Tuesday, April 2, 2013

How running brings people together

Work brought me up to Boston this week to spend a few days with my new sales rep for the region.  It couldn't have been more perfect timing.  2 weeks before the marathon so I got to scope out a few places before the race itself.  I'm staying in the same hotel I am the night before the race, I got a chance to find a restaurant for the dinner before the race, and I get a chance to see some of the things I probably wont be able to while I'm up there focused on the actual race.

I'm on the Amtrak up from NY Penn Station to Boston and these 2 individuals sit in my row.  One sits next to me, the other sits across from her in the other aisle.  After doing some things on my computer I look over and the guy sitting on the aisle seat was wearing a Runner's World jacket and the woman sitting next to me had a Bicycling Magazine notebook.  Of course, I turn into full stalker at this point.  How can I not want to talk to these individuals?  There's a chance to possibly talk about running and other things.  So I wait for the right opportunity and finally ask the woman sitting next to me if she works for Runners World.  She tells me she does, well in fact she works for Rodale which is the parent company for the magazines and she is on the sales side for them.  Now the long train ride became very quick.

We started speaking about everything from running to marathons to shoes to parenting.  I found out that she used to be extremely competitive and her husband was never really a runner.  Last year he started training for the NYC Marathon and she was both enjoying him go through it, but also upset that she couldn't train with her husband because she was so busy raising her 2 children of 5 years old and 2 years old, and also working so hard at Runner's World.  As Amy V.T (shortened last name due to privacy) told me, her husband was so upset by the cancelling of NYC last year.  I could relate so I felt her husband's pain.  As the train ride went on and her colleague Kyle was sleeping, Amy and I kept on talking.  We had to take the occasional break for each of us to either take a work call or check emails, but for about 2 hours all we did was talk.  It was such a great conversation.  Coincidentally we figured out that we live about 1 block away from each other in NYC.  Small world.

The reason Amy and Kyle were coming up this week to Boston was to put on a function at a running shop, Marathon Sports, in Boston.  They were working with Mizuno to get publicity for Mizuno's new shoe.  In fact, Runner's World icon Bart Yasso was even going to be there and they were taking groups on either a 3 or 5 mile shakeout run through Boston to try out Mizuno's new shoes.  They also have to come back up next week to do a similar function with New Balance.  Amy invited me to the function at Marathon Sports and Kyle was trying to get me to even join the run.  While I'm not a fan of Mizuno and I'm a loyal Skora Running runner it was still nice for them to invite me.  Both Amy and Kyle asked me about my shoes, and I couldn't shut up about my Skora's.  I always feel bad when I open my mouth about Skora's.  Because I love the shoes so much I know I can go on and on about them.  I don't think either of them minded, or at least they were too nice to tell me to shut up. 

So after my day with my sales rep I went to a gym for a quick workout.  I felt I needed it.  Luckily, the gym was 2 blocks away from the event so I decided to swing by and say hi.  I felt some loyalty to both Amy and Kyle since I spent a good part of the day talking to them and I know they worked hard on the event.  What I saw when I walked through the door was crazy.  There were about 75 or so local runners all trying on Mizuno shoes and waiting to go for a run with the group.  I definitely didn't pack warm enough clothes so I didn't even think about joining them.  But it was nice to see they got a good group together and everyone was excited.  I also got a chance to check out the Boston Marathon swag.  Normally I don't buy race clothes, but I feel that I should for this race since its a once in a lifetime event.  Most people buy the marathon jacket, and even though I'll probably lean the same way, there is some other swag I might get instead.

After the run, Mizuno rented space at a local bar and hosted a get together for the group.  Bart Yasso was going to speak about running, running in Boston, and life itself.  If anyone knows about running marathons, its him.  He's a running guru.  The event also had some goody bags they were giving out to the first 50 people who walked in.  It contained Bart's book, a Mizuno headband (which was pretty cool), a water bottle, and a few other things.  Since I didnt go for the run, I was one of the first at the event and I definitely qualified to pick up a goody bag, but I also felt guilty since I wasn't taking part in the whole event and the runners should be able to collect the free goodies.  Ultimately I decided not to take a bag and after speaking with a few people from Runner's World and Mizuno, I heading back out to my hotel. 

Its just amazing how something as easy as running can bring total strangers together.  Most people would do their own thing on a train, try not to bother the person next to them, and just count down the time until they get to their destination.  But not runners, triathletes, or any athlete for that matter.  The smallest thing like a sweatshirt from your favorite running magazine, or a notebook from a magazine that you read can cause a conversation to start and then things just take off.  It's nice to hear other people's stories and what they have gone through.  In some ways, I wish that train ride was longer so I could have learned more about Amy and Kyle. 

So I want to thank both Kyle and Amy V.T. for making my train ride entertaining, as well as giving me something to do while up in Boston for the night.  They definitely love their job and are passionate about what they do.

And I want to thank all the other athletes who I run in to so we can swap stories. If you see me or drop me a line and want to talk running or racing, I'll always be up for it. 

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