Less than One Month until #RUNtober

Counting down the days until the October Sunday Challenge. The first race is now less than 30 days away.

Here are the four races I’ve picked – one for each Sunday in October.

-Smuttynose Hampton Half Marathon, October 5th
-BAA Half Marathon, October 12th
-Baystate Half Marathon, October 19th
-White Mountain Milers Half Marathon, October 26th

I am running in a new role – as a health care advocate, hoping to spread the word about the importance of getting an annual physical exam. Early detection is crucial. Trust me, I’m know.


Special Announcement: Get Ready for the Sunday October Challenge

This October I’ll be running a different New England half marathon every Sunday during the month. I’m calling this the October Sunday Challenge.

I’ll be running the following four October races: Smuttynose Rockfest, B.A.A. Half Marathon, Baystate Half Marathon, and the White Mountain Milers Half.

October Challenge whiteI’m not doing this to fundraise, but to instead create awareness. I’m hoping any awareness I can create will shine a light on the fact that everyone must get their annual physical exam. You see, too many people are choosing to blow off their annual exam for a number of lame reasons: laziness, procrastination, fear, or even indifference. And as a person who found out first hand the importance of early detection, I can’t stress enough the importance of making that annual trip to the doctor.

I’ll share more on this over the next few weeks, but in the meantime, join me in passing the word along to everyone, “get a physical!”

So where’s your asterisk now?

Last last year I wrote this post (“A Subtle, Unintended Motivation. Thank You”) expressing my conflicted feelings at the time about the finishers’ certificates for the 2013 Boston Marathon.

You see, those who weren’t able to finish the race because of the marathon bombings (like myself) received a certificate with the carefully chose wording stating I “participated in” the Boston Marathon along with a computer-calculated finish time. Though this wording was very diplomatic and polite, it left a hollow feeling inside both for myself and fellow 5700 non-finishers.

Needless to say, I used this as an opportunity to create a chip on my shoulder the size of Heartbreak Hill. Though I can’t blame the BAA as they were put in an awkward position on this issue. But nonetheless it stayed in the back of my mind as I plugged away at my training for Boston 2014.

Well, it’s now almost a year later, and our 2014 finishers’ certificates just arrived in the mail. And safe to say, this time the phrasing leaves no doubt…


Marked Improvement at the Stowe 8 Miler

Today I ran the Stowe 8 Miler. This is my second year running this race which leads through the rural sections of Stowe, Vermont. Last year I was clearly not prepared to run this race, which makes sense considering I stumbled upon it while vacationing in Vermont.

This  year, however, I was ready. And though I wouldn’t call this one of my best efforts, I was very pleased with the results. My official time was 1:10:30 (compared to last year’s 1:23:40).


The runners make their way to the start.


Thumbs Up at the finish


Post-race rest with Lila and Emerson

An Awesome Day at the BAA 10K

I’m a little behind in posting this. The BAA 10K was this past Sunday at Boston Common, and once again Team Five was well represented with 10 runners.

The cooler weather paid off as they were giving out PR’s like they were tootsie rolls. I had a very good run, starting out the first two miles in the mid 7’s, and finishing the last four miles right around an 8 minute pace. My final time was 49:34, blowing away my time from last year of 57:58.


Hot ‘n Hilly at The Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon

Today I ran my first significant race since the Boston Marathon when I participated in inaugural Heartbreak Hill Half Marathon in Chestnut Hill, MA.  This race is presented by Runner’s World magazine. Plus, the fact that the race is managed by DMSE was also a major selling point.

It was hot out there, reaching into the 80’s. And, it was hilly, which should not be a newsflash when the name of the race itself is based on one of the most challenging hills in all of running.

IMG_9139My official finish time was 2:01:16, which I’m very satisfied with, especially having “strategically” walked various hills on the course (I wanted to go easy back today, plus walking at times helped keep my heart rate at a modest level).

IMG_9154All told, I thought it was a great race… and well-managed. If this race comes back again next year, I would definitely participate again.

When AFib Bites Back…

Just one week after the Boston Marathon, I noticed my heart rate was rapid and irregular. I went to the hospital, and they confirmed what I had feared – I was no longer in sinus rhythm… I had suffered another episode of atrial fibrillation.

Some people may get upset, but not me. How can I? I enjoyed 5 1/2 months of great health, and I’ll be very grateful for that time. I even was able to squeeze in a full marathon training schedule.

From here I’ll leave it up to my cardiology team to come up with the best plan for me. I intend on remaining active, and not giving in to this condition.

This may sound cliche, but it’s true. I may have AFib, but AFib doesn’t have me.


My Recent Article for BEYOND THE MILES

Last week I was asked to contribute an article to Runkeeper.com’s Beyond the Miles blog about the post-marathon blues. My article was titled “I just rand the Boston Marathon… So now what?” This was a follow-up to an article I wrote last year about runner’s postpartum and the lows one feels after running in the world’s greatest marathon.

And safe to say that compared to my article last year, my perspective was completely different this year.

You can read my article by clicking on the graphic below.

RK blog

The Calm Before the Storm…

Today was number pick up day at The John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo down in Boston. This event, though always great, can often be a zoo because of the huge attendance. Nonetheless, my wife and I braved the large crowd, visiting pretty much all the exhibitors. At the end of the day we also attended a lecture given by race director Dave McGillivary about the marathon course and this year’s new safety precautions.

Time to start getting ready…

IMG_7926 tcIMG_7931 tcIMG_7933 tcIMG_7932

Making It Count at the One Fund Telethon

This past Tuesday I volunteered at WCVB Telethon for The One Fund. This event was produced by the television station I work for, WCVB-TV 5, so as you can imagine I did not hesitate when they asked for volunteers.

I helped with some of the behind the scenes stuff, including taking incoming pledge calls and processing the credit card forms.  A great day all around, and a great event as the telethon collected more than $100K for The One Fund.



One Year Later, Boston Remembers…

All I can remember was that the runners started moving much slower, and finally we log jammed right at the Mass Ave underpass. My wife, at the finish line, called me on my phone, so I was tipped off on what was happening. Right at that time cell phone coverage gave out. The only thing working was social media.

Below was the tweet I put out when stopped at the 25.75 mile mark…

This day was supposed to mark my final marathon. Little did I know at that time that this would just be the beginning…

Add this to the Inspiring Marathon Video List

There will no doubt be a ton of video tributes, montages, produced pieces, promos, and even songs between now and Marathon Monday.

And I say… the more the merrier. In my opinion there can’t be enough. Each one, whatever it is, comes from its own voice, and quite frankly its inspiring to see how different people are telling their story about April 14, 2014.

This one video below is no exception. I stumbled upon it this morning, and immediately watched it 3 times. Different thoughts from different runners about what Boston means to them, and the emotional effect that day will have. I think what I like about this video is that it takes viewers inside the mind of runners training for the big day, and what they’re anticipating. Well done.





Braving the Rain at the Eastern States 20 Miler

The weather forecast for today’s Eastern States 20 Miler called for “100% chance of rain.”  The Eastern States 20 Miler is usually the last tune-up run before beginning the taper for Boston. It’s a 20 mile run that starts in Portsmouth, NH and winds down the coast ending in Salisbury, MA (although today it concluded in Hampton Beach, NH due to bridge construction which slightly altered the course).

The day was mixed, though more positive than negative. I did great through the first 13, turning the half way mark in 1:21:00 and the half marathon in 1:47:35, but encountered cramps in my quads around mile 15 which slowed me down considerably during the last five miles.

I finished in 2:56:38, but I feel like I left some minutes out there on the course. Nonetheless, it’s a considerable improvement from last year (3:23:57).

Eastern States 2014IMG_7520

The World Reacts to Boston… A Look Back

It’s been almost a year now since the events of last April 15th, and I remember finding this post on BuzzFeed the day after the marathon.

I can remember being particularly moved (and fascinated) by the news coverage from dozens of newspapers from around the world.

What a Difference a Year Makes – The 2014 Black Cat 20 Miler

BlackCatHeaderToday I ran the Black Cat 20 Miler. It was my third year running this event, and to say my relationship with this race has been “shakey” is an understatement. This race is typically the first weekend in March, so I’m never fully ready to run 20 miles so early on. Plus I had been pretty sick earlier in the week, so it goes without saying my expectations for today’s race were very low.

But today was different. Today I was able to get off to a great start, hitting the first 5K in just over 25 minutes, and turning the 10 mile half way point in 1:23. But I wasn’t feeling 100% on the back side (probably due to my illness earlier in the week), so I hot dogged it a little bit, opting to run/walk most of the last 5 miles. I figured it’s still early in my training schedule, and no need to go crazy with Boston still 7 weeks away.

black catI finished in 3 hours on the nose (3:00:25 to be exact), a time which for me is unheard of altogether. By way of comparison, last year I finished this same race in 3 hours, 28 minutes. Who knew?

Anyways, I am pleased.

I’m very happy with where I am in my training, and if today’s any indication, then maybe this will be my year.  It’s been a brutal winter, not just because of the weather, but also because of my recent health issues.

The Eastern States 20 Miler is in 4 weeks, so plenty of time to “keep it going.”

Our New Battle Cry

heart5As we approach the two month mark until the Boston Marathon, I was asked today what my motivational “catch phrase” was going to be down the stretch. For me, it’s become somewhat of a tradition.

Last year, thinking it was going to be my final Boston, I used “My Last Run” as my tagline. We all know how that ended up.

So as I ponder this year’s slogan, I actually came up with one pretty easily – “Run with Heart.”

Yes, it’s a bit overused. But for me it’s so appropriate. Given the backdrop of my cardiac  issues these past few months, combined with the fact that this WILL be my final Boston, and of course factor in the pure emotion that will present itself on race day due to last year’s tragic events, I couldn’t think of a more appropriate moniker.

“Run with Heart.” I say let’s go with it.


Emerson, Tracy, and Lila showing off “Run with Heart”

View from the Top

Today’s 16 mile long run took me to one of the highest points in Windham, NH. I trekked up the long steep hill up to the high school (which I appropriately call “Mt. Windham”). It’s not an easy run at all, probably twice as steep and twice as long as Heart Break Hill.

Below is a picture I took from the top. The best part of making it to the top? Running down the hill afterwards (it’s like taking a one mile coffee break).


                                 View from one of the highest parts of Windham


Cold, dark, windy… Just Perfect.


The inviting temperature during this morning’s pre-work 3.5 mile run.

This is what makes training for Boston unlike anything else – these are the mornings you remember when taking the starting line in April.

Guess What? I’M CLEARED.

Today was the big day.

Today I went to see my cardiologist for the first follow-up visit since my electrical cardioversion back on December 13th. This is the appointment when everything gets tested to see if the heart is still working right and if I’m still in normal heartbeat rhythm (also known as “sinus rhythm”).

And the results were good. Very good.

Everything checked out okay, and my doctor officially cleared me to start running outdoors, and more importantly, to start my training for the 118th Boston Marathon.

Look, there’s obviously much more important things in life than running a race, and I know that. But this isn’t just any race – at least not this year it isn’t. And I’ve been given a second chance. It’s time to get to work.

Let’s just say that my emotion was captured accurately in the video below.

How a movement was born…

On May 16th the BAA announced that the approximately 5,700 runners who were unable to complete the 117th Boston Marathon would in fact be invited back for the 2014 race. There were many reasons why this was made possible, but in the end it was best summed up by race director Dave McGillivray’s ringing comment that anyone who runs Boston deserves to experience “the euphoria of running down Boylston Street to the finish line.”

This group of passive, but very vocal non-finishers would go on to be referred to as “the 5700.” They became just enough of a voice that they helped shape the ongoing conversation about what would happen to the runner’s field in the upcoming 118th Boston Marathon leading right up to that decision in mid-May.

Below is one such video that unified this group, created by runner Ryan Polly. He, like myself, was part of a large group of runners halted right at the Mass Avenue underpass, right around the 25.8 mile mark. His video, entitled “Please Let Us Run” sums up how we all felt when there was initial indecision about our eligibility in the next Boston Marathon. Needless to say, this video inspired over 28,000 online signatures on a Change.org petition.

To this day, “the 5700″ continue to rally, pumping up each other via an online Facebook community. Sometimes we see each other at local races wearing a custom Boston Strong 5700 shirt (see below).

You won’t hear much about this group nowadays, and that’s quite alright with us. But on April 21st let’s just say there will be a special group of a few thousand determined runners with some extra motivation to not just finish, but bring to a close a quest two years in the making.


Representing “The 5700″ at the Providence Rock ‘n Roll Marathon.

New Year, New Gear

Though I haven’t been cleared yet by my cardiologist to start running outdoors, I made the bold step recently to switch footwear. It’s something I had been thinking about it for awhile, and figured now’s the time. I had been wearing Brooks for the last two years with no complaints. However, I felt now is the time to switch to a shoe that better “hugs” my foot, whereas Brooks was more of a flat shoe for me feet. I also wanted a lighter shoe.

After a lot of back ‘n forth research, I finally settled into a new pair of ASICS Gel Kayano 19. And regarding the weight, the Gel Kayano comes in at almost 3 ounces lighter than the incumbent Brooks Addiction 10.

I test drove the new shoes on a treadmill at my gym, and I can definitely detect the lighter weight and firmer fit. All around, the shoe feels good. I won’t know for certain until I’m cleared to get back out there on the snowy roads, which is hopefully soon.


My new ASICS Gel Kayano 19 and my other favorite – my Polar heart rate monitor.

Quitting Diet Coke: Seven Weeks Later

Tomorrow, December 27th, marks 7 weeks since I sipped my very last Diet Coke. I had been on a crazy routine of drinking anywhere between 4 to 7 cans per day since 1996.

imagesEverything changed when I reported to a routine physical exam on November 8th. My doctor told me I had an irregular heart beat (which would later be diagnosed as atrial fibrillation, or “AFib”).

When I left the doctor’s office, I got into my car, and drank my very last Diet Coke.  I was quitting cold turkey.

Seven weeks have gone by, and I won’t say it was easy by any means. But it’s sure a lot easier to quit something when you know it directly affects your health. The fact that caffeinated cola was directly causing my heart to be “over active” served as a wake up call.

Since then I’ve been drinking a lot of water as well as other non-caffeinated alternatives. It feels good to be somewhat constantly hydrated. In the past I would go through long spells of minor dehydration simply because the caffeine itself would dehydrate me, coupled with the fact that I wouldn’t drink that much water. Now the tables are turned, and I feel (and look) much healthier.