For the past seven years, you have been with me every step of the way for each Boston Marathon, and for that I am truly grateful. Together we have raised money for endeavors that are close to our hearts like Dana-Farber’s Barr program in innovative cancer research. I have one more marathon to run, and I hope you will be a part of it.
We were all affected by last year’s Boston bombings in some way. It was a moment that will live with us for a life time. I was in the finish area when I heard the first explosion in the distance. A few moments later, smoke rose over the crowd, and a second, louder explosion went off, and my concerns of a possible terrorist attack became reality. Immediately, I was concerned for those who were hurt, and I feared that family or friends were among them. Heroes rushed in to save those in need and protected the thousands of people still in possible danger. For the next few hours, I slowly reconnected with my loved ones, finally learning they were safe.
While reflecting on the events of last year, I began to see a parallel between those individuals directly affected by the horrible events of that day and those who first discover their diagnosis of cancer. For patients, there are fears they will not survive. And for families, there is uncertainty that their loved ones will be ok and uncertainty of what the future holds. Our donations support the heroes at Dana-Farber who are rushing to help those battling cancer and searching for ways to prevent it.
I hope you will choose to honor these victims and their loved ones along with the heroes that work with them by donating today to Dana-Farber. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge directs 100 percent of funds raised to the Claudia Adams Barr Program in innovative cancer research. You may be able to double your donation though your company’s donation-matching program.
You can make your donations now online at http://www.runDFMC.org/2014/patricko.
I thank you for past support of my fundraising and would appreciate your choosing to support my efforts once again this year.
For more information about the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge go to http://www.rundfmc.org/htmlcontent.asp?cid=116910
Tonight’s event was awesome. Over 100 local runners turned out to run as one, in honor of the victims of the Boston Marathon. This was my first “real” run since Marathon Monday. It felt great running again, especially for a cause like this. I think it’s helped all of us feel like we a helping in some small way.
Join us May 15th at 6:30PM
It was supposed to be a day of challenges. A day of personal feats. A day of charity and goodwill. A day of celebration. But what happened that day at the Boston Marathon was absolutely horrific. Innocent lives were taken. Other innocent lives have been changed forever. Heroes emerged. Our city showed its strength. Law enforcement officials did not rest until finding those responsible. And now its our time to take care of the victims and their families. Its our time to get back out and run Boston Strong.
Join us at the Boston Fund Run on the one month anniversary of the tragic events of the marathon for a FREE community 5k run/walk. There will be no registration fees, no swag, no shirts, no timing, no prizes and absolutely no merchandise for sale. We will be collecting voluntary donations for The One Fund Boston. Many of you have already donated in your own way or can’t and that’s okay, we still want you here! If you are unable or do not want to run or walk the course, come on down and volunteer or just hang out. This is as much of a community event as a fundraiser.
Directions & Parking
The Raynham Lions Club is located at 2234 King Philip St Raynham, MA 02767. Take Exit 13B off of Route 24 onto Route 44W. Follow Route 44W and then take a right at the lights onto Dean Street (next to 99 Restaurant). From Dean Street take a left onto King Philip Street. The Lions Club will be on your right almost immediately.
Parking will be in two locations. The Lions Club parking lot is tight, so please follow the guidance of our volunteers in parking so we may maximize it. Additional parking will be directly across the street at the Senior Center and some will be available in the soccer field lot (there are Raynham youth sports going on simultaneously). Volunteers will be available to direct you, look for the folks in orange.
5:30PM: Registration Opens
6:15PM: Pre-race ceremony
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.
March 21, 2013
Today is 25 days before the Boston Marathon, the day I run 25 miles to help cure cancer. Don’t worry, you won’t be the first person to ask me if I realize that a marathon is 26.2 miles. To explain, we need to go back five years to my first marathon…
I stood motionless, as I watched runners continue to the 113th Boston Marathon finish line. It had taken me 16 months to reach this place on the course. The year before, just two weeks before my first Boston Marathon, I found myself in the hospital with a server case of mononucleosis, destine to watch my first marathon from bed.
Yet, there I was, in pain, defeated and unable to gather the strength to finish. 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 reached deep down for 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 can’t remember a moment in my life that I felt more defeated, more hopeless. 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 roar of pain and belief. This time I didn’t stop until the finish line. A life lesson that wouldn’t be challenged until…
Two years later I stood on that same spot. It happens to be the location where some of the children from the Jimmy Fund Client cheer on the Dana-Farber Marathon Team. This time I was hugging my Dana-Farber marathon partner, Brendan. At the time, he was a 10 year old patient being treated for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. Over the months before the marathon, 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 are left behind the curtain for people like me to never see.
I can’t think of another spot on Earth that has taught me more about what a human will do to endure. Since then, my marathons end at Mile 25 (with a 1.2 mile victory lap). I have seen the success of Dana-Farber through Brendan. Today when Brendan and I talk, it’s about school, video games, and girls (I wasn’t ready for that one!). Through events with the Dana-Farber Leadership Council I’ve had the privilege to speak with the doctors and scientists working on the next steps to cure cancer. I can tell you, our donations are well spent.
Like many of you, I am recently reminded that the cancer marathon is not over. Since my last marathon, an extended family member was diagnosed with brain cancer and is fighting for his life. A close family friend was diagnosed with breast cancer that has metastasized to the lymph nodes. And another friend continues her multi-year battle.
This morning, I ask you to help everyone to reach their Mile 25 by donating to Dana-Farber. The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge directs 100 percent of funds raised to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research.
I would like to take this opportunity to remind you of your company’s generous donation matching program. If you are unsure if your donation is eligible for a match by your employer, please inquire with your Human Resources department.
I sincerely thank you.
To donate go to http://www.runDFMC.org/2013/patricko
To learn more go to http://www.rundfmc.org/faf/home/ccp.asp?ievent=1039390&ccp=116364
To see Barr Program Impact go to Impact
As part of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team, I have been given a great opportunity to be a part of a research study to examine the effects of marathon training on heart health. Dr. Aaron Baggish from Massachusetts General Hospital and co-medical director for the B.A.A. Boston Marathon is overseeing the study. Lucky for me, I fall in selected group (aka high risk category); male, non-professional marathon runner, between the ages of 35-65.
Study participation involves an individual fitness and heart disease risk profile before and after marathon training which includes a screening for heart disease. There will be two study visits to Mass General Hospital, one visit before and one visit after marathon training. During each visit participants will have blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG), an echocardiogram (echo) and a cardiopulmonary exercise test (CPET).
January 5, 2013 was my first appointment. It was probably the only time in someone’s life that they are actually looking forward to an appointment with a cardiologist. It started with some blood tests. Stephanie, one of the clinical research coordinators, lightheartedly assured me she would leave enough blood so I would be able to complete the CPET. I wasn’t so sure. They sent me back to the waiting room with breakfast, a choco-walla bar and some water.
A short time later I was brought into the testing room. It was a little chilly but I then realized I would probably appreciate it once the real work started. When Dr. Baggish came in, he performed the echocardiogram. While gathering the necessary data for his study, he was also assuring that I was fit to continue the study. He gave me the thumbs up and I was ok to continue to the CPET.
Next they needed to get a baseline of my heart rate, blood pressure, VO2, VCO2, my heart’s electrical activity and sure a few more stats. I was thinking, this could not have been a better baseline measurement. I have not really exercised all summer. My fall training was cut short due to a hamstring pull and the holidays have just finished, full of over eating and “holiday cheer”. I was wondering if a was a better candidate for Nova’s Couch Potato Marathon Challenge. (If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it).
After hooking me up for the ECG and CPET, I definitely looked like something out of a science fiction movie. I wore a mask that allowed measurement of my breathing that kind of something Darth Vader would maybe wear to bed so he didn’t have to wear that big helmet. I wish I thought of asking if they would take a picture of me but didn’t, so this MGH photo will have to do.
I began jogging on the treadmill at 5 MPH and a light grade. I’m not sure of the rate of change during the test, but the speed remained constant while the grade would increase over time. At certain points they would take a blood pressure reading while I continued to run. The computer screens where busy plotting the ECG graphs and displaying the many parameters being tracked during the test.
A laminated paper with chart ranging from 1 to 10 allowed me to point to the level of effort I felt I was exerting. For the first 10 minutes, I was able to point to the low numbered, green region of the chart. I wondered how long it take until I would stop pointing and use the universal 5 fingered stop sign to indicate I can’t go any further. Slowly the grade increased. I had no idea if I was doing better than I expected, or it was a statement of what happens when you find excuses not to exercise. As my finger moved down the chart and entered the red, I felt the production of lactic acid in my legs, and knew I was anaerobic. It was only time before I hit my VO2max. A few minutes later I was there.
After the test, I was curious of my results but most of it will have to wait until after the study is completed. I am looking forward to both my personal changes after the end of my marathon training and the results of the study. There have been a few popular studies published recently highlighting the risks and negative aspects of participating in endurance sports and the associated heart risks. I hope this study will provide more insight either confirming or debunking this theory, but more on that later.