Friday, April 27, 2012

Post Race Blues

I read in a few places that post race blues is a real thing and is similar to postpartum depression. Not sure if I really had the blues, or was depressed, but I have been having a hard time getting motivated over ever since the race. The house is so messy and laundry is piling up. Today is the first day that I woke and felt invigorated so hopefully this is the start of getting back on track. Thinking I might get back to running over the weekend too, we'll see.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Did It!!!

The Boston Marathon goes down as one of the most amazing things in my life following closely behind marriage and the birth of my kids.

The unfortunate weather made the race a completely different endeavor than what I had trained for. The heat was unbearable, stifling. For example, during my 16 weeks of training I walked a total of two times, once during my first long run and the other when I ran when I had a fever. On Marathon Monday I walked twice within the first five miles! On top of that, I walked every mile after that too. The marathon turned out to be a test of will and perseverance instead of a test of endurance and strength.

My final long training run was 20 miles which I ran in 3:30 so my goal was to finish the marathon somewhere in the 4:40 range. By mile 5 I knew that would never happen and mentally I was in a bad place for a few miles. It was not until mile 8 where I finally hit a groove and got comfortable. My plan for hydration and fuel was to drink every two miles and have a PowerGel every 4 miles. This changed pretty much immediately after the race started. I drank at every stop, a Gatorade and a water.

Generally I am the kind of guy that avoids people that spray water on the runners. I do not like it when my feet get wet. I can say with some certainty that if it were not for some fire hydrants that were opened up I may not have finished the race. The cold water showers were key in cooling down my body. Twice during the race I doubted whether or not I could keep going. Shortly after the first time was a water stop and the waters were poured over my head and down my back. The second was at mile 20 and thankfully this is where there was an open fire hydrant, the water was cool and it was a nice thick spray that coated my entire body, this helped get me over heartbreak hill.

My family was amazing as they were actually able to see me at four different times during the race, miles 7, 13, 18 and 26. To me, this was almost as impressive as running the marathon. I have no idea how they were able to pull that off.

Wellesley College was just what I expected and more. College girls lined up for about a quarter mile with "kiss me" signs. I considered finding the hottest girl and giving it a shot as this might be the only time I could kiss another girl and get away with it, but I decided against it and just used their enthusiasm to fuel my running.

5 hours, 30 minutes and 58 seconds. This was my final time. A good 45 minutes longer than what I was expecting and hoping for. As the last couple days have gone by I have continually gotten more proud of the accomplishment. My training had worked, muscularly and cardiovascular-wise I ran the race fine and I was prepared. There was no way to prepare for the heat. I think about my buddy Glenn who was on track for his personal best time of 3:45 and he finished in 5:45. I also think about last years Boston marathon winners, both of them did not even finish the race this year. Thousands of people dropped out of the race before it even started, and another couple thousand started but did not finish. I saw multiple people have to stop and puke and even more people get carted away on stretchers. I think about all of this and then know that I finished and that was my ultimate goal. Worrying about time would have to come some other time, some other race.

As of right now, I am tentatively planning on running the Cape Cod Marathon in the Fall. Originally the thought was that if I did this race it would be to improve upon (or even worry about) my time. Now, hopefully, this will be the race that I actually prove to myself that I can run a marathon and run it the way that I trained for it without having to deal with severe heat.

I would like to thank all of my family, friends and coworkers that helped, inspired and donated during my training. This was all a part of the experience that I will never forget.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Almost There!!

Crazy stuff, can't believe it is only 5 days until the marathon. I feel like I haven't been running lately even though I have been running almost every other day for two weeks. The longest run I have done is 9 miles since the last 20 miler. Who am I to argue with the experts? It better work!

My excitement is turning into a bit of nervousness as the day approaches. I will be fine as I am generally a laid back type of guy, but I can't help some butterflies that are creeping up.
mIt is going to be a warm day, fine with me. My plan is to drink every two miles and have a PowerGel every 4 miles. This is all in addition to forcing massive amounts of fluid the previous day and a prerace Gatorade and water.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Why so Hard?

Why is it so hard to wake up in the morning? Obviously we all love sleep, but waking up an hour earlier than normal should not be such an undertaking. I couldn't bring myself to get out of bed yesterday to do 8 miles. I knew that I better get up today and get it done or I would be going down a slippery slope that would end up with me not being prepared for the marathon. This week has been particularly tough in terms of time because I am playing a show and balancing the sports and practices that the kids are in. Evenings are out of the question. On top of that the days are so busy that I am tired and need sleep. However, I set myself up to be ready to go this morning and got it done, 8 miles. I feel great. I have a ton of energy which has also spilled over into my work. I am teaching effectively today. So, why is it so hard to get up? Frankly, I feel this good just about every morning I wake up early and run. Why would I not want to feel this way more often?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

20 miles!!

Well, I did 20 miles last night. Good news- I was able to get it done. Bad news- it didn't feel as good as the 18 felt last week. In the big picture I guess that really isn't bad news. There were wind gusts up to 40 mph from the North yesterday so whenever I was heading North I felt as though I was running in water. Today I am sore, nothing major, just tired and sore. I am probably kidding myself to think that I would ever be able to do such a large distance and actually feel good. Perhaps the fact that I felt so good last week was the fluke? There are two positives that I am going to take away from yesterday. 1. I finished 20 miles. Even though I did not feel great, I did it. I powered through and got it done. 2. Even though I did not time myself with a watch I do know that I started running a little after 3:30 and got back a little after 7:00. 20 miles in three and a half hours a little faster than my typical time. Perhaps this had something to do with how tough I felt as well.

The next few weeks before the marathon is the taper. Everyone says that the taper is key, but I am a bit concerned. No more long runs? Apparently the thought process is that as long as you keep running and do not put too much stress on your body it gives your muscles a chance to recover for the big day. Who am I to argue with the experts?

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Did I Mention, I am Going to do it!!

18 miles last night. Ran the Falmouth Road Race course out and back and tacked on an extra 4 miles to get the eighteen. Felt good and finished in a decent amount of time. I have not been wearing a watch and do not plan to in the near future, but I estimate that I did it in around 3:15. I'll take it. I also took the time to get in some good stretching afterwards which is key to avoid next day soreness, I feel great today. I really do feel that the marathon is in my sights and that when April 16 comes around I will be able to get it done.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Two more long runs!!

Well, before the big day anyway. Just two more long training runs. The weather is amazing and I generally enjoy running in the cold. The temperature is well over 6o degrees today which will be nice, I guess. Saturday I did a medium run of 8 miles and it was the worst run I have had since the first week I ran. Two things against me:
1. The day started out at 30 degrees and the wind was howling. I dressed with layers on top and bottom and wore a winter hat.
2. My body is working very hard at trying to fight off this head cold that TJ has had. I do not have it as bad as him, but I got it. I might be a little feverish.
About 1 mile in I wanted to start walking, but I just unzipped and took off my winter hat and I was fine. I ended up walking for only the second time in my weeks of training. To be honest I wasn't even upset because I knew that I was battling the elements and my sickness. I was pretty proud too that the only time I walked was after the 6 mile mark so I lasted 5 more miles after my first feeling of wanting to walk.

I am most nervous about 18 miles this afternoon because I have a nice headache going. I have been taking ibuprofen and drinking lots of water and I am just going to battle through this. Even if I suck I will get it done!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

17, done!

This past weekend was a busy one, no time for a long run so I had to get it in after school on Monday. I was a bit nervous that I would be too tired from the day, not to mention the jet lag from the daylight savings. Well, I got it done and it felt pretty good.

I ended up stashing a couple water bottles on the route that I would pass a couple times at the 6 mile mark and 11 mile mark. I ran the first and last 6 miles on the bike path so it was pretty flat, but I got in some hills including the big one that is at the end of Falmouth Road Race in the middle 5 miles.

I have been struggling with this upper foot pain in my left foot after my long runs, especially the next morning. I noticed while I was running yesterday that I am clenching my toes up so essentially I am running with a foot fist. So much tension, no wonder I have this pain. Tendonitis? Not sure. Many times during the run I really focused on relaxing my toes and foot. In addition I really took a long time stretching last night. This morning I woke up with some discomfort, but considering that after the past three long runs I could barely put pressure on my left foot when I woke up the next morning I will take it. This is definitely something that I need to be mindful of when I am running in the future.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Getting up Early

I have always considered myself a night owl. Often I do not go to bed until at least 11 if not midnight even though I need to wake up at 6:30 to get ready for work. It has been fine over the years and I am happy that I can function on a small amount of sleep. However, over the past four weeks in particular my short and medium runs have been getting to a distance where I need to wake up anywhere from 5:15 to 5:45 to get it in. Right now my "medium" runs are 8 miles! That is going to take me about an hour and a half. So to be back to my house by 7 I am running by 5:30am and waking up 15 minutes or so before that. Yikes! I have been going to sleep earlier which has helped, but honestly it is something that is sometimes hard to get used to. The further I get into the training the larger the urge to hit the snooze button gets.

Another thing that I have noticed is starting around the 5 to 6 mile mark I start to get some stomach discomfort and need to go to the bathroom. It was bad enough on Wednesday that I ended up doing 6 miles instead of 8. Today I did make it through the whole 8, but the last two and a half miles were tough. So far the only thing that I can do to make the sensation pass is to just simply slow down. I am going to get very picky in terms of nutrition next week and see if it makes a difference.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Boston Marathon Training

It's working, I'm doing it. I am going to be able to run 26 miles, I know it.

In hind sight I really wish I had been documenting my training from the start in this blog which has some how morphed into a life blog as opposed to just a fishing blog. I figure I can do a brief wrap up of what I have done so far and put down the rest from here on out.

To start, this is my first marathon ever. Two years ago I did the Cape Cod Half Marathon Trilogy and felt pretty good about it. Fast forward to November of this year and my wife sends me a link that Joslin Diabetes Center is looking for people to run the Boston Marathon to help them raise money. I believe her exact quote was a simple, "You should do this." I looked into it and after applying I found out a couple weeks into January that I was selected for the team. I quickly scrambled and looked up rookie marathon training schedules. There were many different ones and most being either 16 or 18 weeks. Since I was only 14 weeks away from the marathon I chose a 16 week plan that I thought looked doable. I had been running on a semi-regular basis, but mostly in the 3 mile range.

Right out of the gate I decided that I was going to train on hilly courses and avoid the bike path as much as possible. The three halves I did previously all kicked my butt and I think a lot of it was due to the hills I encountered that did not exist on the bike path I did all of my training on. Plus, I know that Boston is a notoriously hilly marathon course. With the help of I am able to plan my runs ahead of time and it only takes a couple minutes. The other thing that I decided was that I was not going to wear a watch and I did not care how long it took me to finish this marathon, just finish it.

Probably the worst run that I have done throughout all of my training during the past nine weeks was my 7 mile long run the first weekend. This is the only run that I had to walk during. I was glad that I did not get discouraged, I have not had to walk since.

Everything was running smooth and then a ski weekend getaway came about. After doing some research I decided to forego one of my short runs and get a long run in the night before we left. It worked well, but I knew I was going to not be running for three days straight. Where the plan went bad was me getting sick on the last day of the trip and not running for for and addition 4 days. An entire week off. My saving grace was that the following week was vacation week so I just took out one short run and did my long run on a Monday. Now I am pretty much back on track and I have a half marathon scheduled for the last Sunday of vacation.

So, the new dilemma, I am at the end of week 9 in my training which calls for 16 miles and I am running a half marathon. I guess I need to run an extra 3 miles. The "experts" are divided and say a hard 13.1 could substitute for a long run even if it is not the same distance. I ended up deciding to run 13.1 and then double back and get my wife which in theory should add a couple miles. It worked out perfectly. I finished the race, got my medal and ran back a little over a mile to get my wife and ran her in. So, I would say I ended up running a little over 15 miles. I momentarily contemplated running one more mile, but decided that since week 10 called for another 16 mile run that I could hold off until then. To the race, it was awesome!! The other three half marathons I have done I finished every single one of them and felt like absolute crap! I felt amazing at the end of this one and realistically I felt like I could have run all day. I actually had to keep holding myself back.

My confidence is building, mostly because for the past 4 weeks I have run 12, 14, 15 and 16 miles. This past week my friend Glenn drove me up to the Boston Marathon course so that we could get some training on the actual course. It was very helpful, it is a hilly course so it was nice to be able to practice it. I will say this, the hills in my training runs are harder than Boston so I am absolutely pumped that I added hilly running into my regular running schedule. Having said that, I did not run the legendary Heartbreak Hill so maybe I will change my mind after that. I forgot to take some ibuprofen or naproxen ahead of time for my knees, but with the exception of that minor joint discomfort the run felt great and I was able to pick it up for the last couple of miles.

Fueling - I never fueled before when I ran half marathons, but I know that there is no realistic way to make through a full marathon without adding some fuel. I was a bit hesitant to try the Gu stuff, I thought I may puke so I tried the jelly beans during my 14 mile run in week 8. I started chewing them around mile 7 and it took me a full mile to down like 6 of them. It sucked. I did stash a Gatorade and water at the end of my driveway which was mile 7 so I quickly downed the Gatorade and washed it down with water before picking it up again and doing the final 7 miles. During the half marathon I did two Gu's right before water stations and it worked out well. I have heard horror stories of certain things not agreeing with peoples stomachs, but after three weeks of fueling during the long runs I have not had any problems. I have decided that on long runs I am going to fuel every 4 miles and this is what I did this past weekend on the Boston Marathon course and it worked well.

Pain- During the training I did for my half marathons I made the fatal error of buying the wrong shoes. I decided that since I am going to run these races I should get the best running shoes. STUPID!! I bought sneakers that did not have any motion control and within two weeks I was having knee problems.

So far the only significant pain that I have been having is in the top of my left foot after long runs. The weird thing about it is that it only hurts when I wake up in the morning and has never hurt when I run. My knees hurt during my actual run, but it is a dull discomfort and I can usually avoid it by having Advil or Aleve before I do my long run. As I said earlier, I forgot it on my long run yesterday and the discomfort was a little more than normal, but I was still able to run through it.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Training Update

I am so happy with my marathon training. I am not lighting it up in the speed department, but that is fine with me. I am hoping to finish, nothing less, nothing more. I ran 10 miles on Saturday morning for my long run and that put my mileage total at 21 for the week. Since I started training I have lost almost 10 lbs. which is good in so many ways. Most importantly for my knees and joints that have to put up with the pounding of the pavement.

I started using a Calorie Counting website to aid myself in trying to lose weight a little faster and it has really worked. If you have never tried the simple act of counting your calories it is pretty eye opening and very helpful. It really changes your perspective on whether or not a particular food or snack is worth it. I have done many diets in the past like Atkins and Weight Watchers, but being very logical and thinking about food as energy and knowing that in order to lose weight I need to expend more energy than I take in makes complete sense. The Calorie Count site makes it very simple to track.

I am hoping to run the marathon at 240 lbs. or lighter. I am at 254 right now so I think it is possible for me to get down to that weight by then. The year I ran three half marathons I think I got down to 235.

Friday, January 13, 2012

How to Make Donations

There are a couple ways to make donations. The easiest way in my opinion is online. Crowdrise is dedicated to helping people have a safe venue to raise their funds. When you go to donate you pay through using an Amazon account (as in It is very easy and very safe. It does ask you if you would like to add a processing fee, but you can easily say no. Here is the link.

The other way that you can donate is by simply writing a check out to "Joslin Diabetes Center" and mail them to me. By mailing the checks to me I will be able to input your donation into my donation tally on the Crowdrise website.

Thanks again for your generosity.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Boston Marathon

Believe it or not, this aging and overweight guy is going to be running the Boston Marathon in 14 weeks. I am running with Team Joslin, the great diabetes treatment facility that has helped our family and specifically TJ so much since his diagnosis 5 years ago. If you can donate to help me raise $3000 it would be greatly appreciated. Here is a link to my fundraising site. If you have an Amazon account this should be really easy.