Archive for September, 2011

Running Is A Gift!

Posted: September 30, 2011 in Uncategorized

I went running last night in the rain on the local high school track.  Our new high school is currently under construction but the new track was installed months ago.  I ran 50 miles on the previous track, which was asphalt and in disrepair, as a fundraiser for the 2002 Man of the Year event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  I also ran 62 miles on this track several years ago when I came up short in an attempt at 100 miles in 24 hours.

But last night was special for several reasons.  The first step I took on the  new track was like landing on a marshmallow.  I’ve always enjoyed running in the rain and I was alone…allowing me to become completely lost in my thoughts.  Being able to return to consistent running has been a complete blessing.  Running for an hour for the first time in an extremely long time was wonderful.

I thought about how blessed I have been because I am a runner.  I’ve discovered so many things about myself through my running.  When I joined the military 35 years ago and was forced to run, I discovered that I enjoyed running and could run effortlessly for extremely long distances.  Running has changed my view of the world…it has changed my view of myself.

Running has allowed me to fulfill a commitment that I made to my mother back in 1996 when I spoke with her for the very last time in the Mayo Clinic.  Leukemia took my mom far too early…the day before her 58th birthday.  I promised her I would do something significant with my life…something that would make her proud.  Running allowed me to grieve her loss when I easily could have become bitter and angry.  But I chose to get busy instead, turning the tragedy of losing mom into something amazingly positive.

Thankfully I soon became involved with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America’s Team In Training program.  With the help of thousands of runners, we were able to raise millions of dollars which provided hope and the gift of life to so many.  My running has provided an opportunity to inspire thousands to do more than they ever imagined.  Running thousands of runners into the finish line of marathons throughout the world is one of the greatest gifts I’ve received.  It’s magical to feel their emotions and witness their sense of accomplishment.

I am extremely grateful  that running has provided me with more than I ever dreamed of having.  I never take for granted the great health and wellness that I have, particularly when I see the general health of the average American.  I have shared my love of running with thousands of other runners have created a new coaching business (The Marathon Coalition) that empowers others through running.

I have also shared running with my Lori and Rider.  I know that Macie will not be far behind.  I dream of someday running a marathon with Rider but realize I may be an anchor to him when that day arrives.  I wouldn’t want him to attempt a marathon before he’s 20 and I’ll be 62…time will tell.  But I will definitely still be running marathons then if I’m blessed to still be here.

As I circled the track in the pouring rain and the dark, I couldn’t help but think how lucky I am.  Lucky to be alive and healthy, lucky to be able to run and push my limits; lucky to share this wonderful sport and lifestyle with all the runners that I’ve coached.

I hope that you also consider running a gift!

Consider This…

Posted: September 29, 2011 in Uncategorized

                                                                   October 16, 2011

Fall is the best time of year for running and there are so many wonderful races to choose from, but please consider the Craig LeClaire/Rich Vacca Memorial Trail Race. This is a 5k trail run and 2 mile trail walk to benefit the LeClaire/Vacca Scholarship at Grafton High School. The scholarship was established in memory of Lori’s brother, Craig, and his friend, Rich, both outstanding athletes at GHS. This event also benefits the Grafton Land Trust (  and the Grafton Community Harvest Project (,  two other very important and meaningful causes.

We hope to see you at this race, you won’t be disappointed.  Here are the details:

A 5k run, 2 mile walk, beginning at the Community Barn, following North Brigham Hill Road about .25m to the trail head on Brigham Hill Road. The trail enters Williams Preserve and continues along rolling hills (a couple steep ones) through pines and wooded areas. Finish at the Community Barn and enjoy post-race refreshments while you browse and bid at the silent auction. Live music is provided by Josh Briggs. Go to  for a course map and photos of previous races.

                                                   When: Sunday, October 16, 2011, 10:00AM
                                                   Where: Grafton Community Harvest Barn
                                                                      37 Wheeler Rd. North Grafton, MA 01536

*Pre-race Registration: $20.00 or  (Click on Calendar) before Oct. 10th.

*Race day Registration: $25.00 8:00-9:30AM in Community Barn

Questions? Email Lori at

*NOTE: Grafton Land Trust members receive a $5 discount on race registration. Please present your membership card at registration. * Special price for families of 3 or more- $50 *T-shirts and Earthwise bags to first 50 entrants

There’s no time like the present to begin training for the 2012 Boston Marathon! Gradually building an endurance base of LSD (Long Slow Distance) will provide numerous benefits over the long haul.

Incorporating consistency and moderation in the early stages of your Boston Marathon plan will serve you well throughout training. Gradually building your mileage base will allow your body to acclimate to the rigors of marathon training and minimize the risk of injury. Too many charity runners wait until training officially begins and don’t have the mileage base necessary to place the odds in their favor for a positive marathon experience.

This is the best time to run in New England. The cooler temperatures and the changing leaves are the first sign that the time is approaching to begin preparing for the Boston Marathon. Leave your GPS and iPod at home and find a local trail to explore. Reconnect with friends by inviting them on a trail run and a healthy and hearty lunch afterwords. The early stages of marathon preparation are the most enjoyable and least stressful as the marathon is still months away and you can focus on just enjoying the pure simplicity of running.

Map out a general training plan and list your goals for training and the actual marathon. Having realistic short-term goals will allow you to more easily attain your ultimate marathon goals. Identify the areas where you know you are the weakest and devise a plan to address and rectify each area. For instance, many runners are intimidated by hills and, consequently, don’t run them very well. Those runners should include more hill repeats into their training and focus on maintaining their form throughout their hill workout. Gaining confidence in an otherwise daunting area of your running can be transformational and empowering.

Don’t allow the 2012 Boston Marathon to be on par with previous marathons. You are going to invest a lot of time and effort to prepare for Boston…be strategic and purposeful with your training to recieve the greatest return on your investment.

The 2012 Boston Marathon will be here much sooner than you realize!

It’s important to periodically assess your running goals and evaluate how your current training plan relates to them. Establishing goals is the easy part of developing a training program, strategically developing a realistic plan to achieve those goals is asignificantly more challenging.

Goals don’t always have to be time-based. Running injury-free and enjoying running more by incorporating trail running and cross-training are also goals that should be considered. All runners would be well-served by improving their flexibility, eating better, staying hydrated and getting sufficient rest. I continue to be surprised by the number of runners that have goals that are exclusively time-based but don’t have a plan besides training and racing more…that is a recipe for an injury.

Make sure your running goals are not etched in stone and you’re comfortable modifying them as circumstances require. Runners tend to be extremely motivated and disciplined and not very comfortable taking a respite from training in order to make progress. It’s counterintuitive to think you can benefit more from a rest day than a hard workout but a well-timed and much-needed rest day is far more beneficial to one’s training.

It’s also important to identify the weak areas of your training program. A few common weaknesses I see in runners include, but are not limited to, absolutely no stretching, no properly refueling before, during or after running, improper form and wearing shoes that aren’t designed to complement their biomechanical needs.

Running is a relatively uncomplicated act. However, once you deviate from the path of least resistance by allowing one or more of the aforementioned transgressions to enter your training, it suddenly becomes a very complex and frustrating activity. The challenge for every runner is to keep all the pieces of the puzzle together.

Be very honest about the areas you know you’re weak in and address them. Adding an additional 15 minutes of post-run stretching will benefit you far more than any amount of running. The same can be said about adding an additional hour of sleep per night, reducing your alcohol consumption, reducing late night snacking or making a concerted effort to improve your form and running efficiency.

The quickest and most-effective way to improve your running is to conduct an honest assessment of each facet of your running and develop a plan that is synchronized with those findings. You’ll soon find that you’ve set the stage for executing a plan that completely transforms your running.

Even The Swine Barn Smelled Great

Posted: September 26, 2011 in Uncategorized

This morning was the first time in quite a while that I’ve been able to run pain-free. I’ve been plagued with soreness in my Soleus that’s prevented me from running more than a few miles.

As I was departing for my run I passed Lori as she was completing her run. Ironically, it was on the same road where we met walking our dogs 14 years ago. I continue to feel blessed for what’s resulted from that happenstance meeting. Lori raced a 5K in Grafton on Saturday and the Dr. Cynthia Lucero 5K in West Roxbury yesterday…she was the overall women’s winner in both races! Oh and Rider finished just behind her in both races. I didn’t need any more motivation than that to jumpstart my training this morning.

I felt smooth and strong from the outset as I concentrated on keeping my pace moderate and my form controlled. As I approached one of my favorite running areas near Tuft’s University Vet School, I passed 3 women running in the opposite direction. One of them was a runner I coached for the 1996 Dublin Marathon…it was wonderful to see Jenny again.

The fog was lifting in the nearby fields and the sun was just rising. I passed an equine barn and several students were mucking stalls and placing pine scented shavings in each one. My breathing and footsrikes were in complete rhythm and I was feeling so grateful to be running again. I thought about all the runners that view running as a chore and wanted to yell out to them to, ‘Be grateful for the ability to run each day!’

It seemed like such a perfect morning…even the aroma of the swine barn seemed pleasant as I ran by!

Remembering Dr. Cynthia Lucero

Posted: September 19, 2011 in Uncategorized

Sunday is the 10th Annual Dr. Cynthia Lucero Memorial 5k at MSPP, in memory of our dear friend Cynthia. Cynthia helped countless people during her short life and her legacy lives on through the Lucero Latino Mental Health Program at The Mass School of Professional Psychology (MSPP) and the Dr. Cynthia Lucero Foundation for Organ Donation in Ecuador, as well as the people who received her organs. Please join us for this wonderful family event which includes a 5k run or walk on a great course, followed by lunch. More information can be found @ I look forward to seeing you there!

This Isn’t Disneyland

Posted: September 14, 2011 in Uncategorized

I have had an extremely busy week visiting military bases throughout Florida (i.e., Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale, Miami and Key West) but I’ve been determined to eat well and train consistently. I drove from Miami to Key West and back today but I managed a 2 hour workout of cycling, running and weight training.

Whole Foods is my saving grace when I’m on the road. I survive on organic fruits and vegetables, Lara Bars, organic apple sauce, Odwalla 100% pure pressed carrot juice and super food, which is loaded with antioxidant vitamin C.

This is an exciting time of year as the Boston Marathon training season looms. I am hoping to add two new charities to the Marathon Coalition TEAM this year. I am determined to improve as a coach and have determined several areas that I can address immediately. At the top of the list is my commitment to spend more time with the less experienced runners as well as providing more individualized attention to every runner.

It’s time to use the stick, ice and go to sleep…good night!