A Trip Down Memory Lane

Good morning…

With September now in full swing, let the pumpkin spice craze begin! Seriously, I am a pumpkin guy, but even I have limits! The other day I heard Hormel is making a pumpkin spiced SPAM! Really? So yes, this morning I am sipping on a hot cup of pumpkin spiced coffee (not artificially flavored). Oh, and do not knock pumpkin ice cream until you have had it.

Another amazing weekend here on the Seacoast. The temperatures have been hovering around a quite comfortable 70 degrees. Yesterday I was down around Rye Beach with a friend and the effects of hurricane Dorian were some amazing waves smashing against the seawalls, creating a wonderful show. While the affects of Dorian may be fun in this part of the world, my heart and prayers go out to those in other parts of the world who were devastated by the affects.

While my friend and I were down walking on the sidewalk along Rye Beach, I pointed out a house of a wonderful friend who I met through running. Almost right on cue, we saw said friend (Shannon), pop out on to her balcony. After getting Shannon’s attention, she invited us to sit on her deck and chat for a bit. What a great treat, as I probably have not seen Shannon in over 5 years!

Shannon in-sighted many wonderful memories and was a part of something very special for a group of 25 people. I cannot ever remember the year, but Shannon aptly recited how in 2007 a group of us (24 woman and one guy), all signed up to train for a half marathon through Runners Alley in Portsmouth. As she described how it came be for her and then chatted about our group, I marveled at how amazing this experience was. Kathy had suggested we attempt this training group and having only ever run a 10K, I thought it was nuts! Little did I realize, that experience would be life changing.

Twelve years later (thanks Shannon), I still feel like that first training experience was one of my top two running experiences. Yes, it was amusing that the group was comprised of 24 woman and Me. In fact, on one particular long run, I was a bit out in front of the group, when a guy in a car pulled along side of me and asked me if I knew I was being chased by a pack of woman? Hahaha!

While I went on from being a participant in a training group to eventually leading multiple training groups, I must say, Diane our 2007 group leader was the best! Her enthusiasm and love created such a wonderful group dynamic. Between Diane’s social skills and the many hours of running together, many wonderful friendships were forged. Shannon reminisced of how many of us continued doing other events together after conquering this first 13.1. While I have not run with anyone from this group in years, I still to this day enjoy many of the friendships.

By far the most impactful part of my life is my faith in our God, beyond that, training with that 2007 Runners Alley training group was/is one of the most life changing things I ever did. Not only was the experience amazing, but I changed as a person. The accomplishment, the joy and friendships were all worth the time and money but learning to do something I could never have imagined, changed me in more ways than I could ever put into words appropriately. I have since coached and led many, many runners to this same accomplishment for the first time and while I will never be as amazing as Diane, I believe most every runner would agree, running 13.1 is life changing. I have run multiple marathons and I still believe 13.1 is more significant.

A final thought about the significance of joining this running group 12 years ago. Some years later as I coached and led another Runners Alley half marathon group, one of the runners in my group was a young college student who was attempting her first half marathon. Today, that runner who happens to be my daughter, enjoys running and I dare say, both her and I would agree, we enjoy it most when we are doing it together. A true blessing.

Next week I will chat about challenges ahead, but I will give you a sneak peek. “I look forward to running 13.1 next year more than ever!”

Enjoy this beautiful day and have an amazing week!

God Bless!