Anyone in the running community will tell you, to get to the Boston Marathon is no easy feat and this year was extra special. It marked the 50th anniversary of Amby Burfoot’s @bostonmarathon win.
I met Amby back in 2012. I had talked my good friend Marge into joining me for a “girls trip” weekend in Pennsylvania and running a 10K at the festival. She agreed to leave her family at home and take off “Thelma and Louise style” to PA.. I knew we’d see members of a magazine staff, & I knew elite runners would be there. What I didn’t know, was how much fun & how humble it would be to meet Amby.
Back then, Amby was selling one of his books, and chatting with runner’s from all over. We were talking with him about Florida and he had mentioned he and his wife were going to be moving to CT and had been looking at real estate. They had planned to set up one of their retirement homes in CT.
Over the course of the last 6 years, Amby has written two more books, traveled to Boise a couple of times with George Hirsch (former worldwide publisher, Chairman Emeritus of the NYRR, & founder of the NYC Marathon, & Onward Shay marathon- which would later be called Boise Marathon), gotten settled in CT, and also traveled a few times to Mexico (where his wife Cristina is from).
Amby knows everybody, and I’ve even joked, “if you’re a runner, and Amby didn’t meet you, you didn’t exist”. If you ask me, he is just that hooked up with the running community.
Once I landed, got checked in to the hotel, and “Uber-ed” over, I walked right in and the first person I noticed was Deena Kastor. She was signing books, getting photos with fans and had George not come over to say goodbye to her, I would have missed him and Amby! I quickly got a picture with everyone and was able to later chat with Amby on his current training and goals for the Boston Marathon this year.
At the conference, I asked what kept him going and what his best advice was for anyone his age or near his age in keeping fit. He said to just “keep moving” and recommended walking. For the race on Monday, he said he’d be doing a 4:1 ratio of running to walking and said he was going to start training for shorter distances. Over the last many years, he’s completed the Manchester Road race over 50 times, been healed from depression caused by a C-diff infection (and was the most challenging health issue he’s dealt with ever) and has enjoyed training in CT and Mexico, “snowbird style”. He and his wife spend winters in Mexico.
I knew I’d be getting a unique gift for Amby to celebrate his 50th Boston Marathon. I had been to London, and while tooling around shopping, I was in Harrod’s and saw these great chocolate bars that resembled bars of gold. They were solid chocolate and a signature line to the Harrod’s brand packaged in gold packaging. I bought 5 (one bar for every 10 years) and gave them to Amby and his wife, as well as gave George Hirsch pictures when I saw him with friends last October. For many people like myself, it’s more fun to give gifts than get them, and gag gifts are even more fun.
After Marge and I attended the conference and met some fun peeps, like John Young and met writers, Jonathan Beverly, Deena Kastor, & Scott Douglas. I got pics and had some laughs. Probably the most comical of the day was when Deena Kastor asked what race I attended to qualify for Boston. I answered, “well, I’m not exactly running, and haven’t qualified as of yet”. She laughed and made a few motivating comments as to how I’d do it later. Truth be known, I tried three times in the NYC marathon and I decided after the last one I completed in ’03, that I’m not going for it again.
I’m crosstraining hard in the weight room and enjoying other forms of cardio. Biking, swimming & occasionally the rower are some favorites.
The rest of the weekend was a riot, we checked out a few pubs, hit up a workout at Planet Fitness in Revere and went shopping. We stopped by the Brooks Running expo booth too, at Seaport to see some of the staff. Marge got her daughter & husband a few things, too.
Marge is a business woman in the New York City area. I’m grateful for such a fabulous friend! I tend to surround myself with people who will motivate me to work harder and in turn, I try to motivate others. I’ve known her and her family since 1992.
I have a photo shoot I’m excited to do. I shared this with most everyone I chatted with this weekend. It will just be a blast! It’s for my “fitness over 50″ plan. Funny too, I was sitting a local pub, and a man who missed his Boston qual by 20 seconds (and a touch miffed about it), was asking my opinions on his startup concept. It was a treat to offer advice. I had contact information on in Australia (who are related to his business fitness concept) and also to mention (since he and his girlfriend were from Toronto), to check out all of the Canadian magazine issues of the last year. I recommended too, he start writing a blog once a week (the new advice I was just given). And, also, to check out any ladies fitness magazines.
I don’t believe in a whole lot of coincidence, so it was great that I met this couple, and even if I never see them again, my “two beer stop in” to a pub in Fanueil Hall might’ve flipped a switch to motivate more health and wellness. It was funny too, the aggravation the man had with his “near-qual miss”, and the couple was entertained I showed up from a “no qual zone” just to see friends. (No qual zone being my fun way of bypassing I hadn’t tried in a few years and have no plans to try to qualify for another 20).
I got the short phrase, and name of this blog post, “Carpe Viam”, from an article Amby wrote on Ryan Shay. It means “seize the road” and when you are in Boston on marathon weekend, even if you can’t “seize the road”, you’ll “seize the vibe” and get motivated to get moving on a project. You might even motivate others to get projects going, too.
Until my next post, remember to work hard and laugh harder. Thank you for reading my blog, & remember, YOU are FABULOUS:-)