Great Friend/ Great Run – Two Bloggers Converge on Philly

When I take a step back and look at things from the blog, it feels to me like the vast majority of what I’m putting out currently is “Triathlon This” and “Product Review That”; Which is great and very representative of where I am at in the progression of my weight loss and training. Again, this is not a bad thing, but this weekend I had the chance to bring it all the way back and remind myself of where I was in the beginning of everything. So for this post I get to take a trip back a little and just post about a workout and my thoughts about it/ where my mind wanders as a result of it.

I had the opportunity this past weekend to meet very literally the first outside person who reached out and supported me as I was just setting out on everything. Nicole from Running While Mommy not only has the distinction of being my first “outside supporter”, or better said: the first person to really reach out and lend encouragement, advice, and support who was not obligated to do so by virtue of being my close friend or family already; but also has crossed over into the realm of “real life friend” that I find myself guarding more and more closely as I get older. I have been at this now for a year and a half, and I have had the vocal and overwhelming support of Nicole basically every step of the way. We “met” when we were both relatively new to the running and blogging worlds, and it may sound corny, but we have both “grown up” (in the running and blogging senses, anyhow) together. I am proud to say that I was there in the early stages of her blog and running career and have been following her progress the entire way. As the time has passed we have both found our way and evolved to fill the  running & blogging personas that we currently hold, and it’s been fantastic to have had someone with me all the way who was feeling the process out and growing then same ways at the same time. A great runner in her own right, she is currently training for her first full marathon and generally kicking ass along the way; Nicole is such a badass and I’m glad to have been along for the ride thus far. I can’t wait to see what she’s going to do next. By the way, you will find her page linked as the top entry under “Friends of Running My Ass Off” on the right, (not to mention most likely in the comments section of any of my posts as she is also this blog’s top commenter) and if you are not following her blog you are doing yourself a disservice. www.runningwhilemommy.blogspot.com. Click on it and follow her, you’ll be glad you did. (…and tell her Big Andy sent you and says hi).

So with that introduction, let me get to it. 2 parts to this story: The actually meeting of “Running While Mommy” herself as well as the run that we had, which merits a description in its own right.

Taking advantage of the fact that Nicole was staying remotely in the area on vacation, we took the opportunity to pick a place in the middle and after more than a year of internet conversations actually meet face to face. So after deciding that the middle ground was Philly and determining where we wanted to run (which was totally awesome…more on that later) we met up in Franklin Square, one of the full block-sized parks in the historic section of Philadelphia. Both Nicole and her husband “Mr. RWM” came out and it was very cool to see her in person. The good news is that we both actually were who we said we are (hey, with the internet you always have to have that in the back of your mind) and it is so awesome to be able to put a voice and mannerisms behind the rest of the personality that I already knew. We went on a nice and easy 5K run, which gave us a decent amount of time to just chat and catch up. This was my first time ever meeting someone like this who I had befriended online and then having that “cross over” into real life. It was kind of weird, because I was meeting her for the first time, but I already knew her. At least for me, it’s an odd mix. So while this was literally the first time we have ever seen each other in flesh and blood or heard each other’s voices, we were able to pick up the conversation right where we had left off before. We talked about how her vacation went, how things are going with Jenn & my preparations for the new baby, work/ rest of the summer plans, etc. You know, just normal friend stuff. No awkward “just met you” silences or having to put on airs/ put our best foot forward kind of feel, just two people chatting like they have done countless times before. That was really great.  All the while I found myself thinking how cool is it that we actually are 3 feet away from each other running and not 5 or 6 states away chatting online. After the run we met back up with her Hubby and the 3 of us just got a chance to stand around and chat for a bit. Mr. RWM was super nice too. I don’t blame him for coming one bit; you can bet your ass that if Jenn was meeting up with some dude she had been chatting with on the internet I’d be there too. Again, luckily none of us were crazed internet serial killers, and all ended well and without any form of drama. Ha.

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It was really great to meet her, and to be honest it kind of sent me on a little trip down memory lane as I sat in gridlock traffic while driving home. One of the things we chatted about was the fact on the run was that neither one of us could remember exactly how we started writing back and forth, whether it was on the Facebook group for Couch to 5K, or possibly me discovering and commenting on her blog. Not sure, to be honest. But even though I do not remember the exact time or circumstances in which we met, I do very much remember myself and where I was, both physically and mentally at that time. I had really just begun everything, had yet to run my first race, and was still struggling to get through the Couch to 5K workouts. Also still feeling my way through mastering the counting calories and getting the nutrition piece down at the same time. At that point I had no idea that things would go the way they have gone, and I never would have imagined it in a million years. It just makes me think and leaves me with feeling very grateful for the position that I am now in to continue the blog, share my story and help inspire other to make similar changes for themselves, continue to push myself to goals that are always evolving into bigger and more lofty heights, as well as serve as an ever-present way to keep myself on track and in line/ where I want to be. Whenever I get the question about how I achieved the success that I did one aspect I always mention is the blog and how it provided 2 main things: accountability and support. Nicole is the literal embodiment of the support I am talking about, and for that I will always credit her (and everybody else that she represents in my mind) for aiding me along the way and keeping me going. So Nicole, for that, I thank you very much. Not sure if “thank you” is enough, but that’s what I’ve got to give right now.

Okay, enough of the sappy feel-good mushy mush. The other reason why this weekend so awesome for me is that I got the opportunity to check another super cool and unique “Philadelphia Runner” thing off of my to-do (or in this case: to-run) list. Philadelphia is located right on the Delaware River, and is also sitting on the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey. One of the two major bridges that crosses over from Philly into Jersey is the Ben Franklin Bridge. The really cool thing is that the bridge has a walkway built in that people can walk, run, bike across from Philly into Camden, NJ. The trip on the bridge itself from one end to the other and back is just shy of a 5K. And as you can imagine offers some amazing views of the river and Philly skyline. If you are local (or in town visiting) and have never tried it, I highly recommend it. I know that’s going to become one of my go to places whenever I want to change things up. That run was so, so cool. … Not to mention surprisingly challenging. The walkway starts at street level but very quickly elevates to a good 15-20 feet above traffic. So there is a steep incline just to get yourself up, not to mention the fact that you are on a bridge so you’re basically running up a hill to begin with. So it was a pretty aggressive up and then down, turn around go up and then down again run. Of course there is sweet water views the whole way, and heading just before the turnaround you get an awesome birds eye view of the Camden RiverSharks baseball stadium and the sports complex at Rutgers University. Shortly after that you hit the end of the walkway and either have to walk down a staircase onto the Rutgers campus or turn around and head on back. So at roughly 1.5 miles out we hit the end and just turned around and came back. Coming back is freaking awesome in terms of views. Granted, I’m a sucker for the city skyline. Philly is my town and I love it. If I could run with that as my backdrop I’d do it every day. I mean seriously, we had to stop for a min in the middle of the return trip and snap a picture because how often do you get a backdrop like this?

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I seriously can’t wait for a good excuse to do it again.

The run was a good one, and the cool thing is that the Ben Franklin Bridge ends right into the historic district/ independence mall so if you wanted to stretch that 5K into a 10K you could do so relatively easy while still maintaining the unique and interesting scenery. I think I may have to do that sometime in the future.

Overall, it was a fantastic day for me. A great run and even better company.

Ok, time to run for now, but I’ll be back soon with a few more reviews and a new Tri-Training post hopefully this week.

Thanks for reading, and as always: Take it Easy.

Andy

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One response to “Great Friend/ Great Run – Two Bloggers Converge on Philly

  1. Totally awesome recap! I really had a great time. Heading home in a bit and should have my blog up in a day or two. Thanks for taking the time out of your day and away from your family to meet me. Looking forward to the next time!

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