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.



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