I normally don't do two part race reports, but in this case I've got to. Because the events leading up to the actual race itself are just a bit too weird not to write about.
It all started at the race expo on Saturday. I thought it was going to be a regular race expo. Go pick up my packet. Take a quick look at the vendors and head home in time to catch the 2:30 kick off time for the Badger v. Arizona State game.
I had heard through Facebook that one of my good friends from school, Heidi, was running the half marathon this weekend. When I say good friend, I mean one of those girls that you go to the same school with all the way from your first day of kindergarten, through junior high and high school and even college. Well, except for our freshman year in college when we went to different schools. But then she ended up transferring to the University of Wisconsin where I was.
We were close and spent a ton of time together. But then we got to college and we kind of lost touch. It happens. We graduated. I moved to Indiana and she moved to Colorado. I think the last time we actually saw each other was in 2004 or 2005 for another good friend's wedding.
But we've kept updated on each other's lives through Facebook and that's how I knew she had recently moved back to the area and was running Fox Cities. So we decided to meet up on Saturday.
Expo day dawned and I met up with Heidi at the expo. We got our packets, wandered around the vendor tables, chatted with another girl we went to school with and standing by the doors, making plans to meet up on race morning. Then it happened.
A girl walked through the doors. Heidi and I looked at each other. Could it be? Heidi said her name. No response. But it was loud. There were a ton of people in expo area. There was excitement in the air. We decided to follow the girl and see if she really was the girl we thought it was.
All of a sudden she's walking towards us. I stopped her.
"Excuse me. Is your name Jennifer?"
At first the girl looks confused. Then this look of amazement spreads over her face. That confirms it. It's another friend of ours from elementary school and junior high. A girl that Heidi and I haven't seen since we road tripped it to her high school graduation party in June 1998.
That's 12 years folks.
Turns out our friend Jennifer still lives in Northeast Wisconsin and was planning on running her first half marathon on Sunday. We all chatted for a bit. Then Heidi had to get going to meet up with her family. I ended up walking with Jennifer around the expo, giving her some tips for how to approach the race. We then went and grabbed some lunch at Noodles and caught up some more before making plans to meet up on Sunday morning before the starting gun went off.
It's still hard to believe all the craziness that happened in that short amount of time Saturday afternoon. How a difference of a minute or two could have changed the day's events so much. I'm glad it happened though. Because it meant I got the chance to reconnect with two very good friends from growing up.
Now there was just that half marathon thing to conquer the next day.