Category: Training

A Little Setback

Hey Brendan,

Good luck!  I know it’s a big day for you today.  You have your science fair as well as your blood work to see if you can start chemo again.  I’m sure both will go well.  I can’t wait to hear how everyone loved your project.   I’ll have to remember to tell Isabella about it.  I’m sure she will agree with your results.

Well, I’ve gone 14 months injury free but my luck ran out today.  I have an adductor (groin) strain.  That’s a new injury for me.  Most of my running issues are from the calf down.   It’s not too serious (I think) and shouldn’t keep me from the marathon but my training might be on hold for a bit.  I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning.  Not that he will be able to do anything but after examining the injury, he will tell me what I can and cannot do over next few days (or weeks).

I’m calling your mom after 4pm to get your results, so maybe I’ll be able to talk to you then.  Take care.


RM: 1.5
WM: 24.5
TM: 350.0

Spring Fever








Hi Brendan,

Today was such a beautiful day. I took advantage of it and went out at lunch for a run. I’ve wanted to do some hill work for some time now but the road conditions were bad this winter. I spent the whole time running Beacon Hill. I ran up and down streets like Mt Vernon, Joy, Pinckney and Myrtle, again and again. I think some of the residents outside enjoying the spring like weather must have thought I was either lost or crazy. It was a great workout but now my quads are not to happy with me.

Hope you got to enjoy the nice weather. See you tomorrow!


RM: 4.25
WM: 27.5
TM: 325.5


Hi Brendan,

 It looks like the weekend running in the Maine hills did me well. I had a nice run this morning. I usually begin a little sluggish on these early runs but today I felt vigor from the start. It’s interesting how a change in your perspective can make the normal seem different. I thought my course through the streets of Raynham was a decent route. There are some hills in the second half of my runs which I thought were great for training. Now those hills look like little bumps in the road.

I ran the White St “Moonlit” Run that I wrote about in My Morning Run. Today had the same feel. The clear sky along with the moon and the reflecting snow gave me plenty of light to run. As I turned on to Center St, a very bright Venus lead the way as it centered itself with the yellow lines on the road. The streets seemed empty like I had them to myself. The consistent grade and oddly missing ice under my feet let me extend my gate. Thoughts of work and family, fundraising and the marathon, you and Dana-Farber bounced in and out of my head. What felt like a blink of an eye, I was at my water stop. I decided to just run by because I didn’t want to stop. Reaching into my pocket, I grabbed my water bottle and laughed as I tried to drink the almost completely frozen grape powerade. By the time I got to King Philip’s Bump, the sun had already risen. I looked at my reflective vest as its broken straps flapped against my running jacket. I said to myself I can’t wait until I don’t need both for my early runs anymore as I noted spring will soon be here. When I entered the neighborhood, I looked at my Garmin for the first time. I was happy to see my results but distance and time didn’t define my run. It was all about what happened between the start and the finish.  I was centered again.

Hope everything is well will you. I will give you a call this afternoon to check in. Take care.


RM: 9.75 (White St “Moonlit” Run)
WM: 40.0
TM:  233.35

Paddy Kelly Road Race

Brockton - Observation Tower

Observation Tower at Mile 1

Hey Partner,

Miss the snow yet?  Probably not, because you are having so much fun on your vacation. 

Don’t worry; I didn’t slack off because you are out of town… even though I did skip the L Street run yesterday.   The schedule called for a “short” long run, 12.5 miles, so I decided to change things up a bit.  I woke up and went for an easy 5 mile run.  An hour later I headed over to Brockton to run the Paddy Kelly 5 Mile road race.   It’s good to sign up for a race every once in a while.   It’s different than a normal training run.  You’re out there with a bunch of people trying to run their personal best.  You push yourself a little bit harder.   It went well but it didn’t turn out to be a new PR for me.   I’ll have to try another one later in the year and maybe skip the prerace run.   

They had a party afterwards and I got to talk to a few of the runners and watch the award ceremony. The winner ran it in 27:13.  That’s really fast!    They also had 8 runners over 70 years old.   I hope to be one of them thirty years from now.   Here are the overall results.

Keep smiling and having a good time!


RM: 5.0 (Paddy Kelly)
WM: 10.0
TM:  171.35

Emerald Necklace Run

Hi Brendan,

This morning I ran with the L St running club.  We did the Emerald Necklace Run. This is one of my favorite training runs because we get to run in the Arnold Arboretum and paths along the Riverway and the Charles .  There is a spiraling trail in the Arboretum that goes up Bussey Hill.  It’s only 150ft high, but is fun passing by runners as they are going up or down the hill. 

Unfortunately, we could not run most of the highlighted routes including Bussey Hill this morning.  The paths had so much ice on them, they would be better used for ice skating. We were forced to run on the streets which might not be safe but it seemed safer than running on the ice.  This cut a few miles off our goal so we decided to run around Castle Island at the end of the run to make up for it.

Besides not being able to do the route as planned, it was a great day.  It was sunny and seasonably warm.  I think when we finished it was around 36°.  I definitely overdressed.  I had to wrap my running jacket around my waist half way through the run.  Everyone seemed happy about how they did today.  Next week we bounce down to 12 miles to give ourselves some time to recover before we start tackling long distances and more hills.

I guess that’s it.  Have fun it school this week and I’ll check in soon!


RM: 17.0 (Emerald Necklace Run)
WM: 17.0
TM:  144.25

A Lesson in Positive Thinking

I heard the buzzer going off.  It was 4:55 a.m.  I couldn’t do this, this morning and I hit the snooze button.  

Again, I heard that awful sounding noise ringing in my ears.  This time I shut my alarm off.  I decided I don’t have to run this morning, telling myself I can run at the gym later. Hmmm, hopefully if my day doesn’t get too busy?   I convinced myself I’ve been training hard enough and it will be ok.  It will be good for me to sleep some more.  It’s repairing muscles, I’ll have more energy, it can also…ZZZZZ. 

I awakened just five minutes later with thoughts of my busy day before me.  Sitting in traffic, project deadlines, and reports was just a partial list.   Then while I lie in my half slumbering state full of misery, one person entered my head, “Brendan”.   

This morning you are starting another chemo cycle, getting an IVIG infusion while meeting multiple doctors.    And that is one of your easier days at the JFC (see Another snow day,YAY!!).   Today you should be getting up and going to school, complaining about too much homework and heading over your friend’s house to play in the snow.  Yet, in the 5 weeks I’ve gotten to know you, I have never heard a complaint.  Each time you talk about your ordeal, you do so in a positive way. 

I don’t’ know if you realize at such a young age how inspiring you are to people.  You are strong, thoughtful and refreshingly optimistic.   

Somewhere over time, we as adults tend be become more cynical in life.  I’m not sure when and why that happens.  We weren’t always this way.   I think we need to be shown by people like you to be mindful of the moment and to enjoy life. 

Today I pledged to myself to stop complaining, at least about things I love to do.  I enjoy running.   I’m not supposed to look at it as a job or a chore to do each day.  It should be like more like watching my favorite television show or eating a big bowl of cookie dough ice cream.     I’ll even try to be more positive on the weather.   Yeah, remind me of that one after Saturday’s snow storm!

I hope today went well at the JFC and I’ll see you tonight.

 – Patrick

RM: 9.75 (Raynham’s Random Run)
WM: 31.3
TM:  123.25

Meet Your Match Party

Hi Brendan,

I had so much fun at the party with you!  I was glad you made it and was able to stay the whole time.   I hope you didn’t wear yourself out too much.  It was nice to finally meet you and your family in person.  Nikki and Isabella had a great time too.  Thank you for getting Isabella the Strawberry Shortcake doll.  She loved it!

Knowing that your appetite has not been there lately I was glad to see you ate a sundae.  It looked really good.  I realized in all of the excitement that I never had one.  I guess I’ll have to treat myself to one later this week.

Which of the 3 group exercises did you like best?  The one where we had to seek out a person in the room and ask as many questions about the person within 1 minute and try to remember, the cup pyramid building or the puzzle making?  I think I liked the puzzle making the best.  It was funny trying to get our “resources” to bring the correct pieces.

I enjoyed the partners who gave their inspiring talk.  Listening to both the young girl and her partner seemed to accentuate the great work Dana-Farber does and how the DFMC and Claudia Adams Barr program helps Dana-Farber continue their pursuit.

After the party, Isabella wanted to ride a train.  So we walked to Kenmore square.  I forget how far it is when you have a little one, but she walked the whole way.  I was very impressed.  Then we aimlessly rode the Green Line to Government Center where we had to get off because the streetcar was going out of service.  We jumped on the E line back to Prudential and grabbed dinner at Legal Sea Foods.  After we got a taxi back to the car and headed home.

Yesterday was a fun day!  I’m looking forward to Wednesday for the big celebration.  I’m keeping my fingers cross that we can skip the reoccurring mid-week storm.

Enjoy Sunday and I’ll talk to you soon.


RM: 15.8 (Chestnut Hill Reservoir Run)
WM: 15.8
TM:  107.75  

Head Games

I finally got outside for a run this morning.  It was cold, I think 8°F.  I was looking forward to it all week, but when I got out there, it didn’t go as planned.   I had no energy.  I was running like my feet had bricks tied to my running shoes.   My stomach was bothering me for most of the run too.  It was a bad run.  I kind of wanted to stop.

Most of the time I was concerned that today’s run was nothing but junk miles.    That is when you are running with no purpose than just say you ran.  These miles do not add to your training and can even hurt it if they start to add up.   I tried to add smaller goals to give this run some substance.   Improve my form, attack the hill, charge down the hill* or pick up the pace.  Anything, but run with my feet dragging on the wintry street.  Nothing seemed to help.

Today’s training was not going to be the normal physical exercise, but would be just as valuable.  It was mental training.    When things start to go wrong during a long run, your mind can start to take you out of the game very quickly.  You start to dwell on maybe an injury, the distance ahead of you, or any other self-defeating thoughts.   You feel like you cannot finish and your only option is to quit.  This is why you need bad training days.  Luckily, I have been doing marathons and triathlons for a few years now, which means I had a lot of opportunities for some mental training.   

Here is my “mental” checklist:

  • Figure out if I still have all my body parts and they seem to be
    working (for the most part)
  • Check if I am having another one of those dreams where someone dressed
    in an Elmo costume keeps tripping me before I can get to the finish line
  • Slow things down and reassure myself that I’m fine
  • Ask if I’ve been drinking and properly fueling during the run
  • Make small goals (next mile, next water stop)
  • Remind myself I can do this
  • Most importantly, I have to beat Elmo!

Although I did not run well today, I can say today’s miles were definitely not junk.    Tomorrow I get to rest and more importantly go to the DFMC party.  Seeing you and the rest of the runners and partners will definitely be my spur.

I hope you are feeling better and see you tomorrow!


* note – sprinting up and down the hills was not the smartest thing to do on an icy road. 

RM: 7.25 (King Phillip’s Hill Run)
WM: 32.35
TM:  91.95

Winter Runner’s Quatrain

Storms of artic air, ice and snow,
makes a runner’s mojo start to low.
Trying to hasten on slippery ground,
cuts and sprains will soon abound.

This has been some stretch of winter weather.   I wanted to start interval training last week but the ice and snow prevented me because the roads are too slippery to get enough traction.  Today would have been more of the same, so I moved indoors.  I went to BSC and ran on the treadmill.   One virtual lap slow, then one virtual lap fast.   I would repeat this increasing the speed each time.    I had hoped to run for a full hour but when my right hamstring started yelling at me, I backed off.

It looks like we have another storm on the radar just in time for Thursday’s run.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that one yet.   I might have to get creative.  When I mentioned back in the beginning of this blog we would be talking about the weather, I really didn’t think we would this much!

I’m glad you enjoyed The Green Hornet.  I finally saw the trailer.   It looks good, but I’ll have to wait until it gets on DVD.   

A big change in plans heading to Skipjack’s instead of the usual destination.   I’m sure they were looking for you.  I’ve been to the Skipjack’s at Patriot’s Place a couple of years ago.   I remember liking it.

Pay extra attention in school today and tomorrow because it looks like you will be getting yet another snow day.  Boy, to be a kid again J!

– Patrick

RM: 5.6 (Treadmill)
WM: 20.6
TM:  80.2

Adams Street Run

Hi Brendan,

Yesterday your mom told me about the Kiku Yama trip to celebrate 1 year of being cancer free.  I’m in!  It sounds like a lot of fun.  I’ll be counting the days.

Today is Sunday so it’s another long run with L St.  I got in the car this morning and the thermometer read -4 F.  By the time I got to Carson beach I was pretty excited to see that it warmed up to 12 F.  I guess that would be the only way someone could get excited about a number like that?!?

I was all set for the cold today.  Preparing for the worst, I took a trip to Dick’s yesterday to get thicker running pants and my first balaclava.   I had the Vampire Weekend song, Horchata in my head all morning. (   As I started to warm up during the run, I was starting to second guess my wardrobe.    The mask was starting to itch my neck and I was beginning to overheat.  By the first water, I had to remove my new balaclava purchase along with my hat and gloves.  With my half unzipped jacket a ran the next 5 minutes trying to cool off.  I forgot just how quickly you warm up.

I can’t picture training without this group.   This morning the brave water stop volunteers were out in the cold with smiles on their faces, freezing their tails off just so we don’t dehydrate ourselves.  They also have some fun treats to help fuel us in the later miles like candy and fig newtons. 

Training for a marathon seems like an individual sport, but it isn’t.  You need the support of a lot of people.  Your family, friends, other runners and volunteers are very much a part of it.  Sure, I guess you can do it on own but that sounds like a lot of work.

I know you have been running your own marathon for over a year now, one that nobody chooses to run.   As hard as it is for you, I’m sure having your family, friends, doctors and other patients support you, gets you through the tough hills. 

As we say out on the course, “Keep it up, you look strong!”


RM: 15.0 (Adams Street Run)
WM: 15.0
TM:  74.6