I used to think I would never make any friends. Throughout high school and a semester or two of college, I never had a solid friend group. Yes, I had acquaintances and I dated people, but there was really no set unit of people that I called friends until I signed up for Running to Write, colloquially known as “Friendship Class.” Here I met three awesome girls who have changed my life for the better. I’m pretty sure I have developed abs from laughing so hard with them.
The day of the expo came around and Cristiana, Kelly, and I cram into Amanda’s handle less car and hit I-76 on a new adventure. As we drove on the highway listening to the worst Christmas carols on the face of the planet, we talked about our expectations for the race. It was during this time that I felt a special connection to my girls. The sense of community was heightened as we discussed the pros and cons of running far distances. It was refreshing and encouraging to have people who are embarking on the same journey as I. I never felt closer to them than in that moment.
We arrive at the expo and immediately, the air is alight with anticipation.
“I’m a pro,” I think as I walk into the convention center because I had been to the expo before. I begin to sweat because I’ve finally come to the realization that in two days, I will be running 13.1 miles; a feat that I had only accomplished once before in my lifetime, three years ago.
“At least I’m here with my favorite people,” I thought.
Kelly, Amanda, and Cristiana scatter like roaches as soon as we step foot into the PA Convention Center. Let me tell you, being left alone in a large room full of professional long distance runners does wonders for self-confidence.
We reunite after we retrieve our bibs and are determined to try every single free sample offered to us by the vendors present. Unfortunately, the official sponsor of the Philadelphia Marathon this year was some sort of prune juice. Needless to say, I was highly disappointed. However, I tried the prune juice anyway. Disgusting.
“Well, if this prune juice supposed to motivate me to run, I might as well just go home now.”
My time at the expo was more than a time to try new things and prepare for the run of my life, it was also a time to bond and hang out with girls who have subsequently been deemed “Squad.”