Epic. That is really the only accurate way to describe marathon weekend here in Boston. I haven’t had that much fun in a long time. Jay and I knew we missed New York, but last weekend really drove that home when half our NikeNYC squad rolled into town for the race and festivities.
We got to see so many faces that we hadn’t seen in six months, and hugs were abundant. We ran, we laughed, we toured the city like tourists. We ate, and we ate some more. And we kept eating. I now know that I could never live in a house with three extremely fit men – I’d be wider than I am tall. That aside, we really did have the best weekend. I really made me think about all that we’ve gained since we joined the Nike Run Club (NRC).
I’ve been with NRC for a little under 2 years, and Jay has been with the club for about 18 months. In that time, we’ve both gotten in fantastic shape, and we’ve run distances that we never imagined. We ran a half marathon this past January, and I for one, know that I never would have even thought of doing that if I had never joined NRC. Before NRC, my “long runs” were 4 miles. I thought that was all the distance in the world. Five miles seemed like a hump I’d never be willing to push myself over. Thankfully, I joined NRC and the people there helped me crash right through every running barrier I ever thought I had, without me even noticing.
I remember showing up to my first home run and walking over to the 3 mile group. I did that for a few weeks until I got the courage to make eye contact with another human. From there, I made friends in my pace group and they encouraged me to try the 5 mile group on the next run. I did. And I joined the 7 mile group a few weeks after that. I just kept running, and eventually I ran a 10 miler and realized that I was pretty much half marathon ready!
During all of those miles, I met the most amazing people who were genuinely excited to see and run with me every week. I reciprocated the feeling and my NRC time became my favorite time of the day. They were kind and encouraging and we high 5’d each other like it was going out of style. Why? Because high 5’s feel good to give and to get, that’s why.
After a few months, and the addition of Jay to the program, my run buddy circle expanded. We began to plan activities outside of running; brunch, silent dance parties, dinners, etc. Our relationships become more than just running, but running remained the most special of our bonds. We looked forward to seeing each other multiple times per week at NRC events, and would touch base to make sure everything was okay if someone was absent one day. After last summer, we coined the hashtag #NRCFAMILY because that’s truly what we’d become.
When Jay and I sadly announced that we were moving last fall, it became very apparent how much of a family we’d become. About 40 people showed up for our going away party, and we’ve had several friends come to visit us in our new home. Marathon weekend was no different. Three friends came to stay with us to take part in the weekend’s festivities and to cheer on the marathon runners. Several of our NRC friends ran the race, and we got to see pretty much everyone who was in town at some point during the weekend. It was wonderful to be reunited and it made me realize just how home sick I am sometimes.
When I think back, I originally joined NRC to see what the fuss was about and to get some good workouts. What I got was so much more – I have an amazing community of people from all walks of life who I love dearly. I’m pretty sure this is what life long friendships feels and looks like.
The clan before running with our Uber NRC pacer the Saturday before the race
The bromance here is indescribable, and irreplaceable.