Not too terribly long ago I participated in the Timex ONE relay and in spite of the fact that I am honestly just a terrible runner, it felt pretty awesome to be part of such a huge endeavor. It’s simply amazing: the sheer number of people involved, the heart of the participants and the ongoing support of the running community.

Now here’s your chance to take part: in not just a national relay, but a historic running relay!

The United Relay of America is making running history as the world’s first triple-route coast-to-coast nonstop running relay. Runners who want to make a difference will set off from Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and meet in New York City, carrying three batons nearly 12,000 miles in the three unbroken chains. In the process, awareness and an estimated $1.5 million will be raised for several deserving charities, including children’s hospitals across the nation.

Between those three unbroken chains, an estimated 9,000 runners will run over 1,200 stages in 39 days (setting off from Seattle on April 27th, San Francisco on May 4th and LA on May 8th). They’ll then move east, with the last runners uniting at Prospect Park, New York City on June 4th. That’s about 12,000 miles across 33 states! You can follow the runners’ progress on a live map or by following along on social media.

To participate, register to run a stage on the United Relay of America website (individual stage is $50, group stages are $25. One group stage involved the “Rocky steps” at the Philly art museum, on June 2nd). You’ll then be invited to choose a charity and a fundraising target. Fundraising is not compulsory; if you don’t hit your target you will not be charged the difference.

And of course, if you are Not A Runner you can opt to sponsor a runner or simply donate to the cause. 100% of United Relay of America Fund proceeds go directly to the charities. 2016-04-09 15-56-39 2016-04-09 15-57-13

Registered runners and supporters receive an exclusive 20% discount on safe, bone conduction headphones from AfterShokz. Since this relay takes place on roadside courses, during all hours and conditions, runners won’t be allowed to use traditional headphones and earbuds that block out traffic and warnings. By contrast, AfterShokz bone conduction headphones ensures runners can remain aware of surroundings while they run. Plus, 5% of every purchase made will be donated to the United Relay of America Fund through June 2016.



AND, when you sign up to a run a stage you’ll be automatically entered for a chance to meet Alicia Keyes, during a two-night stay in NYC with flights included! The winner and a friend will also receive a free pair of AfterShokz headphones and a goodie bag, including an exclusive United Relay t-shirt signed by Alicia Keys.

You can increase your chances of winning (each point represents a separate entry into the prize draw):

  • 5 points for signing up to an empty stage
  • 4 points for signing up to a Standard Stage
  • 3 points for every $100 you raise
  • 2 points for recruiting a friend to run
  • 1 point for signing up to a Group Stage

You can see a running total of your points within your United Relay Dashboard.

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling some runner envy this month; so many people have been posting pictures as they kick off their racing season. This is a great opportunity to set a date to begin training for, while raising funds for a cause you care about— did I mention 100% of United Relay of America Fund proceeds go directly to the charities?

Register today!



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In October I started working with a new client on a FitFluential Twitter chat. We were talking about the love of the run, and running for good, and how the Timex ONE relay tied those things together. This relay “spans the distance between two of the most iconic marathons in the world”— from Chicago to NYC— and happened to still need runners in some cities.

Including my hometown, Wilmington Delaware.

So even though I’d not been doing much in the way of run training, I felt compelled to apply. Each runner got to choose a charity to support; Timex would be making a charitable donation of $100 per mile. The worst they could do was say no, right?

I was quick to mention that I continue to run only to prove to myself that I can do hard things that I really don’t want to do, in the hopes that I will nudge someone else who identifies as NOT A RUNNER to get out there.

And I was selected to participate. I was excited and petrified.

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As luck would have it, the weather changed that morning from weeks of beautifully perfect fall temps to just a miserable, cold rain. I was late arriving because there were accidents on the backroads.

But I got there. And I ran.

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I had 4 miles to run, starting at the Delaware Running Company store in Greenville right by my BFF’s parents’ house and ending just a bit past my in-laws’ house in Centerville. (This is how Delaware works.)

That’s an uphill climb pretty much the entire way. So much for my usual strategy of running the straightaways and downs and walking the hills.


I started off wearing my Under Armour rain jacket, but got all sweaty and irritated by it almost right away (not the jacket’s fault, I just can’t stand the feeling of wet fabric). So I just sucked it up and weathered the weather. You can’t even tell it was raining in these photos. Trust me, it was.


The nice thing though, was that the weather distracted me from the actual running, and since I didn’t want my phone to get wet I was pretty much unaware of time passing. The miles flew by. Before I knew it I was in Centerville, and headed downhill about a quarter mile towards my finish line.


You can kind of see the watch I’m wearing in this pic (I’m a terrible blogger and didn’t think to get a picture of it myself). It was worn by all of the relay participants to track the miles run. The touchscreen Timex Ironman ONE GPS+ lets you leave your phone at home: in addition to the features of a running GPS watch, it connects to Bluetooth headphones, allows you to send and receive messages, is compatible with Bluetooth heart rate monitors, is water resistant, and can send an SOS message complete with your exact location. Pretty cool.


Once my four miles were done I got to climb into the Timex van and warm up while we tailed another runner who was doing six miles.

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Yes, I felt a little silly for being so proud of my paltry 4 miles. I knew a ton of people who were training for the NYC Marathon and were logging long runs of 18, 20 miles.

Running is hard for me. Especially something like this: no obstacles to break up the monotony, no one keeping me company. Just me and my thoughts, the loudest one asking me why the hell do I keep signing up for this stuff.


I don’t really know the answer to that question. But I keep signing up, and I keep doing, and that feels more right than doing nothing at all.

And in this case, I helped raise $400 for charity, which always feels pretty darn good.

You know how they say “if you run, then you’re a runner?” I say it too, but I never really felt it applied to me until I did this. For one day, I felt like a runner. A slow, thoroughly soaked and chilled to the bone runner, but a runner nonetheless.



You can learn more about the Timex ONE relay here.

If you’re local, I highly encourage you to visit the Delaware Running Company. I’d never been there before, but the staff was amazingly nice and helpful. It looks like they do group runs 3x a week.

(And in case you’re wondering about what I’m wearing in these photos: repping The Riv in my CrossFit Riverfront tank and hat; aforementioned Under Armour light weather-resistant jacket (doesn’t look like they carry this one anymore but this is similar); Pro Compression socks; Mizuno Wave  Sayonara shoes.)


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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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