Saturday, May 17, 2014

The real-life LinkedIn happens on the roads, trails, water, and in the gym.

I've poked fun at LinkedIn before, and even though I'm on it, and I recognize its potential value, I realize more and more the *real* way many of us "link in" with people is on the roads and trails, in the water, and in the gym. Today was a classic case!

My friend and swim group lane-mate Jilian put out a call for those interested in a sunrise hike to McAfee's Knob, a scenic mountain-top rock outcropping that overlooks a lush valley. Me and three others said yes to meeting up at 4 am to drive to the trailhead and get to the top by sunrise. I didn't know the other hikers, but as I left my house at 3:55 am, I found it odd that another car was coincidentally leaving the house down the street. A new family had just moved in and I'd not had a chance to meet them yet.

So of the hikers was my new neighbor Erin! What better way to get to know Erin and fellow hikers Korey and Daron than by hiking single-file up a dark mountain, chatting all the way.  We all have kids and enjoy active lifestyles that run the gamut and we have commonalities in work and community.

When it got light enough to turn our headlamps off, I got my first real look at everyone. It's not often that you engage in conversation with folks for an hour without really seeing them, and how interesting that it never mattered or even occurred to me.

We left the parking lot at 4:41 and made it to the top at 6:21 am. The sun had just cleared the horizon and we made the most of the photo ops and took in the beauty of the distant mountains and the valley below.

with Jilian...who made this happen!

This hike joins a growing list over the last six weeks that fall into the category of "things I would not have done had I been in training." I see that I need to leave a little more wiggle room in my life for some spontaneity like this because this sunrise hike with new friends was very special. My friend Gail suggested this picture represented making it through the dark and starting a new day. Indeed!!!

Later in the day (after a nap), I headed out for a walk/run (5 x 2 min), on yet another route I'd last finished in tears. This time I finished very happy...a new day, a second chance.

Speaking of....BIG congratulations to Kelly Williamson for winning IM Texas today!! It's her first Ironman victory, and comes eight months after her external iliac artery repair surgery. What a comeback and THEN some!!