An open letter to my roasters.

bostonskyline

Its April 17th and the countdown button on the BAA website says “4 days until the race.” I have found that since the one week countdown officially commenced, I have been a mixture of reflective and solemn. This race marks so many milestones for me and signifies a year of immense change. On Sunday, I had all the Roaster ladies over and for a moment, I had to stop and take a look at the coveted prize I had before me. A room filled with strong, remarkable, amazing women who have surpassed my expectation as to what a female athlete could be and inspired me to push outside of my self inflicted comfort zone. They are funny and kind. A wealth of knowledge with a splash of sass. Life achievers and stellar fighters. All of them unique and none of them the same. To see that our friendships extend beyond time on the road, filled my heart with warmth. I felt, very special in that moment, knowing that here in Maine, I have arrived in every sense of the word. And it’s not just the Roasters, but in all aspects of my life. Relationships this year seemed to appear from everywhere, existing ones grew even stronger and the ones that dissipated, I was more than ready for. Learning that not forcing things is sometimes the best option, was one of the big lessons I had to learn.

As I have stated before, it was over a year ago last year that I prepared for my first race in the Distance Medley, the BAA 5K. I wandered around that expo, just in shock at all the people wearing those marathon jackets. I enamored them, I was jealous of them and a lot of me, thought they were nuts. How does a person do that? How do you sustain that level of activity for 26.2 miles? I just wrote it off. I’m broken, I’ll never get to, nor do I want to, experience that. I purchased my “Boston Runnah” T-shirt, which I had no idea, would become so valuable to me. How could I know that two days later, someone  would place two bombs in a landmark treasure, in a city I grew up in and love so much? In a place, at an event that is so inspiring, and hurt so many people. I had no idea what that shirt would become to me. I have worn it at almost every race since then and been proud every time. I remember crossing that finish line the next day at the 5K, with 29 minutes on the clock thinking: what a wash. I looked around at the people I was supposed to be “running it with” and felt almost no emotion. Running was at that time, a lonely sport for me. I always celebrated with my husband but lets be honest, husbands get tired of hearing about this kind of stuff. It never dawned on me that shortly after that race, I would find my new “home.”

One year later, I have sacrificed much, to prove to myself that this is possible. My family has sacrificed even more. I have given up every Saturday morning with my family and sometimes Sunday mornings. Days that were once leisurely with the kids are now usually about “the long run.” I have sacrificed cocktails and date nights and some, but not all, sugary treats. I missed phone calls with my best friend Katie and hearing about our evolving lives.  I woke up on every freezing cold morning and ran, thankfully not alone. I ran in the dark, at the sunset, at dawn. I shared countless hi-fives, hugs, tears and stories. I will never forget when Allison and I finished the 20 miler and after catching our breath, hugging and immediately starting to cry. My Roasters have seen me fall on my bum, hard, due to careless footing on my way to the bathroom. They have seen me scared, when I thought my heart was giving me the red flag. Alan looked at me before the 20 miler, because he could see I was freaking out, so that he may tell me to take it one step at a time and not to worry. They have given me gifts with notes, that I proudly display on my fridge. To say that this year, the last six months especially, have been filled with momentous occasions, would be an understatement. This year, has been filled with more character building moments than I can count. Watching the sun come up, seeing Venus shining in the sky, waves crashing and all the things people usually miss because they are sleeping, has been life changing.

To my Roasters, I say this:

I’m a bit of a giver upper. I tend to take the easy road whenever possible, choosing to sell myself short of my gifts and the possibilities. I would have NEVER trained for the Boston Marathon without your special guidance and time on the road. I would have bailed a long time ago. Some of you may say that’s not true, but I know me, and it’s true. I would never have written that essay for entry without all of you, because I would have had nothing to say about the matter. I would have never tried. The evening I found out I was running the Boston Marathon, you all poured your support upon me and offered anything and everything imaginable in terms of help. Saturday mornings have become very special. Warm smiles, after a long, cold run, go a long way. And watching everyone rise to the occasion this winter was priceless. Sometimes, when I think of the magnitude of this group, I just get so emotional. It’s a beautiful thing. It is. Training for this, has healed so many old wounds, I have put many things to bed while running quietly. I thank you all for your part in my miles. And I of course, wish everyone running the Boston Marathon the best of luck: Susan, Dave, David & Kristin, for some this is not the first and definitely not the last but for all of us, it will be the day we take back Boston.

And to my Roasters who have trained the bulk with me:

To Allison: I asked my father-in-law last night, “How do you thank someone for what she has done? How do you thank someone for never leaving you, not once, during this kind of training?” His response was: “You keep being her friend. You become her life-long friend. And someday, you pay back the favor, in one way or another.” He’s right. There are no words for what you have done. There are no gifts that can cover it. There is no card that can say what I need it to say. I can only say once again, thank you. I would have been barren without you. I would have withered without you. I needed you there, I did, and you followed through. For no reason, other than because you wanted to help a friend. I value every finish line we cross, whether I’m first or you’re first. (lately, you’re usually first)  I value all our milestones and achievements. I hold them deep in the depths of my soul. This year, you and I, together, have just smashed every goal we have set out for. We are indeed, partners in crime. And I love you. I love you for this gift. You gave to me, the Boston Marathon.

To Alan & Jan: I can’t even count the runs you did with me, that no one else would have ever wanted to do. Zero degree days with major wind chill factor, running with a blizzard on its way, running with snow pelting us in the face. Running on the hills with me, that will be the reason I make it through Newton in one piece. The mid-week runs, those frosty 7 & 8 milers, were really only possible because of the both of you. Especially when I came back from Florida and was still nursing a broken toe. You gave me the motivation to just do it, but also, let me know it was alright if I couldn’t do it. The guidance you have provided has been endlessly helpful and immensely appreciated. You guys are my Buddha couple, I lean on you for direction and solace. Jan, I know you are always mentioning age but when I look at your beautiful face, I don’t see anything but the person who I love. A person that I share great moments with. And Alan, I know I may threaten your life quite a bit on the road but your tenacity for the hard stuff has made me SUCH a better runner. I am grateful for all your gifts in life.

To Kristin, Meg & Dave: Meg, you did my first 10 miler with me all alone after I broke my toe and it was the only reason I had a chance in Florida, and you have continued to battle out the long ones with me throughout the winter. I love how you always ask me: “How are you feeling?” which just showcases your compassion for the people around you. I revel in the moments when you share your stories because they are always so profound and just when I think I have been rightfully astounded, you tell me something else about you that just blows me away. You are such a strong woman and I marvel at your integrity, dedication and commitment to everything you do. I will be right there with you for your San Francisco training, we’re gonna get you to those hills ready and able to conquer. Kristin: You are my rabbit. I will never forget the first time I tried to run with you, I thought I was having a full on stroke. I couldn’t believe it. I just crawled up from behind, in astonishment at the woman in front of me. You’re a beast and I mean that as an immense compliment. There are many shit talkers out there but you’re not one of them. You just get up and do the work and quietly shock people with your fierceness. Running with you, is never easy for me but it’s always good. I know this is the groundwork to becoming a faster runner, chasing after those you love. We have shared the road many times throughout this training and I have always been amazed. I can’t wait to marvel in the day. I just, can not wait. I feel our connection has grown in our preparations for Boston and I can’t wait to see how everything blossoms. Dave: Our friendship has been swift in its growth and I am grateful for that. Some people, you just connect with and I think you’re one of them. Watching you come out of your shell and learn your “passions” for life has really been something. Thank you for always slowing down for me, for always coming back for me (even if it makes me feel like an old cripple) and for always thinking about your fellow runners. You are considerate beyond the norm. Thank you for every mile and every word, I treasure them all.

To Cheryl & Kate: You magical ladies have no idea the impact you have had on my life and there are, again, no words. You make me feel as though the world is possible and I dance in the idea that I can do anything when in your presence. Thank you for the support, encouragement, lively laughter and everything else you do for this group. My heart has a very special place for you both. xoxo.

To David & Cynthia, Betsy, Susan, David Holman & David Edwards, Monica, James, Meg & Russ, Terry, Laurie, Stacey, Ryan, Jim, Hugh, Bill,  AM I MISSING SOMEONE?!? Hopefully not! I love you all. Each one of you has contributed to this in one way or another. I am eternally grateful. I really am.

A VERY special thank you to Maine Track Club, you saw something in my essay that made you feel I deserved this opportunity. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving me this gift. I have cherished it and held it close, I promise to make you proud. And to resonate that you made the right decision.

I’ve been lucky that in 30 years I have had many grand moments. But this year, this moment, will certainly take the proverbial cake.

 

 

How to run a half marathon like a dum dum.

RUNNING-FUNNY

Step One: Choose a race that everyone tells you is the WORST imaginable race. Wind in your face. Boring as heck. Long runways with nothing around. Out and backs. Listen to them intently, then ignore them and sign up without putting too much thought into it.

Step Two: Completely forget how far 13.1 miles actually is. Convince yourself that running this race is the equivalent of running a 5K. Great, this should only take like 30 minutes, right? Yup, so I’ll be home in time for pancakes.

Step Three: Eat the worst imaginable dinner the night before, because you’re only running for like 25 minutes so no need to boost the nutritional content in what you’re consuming.

Step Four: Don’t pack any chews for the race. You don’t need any of that. Who needs to restore energy??? The race should only take fifteen minutes.

Step Five: Run three consecutive days in a row before the race, run two of them hard and blow out your legs. I mean, when TLC comes on, you just have to go with the flow. Take zero days off to refresh. Throw that on top of running 20 miles the last Sunday before the race. Also, don’t bother stretching or foam rolling. That shit is for sissies, isn’t it? You’re a die hard athlete, you don’t need to do any of that. Just eat a cookie instead.

Step Six: Don’t sleep the night before the race.

Step Seven: Show up having eaten half of what you normally eat before this distance at this point in the day (9:30, that’s late for me).

Step Eight: Wear way too many layers, like twelve, it’s almost 45 degrees, turtlenecks are a must.

Step Nine: Start running the race way faster than you planned to. Bonk at mile 3 because you’re starving. Remove layers at mile 4 and imagine chucking them into the woods because you can’t stand the idea of carrying them. (Shit, I just bought this jacket, can’t do that, tie it around your waist and look like a hobo) High five everyone who is lapping you so they don’t think you’re having a stroke. Play finish line song at mile 8 because you thought that at mile 5 you would be finished. Damn it.

Step Ten: When in the hell did half marathons start taking this long??? Have a sudden cold, sharp realization that they take more than 30 minutes. Feel like screaming or throwing yourself in front of a moving planes. There are no moving planes. Crap.

Step Eleven: Find some guy and be a creep. Run at his pace just to keep you going. Tick away the miles. One by one. Just get it done.

Step Twelve: Completely give up at mile 12.70, start slowing down to a gradual halt. I can’t go any further. This is stupid. Wait, there’s Dave, can’t let him see this old goat. Better keep moving.

Step Thirteen: Try to smile at all your friends cheering you on but come off instead like an animal with rabies. There’s the finish.

Step Fourteen: Cross the finish line like something that just got shoved in the butt with a hot poker. Grab a really cool metal, some sort of silver blanket thingy for warmth, sit on the ground, wrap that blanket around your head so no one sees you sulking.

Step Fifteen: Continue to be a grouch until it dawns on you that everyone who also ran, stood in their cold, sweaty clothing to cheer you on. Remember to ask how they did and be happy for them. Even though at this moment, you want to punch running in the back of the head.

Step Sixteen: Check your race results. 2:07, hmmmm, act like a baby and continue feeling sorry for yourself.

Step Seventeen: Go have a beer and a meal with friends. Let them help you find the silver lining. Cheers their accomplishments, help them celebrate. It’s never all bad, after all.

 

 

My journey to Boston.

As I sit here, I’m officially in taper mode with only two long runs left. And by long runs, I mean one 13.1 and an eight. With a little less than three weeks till the Boston Marathon, I am feeling many different emotions but the predominant emotion is happiness. It has been a very long road, filled with self doubt and anxiety. However, the road was lined with some of the brightest moments I have ever experienced. On Wednesday, while running with Alan and Jan, Alan proclaimed that he “had his doubts” when I began my training. And that wasn’t said in a negative manner what so ever, it was a simple statement acknowledging that I had a lot of things working against me and at one point, it appeared as though this may not happen. The three of us have had many conversations, where I have confided with them, my shock that this was even happening and my fears that I may not be able to do it. When I broke my metatarsal bone, a week after getting the call about Boston, I thought for sure, I was out. But something, deep, I mean, really deep inside, made me want it bad enough that I ran through 6 weeks of intense pain. The first runs out were horrible, soul crushing runs that made me doubt, my love of this sport. Then there was my heart, I had a medical team telling me I could do it but I shouldn’t do it. And I said to hell with them and did it anyways, only to find out that my heart right now, at this moment, is the strongest it has ever been. But the worst road block was myself and the gut wrenching moments I had to fight to get here.

Just over two years ago, I lost someone who was once very special to me. I joined the Roasters for a multitude of reasons but one of the predominant reasons was that I needed to keep running for my sanity. But, I was having a hard time alone, fighting the solo moments on the road which sometimes seemed endless. I knew running was my way out of an emotional pit. This loss was very sudden and very personal. He was young, too young. And for reasons, I care not to mention, I kept it private and I kept it close. I mourned it secret. I had loved him at whatever capacity love was to me at that time. Buried inside, were all the regrets and thoughts associated with him and they were eating at me. It was crippling in some ways. Running has helped me sort out so many issues, that I knew time on the road would release me from the grips of, whatever this was.

A little less than a year ago, I began my journey to become whole again. Over the past 5 months, I think I have succeeded at this task. Training for Boston has helped me to grow into myself and to see the good in people once again. One year with the Roasters restored my faith in the human spirit. It also solidified that fundamentally, people are good and will rise to the occasion. There have been so many finish lines with smiling, cheering faces. So many finish lines crossed with hugs and tears immediately following. So many boundaries leapt over. So many songs played, as I come to the end, that I collect in my heart like tokens. Over the past 5 months, I have had people with me, almost every step of the way, there have been few solo runs. My fellow runners and friends have gotten up in the darkest, earliest hours and battled the coldest mornings with me. They have gone long for no reason other than support. They have shared with me: sunsets, sunrises, rainy days, sporadic warm days, blue skies, downpours and moments when everything is so perfect, it’s too blissful not to catch. And while out on the road, with these people I love, I have sorted out all the dark days, all the demons, all the things I wish I had said but never got a chance to, I have come to love what has become my life and to believe that everything truly happens for a reason.

These gifts don’t come for free. That’s for sure. And that’s the way I have come to look at it. My loved ones have sacrificed themselves so that on a 20 miler, I could have waves crashing, tailwinds and the perfect weather to nail that sucker in 3:24. I am grateful. I wouldn’t see these things if I wasn’t a runner. Those gifts are cherished. I hold them in a mental bank, able to access in difficult times.

Everyone keeps telling me that there is a huge difference between 20 miles and 26.2 miles. I’m sure there is and perhaps I am just naïve in my thinking that I have come so far, I’d do anything to cross that finish line. That line, painted in yellow with the unicorn adorning it, represents everything that I have worked so hard for. Once I cross that line, I will be free. Free to release the baggage and the hurt, the fear and the regret. I will be free from my years of fearing my heart. I will be free from all my misconceptions about what living in Maine would be to me. I will be free from the chains I have put on myself for many years. Yes, the last 6.2 will be tough. I will probably have a panic attack. I might cry. But to me, the day of, that’s the easy part. The hard stuff is behind me. Nothing can hurt worse than what I have endured.

That finish line is everything.

And I’m gonna get there. Any way I have to.

When it’s good, it’s glorious.

untitled (8)imagesCA7KRANY*Photo #1: what I actually want to be doing most of the time, Photo #2: what I felt like last week which meant I was less compelled to act like Photo #1

Last weeks running was certainly something special. Especially considering I haven’t been feeling well for the last week and a half. The germs my children bring home from school have permeated my body, I managed to escape them all winter long but they have finally caught up with me. Anyways, with the idea in my mind that I was feeling less than stellar, I went into all my runs with a “whatever happens, happens” mentality and apparently, that was the way to go. My schedule last week was 5-8-5 and then a 12, meant to freshen up my legs after the almost 40 mile week prior. I’ll admit, I might have skipped the first 5, as after my 19, I was feeling like I had just been hit by a moving vehicle. So I showed up for the 8 with Allison, Jan and Alan nice and fresh. The first couple of miles were a warm up, since Alan decided to take us up Mount Everest for shits and giggles and then on an ice path, like, no joke, 1 mile completely covered in ice. I could have killed him. But by the time we came out from the frozen tundra, I was ready to go. I had forgotten what this route was like, seeing as though the last time we ran it was back in December. It was hilly, especially the second half. But I was relaxed and at mile 5, I told myself to just put those shoulders down, breath deep and get my ass up those hills, which I did. I rarely ever talk about running fast because fast is a relative term and there are zillions of people faster than I. However, for three miles, I ran like a fucking gazelle (to me). I bombed up those hills, effortlessly. It felt like nothing. It felt beautiful. My stride felt perfect, my gait was on point, everything seemed to align just as it should. Even my breathing, felt easy. Hill after hill after hill, each one faster than the next. My watch went off at 8 miles and to be honest, I didn’t want to stop. So I kept going for another .20 and then I decided to stop as the hill leading to Alan’s house would probably kill me. If that hill wasn’t before me, I think I would have just kept it up, it felt so natural, so organic. That hasn’t happened to me in a LONG time. Usually I map my routes and I’m HAPPY, THRILLED EVEN to be done at the exact mileage. To want to run more, just felt crazy. Crazy good.

My 5 miler the next day had to be on the treadmill as I was once again, home with a sick kid. Treadmill runs don’t bother me as much because I’ve learned how to incorporate them as a training tool. No, nothing is ever as good as outside but I can make it work. It was a fast 5, pulling in sub 9′s while pushing in a little incline. I can always go a little faster on the treadmill. Probably because it does some of the work for you. But I tried to think of a common route I run and use those hills as guidance for the varied incline. It felt hard but it felt good. I was happy to stop but confident in my performance.

On Saturday it was time for the 12. Easy, right? First of all, I can’t even fathom that I am at the point in my life where I’m relieved by 12 miles. I can remember training for the BAA Half and thinking that a 12 mile training run was NUTS! I had lined up a running buddy, Mrs. Meg but I was sure there would be others joining. And others did, which is always welcome. I ended up with the wonderful company of Kristin, Meg, Dave and his daughter. I wouldn’t say Meg chose an easy route, maybe it was easier than some but it still was no picnic. There were some hard hills in there. But there was a good mixture of laughing, chatting and being quiet which makes things easier. We had a good warm up mile which I always need but it was warmer out and we started at 7 so my body was already in a better than usual place. By mile 3 we were hitting good numbers and I was excited at how good I felt. Parts felt tough, yes, but when that happened I just backed it off a sec and let my body take a minute before pushing once again. It ended up being a really great run, in fact, I felt like I could have gone harder once I was finished. I needed a run like that. Long and a little challenging. It gives me confidence that I am in a place where I can break 2 at Race the Runways. (Because let’s be honest, if I end up with another 2:00:09, I might just throw my shoes into the road). I think I’ve learned to not be intimidated by running with those that are faster than me. You do what you can, when you can, and you don’t when you can’t, or don’t want to. And that’s that.

I have some real decisions to make about races this fall as I have already signed up for more than I can probably physically handle. So it becomes a matter of really being smart. Doing the races that I feel the most passionate about and of course, listening to my heart, and my body. The Distance Medley was a race series in Boston that I really wanted to come back for. I hated every minute of it. I have zero good memories of the three races, except for crossing the finish line with Allison at the half marathon. But that’s where the allure lies. I didn’t train AT ALL for the 5K or the 10K, I was just a lazy blerch of a person. And when I saw my times, I was all like: “ohhhh, how’d that happen??” I want to come back this year as a strong runner, someone who has put in the work and see what one year has done for my body. The 5K, I can’t really push, as I have the Boston Marathon 2 days after but the 10K I have big goals for. My PR for a 10K this year was 55:52 and I know I can beat that. I’m still looking for that faster runner. This year was the foundation, now it’s time to build the house.

This weekend is my last and final long long run of the training cycle: 20 miles. Holy crap. Then it’s a 12 and an 8. And then it’s over until Boston. I can’t say I have quite done it yet but I’m pretty darn close. I’m hoping that last weeks greatness will be rivaled by this weeks running. But with the good days, come the bad days and vise versa, that’s just how running goes.

But that’s why we love it, right?

Move over Nike: Oiselle is coming in fierce.

*photo courtesy of Oiselle

There has been an apparel hole in my heart for quite a minute now. I gravitated away from my love of Nike as I progressed deeper and deeper into my training. There were just too many incidents with the clothing and shoes to dismiss. Literally, my favorite Pegasus shoes went through re-design after re-design, resulting in a shoe that killed my shins. The pants drag down my butt while running, causing me to look like I’m reaching into my butt on virtually every run. I mean, I look like I’m digging for gold back there. Hold on guys, just grabbin’ a snack, which I store in my butt.  And then there was the unfortunate incident in which I ran a 10K in pants that were completely see thru, broadcasting my pink polka dot undies for everyone to see, including Patrick Dempsey. I didn’t even know this was the case until a friend of mine put the picture on Facebook and I was like: woooooaaaahhhhh, there it is, my bum, in all its glory. At some point, you just have to say, enough is enough. I tried Lululemon and they’re great but I need to take out a bank loan to purchase the things I need on a regular basis. And part of that brand feels very exclusive, which I don’t love. Athleta is nice but again, I don’t have endless cash on hand here and I feel like that stuffs for girls that are ripped body goddesses. Which I, am not. So a few weeks ago, I decided to give Oiselle a go, before even knowing that my favorite athlete, Kara Goucher, was about to jump on their brand. My first click on their website made me immediately excited, the aesthetic is very chic, with a dash of fresh and a bunch of humble. I felt very encouraged by everything I read. Their prices aren’t cheap but they are better than a lot of the brands out there. I also love that they seem to support a wide range of athletes, encouraging everyone to find their inner “lion.”

I ordered a lot of stuff. A sports bra, a pair of thermal running pants, 2 sweatshirts, 1 long sleeve t-shirt, and one technical running shirt. There may have been something else but I can’t remember. I chose express shipping because I wanted those pants before my 17 mile run. And when that package came, I tore into it like it like an animal. Anyone watching me would have thought I was having a seizure. Everything was so nicely packaged and looked SO pretty. The fit was borderline perfect. Each piece felt made for me. Which never happens. Cuz, you know, I’m a big girl. The pants survived a 17 mile, coldish morning run. They didn’t slide, move an inch or feel anything but wonderful. The sweatshirts were both lined with a lovely fleece material which made them perfect for post running warm-up. The bra kept everything in place, made me feel like a supermodel and didn’t chafe a single part of me. I really love the approach that one should look as fabulous in their running attire as they do when out and about in a social setting. This clothing reflects a lady with style but still looks athletic. The technical shirt I purchased is wildly comfortable and looks great with a pair of leggings for when I just want to be comfortable.

I think as we get older, dive into different parts of our training, etc, our needs change. I have donated a large portion of my Nike pieces to Goodwill to make room in my closet for this company. I am in love with them. When I found out Mrs. Kara Goucher signed with them last night, I was even more in love with them. She’s an amazing woman. This brand is a perfect representation of her.

All my athlete ladies out there, take a gander, you will love this company and all their apparel.

Fleet Feet (Maine Running Co.) Owner, Makes It Good.

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I’ve had a lot of time to think about the situation at Fleet Feet (Maine Running Co.) the last couple of days but to be honest, I had really lost interest by the time the owner, John, gave me a call this afternoon. Lost interest meaning, I was no longer compelled to feel angry or be bitter. I was just over it. I can run anywhere, anytime. I don’t need a group to get me out there. And again, I’m already blessed with more running partners than a girl could ever ask for. As well as a fabulous Saturday morning group. But I do feel compelled to throw something out there after my conversation with John as he was very genuine and forthcoming. It seems to me if his employees would have included him in the first place, things would have never gotten this out of hand. John made a really great point: his brand has never dealt with this before. This situation is a first and his store wasn’t quite ready. There were no procedures in place. Obviously, this will be a teaching tool for his staff as well as his store on what steps need to be in place for people joining running groups with pre-existing conditions. I’m sure some people may say “the man” got to me but I’m not a stupid gal, I think (or at least I hope) I know better than that. He seemed really apologetic. And I tried to explain something to him: my WHOLE damn life, I’ve been told I can’t run. This hit a nerve. It wounded me deep. So to me, I needed some backlash to come his way. But John can’t help that he hired one dummy employee who seems to think mouthing off is the way to deal with an irate, emotionally bothered customer.

I’ve always love Maine Running Company, since the moment I moved to Maine. It felt like home the second I walked in there. I think when you really love something, it hurts way more when you think you can’t be part of it. I’m a reactor. Always have been. But I really can’t hide the truth, this is a place I enjoy. I feel a surge of happiness whenever I’m ready for my new shoes and I get to go visit. I love that I can show the staff my nasty feet and they’re like: cool, here are the shoes you need to fix that. I love that I go in there to pick up my bib numbers and that I am always greeted by faces I know and love. It’s a community store and I love it. After speaking with John, I realize I can’t turn my back on this place just because of one asshole. And perhaps someday when I see Denise, I can sit her down and explain to her how the world actually works. It would do her a lot of good.

I don’t want anyone boycotting this brand. They are indeed, still local. Sometimes local owners need to make moves to secure their brand and their future. There is nothing wrong with that. What’s the alternative? Shrivelling up and going away? Becoming old news? I encourage all my friends, runners and readers to continue to trust this brand. I believe that there is a person behind the brand who always wants to do the right thing. My conversation with John restored my faith. And so, I will go there and purchase my brand spanking new shiny Garmin, as my old one broke this weekend. I will continue to provide them my business until they give me a reason not to. You should as well.

Thanks for all the support that has come my way. I think ultimately, everything works out for a reason. I’ll be strong in Boston no matter what.

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