Why We Run

Posted: April 23, 2014 in Uncategorized

                   WHY WE RUN

About 40 years ago when my sons David and Jon were 8 and 6 years old I decided to take them camping. So I borrowed a flimsy old tent and we went to a mangy old state park in Maryland. It started raining as soon as we got there, so after a quick meal of Spaghettios and Oreos we went inside our tent with me lying in the middle and a boy on each side.  Then it really began pouring buckets and water gushed through the top of the tent.  It stopped for a moment and my son Jon said, “Dad, why are we doing this?”

So…why are we doing this? Why did we decide to run the Boston Marathon this year? I daresay there are as many reasons as people on the Marathon Coalition team.

Some of us couldn’t finish the race last year because of the horrific bombing incident.

Some of us were angry and wanted to do something to exemplify the Boston Strong philosophy.

Some of us had never run a marathon before, and we knew that running the 2014 Boston Marathon would be an especially amazing experience.

Some of us had more personal reasons: We wanted to lose weight or prove something to someone else – or to ourselves. Or we had someone we wanted to honor by running for a specific charity.

As for me, being up in years, I wanted to heed the advice of poet Dylan Thomas who wrote:

Do not go gentle into that good night,

Old age should burn and rave at close of day;

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

After struggling through the last 12 miles of the 2008 Boston Marathon due to calf cramps (and missing my goal of breaking 5 hours by 40 seconds) I promised my good wife Tina that I wouldn’t do another marathon again.  Well kind of promised.

When the explosion occurred last year, I said to myself right then: “I’ll be running that race next year.” So in the fall I contacted Rick Muhr, who had been my coach in 2008, and told him my plan. He suggested several charities; I did some research and picked Best Buddies.

Somehow I forgot to tell my good wife Tina of my intentions, but one night Craig Welton, the head of Best Buddies called to tell me that I had been picked to be on that team.

After I got off the phone, Tina asked, “Who was that?” I said, “Oh, some guy who heads a non-profit organization in Boston that I’ll be raising money for.”

“Why will you be raising money for a charity in Boston?” she asked, which is a fair question since we live in Maine.

“Because I’ll be running the Boston Marathon.”

“Oh,” said, Tina. Long pause. Pained expression. “I didn’t know that.” She knows me well enough to know any protestations would be for naught, and she’s been very supportive.

Whatever our own particular reason, each of us then faced two big challenges: First, training for the race and second, raising funds for our chosen charity. Each of these two challenges prompted more “Why am I doing this?” questions.

As to training: Why am I getting up early to run in the ice or snow or, for that matter, even indoors on a cold winter morning? Why am I voluntarily choosing to deal with achy joints or painful cramps or (fill in the blank) injuries? Why are some days easy and some days impossible?

My own training has been slowed down by an atrial flutter (a heart issue) and exercise-induced asthma (a lung issue). Some people might view heart and lung issues as problems. I view them as  opportunities. I now have two more prospects for my Best Buddies pitch: my heart doctor and my lung doctor. Both of them contributed to my campaign. I think they like telling people that one of their patients is running the Boston Marathon.

On the fundraising front, we’ve surely faced hurdles and doubts. Some people we thought would give didn’t give. Some people we thought would give big gave small.  Sometimes we got tired of putting our hand out during what remains a tough economy. I overheard more than one Coalition runner saying that the training part is much easier than the fundraising part.

But …. we made it. We’ve overcome these challenges. Three cheers to us.

We’ve also shared something else: the astute advice and strong support of our coach, Rick Muhr.  He knows running.  And he knows how to motivate.

Rick also knows some other things about life, which are the most important lessons we can all take away from this incredible experience.

If you lift up others you lift up yourself. And your extraordinary fund-raising efforts will lift up others for whatever charity you’ve been raising funds.

And he taught us something else:

If you never dream big you will never stand tall.

When you dream big you have to persevere, whatever comes up along the way. It’s about having the passion to go for something and the discipline to get there.

That lesson can be applied to all areas of your life – your running, your work, your hobbies, even your relationships.

As Rick will tell you, why hold back in life. Why sit on the sidelines. Get out there. Take a chance. Be strong. Boston strong.

So, asking why we run is like asking why we live or why we breathe. It’s just who we are.

Congratulations to all and let’s go get ‘em on Monday.

David Treadwell

Dtreadw575@aol.com

207-837-4536

Boston Memories

Posted: April 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

Boston Marathon Coaching Picture

The 118th Boston Marathon will undoubtedly be remembered as the most unique and special in the history of the marathon.  I awoke with so much excitement and anticipation.  Here are a few FB posts that I shared with my friends:

Today the gloves come off…this is YOUR day. Time to show your friends, families, all your supporters…and the world…what it means to live…to chase your dreams…to be in the moment…and to NEVER succumb to giving up…show the world what you have…put every ounce of determination into today’s effort!

If you have a moment of doubt during today’s Boston Marathon, just remember that TODAY will be one of the most defining days in your life. Envision what it’s going to be like to take a right on Hereford and left on Boylston. You will be a Rock Star to the entire world. This will be a day that inspires you for the remaining days of your life… to chase your dreams and live a significant and meaningful life. Go Get This…Boston!

Today we run for all of America…Today we run for the entire world! The human spirit is the most powerful thing in the world…particularly when it’s being tested.

You will inevitably be asked what your time was today. I recommend the following…”It was the time of my life!”

Yesterday was certainly the time of my life.  One of the many blessings of being a marathon coach is celebrating the significant achievements of the runners I coach…and there were hundreds that unfolded in yesterday’s marathon.  The majority of the Marathon Coalition runners were prevented from finishing the 2013 Boston Marathon so the healing and closure that occurred was significant.

I truly believe the human spirit is the most powerful thing in the world, particularly when it’s being tested.   As I stood at Mile 15 until late in the afternoon, I saw the entire spectrum of emotions unfold.  I saw an elite Kenyan walking due to the heat and subsequent muscle cramps,  wheelchair athletes blazing by at 30 m.p.h., soldiers marching by (sans backpacks), Shalane Flanagan running by leading a group of Kenyan and Ethiopian women, Meb Keflezighi leading a large group of African runners by more than 200 yards, runners with prosthesis and a lifetime of determination, charity runners flying the colors of their respective charities, a runner that I’ve coached from Portland, Oregon jumping into my arms and wrapping herself around me, sharing a special hug with a runner who just lost her father, unknown runners desperately looking into my eyes and needing a few words of encouragement, Dick and Rick Hoyt completing their last Boston Marathon, small children holding big bags of candy for the runners, the most enthusiastic and supportive crowd I have ever seen, runners I have coached previously proudly wearing Marathon Coalition shirts created by Coach Paul Crockett and the amazing group from The Greg Hill Foundation!

And I saw the nearly 250 Marathon Coalition runners that raised over $1.7 million for the 16 charities that represent the 2014 Boston Marathon.  Empowering Others Through Running…providing hope and opportunity to people who have gone far too long without both.

The best part of Marathon Monday is celebrating with the Marathon Coalition runners and their families and friends at the Westin Hotel.  There’s nothing better than having each runner enter America’s Ballroom to a heroes welcome,  wrapped in mylar blankets, sweat soaked faces, their finishers medal draped around their necks, and the look of accomplishment etched deeply on their faces.

Laura Gassner-Otting entered the room with scrapes from a fall on her elbows, hands and hips.  She summed up the spirit of the day best:

Laura Gassner Otting

“In truth, because of the heat and how much I slowed down, the bruises from the fall are the parts of me that hurt most this morning. But, I love them because they are the reminder of what you always say: charity runners finish at a higher percentage. I knew I couldn’t let down the 100+ people who were supporting College Bound Dorchester and waiting to see me along the course. The heart of a marathoner has nothing, absolutely nothing, on the heart of a Marathon Coalition marathoner.”

To all those that ran…you have my deepest respect…I honor your achievement and effort!

Very Simply

Posted: April 21, 2014 in Uncategorized

Today…this is the most precious medal in the world!

Boston Marathon 2014

Final Marathon Preparation

Posted: April 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

Marathon Coalition sports psychologist, Dr. Grayson Kimball, offers the following advice for everyone running Boston.

 

Greetings to the TEAM:

 

Your big day is drawing near and the usual nerves and trepidation are probably settling in. Believe it or not, the

hard part is over. The nerves you feel are merely excitement. The training is the difficult part; the marathon is

the fun part. Monday is simply your second 20-mile run, with 6.2 bonus miles for being in such great shape!

Hopefully you will all have a peak performance on Monday but the reality is you may not. No matter how much

of a challenge you may be having, constantly remind yourself that your training, your belief in yourself, and

your dedication to the mission of your Charity will be all you need to pull you through. Above all, soak in the

excitement, the pageantry, the intensity, and the unique experience that makes the Boston Marathon all that it is.

 

As your thoughts race by the minute, try to focus your energies on things that are within your control. Things

that if you don’t like, you can actually change. Things like your diet, your attitude, your plans for the weekend,

what you are going to wear the day of the race, etc. Do not spend your time worrying about the weather –

we can’t change it. Do not spend your time wishing the start time was different – we can’t change it. Do not

spend your time worrying about what other people will think about your performance – we can’t change it. The

more you focus on yourselves and what you can control, the more enjoyment and satisfaction you’ll have on

Marathon Monday.

 

It is no secret in how much I value the mental approach to running (check out http://www.gratefulrunning.com).

The simplest of mind tricks can really enhance your running experience. One thing that I like to do to boost

my confidence and keep my mind “in the moment” during the last few miles of a marathon is to repeat the

following mantra every time I breathe – “with every breath I take, I get stronger”. This phrase makes me feel

like a more poised and efficient runner – which is critical when trying to finish the marathon feeling strong and

feeling proud. Here are a few additional mental triggers I want you all to think about between now and the

finish line:

 

On Marathon Monday…

 

o I will have the confidence needed to succeed

o I will engage in realistic, positive self-talk throughout the race

o I will take charge of my feelings and not have any emotional breakdowns if adversity comes my way

o I will have a game plan for my race that will help keep me focused on what I have to do

o I will stay focused on the little things I do that make me a great runner

o I will run my best and be satisfied with what I have accomplished

o I will always say “I CAN”

o I WILL BELIEVE IN MYSELF

 

As I mentioned over the course of our trainings, music can be a powerful motivator when trying to snap out

of a bad run. Sometimes a simple lyric can put everything in perspective and get you back on track. So when

you are feeling fatigued, exhausted, and worn down – remember this fitting line sung by the great Jerry Garcia

- “struggling man has got to move, struggling man has no time lose, I’m a struggling man…and I’ve got to

move on”….That gets me back in the groove, hopefully it will for all of you…

 

In closing, it has been a tremendous experience, an honor, and a privilege to be a part of Marathon Coalition

coaching staff.

 

DON’T BE AFRAID TO CHALLENGE YOURSELF and MAKE SUCCESS HAPPEN on Marathon

Monday.

GO TEAM!

Sweet Anticipation

Posted: April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

I am looking forward to spending several hours at the Marathon Expo this afternoon.  I speak at Macy’s Downtown Crossing at 1:00 p.m. at a GET INSPIRED session and then again tonight to a group of entrepreneurs running the Boston Marathon.  Tomorrow morning will be a quick presentation at the Museum of Science and then to what promises to be our most amazing and inspiring Marathon Coalition pasta party ever.

Michelle Lewis will be performing her new music video…Run, Run, Run (paying tribute to all those training for the Boston Marathon:

Monday promises to be another one of the greatest days of my life…I love the anticipation of observing so many runners realize the dream of a lifetime!  This is a culmination of nearly 6 months of dedicated and disciplined training during the most challenging New England winter in history.  It’s also a bittersweet time because I know I will never see many Marathon Coalition runners again.  But I’m reminded of a quote by Dr. Seuss:

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened!”

I also know that I will be lifetime friends with many of the runners on the 2014 Boston Marathon TEAM…and that’s the greatest gift of all!

The Marathon Therapist

Posted: April 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

I become more of a therapist and less of a running coach the final week before the marathon. Even the most experienced marathoners can work themselves into an emotional frenzy while managing all aspects of their marathon preparation. Just a few of the areas of concern are:

When should I arrive at the expo?
What should I eat in the days before the marathon?
What should I eat the night before the marathon?
What should I eat the morning of the marathon?
What should I eat during the marathon?
Am I hydrating enough?
Am I getting enough rest?
How am I getting to Hopkinton?
What should I wear in the Athlete’s Village?
What should I wear to the starting line?
What if I become too warm?
What if I’m not warm enough?
What is the weather going to be on Monday?
Where can my family meet me?
What if I miss them?
What is the best strategy for managing each segment of the marathon course?
What side of Commonwealth Avenue do we run on?
Should I take aid from spectators?
What is the best T-stop for my family to meet me?

These are just a FEW of the questions I have answered in the past 24 hours. The best advice I can offer is to take a deep breath and begin planning your weekend beginning with the expo. If necessary, make a list (and check it twice) of everything you could need for the weekend. It can be very reassuring to place everything you plan to have on Marathon Day out so you can literally see what you’ll need.

I always recommend keeping everything simple or you will quickly become a bundle of nerves and excessively neurotic. Keep in mind that your family and friends may walk away shaking their heads, throw their hands in the air and proclaim, “I give up…I’ll see you at the finish line!”

I know one thing for sure, you will be a completely different person after you cross the finish line. You will be calm, you will be normal again…and you will have an incredible sense of accomplishment!

The Power Of Togetherness

Posted: April 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

Chelsi and April

Although I missed being with all the Marathon Coalition runners at our last official training run, it was such an inspirational weekend.  I was honored to officiate the Spiritual Union of my niece and her partner.  Chelsi an April organized such a meaningful and empowering ceremony.

I have always loved weddings, witnessing two people express their love for one another and committing to sharing a lifetime together is such a powerful experience.  Being an integral part of that commitment was exponentially more powerful.  As I stood beside April watching  Chelsi walk down the aisle, my emotions were like a runaway train I had absolutely no control of.  But I knew I had to maintain some semblance of control because I wanted this to be such a special ceremony.

I had a lifetime of memories racing through my mind at the moment.  Chelsi was 4 years old when I gave her my motocross boots, helmet and riding gear.  When she stood in them they came to the top of her hips.  Little did I know she would become one of the top female motocross racers in the country.  More recently, she entered the male  dominated world of flat track racing and, once again, dominated this genre of racing where you’re seldom on the brakes and flat our flying while sliding sideways through the turns.  This is an arena where old white guys simply aren’t accustomed to being beaten by such a young female and displayed an immeasurable degree of aggression.  I’m so proud of her for NEVER backing down from this challenge.  You cannot imagine the surprise on their faces when the young upstart schooled them in her first race and removed her helmet…the shock on their faces was palpable.

I will never forget what happened in the aftermath of losing my mom to leukemia in 1996.  Immediately after mom’s funeral, we traveled from Illinois to Hurricane Mills, Tennessee for the Amateur National Motocross Championships at Loretta Lynn’s Ranch.  As we were all grieving the loss of mom, this was a welcome distraction and an opportunity for our family to grieve together.  That was the first time I saw Chelsi race and was completely amazed at how fast and fearless she was.  I simply couldn’t believe this was my tiny niece taking on the big boys of the sport.  Ironically, she wore a crash test dummy fastened to the back of her chest protector as a way to distinguish herself from her competitors.  She crashed during this race and flew over her handlebars while going for the win…breaking her collarbone.  She is undoubtedly the fiercest competitor in our family.

In 2004, Chelsi was hit head-on by a drunk driver in a truck while riding her motorcycle .  She fought for her life with the same determination she has displayed during her competitive career…she was only 19 years old.  She has endured more surgeries in the past 10 years than her current age of 29.  She emerged from this life-threatening ordeal a more grateful and appreciative person.

Despite all of her impressive accomplishments, I’m most proud of Chelsi for her compassion.  She has had the biggest impact on all her nieces and nephews and has given immeasurable amounts of time to all of them.  For someone so young, I have never seen anyone earn the respect and love of so many.  I always feel like I’m with a celebrity when I spend time with her while attending national races in Indianapolis.

One of life’s greatest gifts is meeting and falling in love with someone who brings out the best in us and appreciates our uniqueness.  April has clearly been the greatest gift Chelsi has received.  As one of the best basketball players in the nation, she also shares a competitive spirit.  But she has channeled that energy into having a significant impact in the world and on the lives of others.  I’m always inspired by people who commit themselves to making such a difference in the world.  April’s example of selflessness continues to be a source of inspiration.  We are blessed to have her in our family.

The union of Chelsi and April is further proof that we are stronger and more compelling together than we are alone!

 

Embrace The Emotion

Posted: April 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

Now that the Boston Marathon is less than two weeks away, the emotional roller coaster is at full speed. It’s the convergence of two diametrically opposed emotions. The excitement of the approaching Boston Marathon is palpable, the sadness of an incredible journey is drawing to a close.

Being a running coach is very similar to being a teacher…I’m on the verge of seeing my students graduate.  Sports seem to evoke the strongest emotions in me.  I get emotional when I see Rider on the lacrosse field with ‘MUHR’ taped to the back of his helmet.  I simply cannot contain my emotions when a Marathon Coalition runner passes me on the Boston Marathon course.

I’ve witnessed the incredible impact the Boston Marathon has on runners and that’s the perfect capstone to a training season. Looking back to the first TEAM meeting seems so long ago. I’ve witnessed a complete transformation from a group of people who were uncertain whether they could complete the 26.2 mile journey from Hopkinton to Boston to a unified group of runners filled with anticipation and confidence. Nervousness and uncertainty are constant companions leading up to the marathon…even for veteran marathoners.

Our training is about to cross the threshold from the comfort of training to the reality of the race. It’s time to embrace all the emotions that occur in the final days before the Boston Marathon!

Risk Versus Reward

Posted: April 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” 
― Molière

The excitement of the approaching Boston Marathon is palpable! The anticipation of the next 2 weeks is so exhilarating. It all begins with the trip to the Fitness Expo to pick up the official number. This can be the first time all of this actually seems real!

Approaching a registration volunteer with your official Boston Marathon confirmation and driver’s license is the first step in the marathon weekend journey; one that is filled with excitement and anticipation. Once you enter the expo the environment is similar to a pep rally before the Friday night game, the step onto a military plane before a maneuver, the rehearsal before the wedding, it’s the anticipation of a MAJOR accomplishment.

The weekend can be like an emotional roller coaster that you have absolutely no control over. You simply need to try to remain calm and maintain your composure. Navigating these emotions of doubt and excitement can drain you of energy. Runners who stay focused on the task at hand throughout the weekend will be rewarded with unbound confidence when they’re starting at the starting line.

Taking on the 26.2 mile challenge from Hopkinton to Boston is steeped in possibility and risk. Balancing the scale between possible failure and monumental success is exhilarating. But there’s a HUGE difference between fear and respect. You absolutely have to respect the Boston Marathon…it’s the most challenging marathon course imaginable. The weather in New England on Patriot’s Day is as unpredictable as a 16-year-old behind the wheel of a car.

If you’re not nervous about running Boston I suspect you’ll learn some valuable lessons on Marathon Monday. There’s always the voice of doubt asking if you’re prepared, can you really make it to the finish line, have you done all the necessary training to arrive at the finish in ‘relative comfort, do you really have the heart and determination to accomplish this? Those are reasonable questions and can certainly cast doubt over what has the potential of being the biggest day of your life.

The Boston Marathon makes a runner feel alive! I love big challenges because there’s undeniably a correlation between the magnitude of the risk you take and the reward you receive. Are you ready for this? I have no doubt that EVERY runner on the Marathon Coalition TEAM will see the finish line…BRING IT BOSTON!!!

Boston Marathon Finish

Marathon Dreams

Posted: April 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

“We are different, in essence, from other people. If you want to win something, run 100 meters. If you want to experience something, run a marathon.”-Emil Zatopek, Czech runner who won the Olympic gold medal in the 5,000, 10,000 and the Marathon in 1952

Boston 26.2

The start of the Marathon moved from Ashland to Hopkinton in 1924. You will certainly begin to appreciate the magnitude of what the small New England town will feel like on April 21, 2014.   As we arrive, there will be excitement in the air as thousands of other runners, many of them charity runners, will be preparing and departing for their final test over some of the most challenging miles of the Boston course.

However, there is a seismic gap between what you experienced the morning of the 21 miler and the morning of the actual start. On April 21st the excitement level is beyond your imagination. There will be helicopters hovering above the start when you arrive, you’ll likely proceed to the Athlete’s Village and attempt to calm your nerves. Volunteers will check your race number to ensure you’re entering the correct corral.

Once you enter the corral you’ll likely be a bundle of nerves. You’ll connect with the runners next to you and undoubtedly feel their nervous energy. Once you hear the national anthem and the fighter jets fly over, you know the start is just minutes away. Take a deep breath and close your eyes for a moment and reflect on all the work that you’ve done to get to the start. Most importantly, remind yourself that patience is a virtue and the importance of running conservatively the first few miles until you settle into a rhythm.

You will be so tempted to run too fast at the start because of the initial downhills and the seemingly endless flow of runners passing you. Simply remind yourself that many of these runners will likely be walking on the hills of Newton from miles 17-21. I have always felt the halfway point of the marathon is not at 13.1 miles but actually at mile 20.

You have invested the necessary effort to train and prepare for the historic Boston Marathon. Now it’s time to appreciate the significant sacrifices in your life when most of your friends, family, and colleagues were simply going about their normal lives. Your sacrifice, determination and commitment will be aptly rewarded in just over two weeks. Among the greatest you will recieve will be the encouragement and praise from the people that respect and love you the most…and knowing that you made such a signficant difference in the lives of others!

Boston Marathon Finish