In the fall of 2010, Marisa Boasa, walked into Fleet Feet ready for the next leg of her fitness journey. She had steadily been losing weight and wanted to run a 5k. She joined our No Boundaries “Couch to 5k” program and worked really hard. Ten weeks later, she sprinted across the finish line of the Mitten Run – and kept on going. She crushed another 5k, then onto the 10k and half marathon.
Several years later, I barely recognized Marisa. She had lost over 100 pounds and was an accomplished runner. Her latest goal was to run the Philadelphia Marathon. As she increased her mileage, her body began to break down in alarming ways. She kept tripping over her feet and struggled to maintain balance. A series of medical test revealed lesions and acute demyelination of her brain and spine: Multiple Sclerosis.
While that diagnosis would rightly convince many to hang up their sneakers, it became fuel to the fire within Marisa. Marisa vowed to fight, to fight for mobility and prove that MS does not “Mean Stop”. Seven days a week Marisa gets up before the sun to do 2+ hours of exercise to build strength and circulatory motion, as well as reprogram her body mechanics.
To counteract severe foot drop, Marisa wears special leg braces with her Hoka Cliftons. She has worked hard to become strong enough to run independently again and once again has her eyes set on running the Philadelphia Marathon.
Her first test was the UCONN Health Iron Horse 5k last weekend. It was an emotional day as Marisa returned to the race scene. The humidity made the run extra tough as it slowed her nerve function and brain signals down making it very challenging for her to pick-up her feet. But Marisa had a secret weapon: a community of runners who had her back.
Former Fleet Feet staffer, Eric Vo and his wife Megan, along with current staffer, Fernanda Jacobs, saw Marisa struggling and knew that their own races didn’t matter. Helping a fellow runner did. They grabbed Marisa’s hands to help steady her and soon the four were running lock step all the way to the finish. Their amazing finish is featured in the photo above – and recounted in this inspiring video.
I share Marisa’s story to honor her courage and bravery in dealing with a disease that isn’t fair and to promote her Fight for Mobility message. I also share it to inspire everyone to fight for and celebrate their own mobility. Being able to run, even just moving independently, is a gift. Use that gift.
If you dream of running or walking a particular distance – whether it be your first mile, a 5k, the marathon or beyond - be like Marisa. Believe in yourself, commit to doing the work and surround yourself with people who become your Fitness Family.
I am a little biased but I think the Fleet Feet Fitness Family is one of the best around. We are made up of beginners and veterans. Young and old. Fast and slow. We celebrate movement and milestones and try to have a lot of fun along the way.
I invite you to come sweat with us this summer – whether it be in one of our training programs (start soon!), free Run Club (Wed & Sat) or at one of our many events - so you can reap the rewards this fall.
SUMMER TRAINING PROGRAMS
Have you ever dreamed of running a 5k, 10k or even a half or full marathon? Stop dreaming, make this the summer that you DO IT!
Grab a friend or make new ones when you join in one of our summer training programs. We have options for the true beginner through experienced runner and take pride in being with you every step of the way whether it's offering encouragement, high-fives and camaraderie during your long runs, proven training plans, expert coaching, cool shirts, race discounts or those tips and tricks that make running just a bit easier.
Click on a circle below to learn more!
WIN A TRIP TO THE GAMES
We are partnering with Reebok & CrossFit Hartford to host the "Road to Madison" fitness challenge on Saturday, July 13.
The male and female with the fastest time will win airfare, hotel and two tickets to the 2019 CrossFit Games!! Other prizes include a Reebok shopping spree at Fleet Feet and a free membership to CrossFit Hartford.
The challenge will be endurance-based (running!) but will incorporate other non-technical funcational and body-weight movements to create a fantastic test of all-around fitness.
Registration for the competition as well as details about a free 4-week training program designed to get you ready to compete will be posted on our Facebook page soon. Stay tuned!
The Road to Madison...runs through Hartford!
FLEET FEET RUN CLUB:
Join us every Wednesday evening (6:30pm) and Saturday morning (8:30am) for free group runs from the store.
Wed runs are 3-5 miles; Sat runs feature two routes (4-6 miles & 7-10 miles).
Injured? Don't know whether you can run/play sports or if you should really see a doctor? Select Physical Therapy hosts FREE injury assessments every Saturday. No RSVP necessary.
Can't make it on Saturday, call 1-877-MOBL-MED to schedule a free assessment at your convenience.
REEBOK DEMO RUN
Wed, June 12 @ 6:30pm
Try the FloatRide RunFast & brand-new Nano 9 at the fun run.
The RunFast is the perfect shoe for tempo runs, speed workouts (the traction is amazing!) and races - while the Nano 9 sets the bar for funcational fitness & CrossFit workouts.
PIZZA, BEER & RAFFLES
Wed, June 12 @ 6:30pm
FF Peep Steve Kutscher is hiking Gannett Peak in Wyoming to raise money for Big City Mountaineers and is hosting a fundraiser at FF. $10 gets you a slice of Luna Pizza, a beer and 5 raffle tickets. Raffles include a sweet day pack, Helly Hanson Jacket & a bluetooth speaker.
FUN RUN & TUTU'S
Wed, June 19 @ 6:30pm
Join the HMF Girl Squad for a tutu making party after the Fleet Feet Fun Run! A rainbow of tutu supplies will be available to create a festive outfit for the Red Dress Run on July 13!
Our friends at Romeo Athletics are hosting a marathon relay to raise awareness and funds for ALS. Teams of 5 row (Concept2 Rowers) or run (Trueform treadmills) 26.2 miles - split the distance however you want. Details HERE.
MORE GOOD READS (& EATS!)
SALMON RICE BOWL: Rice bowls are all the rage. They are like a fancy salad featuring a grain topped with protein & vegetables. Today’s recipe is like a sushi roll in a bowl - salty, spicy, gingery goodnessd.