all unproductive, you understand. Sometimes you need to talk things out in order to make sense of them. Sometimes you need to vent. And sometimes you just have to feel as if you’re not all alone on an island of completely crazy.
Saturday morning after I made pancakes (what else?) we went for a walk in the woods. Nothing crazy. No trail running or hill climbing. Just a nice brisk walk on the edge of Lake Ontario. We spent the next few hours exploring some of the wineries in Niagara County. We concluded that the wine and chocolate pairing we did was perhaps the best $12 we had spent. Ever. We laughed and tried to outrun the wine tasting party buses because they were loud and obnoxious. We were loud and obnoxious too, but in a different, more charming way. In fact, we decided that we should have our own reality television show in which we drive around to lesser-known wineries and take in the local culture. Our banter surely would be a hit, as long as we cleaned up the NC-17 portion of our conversations. I named our show “Will Run for Wine.” If someone called Honey Boo Boo can have a reality series, then this is not that far-fetched an idea. It was a weekend spent in beautiful surroundings doing things I enjoy with a friend who makes me laugh so hard my core is sore for a few days. But after we parted I thought about how cool our friendship had evolved.
See, Linda and I met in college. After our lives took us in different directions we reconnected again a few years ago. At a trail race. If you had told our 20-year old selves that we would meet up again years later as runners? We would have laughed at the idea and taken another shot of Hos-Hos chased with Yoo-Hoo.
But that’s how life works. We each found running in our own way for our reasons. Running opened up new opportunities for us. But it also opened a new portal to the past. It reconnected our friendship, one that has historical roots and a shared story but with the freedom to grow and explore. What’s amazing is that as I focus on the things which are really important in my life, my core values, it not only makes my training and racing that much more enjoyable (and productive) but it spills over into the rest of my life in ways I could never have predicted.
Running a trail race two years ago brought me to this weekend filled with things I love –exploring new places, trying new things, being in nature, laughing, connecting. You may find it odd that my desire to work on my health and fitness led me to waxing poetic about a weekend filled with wine, chocolate, pancakes and more wine. But to me, the contradiction serves as my touchstone. It tells me that I’m on exactly the right path, one that’s filled with living a life that I love. What is it Walt Whitman wrote? I am vast. I contain multitudes. Amen to that from a heart filled with gratitude that new pursuits have brought old friends back into my life.