I'm not sure that either of us could have guessed how those 140 characters or less conversations would have changed our lives, but they did.
Our first of many jump photos together
Our friendship with Crystal and Joe was lifelong from the moment that we met in person at the Cape Cod Half Marathon that same year. The three of us, me, Crystal and Mike, ran the half. We spent the rest of our time there getting to know our new friends better and after we left, I knew we had to make more plans to see them again soon.
The four of us
Crystal started to debate whether or not she should run a marathon (I, of course, told her that she should and could). When I learned that the marathon she was considering had a relay option, I knew what we had to do: be her sherpas.
Doing our sherpa thing
We were with her every step of the way during her first 26.2 mile victory lap. It didn't matter that I was freezing, that it was raining, snowing, hailing and windy. All that mattered was getting her across that finish line, and we did.
Our adventures continued. We have raced together numerous times and have raced in Massachusetts, Vermont, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Maine together. Joe has even joined in on the racing fun a few times!
The 100 on 100 relay in Vermont
Thanksgiving day race in Rhode Island this year
Mike and I knew we were going to run the MDI Marathon since it is my hometown marathon, and we convinced Crystal to run her second marathon there with us. I was lucky enough to have her with me for 20 miles and Mike got to see her cross the finish line.
Shakeout run before the race
When we found out that Crystal and Joe were being stationed in Alaska (Joe is in the Coast Guard), I knew that we had to find some way to see them before they left. Crystal was registered to run her third marathon with Janell at the River Towns Marathon, and Joe was registered to run his first half marathon there as well!
Mike and I decided to make the trip there this weekend so that we could be a part of Crystal's third marathon, it is tradition after all. Since we are training for our Ironman, we had a 12 mile run on the schedule for Saturday.
We ended up joining Crystal and Janell at the halfway point on the out and back course. I'm not going to go into too much detail about what happened out on the course, because those are their stories to tell, but I will say how I was feeling.
After the race
I didn't want it to end. Even though I was hurting, less than they were, and it was getting hot, I didn't want my time with my friend to end. I wanted to slow down time and somehow be able to keep running with her.
I feel incredibly lucky to be able to have such amazing friends in my life. Crystal and Joe are more than friends, they are my family.
There were tears shed when we had to say goodbye, because unfortunately we won't be able to see them again during the next few weeks that they are still on the same side of the country as us.
Friends for life
I know that it isn't goodbye, it's see you later, but it's still hard. Who would have thought that a Twitter conversation would have started something this great? I sure didn't.