This past week was one of those great moments I knew, for certain, I am with my true friend. I met Eman in Austin when I moved here and joined UT lab. And in a weird way, the outspoken running dirty half-dressed middle-aged just-married second time with a couple of teens woman from former Soviet Union hit it off with a headscarf-wearing slightly hyper (slightly??) Arabic single mother from Egypt. It was a match made in heaven. I took her to the trails for her first time and got her hooked on trail running and community (like she didn't have enough communities to tend to - she never learned to pee in the woods though, but did finish her first 50k later), she "baby"set my teenager when both Larry and I traveled to races, I went to her home to drink lots of coffee and eat lots of dark chocolate when I was navigating the waters of second marriage, and she listened patiently and without judgement and told me to cherish what we've got, and keep working at it. She was crazy, busy, extroverted, always involved in a thousand of things, lonely deep inside, reaching out to help, but rarely asking for help for herself, smart, loving science and college students - we had not that much in common from the first gaze, but a lot from the past, our respective home countries and experiences, and core values. A year and half ago she moved to NC for a new position - and I tried hard to keep up. Any time we talked - it was like we're still on the couch. This past week, we set on the couch for real, again - because I made a trip and, wrapping myself as a gift, dropped for her birthday in Raleigh, NC.
From the moment we walked to each other at the airport, it was like time never passed: "Dude, what's up?" (she really does talk like that) - and we picked up a conversation without even a hint of hesitation.
We drove to a Morrow Mountain state park 2 hrs East next morning, to a highest point at that part of the state - after a stop at the best local coffee shop, of course, full blown discussion on methods of coffee extractions and types of coffee (we are both nerds on that). I managed to survive her insane swirling on highways and her being tested in patience on a 2-lane country road behind slow pokes. We made it, alive, and took a hike to the top - some 2.7 miles up and a different route with just over 3 miles down. And it was gorgeous, peaceful, normal East Coast Spring time with naked trees, birds chirping, no people in sight, and a straight-up climb on a final approach. It was all I remember about East Coast - and miss so much. What can I say, just about anything is better than Texas (well, Florida really sucks more).
We walked, we talked and we were quiet, then talked again - I always said a true friend is somebody you can do nothing with and it feels comfortable and not forced. The weather held on, with occasional sun rays peeking out a few time, mostly just nice 50's and no rain.
After dinner at home, she took me to Umstead park, which happened to be less than 2 miles away from her - and one where I ran (and won!!) my first 100 mile race! The memories sprung alive, and I am in owe of my own past self for the runner I used to be - and didn't appreciate it back then.
And just like that, the 36 hrs of NC were over. 4 am alarm clock (what is 3 am Central time for me!) took me to the airport, two flights, and straight to work, as always. Back to the grind.
This trip was an amazingly refreshing, and I didn't even know I needed it. I needed to be somewhere further past than my PNW living, further past my ultrarunning friends, like a time travel - and with somebody I can talk freely about stuff many get uncomfortable listening about, or even subjects we disagree on - and feel safe, feel understood, feel loved and accepted. I am so glad it happened.
On a back-to-the-grind note, I picked up my training some. I now do Mt. Bonnell and Hill of Life repeats once a week, and more legs/less upper body on all my 3 weight training mornings. My body finally adapting to eating changes I made, and I can see a little bit of results (slow, but hopefully here to stay). I am also now 3 weeks on new meds - for low thyroid function, and while my thyroid tests were all totally normal, I convinced my doctor to give it a shot. By now I can say I can at least get through my work day and not fall flat on my face of exhaustion once at home (did I mention my fatigue finally spread out from running related exertion to other exercises to my physically demanding job and working too many hours for a massage therapist?). As far as running, for a week prior beginning this new treatment and 2 first week on it I haven't run a step, giving me a clean break, and now started to throw a jogging fits inside my walks. My Monday River place trail 4 mile loop was awesome with I say at least 2/3 of it being ran (shuffled?), and today I probably made 1/2 of 5 mile road path as a jog. But so far I still haven't strung a continuous mile of running, nor can I justify calling it "running" quite yet. It still feels good to hope.
|My best friend|
But I am going to deliberately try and not reach out a few folks I check on regularly - I still do care though I often wonder if they care back. Who knows, they might be happy about my silence 😆