Fighting Kids Cancer…One Step at a Time

February 8, 2010

My youngest son, Alexander and me (Dad) after 2008 Marathon

My youngest son Alexander was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in June of 2006. I am extremely happy to report that he is on the road to recovery.

MassGeneral Hospital has helped my family over the past four years and in gratitude I am running my third Boston Marathon in support of the MassGeneral Hospital for Children, raising money to help fund childhood cancer research and clinical services. You can check out the MassGeneral Marathon team here!

We invite you to visit our donation page here www.firstgiving.com – remember, any amount helps and goes toward research, treatment and a cure for childhood cancer.  To read more about our family’s story you can check our family website here  www.platypusandsalamander.com and stay tuned for more information on the blog about this year’s unique journey.

We appreciate all of your support and look forward to sharing Boston Marathon news, my training runs, pictures and our family updates!

-Mark Meche


Post Race Ponderings and Shout Outs!

April 21, 2010

What is the best strategy for finishing a race that you aren’t really prepared for? Start slow, then ease off (motto for the Greater New Orleans Runners Association circa 1984).

2010 Marathon Start

It was a perfect day for running and my experience with the Boston Marathon significantly lowered the pre-race anxiety levels. The day started a little before 5:00am in order to make it to MGH and the bus to Hopkinton by 6:05 and the starting gun at 10:30. Amy Flynn and company at MGH really go to a lot of trouble to make the pre-race ordeal less Spartan than the independent race experience. We had a nice bus, a warm tent, plenty to eat and drink and some entertainment to round out the hours. The Boston Athletic Association deserves a shout out as well, in my experience, everyone and everything BAA is well planned, cheerful and helpful.

Crowd getting ready in Hopkinton

If you have read prior installments of this blog, you probably know that knee problems essentially benched me for most of the winter and I wasn’t really prepared this time around, at least not as prepared as I like to be. This may actually be the first time I started a race wondering if I was up to finishing it. It wasn’t easy but I crossed the finish line after 4h53m32s. That’s not as fast as I fantasized about but about where I expected to finish this year. I am satisfied; besides, it will make achieving my sub 4 hour marathon goal seem more dramatic. I also want to express my gratitude to the experts that helped eliminate my left knee from the list of barriers to success; Dr. Bradley at High Performance Sports Medicine and Jill and Sara at Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation.

GO WICKED

It was great to see the Wicked Running Club at mile 17. Apparently, the Wicked Gel Stop has become a motivational milestone for me. From the start, I kept thinking “if I can just make it to the Wicked Stop”. Once I passed the halfway mark and started ticking off the back side miles, my confidence grew as did my longing for some Wicked Gel. I spotted Colin and Rachel first, then the long Wicked line including Beth O’Grady, Doug Bollen, I think I saw Shari Hewson and Adam Fitch; you know I was moving so fast, it was just all a blur 😉 . The Wicked Stop definitely helped catapult me up that series of hills on Comm. Ave. that in years prior did not seem to me to be that big of a deal; I suspect the gel was helpful too. Thanks for saving me some chocolate.

Halfway Mark of the Boston Marathon

GO MECHE FAMILY SUPPORT

Kristin, Atticus and Alexander were great and this was the first year I actually spotted them near the finish line. I lack the skill to capture in words just how powerful that moment felt; it was better than the finish line just a few hundred feet away. Thank you Allison Brooks, Paul Durand and Sarah Nelson (listed alphabetically—I lack the courage to try and rank their contributions). Needless to say, without your support, tolerance, nagging, etc. our outreach would not be so effective or so darn interesting ;-).

Meche Family Post Race at MGH with Support Poster!

After a quick shower at Fitcorp we went to MGH to get my car and took a brief detour into the lobby to see the poster that MGH put up. Next was the post race dinner; we seem to have developed a tradition as this is the third year in a row at Finz in Salem. I want to give them a particular shout out for the extra hospitality (thanks Joe, Jen, Kate and of course Geo).

SUPPORTERS, FRIENDS AND FAMILY

I get more credit than I deserve for the running part of this enterprise; the truth is I find running to be a selfish and enjoyable act (usually). The people who are making the most difference are those of you supporting this Cancer Care for Children program by writing a check or pressing that www.FirstGiving.com/Meche_Marathon_Team button. Thank you for all you do and give. I promise to keep running if you keep giving.


Countdown to the Boston Marathon!

April 16, 2010

First of all, a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has supported our cause – whether by donation or encouragement, it means a lot.  This year, we celebrated Alexander’s last day of chemotherapy and his first major year of recovery thanks to MGH Cancer Care for Kids.  As the day of the race looms closer, I get a little more nervous.

I invite you to follow me online through BAA.org’s Athlete Tracking which will be up and running on Monday April 19th.  Search for me and follow my progress at every 5K marker: bib number 25881. It might not be pretty or a personal best, but my mission is greater than all of us.  For those of you didn’t see it, here is my “Countdown to Raceday” email blast as well….and once again, my sincerest thanks!


Wristbands in Unique Places (Part 2)!

April 16, 2010

In response to our last post about our awesome wristbands showing up in unique places, we got some wonderful pictures!  Check out some of our favorite submissions:

Bentley with a MMT bracelet

World's Best Boss Supports MGH Cancer Care for Kids

Winter Street's own Galapagos Chris shows his support

Who needs bike tassles when you have MMT bracelets?

Old Ipswich gives us a little love (I see a trend happening)

Three Generations of Meche Marathon bracelets!


Wristbands in Unique Places

April 5, 2010

Wristbands love the Irish - thanks Conleth

Our good Irish friend Conleth O’Flynn sent this picture in last week.  Needless to say this is the most unique place we’ve seen our wristbands to date.

Can you do better? Send us your pictures or post them to my facebook page!


(to email your unique wristband photos, send to mmeche[at]wsarchitects.com)


On Enlightenment

April 2, 2010

(By Kristin Rowe-Meche)

I used to think enlightenment was like illumination – rays of clear reason showering down on the cold dark ages of ignorance. I was raised on depictions of god descending from heaven on beams of blinding golden sunshine, heralded by angels, while man cowers in awe. In that Christian worldview, faith and redemption are the gifts of enlightenment, bestowed on us from above. But leukemia gave me a more personal, empowering outlook on enlightenment – one that brought me comfort during my son’s illness and treatment. I believe it will also help me to find meaning and purpose in the future, when our lives are not so clearly and inevitable defined by the roles of patient, caregiver, survivor, healer.

Read the rest of this entry »


3 Weeks to Go!

March 29, 2010

Sunday, March 29th

For those of you not familiar with Marathon training, most programs call for regularly increasing weekly mileage peaking about 3 weeks before the race and then what is known as race tapering. One variation of conventional wisdom suggests the peak training run of 20 miles.  We are now about  3-weeks before race day and today was the traditional MGH marathon team’s 20-miler. We were all invited to Howard’s (Dr. Weinstein) house which is about a block off of Commonwealth Ave in Newton near to mile 20. We all hop on a bus and motor out to Hopkinton and then run back to Howard’s house, right at the foot of Heartbreak Hump, how convenient! This is also when we pick up our t-shirts and racing singlet.

Speaking of racing singlet, here is my collection. Guess what they have in common? Guess correctly and I will send you a MMT wristband.  If you guess wrong, I will still send you a MMT wristband.

Back to the training run. I had an awful time with it and ended up walking a fair bit of the last four or five miles, everything hurt. Two years ago, I had actually trained out to a 30 mile run on this day; last year I did about 24 miles. One additional complication is that my stride sensor needs recalibration because I think it is not reporting distance very accurately. That 14 mile run the other day was probably just a 13 miler.  With just 3 weeks left I really don’t have much chance to train for additional endurance; I will try to put in a 10-miler tomorrow or Tuesday before fully recovering from today but after that, it is time to start consolidation and rest.

I need a strategy (that does not involve the Green Line) to ensure I can cross the finish line before the BAA closes down the course. At this point, I am not at all optimistic about time or pace. I plan to run a very conservative race, probably keeping my pace well into the 10 minute per mile zone for the first half, maybe even through heartbreak hill. Before my knee problems, I hoped to be breaking into the threes this time, as in 3:59:50, which calls for a 9:20ish pace. One common mistakes for Boston runners is an over fast start, the first 5 miles is a comfortable downhill that leads runner to assume that they are faster than they thought. Many coaches suggest running a reverse split where the last half of the race is faster than the first. I tend to run a flat race staying fairly consistent throughout the course. I am reminded of the Greater New Orleans Runners Association. Back about 1984, while still living in the Crescent City, I was attracted to join this running club by their motto “Start slow then ease off”. I wonder what happened to that racing singlet.

-Mark


The Wristbands Have Arrived!

March 23, 2010

We just got the new MecheMarathonBlog.com Fighting Kid’s Cancer…One Step at a Time wristbands! I was so excited – I had to wait a whole two weeks for them to arrive.

I got these wristbands to help promote our cause and also to say thank you to those who have donated to MassGeneral through Meche Marathon.

If you would like a FREE wristband, please send me your information (mmeche [at] wsarchitects.com or find me on facebook), or if you want to donate check out my First Giving Page, and I will send out wristbands as a thank you. For all those that have already given, we’ll be sending them your way asap!

I appreciate everyone’s support, your donations go a long way. The funds we raise go directly to support the Cancer Care for Kids, an organization that is very close to mine and my family’s heart. Thank you!

-Mark