Tuesday, April 22, 2014

So what happened?

What a relief it is to be able to leisurely check in with everyone and explain that while slow I still finished. I tried to thank all the course volunteers, but especially the ones at the finish. I felt queasy enough running toward Copley Square and they spent all day there.

I will continue thanking people for the foreseeable future. I am so grateful for everything - on race day I am thankful my family stuck it out waiting for me, thankful for Connie for catching me and her friend Gerry trying to massage my calves, thankful for Rebekah walking me up Heartbreak. 

I took about an hour and a half longer to finish than I'd expected I would.

I started strong, having trained pretty well although with a sore knee, and ran about twelve miles. The weather was a lot warmer than expected, and a lot of people were having trouble keeping things together. I thought I was drinking enough and taking enough salt/pretzels/sports drink to be replenished, but after mile 12 both my calves kept seizing up when I ran more than a few hundred feet. The sore knee I was running through. I could not solve the calves.

For the most part, I could walk, and as the day progressed the "Right on Hereford, Left on Boylston" refrain stuck with me. Perhaps if it was some other race I would have packed it in when I reached my family at mile 17.  

I knew I was in for a long day if I had to walk it but I could walk it, and I really really wanted the finish line under my own power. #BostonStrong and all.

I was at peace knowing I'd get there long after most of the crowds had thinned, and I was touched that there were many people still along the back half of the route happy to have someone to encourage!

A medical tent at Cleveland Circle finally fed me some salty broth. I kept walking, and trying to run without being able to get more than a few hundred feet before my calves seized. At mile 25, something fired up enabling me to run that last mile + .2, the mile I wasn't able to run last year. Right on Hereford, left on Boylston. In tears, relieved.

I got my medal, my mylar jacket, a finisher's time for coming in just under six hours, raised piles of awareness and funds for Samaritans, got to know some incredibly strong Samaritans teammates, and learned a little something about how generous my community is. I also did my small part to help Boston reclaim its signature race.

I have said for years that on marathon day you do the best you can with the day and body you have. Until yesterday, I had the good fortune to be able to work with reasonable days and a cooperative body. Today I'm walking, slowly, and grateful for everything. I guess this experience confirms that I'm a real marathoner.

I did learn that it takes a lot of work to come in last at a marathon, because there were plenty of people behind me.

There'll be pictures forthcoming.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Thank you.

So, here we are, the eve of Boston 2014. I feel about the same as last year, physically, but I am very hungry to get across that finish line tomorrow. 

First off, the letters t-h-a-n-k-y-o-u have completely worn off all the devices I use to communicate. I cannot say that enough to everyone who donated to Samaritans, participated in the Happy Holly Days or Joe Sent Me! fundraisers, donated stuff, encouraged me and supported my family (and each other) in the aftermath of last year and the lead-up to this. The community I come from is so strong, so generous, this has been quite an experience. I look forward to taking a couple of finish line selfies and personally thanking each of you after I've recovered a little bit. 

Second, I will not be setting any speed records tomorrow, but if you want to track me by text, AT&T can hook you up. My # is 32763, the link to sign up for alerts is http://www.baa.org/races/boston-marathon/participant-information/att-athlete-alert.aspx

I will start sometime after 11:25 and I will finish hopefully well before 5pm, if the proverbial creek doesn't rise.

How much good have we done? I project to have raised approximately $9000 dollars this year (or more than $16,000 over the last two years). The Samaritans team has raised over $240,000 - close to twice the initial goal set for us. The John Hancock and BAA Marathon charity program overall has raised nearly $25,000,000 for all the charities involved. I am proud to be a small part of something doing this much good. 

Lastly, you may remember the podcast produced last year by Amina Chaudary of The Islamic Monthly. She has taken that a little further this year and turned it into a short video production. I share it with you not to extend my few moments of fame but because it allows me to continue the work of spreading the message about Samaritans and the suicide prevention and grief support 
services they provide for free. 

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

RIGHT here, RIGHT NOW, or: Welcome to the taper...

Two weeks. 14 days. Approximately 336 hours. 20160 minutes. 1,209,600 seconds. 

Unless I get my adrenaline rush under control, the equivalent of 

1,008,000 heartbeats and
403,200 respirations
that my adrenaline wants me to DO ALL NOW! AT ONCE! RIGHT NOW!

The marathoner in me knows  about pacing, endurance, and that even if I did in some spectacular way manage to do all the physical business of being alive for the next two weeks IN ONE SECOND I would still have to wait 14 days for the rest of the world to catch up. 

Welcome to the marathon taper. 

Cute puppy video links welcome, it's going to be a long two weeks. 

This sums it up: The Boston Marathon for Samaritans by way of Crowdrise tracked on my new Bia Sport watch and held together with KT Tape and Joint Ventures PT by way of John Furey.  While rooting for the Red Sox and drinking lots of water. How much fun is this? 

To track me during the marathon, I am runner #32763


Friday, March 28, 2014

If it were easy...

Will someone please tell my IT band that this is my World Series. My Olympics. The biggest athletic stage I'll ever compete on. 

Unless it isn't. 

I'm never going to outrun it and I do use the word "compete" a little loosely. I'm no Big Papi, no Mikaela Shiffrin. I'm not going to win. 

The best I hope for is that finisher's medal and Mylar jacket in Copley Square later the same day I start in Hopkinton. If I accomplish that, and if I can find some extra encouragement for my fellow Samaritans team members and anyone else I come across along the course, then I will have gotten it done. 

After last year's finish, and this winter's teeth, getting to the start is the victory. The rest is a celebratory lap. A long one, sure. 

36,000 people are running this race. My # is 32,763. That's even more people than took the bar exam my year. 

It is important to me run this thing right 
to honor Shaira and her community 
to honor those who have donated to Samaritans on the strength of my recommendation and commitment
to pay my respects to the running world and those lost and traumatized last year

But I am not important to this race. There are 32,672 people starting ahead of me and 3,237 people after me. The marathon will go quite oblivious to my presence. 

One more long run this weekend; from here 24 days until the Marathon. My response to IT pain this year differs strikingly from last year. I've already gone 19-20-21 milers, so I've done a lot more long running than I did last year. I know what I'm capable of doing on race day with only one of the long runs in me, so I do not need to worry about getting on the bus and back to Boston on foot. 

Yeah, it's going to hurt. Something is going to hurt. It's a marathon. I'm not young. If it were easy, there'd be a million people running and only thirty six thousand cheering. Enough to fill the Wellesley scream tunnel. 

Oh, and IT band? Meet lacrosse ball. Ice pack. Naproxen sodium. And, to quote a beloved Snoopy bathrobe of my youth, "Raw Strength and Courage." You might be thick, tough, chronically inflamed and tearing my knee apart, but you will not stop my marathon!

One more thing: I'm totally psyched for this: http://www.oldsouth.org/one-year-later#scarves thanks to the encouragement of some of my biggest fans! It's not too late to send a scarf! The black-looking color is really blue. Not my best work but it'll be at Old South Church in plenty of time!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fundraising party a wild success

I suppose I should have set out an estimate for how much I hoped to raise at Joe Sent Me! but I didn't. I suppose even if I had, what we raised last night as a community would have totally exceeded any amount I could have guessed. 

I cannot possibly express my gratitude for everyone who donated products, services, gift cards, and everyone who bought raffle tickets and bid on stuff and everyone who enjoyed a free chair massage and tipped generously, and everyone who has offered so much support not only to Samaritans but to me personally. 

I could not have pulled this off without a lot of help!

Please support everyone listed here when you need stuff!!
Sadly, the chocolate raspberry cheesecake went home with someone else, but it did go to a good home!
I am thrilled that Kirstie, who works for Samaritans, was able to join us and help out! And it was nice to see some fellow runners in their street clothes!

Wingspan's worth of raffle tickets? 

Get a massage from Chris. You will not regret it!

The bottom line? $1200. I live in an amazing community. Thank you!!!!!

Friday, March 14, 2014

"Fear is Never Boring"

Great song by a local band from my hometown. "I'm out on a limb where the fun begins..."

Sixteen years ago I ran my first marathon, the inaugural Flying Pig in Cincinnati. Slowly.

I was afraid of everything. 

My body the course the distance my projected time finishing not finishing the weather the sports drinks the water stops the porta-potties the other runners the spectators the lack of spectators my sneakers, timing chip, socks, shorts, bra, shirt, hat, fanny pack (which I was right about and wound up handing to a little kid halfway through). 

Sixteen years later, I fear melanoma. Asbestos exposure. The college application process. 

I pathologically fear throwing up. Not sure how to desensitize myself from that one... 

I do not fear the course - last year I kind of did, but it turns out I hadn't taken into consideration what danger really lurked. No one did, no one could have. So maybe I have decided, finally, not to fear what I can't predict and instead turn towards controlling what I can and trust the rest to sort itself. 

This year, I have not obsessed over every twinge or cramp, and there are twinges and cramps. I don't know whether it's age or experience that has taken my anxiety offline. Perhaps the catastrophic events of last year have put everything in perspective. 

I respect the course, the distance, the weather, my gear and food/drink. I also trust my legs, my heart, my brain, my gear...the security policies in place this year, the general love Boston has for this event.

In two years, with your support, I have raised nearly $12,000 for Samaritans suicide prevention and grief support services, with five more weeks to go this year. Like Arlo said in the live recording of "Alice's Restaurant," 

"If you want to end war and stuff you got to sing loud.I've been singing this song now for twenty five minutes. I could sing itFor another twenty five minutes. I'm not proud... or tired."

I'm not scared, or tired. I'm revved. I could run 52 miles...I have two more twenty-milers planned (the first this weekend, the second on the course in a few weeks!) and I am so inspired by the support you all have shown Samaritans!

Sunday, March 9, 2014


On March 22, from 7-11 pm, join me for a fundraising party showcasing the generosity of the community supporting Samaritans through my marathon - the generosity of all of you!!

Where: Joe Sent Me at 849 Main Street, Waltham. 

Why? Help raise money to support Samaritans suicide prevention and grief support services!

Raffle items: You can buy tickets from me in advance, winners do not have to be present when we pick the winning tickets at approximately 9:45pm)
 - $25 gift card to Coyote Impressions (Support this donor!)
 - $25 gift card to Taza Chocolate (source of my post-long-run recovery Mexican hot chocolate Cacao Puro!)
 - $50 gift card to J.R. Burke Salon (my tresses-whisperers) (Support this donor!!)
 - $50 gift card to Marathon Sports (Support this donor!)
 - Mystery novels signed by local (and famous!) authors!
 - Hand knit baby blanket - donated by John Gillis and Kathleen Kelly!

Silent Auction:
Bidding ends at 10pm. I will help with proxy bidding if you cannot be there/cannot stay. For items under my control (batches of truffles, for example, if losing bidders will match the winning bid we may be able to work something out!)
 - JUST ADDED:  chocolate raspberry cheesecake courtesy of Ron and Patty Moore (winner must be present otherwise this sucker's going down!)
 - Oral B Braun Professional electric toothbrush - donated by Dr. David G. and Maryellen Wyman! ($125 value)
 - In-Home private yoga class donated by Jennifer Parker ($100 value) Great for everyone from marathon runners to couch-jockeys...
 - SoulCollage® workshop for up to five people. Valued at $375! See http://soulcollage.com
 for details about this creative and self-reflective card making process! Donated by Jen Navarro!
 - One-hour long massage from Chris Hansen Juliani founder/owner of Boston Chair Massage at her Arlington office! (Value $100)
 - (rumor: designer bag by Very Local Designer)
 - (rumor: hour-long family/pet photo shoot from Very Local Up and Coming photographer)
 - Two dozen handmade cookie dough truffles (Value: $30)
 - Hand knit socks by yours truly - priceless ;-)
- Companionship on a long run, bike or swim (or all three) at your pace and distance with yours-truly! - priceless!

On-site Chair Massage! Chris Hansen Juliani founder/owner of Boston Chair Massage will be at our fundraising event offering chair massages for donations to the Samaritans. Also see her Silent Auction donation of an hour massage at her Arlington office for the auction!

Donations to Samaritans welcome, as is all the moral support you can muster  - this is a marathon after all!

THANK YOU!!!!!!!