One year and five days ago I bicycled from work to Crissy Field because my friend Julie Logan invited me out to #BostonStrongSF, a run in support of the Boston community, and runners in particular, one week after last year's Boston Marathon attack.
Fastwalking in solidarity
I had stress-fractured my left ankle two months before, and having originally misdiagnosed it as a sprain, was still recovering and unable to run. I went anyway, to fastwalk (you know that goofy looking walk) the 3-4 miles solidarity run. My podiatrist had cleared me to fastwalk as fast as I wanted, as long as it didn't hurt.
I didn't care if I was the last person to finish. My injury was trivial compared to what so many had suffered a week before. I knew I would fully recover, I couldn't stop thinking about the runners and others who had lost a limb, or their lives.
I fastwalked as quick as I could, almost keeping up with the tail end of runners, and returned to the finishing area where I found my friend Julie. She was literally the only person I knew there. But she was very happy to see me, and introduced me to her crowd of Nike Ambassador friends.
Julie also introduced me to Brian AKA PavementRunner, who had proposed the Boston Strong series of runs across cities, and organized #BostonStrongSF in particular. Brian is an amazing person: kind, understated, and warm-hearted. I was reminded of this when I got to catchup with Brian this past Monday night at Chipotle, having dinner with him and few NovemberProject friends after this year's Nike #StrongerEveryRun run.
Get to know Brian and you'll learn he's passionate and bold as well, just the type of individual to not only come up with a powerful idea like #BostonStrong<city>, but to inspire others, follow it through, and make it happen. One person can make a difference. Brian did.
Meeting Sam Livermore
Julie introduced me to a lot of people, but one in particular stood out. If you've met her you know what I mean. She introduced me to Sam Livermore, who is one of the most enthusiastically kind people I've ever met. You know how some people instantly make you feel worthy and appreciated? That's Sam.
Sam encouraged me to friend her on Facebook so I did and didn't think much of it. I think we started following each others' Instagrams also. We didn't really cross paths but occassionally her posts would pop up when I checked the Facebook home page and they always reminded me just how warm and welcoming she had been that Monday evening.
Learning About NovemberProject
I don't remember if I first saw the chalkmarks in Golden Gate park ("NovemberProject 6:30am Kezar!" - back when it was there), or if I first saw postings from Sam & Julie about it. But it was seeing them talk about it that stuck in my head.
I point this out because it was meeting Sam, then seeing her & Julie enthusiastically mention NovemberProject in their posts that somehow made it click six months later. Last October I looked up the details, and last Wednesday of last October I managed to wake up at 6am and jog over to Alamo Square and made it in time for my first NovemberProject workout, not knowing anyone there except Sam. But that experience is a different story.
Looking back on the #BostonStrongSF event & photos I'm amazed how many now familiar faces I see. I am grateful for meeting PavementRunner and Sam just over a year ago.
I'm also very thankful for Julie & Sam's encouragement to checkout NovemberProject. I'm doing my best to pass it on. If you're any level of runner or jogger in SF, join us in the middle of Alamo Square, Wednesday morning 6:25am rain or shine. You can count on me to be there when I'm in town.