Dear Friends and Family,

I'd like to share a bit of my story and the reason why I choose to raise money for the Sharon Timlin Memorial Race to Cure ALS now. My story is likely not unique, but one that I hope gives pause, if nothing else.
 
Who I am:

I am a Brookline resident. I live on mile 24 of the Boston Marathon route, which has been both a tease and a motivation for me to become a marathoner. I've now run four marathons and countless shorter distant road races. I've always rejoiced in Boston's precious Patriot's Day, cheered on the runners who passed by my house and walked away from the course each year wishing I qualified for it myself. I've missed BQing twice by about 10 minutes each time.
 
I am a runner. I've run since I was 12 years old, when I needed a recreational outlet in school and quickly found it in cross-country. I didn't see myself as a potential marathoner until I moved to Boston in 1999, and watched my first Boston Marathon run by my office in Newton. That changed my life.
 
Most importantly, I am a mother, wife and daughter. I thought life couldn't get any happier when I married my husband. Then we met our daughter. We cherish every moment we have with her, and now I understand why my mother cares so much about what I'm up to even though we live on opposite sides of the country. I will never not worry about my daughter, for as long as I live. I hope I never take a second of my time with my family for granted.
 
Where I was:
 
April 15, 2013 was a dark day for Boston, the running community and humanity in general. I was cheering at mile 24 when the bombs hit. I stayed there waiting for a friend to pass, blissfully unaware, for another 20 minutes before the police started directing all spectators away without explanation. When I arrived to my door, a neighbor told me bombs had hit the finish line. 'What?' I had my daughter in my arms. 'Bombs?' All I could think about was protecting her and reaching my husband, who was on his way home from California. I ran into our apartment only to crumble to the floor. I didn't want to turn on the TV. I didn't want to know what happened. Then I did. I saw. I learned. I shook and cried, clutching my daughter the whole time.
 
When I started to process the news, over an hour later, my first reaction was we could have been there. I had been spectating at the finish line in years prior. My office was a block passed the finish line on the same side of the street as the bombs. Had I not been recently laid off, conveniently just for the weeks before and after the bombing, I may have been out there watching the race at that very spot. If I'd run the race, my husband and daughter could have been there waiting for me to cross the finish line. I couldn't think about it. But for others not so lucky - they couldn't escape that reality.
 
Then I became angry and driven. I thought I will run it. I will do everything I can to protect my family and all that I love - the joy of a spring day, the innocence of a wonderful event, the spirit of all the runners and amazing spectators, our ability to just live and enjoy life, precious as it is.
 
Precious as it is.

What I'm running for:

Up until about 2 years ago, when both of my grandparents passed away within weeks of one another, I'd only lost one person I loved and cared for. My godfather Bernie, a close family friend who I affectionately called Uncle Pete, was taken away viciously when I was just a teenager. His killer was ALS.

Uncle Pete was more like family than godfamily. My parents had divorced when I was 5 years old, and my Uncle Pete lived only 10 minutes from my home with my mom. We saw him often. I always loved visiting him because he would talk baseball, make fun fruit juices and let me run loose around the property with his pet dogs.

We saw him even more when I was in high school, when my mom quit her job to take care of him. ALS had begun ravaging his body though his mind stayed sharp as a tack. I remember he used to play Scrabble with my mom. While he played, he would smoke and the cigarettes would burn down and blacken his fingers before he'd let my mom help him put it out. He was stubborn. He didn't want help. He didn't want to give in.

But he lost the battle.

The night he died, I had driven straight to his house in NY from my college in Rhode Island. I had just finished my first semester, and I was leaving in a blizzard. I made it home in time, both to barely beat the worst of the storm and to say goodbye. Once I got inside, tired and terrified of what was to come, I pulled up a cot near his bedside, where my mom and his family had gathered. I fell asleep around 11 pm. Just a couple of hours later, in the darkest hours of the night and the heaviest of the storm, I woke suddenly. I heard my mom crying, saying, "Go, Bernie, go." I ran to his side and watched him take his last breaths. He was suffering. His lungs weren't working any more. His eye lids could no longer blink. He finally took one last breath. The terror was finally over, after more than two years of suffering.

Devastation was immediate and immense. I had not only watched a relative die in front of me, but it was my Uncle Pete. He was closer to me than my own father. I'd never forget this moment. I'd never take life for granted.

Though I know at times I have. Marathon Monday was my cruel, stark reminder.

Life is too short. We have to recognize and fight the terrorists all around us, whether they be cowardly people that shred all that is good, or invisible beasts that ravage our hearts, minds and bodies. We have to cherish all that is good in this world.

So this I promise:

I will love my home.

I will love my community.

I will love my family.

I will love my life.

I will fight to protect and cherish all that is good and right, and one day I will make my daughter proud to call me her mom. With a little luck, some hard work and a lot of hope, just maybe we can all help defeat the terrorists around us and within.

Thank you for supporting my cause.

Love,
Robyn

 
 
 This past Sunday I ran my third 5K in one week's time. I feel like I reached some sort of milestone... even though I collectively run the distance of all three races quite often. At least I did about a month or so ago.

> My first goal was to beat my old pace (7:14) at least once.

Goal achieved in last week's Heartbreak Hill 5K (7:04 pace).

> My second goal was to support a cause that's dear to me. I lost a loved one to ALS.

Goal achieved in the Sharon Timlin 5K to Cure ALS. Secondarily, I finished this race faster (7:08 pace) than my old PR, though not my new PR. That's ok! I still consider this as another point toward goal #1.

> My third and final goal was to just enjoy my running again.

Goal accomplished by 5K #3. The Brookline Flag Day 5K was a no pressure, fun, family time event. Small field, but I instantly picked out the fast folks. Sure enough, the chick I thought would be fastest kicked my rear, though I would have given her a run for her money had I PRed. I ran this one slower (7:25 pace) than the other two races, but I'm so happy with that time. My legs were jello from Saturday's race and it was steamy hot on Sunday morning at 10:30. Didn't matter. It was so much fun. Watching the kids' race prior to mine was almost as fun as running down Harvard St. in my home town.

I loved my mini goal to run three 5Ks in a week. It was a great time, extremely fulfilling and just what I needed to start a steamy running season. It really did make me want to run more again.

Now to attempt to get up my mileage without blowing my hip apart. Good times!
 
 
Today I ran my second 5K in less than a week. The only problem is that my D-tag didn't seem to work. I'm not in the results, which is frustrating. I just complained to Bay State Timing. The good news is that I know I finished just slightly slower than I did in last week's race (around 22:05-22:10), and today's weather was not as kind. HOT.

I have one more 5K to go tomorrow before a break until August. I'll be at the Brookline Flag Day 5K. Here's hoping for a sub 7:00 pace.

I should add that I wasn't trying to plan three 5Ks in one week. It just happened that way. I heard about the Heartbreak Hill 5K first. I love that stretch of road, so I had to run that last week. Then I heard about today's race, which I had to run because I lost a loved one to ALS, and it's one of the few charities I would run for. And finally I heard about Brookline Flag Day festivities. Brookline is my hometown, so of course I registered.

After a season of half marathons and a full marathon, all of these 5Ks are just fun.

Good luck to everyone else racing tomorrow!
 
 
I just took 30 seconds off my best 5K time. That feels good. I'm also not one to brag about place, since my place is only as good as the other runners who show up to race, but this is still fun to see:
Picture
 
 
Picture
I didn't keep up that 7:03 first mile pace, but I finished in 22:27. That's a 7:14 pace. Not bad for an icy day with cold winds and a bruised foot. :) I also finished 3rd in my division and 6th female overall. Only 133 ladies ran, but I'll take what I can get!

5K Race Against Cancer Results
Race Photos

Next up: Bill Rodger's Jingle Bell Fun Run this Sunday with my mom - who's flying in from Oregon! She's not a runner but I'm hoping she enjoys the slow controlled pace that they apparently enforce for this run. The free drink afterward will help.

There's still time to register if you haven't. The fee is a little steep at $37, considering it's not a timed run, but it does include a free shirt and adult beverage, and part of the portions go to local charities.

> Register for Bill Rodger's Jingle Bell Fun Run
 
 
I don't have the results back yet, or the photo my husband took of me freezing at the starting line in my capris and too-thin running jacket, but I felt good running today's Holiday 5K Against Cancer.

I could not feel my legs on the windy, icy cold Boston Esplanade, so I went out fast and didn't acknowledge blood flow until I heard the brave volunteer at Mile 1 yell out "7:03!" That's great for me, though I knew I'd lose it. Didn't help that we were warned about an iced over turn between Mile 2 and 3.

The ice wasn't the toughest part though... What was harder was running against the Back Bay runners. These are some highly determined people who will run wherever they want to run, no matter who's coming at them. I almost had a head on collision with a woman who insisted on running the same ice-free patch of concrete -- right at me. The big difference, of course, was that she was not running a race! She could have eased off for a sec to let me pass, but no. Rather than have a throw down during this holiday season -- a time of joy, peace and happiness -- I risked the slippery step and dodged around her. Guess it comes with the territory. :)

All in all it was a great little race with some brave volunteers. Thanks to Race Menu for organizing the event and to everyone who came out to help. I can't believe how supportive everyone was on such a cold day! You guys and gals rock. THANK YOU! I'll be back next year.
 
 
I'm a little more than 2 hours away from running the Holiday 5K Run Against Breast Cancer on the Esplanade, and I'm still nursing a dumb injury from yesterday.

You know how it feels to roll your ankle? How about rolling your ankle when taking a large step from the bottom of the flight of stairs, just to make sure you have ALL of your body weight on it? I actually rolled it so bad that I bypassed my ankle completely and now have a gigantic bruise on the TOP of my foot. It's almost impressive.

Luckily I had all day yesterday to ice and rest it, so it is much better already. I'm just nervous to see how it feels with my sneakers on! Either way I'm running this 5K. Yes, I'm a stubborn runner.

If you're in the Boston area, there's still time to run this race. Registration near that Hatch Shell on the Esplanade. Race starts at 11:00 am.

More Details: Holiday 5K Run Against Breast Cancer
 

Welcome!

11/27/2009

7 Comments

 
Thanks for stopping by! I'm a Boston-based runner, writing to keep my mind as occupied as my body! I run road races from 5K up to full marathon. I love discovering running routes, runner's techniques, energy-boosting recipes and ways to push through a hard workout. If you have a suggestion, please leave a comment  or email me!

I've been running for over 20 years, though I've only become more dedicated to the sport recently. I run because I find it relaxing and rewarding - and I selfishly love how I feel after going for a good long run. I'm not as fast as I was in high school, when I was a 6 minute miler, but I'm working on it!

Personal Records:
* 3:51:25 marathon (NYC 2009)
* 1:43:12 half marathon (B.A.A. 2009)
* 30:18 4.2 miler (2005)
* 28:29 4 miler (2009)
* 23:11 5K (2009)

I'm also studying to become a personal trainer with American College of Sports Medicine, and I'll be a certified running coach this spring. I hope some of the information in my blog inspires adults and kids of all ages to get outside, have a lot of fun and run!

Robyn
Boston Road Runner