Three years ago today I was running on a treadmill at 5 a.m. when I saw on TV that The Rocky Mountain News had printed its final edition.
It made me cry.
I moved to Colorado in November 2003 and I started working for The Rocky Mountain News two months later. It was a great job, and the newspaper had an outstanding reputation. I was thrilled to be there and I liked my work.
When I left The Rocky almost four years later, it was with reluctance. I was pregnant with my second child. I knew baby hours and the late nights I worked at the paper would collide. I told myself the leave was temporary until my child was older. I would be back.
In fact, I was freelancing occasionally for The Rocky when it closed on Feb. 27, 2009 (four months shy of its 150th birthday).
A few days after the newspaper’s final edition I attended a good-bye party in downtown Denver for the newsroom. The atmosphere was like a high-school reunion under the worst of circumstances. It was a beautiful, poignant evening. We knew we would scatter like seeds to the wind.
The demise of traditional print journalism was a game-changer for all of us. To put it in running perspective, it was akin to suffering a debilitating, life-altering injury, not just a minor sprain or setback.
About the same time The Rocky
closed I read a tragic story in Runner’s World (March 2009) that gave me hope
in the midst of the flux: “A Second Life” — About New York City fire
fighter Matt Long.
Long was a 3:13 marathon runner
in 2005 when he was crushed by a bus in a bicycling accident in New
York City. The details of how badly his body was mangled and how hard he fought to recover were mind-boggling — again, a game-changer, yet he endured.
His story was a reminder to me as I went through my grief that life would go on. No, it would not be the same, but even under the worst of circumstances we can choose life and hope. As time passes, wounds heal.
I’m happy to say many of my friends from The Rocky have landed on their feet.
One of my friends is now at The New York Times; another one at The Chicago Tribune; a third at The Cleveland Plain Dealer. One of my old supervisors works in Nairobi, Kenya.
For those with families or who couldn’t leave Colorado, however, the end of The Rocky was the beginning of the reinvention of ourselves. Many of us have switched professions or are in new lines of work like me.
The lesson I learned from The Rocky’s passing and Matt Long’s inspiring story:
I, too, am strong enough to find new resolve and purpose.
I’ve reinvented myself as a marathon runner, a blogger, an online writer and a copywriter for a website company where I now work — all within the span of a few, short years.
Yes, sometimes we have to shift our expectations and refocus our goals but we persevere.
I miss my Rocky. I know a part of me always will, but I am the better for having worked there once and knowing so many phenomenal people. The experience made me a
better writer and editor, and later gave me the fuel I needed to become a marathon runner and Boston qualifier.
If you have time, I invite to view the attached video on the Rocky’s Final Edition. Good story-telling touches our
souls. Even as The Rocky wrote its own final story, it did it well.
RIP, Rocky Mountain News. I am grateful you were a chapter in my life.
Aging is inevitable, but growing old is a choice. Lace up your shoes, and let’s go!
Mileage today: 3.1; Mileage for 2012: 199.
Final Edition from Matthew Roberts on Vimeo.