Earlier this year, my dear friend and training partner Jeff went through a tough time. Since last December, he's been through 7 surgeries.
He's done with the surgeries now is doing much better. Unfortunately, he had to deal with the fact that his triathlon life is over. He can mountain bike, but he's no longer able to ride a TT. He's unable to run. But he can swim. Of course, there are a multitude of other activities that he can do to remain active and competitive.
It took a long time to recover from the surgeries. He was able to start swimming two weeks ago. I didn't realize how much I missed him until I saw him a couple of weeks ago. (We were exchanging emails. It's just not the same as seeing someone in person).
Jeff is one of the truly nice people in the world. His youngest daughter left for college. At one point, he started and sold his own company. We have a lot in common. He's never really liked swimming, but I have a feeling he'll be loving it by the end of the year.
When I raced Silverthorne, the woman who came in 2nd behind me, contacted me via FB after the race. She's KT btw. As it turns out, "she could spit to my house" (as she says). We found out that we lived right up the street from each other.
We started talking regularly & now talk all the time. Right after Silverthorne, we were going to start training together....until she had a little accident and hurt her back. She had to cancel the rest of her racing season.....which included....
WAIT FOR IT.
She's out for SOMA and any other races this year. Soon she'll be able to start swimming again. Right now, her time is more or less filled with physical therapy.
I really like her. She is one of those people who are incredibly positive and supportive. When you have someone in your age group who is supportive and pushes you to be your best....well....that's a pretty damn good thing.
And finally, we have PoPo. PoPo lives on my street. He's a cyclist and a police officer. When he first moved in, I thought he was more of a casual rider. Recently, I learned that's he actually pretty serious roadie.
I'm sure he had me pegged as the "runner". The only time he ever saw me was when I was taking off on one of my runs, until fairly recently, when we both pulled out of the 'hood for our rides.
PoPo also has a more non-traditional schedule. He's also done a number of the same cycling events that I've done. He also has a couple of guy friends that he rides with. It'll be nice to ride with a strong group of guys. My old riding group dissolved, and I haven't really looked for a new one.
At first, I was hesitant to introduce myself. Then, I thought "What the hell?" It's always nice to know there is someone else on the block with the same interests.
Besides....I really could have used his man-hands when I was wrastlin' with that tire the other day. Damn thing....made me break out into a sweat.
I've always felt that social media is a "nice" way to keep in touch with people, like email. But, I appreciate the personal relationships more. I want those people in my life to go on long rides with or do swims or show up to race together.
High fiving someone during a race or getting coffee together after a long ride....that's the good stuff. I like the conversations about work and family and training or religion or politics or anything. Social media and email are fine for the "safe" conversations.
I don't always want "safe".
I want real people in my life; the ones who are willing to sweat and grunt and talk with me about the things that really matter.