Sunday, April 20, 2014

My final thoughts before Boston

As I sit here at my parents house in Dorchester waiting for the Marathon Monday, it's hard to think back at what happened at last year's Boston Marathon. New England has a very tight and supportive running community, where running isn't just an activity - it's a way of life that defines its people. Having attended the Boston Public School system and being so familiar with the Boston running scene, my immediate reaction was to jump on the bandwagon and say I wanted to run Boston in 2014. However, I was a week due for surgery to remove a benign tumor on my right knee. Anyone who has done a marathon knows that it takes a lot than just will power to run one.

With the manhunt for suspect, my surgery was postponed to a few weeks later. After surgery, I felt so much pain in my swollen knee that I thought my marathon career was probably over. On the other hand, while I felt sorrow for myself, I started to think about how difficult of a  road to comeback some of the bombing victims were going to face, emotionally and physically. During this time, I really started to find  some strength and motivation because of them. To think that some of the victims were badly hurt and were already thinking of a comeback to doing the marathon was inspiring to me. I took a day off and returned to work on crutches the next day.

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Inflamed right knee post surgery (May 2013)

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A few weeks after surgery (May 2013)

Because the the tumor in my knee was so big, the doctors had to cut through a lot of skin which left a lot of scar tissue in my leg. I did a lot of physical therapy, used the alter-g treadmill at Fitzgerald Physical Therapy, added weight training and finally made a comeback to racing in the summer. I raced from summer to January of this year, but still had some pain. It wasn't until I returned from one of my races in India that I knew I had enough. My coach, Gary Gardner, recommended me to see a chiropractor (John Donovan) in Lowell to help see if he could get me to my full training routine, which for me is being to do several high intensity workouts without having to take days off because of pain/injury. 

Level Renner 10k  (Aug 2013)  First PR race since surgery 

After seeing Dr.Donovan for a few weeks,  I immediately noticed some changes in my body! I was able to do hard workouts AND recover from them and go hard again the next day - something I was not able to do for a long time. With that said, I gradually increased my training volume and intensity. It wasn't until early March that I finally made my decision to run Boston. I added in hurdle mobility, weight training, hill repetitions, tempo runs and long runs at various lengths and paces. My body responded very well. I've pretty much done almost every workout I did in 2011 (when I ran 2:18), either at the same intensity or higher. Because of that, I've set my goals very high for Boston: to run 2:18:00 to get the Olympic B standard. Although I know it will be very hard on the tough Boston course, I believe it is doable if I run a smart race.

New Bedford Half Marathon (Mar 2014) Longest race since surgery

Finally, I couldn't end this post without thanking my #1 support, my family - who have been there through the ups and downs and through it all. In addition, my coach and adviser, Gary Gardner, for being very patient with me throughout the years and never giving up. Dr. Donovan, for giving me new found strength in my health - and the countless support from close friends and extended family.

Also thanks to my team, Whirlaway Racing, for welcoming me with open arms and some of my very generous sponsors and supporters from the entire UMass Lowell community, PUMA, Energybits, Segterra and Swiftwick!

My bib for 2014 Boston Marathon