Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Feeling the Love

Just got home after a whirlwind weekend.  I had a PW and a PR at the same time.  It was my slowest marathon ever 4:05, but that never bothered me because it was such an amazing experience. From having Dad out on the course and with me during the weekend, to the way the crowds rallied to support the runners along the entire course.  They were giving out extra water, spraying us with hoses, and handing out everything from soaked sponges, to licorice and orange wedges.  And it was a hot one, reaching 89 degrees at some point during the day.

Everyone, at least once in their lives, should get to experience something like this.  Running Boston, especially when on the Dana Farber team, is like a non-stop 6 hour positive affirmation.  After 500+ high-fives from kids on the course, 400+  "Go Murph!s", "Go Dana Farber!s", and "Go 4 Dad!s", you forget about how badly your body feels, uplifted by all the positive energy coming your way.  Then as if that was not enough, there is always a Dana Farber volunteer to meet you after the finish.  They carry your bag, make sure you don't fall over (which is important!), and walk you to the DFMC HQ at the Marriott just near the finish.  From there it's more rounds of clapping and standing ovations from the amazing Dana Farber Volunteers, and then the world's best message, followed by hot soup.  Most marathons, you get your medal and then make your way home.  Dana Faber gives you a nice soft landing.

The Personal Record (PR) was that as of today I have surpassed my previous fund raising record for Dana Farber, which was $5,210 back in 2007.  As of now, I am at $5,240 in online and other donations and I still have until May 16 to see if I can do more. Thanks to the tremendous support of friends and family, I brought in over $3700 in the last 9 days.  Even more touching stories of how people's lives have been impacts by cancer came through in the last few days as well.  And the waves of encouragement through e-mails and face book have been truly overwhelming.  My sincerest thanks to all.

I close as always with a picture.  A line up of all the Boston finisher's medals.  Starting on the left with 1996  for the 100th running, where I knocked out a 3:07, my second fastest ever. then 1997, 2007 (when we ran through a nor'easter!) 2008, and finally yesterday.  Have a great day everyone.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Tattooed, Ready to Go, and how to track me online

Last post of the night.  The race bag is packed.  I have eaten all the carbs I am going to eat.  I had my step-Mom Maureen give me my arm tattoos so I can be cheered from 360 degrees (see below).  We also had a great time at the Dana Farber pre-race Pasta Party.  It is always inspirational to meet some of the patients DFMC helps through its programs and research

Now it is time to get some sleep.  Wake -up time is 5:30 am tomorrow to jump on the bus at 6:30.  My wave kicks off at 10:40 am.

If you wan tto tack me online, there are 2 ways to do it:

1) Text RUNNER to 345678 (you get a confirmation SMS, and then you get four text updates when I cross the 10K, 1/2 way, 30K, and finish line)

2) You can also got to the marathon website: baa.org and enter my bib number: 23314.  They give splits every 5K.

Once I have recovered, I will give a post race summary.  See you on the other side!

(Could not figure out how to get these upright!)

Making Lemonade....

Having the last name Murphy, I know that with even the best planning things can go wrong at the last minute.  Hiccup 1 happened on the plane to Boston last night.  I am pretty sure I got food poisoning from the leftovers I ate for lunch Saturday before heading to the airport.  I had a miserable headache, and then when I arrived in Boston, instead of going to dinner with my Aunt & Uncle to do some serious carb-loading, I went staight to the hotel to do some serious carb "off" loading.  I am feeling much better today though, and am ready for tomorrow.

Now the next challenge is that it is supposed to be an unseasonably warm day in Boston tomorrow, 87F!  Not great weather for a marathon.  That means we will all have to dial it back a bit.  Thankfully, DC weather has thrown some 80+ days at me during my long runs, so this will not be a total shock.  I will be drinking (and dousing myself with) plenty of H20 tomorrow.

As always to finish, here's a shots.  The weolcome sign at the airport and I spent some time at the finish today as well.  This is a great time to be in Boston!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Humbled & Honored

I just spent some time reading through the honor roll on my fundraising website and I am humbled and honored.  Humbled by the outpouring of support from friends and family, with more than $2100 in donations coming in since Monday.  Honored to be able to run in honor of, in memory of, and in support of the loved ones of those same friends and family. In addition to doing this for my Dad, I am also running Monday for the following people:

In memory of:
Frank Luz
Suzan Doyle
Irene Carlota Angara-Aragon
In support of:
Kim R’s friend Holly
Sarah L’s sister Laura
In honor of
Richard H’s Father

I will also run Monday in memory of both Sue Williamson and Jim Ponce. Sue  was the coordinator of my Masters program at the Kennedy School of Government who I ran for in 2007.  Jim is my friend Jamie's father, who I ran for in 2008.

I take this outpouring of energy and positive thoughts with me as I make my way to Boston tomorrow.  I spent part of today getting my race jersey ready.  I found out by accident the power of writing your name and/or cause on your shirt during my very first marathon in 1993.  I ran in my high school track shirt, and everyone cheered me on by my high school name, "Go Shawnee!"  Ever since I have had "Murph" written on every marathon jersey.  It makes a huge difference when you are hurting during the last few miles of the race.  You here someone call your name, and it helps you dig a little deeper and keep moving.  So if you are ever on the cheering side of any race, and you see someone's name or cause on their shirt, call it out loud and cheer them on. It will make their day.  This year I have "Murph 4 Dad" on my jersey front and back.

Monday, April 9, 2012

1 Week to go!

So exactly 1 week from today I will be out pounding the pavement, making my way from Hopkinton, Mass. all the way back to Boston.  My wave starts at 10:40 am, so I will be almost an hour into the run at this point.

One thing about Boston that is different from all other marathons is they bus you 26.2 miles outside the city, and then you have to run back to Boston.  It is quite intimidating the first time you have to do it, because it makes the distance feel that much farther. You run through 7 towns before getting back to Boston: Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesly, Newton, and then Brookline. 

The whole race is a non-stop adrenaline rush because there are crowds cheering the entire way, but some of the most exhilarating moments are the screaming Wellesely students near mile 13, the crazy Boston College student cheering near mile 21 (they will offer you a beer), and then the Dana Farber cheering squad at mile 25 near the Citgo sign.  In fact the entire final 5 miles is just non-stop crowds and cheering.  No matter how bad you are feeling at that point (and usually its pretty bad), you can't help but get pumped up by the energy.  The absolute toughest part of the race is 1/2 way between miles 20 & 21:  Heartbreak Hill, yes, that is the name.  The hill itself is not so bad on a normal day, it just happens to come at the one part of the race where the last thing you want to be doing is running up hill.  

I'll post some of my favorite picture in my post tomorrow...but for now I have attached a link the official course map so you can see the points I mentioned:  Link to map of Boston Marathon

Sunday, April 8, 2012

8 days to go, Easter, and Bib #23,314

Only 8 days left until the race.  I head to Boston on Saturday so that I have a full day to relax on Sunday before the race.  My official bib # is 23314.  It's a high number because they assign the numbers to the charity runners after they have given numbers to all the people who qualified on their own.  I have qualified 3 times on my own in the past, but not this time around.  Maybe next year, when I get another time bonus for turning 40! 

There should also be a way that people can track my progress live via Internet on race day, but I think I have to sign up for that on race weekend.  Stay tuned for more info on that.  Through out the week I will be posting other info as well, like the course map, walking you through what its like on race day, etc.

Finally, we had a great Easter weekend with family.  I got to see my Dad & Maureen, as well as my brother and sister's families and my Mom.  Dad & Maureen will be heading up to Boston next weekend as well.  We finally took some family photos while we were in Pennsylvania:

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cherry Blossoms, beards, and running 42 miles in 2 days....

The most difficult part of the training is now behind me.  A few weeks ago I ran back to back 20+ milers over two weekends.  20 miles one week, and then the final 22 miler at three weeks before the marathon.  What else are you going to do with three spare hours on a Sunday? 

The first run happened to coincide with one of the warmest DC spring days all year (80 degrees!) which meant I had to use the $20 I always tuck in my shorts to buy extra water along the way.  I also used that run to try out my Marathon jersey (below), and as a special bonus, the run coincided with an early blooming of the cherry blossoms this year.  The blue sky backdrop made for some great shots, even using my blackberry camera.

The next time you see the jersey it will be all decorated for race day.  One thing you won't see this year is my traditional marathon beard (yes, Murph usually goes Grizzly Adams for the month before a race).  In a bit of poorly planned scheduling, we are taking our first set of extended family photos in a long time this weekend.  So I ditched the beard in favor of looking presentable.  It just means I'll need more sunblock on race day now!