Archive for April, 2014

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

Team Spirit

Posted: April 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It it the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” -Andrew Carnegie.

Running is essentially an individual pursuit…it’s one of the primary reasons I was initially drawn to it. I didn’t have to rely on anyone else. I could simply put on my running shoes whenever I liked and go wherever I wanted. In races I didn’t have to rely on a teammate to make the shot, hit the ball or catch the pass. Whether I did extremely well or was an abysmal failure, I was entirely responsible.

My perspective on the individual aspect of running began to change soon after I became a running coach for Team In Training. I realized that nothing significant in life, particularly training for and running a marathon, is ever accomplished alone. The support and encouragement a runner receives during training and along the marathon course is as important as the perfect pass in a team sport.

Charity runners are undoubtedly part of a TEAM committed to one goal…raising as much money as possible to make a significant difference in the lives of others…to give hope and opportunity to those that have gone far too long without both.   I’ve been so inspired by the example of the thousands of charity runners that I’ve coached who place their commitment to the mission of their respective charity about their individual achievement.

I have never been more proud to be on a team than being on Team In Training and the Marathon Coalition TEAM! I am honored to be the coach of so many determined and committed runners. Their example of selflessness inspires me to give more of myself at every opportunity. The team spirit that exists on the Marathon Coalition TEAM has helped me to think less of myself and my personal goals and far more about how I can help others achieve their goals.

Being a coach of charity runners is one of the greatest gifts I’ve received…I rank it up there with my wife and children!

Go TEAM!

Hopkinton To Boston

Posted: April 1, 2014 in Uncategorized

You will be running through all of these towns during our 21 miler Saturday and all of them on April 21st.  Don’t worry, it’s only 26.2 miles. There is so much running history that has taken place along this amazing route and you will soon be part of it.  I believe the 118th running of the Boston Marathon will be the most historic of all.

Your current focus, as it should be, is likely on completing the distance. But as I look back to 1979 when I ran Boston for the first time in 2:48:35, I continuously consider my history along the course from Hopkinton to Boston and the impact that it’s had on my life. I hope that you will take a moment to look beyond the finish line and contemplate the impact that your Boston Marathon effort will have on your life.

You will discover this journey is so much more than just running. It will define you in ways that you simply can’t imagine. You’ll learn things about yourself for the very first time. You may be sitting in the Athlete’s Village and hearing a language for the very first time or standing in the starting corral and be inspired by something or someone who you’ve never noticed before.

I remember signing my very first autograph just as I was entering the starting corral over 35 years ago and haven’t signed another one…that’s the power of Boston! I’m always touched by the little girls that are always near the starting line with their autograph books asking every female runner in sight for their autograph. You may spark a dream in a child to one day run Boston…that’s the power of the Boston Marathon!

The marathon is undoubtedly a challenging event and that’s why it is so special. Boston has a history of being one of the most challenging marathons in the world. But as with most things in life, the greater the challenge the greater the reward!

When you cross the finish line in Boston you will be duly rewarded. You will receive a heroes welcome from the volunteers at the finish line. And when you look into the eyes of a friend or family member for the first time after finishing,  you may feel emotions that you’ve never anticipated. And you will begin to feel the magnitude of your accomplishment.

When you hobble to work on Tuesday morning with your finisher’s medal around your neck and receive applause from your coworkers, you will feel their pride for you and realize that you’re an inspiration to so many.

You are an inspiration to me, too! I will be forever grateful for the opportunity to play a small role in your incredible accomplishment.