The Boston Marathon is known as the Super Bowl Sunday for runners. More people will line the streets and watch on TV/online than any other sporting event, including the Super Bowl. The Boston Marathon is the ultimate marathon and every runner knows that, which is why your ears perk up when you hear someone talking about how they are training for it. You want to know more but you don’t want to be too over the top with your questions, but if you’re anything like me, your excitement might overtake your manners and you’ll ask a million questions anyway. Most of the time it’s fine because runners know we love to talk about our running, especially with other runners because everyone else in our life who isn’t a runner is certainly sick of hear about it.
Our Moms Run This Town Chapter has several people running the Boston Marathon this year. As we count down to race day we’ll get a chance to learn about journey they’ve taken to get to the start line. To celebrate one month until the big race day we get to know a little more about one of our bloggers, Lauren and how she got started in training for her very first marathon!
1. Lauren, what charity are you running with? Why?
Usually when someone tells you, “you have a big heart,” they are complimenting your empathic and compassionate spirit; however, when a cardiologist tells you this while you are lying on an examination table; the phrase takes on a very different meaning. In May of 2006 at the age of 24, I was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosis (PDA). PDA is a “hole” in the heart that if left untreated causes cardiomyopathy (an enlarged heart) and increases risk for stroke. In my case, the PDA was extensive and the cardiomyopathy was severe so immediate surgery was required. On May 25th, one month before my wedding day, Dr. Igor Palacios successfully performed a transcatheter occlusion procedure that “plugged” the hole in my heart without the need for open heart surgery and Dr. John Levinson provided the post-operative care that enabled me to walk down the aisle on June 25th as planned. My family and I will always be grateful for these two cardiologists and the team of amazing nurses at the Center for Interventional Cardiology at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Eight years, two children, and countless echocardiograms later, I’m still being told that I have a “big heart,” but now it’s because I have committed to running the 2015 Boston Marathon as a member of Tedy’s Team while raising funds for the American Stroke Association! As many of you know, former New England Patriots star Tedy Bruschi suffered a stroke in February of 2005. What many of you don’t know however is that Tedy’s stroke was caused by a congenital heart defect similar to PDA. Believe it or not, Dr. Palacios operated on Tedy as well!
Since marathon training is so demanding I often get asked why I do it. The answer is always the same: I run because I can. There was a time when I couldn’t run and there may be a time when I can no longer run, but now is not that time. I am running for me, Tedy, and all other “Heart Warriors” who have or are fighting to overcome stroke or congenital heart disease. I anticipate a vigorous marathon training schedule that will test my physical and mental endurance; however when I do finally “toe the line” on Marathon Monday alongside my teammates I know it will all be worth it.
2. What fundraising tip would you give to a person who has never done it before?
Take advantage of charitable giving programs. Many companies want to support the causes that their employees care about, so they set up charitable giving programs through which they match employee donations to eligible nonprofits. The company I work for matches 100% of my charitable donations up to $5,000.
3. What is your most memorable training run so far?
My most memorable training run was my 14 mile run in Boston with my training partner Lauren. The temps were in the negative numbers and during many parts of the run we were trudging through snow, but we made it. That was the first time we had ever run further than 13.1 miles. I remember saying to myself, “If you can run 14 miles you can run 26.2 right?!”
4. What gets through a tough run/workout?
A powerful playlist and the thoughts of a hot shower and yummy food afterwards.
5. What other things besides running are you doing with your marathon training? How do you think it’s helped you?
I believe that cross training is the key to staying injury free. In addition to running I take spinning, barre, and TRX small group training classes at the Executive Health and Sports Center. Spinning has helped with cardiovascular endurance. Barre has helped with flexibility and hip/glute strength. TRX small group training has increased my shoulder/back and calf/quad strength.
6. What are you most excited for on race day?
I am most excited about toeing the start line with other charity runners who have made so many sacrifices and have devoted so much time and effort to get to the start line of such a prestigious marathon. The positive energy and strong emotions at the start line will be like no other.
7. Is there anything you’re nervous /scared of come race day?
My longest training run will be 21 miles so the unknown 21-26.2 miles terrify me. Will my body hold up? Will that pesky right calf cramp come back? Nobody knows?! I do know that I will be running with my heart and not with my legs at that point. That thought helps put my mind at ease.