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.


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


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).


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 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’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!

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.


Back on the Road!

March 22, 2010

Thursday 3/18/10

GAME ON! I wasn’t really sure what to expect returning to see Dr. Bradley after my 3 weeks of physical therapy. The therapy has been very educational, I have a much better understanding of what went wrong and how to avoid doing it again, but that marathon is getting awfully close and I have not been running. Dr. Bradley walks into the rooms having done the math saying 4 weeks and 3 days until the race. We chatted a bit before he gave me an enthusiastic “well, you can try”.  We talked about training plans, then I left without plans to return if something else went wrong.  My plan is to test the knee first thing in the morning.

Friday 3/19/10

With good weather I cautiously set out for my most basic and probably favorite run, to tag the lighthouse. It’s a brief and pleasant course from my house, down to the cove and along Fort Ave. and Derby Street to Derby wharf, take a left at the Customs House, out the wharf to the light and back. All in about 3-1/4 miles. It felt great. The only remaining questions are; how durable is my knee? And how much endurance remains in my base? This time last year, I was training beyond 20 miles on my long runs.

Saturday 3/20/10

The plan calls for lots of rest, no run today, just some stretching.

Sunday 3/21/10


With only about a month left, I am a bit worried about endurance. My conundrum is that I need to get my mileage up very quickly knowing that increasing one’s mileage too quickly dramatically increases one’s chances of injury, or in my case, re-injury. I think the only thing to do is walk out the door and run as far as I can, then turn around and run home. I need to find out is how much of my base remains and then plan accordingly. The sun is shining and it’s warm enough, let’s go!  Not yet, the battery is dead on my stride sensor (the stride sensor talks to my HRM and watch to tell me how far and fast I am running). After three stops, I found a replacement battery at Radio Shack. The guy behind the counter tried to upsell me on wireless services.  Finally, about noon, I’m off.

Post run

About 14.1 miles later. It was really nice out, but chilly along the route, so I turned away from the coastal route and headed inland for a less picturesque but warmer path. My legs felt pretty durable and reasonably pain-free from the outset.  I ran the first handful of miles at a comfortable 9:30 pace but eventually found myself at about 10:30. The route took me out to Swampscott with a foot falls into Lynn before getting back into Salem and the long home stretch along Highland Ave / Essex Street. I could feel the fuel supply running short at about the 10 mile mark and by the time I got close to home, I was definitely running low. On the cardio side of things, my heart rate was pretty high for what used to be a nearly effortless pace. Clearly both cardio fitness and endurance have both degraded, but now I have my answer, I can manage 15 miles and should have no trouble stretching that to 20 by race day. Only 6.2m or 10k gap to close.  I am a bit sore but nothing unmanageable. Next weekend is the traditional 3 weeks before the race 20 miler on the race course. Should I do this? Stay tuned.


No Pain, No Gain

March 8, 2010

So you think running a marathon is painful; the truth is it’s only painful running those last 20 or so miles. Physical therapy – now that really hurts. My new bi-weekly appointments are underway and they have this particularly resourceful form of torture where I balance my body weight on a piece of foam. The single point of contact is my IT band and then I have to
roll up and down. Kristin says it sounds like it would “hurt so good”. I say bring on Heartbreak Hill any day. However, I think it has helped, but then it may just be the meds.

They won’t let me run yet and now that the sun is shining, I am getting quite antsy. Doc Bradley will make the call on the 18th.  I am getting worried about not putting up miles. I suppose the trick will be to restart the running and get the mileage up fast without re-injuring my knee or any other essential body part. I did order some fancy new headphones in anticipation.

On the news front; we have a new URL – and we have some snappy new wristbands coming.


Visit to the Knee Doctor

February 26, 2010

My Knee Doctor

Just returned from High Performance Sports Medicine—yeah they agreed to see me despite my modest performance status—Dr. Bradley has offered a diagnosis; Quad Tendonitis and Patello-Femoral Syndrome, AKA jumpers knee.  I asked him point blank about my chances for being able to run 26.2 miles in April and he didn’t say no; he said that I would know soon enough. He did step up the treatment plan a bit. I am now taking some anti-inflammatory meds and will begin physical therapy ASAP.

Doctor Explaining What is Wrong with My Knee

I am going to check Amazon to see if there is an “Orthopedics for Dummies” volume. One of the treatments prescribed is VMO ( Vastus Medialis Obliquus) / Patella mechanics; I think that’s the technical term for stretching my legs properly. Other treatments include Myofascial massage, Electrical Stimulation, Ultrasound and Ionto/Phonophoresis, not to mention Strengthening and Stretching. I feel better already!