Lyden's Life Lessons - You've Got A Friend In Me

Another week, another race, another lesson.

Friends Old And New

This past weekend was my last home cross country meet -- The Lions Prowl. That in itself was a little tear jerking. But to top it off, Westminster Academy in Ft. Lauderdale, my former school, was coming up to Orlando to compete at the meet, as well.

My coaches at Lake Nona invited the WA coaches and athletes to join us for our team dinner the night before. We got all 40+ people in the house, and we all enjoyed fellowship with one another.

I have to tell you that I can't imagine this kinda get-together could be pulled off in any other sport. We had middle schoolers, high schoolers, coaches, parents, those who have been running forever, those who haven't -- all in one vicinity getting to know each other.

My family and I were really the only ones who knew people from both Westminster and Lake Nona, yet both teams meshed and got to know each other.

I couldn't figure it out. Why did it work so well? Was it because of the amazing food? Or the funny/embarrassing stories from my middle school years? Why was everyone so comfortable with one another?


In that moment, each and every one of us shared something. We shared the sport, the love for running. That similarity sparked new friendships with people who live over three hours away and only got to talk for maybe two hours at the most.

Running brought us together, and running will keep us together.

Created For Connection

Whether you're a runner or not, we need friends. We as humans were made for connection. We were made to get to know one another, to love on one another.

Yet, for many of us, friends are hard to find -- and keep. We get consumed with the negatives in people that we never stop to look at the positives. We make excuses to not befriend someone because "they're annoying" and that we just don't like them, but can't explain why.

And today, we have so many ways we can avoid stepping out of our comfort zone to make friends. It's so easy to stay at home to binge watch Netflix, or stare at our phones, or consume ourselves with work or school, or hang out with our same cliques. But I encourage you to take a chance on the people around you. To be vulnerable. To befriend them.

Before it happened, I didn't know whether a WA-Lake Nona dinner would work out, but it did -- way beyond my expectations. And that's because we were all so open and took a chance on each other to get to know the people around us. We ended up making friends that will last a lifetime.

So, take a chance on those around you. Go and befriend that person, who for some reason you can't get their name off your mind. You never know whose life you will change just by being a friend to them.

Life is too hard to run this journey alone, so take a friend with you. It will make this "long run" all the more enjoyable.

As always, run fast, stay strong, keep the faith and remember you are awesome!

P.S: A big thank you to my coaches for giving me the best senior gift ever -- having both teams together at one time.

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