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BILLALEX70
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JASR: Part 2 (Finally)

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Saturday (post) race:

…after completion of the race I walked around eating a bagel like I was on death-row. I collected a prize that I’d won; sunglasses. After being asked “are you OK to drive” a few time; we disembarked the event area. While in the car I pull out the sunglasses to look at them; OMG! They’re white with gold accents; too stylish for me. Since everyone else in my house wears prescription lenses I give them to Renee for her daughter who I guess is into all the latest fashions. I understand she loves them and I love that they’re not cluttering up a drawer in my house.

We meet up with everyone else back at Primanti Brothers next to the hotel. I could use a shower DESPERATELY, but food is more in order. Suffer with my stinky, sweaty self; I earned it! I’m not much for salads (coleslaw) on my sandwiches, so I opted for a personal pizza and some loaded nachos for people to share. I swear, if it weren’t for nachos I’d be closer to goal weight! I also drank about 3 pitchers of water and gave the waitress a nice tip for keeping the pitcher filled.

After a shower and getting dressed a few of us started to gather downstairs and chat before heading to the local Second Sole for an excellent gathering. For those who know me I’m very outgoing and like everyone to feel a part of the group. I moved around talking to various people and enjoyed watching the other interactions between Sparks. There were more photos taken and Coach Nancy had her 5-year running anniversary, so we all signed a card and tears flowed. Nancy is the dearest person you’ll ever meet. If you have the chance to be near her, I encourage you to do so. There was food galore (mostly healthy to support our lifestyles) and then they brought out adult beverages. I stayed with water until we returned to the hotel; driving and still a bit dehydrated.

Upon returning to the hotel we all decide that we’re having such a good time just visiting and emptying the bottles that the running store gave us. About 9:10 it’s decided that people really liked the Chocolate Wine and another bottle needed to be procured. I offered to go in search of said elixir as I was hungry again (imagine that; 4,000 calories burned that morning) and was going to pick something up to eat. I quickly notice that EVERYWHERE in Pennsylvania stops selling any adult beverages at 9 o’clock! So, I grab a quick bite (=unhealthy, greasy, but oh, so good) and go back to the hotel. We all sit around drinking and sharing stories until after midnight. I feel really sorry for Laurie who has to be UP at 3 AM for her flight; she never did get any sleep. I finally crash and get some well deserved sleep.

Sunday – departure.
Upon awaking the pending doom of leaving all this fun starts to sink in. I meet up with some people downstairs and enjoy the breakfast the hotel has to offer. We sit around chatting and start saying good-byes. Hugs are all around; as are some tears. As I load my car up to leave I’m already missing these people. Some are life-long friends and some are brand new acquaintances, but all are locked in my memory. The drive home allows me time to reflect on what a special occasion this was and how Sparkpeople is much more than a place to lose weight. It’s about forging relationships with people and cheering them from all corners of the globe. My weightloss journey was well underway before I found Spark, but the journey is much richer now that I have such great friends.

I look forward to the next time that I can share a meal, a day, a race or even a weekend with any of these people. They’re truly amazing in each of their own rights. Now get out there and meet your fellow Sparks!

Adios,
Bill
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