I was thinking yesterday about the past year, in particular how fortunate I am to have added so many amazing friends to my already blessed life. I never would have imagined how much my life would change in just one year (actually, I've been in a perpetual state of change for a few years now so I guess I shouldn't be surprised).
Jerry and Linda - I met them at Adventure Race camp in the spring. We were all extreme newbies to this thing called adventure racing and on the first day were put in the beginners group for mountain biking (I'm talking BEGINNERS group - so much so that they split the three of us into a separate group with our instructor because we were going a little too slow). We bonded that weekend and ended up running our first race together down in Albuquerque a couple of months later. They are an amazing couple who I inspire to emulate in my own relationships. I remember meeting them in Lake City this summer to climb Handies Peak. We were to meet at a local restaurant and as I was walking up to the restaurant I got a glimpse of them in the window. They didn't look like a couple who had been married 25+ years, they looked like a couple on their first date. It gave me hope.
I also met Tim at adventure race camp. However, Tim was not a newbie to adventure racing - he had quite a bit of experience in all the disciplines and was there to get certification for the BIG race, Primal Quest. He was my partner for kayaking and impressed me with his patience and fun spirit. He was also an amazing instructor with such a great attitude and spirit. I got the chance to be support for a race he did in Moab in September and even under those type of extreme circumstances, he still had the same peaceful and calm nature. When I think of Tim I imagine how I want to live my life... to the fullest. He lives that example every day.
Jari - what can't I say about her? I've talked about her quite a bit on this blog but I think it's hard to put into words her influence on my life. I met her that first day of AR camp, she was our mountain bike instructor and took me under her wing. She is a natural teacher who loves to challenge people to be their very best. Despite her busy schedule of traveling and racing, she has always had time to encourage and advise me and just be my friend. When I think of Jari I see a person who lives life exactly the way she wants, with no regrets.
Wendy and Melissa - I had kind of met Wendy at, you guessed it, AR camp. But I didn't get to know her very well until this past September when I did support for her at the Moab race (she was on Tim's team). I am so glad I met her! She is warm and friendly yet tougher than nails. She really struggled through parts of the race yet never gave up and I have a feeling it never even crossed her mind. I just loved spending time with her, she is one of those people I feel totally at ease with and love talking to.
I met Melissa at the Moab race, she was on the team with Tim, Wendy and Kent. Melissa is what you would call an "exuberant spirit." She is a constant source of encouragement and has the most upbeat attitude I have ever seen. I had mentioned that I had a fear of racing with people, mostly since I feel I hold them back with how slow I am. She squashed that immediately and has decided that I will racing my first 24 hour race with her - she wants me to get over my fears ASAP! I get emails from her all the time asking me when I want to race and I love her for that - she's not going to let me get away with wimping out (even though I have thought about it!). I just love her to death and can't wait to actually do a race with her.
I met Jody (who I unfortunately don't have a pic of) at my first orienteering weekend. It was actually a training weekend and we got paired up in the same training group. You know those type of people you immediately feel comfortable with? That's what it was like with her, I just felt like I had known her for years. We both bike and hike and went to many of the orienteering meets together. The great thing is we are pretty comparable when it comes to any types of sporting events, not too slow, not too fast, just right. Jody is so creative and despite enduring tough times the past years, she still plugs along at life, trying new things and putting one foot in front of the other. She has finally moved to Colorado full-time and I can't wait to spend more time with her!
I met Kim through my friend Glenn, they were both involved in the same singles group. We have slowly gotten to know each other and I now count her as one of my closest and dearest friends. Despite enduring incredible heartache in her short life, she never lets that stop her and has an amazing outlook on life. I have learned so much from her and can't even imagine my life without her.
Do you see a pattern here? All of these friends have a love for life that I admire and respect. I am so fortunate to have them in my life and count them all as an amazing addition to my already blessed life. Thank you to all of you for what you have been to me.