Dear Boston, Dear Cambridge, Dear Heartbreakers, Dear BKB-ers, Dear Friends I have made along the way, Dear Newton North HS Hockey players, Dear BOMF. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of these past 13 months that I have called the greater Boston area home. Without the ability to gather, I have not had the opportunity to tell many people that I am moving. This is a very uncertain time, and so I can’t even say for sure where I am going or if I will be back. In 3 months, 6 months, 3 years, I very well could end up back here in Beantown, but for now I am heading west and I do not know when I will come back. I am very excited for the next phase, for the mountains, the thin air, the trails, the people, the opportunities.
In April 2019 I moved to Cambridge with no job lined up. The plan was to drive for Lyft and walk dogs on Wag to pay rent while I looked for a job coaching hockey and work in an athletic department. Close to 100 job applications later, still no dream job. Though I did make connections that led to doing private hockey lessons and clinics at local rinks and eventually got offered an Assistant Coach position at Newton North HS and a part time administrative position with a local adult sports league.
Without a full time job, I made the conscious decision to use this time to devote myself to my training. I had joined the Heartbreakers running club in June and so with 5 months to train for the Mount Desert Island Marathon, I began following a training regimen similar to what the elites follow. I gradually built up my volume, added in doubles and quality workouts 2-3 times per week. With complete control of my schedule, I was able to follow the Heartbreaker advanced marathon plan, mainly because I was able to focus on my rest and recovery. For much of my first 6 months in Boston, my daily schedule looked like this: Breakfast, Lyft 7-10 AM, run 8-10 miles, Lunch, walk a dog or two, nap, run 4 miles, Lyft 4-6 PM, dinner, relax and go to bed and get ready to do it all over again. While many elite level athletes have full time jobs and still follow a similar schedule, they also have years and years of experience running high volume and high intensity and so they are very durable and resilient. My previous training blocks had peaked in the 50 miles/week range and had 1-2 quality workouts each week, and to top it off, I had barely trained between NYC Marathon 2018 and May 2019. To go from what I had been doing to following the advanced marathon plan, running 75-90 mile weeks, would have been a recipe for disaster had I not been able to take mid-day naps and prioritize my rest/recovery like I did. Had I been fully employed I am certain I would not have run PR’s at almost every distance, including my first and second sub 3:00 marathons.
This time without full time work also allowed me to think a lot about what I wanted my future to look like. Since the age of 13 or 14, when I started to realize I was not going to be a professional hockey player, my dream has been to make it to the NHL as a coach. But as time has gone on, that dream has been cast into doubt. I interviewed for several collegiate and high school coaching positions and none panned out. Until October, when I interviewed at Newtown North and took the ice with the Tigers for the winter season. While I was grateful for this opportunity, it was a step back. I had been the Head Coach at Trinity Catholic for the previous two years, I was willing to take an assistant coach position at the college or prep levels or a head coach position at a public school, but an assistant? It was at first hard to swallow. I accepted the position mainly because I knew that it was my best chance to get on the ice as most coaching staffs were filled for the 2019-20 season. I am very glad that I took this coaching job as I learned a lot about myself and continued to develop as a coach. By being an assistant, I was also able to have the flexibility to show up 10 minutes before practices and games and not have the pressure to plan practices and handle communication with players and parents. And best of all, this was a great group of student athletes. While we went 1-18-1 on the season, this was one of the most enjoyable groups that I have ever coached.
So, with no 9 to 5 and not having the responsibility of being the head coach, I had the time to look inside and discover a new passion. Pairing my coaching experience with my running knowledge to coach athletes for endurance events was a perfect fit. And so, Training with Tucker was born. It started with three athletes training for fall 2019 marathons and grew from there. I have learned a tremendous amount through this process, I have thrown myself into countless books and podcasts to continue my education and today my coaching business is my future!
Without all of the experiences of this past year, without the heartbreakers, without Lyft and Wag and all the little jobs I did along the way to get by, without the disappointments of not getting the “dream job,” I never would have realized this dream of starting my own business and getting to help people incorporate training into their lives in a healthy way.
This past year and change in Boston provided two other experiences that I am very grateful for. First off, it was an opportunity to cohabitate with Nicole. This was the first time living with a significant other for either of us and was a wonderful step in our relationship. Getting to spend a lot of time together, having her to come home to, cooking together, supporting and learning more about each other along the way. Secondly, I was able to spend a lot of quality time with my Aunt Barb in her last 6 months of life. We shared meals and stories and I hope that I was able to brighten some of her darkest days. For me, it was a time that I will always cherish, as difficult as it was.
I will miss this city, the runs along the Charles, the workouts at MIT/The Reggie, climbing at BKB, but most of all I will miss the people. Thank you and goodbye for now. See you on Zoom, see you on Instagram, each April I hope to see you on Boylston and who knows, maybe some day I will call this great city home again!