I’ve made a pledge to myself to not grouse about my recent runs in the snow, cold, and ice because, really, at this point in the winter, we’re all either sick to death of freezing and sliding or sick to death of hearing those who are freezing and sliding complain about it while we are out on the lanai enjoying a margarita. That pledge, however, means that I’ve kind of cut myself off at the knees when it comes to writing a column about running. Take it as a given that it is still cold, still snowing, still icy and I’m still running. Sometimes inside. Sometimes outside. Sometimes I swear at the sky a little bit; then go do what needs to be done.
My pledge means that I can finally tell you a weird story I’ve being trying to find room for.
At the beginning of September, I had a stranger “Slide into my DMs.” That’s what the kids say, yes? Or does that phrase have a naughty connotation, like “Netflix and chill?” For the longest time, I thought “Netflix and chill” sounded like the best way to wind-down after a grueling week, just hanging out in your jammies with some hot cocoa watching The Crown. And while the … aerobic … activity that goes with how other people use the phrase is fun, too, I didn’t figure it out until I’d already horrified my oldest child. See, I said her Dad and I were going to “Netflix and chill” that night. You can imagine the rest.
Anyway, a stranger slid into my DMs. She started off with a bit about not being a stalker but then went on to say that she had a picture of me that was in her parents’ family photo album. Really, she said, it’s my Dad who is a stalker.
Kristen, who lives in suburban Philadelphia, was visiting her folks in New Jersey and flipping through the family album. “Who are these people?” she asked her Dad when she got to the photo in question.
“Wait,” he said. “I thought that was you.”
Thanks to the wonders of the internet, she was able to track my info down via the Pittsburgh marathon results site. On Facebook, she noticed we had a friend in common and bingo-bango, the DM slide.
Once I stopped laughing and marveling at how tiny the world is, Kristen and I got to chatting. Yes, I told her, I did enjoy the race. I don’t know what I was doing in that picture, other than being a big goober because I’d just spied the very tall Dimity just a few feet ahead. Also: I always dig running over bridges and it was extra excited because Marianne was by my side.
“How was your Pittsburgh run?” I asked. I figuring that her Dad just picked the wrong photo to have printed because he was looking to have evidence of his kid in the race. And that’s where it got even funnier.
Kristen didn’t run it.
While she’s long been intrigued by the ‘burgh, it tends to be at the same time as Philadelphia’s Broad Street Run, which Kristen and other members of her S.W.I.F.T. group prefer to take on. And until the photo incident, she hadn’t been introduced to Another Mother Runner.
So far, no one has been able to figure out how that particular picture wound up in the packet of printed photos her Dad picked up at his local CVS. It is a mystery.
The photo itself showed up in my mailbox a few days later and I’ve put it in my own running photo album, which is actually a bulletin board near my race medals. It’s a nice reminder of both a great race and how small the running community can be.
Kristen and I finally met in person at the Philadelphia marathon expo in November. Sadly, I suffered from camnesia and failed to take a picture. I can say that while we look similar, in the sense that we are both middle aged white women who are sort of the same shape, we’re not dopplegangers. Maybe every runner looks the same when you stick a hat on ‘em?
So this week’s question: have you had any strange running coincidences?