I think I'm just old enough that part of me is kind of creeped out about meeting someone online first, and then in real life. But I may finally be ready to let go of that -- I've had nothing but the best experiences, and now I have a full trifecta!
The first time it happened was Megan, whose blog was also the first or second local Dallas blog I ever read. I found her through Mike, and read what she wrote quietly for some time, and eventually started commenting sometimes. She wrote about trying different cross-training options, and I invited her to join me and my husband for boot camp. Not a lot of people are game for the kind of 5:30 a.m. intensity that we love, but she said she'd try it. I still remember setting it up and making sure she'd have her own car and could follow us, just because it seemed so sketchy to me to meet someone from the interwebs in real life.
And it worked out! We go to boot camp together about three mornings a week, and occasionally run the same local races (and occasionally even run them together). On the horizon -- potentially a marathon (New Orleans!). She's a daily positive factor in my life -- actually, in our lives, my husband thinks she's the bomb too. So first internet stranger turned out to be incredible and now a real friend.
The second time it happened was Sara, another Texas blogger, who was going to be running our local marathon on her birthday as her first marathon this past December. So I made sure I knew what she'd be wearing and watched for her as I cheered with friends near our house, and then planned to find her again near mile 20 and jump in the race to run a few miles with her.
And it worked out! She heard me cheering near mile 7 and waved since I called her by name, then we got to chat when I ran with her for a few miles starting at mile 20. And we even met up to celebrate for her birthday dinner, along with her friend Amanda, a new-to-me Texas blog. Fun night and we'll hopefully cross paths at more Texas races in the future, especially since we both run San Antonio most years.
Well, this weekend, I was going for the third "in real life" meeting. This one was different because I have read Aimee's blog for as long as I can remember reading and really following blogs. I think I started in 2012? And I think maybe I found her through Friend Making Mondays? Or a comment on Bella's blog (which I think was the first I ever read)? When I started reading, she had a young son who's now a little person. Running was obviously something we had in common and by far the inital reason I started reading, but there was so much else I loved reading about -- her life, her family, her work, her time in the Peace Corps, and her voice resonated with me.
When I was trying to decide whether or not to run Boston this year, one of the factors in my "pro-Boston" column was that she said she'd be there cheering again, and I figured we'd be able to grab coffee or something. But then I decided not to register for Boston, so that plan wasn't going to work. But then some time ago, she mentioned that she'd be in Marshall, TX this weekend for a vegan healthy eating convention (I wish I'd paid attention to what she was attending, because it would have been really interesting to have gone myself). Marshall is only about 150 miles away from our house, so I sent her an email and said that if her schedule worked out, we should meet up. On our drive home from Mardi Gras this year, I took note when we passed through Marshall and kept my eyes peeled for potential meeting places in between.
And it worked out! We had dinner on Saturday night, and we basically closed down the Italian bistro in Italian that we chose since we sat talking for so long! It was so much fun and she already feels like a real friend. I got home after midnight, so I ended up too tired to go run with my friends Sunday morning and had to do 13 solo miles, but it was so worth it!
I'm thinking the internet's a pretty great place!
I wonder if I'll meet anyone else, and if so, who? Would it be Jennifer if I go visit my in-laws in Pittsburgh in April? Bella when we go to San Fran for a little while in May? Amy at a beer mile challenge? Mike if I end up mediating a case in Corning, which oddly enough may happen in May? Gracie if I run New Orleans? Meredith at a race? Newlywed Grace somewhere? This is why I like reading blogs where I can tell the author is someone I'd like!