About a year and a half ago, I was reading my trusty Runner’s World magazine and an article caught my eye. It was written by some guy named Trd Spiker and he has a blog called “The Big Guy Blog“. Hmmph. I’m not a big guy. But he was talking about this group on Facebook that he’d started, hoping to bring together like-minded people in his quest for a Sub-30 minute 5k. The group sounded good, as in too good to be true good. I’d tried the whole group run with the Mercer Island ‘all paces welcome’ group of liars, and spent 20 minutes in a downpour trying to find my way back to the parking lot after running 9 miles solo. In the rain. It was cool, but I was pissed. But, what the hell, I’m a glutton for punishment so I scurried over to Facebook and searched out this Sub-30 Club. It’s a closed group. You have to request to join, which, since I didn’t know anyone it in, I figured I’d never hear back. Um, holy shit, the Ted guy approved my invite. I’m was IN!
To say my life hasn’t been the same since would be so very cliché….but it’s the damned truth. I found a woman who was doing a couple of the same races I was and lived kinda close. I commented on one of her posts (must have been about running solo all the time) and she said she ran with a group of women Tuesday night’s, not far for me, all paces welcome. Mmmhmmm… Sure as shit though, all paces ARE welcome. NO ONE runs alone or gets left behind, it’s a reliable 3.1 mile route that double back so you can quit early if you want (rarely happens), and people go out afterward for food and drinks. I started running with them last October, and I’ve probably missed a half dozen runs at the most. The coach is now MY coach, and who got me trained for the Portland Marathon. These Pip Ladies are ‘my people’ and I live my Tuesday night runs.
This Tuesday night though, my running buddy wasn’t there. When we finally met last October, after a couple unsuccessful attempts, it was so I could give her my “flattie” to take to a series of races in Bethlehem, PA (who knew JC and the crew had a place over there!). A flattie is a picture (laminated) of yourself, in running mode or at least running attire, that sound one can take in their adventure – sort of like Flat Stanley I guess. It started with Flat Bart Yasso, a running ambassador, author, guru, and Runner’s World magazine guy (see, there’s a method to my rambling madness, just be patient). Anyway, last year, Lynn & my flattie had a blast! I was head first in a stein of beer, outside Rodale’s HQ (parent family of RW mag), shit – she made my flattie a TUTU to wear at the races! The raceS last year were the Hat Trick, a 5k and 10k back-to-back and the following day, a half marathon. Glad she was doing that, because I knew for a FACT there was no way I could (she ran the Marine Corps Marathon the following weekend, too!!!). All the Facebook posts, photo tags, downright shenanigans had me laughing and smiling the whole weekend, checking in often to see where “I” was and what “I” was up to.
And all I could think about was how I wanted to do that, too. Obviously, it was a dream. It was in Pennsylvania, for Pete’s sake. I’ve never been there, don’t know anyone there, and I don’t fly to races to run with strangers!
So when registration for the 2015 Runner’s World Half & Festival opened about a week later, I registered for the Five&Dime (5k & 10k) and then hopped onto Gametiime and had them add the race so I could save it to my ‘registered’ list! It gave me something to dream about even though I knew I couldn’t do it. And about a week or two after that, when the rooms at the Hyatt opened up, I booked one, you know, just for grins. You need a place to sleep if you want to dream.
And now….we fast forward to August, when I asked my guy if he would mind terribly if I used frequent flyer miles to fly 3000+ miles to run ALL the races with my friend Lynn (who he met the same day) and 160 strangers I chat with on Facebook…including that Ted Spiker guy, and Bart Yasso. He. Said. Sure. Which I took as a yes, even though it usually means maybe, and I booked my flight. $36 round trip. I canceled the hotel because I will room with Lynn and another “friend in my phone”, and she’s ex-military so she got a smokin’ deal on the room. And when I said ALL the races, yep, I meant ALL. In addition to the Hat Trick, there is a 3.8 mile trail run (course designed by Bart Yasso himself) tomorrow. It’s confusing when you combine km’s and mi’s but when you add up 3.8mi + 5k (3.1mi) + 10k (6.2ni) + 13.1mi it equals…26.2! A progressive marathon – YES!!!
Tonight, I’m sleeping in the Atlanta airport (because I know how to party). Tomorrow I land in Philadelphia where Lynn has been since last weekend (which is why we didn’t run together on Tuesday) will pick me (and others) up, head to Bethlehem, and we will Runn the trail race, cheer on the kids race and then socialize like only this group knows how. Happy Hour with 160+ of our best friends that we’ve never met.
Oh, and this year? I’m bringing some flatties along for the ride.