Tuesday, December 21, 2010
The Endurance Athlete Project is a dynamite idea, and it appears to be headed for great success, which is nice, because we all want our friends to succeed. Kind of funny, because even though we've never met, I consider Patrick a friend, actually a really good friend. We've had some great email exchanges, comment on each other's blogs, have even had a few phone conversations. It got me thinking about how amazing the Internet really is, connecting like-minded people who, while relating electronically, are able to build strong bonds with each other.
Mary, The Running Green Girl, is one such person. It turns out she was my secret santa in our bloggy gift exchange. Jill gave me a heads up that there might be a problem with my gift, which made me wonder what it could be. On Friday, I received this email:
"The Green Girl's Holiday Story To Kovas
I am all about supporting local businesses. So instead of going online to get your gift, I searched for a running store in your city. I came across Runners Grove and tried to make a purchase online but realized I had to pick up the phone to place my order.
I called and this nice little old lady answered the phone and I explained I wanted to get a $5 gift card and a few small items to put together a Secret Santa gift for a friend. She was kind enough to walk around the store and slowly describe each item she saw that might be appropriate. She would tell me what color a GU Chomps package was and she carefully described each Christmas ornament for me. She made suggestions based on the fact that you are male.
A customer came in and she seemed flustered so I let her know she could help them and call me back. She called me back and we continued the virtual shopping trip around Runners Grove.
When we'd finally found the items to add to the $5 gift card, she rang me up and I asked how much shipping would cost. And she said 'Shipping?' And I said 'Yes, I would like to ship this to the recipient' and she said they had never shipped anything before and there was no way they could ship. Ordinarily, I would've cancelled my order at this point but she was so kind and thoughtful that I couldn't bring myself to do that. So, there was an awkward silence and finally she suggested I just make the purchase and she could put your gift on the table where they put other phone orders for customer pick-up.
After I hung up the phone, my coworkers all laughed at me when I told them the store couldn't ship. They were like 'this is 2010' - you should have cancelled the order right then and there!
But, like I said, the lady was so nice and so kind and I could not have done that in good conscience.
SO, instead of having your gift delivered to your door, I am giving you this virtual 'gift certificate' so you may go pick up your Secret Santa gift."
You have to live in Downers Grove to understand how funny this is. Our city/village/town, while not small, retains many characteristics of the small town it once was. It makes perfect sense that Runners Grove would not ship items, as 99% of their clientele is probably locals, who drop in after visiting the library or the toy store or after a lunch or dinner out. This story affected me on so many levels: Mary going out of her way to put SO much effort into this gift and then being concerned that I would be put out having to go to the store to pick up my gift. As you can see from the photo above, Mary went above and beyond what was needed for the gift exchange. But, that's what friends do.
Jill, of Running With Jill (or The Neverending Saga of the Heel), recently asked whether I'd be interested in taking a look at some clothes her sons had outgrown. Sure, why not? Friday an enormous box arrived,with clothes for my son, a book for my wife, and a book and jacket and sticker for me! Why? Because Jill and I have spent countless days trading emails, dreaming of our first ultras, scheming and debating on which one would be the perfect event to achieve the distance. We'll be there for each other, crewing or pacing or cheering, and why? Because that's what friends do.
Emily and I have been fast friends since we first found each other's blogs. It was actually me who convinced her to run and succeed at Man Against Horse (yes, blame me for the endless buckle displays!). (Just kidding, we all know Em is beholden to no one.) We've had some fun ridiculing each other on our blogs and on others, via the comments section. So I was feeling a bit miffed lately, when her RUN EMZ shirts started popping up on other people's blogs, and not a one was to be found in my possession. I was merciless in my quest for the shirt, even going so far as to label them "so five minutes ago." That's me eating some crow in the photo above, by the way. As the saying goes, the first shall be last. Saving the best for last, that's what friends do.
There are so many (too many) other similar instances to name in this (seemingly) neverending post. So once again I urge you to head over to the Endurance Athlete Project. Connect with blog buddies and make some new ones. If you're in the Chicago area, let me know, maybe we can meet up. Plan on San Francisco next December, where bloggers/runners of all denominations will be meeting up at The North Face Endurance Challenge. With races from 5k to 50 miles and everything in between, there's something for everyone, including the kids.
P.S. Em let me know that KMA stands for Kovas the Mature Adult - thanks, friend!