I truly want to thank you for the many calls, texts and emails of overwhelming expression of concern for my safety, and the safety of my family, my Dana-Farber partner, Brendan Barrie, and other close friends. Your thoughts and prayers was heartening during this awful tragedy.
My heart aches for Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell and Lu Lingzi, the many others bombing victims and their families. You will always be a part of me with every run.
At this time there are no significant injuries to my fellow Dana-Farber runners, volunteers, or staff. Sadly, I have heard of a confirmed report of serious injuries to two family members of a Dana-Farber runner. Please keep them in your prayers.
12 seconds. It was the time between hearing the first explosion, questioning if this could actually be a terrorist attack, to hearing the second explosion, confirming your worst nightmare. It was the amount of time you had to process where every one of your love ones are long the 26.2 miles and determine if they are they safe from harm. Staring down Boylston St, moments after the blast, I knew my family was in the center of it all. It wasn’t until 5 p.m. when I knew everyone was safe and I was reunited with my wife.
The magic of the Boston Marathon is not 27,000 runners participating in the world’s oldest annual marathon. It is how 500,000 people complete the marathon together. From Hopkinton to Boston, the marathon route is lined with spectators and volunteers cheering and helping every runner along the way like no other. They have one mission: get you to the finish line. Year after year, they are there for you and they never disappoint. For many of us, we couldn’t imagine running Boston without them. On this day, it seems we are one big family.
Monday, our family was attacked. Although we cannot truly empathize with those, whose love ones where hurt or killed, we mourn with you. I promise, we will keep you in our hearts. I promise, we will demand justice against those responsible for this horrendous and cowardly act. And as I struggle to do something, anything, I promise to run on Patriot’s Day, half a millions strong, for you.
People ask me all the time, what is Mile 25? Is it a charity, a club, the distance of a marathon? I respond no and depending on their sincerity for an answer, I tell them…clarity.
I stood motionless, as I watched runners continue to the 2009 Boston Marathon finish line. It had taken me two years to reach this place on the route after a sudden illness weeks before, prevented me running my first marathon. Yet, there I was, in pain and unable to gather the strength to continue. For a brief moment, I had decided to quit. When I looked up, I noticed the iconic red and orange Citgo triangle. To my right, Fenway Park in the distance. I realized I was at mile 25 of the marathon. With a little over a mile left, and after 2 years of hard work, I told myself find a way to finish. I commanded my body to start running, but after a couple of steps, I stopped. I tried again and again, with no success. I don’t remember a time in my life that I felt more defeated. Minutes felt like hours. I desperately searched for the littlest bit of hope to give me the confidence to continue. I took my hands off my knees, lifted my head and lunged forward with a yell of pain and belief. This time I didn’t stop until the finish line.
Two years later I stood on that same spot. It happens to be the location where some of the Jimmy Fund Client’s patients cheer on the Dana-Farber Marathon Team. This time I was hugging my Dana-Farber marathon partner, Brendan. He was 10 years old patient being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Over the past months, Brendan and his family brought me into their world of a child with Leukemia. Brendan would walk me through the different treatments and protocols he would follow. He would explain to me about the different drugs that he would have to take. He showed me the tubes, the scars and the other pains of cancer that people like me leave behind the curtain not to see. Our time spent together was not all about cancer. Our families have gone out to dinner, he showed me his Lego creations that helped him during his long hours at the hospital, and we talked a lot about the running and school.
In that moment, I realized the Boston Marathon is no longer about me. It is about Brendan, and so many people like him. It is about empathizing with the millions who are battling cancer every day. Mile 25 represents sharing personal opportunities to help others in ways bigger than we may ever fully understand.
Hopefully you will want to be a part of Mile 25 by finding your own opportunities and sharing it with someone.
I started a newsletter that I will be sending out once a month as part of my DFMC fundraising. I left it was a good way to communicate with everyone. It is also a good way to remind people about donating. Many people have good intentions to give but then it gets shuffled to the bottle of a pile because life is just so busy.
I called it Mile 25 because it’s such an important mile during the marathon. I wrote a few entries in last year’s blog talking about Kenmore Square, the Citco sign and the last mile, but the biggest reason is it is where I know Brendon will be along with many other DFMC partners. It is such an inspiration place along the marathon. I’m tired, sore and ready to stop running, but after a quick stop full of sweaty hugs and high fives, I’m recharged.
Today I ran with the L St Running Club. It was a beautiful but cold 14 mile run through the Blue Hills. I stuck with my training plan and made sure I kept my pace slow. I’m surprised how good I felt after 41 miles this week. Monday starts a new training week. It will be a recovery week, which makes me very happy.
I’m looking to Thursday. Brendan begins his final round of chemo. Yea!! Sounds like a great excuse to go to Kiku Yama.
Yuck is the best way to describe today’s run. It was cold, wet and windy 8 mile run. I was drenched within just a few minutes. It was raining hard and sideways. I was able to find a good size puddle to step in, so that took care of my feet from staying dry. I had a 12 mph headwind with gusts up to 25 mph. Did a paint a pretty picture?
The first time I left to go for my run, I had a little problem with my running watch, the Garmin Forerunner 410. The watch is touch activated which in dry conditions is very convenient. When its wet, it gets confused. The rain kept turning features of my watch on and off. Then finally turned on a compass feature that I’ve never used and didn’t know how to shut off. I went back into the house a little grumpy.
This training season I rely heavily on my watch because most of my workouts are all about pace. Especially today’s workout, in which the plan was to warm up for the first mile, run my marathon pace for the next 6, and slow down for the last mile. I definitely needed my watch to work.
I pulled out a snack bag that we use for my daughter’s lunches. It seemed to the perfect size to provide protection from the elements. I cut a slit in each end the slip the band through the holes. I made sure I could still use the watch with the plastic covering it. Finally put it on my wrist and headed outside into the rain. It worked great. I guess I’ll have to use snack bags until Garmin decides to send me the new Forerunner 610 which solves this problem.
You might think I’m a little crazy (and maybe I am) but i feel it is important to train in this type of weather. We have no idea what mother nature will grace us with on Marathon Monday. April weather in New England, it is so unpredictable! We can have snow, a nor’easter, or a heatwave. (click the links to see for yourself) If marathon monday is the first time you run in bad weather conditions, then I’m afraid you will have a miserable time of it. The positive side of running in bad weather? You will appreciate the perfect beautiful sunny, cool, tailwind running days even more.
Just found out today that this Thursday, Jan. 20th will be our LAST chemo cycle! It has been a long 2 years but can’t believe we are nearing the end of Brendan’s chemo. His cycles are 21 days. Brendan will have 14 days of chemo and steroids followed by another 7 days of steroids as they wean him off the steroids during which they are going to try and schedule him surgery to have his port removed. He will also have 6 months of Antibiotics . He will go in every month to have his Labs checked for the next 6 months, then it will be every 2 months, 3 months then finally every 6 months.
While we are excited to be having his chemo come to a stop, they still don’t know what is going to happen after his protocol ends due to his Evans Syndrome. I guess we just have to wait and see….
That was so cool! I didn’t see it on the news but I went to the website to watch it. Here is a link to Fox 25 article and video. I thought it was a great piece. I think a told everyone I know to watch it.
I’m very proud of what you did for the children on the Oncology ward. I am sure every one of them were thankful. Having them see someone who is going through what they are going through is inspiring and full of hope. You are such a great kid!
I can’t wait until to hear how you make out on Thursday and the big news!
Tonight Fox 25 did a news story on the new addition being built onto Children’s Hospital. They showed the beam with my name on it 3 times and said my name once! It was really cool.
I have been feeling pretty good even though I’m on constant steroids again this month. I sometimes get a little short-tempered, but it doesn’t last too long. I’m eating alot more and haven’t had my feeds (feeding tube) in about a month! I also have more energy than I have in a LOOONG while.
Next Thursday when I go to Clinic to start my next cycle, the doctors should be telling us when my last cycle will be starting. There is even a chance my next cycle might be my last! So hard to believe!!!
On December 30th, my 2 year Anniversary of my diagnosis, I went with my mom and Dad to Children’s Oncology ward to deliver gifts to the kids who would be spending New Years in the hospital like I did. It really made me feel good to do something for the kids there. This was our second year doing this so it’s officially our family TRADITION.
I’m very excited to have Patrick running again for me this year. It was great to get to know you and your family this past year! This is another Tradition i’ve really enjoyed. I can’t wait till Marathon Monday!!!!!!!
I hope everyone had a nice New Years!!