I have the greatest circle of friends on the face of the planet. Period. Hands down. Don't even try to challenge me on this one, I will take you to the mat! The women that I 'run' with are nothing short of amazing. Who knew that a large group of women could actually support and encourage each other to achieve success; instead of tear each other down and criticize and back stab. The quality of life that you can live, despite whatever else that may be going on in your life, with true friends by your side is astounding.
My mother's best friend, Lu,(who what a surprise, is her best running partner)gave a speech at my wedding that I didn't really get until about a year ago. She got up, and was very cutely pulling at her sweater to show some more shoulder, and talked about the amazing friendship she and my mom have had over the years. We all got teary-eyed, because we knew how true it was. They had been through a lot together, shared moments out on the trail that they will remember forever. And had some really good times involving tequila that have been sworn to secrecy! Oh boy I could go on and on...and on! After she tugged at her sweater until it couldn't go any lower, and still be appropriate, she said that while you are married to your husband don't forget about your girlfriends, for they are the ones that help you stay married!
Lu is hilarious, so I thought it was her being funny and left it at that. But after I started to 'run' in my current circle of friends it all clicked. Yes, you can vent to your friends about what irritates you about your husband, what you wished he did more of, or less of, but really your friends serve a much deeper role in your life. They fill the gaps, provide the comfort and support, when you need it most, or where it may be lacking.
Today I got a chance to do my second favorite thing with running- I got to cheer friends on during their race while I was on the sidelines. I love cheering for everyone, and believe me, Barb and I deserved an award for all the cheering we did today! It's just so inspiring to watch people run we couldn't help ourselves. It's seeing the look in their eyes, of fierce determination, or fear, or struggle, and watching them dig deep, find their inner strength, and power through that moves me.
I had a few of my very best friends running in the race today. You see, I already know how amazing they are...hence they are in my wonderful circle of friends! But out there on the course, on race day, I know that they to get to see the girl that I already know exists. The strong competitor, the mother, the friend, the girl that is going to give everything she has, and come up victorious. I know that they are going to be proud of themselves, and I know they are going to fight, and come out the other end stronger and happier.
So one by one, or in some cases, two by two, our Moms on the Run (oh and also some good friends from the AZ Run Like a Mother group) crested the looooong hill to Barb and I screaming like lunatics. We got smiles, and waves, hi-fives and tears, and also some flailing arms and screaming lunatics! These women have played such an important part in my life, that finally I got to be there for them too, filling in that tiny gap between exhaustion and the next water station. It felt good.