I am a Runner. And I am Undeterred.


If you weren’t aware, my job title is VP of Community at FitFluential. And what an incredible community it is.

We have a large runner base, and I have had the privilege of following these runners as they train, fail, grow stronger, set goals, achieve personal greatness. This community supports each other wholeheartedly: giving advice, encouraging dreams, celebrating all achievements, no mater how small.

Inspired by this community, I ran my first 5k about this time last year and was hooked by my own ability to exceed my expectations and the sheer exuberance of those who ran with me. I shared my next 5k (the next day) with my son and the Color Run a month later with all three of mychildren and a team of my friends. On my daughter’s 8th birthday I ran the Merrill Down & Dirty Mud Run with my oldest; it was hard. My clothing and my shoes were heavy but my heart and spirit were light. Running that obstacle race demanded more than I had ever thought I might accomplish.

The senseless bombing at the finish line of the Boston Marathon wrecked me.

For the runners, and the spectators who were proudly waiting to cheer their loved ones to the finish. I’ve watched online, lived vicariously, as so many prepared for this day, given shoutouts as they readied themselves. To run the Boston Marathon, you have to qualify: run a certain time at approved marathons. It’s amazing to simply be a runner in this race. These are  the best of the best. To have such an accomplishment diminished by tragedy; to see runners injured as they are about to cross the line; to see the culmination of all that hard work ripped away breaks my heart. I can’t imagine what the day was like for those who were running, the disappointment of those who didn’t get to finish.




Today I’m wearing my Down & Dirty race tee, in solidarity with the running community as they wear race shirts or blue & yellow in response to the tragedy in Boston. Usually I am critical of such gestures; I would prefer that people respond by donating their money or time or otherwise of themselves.

This is different.

I don’t know the motivation behind the bombing. It may have been someone attacking the very American notion of endeavoring to become our best selves— to dream, to persevere, to triumph. It may have been a disgruntled runner jealous of the achievement of those who qualified. It may have been someone fed up with runners taking pride in their run times on Facebook.

But what was meant to instill terror has achieved quite the opposite effect. Where other similar tragedies have prompted fear, this one has prompted defiance and strength and solidarity. Whoever this was, they fucked with the wrong city, the wrong race, the wrong community.

The wake of the Boston bombing in the run community has been nothing short of amazing. Marathoners crossed the finish line and kept on running, to give blood to those in need. Donations have flooded in. Bostonians opened their homes to those displaced or unable to leave due to transit lockdown.

Runners get shit done.

Runners are familiar with adversity. They acknowledge the pain and they run through it. Runners are people who strive to dig deep and perform, in spite of muscle aches or personal insecurities or time constraints. Runners support and celebrate each other. Runners keep going.

Predictably, I’ve seen posts today bemoaning the fact that there is evil in the world, wondering how to speak of it with our children. I say, it is right for them to understand that there is evil, that there is pain. That it doesn’t discriminate. That it is unpredictable and unfair and happens a whole lot more than people like to acknowledge, especially in other parts of the world. Tell them. And then point to how people stepped up and  filled the vacuum formed by hate and despair with a wave of support and love and strength.

There is evil in the world but it serves to throw in sharp relief the enormity of good in humanity.

We can’t prevent tragedy but we don’t have to be slowed by fear.

I’m often frustrated during my swimming class, because I’m so easily tired and short of breath. My instructor is quick to point out that swimming and running are separate skill sets, that you use different muscles and breathing strategies for each. She likes to elicit confirmation from others to make me feel better. “Robin is a runner and she’s discouraged because it’s hard for her to swim laps. Don’t you think swimming is different than running?”

I wince every time. The person she asks always responds the same way— that yes, the activities differ and though this one can swim forever without tiring, they’re out of breath running to their mailbox. That’s not what I’m reacting to.

I wince because I would never call myself a runner. I am slow, I fight for every mile, I begrudge every run.

Yesterday, feeling helpless and sad as one is wont to do in the face of such events, I laced up my Mizunos and ran three miles. My calves felt tight and it was raining, but I did it anyway. It felt like the right thing to do.

You see, after other recent tragedies (and they seem to happen so often now), there’s been an uncertainty as to what to do. There is no such uncertainty here. Tomorrow and the days following, we may look for broader measures to prevent such incidents. But today we run.

There’s a reason why there’s a ‘cult’ of running. Why your running friends are always trying to get you to join them. It’s because when you run you’re free. You are in charge. You are capable. There is no room for fear.

Step up to that starting line. Own the finish line.

Today I call myself a runner because I run. I wear my race tee to stand with everyone else that strives every day to do better, to run faster, to become a better version of themselves, to continue to do what they once believed they could not do.

Runners run to something. They run for something. They sure as hell are not about to start running from something.

I am deeply affected and saddened by what happened in Boston. My heart goes out to those affected, but I am undeterred. If anything I  am more determined than ever to earn my place in this amazing community.

I’ll likely never be a marathoner, but today I am a runner. I am slow, but I am always improving.

I am strong. I am proud.

And I am not afraid.



Hey, this blog is brand new. (My other one is right here.) It would be cool if you visited me again.




  1. I have to say I have been so impressed with my running community and my fitfluential family through this. From everyone spreading the word through social media that friends were accounted for and OK yesterday to the amazing posts today…. I’m proud to be a runner and proud to be a part of fitfluential.

  2. Outstanding. I love this line: Runners run to something. They run for something. They sure as hell are not about to start running from something.

  3. I love it … runners don’t run from something. I totally agree, this will not stop the vibrant, tough-as-nails running community. I laced up my runners this morning and put in my 5 miles. And my family will continue to sign up for races, support causes and get stronger. Boston is certainly a tragedy, but the running community will take this adversity and come back even stronger.

  4. This post is so much what I wanted to say. Fantastic job.

  5. I am not deterred either. I am heart broken. I am angry. But I will not stop running and it doesn’t sound like my family is going to stop showing up at finish lines to support me – which means the total world to me!!! <3 the support from spectators – even if they're strangers!!! (((hugs))) to my people!!!

  6. Well said Robin. And you are so right we runners don’t run from something! Laced up this morning too and I will continue to for a long time to come!

  7. Great post. Gave me the chills. 🙂

  8. congratulations on the new site! Love the design!

    Robin, you are amazing, and this post has many of the thoughts that I was thinking, and yet I haven’t said out loud! Brilliant!

  9. This is a great post. However, I feel I should point out that I unfollowed Kelly Olexa this morning because of a complete lack of empathy in her multiple tweets yesterday and this morning. I had expected more from Fitfluential.

  10. Thank you for writing this, I loved every word of it. I know for me what happened yesterday only makes me want to run more, do more and be more.

  11. I will not be deterred either. In October I run Marine Corps Marathon and I will qualify for Boston there. Then next April I will toe the line. I will run Boston.

  12. Awesome post. Can’t wait until my next run.

  13. This is a beautiful post. I ran 4 miles last night with the people of Boston in my heart. Today, I’m signing up for Americas Finest in San Diego in August. I wont be deterred either.

  14. So well said. You ARE a runner. I’ve watched you do your first races and keep at it and you may be slow, but I am slower and damn it, I’m a runner. I never in a zillion years dreamed I would run a half marathon, but I did, and now I’m dreaming of a full. My running family is doing a tribute run for Boston tonight as a group. We are a cult. We are a family 🙂

  15. I love this. I’m no runner but I strive to be. Maybe someday. But I think you’re kicking ass and you ARE a runner. Thanks for sharing this today.

  16. “Runners run to something. They run for something. They sure as hell are not about to start running from something.” – I couldn’t love that line more.

  17. Wow. Well said. I know the feeling of overwhelming accomplishment you mention, from the one half marathon I walked (with just a little bit of running), so I can imagine the despair to have that wrenched away. We will Overcome. We will Ever Run.

  18. “Runners run to something. They run for something. They sure as hell are not about to start running from something.”

    I love this quote. It says so much about the running community.

  19. Awesome, amazing, inspiring blog – I had to share it. You said everything that I’ve said over the last few days ~ MUCH MORE ELOQUENTLY!! Thank you for the blog and the inspiration!!


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