Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Girlfriends...in Life and in Racing

As women, we are naturally prone to wanting,  NEEDING, close friendships with other women. 

I love my husband with all my soul.  We have been together for 21 years, since High School, and Chris is my best friend, my soul-mate.  I can tell him anything and I love spending time with him, whenever I can get it.  I even have a "No Friday Night Plans with Friends" policy, because that is our standing "Date Night."  And it's important to me, to us.  He is an amazing husband, father, and friend.  And he understands my need for my Girlfriends, and my time with them.  And I appreciate that more than any words could say. 

Celebrating 13 years of Marriage, and 21 years together. 

I've had lots of different kinds of relationships with Girlfriends.  The first one being my younger sister, Robin.   Now, any woman with a sister who tells you they didn't fight like cats when they were younger is LYING.  It's what sisters do.  Sad, but true.  All siblings do (as I am living through right now with my own children), but sister have a special way of doing it.  I prefer not to go into detail about our "special" way of getting under each others skin, and instead will fast forward to now.  I am so proud of Robin!  She is an amazing mother, wife, sister, and daughter.  She is a wonderful example of health and fitness to her own two daughters (and to  me!), and she is close to our Parents and Grandparents and always willing to help them out.  It's hard being the one that moved far away... and it is comforting to me to know that Robin is there, close by.   I took for granted all that time we had together, growing up, as siblings will do.  We never know where life will take us, and in my case it took me to the West Coast.  I don't see my sister nearly enough, and am thankful for technology to make us feel closer in proximity than we are.  We have daughters that are only three months apart in age, but thousands of miles apart.  That is so hard, seeing the cousins grow up so far away from one another.  It's reassuring to me that when we DO see each other, the kids pick up right where they left off.  I've admired my sister for completing the Chicago Marathon, before she had kids, and am really excited to say that she will be joining me for this year's Girlfriend's Half Marathon!  We are running it on our Mom's Birthday, our first race together, and I am excited for her to get that sub-2 hour PR (since I won't be slowing down for her now...)  HA!  Better start training, Robin.  ;-) 

Me and my Sis, Robin
Lauren, and her cousin Grace (photo courtesy of Cheryl M. Photography)

Moving thousands of miles away from your family, with a baby and no job to make connections, can be a daunting task.  I knew that I was going to need a way to make some friends so I didn't go completely off the deep end.  The North Beaverton MOMS Club was my saving grace.  I remember that first meeting so clearly.  I felt Divine Intervention working when I met Cindy and her daughter, Natalie, just 5 days older than my Andrew.  The two Cyndie/Cindy's started a playgroup, and the rest is history.  A wonderful history that includes so many amazing women and their children and husbands.  Our lives have been forever touched by the families we met through the MOMS Club.  As our children have grown, and families have grown, our time together became less and less.  Some friends have moved (still missing you, V), others live just blocks away.  But with our children's schedules so busy and different school schedules, we hardly see each other anymore.  Chance meetings at Girls Night concerts allow us to remember all the fun times we shared together.  Keeping in touch on Facebook (seriously thankful for FB), watching each others children grow and the adventures the families are having together, is bittersweet.  We'd love to be able to stay connected to all the people who have had such a profound influence and impact on our  lives, but the reality is...time gets in the way.  It becomes SO important to carve out those blocks of time to reconnect with those friends from the past, friends that became like family, friends that filled the hole that was empty with family living so far away.  I am grateful for ALL of you amazing women from the MOMS club, my friends that I made when I was just Andrew's mommy, and then all my new friends when I was active in the club with just Lauren.  You each hold a special place in my heart, and I consider you all a part of our Oregon Family. 

Cindy and Cyndie

Andrew and Natalie... hard to believe they met when they were 9 months old!
Memorial Day Weekend Trip with The Robinson's, 2011, photo by Andrew
Annual MOMS Club Easter Egg Hunt! 

After Lauren was born, I started feeling a need for something else... I just wasn't sure what it was that I needed.  Then I discovered Stroller Strides, and my life was again changed!  Like all things that have a profound impact on your life, I remember that first class vividly.  My sister was in town with Grace, the girls were just babies (Lauren was almost one), and she said we should see if there was a Stroller Strides class nearby.  Robin had started going to her SS classes in St. Louis when Grace was born.  Sure enough, there was a class that met at Greenway Park, fairly close to my house.  I was hesitant (unlike me for some reason), but when I saw all of these other mommies seeking out exercise and social mommy-time, I. Was. HOOKED.   These women were all seeking out a way to feel better physically (endorphins are powerful, and SS classes are intense!), and looking for other women who felt the same as they did... Tired. ;-)  It's hard to drag yourself and your kids out of the house to go exercise.  The beauty of Stroller Strides was that you CRAVED getting out and going to class because you CRAVED the time with your Girlfriends.  The workout was the icing on the cake.  Over the years, Stroller Strides has evolved within my life.  For a while, Andrew would join Lauren and I, riding his scooter or his bike next to me (and then up with the faster girls).  Rachel was so kind to allow me to bring him, as I don't know what I would have done without my Rachel or Tracy butt-kicking and then social mommy-time after at the park. ;-)   I not only became a better mom during my years in Stroller Strides, I found my inner athlete.  I had surrounded myself with like-minded women, strong, healthy women who enjoyed challenging themselves outside their comfort zone.  I was inspired by those that pushed themselves to race, and I soon began pushing others to do the same.  Although the Stroller Strides chapter in my life has finally come to a close, the connections and friendships I formed with the women have not!  We are just getting started!  I love my early Saturday morning runs with my Girlfriends.  I love that so many of them are willing to be talked into racing with me.  I love cheering on each of them as they push themselves further and faster than they thought they could go. 

My Running Buddy, Marianne, after we finally busted 2 hours at Rock n Roll!

We love to workout, but we love to GO OUT too! :-)  Kerri and Brandi

Fueled By Fine Wine, EPIC Relay team 2012... 12 Girlfriends!

Kristine, one of the strongest Mommies I know.  She can make a double jogger with two boys look like it doesn't weigh anything.

Girlfriends Half Marathon, 2011! 

EPIC Relay, Van 2...pit stop at Rex Hill Winery.  Living up to our team name.

I love you Jen!  Even though you believe your shirt, you still let me talk you into crazy things!

I am excited to see where I go from here... Wherever it is, it's always more fun with your GIRLFRIENDS!

Me and Amy... a little preview of Friday's post

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