2 years ago today I had a speaking gig. I did quite a few of these for various organizations and I went in thinking this would be just another day. When I walked into a large room of 200 bankers (mostly men, in suits) I nearly walked back out. I knew right away it was going to be a tough crowd for my personal development/ motivational talk. My subject was all about getting out of your comfort zone though, so I guess it was time to walk the talk.
It was, as I anticipated, a tough crowd. When it was over I was relieved and anxious to get out of there. I made a b-line for the door and as I was walking out the door one of the 'suits' fell into step with me. He complimented me on the presentation and although it was nice to hear I just wanted to get out of there and wasn't in the mood for chit chat. Then he said he, too, did his first Ironman in Penticton in 05. I finally looked up and made eye contact. He smiled and something inside of me shifted. We chatted a bit about training- I was surprised to hear he did most of his training solo and I told him about some of the groups I had trained with, and offered to hook him up with some people if he ever wanted to do a group ride. He pulled out a card and scribbled his cell number on the back. I glanced at his name, said good bye and doubted I would ever see him again.
Later that day I received a few emails from people in the presentation- thanking me, complimenting me, etc. It was nice, since they were a tough group to get talking.
One of the emails was from Darin Hunter...that guy who walked me out. He had some really nice things to say about my presentation, some intelligent comments about the material, and expressed his gratitude in hearing about someone else's ironman experience. He said most people he talked to about it got a glazed over look and really did not either understand, or care. From this point, the emails began to go back and forth. Mainly about triathlon, but also a bit about ourselves, our lives etc. As it turns out we worked only blocks apart from one another, and so we decided to go for a run together, after work.
He was a really good writer, and his intelligence came through. So did his sense of humor and from what I remembered from the brief time I met him he was also disarmingly handsome. But I was not "looking" for a relationship right at that moment. I had recently come out of a messy one and was still cleaning up. But a friend who possessed these qualities would be alright, I rationalized. I had lots of guy friends and new people to train with were always a good thing.
So we went for a run. (I still had no idea he was a rock star runner). I thought I was keeping a pretty good pace- trying, in a way, to see if he could keep up. We had a great conversation and a fantastic run.
We made plans for another run, this time a real test- with the trailtrash group out in the mountain trails. We drove out to the mountains together and had great and easy conversation. The run itself was a gooder- with several creek crossings and lots of climbing. The first creek crossing was a doozy- mid quad deep and a strong current...and cold! As the group crossed, Darin lost his footing and fell in. The current caught him and he had to swim his way back to shore. The group, as kind as they are, instantly began berating him and teasing him that this was not a triathlon. D took it all in stride, he laughed it off and carried on running without so much as flinching. The next creek crossing was captured in the picture below. I teased him that I was a bit worried about holding onto him and getting taken for a swim- but I actually felt totally secure on his arm :-)
Over the next month we saw each other a few times, going for runs, mid day coffees at the Good Earth, and exchanged many emails. One evening, we were out for sushi and as he was talking about traveling and his experiences in his 20's, I found myself starting at him, and wondering what it would be like to kiss him. It was about that time I accepted what I had been fighting all along- this "friendship" was not going to work. So we broke off our platonic relationship and took the plunge into a romantic relationship. The rest, as they say, is history.
Every day together we have grown happier, stronger and more in love. We are best friends, training partners, life partners and lovers. I couldn't ask for more.
Last August, on my 30th birthday, we made the promise to become man and wife. In 4 months we will be Mr and Mrs Hunter and I feel like the luckiest person on earth to have found my one true love. Cheesy, but true :-)
Happy Anniversary babe. The last 2 years have been the best days (and nights) of my life, and I look forward to a lifetime more with you.