I've been Spark sentimental lately. Maybe it's all the reflective and goal oriented blogs. It just is that time of year. Or maybe it's because it's my mental Sparkiversary.
A friend told me about Spark in Feb. 08 and I used certain tools and it helped. Throughout my pregnancies I used babyfit.com but always missed Spark. A year ago I started logging on daily. I joined more teams. Some challenges. I read blogs. I finally started commenting on blogs. And then I even wrote a few of my own. And it's incredible how those simple acts have changed my life.
I signed up for a 5K because of so many inspirational c25K blogs. I fell in love with running along the way. It was not that long ago when I struggled to run 5 miles. I remember when that distance was my PR. And it was hard. 5 miles is far. Then I read some more blogs. I got the courage to sign up for another race, a 10 miler. I joined the HM team. Reading those threads, those blogs made me want to run that distance. They gave me the confidence that I could. And I did.
Somewhere in the midst of all this my dad asked me if I would run Grandma's Marathon with him. Yes, it had always been a lifelong fantasy for me. And yes, Spark made me think this was a normal undertaking. I truly do respect the distance. And I have laid out my training plan carefully and know that it will be a challenge. I think I forget what a big deal it is because I read so many blogs about training and races that I feel, "everyone's doing it. so can I!"
I've been running 8 miles with two new friends early Tuesday mornings. They've both completed an Ironman. My sparkfriend's encouragement helped me take the risk and meet them for the first time. It was a tough morning and I thought about your words as I pushed through with these athletes. Every week it's gotten easier. The body is amazing; it does adapt fairly quickly. So does the mind. I mentioned running 8 miles at work one day and a friend said, "You did WHAT this morning??!" I wasn't trying to brag. It really has become normal for me. 5 miles used to be hard and now 8 is easy. In a relatively short time. Remember, everyone on Spark is doing it! It's not a big deal, right?
It is a big deal. Spark has become such a big deal to me. Just this week a few significant things happened.
A sparkfriend sent me a message with a link to some rundies (look em up!) that made her think of me. How cute is that?! Such a simple gesture made my day. Thank you.
Another friend opened up to me about a part of her and her family's story that is life changing. There aren't words to describe this one. The only thing I can say is that I desperately wish I had a way to fly to Canada so I could give her a hug and then we'd go on a run together. I'm not trying to be cryptic. Just trying to convey how meaningful these Spark friendships can become.
I joined a new team and mentioned something about working on push-ups. A sparker that I was not yet friends with wrote to be and suggested a challenge. I'm in! For the past 3 days I've been sick and missed my cardio, but you better believe I got some push-ups in! Some new sparkfriends are being made.
I love this site. I never thought I'd say that about a website. But, truly I do. And I love how it spills onto life outside the internet.
At the starting line of that 10 mile race in October I was nervously & happily bouncing around to keep warm with, oh, about 8,000 other runners when I heard my name. It was my best friend from high school. We had a falling out our senior year of college and hadn't talked since. We chatted for a minute and she said that we should get together for a celebratory race drink sometime. Sure, I thought, that'll never happen. But then, you guessed it! I read some Spark blogs and I contacted her. What did I have to lose? We got together and talked for hours. We talked about running and we talked about what happened 10 years ago. It was very therapeutic. We got together again with our kids. It's a friendship that feels right. Today we're meeting for a run. Pretty cool, huh?
Thank you Spark.