Friday, February 26, 2010

Running in Central Park – Maureen

As more friends/family learn that I'm running in this year's marathon, I'm frequently being asked, “How is your training going?” I'm hardly ever a Debbie Downer but I haven't been able to give many positive responses to that question this week! My right hip is still giving me problems, which has been hindering my runs, and I came down with a nasty sinus infection in the beginning of the week that I'm still fighting off. However, I'm starting to see a light through the tunnel… I met with Carl Faust in Physical Therapy at Newton-Wellesley to figure out the cause of my hip pain. Apparently my scoliosis has a lot to do with it since my right hip is higher than my left. He gave me some exercises that should help out. I also got a deep tissue massage on my hips and legs yesterday - not the most pleasant experience! I feel great today though and plan on getting one or two more of them before the marathon.

I was in NYC visiting friends last weekend so I did my long run on Friday afternoon through Boston and along the Charles. The wind was ridiculous in certain spots - at one point it looked like I was running but I literally was not even moving! I was not pain free throughout but it felt good to complete it. My one goal while in Manhattan (provided my hip was feeling ok) was to do a run on Sunday in Central Park… and I did! It was a gorgeous morning and the run went well... all I was missing was my Red Sox hat ;-)

My goal this weekend is to do 15 miles… in dry, sunny weather… with zero hip pain. Not too much to ask, right?

Over the River and Through the Woods – Andrew

I did not go to Grandmother's house, but I literally went over the river (Charles) and through the woods (Concord). Starting around noon, I ran from my apartment in Brighton to Concord (a total of 14.8 miles according to googlemaps). Much of the run was spent running along Trapelo Road and to my dismay it was uphill much of the way. Fortunately, Saturday was beautiful and sunny so I didn't mind the climb so much. Once I crossed over 95 (128), the scenery was much more picturesque. I passed by the DeCordova Museum, Bakers Hill and Walden Pond. I finished my run down Thoreau Street into the town of Concord. Concord is not very big, but big enough to have a commuter rail station. I took the train back into Boston (Porter Square) and then the bus back home. The long runs do not seem to get any easier, and I need to start increasing the mileage. I love running outside, and hope it warms up soon. With all the torrential rain we have had recently, this Saturday does not look good. I do my long runs on Saturday, and Sundays are my day of rest.

Under the Weather – Donna

This week's entry will be a short one. I've been battling a nasty cold along with caring for two sick toddlers… so by the end of the night running is something I can't even think about. I have also been researching training advice while battling a cold, to run or not run. Given the weather this week and my lack of sleep I opted to not run. Hopefully next week will be a bit more promising!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Outside Today...Rain and All - Tom

My initial euphoria at running the Marathon has fallen with the barometric pressure and persistent rain this week. The realization hits home that there are many miles to run before April 19. Hopefully, we're not having a gray and rainy March. Seasonal Affective Disorder hasn't hit me yet this winter and I don't have time for indoor “light therapy”. Part of me is ready to run it this weekend and get those hours of running (and recovering from running) back. Still, I'm sure I'd just waste the extra time browsing silly sites on the Internet. By the way, my evening internet browsing has decreased with the training. You might suggest your teenagers take up marathon training.

I heard about a 30K race around the Wachusetts Reservoir in Clinton. It's next weekend, March 7. We're thinking of using it as a training run. It's said to be very hilly, a good prep for Boston, with drinks and support on the route. Sylvie and I talked about running part of the marathon course. I'm ambivalent and she's opposed so we won't be doing it. Her argument is that the course will feel more interesting if we stay off it. Anyone who's lived here for 30 years knows the second half of the course anyway. I'm still healthy and relatively happy, so time to signoff. I ran on a treadmill Tuesday, so it's outside this afternoon, rain and all.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sprinting up Heartbreak - Andrew

Training has been going fairly well so far. There have been no injuries to report, just sore muscles. I ran 15 miles last Saturday morning. I ran around the Charles River. It was cold but I managed to stay reasonably warm. I hobbled through the last couple miles, but I made it. I ran nine miles on President’s Day along Beacon Street and Commonwealth Avenue (around Chestnut Hill and Newton). I actually felt great after my run and was able to sprint up Heartbreak Hill without passing out. It was nice to have a little sunshine Monday afternoon. I do shorter runs in the mornings before work at a gym. I am not fond of running on treadmills, so I am anxious for the weather to warm up a bit so I can do more runs outside. I met someone who has run the Boston before and he gave me some tips on running.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

A Little Extra Rest – Maureen

It's just less than nine weeks out and so far my runs have been going well... my body has been feeling the effects though. My shin splints that I had in the beginning are gone but I've been experiencing soreness in my right hip and left knee during and after my runs. I've decided to only do two runs this week. Icing has helped, as well as Epsom salt baths (CVS makes lavender-scented salts... who knew??). I'm hoping that my extra rest this week also helps put me back on track.

Last Saturday I did my long run on Comm. Ave. to Boston College – my first experience with Heartbreak Hill! It was kind of fun being out there with so many other runners... I felt like I was in a road race. Like Annie mentioned in her first post, there is this sense of camaraderie when you're out there. It was one of those mornings that makes me excited to get out and run... it was cold but the sky was blue, I had some good tunes on the iPod and for once I didn't feel as though I was running through a wind tunnel. I decided to experiment with Sport Beans and regular Jelly Belly beans and felt pretty good. Still need to figure out my hydration situation though. Running with a water bottle in hand is not fun so I think I'm going to give in and buy a water belt.

I'm slowly learning where friends and family are going to be situated along the route on marathon day, which is exciting. Knowing they are out there will definitely help to keep me motivated. Maybe I can convince a few to keep a stash of Jelly Bellies for when I come shuffling by? ;)

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Countdown Begins – Donna

I’ve traded in my skis for my running shoes this winter. While my family is skiing on the weekend I’m doing my training runs in Vermont. Last week was a good week for me although I need to start picking up the mileage on the longer runs.

It was nice to have Monday off and the extra time to plan out my training. It’s rare that I get to run in the afternoon and with my good friend Cindy. On Monday we did a five mile recovery run and I was able to get some great advice and insight on what to expect since she has done the Boston Marathon for the past couple of years.

Most of my training runs are on the “Heartbreak Hill” route of the race. These runs always give me a reality check on where I am in my training. I was feeling pretty good and I’m starting to get excited. I can’t believe it’s just nine weeks out!

As the training falls into place I find that I need to start focusing on my eating habits and cutting out a lot of the treats. This is tough if you have ever walked around our department. I believe we have some of the best bakers that work at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.

The countdown has started, hopefully the snow will get cleared away soon and I can get outside.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lessons Learned - Tom

Lessons from this past week:
- Rest and sleep are more important than I realized.
- Pay more attention to nutrition and water.
- This training business takes a lot of time.

It's amazing how much training advice is out there in cyberspace. I could spend entire evenings on marathon training sites (and buy all sorts of equipment). Don't know if it's right or wrong, but we're trying to keep it simple. The long run yesterday was hard for me. Sylvie felt good, so she was able to keep me going. I've mostly run alone over the years but it's nice to have a partner for the long runs. But, Sunday was also just run and recovery. I didn't do anything else during the day except read the paper, nap and watch the Olympics. (Cross country skiing must have the most physically fit athletes.)

Nine weeks to the marathon. It's snowing today, so I'll be on the Shipley Fitness Center treadmill later this afternoon

Not Feeling So Hot - Annie

Training this week has been a little harder, as I have been dealing with a pretty nasty cold. I skipped cross-training on Monday, and took rest days both Monday and Tuesday. I still got all my mid-week miles in however, as I did 6, 4 and 4 on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, as opposed to the 3,7,4 sequence that Hal Higdon had laid out for me. It all works out! I usually push myself for speed when on the treadmill, but took it pretty easy due to my not feeling so hot.

I've also been eating lots of fruits and veggies this past week, and getting more sleep than normal. I am going to try to keep this trend alive, and not just an exception as I am getting over a cold. After a great rest day on Saturday, I did a tough 11 miles for my long run on Sunday, with the last 2 to 3 miles running into a strong wind off the Charles. Ugh. Thankfully I had my sister as a running buddy and we powered through it together!

This week's mid-week runs are 3,7,4 and I will hopefully be at 100% to work some speed into the treadmilling. I'll definitely try doing that for the seven miler, as the less time spent on the machine, the better. Good impetus for being speedy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Why I'm Running - Andrew

I have been running off and on for several years. I started running my last year at Brigham Young University. I never ran track and field or cross country. When I moved to Boston I found runners everywhere. Boston is the marathon mecca and hosts the prestigious Boston Marathon.

One of my favorite places to run is the Charles River. I also like exploring other trails in and around Boston/New England. I do not train regularly, but I usually get in some runs on the weekends, weather permitting. I enjoy running as it gives me a chance to explore the outdoors and exercise at the same time. I have run several half marathons and two marathons. I have run races in Townsend (TN), Boston, New York City, Moab (UT), and Salt Lake City.

Why am I running in the 2010 Boston Marathon? How could anyone not want to run in the Boston Marathon? It is one of the most exciting annual events in Boston. There are so many participants, spectators and volunteers from all over the country/world. I am running in the 2010 Boston Marathon to help raise money for the Vernon Cancer Center and the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Charitable Foundation. I am also running because it is exciting to participate in the same race with elite runners, the Hoyt’s and so many others. Team Hoyt has always been an inspiration to me. I am also running because it is a challenge.

My plan for training is to run as much as possible over the next ten weeks. I just found out a couple of weeks ago that I would be participating. How does training for a marathon affect my daily life? I have to get up earlier, eat more/better and sleep better. It is exciting to have something like this to prepare for.

My only two concerns are that the weather will be too cold or too hot on race day… Oh yeah, the third concern is hitting “the wall.” I try not to think about it too much. I ran 13 miles last Saturday and I felt great. This was a surprise since I have only run five times (short distances) before this over that last couple of months!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Excited to Run 26.2 – Maureen

I started running almost 12 years ago. One of my roommates at the time was a big runner, so she inspired me to try it. I started out by just walking a mile away from our house, turning around, and jogging back; gradually increasing the distance little by little as I got used to it. I still remember experiencing my first runner's high... as well as the first time I found out what shin splints felt like! It didn't take long for me to become hooked though.

I grew up in the Boston area so it means a lot to me to be running in the Boston Marathon. I lived on the marathon route in college and know how exciting and motivating the “Marathon Monday” atmosphere is. I'm generally a three to five mile runner so I'm still in slight disbelief that I'm training for this! I've also dealt with a serious lung condition since I was little and had to undergo a pulmonary lobectomy four and a half years ago. Many people run to lose or maintain their weight but I literally run for the health of my lungs. Training for (and completing) a marathon is a chance to prove to myself how far I've come since my surgery.

This will be my first marathon and I hope to get through it injury free. My plan includes running three days a week (two shorter tempo runs and one long run on Saturdays), strength training two days a week, and foam rolling/stretching daily. Weather permitting, I'd like to do all of my runs outside instead of on a treadmill and I'm trying to be diligent with my rest, recovery and nutrition. Aside from my Friday nights being a little more low-key these days :) marathon training hasn't affected my daily life too much. However, training definitely forces me to prioritize my day differently. I can think of other things I'd rather be doing than running into a headwind on a 20 degree day with snow coming at me sideways but my training runs come first and I schedule them in as I do with any other appointment during the day.

My main concern is that I got a late start with training, which won't allow me to get in as many longer runs as I'd like, so I worry that may hurt me. I want to be smart about my training though so I'm not willing to take huge jumps in weekly mileage just to fit in more 18+ mile runs. I'm also a little apprehensive about experimenting with food during my runs. Before training began, I typically ran first thing in the morning so I'm not used to having food/water in my belly. I have to start getting my body used to it though!

I never thought I'd be excited to run 26.2 miles, but I am! I'm so grateful for the opportunity to be running in this marathon and very much look forward to April 19th.

My First Marathon - Tom

I started running in college, influenced by friends who were runners. During medical school and residency training, running was a good release from the stress of work. I tried to run a marathon during medical school but was injured during training (probably over-training). So, I concentrated on shorter, more intense runs and recreational 5-10K races. Then work, family and life took over. I ran infrequently for many years, though I tried to stay physically fit. The Shipley Fitness Center is a tremendous benefit. I can work-out after work (occasionally before) and not risk a loss of motivation on the drive home.

My wife, Sylvie Houbart is the distance runner in our family. She prefers longer runs, but only recently started running marathons. In October, she ran the Newport, RI marathon and convinced me to run the first half with her. You may remember that October Sunday when the Patriots were playing in a snowstorm. In Newport, we had cold rain and heavy winds – a miserable day! I finished the half marathon with her and the weather only worsened for the second part. Still, we both finished and concluded that if we could run in that weather, we can run in any conditions. Gore-Tex is amazing.

Why run the Boston Marathon this year? I'll get to train and run with Sylvie. I don't know if I could do the long weekend runs alone every week. We'll run for a cause that's close to me – the Joan and James Vernon Cancer Center. As you'd imagine, Dr. Vernon welcomed me enthusiastically to the Newton-Wellesley Hospital Medical Staff when I arrived in 1985. Once we discovered common interests outside of work (golf, anyone?), I soon met Joan. Of her many gifts, she made me feel as though we'd known one another all our lives.

My training plan: run three to four times a week, cross-train and rest once a week, at least. Long runs on Sundays. Try to avoid injury. I ran my third long run today, with Sylvie and Pogo, our seven-year-old Standard Poodle. We ran for two hours, 13+ miles. It was cold and windy but not as bad as Newport! Our kids are grown and out of the house, so I have no excuses. Tomorrow, a rest day....hooray.

Excited to Be Part of the Team! – Annie

I started running about five years ago, with my first race a 10K in Washington, DC, where I lived at the time. My big sister, a runner and cross-country coach, was a huge inspiration to me to get started with it, and continues to be an incredible resource and cheerleader. I love long-distance running: the endurance aspect, the challenge, the discipline.

My first (and only thus far) marathon was the 2008 Chicago Marathon - a truly amazing experience, through 25 neighborhoods, with unbelievable crowd support. I trained through the long, hot summer for this fall race, with the goal simply to finish and have fun, which I certainly did! I wore my Boston Red Sox baseball cap in the race, drawing quite a bit of good-natured heckling from the Chicago spectators, which spurred me on to the finish. My training had prepared me very well, and I finished strong, with not even a blister!

At the risk of sounding cheesy, it truly is a dream come true to be able to run the Boston Marathon. With the support of my family, friends, Newton-Wellesley colleagues and pretty much the entire Boston area, I know this will be quite a day.

I used well-known marathoner and coach Hal Higdon's training plans to put together my own routine, with a general weekly model of four running days (one long, one medium, two short), one cross-training day, and two rest days. Though at first I may have grumbled, I love the weekly long runs outside in the cold. It's an incredible way to get to know all parts of Cambridge/Boston, with a favorite loop thus far from Harvard Square down to Jamaica Pond. I also love the solidarity between all of us bundled up runners, out for a few hours on a blustery afternoon.

As the midweek distances get longer, it will begin take up more and more time, and will become even more of a focus in my daily life. I know I'll need more and more sleep, for sure! But it adds a very centering and purposeful routine, with the ultimate goal always in sight. I am so excited and thankful to be a part of the NWH 2010 Boston Marathon Team!

Friday, February 5, 2010

On the Team - Donna

My name is Donna and I work at Newton-Wellesley in the Health Care Quality Department. I started running almost three years ago after the birth of my second son. Like many runners, I find this activity is a time for me to tune out all the daily requests from family, work and life and just enjoy the time alone with my thoughts. My approach to running marathons is different than most, as my goal has never been about the time but is more about finishing the race. Previous to the upcoming Boston marathon, I ran the Amica Marathon in Newport, RI. I have always wanted to run the Boston Marathon. Many of my friends are on charity teams and tell me stories about the crowds and the runners they have met along the way. So when I heard about the NWH team, I put my name in for the drawing. Now that it's confirmed I’m on the team, the reality of training and where I need to be is starting to sink in. With the help of friends and trainers I know running this year will be an exciting and memorable experience. Most of my training takes place in the evening and, as most of you know, the weather in New England can be a challenge this time of year. One of my favorite quotes about running from Bill Bowerman is “There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people”. So if you see me among the many runners that train on Washington Street this time of year stop and say hello!