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Sole Sisters Running Club

PO Box 485
Wilmington, MA 01887

 

solesisters01887@gmail.com

 

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SOLE SISTER SPOTLIGHT - 2019

 
November 2019 - Ally D'Amico
 

Hometown/Current City:

Billerica, MA/Wilmington, MA

 

Background and Family:

Ally is a full-time primary care Nurse Practitioner in Lowell as well as a mother to 4 year-old identical twin girls and an almost 2 year-old little boy.  She credits her wonderfully supportive husband who makes it all work. “Life is good!! Busy, but good :)”

Joined Sole Sisters:
Ally moved to Wilmington in October of 2017, when she was pregnant with her son.  After an extremely difficult pregnancy (which did not include any exercise), she was looking forward to getting out there again.  Luckily, Ally knew Marli Piccolo through the Greater Lowell Road Runners, and Marli was always talking about her cool new running club!  Ally joined in January 2018 and went to her first group run by the end of the winter.  As Ally says, “It has been a perfect fit for me getting back into shape!”

More about Ally:

Ally never used to leave her house without music, but she lost her iPod at some point in 2015 and never went back!  She says her running time is usually her only quiet time in a day, so she enjoys the peacefulness of it.

Ally has a long history with running:  she ran her first 5K at 13 years old, but she says she hated it so much (even vomiting on the finish line!) that she swore she would never run again!  However, she did join the indoor track team the very next year as a high school freshman, running pretty well in the mile.  The next year, she joined cross country and finally loved it, but her later high school years were plagued by stress fractures.  Ally was told by doctors that distance running was unlikely part of her future.  Moving on, Ally shifted her focus to play lacrosse for St. Anselm College, and even began running again after college, but never very far.  It wasn’t until 2011-2012 when she got involved in marathoning and getting longer miles in.  Ally has run 6 marathons, but they were all “pre-kids”, and she doesn't see any in her future for a while.

Ally's motivation to run is simple: “just getting a good ol’ sweat in”!  She likes running since it's easy to do and no equipment is needed.  “I love just being able to throw on shoes and get out the door.  I grew up in a very active household so exercise has always been part of life.  I am an extremely grouchy person when I go a couple days without it.  I run because it’s good for the soul.”

As far as advice to other runners, Ally says: “Do your own thing!”  Everyone runs for different reasons.  Ally has always run for her mental health, but there was also a time when she was trying to run really fast and PR all of the time.  She says each phase of life will present a different reason for running.  “I think it’s just important to not compare yourself to others and just take care of your body and do what makes you happy!!!”

Ally claims that her proudest running moment so far was her first BQ (Boston Marathon Qualifying race), which she says was “pretty cool”.  At the 2012 Chicago Marathon, Ally posted a 26-minute marathon PR and her first time finishing under 3:30.  “I didn’t feel very good starting at mile 13, the “wall” came at 18 (which is early for me) and it was such a mental challenge to keep going.”  But she did... which is also one of the qualities that makes her such a wonderful Sole Sister.

Ally is so incredibly grateful that the Sole Sisters came into her life.  She says we are such a wonderful, thoughtful, and fun group of women that she is so proud to be a part of!  We are proud of you too, Ally.  Thanks for being a Sole Sister!

 
 
September 2019 - Melinda LaConte
 

Hometown/Current City:

Stone Mountain, GA/Wilmington, MA

 

Background and Family:

Melinda grew up in Stone Mountain, GA with her older sister. Believe it or not, Mellie claims that her sister was the athletic one, while she was the book worm and band kid!  After teaching for 2 years in Georgia, Mellie followed her (then) boyfriend to Massachusetts in 1999 and has been in Wilmington since 2002. She and Len married in 2001 and are now constantly on the go with their kids, Audrey & Ethan.

Joined Sole Sisters:
Melinda is one of our original Sole Sisters, ever since Jill Chisholm started the Facebook page looking for friends to run with.  Mellie was training for the BAA 10K when they crossed paths on a morning run.

More about Melinda:

Even though it may seem that Melinda has been a runner her whole life, she actually started running in March 2010, when a friend and neighbor asked if she wanted to run with her.  She slowly started 1/4 mile at a time, worked up to a 5K that July, and hasn't looked back since!  

Melinda has motivation to run:  even though she says it sounds cliché, she runs to live.  She was diagnosed with Lupus in 1999, and with Rheumatoid Arthritis earlier this year.  “Running and moving consistently keeps me healthy, sane and on the lowest possible doses of medication.”  

As for Melinda's advice to fellow runners, she says to have fun!  “If you're not loving what you are doing then find another healthy and happy sport, because when you're having fun the rest will fall into place.”  

Over the last 9+ years of running miles, Melinda has made so many amazing moments, which is why she loves this sport.  “To me it is not about logging the miles but making memories. It's the freeze pop at mile 25, the hugs and surprise of friends & Audrey at mile 8, crossing multiple finish lines with the best of friends by your side, it is seeing your friends crush their goals, a tree falling across the course at mile 17, the hugs from your kids saying how proud of you they are, the mystery miles at 6am on a frozen winter day, running through sprinklers, hand painted signs cheering you on, solving the world's problems...and so many more!”  For Melinda, each race and training has a story and many new friends.  We couldn't be happier to have you as an inspiration, Melinda!  Thanks for being a Sole Sister!

 
July 2019 - Kim Doherty
 

Hometown/Current City:

Billerica, MA/Hudson, NH

 

Background and Family:

Kim grew up in Billerica, but moved to Wilmington while in college and lived there for 10 years before moving to Hudson, New Hampshire with her husband and 3 kids. Kim works full time and also coaches Orange Theory classes while running and training for marathons!

Joined Sole Sisters:
Kim joined Sole Sisters in 2014 after learning about us through Beth McGuire.

More about Kim:

Kim has loved fitness for most of her life, playing softball as a kid and always having an active gym membership. She started running in high school, running shorter distances in track, but she didn't fall in love with running until after college graduation in 2009.  That's when she picked up running again and starting running longer distances of more than 2-3 miles at a time.

Right now, Kim says her motivation is the fact that “running is my time... to clear my head, my few minutes (or hours) away from work and kids!”  Kim also feels it's important to show her kids the value of living an active lifestyle.

So far in Kim's running career, her proudest moment has been running her first marathon with a Boston Qualifying finish time, as is the dream for so many who run!  Kim says Sole Sisters was “life changing” for her, as she has made some close friends and credits our club with encouraging her to run a marathon (or 6!).  She doesn't think she would have done this if not for our club!  And as far as Kim's advice to fellow club members and runners:  “Don't lose the joy in running.  Don't run hard every run, know you can't PR every race, step back and enjoy it!”

 
June 2019 - Anne Fitzler
 

Hometown/Current City:

Lewiston, Maine/Wilmington, MA

 

Background and Family:

Anne was raised in Maine along with her four sisters.  She swam competitively year-round through High School, and her parents even coached the rec swim team.  She attended a small business college in Waterville, Maine and graduated with a degree in Market Management.  After graduation, Anne worked as a travel agent with AAA Travel.  Several years later, she married her husband John and moved to Massachusetts, eventually making Wilmington their home.  Anne and John have 2 sons: Joshua (20), a sophomore at Mass Maritime Academy; and Alex (16), a sophomore at Wilmington High.  Anne is currently a co-owner of Children's Speech and Hearing Specialists in Burlington.

Joined Sole Sisters:
Anne was lucky enough to be one of the original members before Sole Sisters was even an official club, and she still has her original maroon singlet!  Anne's son Alex went to pre-school with Sole Sisters founder Jill Chisholm's son, Matt, so Jill reached out when her idea began as a informal Facebook page to meet up with fellow runners.

Favorite song on her running playlist:
When running, Anne most often listens to Eminem, AC/DC, Dropkick Murphys, and Guns & Roses.

More about Anne:

Although it may seem as if she's been running her whole life, Anne actually started running right after she turned 40 years old.  She trained for the WOW race that was held on May 15, 2011.

As is true for many of us, Anne says “Running is my therapy.  It clears my head and I always feel better after a run even it's not my best one.”  As far as advice is concerned, she has learned to always remember not to doubt herself.  “Your mind and heart are just as important as your physical abilities.”  

Anne says her proudest running moment was representing the Sole Sisters Running Club in this year's Boston Marathon.  “It was a dream come true and I enjoyed every mile. I stopped for high fives and hugs and photos, waved to all that cheered "Go Sole Sister", encouraged those that needed it along the route and finally smiled with pride as I turned right on Hereford and left on Boylston and finally crossed that finish line.”  She says she still gets goosebumps thinking of the experience, and she is so appreciative for the opportunity.

Now that Anne's sisters are scattered across different states, she loves that she has 300 local "sisters" that have become family.  She is certain she wouldn't have met so many of her close friends if Jill hadn't had this vision all those years ago, and “for that I'm eternally grateful!!!”  We are grateful for your friendship, Anne.  Thanks for representing us so beautifully in Boston this year!

 
May 2019 - Jenna Wood
 

Hometown/Current City:

Boxborough, MA/North Andover, MA

 

Background and Family:

Jenna grew up in Boxborough, where she participated in several activities and sports over the years.  She then attended Merrimack College, where she met her husband, Chris; they will be married 10 years in August.  Jenna has a BA in Psychology and a BS in health science, and is currently working toward a master's degree in pharmacology and toxicology with a concentration in toxicology through Michigan State.  She currently works in toxicology at a biotech company in Cambridge.

Joined Sole Sisters:
After seeing us at many different races and finally getting up the courage to join, Jenna became a Sole Sister in March 2017.

Favorite song on her running playlist:
Not music, but audiobooks!  She especially likes cozy mysteries, but has also listened to the Harry Potter series 50+ times!

More about Jenna:

Jenna grew up in Boxborough, where she danced ballet from ages 2-12, eventually moving on to the sports arenas of soccer and then field hockey in junior high and high school.  She did run track in 7th grade, but was a sprinter, and had no desire to run long distance.  Jenna started running casually in college, but never more than a few miles.  She ran her first race (The Feaster Five 5-miler) in 2010, and then, on a bet with her husband, ran the Baystate Marathon in 2011.  “He said I wouldn’t go through with the training, and I proved him wrong!”

Jenna now runs for “sheer enjoyment”, but also for personal growth and stress relief.  They may seem like simple reasons on the surface, but ones that we all should strive for!  To keep herself going, she recalls her best advice: “Don't give up!  Even if you have a bad run or race, there's always another.”

Jenna says her proudest running moment came just a few days ago at the Cheap Marathon, and she says it's all because this group came together to help her and Melissa (Troisi) run the race:  “I’ve never felt so much support and it was just amazing. Also, it was my comeback marathon after having a DNF in 2017.”  

In addition to her running talents, Jenna also spends a lot of time volunteering at a doberman shelter in New Hampshire.  She has also been singing in churches since high school.  We really couldn't be prouder of you, Jenna. Congratulations!

 
March 2019 - Constance Dussault
 

Hometown/Current City:

Staten Island, NY / Chelmsford, MA

 

Background and Family:

Connie was born and raised in Staten Island, NY, but moved to Holyoke, Massachusetts as a tween. She moved to Boston to attend Suffolk University, where she earned a BS in Sociology and Psychology and a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources. After college, she worked for ARAMARK until she had her first son, Jack. Connie actually met her husband, Joe, at the Rockport Father's Day Road Race in 2011. They have 3 children and 2 fur babies: Jack (5), James (2), Jane (1), Louie (17 and furry) and Rocco (16 and also furry).

Joined Sole Sisters:
Connie joined Sole Sisters in April of 2018. She had posted on Chelmsford's community page looking for a local (preferably all women) running group, and Sole Sisters was suggested.  Connie went to her first group run shortly after joining, and she was so nervous. “It was a little intimidating walking up to the group, but once I got running and talking I felt so comfortable and welcomed.”

Favorite song on her running playlist:
Linkin Park is Connie's “go-to” when running: “They never let me down when I need to get pumped up.”  Some of her favorite running songs are “My Body Tells Me No” by Young the Giant, “'Til I Collapse” by Eminem, “Wretches and Kings” and “When They Come for Me” by Linkin Park.  She's been listening to the same running playlist for about 10 years.
 

More about Connie:

Connie started running on the gym treadmill when she was in her twenties with the goal of keeping weight off, but was soon hooked on how good it made her feel. She signed up for her first road race, the Jim Kane Sugar Bowl, a year later, and she hasn't stopped since!  She has now run over 100 races and nearly 900 miles.

Connie's original motivation to run has definitely evolved over the years: she started to lose weight, but is now motivated by her happiness.  “Running just makes me feel good.  It keeps me healthy.  It keeps me strong.  It clears my head.  I love the way it pushes me to do better and be better.  I really feel that running makes me a better wife, mother, friend and just person.”

Connie says the best advice she can give is to “keep your running personal”, meaning don't compare your successes or failures to those of others.  “Running is such a personal journey for me and has come with many highs and some lows... focus on your own goals and why you run and enjoy the journey of it all.”  She also says running shouldn't be a stress, so listen to your body!  “If your body isn't feeling it... LISTEN.  Runners are so stubborn and will constantly push their body too far.”   

So far, Connie has had unbelievable running accomplishments, but she says her proudest running moment came at the Triple Threat she ran last summer in Rockport:  a 1 mile run, 5K, then half marathon.  Despite the heat (and LOTS of fun hills), Connie placed 1st for the 1 mile, 1st for the 5K,  and then 3rd overall for the combined races.  “It was pretty awesome crossing the finish line with my son Jack, who came to cheer me on, too.”  Another proud moment would be when she completed a 1/2 Ironman in 2012. She later found out she was a few weeks pregnant with her son at the time of the race!

When she's not running, Connie is currently a stay-at-home mom who started a custom cookie business (lucky for us, since she is SO talented!).  She is also involved with the PTO at her son's school and is a member of a local Mom's group. Right now, her life revolves around her family, running, and cookies. “I love love love Sole Sisters.  I love the women.  I love what it represents.  Women supporting and motivating other women while doing what they love.”  Connie is currently training for her 9th Marathon (Sugar Loaf ) with a goal time of 3:45.  We wish you the best of luck, Connie.  We're so glad you found us!

 
January 2019 - Ann Marie Maguire
 

Hometown/Current City:

Wilmington, MA / Billerica, MA

 

Background and Family:

Ann Marie grew up in Wilmington, eventually earning a Bachelor's in Communications from Boston University and an MBA from Bentley.  She married husband Michael in 1996 and ‘retired’ a short time later to raise her family.  Ann Marie's daughter Kaitlyn (21 and also a Sole Sister!) attends Merrimack College, while son Connor (15) is a student at Shawsheen Tech.  Ann Marie recently returned to the workforce as a buyer for a small environmental research firm.

Joined Sole Sisters:
Ann Marie already had friends who were Sole Sisters, so she joined SSRC herself in April 2018 after seeing their posts about our “Run Your First 5K” program.  She decided it was time to start a new fitness routine, so she  convinced her daughter Kaitlyn and best friend Stephanie Grimes to sign up with her for support and accountability.

Favorite song on her running playlist:
Ann Marie doesn't listen to music when she runs, so no special playlists!

More about Ann:
Ann Marie is no stranger to running:  she ran both winter and spring track for Wilmington High School in the mid to late 80s under well-loved coach Frank Kelley.  After high school, she took a long hiatus before starting our 5K program.  Believe it or not, prior to April 2018, she hadn’t run since May 1987!

Like many of our members, Ann Marie is running to live a healthier lifestyle. Since starting the program, she has lost a little weight, feels better about herself and has gained confidence in her running.  During one of our 5K sessions, Ann Marie met Marcia Vitale, and it is Marcia's voice she still hears in her head motivating her to keep going when she feels her feet dragging. “Pick up those feet before I step on them!” (Raise your hand if you just read that in Marcia's voice in your own head!)

Ann Marie has received a lot of advice and support from many Sole Sisters, but she says the most important advice she has received would be to just keep moving. “It doesn’t matter how slow I run or if I have to walk; just keep going and finish.”

So far, Ann Marie's proudest running moment was finishing the “First 5K” program on the Wilmington Town Common.  Her family and friends were there to see her finish, and she had many Sole Sisters cheering her on the whole way. When she started the program, she could barely run the first one minute interval, so running 3 miles without stopping was a huge accomplishment.  Since that first 5K in May 2018, Ann Marie has completed several more 5Ks . Her goal in 2019 is to run one race a month and complete some of the races in our Grand Prix Series.  “Slow and steady isn’t going to win me any races, but it will improve my overall fitness and I’ll have lots of fun along the way.”  That sounds like a win in our book, Ann Marie!  Thanks for being a Sole Sister!