Albuquerque · Running · Travel

Arizona Dreamin’

As I write this, the temperature in Albuquerque hovers around 30 degrees. In 24 hours, I went from running in shorts and a t-shirt to running in long tights, multiple layers, and gloves.

Sheesh, Winter. You could have knocked!

The cold snap makes me doubly grateful for the trip I took last weekend.

About a year ago, my friends Tara and Randy moved from Albuquerque to Scottsdale, Arizona, taking with them their adorable daughter, Avianna, their two Italian Greyhounds, and some fabulous memories. I wished them well and told them, and myself, that I would be out there soon to visit.

Well, life happened, and almost a year later, I had yet to make good on those words. When this dawned on me, I cringed. Then I gave myself a kick in the butt. Then I took action. I checked my calendar; Tara checked hers; and I booked those plane tickets.

It was just a quick weekend trip, but it was so worth it.

Tara picked me up from the airport, and the catching-up began immediately. We arrived at their house, where we were greeted by Randy, the dogs, and a sleepy toddler. After tucking the toddler in, the grown-ups had cookies, wine, and chatted until we were all falling asleep in the living room.

The next morning, after a quick run around a ridiculously beautiful neighborhood (palm trees, saguaro cacti, flowers…ahhhh) we went to watch Avianna play soccer. Have you ever seen three- and four-year-olds play soccer? If not, do so immediately. It was the best Saturday morning entertainment I’ve had in a long time.

After the game ended and each tiny athlete got their snack, we headed to downtown Phoenix to check out a family-friendly Fall Festival. Granted, my weakness for festivals in general makes me a little prejudiced, but it was great! Local restaurants had tents where they sold samples for a dollar apiece – and I didn’t taste one sample that I didn’t like. Pumpkin soup, homemade ice cream sandwiches, tacos, the darkest chocolate I’ve ever had (80%!!)…all of it delicious. And for kids, there was a bouncy house, face painting, temporary tattoos, and a variety of art activities. The sun was warm, the lemonade was cold, and a good time was had by all.

That’s how the weekend went. Hanging out with people I’ve known for years – they were among my first Albuquerque friends – didn’t feel nostalgic so much as just comfortable. When I relaxed on a couch with the dogs in my lap, talked in the kitchen during mealtime preparations, and read stories to Avianna, it didn’t seem at all like a year had gone by. It seemed like we were just picking up right where we left off.

Don’t you love friendships like that? Friendships where there may be hundreds or thousands of miles between you, but when you reunite, the rhythm that you established however many years ago picks right back up? I’m blessed with several such friendships, and knowing their strength has provided comfort more times than I can count.

Tara and Randy: thank you for a terrific weekend. And during my run tomorrow, when I’m all bundled up with my face going numb, I’ll just imagine I’m in Scottsdale, trotting along under citrus trees, in shorts.

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