Saturday, April 25, 2009


OK…so some of you are saying, “yeah….so what’s new”. That’s fair.

I’ve done it more than a dozen times before and through some tough circumstances over the last two years but between you and I, this was the year I had the most doubts that I would even get to the starting line. So while it sounds strange, I am probably the most surprised that I made it.

Much like last year I had the pleasure of riding on a bus to the start with my fellow Hunger Strikers (who raised over $80K this year for the Lazarus House food pantry). Getting a bus to the start sounds like no big deal but for a marathoner it is a pleasure that rivals taking a limo to your senior prom. To contrast it, most runners have to catch a 6AM school bus out of Boston for a long, crowded, bone jarring ride out to Hopkinton (made all the more enjoyable by the famous MA potholes). After banging you knees on the seat in front of you for an hour and a half you have the privilege of sitting around in the sports field of the Hopkinton high school in 35 degree temperatures for 2+ hours with 20,000+ other runners who have little to do but swap running stories, discuss the weather and what they should wear, drink water, make port-a-john visits, re-tie their shoes a half dozen times, get more nervous, drink more water, make more port-a-john visits (you have some of your best conversations in line at the port-a-johns).

As a quick aside, there is a science to making your last potty visit just before the race starts so you don’t have to make a pit stop during the race. This is further complicated by the fact that you have to be in the starting area 15-20 minutes before the gun goes off. Given there are a limited number of units and thousands of people all trying to go at the same time, timing is everything. For an old guy like me who has had his pipes bounced around a lot over the last 50+ years, this is an important issue. I had a dream one year that I was locked in one of the port-a-johns when the gun when off. Scary.

I, on the other hand, got to board a bus near my house, ride in comfort to the high school with my teammates, and then we get to stay on the warm bus until it’s time to head down to the start. It’s the fifth best part of the day (thanks for the pictures Alan).

Then it’s time and we make the half mile trek down to the starting area which is broken up into one thousand person corrals based on your number. There are two waves to the start, 10 am for the 14,000 fastest runners and 10:30 for the remaining 12,000 or so. As you head down to the start you pass busses where you can leave spare clothes that they take to the finish for you. Picture this…I’m walking down this residential side street with 14,000 other runners and I hear my name. Walking next to me is Bob Mackin who works with me at VidSys. Life is funny that way sometimes.

While being in the first wave shaved a half hour off my waiting around for the start, I was 13477 of 14000 runners. I was so far back from the starting line that spectators arriving were asking if there was a shuttle from there to the start. In truth, it doesn’t affect your time (you have a timing chip on your shoe that tracks your actual race time from when you cross the start), but if I ever collapse in the last 1/3 of the mile before the finish I expect to get credit for the distance.

Finally the gun goes off and 8 minutes later I cross the starting line…the fourth best part of my day. And as I’m pounding down the first hill I suddenly realize my timing on the last potty run was too early…I’ve gotta go. For a couple of miles I think “I can hold it” . Delusional. There are port-a-johns along the route but I have an aversion to standing in line to pee when I’m supposed to be running and the clock is. Lots of people jump into the woods along the road but you need to do this in the first couple of miles, after that you are mostly in cities or populated areas (people frown on runners peeing on their petunias). Just after the 5k mark ( 3+ miles for you metric challenged readers) I spotted a construction site with some portable units and made a quick detour. It didn’t make my list of the 5 best parts of my day but it wasn’t far off.

Back on the course things went well until about 15 miles. I knew I was in trouble strength wise at half way but I had been running better than I had expected and while the hamstring was tightening up I was able to keep it under control by shortening the stride and lowering the pace. The real challenge at 15 was the right knee. I suspect favoring the left hamstring and the pace over the first half were a bit too much for it. I made it to 16 miles where my family was waiting and that gave me a big boost…my second best part of the day (thanks Pam, Betsy, Tiff, Matt, Allie, Drew, Ian, and Terry…you are the best).

At that point, just as I entered the heartbreak hills I went into “the zone”. This is the period where you start to focus inward on what you need to keep your body moving . It’s hard to explain but imagine getting so focused on something that you can tune out everything around you. The gremlins kick in big time. “What are you doing out here, you are too old.” “Walk a while , you will feel better.” “ It’s no big deal if you don’t finish.” Being in the zone helps to turn down the volume on the gremlins. You start to make deals with yourself… to get to the next mile marker, then to the top of the next hill, then to the next street corner, then to the next telephone pole. Up-hills are painful, down-hills are worst.

And then you are there. First it’s the sight of the Prudential Center, but you are still 3 miles away. Then the 25 mile marker and only have 1.2 miles to go. You know you can make it even if you have to do the marathon shuffle, walk or even crawl. The gremlins are gone, the pain is not, but the crowd is like morphine. You start looking for the right turn onto Hereford and the hundred yard stretch that will take you to the left onto Boylston Street. And as you make that last turn it is overwhelming…you can see the finish line, the crowd is cheering at an insane volume, you get a burst of energy and emotion and your pace picks up. I swear they move the finish line back every year. It seems to take forever to make that last quarter mile+ …and then we are there. We made it. The best part of the day.

I say “we” because I couldn’t have made it without the support of too many of you to mention here. But know that I carried you in my heart and it helped me when I was in the zone. My son taught me that “living life large” is more important than “living life long” and you have all helped me add to my life experiences and honor his memory. For that I will never be able to thank you enough.

I also want to says thanks again to all of you who have made donations to CAH and Lazarus House. You have not only supported me but given hope and support to numerous families who at this point are struggling to make a new life. You should be proud of yourselves…you may not see it directly but you have made a difference.

OH…and for those counting…the third best part of the day…climbing into bed that night.

Wishing you great life experiences in the coming year.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Can't go swiming in a Baseball Pool

It's become a tradition over the last three years to title my last blog before the marathon from the Roger Miller song "You can't roller skate in a buffalo herd" (now on YouTube As I was hunting through the verses of the song to find an appropriate phrase it struck me how much the song resembles the way we look at life at times....through the eyes of the "you can't". You couldn't possibly get that job with your experience, you can't...make the team, make the Olympics, win your event, stop smoking, survive being homeless, climb a mountain, walk again, beat cancer, run a marathon...with one leg. The world is full of "you can't".

When I went into Boston today to get my number I stood in line behind a middle aged woman running her first Boston Marathon. She told me when she started running a little over 3 years ago she could barely make a quarter mile. The first time she entered an organized run it was only a mile. She finished third in the "Heffers Division". They literally made her get on a scale (talk about a left handed saying you don't sweat much for a fat person). Just before her first marathon she was told she had cancer. She ran anyway. Now as a cancer survivor she is running her first Boston and has raised over $12,000 for the Dana Faber Cancer Institute.

In two days about 26,000 people who fought off the "you can't-s" will line up to run 26.2 miles and every one of them has a story (and probably more than one).

Like Susan Hurley, our team organizer, mother hen and one of my favorite people. You may remember from last year's blog that Susan fell a few weeks before the marathon and shattered her hand and fingers. She didn't let that stop her and ran with a cast on and metal rods sticking out of her fingers (looked like Freddy Kruger from "Friday the 13th"). This year one charity wasn't enough for her so she was organizing and managing two (Lazarus House and Go Kids) and has been running with both teams.

Or how about John O'Connor from neighboring Bradford, MA who will start running Sunday Night and run the Boston Marathon route 3 times before showing up at the starting line in Hopkinton to start officially with the rest of us for his 4th marathon of the day (that's right...4 Boston Marathons, 104.8 miles ). He is running to raise money for wounded solders from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Then there's Bill Pennington, our Lazarus House Hunger Strikers coach. He has advice, experience and kind words for everyone from the first timers to us veterans. Like EF Hutton...when Bill talks, I listen. And if you ever need company on a long run, Bill's the guy. He's got more stories than the Brothers Grimm. This will be his third year in a row coaching and running for Lazarus House.

Kelly Buckley is running her first. I met Kelly at Lazarus House when were serving lunch together in the soup kitchen 2 years ago. I was training for the marathon at the time and she expressed an interest in doing it some year. This year is her year. She has raised $5000 for Lazarus House. You can see news video of Susan, Bill and Kelly talking about Lazarus House at (just click on the picture of the three runners on the top right).

Then there's Dave McGillivray who is the race director for the Boston Marathon. Dave will be running his 38th Boston Marathon in a row this year.....this time with broken ribs. If that isn't hard enough, Dave spends the day managing the race and then when it is pretty much over, drives out to Hopkinton and runs the race himself...mostly in the dark. He is a truly inspirational person who has worked hard to make the Boston Marathon not only the world's best marathon but also an awesome machine for raising funds for charities.

Speaking of inspirational heroes, in addition to Dave, one of my long time marathon heroes has been Bill Rodgers. It was Bill's series of Boston Marathon wins in the mid-late 70's that got me started running Boston. I had the opportunity to chat with Bill (see the picture above) a couple of weeks back and exchange stories of those early days of marathoning for both of us (his were much more successful than mine). At 61 he will be running Monday in his first marathon in a decade.

But not everyone who starts down the path actually makes it to the start. I had the privilege of running with Christine Andersen back in Feb. and she helped me through a difficult time with my injury. At the time she was not only running well but fast (I could barely keep up). The amazing thing is Christine has raised almost $10,000 for Lazarus House while being a mother, Doctor, and marathoner. Unfortunately Christine will be sitting this one out with a hip injury. We will miss her.

My story starts with doing something every year that celebrates Nick's memory. A little over three months ago I was trying to decide if I should even try to do the Marathon this year. I hadn't run in over a month (what my wife describes as the month from hell), was struggling with a hamstring injury that just would not quit, and wasn't sure if I started running again if I would have enough time to get ready. My long run the first week of Jan. was a tortoise-like 1 mile. But Monday I will be there on the starting line and while I am the least trained I have ever been going into the race and the hamstring is still giving me fits, I'm convinced I CAN make it to the finish (though it may not be pretty).

So back to the Roger Miller song and my mantra for Monday:

All you gotta do, is put your mind to it
Knuckle down,
buckle down,
do it, do it, do it

Thanks to everyone for the kind words of support and encouragement as well as the donations. There is nothing I can say that even comes close to letting you know how much of a positive impact you have had on so many people's lives.

PS: If you a morbid streak and care to track my progress during the race you can go to and put in my number 13477. I should be crossing the starting line sometime around 10:20.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hope is a 4 letter word

What makes Boston such a great marathon is the crowds. While making it from the start to the finish may not rank as a significant event for most people, to the runners who have spent months preparing for this day there is a lot of personal investment tied up in the goal. And the hundreds of thousands of smart spectators in Boston know this. In the old days, when the number of runners were smaller, the Boston Globe use to print all the runner's names and numbers in the morning paper. Spectators would make a game out of looking up the numbers and yelling out the names of the runners along with encouragement. There's nothing sweeter at the 21 mile mark than hearing your name called out along with "looking great, nice job" (except maybe a handful of jelly beans). It doesn't even matter how bad you feel, or that you really look like road kill, it gives you a bit of a lift. Since those days I've started putting my name on my shirt. Yeah it's a cheap trick but it works and I'll take any help I can get to make it through the day. And on this day it is a team effort, the support of the crowd, the support of the volunteer medical teams, and the support of the water stop crews all contribute. We just have to do the running.
I was out for a run the other day and I was thinking (there's a scary thought...guy on the windy (as in crooked...not blustery) back roads, in the dark, thinking instead of paying attention to dodging cars) about what keeps people going when they face all kinds of setbacks. My wife will tell you that in my case sometimes it's pure stubborn single mindedness. Certainly that has gotten me through more than a few marathons in the past.

In marathon training, hope plays a big role. I hope if I put in the training and get enough long runs I will be ready on marathon day. I hope it doesn't rain, or snow, or is too hot. I hope I don't get blisters or hurt before the race or on race day. But in most cases this is just wishful thinking. So what if does rain, or you get tripped in the crowd at the start or you get a cramp in your neck while trying to check out the girls lining the route in Wellesley (not that it would ever happen to me...but I know this guy...). How we handle adversity when our fondest hopes or wishes don't come true defines who we are. Certainly training in New England winters gives you plenty of opportunity to test that theory.

But HOPE also has a different meaning. Wikipedia defines it as an emotional state different from positive thinking. Hope is the emotional life jacket that we hang on to when everything around us seems to be crumbling. The real test of the word is when you face those really hard times that life throws at you like the loss of a job, your home, a child or spouse, or a long term or critical illness. Often times it is the HOPE that if I keep moving forward things will get better.

Ever notice how much easier it is to get your "hopes up" when you are surrounded by teammates, or family, or fellow workers supporting you? I like to think about hope as a light that needs power to shine. Everyone can give a bit to it themselves but it shines brightest when there is support to help. And much like we as marathoners have gotten support from running with each other and will get support from crowds on race day, the organizations we are running for are all about handing out support and hope. It's really not about the soup, or food pantry, or homeless shelter or medical help. All those are necessary but they really are just a proxy for giving a person hope that they are not alone, that their children won't have to go to bed hungry, that they won't spend another night sleeping in their car, that things will get better and that they can make it through another day.

Yesterday I ran my last long run before marathon day. From here we taper so the legs will get a chance to rest. Nothing we do from here will positively affect our ability to survive the day and certainly it could hurt it. I wasn't sure when I re-started the training with one mile the first week of Jan. if I would make it this far but with a lot of support from my team mates, friends and family...well here I am. I'm definitely the worst trained I've ever been but assuming all goes well over the next few weeks I'll be there at the start.

I want to thank all of you for your support, both the kind thoughts you've offered and the donations. I wish you could all see the faces of the people you help and the hope that you give them. It rivals the feeling crossing the finish line in Boston. And for that feeling I'll run 26 miles.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The Sanity of Insanity

I recently had a friend drop me a note after one of my blogs about winter running. His message... "I really admire what you are doing but you are insane". I thanked him for both compliments.

I was traveling last week and on one of my early morning cold runs, the ones where icicles are forming on my mustache and hair, I was thinking about what he said. I decided he was right. Certainly sanity is in the eye of the beholder and if the eyes of the desk clerk at the hotel when I returned from my run are any example, I'd find myself in one of those nice, form fitting, white jackets.

There's actually a website where you can test to see if you are an "insane runner".

Albert Einstein is credited with defining insanity as "Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” Given this will be my 14 or 15th Boston Marathon (lost track along the way) I'd have to say I fit the definition.

In reality though, isn't that what life is all about. What about the saying "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again". Granted there are exceptions to every rule (like trying to jump over the Grand Canyon on a motorcycle), but many of us see failure as a challenge not as invitation to quit. We also see achievements as milestones that we build on, not necessarily the end game.

Given I've already done the marathon before and I am far from ever running as fast as I have in the past, what am I trying to prove by doing it again? My wife thinks I do it to prove to myself that I'm not getting old. Believe me; my body reminds me of my age on almost every run.

I think what it is really about is living life. Ask any runner who has completed the Boston Marathon how they feel when they cross that finish line. The sense of being alive, of accomplishment, of confidence, makes all the effort worthwhile (well most of it anyway). Whenever I challenge myself, whether it's in my job, sports, marriage, raising my children, or just trying something new, I get a great sense of satisfaction for putting out the effort and even more of a thrill if I succeed. Disappointments? They come with the territory. But the downs make the ups that much better.

My son Nick had this great philosophy on life. He would try almost anything and seemed to be afraid of almost nothing (except frogs). Even at an early age he was scuba diving, boogie boarding in the ocean, mountain biking (sometimes at night), competing in paintball contests, playing lacrosse and hiking mountains. He had this mantra of Living Life Large and wherever possible to help others to do that too.

So why do I run the marathon? Running the marathon to help others is one way to honor his memory. I've tried to take his lessons and make them part of my life. To never miss an opportunity to help others, never miss an opportunity to tell my family I love them, to try and encourage and support others that are facing challenges and need to know someone cares, and to Live Life Large with as few regrets as possible. God knows I don't always succeed but I'll keep trying.

By Albert Einstein's definition, I guess that makes me insane.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Some Mornings I need an Obama Stimulous Package Too

Picture's a few minutes before your alarm will go off and you are trying to get up the motivation to get out of the toasty bed and put on your running shoes. It's still dark out but you woke early from the sound of the wind shaking your house and while you were lucky that the forecast was for clear weather, the temperature is a balmy 20 degrees (without wind chill). You crawl out of bed (some people hop out but at my age a crawl is doing well), put on numerous layers of clothes until you look like something resembling the Pillsbury Dough Boy, lace up your running shoes (if you can still reach them) and head out into the dark, frigid, windy Boston morning. There's nothing like those first few step when you lungs fill with that refreshing morning air, your bones and muscles creak to respond and you have the pleasure of seeing your breathe before it freezes on your face (or in my case creates a series of icicles on my mustache). Welcome to the world of winter training for the Boston Marathon.

We runners train pretty hard and I think it's only fair that the government should recognize the effort by providing a stimulus package to help get us going in the morning. Mine would involve funding several months of winter training in slightly milder weather...say, the Turks and Caicos Islands. My wife says I’ll be lucky to get a box of tea bags and an extra pair of warm socks and gloves.

For me, the running is not going well these days and every workout is a reminder I am way behind on my training and my leg is not healing. So it's no surprise it takes a "cattle prod" level stimulus to get me rolling out of bed some mornings. But every now and then I get a reminder of why I'm doing this and it makes the effort a bit easier. I had two of those nights this week. The first was visiting a homeless shelter for families where I got to witness first hand the terrific work that the people running the center are doing. I heard the stories of some of the current residents, saw the little kids playing quietly in the hallways and saw the one room "apartments" that the families happily call home. Not much bigger than one of my children's bedrooms. These are the luck families. In the last twelve months in MA the number of families without a place to stay has gone up 50%.

Tonight I had the privilege of going out in the Soup Truck to deliver hot soup, sandwiches and yogurt, along with some blankets, hats and gloves to guest that sleep on the street or in boarding houses. There was a light snow and it was cold and windy but the lines on the street corners where we stopped were far longer than normal. We were out of hats, gloves and blankets before we ever got to the last stop although we had enough food to make sure everyone got a good supply. At our last stop a woman arrived shivering with her bare hands shaking so hard she could barely hold the soup. She asked if we had any gloves. Justin, a current guest at Lazarus House and who had volunteered to join us on the truck, looked around for one last pair. He came up empty handed, and when he looked up at the woman she just smiled and said "that's OK". Justin pulled off his gloves and gave them to her.

So tomorrow, I’ll be rolling out of bed a bit faster and moaning a bit less as I head out into the forecasted snow storm. Keep your money President Obama, I have my stimulus package.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Half Way to Half Way

Every distance runner I have ever known has struggled through a run. It goes something like are in the first mile of a 10+ mile run. You are feeling like...well...crap. Every stride is an effort, the feet feel like lead, lungs are burning, breathing is like sucking air through a straw, legs are like jelly and the pavement feels twice as hard. And you are less than 10 minutes into an hour and a half run.

This is where the runner Gremlin kicks in. That's the little voice in the back of your head that relentlessly whispers "Why am I out here doing this?". "I don't need to run today, I should take the day off". "I'm not really a runner, I can't do this". "If I feel this bad now, imagine how bad I'm going to feel in another mile". "I'll never make it another hour, I might as well quit now". Come on, admit it...if you've run, swam or biked you've heard that Gremlin.

In a marathon it is even more extreme because you are out there for so long. To cope, we have all developed ways to "negotiate" with our Gremlin. Some runners don't think about the miles, they negotiate from milestone to milestone. I'll make it to the Framingham train station, then the girls at Wellesley, then the bottom of heartbreak, then the top of the next hill, then the next street corner, then the next telephone pole. The more pain, the shorter the distance to the next milestone and the louder the voice from the Gremlin to stop. I know runners who count down the miles one at a time, telling themselves they will just make it to the next mile. Tried this once...the first 13 miles it was tedious and the last 13 it was agonizing. My strategy is two fold...pummel the Gremlin with the knowledge that I have been here before and I know I can make it, and second, implement the "half way to half way" strategy. The first temporarily turns down the volume from the Gremlin (and I love the mental image of beating the crap out of the Gremlin with positive images) and the second breaks down the challenge in front of me into something I can mentally digest.

The reality is that a marathon is 80% mental and 20% physical. OK...maybe 50/50 but when you are in the last few miles it definitely feels like 80/20. By the time you get to 18 miles you have used up all your stored reserves and beyond that point you are literally digesting your muscles to fuel your body. This is why some people "hit the wall" between 18-20 miles. They just run out of fuel for the engine. At that point putting one foot in front of the other can take all the mental tenacity that a runner can muster. It's also when the Gremlins go from muttering in the background to picking up the megaphone and screaming in your head.

Why does any of this matter? Because dealing with the Gremlins on those tough training days, especially when you can barely drag your butt out of bed and the road feels like a tar pit that is sucking at every stride, is the mental training that will teach us how to deal with the Gremlins when we are in the final miles.

I also find that it helps to remember that as mentally challenging as it is to face each mile at the tale end of a marathon, it is nothing compared to the mental challenges of facing another day without a job, without food, without medical help or without a place to live. The tenacity to do that day after day without losing hope or giving up dwarfs my marathon efforts. Know that the help that many of you have offered provides the hope that allows them to silence their Gremlins for another day.

Oh...and how is my training going. Wellll...I'm half way to half way, and taking one day at a time.

Until next time....

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Sometimes being selfish can be good.

Training for the Boston Marathon if you live in New England is an exercise in dodging the weather (and sometimes cars). What makes it even more challlenging is getting in that weekly long run (usually several hours or more) that is so critical to marathon training. Most of us find it difficult to set aside several hours in the middle of the week so we save our long runs for Saturday or Sunday mornings. As luck would have it, in my neighborhood it has snowed almost every weekend this winter providing us with sidewalks buried under 2 feet of snow, roads covered with ice, and streets narrowed to where you often have to climb snow banks to avoid oncoming cars. The good news…temperatures actually reached 30 one weekend.

Yeah..I know…you want to know, “What’s this got to do with being selfish?”

Bear with me a bit.

I’m not sure any of us like the idea of being called selfish. It’s not the kind of comment you respond to with a “thank you”. I heard one person respond “I’m not selfish, simply self focused”. Whatever...if it helps you sleep nights……

Truth is, to be able to get out in this kind of winter weather to do anything for a couple of hours requires a certain amount of discipline, and ….well…self focus (not to mention a somewhat questionable mental state).

In the current economic times it’s easy to become self focused, worrying about the effect the economy will have on you (my way of dealing with it is not opening our monthly 401K or IRA reports with the unrealistic hope that if I don’t look its not real). While it is hard to turn on the TV or radio without hearing about foreclosures and job losses, it doesn’t seem as real as when it hits close to home with a family member or friend.

For me, I had one of those “reality” moments the other night. Last winter I had the opportunity to go out on the Lazarus House soup truck to bring sandwiches and hot soup to homeless and hungry neighbors who can’t make it to one of the city shelters for a hot meal. Between the snow, cold and icy roads it can be almost impossible for some of them, often with holes in their shoes, to make the trek. For many of them they have to make the decision to chance going out and getting sick (when they have no money for healthcare) or going hungry. They have gotten used to going hungry. So the soup truck brings food, along with socks and gloves, to people living in boarding houses and under bridges. Last winter when I was on the truck we served about 40 people who otherwise would have gone without. Last week that number was over 90. Sometimes “reality” bites.

So here’s the thing….while running the marathon could be considered a selfish act of setting and achieving a goal (and in my case honoring the memory of my son), you could argue that running it to help people makes my selfishness a good thing. What’s more, the feelings of accomplishment I get from knowing I helped others makes the training and running the marathon all worth while.

It’s not often we get to be selfish AND help others.

PS…Running is coming along slow but steady. Long run was 4 miles this week and while the hamstring is still giving me fits, I was able to keep a short stride and run slow enough to make it without re-injuring it. 11 weeks to go.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

It's Winter...Time for another Boston Marathon

French Novelist Alphonse Karr once wrote "The more things change, the more they remain the same". Well that pretty much sums up the start of this year's training for the Boston Marathon. Another year, another Boston, and YES...another injury.

Where we last left my blog stories, I had just finished the 2008 marathon, had done pretty well (survived AND qualified in the old man's division so I could get a number in 2009), and physically had no lasting injuries. Through the summer running was going well and I went into the fall expecting to be in great shape as I started the ramp up for the marathon training.

Sure as snow in Boston in the winter, come November I develop a problem with my left hamstring. Normally recovery is a week of rest, some stretching and a slow start to running again. Not this time. After a month of rest and stretching I tried again at Christmas and got about a mile before it gave out.

As an aside...I should point out that I hate going to doctors for running injuries. Most tell you if it hurts when you run, don't run. DUHHH. Can you imagine if the whole world operated like that? If you find it difficult to wake up in the morning, don't get up. If it's uncomfortable going the dentist, don't go. They fail to understand the mentality of a marathoner. If we all stopped when it started to hurt no one would make it to the finish line.

By January I'm getting emails from the rest of my team mates talking about getting together for 10 and 12 mile runs. I haven't run a step. It was time to bring in the big guns. I went to see Michele Holland who is a Lazarus House marathon team mate, a triathlete and a top notch physical therapist. With her help I am on a structured program that will hopefully help me heal in time to get to the starting line with a prayer of making it to the finish.

SO...what will make this year's story interesting will not be what time I do in the race, or the excitement of running with my daughter Heather and son-in-law Marshall (they can't make it this year). Given I'm two months late in starting, the big excitement for me will be dealing with the injury while trying to get in enough miles to get to the starting line with any chance of making it to the finish line before the 4th of July.

My first run is tomorrow...a whopping 1 mile. Stay tuned...should be interesting.