Three Days at the Fair---Making Memories

I texted my sister today.   She lost a friend.  She was with him one day, having fun at a concert, and then,  he was gone.   She is crushed.  It is hard for her to make sense of it.  She is simultaneously angry, happy for the time she had with him, shocked, lost, and in some ways, finding the joy.  “At least he had a few months without a car payment”, she said.  

Life is about making memories.

Danielle has a wealth of memories with her friend.  He will not be forgotten.  He will never be replaced, but he will be cherished.

Danielle lives her life making the best memories.   She takes risks.  She is impulsive.   She laughs...hard.   She feels...deeply.  I am inspired by her, and try to live my life in the same way.

This past weekend, was my (last?) annual trip to Augusta, NJ with my buds Ken and JIm.  Every year, we travel and run Three Days at The Fair.   This race is a highlight for me.   Over years, we have set PR’s, crashed and burned, laughed, ate great food, made great friends, and made incredible memories.

Jim and I signed up together four years ago.  We made arrangements with our friend Marco, and set a very high “fun” bar.  The goofiness of that first trip is engrained in my mind.    Jim and I are very different people, and I think that is what makes us good friends.  He is a hard-worker, of course.  But, he has the ability to enjoy the moment.   He’ll tell you straight out that he stops when he’s not having fun. He is the “Mayor” of every situation he finds himself in.   He bonds instantly with people and lights up a room.  Jim is the type of guy you remember! I enjoy being with him, simply because I know that every time I see him,  I will have a great memory.

Ken (aka Russell) is our newest member to the Three Day’s Group, and until he gets someone else to sign up, he will always be the “new guy”.  Ken’s childlike innocence is endearing.   I may not have enjoyed the clap-solo wake up to “Jive Talking”, blaring from his tee pee (yes, an actual tee pee), but I am always inspired by how much this man loves his family.   

Ken likes to run with company.  We spent several miles together.   To fill some time, I asked him to build his ideal woman.  I was going to list body parts, (hair, eye color etc.) and ask his “type”.  Ken’s response, “Sure, we can do that, but why don’t we just save some time, and I’ll just describe Michelle.”

This race is like a running reunion.   I arrived before the boys and was humbled by how many people remembered me.  Joe and Fran, Deb, Darlene, Cliff, and so many’s like a “Who’s Who” of ultra-running.   John Fegyveresi, yes, THE John Fegyversi from The Barkley Marathons was there to watch me ring the bell, when I hit 500 lifetime miles.  (He hit 1,000).  

I’ve watched world records be set on the course, at the same time I’ve seen people with obvious physical hardships finish a marathon over three days.   I watch “competitors” helping each other out.   I giggle at the “chirping” that goes on from the sidelines.  I’ve watched people crash and burn only to recover and go on, again, and again.   A common refrain is that “next year, I want to…”.  You don’t leave a course like this without wanting to challenge yourself more.   You know you’ve been impacted, and inspired to reach just a little further.  Being present in the moment secures these memories, and they fuel me forward.

I love the life I live, and I live the life I love.   I push myself hard, but I strive to never forget my friends.  I cherish our time together, and take the brake off of my seriousness.  I don’t know what the path ahead of me holds, but I do know when I look back on the path I have already trudged, I have great memories.  


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