Dear Fleet Feet,
My Name is Laura and on behalf of the entire Azzoto Family, even though Thanksgiving has past we want to give thanks to you (The store, the staff, the coaches and the community). Here is why….
As I looked at my mother the other day, as she was holding my new niece and her first Grandchild, all I could do was smile and feel a sense of relief. It was the first time I had seen my mother produce a glow of happiness in over 3 years. I started to think about everything that has happened to our family in the past 3 and ½ years and how finally, we are starting to feel like a happy growing family again. Everything I thought of revolved around Fleet Feet.
On May 1st 2008 our lives would be forever changed. Our father passed away on his way home from a Syracuse Chiefs game. He had gone into Cardiac Arrest and wasn’t able to be saved. He was only 58 years young. This has been anything but easy to deal with and at first unbearable, but like anything it takes time to heal. My brothers and I had lost our father at way to young of an age and my mother had lost her husband, at that point of 36 years but together for 45 if that puts it into perspective. As much as we all may or may not have had our heads on our shoulders he was the glue that held our family together. He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father, an uncle, a friend, an accountant and an incredible sports fan, to name a few things.
So as the spring moved into summer, my brothers and I found ourselves in a downward spiral, we all drank probably too much and most certainly ate way too much. If any sign of relief was showing by the fall it all ended quicker then it started. Our, what you could say healthy grandfather (our dads father) got sick suddenly and passed away, less than 6 months after his son.
Thanksgiving passed, Christmas passed and then it was NYE. This is a New Years Eve I will never forget. It was just my brothers, my mother and I and as the clock struck midnight the only thing all of us could do was cry and boy did we cry. I am not sure if it was the sadness of everything that we had experienced in 2008 or what the door for 2009 had to offer us that brought those tears but whatever it was it was much needed.
After the weight we all put on and the numb feeling that didn’t seem to leave our bodies, my brother Brian or as most of you over there at Fleet Feet know him, Slider, stopped in the store to buy some new shoes in March of 2009. It was that chance stop in that would change it all. It was there he was told about the Begin to Run Program. Slider quickly told my brother Nick and I about it and begged for us to do it with him. Our dad wasn’t what you would call overweight and he never drank or smoked but he also didn’t have the best eating habits and had a gym membership he may have used once. Brian being overweight needed this change and he needed his family there with him.
So, in April of 2009 the Azzoto’s began one of the best new journeys of their lives. Not only did we do the Begin to run program in the spring and complete our first 5k race we built friendships that have changed our lives and will last forever.
This is what has happened to our lives since Fleet Feet Entered it. I will start with Brian (Slider) first, He has to date lost 110 pounds and looks amazing, he brought his first 5k of 42 minutes down to 29 minutes; he just completed his first half marathon in October clocking in at 2:30!! And he has been, since 2010 a coach for the NB No boundaries program inspiring and changing people’s lives. Then there is me, Laura, I have coached and participated in the NB, ADV 5k, the half and now the full programs. My 5k time has gotten faster, I have completed 3 half marathons and am about to travel to Disney with my running family to run my first Marathon. I have recently gotten married and my husband participates also. Now onto Nick, he has too coached and participated in all of the programs from beginner to full marathon. With plenty 5k’s under his belt and 2 halves, he just completed his first marathon, the Empire State, in less than 4 hours! Nick also just had his first child, a baby girl named Meghan, with his girlfriend Patti, who he met thanks to your programs. Then last but not least, our mother, who her kids begged her to join the NB program did and has now completed 2, 5k’s with the love and support from everyone in the programs.
The point being of this very long letter is that you, Fleet Feet, have in a way saved our lives! If it wasn’t for you we wouldn’t have developed these forever friendships, we wouldn’t be living the healthy lifestyles we are, and we wouldn’t have baby Meghan who has once again like you brought life and love back into our family and for that the Azzoto family is forever grateful to you all!
Slider, Nick, Laura and Judy