Jason calls them my imaginary friends, but they're actually real people and I got the chance to meet a few of them last week!
I've talked a lot about SparkPeople over the past few years as I've semi-diligently tracked the food I eat and the exercises I do. Another feature of SparkPeople that I have enjoyed is the SparkTeam which is a group of people who join together for basically any reason. Right now I'm in a knitting SparkTeam, a Rhode Island SparkTeam, a low carb SparkTeam and two swimming SparkTeams. Really, the only one I'm active on is "Swimming for Cardio". I joined SparkPeople probably 6 years ago - maybe more - and then found Swimming for Cardio in 2008.
The Swimming for Cardio team is made up of a fantastic group of women and a few men, who check in with each other every day. I've had times where I wasn't so diligent about keeping up with everyone, but I try to check in at least a couple of times a week now. I actually don't know a lot of swimmers locally, and Swimming for Cardio was initially just a way for me to geek out on swimming talk with people who understood, and could offer advice on technique and suggest workouts and challenges.
Turns out, though, that somehow in this particular team, not only do we all like to swim, but we have lots of other stuff in common. Or, at least, we seem to have similar worldviews. On our daily check-ins, not only do we talk about our latest swimming distances and goals, but we also talk about what's going on in our lives. We all have way too many degrees than are good for us. We support one another and sometimes talk about really personal things. A few of the members have met previously. A couple of years ago we lost one of our members to cancer, and we mourned her loss, though only a couple of the members had ever met her in real life. A couple of the members work at the same company now. All through this SparkTeam.
So a few months ago, a couple of the ladies started talking about meeting up in northern California, since 4 of them live in California. One of the members just graduated from law school and took the Bar at the end of July (you better believe we have talked about that a lot over the last few months!), so the plan was for her to fly out to California for a post-Bar trip. I casually mentioned to Jason one night how it would be fun to join them, but of course not really practical. He said, "Well, we've been wanting to go visit Brandon (his brother) and Sarah. Maybe we could plan a trip around your imaginary friends' meet up."
So we did. We just got back from a whirlwind trip to the Bay Area, with a 3-day jaunt down to Santa Cruz for me to meet up with the swimming ladies. It was so great to meet them finally. I've been talking with some of them for 5 years, after all.
On Sunday after church, we drove down to Cupertino to visit Jason's grandparents and extended family. Then I took our rental car and drove to Santa Cruz, where one of the ladies had rented us a lovely house right around the corner from the beach. On Monday we went whale watching, to lunch and to the aquarium in Monterey.
On Tuesday, some of us went swimming at a local swim center (because, of course we went swimming together!), then to brunch, and then we met the rest of the group for manicures and pedicures at a local spa.
Afterward, a couple of the ladies went for a hike, one took a nap, and a couple of us walked down the street to sit on the beach for awhile.
On Wednesday, we had brunch and they headed to Shaver Lake for the rest of their group vacation at one woman's family cabin, and I headed back to Oakland for the rest of my trip with the in-laws (in a future post).
My one regret is that we completely forgot to have someone take pictures of our group at the swim center in our suits, caps and goggles. Next time!
We had a great time together, and from what I've heard, the rest of the trip was lovely as well. It was so wonderful to meet these women, and to fall easily into a natural repoire with them since we already knew each other so well. This is one of those moments when I'm so grateful for the internet and the crazy random connections we can make with it. Hopefully I'll be able to meet up with them again!