Monday, February 8, 2010

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.

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