Monday, January 28, 2008

I'm Back - Heidi

I’m back and probably completely crazy to be looking forward to another Boston Marathon. I did question my sanity when feeling pleased at the news that my name was one of the ones drawn out of the hat for a Boston number at Newton-Wellesley. Those that have heard that I’m running again, quickly ask whether Martha is running too. Unfortunately, I’ll have to log many of my upcoming miles solo this year. Even more sadly for you readers, you will not have Martha’s hilarious vignettes to scroll through on your computer screen. You can imagine how great it was last year to have my own personal entertainer and I am having a hard time imagining those 10 to 20 mile runs without my buddy.

Do not fear dear reader, Martha is alive and well and continuing to pass gas (anesthesia joke) in the Newton-Wellesley Operating Room. I actually did a 10-mile run with Martha and her husband a few weekends ago. Martha was an ideal running partner last year and the highlight of my marathon experience was building our friendship.

So what am I hoping for this year? My primary goal is the same as it was for the 111th Boston Marathon, which is to complete the course and remain healthy and injury-free. A secondary goal is to see if I can improve my time. Two years ago I didn’t know what a “PR” was. Now I know it stands for personal record and like most runners who repeat race events, I’d like to see if I can run it a little faster. However, I’m a superstitious person and I hate to set myself up for a fall so I am leery of putting a definitive time goal out there in cyberspace. Suffice it to say that one of the books that I just returned to the public library was 4 Months to a 4 Hour Marathon by David Kuehls. One fact that surfaced in his book is that Oprah Winfrey ran the Chicago Marathon in four hours. I don’t think that occurred last year when people were dropping like flies in the heat! At any rate, I will let that inspire me.

Some Weeks are Like That - John

Had a rough week. My kids were sick, and they tend to act as Petri dishes and spread their sickness to us. So I did not run much this week. I decided not to run the Derry 16-mile race. Instead, my friend Jimmy came over and we ran a 10-mile loop course I have measured through Chelmsford and Westford back to my house. Jimmy runs faster for the first 10K and starts to fade after that. So I gave him my energy gel pack, which was probably a good thing, since my stomach was bothering me from being sick all week. He finished up at about 9.5, and wanted a “cool down” walk, so I ran ahead the half mile and ran back to meet him. The weather conditions were tough, as it was snowing heavily. We finished up and we both pre-registered for the Eastern States 20. This is a 20-mile Boston Prep Race three weeks and a day before Boston that starts in Maine, runs through NH and ends in Salisbury.

This looks like a busy week at home, as my wife has to go to her graduate school classes on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So, I took a “recovery run” today with Molly. It was tough as we had to pick our feet up a lot higher due to the slush (or paws in her case!) We did 3.5 miles. I then hired my friend Steve's daughter to come over Saturday so I can run. Jimmy is running a 5K race on Superbowl Sunday, but I want to stick with a long 10-plus mile run. I spoke to my older son, and we may go over on Sunday and volunteer to help with the race.

The Day After – John

I normally don't run the day after a long run, but I wanted to get out with Molly. She looked liked she needed to get out. We had a nice run of 3.5 miles. I am thinking about running the Derry Prep 16 Miler this weekend. It's a very challenging course and designed as a Boston Prep race. I have run it before. My friend Mike and Paul are running it. I'm thinking I might run it, even if I need to stop after 12 miles or so.

My First Official Training Run – John

I took a run with my friend from the club Jimmy Shelton on January 20. Jimmy is training for his 24th Boston and is a Hall of Fame Member of Greater Lowell Road Runners. We were a little overdressed, but had fun. We did about an 8.5-mile run through town. I felt OK. Jimmy is faster than me on shorter distances, while I am faster on longer distances. I had to slow him down a few times.

Why I Run - John

I started running about six months after my gastric bypass surgery at NWH. Since then, I've run the last four Boston Marathons, three New York City Marathons and the 2006 Disney Marathon. I am also a member of the Greater Lowell Road Runners.

I started running because my gastric bypass surgeon suggested I walk two miles a day. Being a typical “Type A”, I felt like I needed to find a way to finish faster. I then started running. I mixed running and walking together, then I started getting ready and ran the Chelmsford Fourth of July Road Race as my first race. I continue to run four to five times a week. Marathon training gets “fit into” my lifestyle, by getting up early and “doing it”. A few years ago, Saucony got wind of my story and sponsored me for the Boston Marathon as part of the “Saucony 26” dedicating a mile of the race for 26 folks with a special story. They dedicated mile 16 for me, since this passes by Newton-Wellesley Hospital. I donated the sponsorship money to the American Society of Bariatric Surgeons.

I currently live in Chelmsford with my wife, three children and my running partner Molly – my four-year-old Australian Labradoodle.

My plans for training are to run my normal patterns three to four days a week and do a progressive build up once a week which will be supplemented with long-distance training races. My concerns are always for my health and injury. Since my gastric bypass surgery, I have suffered through a variety of minor physical and personal issues. I am not in my top end shape and need to pick it up!