Sunday, November 18, 2012

Six Degrees of Separation (or, why I'm the luckiest girl in the world)

I ran into a new running friend today in Zumba class. It was a funny coincidence, seeing her there rather than on the trails. I "met" this new running friend online through another running friend before I ever met her in person. The other running friend works at Big Peach Running Co and fitted me for shoes the first time I met him. Since then we've become good friends, and I see him every Tuesday night and Friday morning at the group runs he leads. A few of the people I've taken Zumba with before at the Y have joined these group runs. My favorite Zumba instructor is actually a runner and a friend now too, having completed 2 half marathons and about to run her third - a race I'll be at this week to cheer on another dear friend, and now I can cheer for her too.
Big Peach Marietta Tuesday night group run
Back to the store. While shopping at a different Big Peach about a year ago, I met another person who works there, but in a different capacity, and then became friends with her online. I run into her frequently at races and different events around town, and she always puts a smile on my face because she has the most infectious smile, ever. She introduced to me to Be Yoga and 2 instructors there who I absolutely love. Actually, in a roundabout way, she reintroduced me to Pilates (via one of those instructors) which I hadn't done in many years. This friend also introduced me to a clothing line (hello, Lululemon) and in turn, some new friends who work there.

I met another new friend at Big Peach when I, on a whim, went shopping there to buy a handheld hydration bottle. It's so funny, the random circumstances under which you can meet someone who may just turn into a very close friend and who you look forward to seeing every week. I adore my Big Peach friends and I hope I don't drive them batty by stopping by all the time just to chat. ;)
Bess and Kate
While training for my first half marathon last year, I met a group of super fun ladies who later invited me to join their running team this year, which I did. Through Team LUNA Chix, I had the opportunity to go to San Francisco, get a peek at the beautiful city and learn so much about running, strengthening and nutrition. I met some other LUNA Chix in different parts of the country who have become friends and we keep in touch online. I also became close friends with someone on the team who introduced me to The Bar Method, which I'm now doing regularly and starting to meet new friends in those classes, as well.
Team LUNA Chix
This friend and I, when we can, take yoga classes with an amazing instructor at Dance Stop Studios who has literally changed my life through her teachings - not only on the mat, but of the heart and soul. I discovered this teacher with another dear friend, who is also my neighbor, when we, on a whim, went to an open house where this instructor offered a trial class. This friend and I are also running buddies and have trained for and run races together. She is often the first person I'll call to share an accomplishment with or to commiserate with because we just GET each other.
Yoga instructor Lisa Flynn

Stacey & me
Back to my first half marathon.  That race was the catalyst for meeting some of the coolest chicks (and best friends) I could ever imagine.  My sister and I were ambassadors for this race along with 3 other women. One of them later joined Team LUNA Chix with me, and had a baby, so we're "mommy friends" now too and I adore her. I was actually quite intimidated by one of the other ambassadors and told myself we'd probably never be close because we had nothing in common. That person is now my very best friend. Through her, I've met another group of friends who are triathletes. I didn't even really know what a triathlon was before I met this friend...I knew it involved three sports but not in which order. Now, these friends are a big part of my life and we keep in touch almost daily even though we all live on opposite sides of town. I ran a race with some of them yesterday morning and turns out another one ran a race across town, and we all placed in our age groups and kicked butt. *fist pump*
Jennifer & me at the Peachtree Road Race

My BFF Mari

With Trisha after her first Ironman

Karen, Sarah & Kristi (us athletes like to chill, too!)
Back to the group runs. On Friday during my group trail run, I met two super fun women who are also moms and live close by. We had a great time chatting during the run and discovered we have some things in common, shared our contact info and promised to meet up for another run soon. I marveled, after that run, at how awesome it is to meet new friends.

If I were to do a "six degrees of separation" chart on all the active friends I know, it would likely take up an entire wall. How freakin' cool is that?! It amazes me how supportive and close Atlanta's (and little ol' East Cobb's) running and fitness communities are. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I start thinking about how lucky I am to have found them. I sometimes wish it hadn't taken me 30 something years to realize that I feel so much better when I'm being active...but then again, I have many years ahead of me to spend with my new friends.