Thursday, April 19, 2012

06:03:42 - Melting in the Marathon

There is no way to accurately convey just how freaking hot it was on Monday but I'll give it a shot.    The day started for me at around 6:30 AM because that was about the time that I finally said to myself  "Well I'm not going to sleep anymore so I might as well get up"  I felt pretty good when I got up and I put on my awesome shirt that my wife Kristen battles over every year. (believe me when I tell you, every year she has the worst time with the shirt and every year it comes out looking awesome)

Awesome. Just Awesome.
 ...and if that weren't enough...

This is what she made for Max

I had the pleasure of riding in with two "real" runners and two of the nicest people on the earth.

This is me, Katie O'Connel and Jonathan Steeves
This is about as close to them as I will get all day
 Everybody was psyched, even though the weather was shaping up to be everything they warned us about, and we headed off to Hopkinton.

Where I saw this dude.

Hopkinton was everything it always is. It was crowded and hot but everyone seemed to be ready for the challenge. I am happy to report that my normal bathroom break did not happen on the side of the road just shortly after the start but in a port-a-potty in this vast city of dreams.

Behold the Glory of my Kingdom of Poop

The race started off great and I quickly settled into a rhythm. I was very careful not to start out too fast (a mistake I have made before and would have been deadly this year) and my calf was feeling pretty good…for about the first 2 ½ miles when I started to feel it. I thought “holy crap…I have a loooooong way to go and I can already feel this?!? Not good.” But as it turns out my calf (thanks to my newly purchased calf sleeve) was the least of my problems on Monday.

Hopkinton turned into Ashland and Ashland turned into Framingham and Framingham turned into Natick and the sun continued to get hotter and hotter. The crowds were amazing. Because of the nice weather they came out by the thousands. There were very few spots early on where the street wasn’t lined with wildly cheering spectators, as always, offering a variety of drinks, snacks and, on this day, a hose to cool you off. The best sign I saw was one that offered “Twizzlers, Vaseline and hugs”. I thought “what else do you need in life”.

The best part of running the Boston Marathon, for me, is the crowds. They are more supportive than you can imagine and they are and endless source of distraction and entertainment. In east Natick I made a spectacular reception of a pass from a teenager while holding my water bottle and a wash cloth that I was using to wipe my face. The energy I used to make that once in a lifetime catch probably added 45 minutes to my finishing time but it was a remarkable catch that was commented on and cheered by everyone that saw it. So…you know...totally worth it!

While we are talking about Natick I can’t fail to mention this is my favorite part of the run. This is where my family always is, cheering wildly. This year, my amazing wife Kristen, as she does every time I run the marathon, got my family and our neighbors, the Molinaro’s out to Natick where I was greeted with frozen towels, a frozen gel thing to wear around my neck, a healthy slathering of sunscreen and pictures. Take a look at this video and tell me that this isn’t a pit stop that even NASCAR would be proud of.

After that I went through the spray tent at the Natick fire station and headed off on my way. Natick turned into Wellesley and the girls at Wellesley College didn’t disappoint. They were as loud as they always are and they always provide a nice pick-me-up heading into the halfway point. While headed through downtown Wellesley I was surprised by a gentleman that came from the sidelines and started to run next to me. As it turns out it was the music teacher in the Millis school system, Mark Femino. He ran next to me for about ¾ of a mile keeping me company. It was an unexpected and pleasant surprise that was a highlight of this years run.

Not long after Mr. Femino and I parted ways I began running next to a gentleman named John who I found out was a school teacher in Boston and we kept each other company / motivated each other for most of the rest of race. As Wellesley became Newton I was pleasantly surprised that my body, particularly my legs, was doing pretty good. Usually by the time I reach the hills in Newton every step is an exercise in torture. My feet hurt. My legs hurt. My back hurts. Pretty much everything from the neck down hurts. But this year everything was ok. My legs and feet were tired but I wasn’t in agony. The only thing that was starting to give me trouble was the muscle just above and on the inside of my knees. They were beginning to spasm. This was a problem that I had the last time I ran but this year it started much later in the race and it wasn’t nearly as bad.

So here we are…cresting Heartbreak Hill and heading down the hill into Brookline and the heat has really taken its toll on me. Even though throughout the day you couldn’t go ½ mile without someone spraying you with a hose or offering you ice or offering you water, it was too hot and I had been out there for too long. My body really was starting to break down. I could only run for ½ - ¾ of a mile at a time before I had to stop and walk due to my spasming leg muscles or my hamstrings, which were now starting to give me trouble, or just from sheer exhaustion. Everything began to take on that hazy summertime feeling when it’s so hot that everyone is operating in slow motion. Even the spectators were starting to thin out and the ones that were there looked almost as hot and tired as the runners did.

As Brookline quickly became Boston, I now was sure that I would finish. Yeah I felt like crap but I only had a couple of miles to go and I knew that Max and the rest of my family were waiting for me on Boylston Street. When I saw the turn for Hereford Street I called my wife and told her I would be there shortly. As I rounded the corner from Hereford to Boylston Street I was out of gas. The finish line looked impossibly far away but I kept going. I have never walked across the finish line and I wasn’t about to do that this year. I got about half way there and I saw Max running out to meet me with a huge smile on his face and that gave me just enough strength to bring it home.   Here is how it looked from the sidelines.

After telling Max to slow down a little we made it across the finish line. It took me just over 6 hours. I want to feel like that is a horrible time but I think I am more proud of that, my worst time, than of my best.

Well that is my marathon tale for this year. Thanks to everyone that supported me along the way. Thanks to everyone that donated. You all rock and you inspired me to finish what I started. I can’t tell you how much inspiration you’ve given me over the last couple of months and I can’t thank you enough,

Thanks go out to my wife Kristen who has almost as difficult day on marathon Monday as I do. She drags a whole slew of people from Hopkinton to Natick to Boston and back again and it always touches my heart that she does it. This year was especially heroic because she wasn’t feeling 100 % and…MY GOD IT WAS HOT. Thanks Kristen…I’m glad I’m on your team.

Til Next time…

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Marathon Eve...(or the eve of disaster) and the Rocking continues.

Well...Here we are.  It is the day before the marathon and, if you listen to the BAA, if you decide to run this may be the last night you will ever see.  Due to the projected high temperature of around 85 degrees they are strongly suggesting that those who are not real men should not even get out of bed tomorrow for fear that as soon as they step foot into the sun they will burst into flames and burn the state of Massachusetts to the ground.  It seems that the race organizers are really nervous about people who are not "experienced marathoners" running this year.I, however am going to go and give it my best.  Now I am not a compete moron I am going to modify my approach to this years race.  I am going to have to give up my goal of finishing in under 5 hours and focus just on finishing without causing myself permanent damage.  The heat is just another thing to worry about as I head off to Hopkinton.  I am still very concerned about how my calf is going to hold up.  I bought a calf sleeve today and I am hoping that this will help me deal with what I am sure to be a long afternoon.

On the bright side my donations continue to come in and as of right now I am at $3,684 and according to my good friends at Firstgiving that is 123% of my goal and that ROCKS. 

While we are on the subject lets take a look and see if there is any more people out there who rock.

As it turns out the Monaghan family rocks

When I posted on Facebook that I was within $16 of my goal and I asked if anyone wanted to be the one to push me over the top, an old friend of mine John Sibley replied with just one word..."Done".  He rocks.

A month or so ago I played in a trivia contest with Lori Saywer.  We won so it is obvious that she rocks at trivia and she rocks in general.

Kristen and I have some old friends that we don't get to see nearly enough but the one thing I know about the Corriea family (that would be Angie, Joey, Joey, Evey and Sam) is that they Rock.

The Millis school system continues to impress everyone with their rock-i-tude because I got donations from 3 more people.  That would be Amy Day (no relation), Gayle Kendall and Susan Donelan.  There really is no disputing how much they rock.

The aforementioned (I mentioned her in another post) and lovely Donna Cabibo and the equally lovely Brian Hoell both rock.

While we are discussing the amazing people from the Millis Theatre Group let me mention Peg and Joel White as well as the wonderful Karen Motekaitis who, you guessed right, Rock.

I have another friend from the theatre group that I am still waiting to have an over-act off with.  His name is Bob Orsi and he rocks.

My sister-in-law has a friend that she works with named Joan DeRubeis who most definitely rocks.

There is a woman named Laura Hill that donated to my run.  I don't know who she is but I do know that she rocks.

I have friends that are named Lydia and Melita and they are going to run the marathon this year as bandits (shhhh... don't tell anyone) I won't give out there last names to protect them from the marathon police.  But I will tell you that they rock.

Finally there is my wife's friend and co-worker Joe Valle.  He was given $50 by someone whose husband died.  She gave Joe this money simply because the husband always liked him.  Joe turned around and donated that $50 to my marathon in honor of that man.  His name was Talbot Smith and he rocks.  That story rocks and so does Joe.

That's it.  I have to get some sleep, I have a long hot day tomorrow.  If I don't burst into flames I will give you the low down on how it went.

Til next time..

Friday, April 13, 2012

You Have GOT to be kidding me!!!

So here I am just a few short days from the marathon all worried about my calf muscle.,  I'm worried that I won't be able to run very well on it and I am seriously worried that my goal of breaking the 5 hour mark will go by the wayside.  But...I'm trying to stay positive.  I think to myself...well,  I'm just going to go out there and give it my best.

If that weren't bad enough lat night I woke up somewhere around 2:00 AM feeling like I caught my son Anthony's stomach bug.  I spen the next 2 1/2 hours holding back the inevitable.  Then some time around 4:30AM my body said "OK you need to find the bathroom now!!!"  and then I proceded to...well...I'll spare you the details but lets just say dinner made an encore appearance.  So I eventually got back into bed and tried to go back to sleep but at this point it felt like every last joint in my body was filled with shards of broken glass and my head felt like it was filled with angry, stinging wasps.  So needless to say I didn't sleep for the rest of the night.

Now as you know I just started a new job so not going into work was out of the question and I limped my way in at 7:30 after discovering that, apparently, everything in my body had turn to liquid.  So I sat at work not knowing which is a worse image of me for my co-workers.  Is it just calling in sick on my second week when I am alreading taking Monday off or is it the image of me gently weeping in my office because I'm so tired I am hallucinating and every inch of my body feels likeI have been abused by a pack of rabid gorillas that have been taught to fight with baseball bats.  Needless to say I meekly limped out of there at about  9:30 this morning and I have been in and out of sweet sweet unconciousness ever since.

So there you go...I have 2 days to get better.  My wife came home from work this afternoon and brought me Powerade so I won't dehydrate and saltines so I would have something in my stomach.  She's so good to me. :)

What does this mean for the marathon?  Well I am kind of banking on feeling better by then and I have told myself that I will either finish the race or they will cart me off on a stretcher.  I was sent a couple of quotes from another member of the NF marathon team that I really like and I will leave you with them

Anyone can run a marathon in 3:00:00 hours, but it takes a real man /woman to stay out there for 6:00:00 hours.

Champions aren't made in gyms

" Champions are made from something they have deep inside them - a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have that last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill".

Muhammad Ali

The Greatest

Thanks to Jeff Brown for these quotes.
Til next time...

Thursday, April 12, 2012


$3,200 and counting!!!!  Thanks to everyone who helped achieve this goal.  I am deeply moved by the generosity I have seen from friends family and complete strangers.  It has inspired me to try even harder to achieve the second half of my goal which is to beat my old nemesis...the 5 hour mark. (Que sinister music)

It is now 5 days before the marathon and I would be lying to you if I said I wasn't worried.  Although I feel like my training has been going as good as could have hoped, a problem has arisen.  I have had a calf muscle that has been giving me grief for the last week and a half and although I have scaled waaaaayy back on my runs it is still refusing to feel normal.  I have heated it, iced it. elevated it, stretched it and even had Kristen knead it to within an inch of its life. (an act that was excruciating and yet I thought I heard Kristen chuckle as she was doing it)  However, I refuse to let it stop me.  I am going to show up in Hopkinton on Monday and do my best to make everyone proud.  I'm not sure why it should make a difference when I finish but I feel like I would be letting people down if I don't finish in less than 5 hours.  So I am going to say F it I'm going for it and calf muscle be damned!!!


Just a couple of quick things before I sign off tonight.  First Take a look at the two surveys that are to the right of this post.  One asks how quickly you think I will finish this year.  The other is about the most handsome man on the planet.  I will have you know as you take a look at that second one that as of this writing there have been two votes.  One person voted for me and I swear on a stack of bibles that it wasn't me.  I have no idea who it was.  The other vote was cast by my wife so you know you can be brutally honest with your vote.  Oh, and don't worry, I have know way of knowing how you voted.  The only reason I know my wife didn't vote for me is that she proudly told me.

Also,  this weekend is number pick up weekend.  This is when the Day family makes the trek into Boston to pick up my official number as well as my Boston Marathon shirt.  This year it is at the Seaport World Trade Center as is the Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo.  I always enjoy this but I don't know if I can say the same for my poor family.  I'll post a report about this on Saturday or Sunday.

My donations are STILL coming in and I am thrilled to death about that. Keep them coming!!! There will be one more installment of "People Who Rock" before the marathon so stay tuned for that.

Well I am off to have my leg brutalized again by Kristen.  I swear if I am able to finish this race in any kind of reasonable time it will be because of her.

Til next time...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

People Who Rock 2012, The Sequel.

A lot of people say to my wife and I "How do you do it?  How do you get through each day dealing with the kind of crap that you have had to deal with in your life?"   They are talking about the fact that in the past couple of years our life has been...well let's just say, less than a box of kittens.  Now, before you say "there are people that have it worse" let me just say this...No Kidding.  Of course there are people that have it worse off than us but the one thing that I have learned is that your problems are your own and no one can tell you that you shouldn't feel bad if you are going through a rough patch in your life.  I have had people complain to me about their life and then quickly say "I shouldn't complain because you guys have it worse."  To which I say "So what???"  Does that mean that you can't feel bad?  Does that mean no one should give you sympathy?  Does that mean that you are not worthy or deserving of hugs or well wishes?  The answer, of course, is a resounding NO!  We all have a right to bitch and moan when our lives take a turn for the crappy.  And we all appreciate it when others lend an ear and offer their sympathy and understanding. It is what you do from there that defines you.  You can choose to wallow in self pity or draw from the strength of friends, family and sometimes, complete strangers and realize that you can handle anything.

That is how we do it.  In the past couple of years we have had to deal with death, disease, joblessness, fear of not being able to pay the rent, fear of not being able to pay for health insurance as well as the thousand other challenges that face you every day of your life.  We learned that it is not a sign of weakness to accept help.  We learned that people are willing give their time, money and love and ask nothing in return. We also learned that, although we never feel like we are deserving of their generosity, we should accept it with our sincere and heartfelt appreciation.  I have learned that, although you think that the world is filled with bastard filled bastards covered in bastard frosting, there is actually more decent, caring and generous people that will give you the shirt off their back with a smile and a kind word than you could ever imagine in your wildest dreams.

So with that in mind let me get to this installment of .....(drum roll please)


Let's start out with the lovely Melissa Holt who is someone I know through the Millis Theatre Group.  She and her whole family rocks

How about Shellie and Sam Goldman?  Shellie is proof that people with NF absolutely ROCK.  And I am sure that if Sam hangs around with Shellie he also rocks.

Then there is Katie Sawyer who I met just a few weeks ago and I could tell than that she rocked and now I have proof.

There is a guy that I used to work with at Gillette Stadium who has always had a kind word and has always supported my marathon runs through Facebook.  His name is Jesse Stearns and he rocks.

Another Theatre Group friend who rocks is Ed Quinlan Esq. (Don't let the fact that he is a lawyer make you think that he doe anything but rock)

I received a generous donation from a woman named Beverly Temple.  She wrote me a touching note about her cousin's son Tommy.  Tommy has NF and she made her donation in his name.  Is there anyone who will argue with me about the fact that Beverly, her cousin and Tommy all ROCK?

Barbara Kennedy works with my wife at Middlesex Savings Bank.  She rocks as does her husband Lawrence

I have a cousin on my wife's side of the family that, if anything ever happens to my wife (God forbid), is the only woman that I can marry.  Her name is Karen Wright and she has a husband named Jeff and they, along with their adorable kids Ben and Matt rock like there is no tomorrow.

We have some old friends that were formally from Millis named the Fischers and they all rock

My cousin Kim and her husband Bill both have rocked at every family reunion and I can proudly say they still do.

No list of people who rock would be complete without my mother-in-law Caryl.  She always rocks.

There is a guy that I used to work with in my old TJX days named Paul Inferrera.  He rocked back in the day.  Now I haven't heard from him in years but, sure enough, it turns out he still rocks.

One day I had to go into the town hall and pay my excise tax bill.  The woman that took my check gave me one in return and even though I spelled her name wrong on my donation page, she really rocks.  For the record her real name is Laurie Walker.

I have two friends for my old Oxford days named Pat and Erin Sibley.  I have known forever that they rocked and now you know it too.

This next person is someone that without whom I am not here and I am not the person that I am.  That person is my mother and you can bet she rocks.

Donna Cabibo is a lovely young woman that I consider a good friend.  She was nice enough to send my request for donations out to a lot of people in town and as a result I recieved donations from a number of people in town including Carolyn and Paul Neeson.  Anyone who sends money to someone they don't know obviously do Jeane and Robert Burke.

Someone in town sent me a cash donation and simply wrote "Good luck in the race"  I don't know who that person is but what I do know is that they rock.

You know who else made a donation?  Molly Kane did and that qualifies her as someone who rocks.

When you are in school and it gets to be lunch time who is always there to get you some tasty vittles?  Why that would be the Lunch Ladies.  The rock at lunchtime and at every other time of the day as well.

While you are at Millis High School you might want to swing by the principals office and see Mr. Bob Mullaney.  He is a great principal and, as it turns out, rocks as hard as anyone.

Max had a special ed teacher named Julia Fredette and she has a husband named James Clark and they couldn't rock any harder.

Another one of Max's teachers is Bernadette Lindgren.  She has a husband named Michael and they both rock

Another great family in town are the Fogarty's and you guessed it, they all rock.

Yet another teacher form Millis has generously donated.  Her name is Sharon Monaghan and she and her whole family rocks.

Cheryl Skeats is a friend from a million years ago when a I was just a young schoolboy.  She rocked then and she and Chris Brunelli rock now.

I recently reached out to a business contact named Bryan Reinhart.  He works for a trucking company broker and he does, indeed, rock.

There is a teacher in the Clyde Brown elementary school named Amie Colcord and she rocks.

And finally a donation form a group of people came through this week that had me shaking my head in dis-belief.  Earlier this week my kids had came home from school and told me that Mr Alconada, one of the science teachers at the school was spearheading a fundraising effort at the school to support my Boston Marathon run.  When I saw the amount that was raised by the students faculty and staff at the school I was stunned.  Over $1,000 was raised and THAT, my friend, ROCKS.  Many many thanks to Mr. Alconada and the entire Millis School system.

The motto of the Millis Middle/High School is "Small School.  Big Family."  Those words have never been personified better.   I am humbled by their generosity and grateful for their kindness. They all ROCK!

As of right now I am just $14 short of my goal of $3,000.  I now know that my fundraising goal will be met.  Now I want to find out how much I can beat it by.  So if you haven't already, throw a couple of bucks in the kitty and lets see where we can get to with this thing.

Til next time...