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Sole Sisters Running Club

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Wilmington, MA 01887

 

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SOLE SISTER SPOTLIGHT - 2017

December 2017 - Shonna Cirone
 

Hometown/Current City:

Billerica/Woburn

 

Background and Family:

Shonna grew up in Billerica, then moved to New York City to study musical theater after high school. After trying a few different cities and career paths, she eventually settled in Woburn with her husband, Kevin, and Boston Terrier, Winston. Shonna now works in and around Boston as an actress and group fitness instructor.

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Shonna joined Sole Sisters this past summer after meeting a group at the BAA 10K in June. As Shonna says, “It was hot, I didn't train well enough and was getting over some health issues and they were so friendly and looked like they were having so much fun! I went home and joined that night.”

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

"Don't Stop Me Now" by Queen and the soundtrack to “Hamilton”

 

Shonna started running in 2006 with a “Couch to 5K” program because she grew tired of the elliptical machine. She finished the program and added more miles to her runs for about a year, until she saw a sign for the first Wicked Half Marathon in Salem, MA and said, "I want to do that!".  Shonna's boyfriend at the time wasn't exactly supportive (his response? "Yeah, right")... so she obviously signed up and finished it! (Luckily, Shonna's husband is incredibly supportive and encourages her in everything she does). Shonna continued to run off and on for a few years, returning to it more seriously in 2011/2012 when she ran her second half marathon. She was a charity runner for the Boston Marathon in 2013, and like many others was unable to finish. Luckily, the BAA welcomed the charity runners back in 2014, and even though she was dealing with plantar fasciitis, allergies, hot weather, and a stomach bug on race day, she was able to finish!  Overcoming those obstacles to complete the Boston Marathon was Shonna's proudest running moment. After the marathon, Shonna, unfortunately, faced two years of serious medical issues, including severe plantar fasciitis, surgery and radiation therapy for thyroid cancer, and a DVT/PE. Shonna wanted to run again, but she was feeling unmotivated and discouraged about the progress she lost.  Finding the Sole Sisters really got her excited about running again!
 

Shonna's motivation for running? Her overall health. She hates feeling sick and tired, and feels that running is great for her physical, mental, (and now) social health! Also, Shonna's new Sole Sister friends have continued to fuel her motivation: “There aren't a lot of other people I would get up at 4:30 in the morning to hang out with!”. Shonna is also documenting her health and fitness journey by keeping a blog (PrimaShonna.wordpress.com). 

 

Shonna's best running advice? “If you're afraid to start, just get out there!” She says she was so afraid to run because she was nervous about being too slow or looking weird, but she has found the running community is wonderful and accepting. Like many of us, she ran for so long by herself, and she is so glad she joined a club and discovered it's much better to run with friends. We agree.

 
 
November 2017 - April Hartshorn
 

Hometown/Current City:

Billerica / Still Billerica!

 

Background/Family:

April grew up in Billerica as the middle of 6 children, including a twin brother (who is younger by one minute!). She and her husband of 23 years, Bob, have three children:  Hailey (21), Bobby (18) and Billy (15).  They enjoy their large extended family and all the craziness that comes with it!  

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

April is a hematology-oncology nurse in the chemotherapy infusion room at Lahey Clinic, and one of her patients was from Wilmington.  When April's patient found out she had run the Disney Marathon for Children's Alopecia Project, he wanted to see her Mickey medal, so she brought it in for a “show and tell day”, which led to talking about maintaining motivation.  April's patient then told her about the "Sole Sisters" running all over Wilmington and suggested that she join. April took his advice, and soon joined Sole Sisters in January 2017.

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

“Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor was a favorite of April's father, who passed away from cancer on Thanksgiving when April was 22, just 3 months before her wedding. The song makes April feel like her dad is with her, giving her a fist pump to never quit! Since joining Sole Sisters, she does not require music and loves the social part of the group with her running buddies... but she may or may not have the “Wonder Woman” theme song on her playlist for an emergency!

 

 

When April was young, she didn't consider herself an athlete, but in 10th grade, she showed up at cross-country practice for a very “teenage” reason: because one of her friends liked a boy on the team and needed a wingwoman!  April came in dead last at her first 5K, but she felt like she won. She liked how it made her feel and realized running helped manage anxiety and stress, so she decided to keep going, eventually becoming girl's captain her senior year. April ran sporadically after high school, in between cardio kickboxing and gym classes, but because running was an easy workout to fit in while being a busy mom, it stuck.

 

The source of April's motivation all goes back to her Dad, who was the catalyst to her oncology nursing career path, and her patients who can't run, especially the young ones who have told her stories of running Boston or other highlights of their running life and have given her advice but are no longer able to run or have passed on.  For April, she doesn't HAVE to run, she GETS to run. Not only does April's nursing experience help her running motivation, but the running in turn helps her to mentally get through some really hard days at work. As a nurse, she gets emotionally close to her patients and gets the privilege of being "the bridge" that gets them either to remission or most often, passing on to the other side.  Running, along with yoga, is a way for April to channel all that high emotion and energy into a positive that keeps her mentally healthy! April is also motivated by the dedication of her fellow Sole Sisters, who are constantly giving words of advice, and April says “seeing them reach their goals is the best!”

 

April is also a huge supporter of Children's Alopecia Project, which has been a life-changing support group for her son, Billy, who doesn't suffer anymore from alopecia (an autoimmune hairloss condition) but lives a fuller life because of it. April and 4 other CAP moms recently hosted their 4th Annual 5K event, raising enough money to send nearly 100 kids to camp for free. April is immensely proud of her son and proud of the CAP organization, and wishes that every family on their alopecia journey could feel as “at peace” as her family does. Having a child with alopecia has taught April that the things that you think will break you ultimately do humble you, but make you and your family stronger and richer in all the right ways.

 

April's proudest running moment?  Running the Boston Marathon in 2012, on her 40th birthday, just a few months after running her very first half marathon at Baystate.  She trained for months for the distance even though she didn't have a race bib for Boston, which she was able to get with just a few weeks to spare though a charity that still had one left.  Through the generosity of family and friends, she was able to raise the funds in 3 weeks and make it to the start line!  April's goal was to finish, and even thought it was a warm 88 degrees that day, she finished with the friends she trained with.  April has since run 10 half marathons and she is contemplating a 3rd marathon (either Chicago or Marine Corp Marathon), but time will tell!

 

April's advice to fellow runners?  From her 96-year-old patient who ran his last marathon at 69 and is now still walking 5Ks: never stop running or moving or you'll stiffen up, and don't get so caught up in the pace, there is a lot of fun you can miss in the back of the pack!  April believes in the phrase "just show up", whether it's an early morning group run or a marathon.  Knowing she has friends waiting for her there makes it that much easier!

 

We are proud of YOU, April, and we're so glad you're a Sole Sister!

October 2017 - Michelle Oates
 

Hometown/Current City:

Wilmington, MA/Tewksbury, MA

 

Background/Family:

Michelle’s family moved from Hyde Park to "the boonies" (Wilmington) when she was 5.  Michelle graduated from UNH with a degree in psychology and later received an MBA from Babson College.  Michelle is the managing broker of a large real estate office in Andover. Her real estate background really comes in handy now that she’s a runner, because she is familiar with nearly every street in Wilmington and Tewksbury! Michelle currently lives in Tewksbury with her daughter Kaitlyn, a TMHS freshman, and their crazy yellow lab Sunny.

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Summer 2016

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Michelle claims her running playlist is “the most random assortment of music you can imagine”!  It's heavy on classic rock and 80s hair bands, but with almost every genre mixed in. Lately she’s been loving "Glory" (from the soundtrack of the movie Selma), and one of her long-time favorites is "Insane in the Membrane" by Cypress Hill. Michelle ALWAYS keep my music on shuffle, because she loves not knowing what's coming next.

 

While a student at Wilmington High School, Michelle’s brother, Mark ran cross-country; Wilmington’s famous math teacher/track coach Mr. Kelley tried more than once in the halls of WHS to recruit her for the track team, but running just didn't interest her at the time. While watching the Boston Marathon in her mid-20s, Michelle vowed that she would become a runner and complete a marathon… then she proceeded to do nothing about it for the next 20 years!  Finally, in June 2016, she read the book "Running Like a Girl" by Alexandra Heminsley, the humorous memoir of a non-runner training for the London Marathon. Michelle was inspired by her story and started running short distances every day. After a few weeks of running on her own, she knew she needed some structure and accountability, or else she would never stick with it. She had heard about the "Sole Sisters" from her friend Dianne Vitale, so she checked out their web site and realized she already knew a handful of members. Michelle joined the club and tagged along quietly on a few group runs, and then a few weeks later she impulsively signed up for a half-marathon training program!  Once the program started, she quickly became hooked on running and started to feel like part of the club. Michelle ran her first half marathon last October, and she’s since run 3 more!

 

Like many of us, Michelle’s motivation began as she was looking to get in shape and cross an item off her bucket list, but running has since become so much more than that for her. Due to the demands of work and parenting, she felt like it had been many years since she had pursued anything just for herself; she now loves setting goals and honoring the commitments she makes to herself.  Michelle enjoys the social aspect of running with a group, as well as her solo runs where she’s able to clear her head and listen to her music.

 

Michelle’s proudest running moment so far?  She says crossing the finish line at her first half marathon last fall felt like a huge accomplishment, and she’s hoping to replace that with a new "proudest moment” soon, as she crosses the finish line of her first marathon!  As for her advice to other runners, Michelle says “For anyone who is intimidated by a big goal -- whether it's a 10K, a half, or a full marathon -- I would advise them to forget about that big daunting number and just focus on executing their training plan one day at a time. You can accomplish anything with dedication and patience. Just stick to your plan and you will eventually amaze yourself!”

 

Michelle is grateful for the support of the club, and says “If I hadn't joined the Sole Sisters and taken advantage of the group runs and training programs, I would never have stuck with running or achieved these goals that I'm so proud of. The Sole Sisters have provided structure, accountability, inspiration, motivation, education, friendship, laughter, and endless support. I look forward to being part of this amazing group for years to come.”  We’re glad you’re planning to stick around, Michelle!  Best of luck at Baystate!

 
September 2017 - Lisa Kuegler
 

Hometown/Current City:

Marinette, WI/Tewksbury, MA

 

Background/Family:

Lisa is an original “cheese head” from Wisconsin, where her family made Frigo cheese. After earning her BSEE at California State Northridge, she was hired by Raytheon; she moved to Massachusetts in 1984 to attend the MSEE program at Umass Amherst. Lisa met her husband, Eric, at Raytheon, and they made their home in Tewksbury. Lisa is the proud mom of triplets, who have now left the nest. Lisa and her husband have both run separate engineering consulting businesses out of their house for the past 17 years--Lisa gets the house, Eric gets the garage! She also started a non-profit tennis group, Friends of Tewksbury Tennis, to support the TMHS tennis team, and she still dabbles in flute playing.

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

April 2015

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Lisa just recently started listening to music on her long runs, so she grabbed her son's playlist, although she claims she needs to remove some of the songs!  The Theme from “Rocky” and anything by Queen are favorites so far.

Lisa has always been active, whether it be playing tennis, skiing, or even playing a bit of in rugby in college, but her running game was never consistent.  After an invite from her friend Marcia Vitale, Lisa finally started running in 2014, and she found it really helped with her tennis game.  Marcia was the one who found the Sole Sisters after an online search for a group to help them with their “5K love/hate relationship” at the Good Times Series in Lowell that next spring.  The rest is history! 

 

Lisa says “Having a personal running goal motivates me to run”. (Coffee at Perfecto's with her sisters is, of course, another big motivator!)  Lisa is currently training for her first half marathon (Wineglass Half in Corning, NY on October 1st) and a healthy completion outside her comfort zone is her goal. In fact, Lisa claims if you told her 4 years ago that she would be training for a half marathon in 2017, she would have said you were crazy! It would have never happened without the Sole Sisters! 

 

Lisa claims her best advice can be best summed up by celebrated marathoner Becca Pizzi: find joy in your running, listen to your body and most importantly, believe in yourself!  Also, Lisa personally finds cross training for her core keeps her healthy.

 

Lisa's proudest running moment so far was running the Tufts 10K for Women in 1:05:10 after a Carmela Taveras Sole Sister Track program.  We have a feeling that is just one of many proud moments to come, Lisa!  Good luck in New York!

 
August 2017 - Sarah Hjelmstad
 

Hometown/Current City:

Bourne, MA/Wilmington, MA

 

Background/Family:

Sarah grew up on Cape Cod, where she attended Bourne High School followed by Bridgewater State, graduating with a psychology degree. Sarah's first job out of college was at BNY Mellon, and she's been there ever since! Sarah moved to Wilmington in 2012, where she now lives with her super-supportive husband, Torin, and 3 awesome kids:  Michaela (19), who is following in Mom's footsteps as a current student at Bridgewater; Lucas (3); and Lilliana (1 ½).

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Sarah learned about Sole Sisters from Becky Provost, and she finally joined in 2014 when she was returning to running after having her son. Sarah's first Sole Sister run was with Kristy Bouchie and Julie Barrett.

 

Sarah has been running on and off since college, mostly at the gym, but she really became hooked around 2006 when she decided to sign up for the Baystate Marathon. After that, she never thought she would run another marathon until she joined the Sole Sisters. Dana Calumby asked if anyone wanted to run a spring marathon, and Sarah ended up finding the perfect running partner! 

 

Sarah has had many proud moments in her running years, but what she loves most is that she's “made a little running family”.  Her favorite moment came a couple of years ago at the Wilmington Half Marathon and 5K, where her husband ran the Half Marathon while Sarah ran the 5K with her oldest daughter, pushing her son in a stroller, while pregnant with her youngest.  Talk about a family affair!

 

Sarah's motivation to run is very simple: she just loves it!  Since her family is so supportive of her, Sarah tries to make them proud.  What else should we know about Sarah?  She doesn't listen to music when she runs, BUT she can't run without wearing a hat! 

 

Sarah's best advice to other runners?  “Run for you—don't compare yourself to anyone else.”  Sarah, we are so proud of how you have represented the Sole Sisters.  Congratulations on all of your accomplishments!

 
July 2017 - Beth McGuire
 

Hometown/Current City:

Arlington/Tewksbury

 

Background/Family:

Beth grew up in Arlington, but since her parents were divorced, she worked instead of playing any sports.  She started a part-time job her senior year of high school, making copies at a food sales and marketing company in Arlington. After high school, Beth went to work full-time while going to school part-time. Today, she still works at the same company, now as a partner!

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Beth met Jill on a run shortly before Jill started the club, so Beth was in at the very beginning!  Beth found it was nicer to run along and listen to Jill chat, and having discovered she enjoyed running in a group, she signed up right away.

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Beth doesn't listen to a lot of music mainly because she always forgets to bring it with her.  When she does remember, her two favorite motivating tunes for really tough runs or hills are “'Til I Collapse” by Eminem and “Confident” by Demi Lovato. Beth says if she is having a bad day, she will repeat those two songs for an entire run!

Beth started running in 2011, when she did a “Biggest Loser” competition with a friend. Before then, she had worked out but had never gone on a run. Beth and her friend decided to try an outdoor boot camp at Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield, and the very first time they went, they had to run halfway around the lake!  Like many of us, Beth hated it while running but felt so good afterwards that she continued to run after the competition was over.  Just a couple of years later, Beth ran her first half marathon in 2013 with the help of her awesome fellow Sole Sister, Nancy Lively.

One of Beth's sources of motivation is to clear her head, as her job is challenging some days, but what really motivates her are her fellow Sole Sisters. Beth says “The dedication I see every day is what motivates me to get out there even when I don't feel like it.”

Beth's proudest running moment so far has been running the Boston Marathon!  She says it was an amazing experience, from the first training run to crossing the finish line, and she is so glad she was able to experience it.  For her next challenge, Beth says “I am going to swim Silver Lake before summer is over!! Snakes, and all, I am going to do it!!”  (For the record, we hope the snakes are on vacation that day, Beth!)

Beth's advice to fellow runners?  Get out and run! Don't worry about what others are doing. Run your pace, your race. If you want to push yourself, go for it. If you want to take it easy, then you should. Don't worry about what others are doing, just worry about yourself. The best advice Beth has ever received is to listen to your body. If you are injured, stop and figure out what is going on and get it corrected. Don't ignore it. And STRETCH after every run!  Great advice, Beth!  We look forward to many more years of your running company with the Sole Sisters!

 
June 2017 - Rosie Smith
 

Hometown/Current City:

Ardmore, PA/Burlington, MA

 

Background/Family:

Rosie grew up just outside of Philadelphia, where she was active in youth sports, but never running! She studied Biopsychology at Tufts University,  and while at Tufts, Rosie “re-met” her now-husband, Chris – they had actually been pre-school playmates, but had lost touch.  They eventually ran into each other on the Tufts campus, recognized each other thanks to Facebook, and the rest is history!  Rosie and Chris married in 2014 and recently moved to Burlington. Rosie works at McLean Hospital as a Research Project Manager coordinating clinical research studies.

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Rosie joined Sole Sisters this past January after seeing a large group of sisters looking like we were having an absolute blast together at the Woburn “Run Your Hangover Off” 5-miler on New Years Day (note: Rosie was right, we did have a blast!). She got home from the race, looked up the group, and joined us immediately!

 

Rosie first started running periodically in high school in order to get in shape and deal with stress/anxiety. She had an “on again/off again” relationship with running throughout college and beyond, but she once again took a break.  Finally, in 2015, Rosie started running 3-4 mornings a week, and she's been running regularly ever since. Rosie feels her early morning runs are the best because they center her and get the day started on the right foot (or, technically, both the right AND left foot, as she says!).  A few months later, Rosie finally fell into a rhythm when she realized that it actually felt so good to run that it didn't feel like a chore anymore.  Now she really does love it, and her husband teases her because she will often say “I’m going out for a quick 3” and end up running double the distance!

 

Rosie is motivated to run because it helps her maintain a healthy lifestyle, both physically and mentally. In addition to the physical benefits (running allows her to eat as many desserts as she likes!), she finds that running allows her to be calmer, more clear-headed, and more focused throughout the day.  Rosie realizes that a lot of runners struggle to find the enjoyment in running – they run because they feel like they need to in order to stay fit, or because they are training for a big race – but they don’t actually enjoy the sport.  For Rosie, running is time to herself to reflect on whatever is going on in her life, or to just zone out and not think at all for a while.

 

Rosie's proudest running moment so far was the first time she ran a race, a 5K back in 2015. She was running alone and was VERY nervous!  Since she had never run a race before, she was freaking out about all the things that might happen: “What if I have to walk?”, “What if I over-hydrated and have to go to the bathroom in the middle of the race?”, “What if I didn’t drink enough water and keel over halfway from dehydration?”. She ran the race, and even had to walk at times... but when she looked around, she noticed that everyone else was focused on themselves, running their own races for their own reasons, and no one cared that she had to stop to walk. In fact, they actually encouraged her to pick up the pace and start running again. When Rosie finished that race, she was so proud that she had gone way outside her comfort zone and tried something new and scary – and as someone who often tends to stress about unfamiliar situations, this was a big victory!

 

Rosie's advice to fellow runners would be to find something about running that really clicks for you – the time to yourself, the feeling after a hard workout, the great conversations that you have with your fellow runners, the ability to be out in the world enjoying nature – and use that as your reason to lace up your shoes and get out the door. By finding what you really love about running, and planning your days so that you can get some of that good stuff in, maybe you’ll find it easier to get out the door and accomplish your goals, instead of thinking about why you “have” to go on a run.  We're so glad you joined us, Rosie!

 
May 2017 - Shannon Minghella
 

Hometown/Current City:

Seekonk/Wilmington

 

Background/Family:

Shannon grew up in Seekonk as the 2nd of 4 children, with her 2 sisters and a brother. She attended Seekonk High School, where she played field hockey and softball and ran indoor track (hurdles and the occasional 4x400, if forced to!). Shannon attended Merrimack College, where she graduated with a degree in Political Science; while there, she also met her husband, Matt. Shannon worked in HR/Benefits for several years before deciding to stay home with her sons, Logan (5.5) and Lincoln (3).

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Shannon joined Sole sisters in the spring of 2015 after seeing a post on the Wilmington Community Page about the “Run Your First 5K” program.  She decided to join the group as a way to “kick [her] butt into gear” to lose the baby weight.

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Shannon claims she's weird because she likes to listen to show tunes when she runs.  (For the record, we don't think that's weird at all!)  Her current jam is the Hamilton soundtrack, especially “Right Hand Man” or “Guns and Ships”.

 

 

Shannon hated running “just to run” when she was growing up!  She could run up and down a field all day long, but she loathed any sort of “real” running. Shannon's mom, however, was always a runner, and about 10 years ago she convinced Shannon to run a 5K while she and Shannon's sister ran a half marathon. Shannon finished the 5k and felt embarrassed that she was more winded than her mom and sister, so Shannon decided the next year she would run the half marathon herself.  She did... and hated every moment of it!  Feeling discouraged, Shannon quit running again for several years, but after her sons were born, she slowly started to get back into it. She started running with a jogging stroller, followed with a double jogging stroller, and even ran a couple of 5K races with the double jogger.  After Shannon joined Sole Sisters, she ran her first solo 5K, which caused her to decide to run another half marathon, but she was determined to “do it right this time”. She set her sights on the Wilmington Half Marathon, started training, and added in strength training, which made all the difference. The rest is history... Shannon never looked back after that, and now she's signed up for her first full marathon this fall!

 

Shannon's motivation?  Her kids. She wants to instill healthy habits in them. She has always been pretty active and wants them to appreciate that, and hopes they will want to be active with her. Shannon is also motivated by all of the amazing women in our group.  According to Shannon, “Everyone is so supportive and so helpful and I honestly don't think I'd be where I am today without this group!”.

 

One of Shannon's proudest running moments occurred at the “Run to Remember” in May of 2016, when she got to cross the finish line hand-in-hand with her two training partners. One of the girls was struggling mentally, and Shannon was able to help push her through. That moment came full circle just 5 months later while running their next half marathon together, when Shannon was the one struggling. Shannon's partner was the one who helped push her through (Shannon says “I probably would have quit if she wasn't with me”), and they got to cross the finish line, again hand-in-hand, and with a big PR to boot.

 

Shannon's advice to other runners?  “Just keep moving, a 12-minute mile is the same distance as a 5-minute mile.  It's cliche but it's true.  It doesn't matter how fast or slow you are, just keep moving, run, walk, crawl if you have to (haha).  The moment you cross that finish line will make it all worth it.  And don't compare yourself to others.  Everyone has their own journey and own battle.”  We agree, Shannon, and wish you the best of luck as you train for your first marathon.

 
April 2017 - Kristy Bouchie
 

Hometown/Current City:

Groton/Tewksbury

 

Background and Family:

Kristy grew up in Groton as the second oldest of four children. At Groton-Dunstable Regional High, she played field hockey and ran spring track, competing in the 1 mile, 800m, discus, and javelin, with the discus being her strongest event.  She attended the University of Rhode Island and now works as Commercial Analyst at a Sprits & Wine supplier.  Kristy married her husband, Rick, in 2007; they moved to Tewksbury in 2008, where they now raise sons Luc & Gabe (age 8) and Alex & Drew (age 5).

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Kristy learned about Sole Sisters from Melinda LaConte back in 2013 when Kristy was training for her 1st half marathon, and the rest (including her now-famous head of gorgeous bouncy running hair!) is history!

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Although she has many favorites, Kristy's latest “go-to” songs include “Don’t Let Me Down” by The Chainsmokers, “Best of You” by Foo Fighters, and “This Girl” by Kungs.

 

Kristy has always loved running since she was young girl!  She feels it is something that has always come naturally to her, but it was never a sport that she focused on; running was just something she would do off and on when she had the time.  After having her second set of twins, her motivation changed dramatically!  Working full-time and raising 4 kids ages 2 years and under was extremely challenging, so Kristy turned to running as an outlet.  Meeting some of the best group of ladies certainly helped as well... Kristy now knows that 5:00 a.m. running buddies are the best therapy a frazzled, worried, stressed-out mom could ask for!  (Side note: Yes, Kristy is a twin magnet!  She has 1 set of identical boys AND 1 set of fraternal boys of her own; a brother with identical twin boys; and a sister married to a twin.  One of her running besties is a twin as well!)

 

Kristy's proudest running moment?  Completing her 2nd marathon in 2015 and qualifying for Boston.  This was a desire she had harbored since her college days, and to actually achieve it was mind-boggling; in her heart of hearts, she thought it was unattainable. Kristy feels she never would have accomplished this aspiration without the guidance and support from the Sole Sisters!

 

Kristy's advice to fellow runners?  The simple yet effective motto of her sons' wrestling club:  “No Quit”.  It may be a short phrase, but it's definitely one that translates to all sports and life. Work hard, don’t give up, and don’t be afraid to try things out of your comfort zone!  Kristy, we love your positive outlook, and can't wait to see you proudly represent the Sole Sisters as you run this year's Boston Marathon!

 
March 2017 - Mary Young
 

Hometown/Current City:

Charlestown/Wilmington

 

Background and Family:

Mary was raised in Charlestown and attended Arlington Catholic High School. She received her BS from Emmanuel College in 1998, the same year that her oldest son also graduated from college!  Mary has worked at MIT since 1981.  Mary and her husband, Bob, moved to Wilmington in 1985 to raise their two sons, Bob and Greg. Mary and Bob will be married 44 years in April!  They also have four grandchildren: Madison, Connor, Brendan and Julia. 

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

Mary found a flier in her “swag bag” from the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce run in September 2013, and she quickly joined the SS Facebook page. Unfortunately, she lacked the confidence to join a run and then injured her ankle a few months later.  When Mary was finally cleared to run again in September 2014, she introduced herself to Jill at the Woburn St. School, where Jill was manning a water stop. The rest is history!

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Bohemian Rhapsody... although she would rather chat with her running buddies!

 

Mary began running just a few years ago with a “Couch to 5K” program in January 2012, running on her treadmill. She ran her first race, the WOW 5K, just a few months later.  Mary didn't know anyone there, so asked a stranger to take her photo!  Today she knows plenty of other runners at local races, so she just looks for a grey and pink shirt to find a Sole Sister!

 

Mary was motivated to begin running when she received an asthma diagnosis in 2010.  After a few years, even with daily maintenance, she struggled to breathe while exercising.  When she started her C25K program, she couldn't run for more than 30 seconds. Now, Mary runs to breathe better, and she credits running with a drastic change in her overall well-being. She has also lost 27 pounds gradually over the past few years.

 

So far, Mary's proudest running moment was last fall, when she joined Carmela's 10K training program to prepare for the Tufts 10K for Women.  Carmela gave Mary a goal time of 1:05, and Mary met the challenge by finishing in 1:05:16... and her last mile was her fastest! 

 

Mary's advice to other runners?  Try to set an achievable goal - when you get there it feels so rewarding.  We agree, Mary!

 
 
February 2017 - Michelle Drozdowski
 

Hometown/Current City:

Stoneham/Wilmington

 

Background/Family:

Michelle grew up in Stoneham, attended Syracuse University, and now works as a Product Manager at a communications data archiving and analytics company. She currently lives with her husband Doug, daughter Ava (7), son Drew (5), puggle Mack (10!) and soon to be 6 chickens when they hatch this spring!

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

September 2015

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

Michelle's best “soundtrack” is her conversation with her running buddies, but if she's stuck on the treadmill, she listens to Jay-Z, Beyonce, Rihanna, and Sean Paul.

 

Michelle joined Sole Sisters when two members, Chloe Callahan and Jessie Griffith, encouraged her to try running.  Ultimately, Debby Long dragged her as a “bring a friend”
to a Saturday morning group run and she officially joined just a few days later.  Michelle
had never run before until a friend who had recently lost 100 pounds talked her into
running a 5k with her.  After having her two children, Michelle felt she was out of shape and realized during C25K training that she needed to work on her fitness for both her physical
and mental well-being.

 

Michelle's initial motivation was to lose weight (she did lose more than 30 pounds!), but she very quickly realized that running had so many benefits beyond just the physical ones, especially helping with anxiety and stress. Michelle is happier when she runs, which in turn makes her a better wife, mother, family member, and friend.  Michelle says the camaraderie within this group is indescribable and she is so lucky to have made so many truly great friends because of it!

 

Michelle has had many wonderful moments as a runner, but her most proud include completing Carmela's 10K training program and running the Tufts 10K several minutes under her goal time.  Another pivotal moment?  The first time she ran 10 miles, which she had to do on the treadmill due to the snowy conditions.  That was the run that truly made her understand why people say the challenge of running is more mental than physical, and it was the first time she felt confident that she could complete the half marathon distance.

 

For Michelle, running isn't an individual sport.  She wouldn't run if she didn't have people to run with, which is why she is so thankful for our club.  She is especially grateful to the
“Sunday Sisters”, who always made her laugh and motivated her to stick with it.  Michelle is especially indebted to Kristin Harris, who has been extra supportive during Michelle's half marathon training.

 

Michelle's advice to new runners?  “Don't be afraid to start running... you're never too old or too slow or too out of shape to try something new.”  When Michelle joined the Sole Sisters, she couldn't run a mile without walking, but she trained and now is ready to run her first half marathon, the Disney Princess Half Marathon, this month at age 40!  Congratulations, Michelle!  Enjoy every mile!

 
January 2017 - Melissa Troisi

 

Hometown/Current City:

Peabody

 

Family:

Husband Mike, daughter Abby (6), son Max (2), and cat Dexter

 

Joined Sole Sisters:

June 2015

 

Favorite song on her running playlist:

A lot of country!

 

Melissa joined Sole Sisters when two members were also members on her mother’s board, and they raved about the group. At the time, she was signed up to run her first marathon for Boston Children's Hospital, but she had never run more than a 5K before. She had been looking for different groups but felt that ours was welcoming more than any other from day one!  Melissa started running in April of 2013 after a pregnancy loss; she says she started because running was cheaper than therapy.  Running had once been something she dreaded, but after doing a “Couch to 5K” program, running is now where she finds a lot of her happiness.  In addition to the contentment, Melissa has also lost over 60 pounds from her running regimen.

 

Melissa is motivated to run by her children.  She trained for her whole first marathon while pushing her son in a stroller, and he still loves to go for runs.  Her daughter sees her getting up and ready to do something for herself.  But on Saturday mornings, it’s our group that motivates her to run!  Melissa’s proudest running moment was seeing her daughter at the New York Marathon that she was running as her daughter’s partner for Boston Children’s Hospital.  She had made a special sign and “it was just awesome!”.

 

Melissa’s advice to fellow runners?  “It’s ok to walk but don’t quit.  I find that true for running and life.  It’s ok to slow down sometimes, just don’t give up.”  Wise words, Melissa! 

 

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