I have tried my best not to talk about the weather in our blog. Last year I seemed to be commenting on the cold, snowy, icy, foggy weather conditions in every other entry. This year, Mother Nature made it easy on me, giving us beautiful training weather all season long. I guess she is getting the last laugh. Monday’s weather forecast is in the mid 80’s according to the weather channel. Some of the local weathermen are calling for even higher temperatures. I know there is plenty of time for that to change for the better and we all know they get it wrong for time to time, but I’m starting to feed into the hysteria that started early this week with other marathon runners.
I don’t mind running in the heat but never this distance . In 2010, I participated in a ½ ironman with the temperatures approaching 90, and I don’t remember liking the run too much. However, part of the reason was because I rode the bike leg too fast for me and didn’t have much left for the run. Needless to say my energy level was shot and I was a wee bit thirsty.
I have planned for this marathon like no other before. I knew what pace I would be running at what point in the marathon (at least in theory). I knew when I would be hydrating and when I would be fueling. Now it’s back to the drawing board. One good thing for us DFMC runners is we have Jack Fultz as our coach. He is the winner of the hottest Boston Marathon on record (I wrote about it in last year’s blog http://dfmc2011.wordpress.com/2011/03/29/jack-fultz/). I’m sure he will be giving us some last minute tips during Sunday’s pasta dinner. I’m also hoping maybe Kelly’s cheering team will be on Heartbreak Hill with a big scoop of some Blue Bell ice cream 🙂 (check out Kelly’s fun and insightful blog and story behind Blue Bell http://rightonhereford.wordpress.com/2012/04/12/carb-loading-and-fun-loading/)
So bring your beach balls and sunglasses, and don’t forget the sunscreen. It’s summertime!
(queue music…Will Smith’s Summertime….)
I had so much fun on Saturday at the Poster Party with you. I think we did a pretty good job this year. Your mom saved the day with the re-positional letters. Not only where they better than drawing each letter by hand, we saved a lot of time.
I think my favorite decorations were the hamburger and fried stickers that you brought. They were so cool! I can’t wait to see the finished product at the pasta party on April 15th.
I can’t believe how many fellow DFMC runners know who you. You are like a rock star! So many people after the run were telling me to say “Hello” to Brendan for me. I was able to talk to a few of them for a bit, and they were so happy to hear how well the past couple of months have gone for you. At the time, I didn’t even know you have been removed from precautions; so even more great news.
Two of your biggest fans ask me about you every time I run into them. They are Jan Ross and Jack Fultz. Both work hard making the DFMC possible so people like us can team up for such an awesome event like the Boston Marathon (and to raise money to help doctors and scientist make cancer an endangered species!). Even with their busy schedule, they take the time to hear the stories and get know everyone involved, including you.
One of the many reason why I wanted to get involved with Dana-Farber was a night back in May 2010. Nikki invited me to come to a Dana-Farber Leadership Council meeting hosted by Eaton Vance in Boston. When I got there, I was given a name tag with a number on it. The number represented which table I was to sit. There were 6 tables. Also attending the meeting were 6 Dana-Farber doctors leading various research initiatives.
I sat at my table with 9 others and the first doctor sat down and discussed who they were and what type of cancer research they were doing. After 10 minutes we had an additional 10 minutes to ask any questions we wanted before a bell would ring and the doctors would rotate tables.
Time, money, ideas, politics, beliefs, egos, education all seem to be both roadblocks and catalysts for cancer research. The one thing that was consistent with each doctor that spoke with us, was their commitment to their cause. These people were the 1%. Not the 1% percent that has been in the news lately over Wall St. They was the gifted men and women who will discovery the next cancer treatment, vaccine and lifesaver. But they realize that they can’t act alone. They need 100% of us to be apart of the solution.
You are probably wondering how this all relates to you and the DFMC. Brendan, you are the bright star in the sky leading us. Your strength during your ordeal and willingness to share it with all of us makes me want work with Dana-Farber. It empowers people like Jan, Jack and others to create opportunities like the DFMC. It drives the doctors and scientists to find the answers to the why, what and how of cancers.
So buddy, shine on!
I finished a busy running week by running the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler. A little bit of an effort for a training run, but well worth it. The weather could not have been better for a Saturday in February. The views by the ocean were picturesque. Who knows, It may become an annual tradition?
Good thing I like to be early because it paid off Saturday morning. I planned to take the 8:15 a.m. ferry out of Woods Hole. As I crossed over the Bourne Bridge, I realized I left my running watch attached the its charger at home. Running for 20 miles and wanting to stick to my training pace would not be easy without it. I realized I left it as I dashed out the door after taking too long to get ready. I was tried from little sleep the night before and the onset of a cold (which is full-blown cold now as a write this). Just as I was about to reach the Palmer parking lot, I remember the one thing I knew I would forget, my runner’s bib, # 284. Why I did not put it my bag the night before, I do not know. Why they mail it to us, instead of getting it the day of the race, I do not know either.
I looked at the clock on my radio and thought, If everything goes smoothly, I can turn around, drive back home, get my watch and bib, turn around and catch the 9:30 ferry. Nothing like a race before the race! If this was August instead of February, it was never going to happen. With some help of the family meeting me off the highway with my missing items it saved me 10 minutes, and I was able to get back to the parking lot in time to catch the bus, buy my roundtrip ticket, and get on the ferry before it left. Because I was on the later ferry, I was able to meet up with some friends that were going over for the weekend. We made plans I getting together after the race for some food.
After all the excitement of the morning, everything calmed down and I got to focus on my run. The plan was to run the first 13.1 miles at my training pace (8:40) and see how I feel. If things were good, I would speed up a bit (8:20). It’s called negative splits. You run the second half of a run faster than the first. If I really felt good and had plenty in the tank, I would pick it up some more for the last 5K (8:00).
The race started around 11 a.m. and there were just around 400 runners. I started closer to the back, because it is easy to start too fast. We were a big pack for the first mile or so. I kept looking at my watch to slow myself down. I was surprised how many people were running at a fast pace. I wondered how many would pay the price later.
Most of the first 10 miles of the run is along the water, with beautiful beach houses looking out at the ocean. On a typical winter’s day, this would have been cold with the wind blowing off the ocean, but because today was around 45F, the breeze was bearable.
Like any long run, you have your good moments and your bad. At mile 4, I was thinking how great I feel, but at mile 8, I was questioning if my amount of miles over the weeks have caught up with me. It is a head game, and even though it happens most times, you fall for it again and again. By the time I reached mile 10, I was in a comfort zone again. I chatted with a local runner for a bit as we headed back for the second half of the run. I knew I was feeling good and decided to go with my plan of picking up my pace at mile 13 water stop.
Before I got there, I decided to have a GU (it’s an energy gel). I like to wash it down with some water because it’s thick in the cold weather and there is too much sugar in it for an empty stomach. Well, I miss judged the water stop by a mile and I had to carry the opened sticky, gooey package in my hand. By the time I got to toss it, I was able to get a decent amount of gel on my hand. Normally that wouldn’t be a big deal but during long events like marathons and triathlons, I get hyper-focus on things like “sticky fingers” and it drives me crazy the whole time. So, I knew I would have to wash it off. When I arrive at the water stop all I see are cups of Gatorade. I said thanks to the volunteers as I finish my shot of energy drink and headed off. Out of the corner of my eye, I see two cups of water. I ran the next 50 yards debating with myself if I should go back. With that, I turned around. I think one of the volunteers thought I was in dire straits, because I came back for more. I let him know I was ok, but I am too embarrassed to tell him the real reason I need the water. I moved over close to the trash so I could clean my sticky hands with the water without him seeing. I may be crazy, but at least I was crazy with clean hands!
For the next 4 miles, I was able to pick up my pace without any problems. As I approached mile 17, I felt strong and knew I had a lot left in the tank. With only a 5k left, there wasn’t much to lose going all out. I sped up my pace over minute faster (7:00) and tried to maintain it for the complete distance. I was even able to sprint the last ¼ mile to the finish.
Last year, I would have just started running without a plan. I would have been caught up in the “fast start”. I would have ran the first half faster than the second. I would have been tired heading into the last 5k. The MV 20 Miler was a good run. Sometimes they are, sometimes they are not. Jack Fultz continually preaches to us the importance of negative split before every long run. It seemed to work well for this run. Even as I replay my run, I still wonder if I can average an 8:00 pace for 26.2 miles. This course is incredibly flat compared to Boston. I guess I just have to trust the plan.
One of the great things by running with the DFMC team is you meet great people because of it. While waiting for the ferry home, I over head a man talking about his coach Jack. I decided to ask him if he was running for Dana-Farber and he said yes. His name is Mike and this is his second year with the team. In 2009 he was diagnosed Chondrosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. He was lucky. He was having dull aches in his arm, and after a number of unsuccessful treatments, his doctor ran more test. They found it a lot early than most people with chondrosarcoma get dagnosed. It probably saved his life.
I’m proud to be running on a team with people like you and Mike.
I’m sure you must know by now but I’m meeting you and your family at Kiku Yama tonight. I can’t wait. I heard it’s the second time you have been there in a week. Lucky you!
I hope today at the Jimmy Fund Clinic goes better for you. I know the past few trips have been disappointing, but hopefully today is the day it all turns around. What’s today’s Lego creation? Do you think you will have enough time at the JFC to finish it? If you do, bring it tonight so I can see it.
Jack Fultz got back to me yesterday with some advice and encouraging words to get me through my injury. He recommended that I treat my adductor strain aggressively with all the modalities available; including a visit to a good sports physical therapist (my first appointment is Thursday). My training for the next week or so will be aerobic activities and hopefully I can be symptom free soon so I can get a couple of runs in before the marathon.
I knew Jack won the 1976 Boston Marathon, but I didn’t know how historic that win turned out to be. He was going to end up winning one of the hottest Boston marathons on record. An hour before the race, the thermometer read 100 degrees in the sun. Being concerned about the runners, the BAA placed a sign on the front of buses reading, “Hose the Runners”. All along the route, spectators pulled out their garden hoses and sprayed the runners as the passed by. They also handed out wedges of ice and buckets of water. Anything they could do to cool the runners.
Jack ran smart letting the pack lead the beginning of the race. He ran from one side of the street to the other, getting under every garden hose shower he encountered. He watched runners falter one by one, a victim of their earlier quick pace. At the half way point he saw the leader for the first time and he felt like he hadn’t started working yet. He was in his zone. When he took a right at the firehouse and started into hills, he pushed into second place. By the time he was at the top of Heartbreak Hill, he held first place.
Jack joked with the photographers on the lead truck, as they struggled to figure out who was this runner. They all expected Richard Mabuza of Swaziland to win the race and didn’t know who he was because his running number had washed away due to of all the water. When he entered Kenmore Square, he was overjoyed knowing he was going to win. Jack Fultz ran the race of his life and surprised everyone to win the Boston Marathon in the heat.
Boston Globe Article, April 20, 1976:
See you tonight!
I’m sorry this week was another disappointment. I know it’s frustrating but I’m sure they will figure out what is causing your negative results. I guess we should look at the positives. They have pulled most if not all of your medication. You are feeling better than you have in over a year. Think of it as a nice vacation from all the bad stuff you have had to endure.
I went out for a run today to test out the leg. It didn’t last long. I’m still getting pain. The doctor told me to run, but shorter distances and a little slower, and stop if it starts to hurt. It’s a little confusing because I’m not sure how much to push it. I gave it a mile to see if it would start to ease up, but it never did. It seemed to get worse the more I ran so I turned around. I planned on starting biking and swimming next week. I guess I’ll just start it a week early. I’m also going to see if a can talk to Jack Fultz from DFMC (He won the 1976 Boston Marathon) to give me some advice on how to finish up my training.
I know my leg issue is small compared to what you go through on a daily basis. Knowing this helps put things into perspective. I just want to be healthy enough for marathon day. This year is a little more important than other years. You have been a great partner. I have had my best running year ever and that’s thanks to you.
I think we should try to plan a trip to Kiku Yama. I’ll talk to your parents and see what day works with everyone. It will be fun.