January in the books

January was awesome, arguably the best training month I’ve ever had. Came into January 1 having controlled the booze and food over second half of December and it paid some big dividends. Incorporated speed workouts when possible, had at least one upper body day per week and only took days off when travel mandated an off day. Feeling good, the “regular” injuries have been kept at bay with some extra PT work, dry needling and many painful massages. February is going to bring me up into the 20 mile run range and hopefully so some 10+ runs at desired marathon pace.
By the numbers:
Miles: 92.5
Jan 2016 – top 5k pace: 6:55/mi
Jan 2015 – top 5k pace: 7:48/mi
Longest run: 16.02 miles.
States run in: CA NC ME OH MA CT VT with workouts in MI, NY and NH. (7-3-10 total)
“Days”: 27
Doubles: 4 days with 2 separate workouts.
Weight: fewest lbs on scale since ’07
This was done while flying plenty of miles in the sky….13 segments for 16,812 in the air. Toss on another 2500 by car.
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Season 5

Official entry confirmation for 2016 has been received!

2016 confirm acceptance

I am grateful and excited to be welcomed back onto the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge Team to run my 5th Boston Marathon.   It’s an honor to be accepted out of the 1000+ applicants year after year and it wouldn’t be the same to run the marathon with another team.

While I have made some pretty significant adjustments to my lifestyle in the past (full on vegetarian or pescatarian), this year I plan on doing more to get ready for April 18th.  And this year I hope to be keeping those (which may be very few or well, no one….) who support me more informed of my training and how I am trying to blow 3:28:08 away in just 4 short months.

I will be doing this through my blog and through my Krooting For a Cure Facebook page which will have much more detail and insight to my training, my progress and my goals.  SO IF YOU AREN’T FOLLOWING ME THERE…..now is the time.  Yes, there will be some to the regular facebook crew but I am trying to limit these as time goes forward.

Again, here you will have to put with my rants about life on the road, how many nights I stay at Marriott and when United upgrades me.  I will make alot of those posts that I regularly cringe at by that kid I kinda used to know in High School and probably should have defriended when I realize I only know his name because we are linked on facebook.  By “liking” my page and following it, you are signing up for all of that…..so I will certainly understand when my number drops in the coming weeks.  No offense taken.

Happy Holidays to you and yours  – J

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My First “Normal Boston”

Entering my fourth Boston and fifth marathon overall, all I am hoping for is a normal Boston marathon.  My previous 3 haven’t been “normal” by any stretch.
Here’s how the other ones shaped up:
2012 was a blistering 89 degrees and actually provided me a little comfort as I threw my time right out the window and was able to run it just to finish.  20% of the field either didn’t start taking Menino’s advice or didn’t finish because of the heat.  I will say I did feel like a little kid running through all the sprinklers that the bystanders had set up and loved the car wash style running bays streaming water from the fire houses.   Three weeks before the marathon I said it would be only one…..and after the heat and posting up a 4:15, I knew I needed redemption.
Everyone who ran 2013 has a story.  After losing BK only 3 months after my first Boston, I took my training much more seriously and was ready for a better showing.  I was determined to break 4 hours and really wanted to give a go at breaking an 8 minute pace.  I ran my best marathon to date and in doing so, kept myself safe.  I had crossed the finish line about a half hour before the bombs went off on Boylston, despite being a block away over in Copley square.
Then there was Marine Corps in October 2013, my third marathon, where I exhibited that I knew very little about how to run a race.  Coaches preach and remind us again and again of the importance of a negative split (running the 2nd half faster then the first) and my race exhibited why that is important.  I had learned to pick up my pace but didn’t have the miles under my belt that I needed training through a busy work season.  My first half came in right around 1:41 (which was a PR at the time) which I then followed with a 2:05, perhaps the most miserable miles I will ever run.  Those highway overpasses in DC and Crystal City still given me nightmares.
My 2014 training was injury plagued.  I thought I had my IT band issues in check and I was sorely mistaken.  I was doing 2 or 3 days a week at Physical Therapy over the last month just to make it to the starting line.  4:02 could have been a disappointment in many ways but the day was unforgettable and it wasn’t about individual times but of what we experienced in Boston on that day.
My 2015 training took me across 11 different states and was my first year without any international miles in my prep.  Logged runs in ME, MA, NH, VT, CT, NY, NJ, CO, UT, CA, FL and one could argue Nevada but it wouldn’t be that strong of an argument.  Going into this year, I put injury prevention as a top priority.  Regular appts with a sports therapist, taking up a little yoga and being smart has help me manage the regular ITB and piriformis issues that I tend to feel with nearly every run.    I will also say that bribing a PT on the side with a bottle of wine or dinner for some impromptu grafton or deep tissue treatment has helped as well.
It has come at a cost though as I will be headed to the starting line with only 241 miles under my belt (324 miles in 2013).  The weather was a big factor for sure.  Driving 4850 miles in March didn’t help me out either.  There were a few weeks where I logged a mid-week treadmill run of 5 miles or so then my long weekend run…not exactly what Jack or any other coach would recommend.
Despite these things, I think it’s safe to say that I’m headed to Hopkinton this year more ready then ever.  On Monday, 3:32:59 is the time to beat.  If I were to say I thought I’d be running a negative split, I would be lying….I’m still not that smart yet.   1:42 / 1:46 is what I should be shooting for but there’s a big part of me that expects to do something dumb like a 1:36 / 2:00+.  It will likely be the miles between the firehouse and slapping hands with the former versions of myself at BC (a college kid cracking his first beer at 8 am who couldn’t run 3 miles with his life on the line) that will likely determine whether I get the PR or not.  After that, it will be the laces around my neck, the names on my back, and thinking of seeing my crew/my buddy Colin in Kenmore that can hopefully keep me on track for the final 5 to finish off what I hope to be a PR.
(I wrote all of this when there was a small chance of rain…now it’s a sure thing and it’s coming with a bunch of wind…..let’s see how that plays into my plan…)  I
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Audible upon audible….

If you know anyone who is training for the marathon and lives in Boston, you undoubtedly have read posts or blogs very similar to this one.  Mine likely has a little of a different twist though…

I am fortunate to run for what I consider to be the best charity team to participate in the Boston marathon.  Not only does the team support an incredible hospital and institute but there is an amazing staff who dedicate themselves to making the experience so fulfilling.  Each Saturday, there is a group run led by our coach Jack, winner of the 1976 marathon which is based at a different athletic club based in the towns surrounding Boston.  Anywhere from 30-60 runners gather in the early hours and we hit the pavement together.  The camaraderie out there is awesome and really makes the time fly.  Also, our route has course support as volunteers who stand for hours and man water/fuel stations in what are usually some pretty frigid temps.

This year the weather has kept me in Maine as the conditions running in Boston haven’t been safe to do many of our regularly scheduled group runs.  While I’ve done a few short runs in Boston, I haven’t completed a long one in the state of Massachusetts (although I’ve managed to pull some off in snowy states of Utah and Colorado).

While I have always done alot of solo running up in Maine, I’ll admit the long runs have gotten a little lonely.  I was supposed to join one other DFMCer for a run in Maine a few weekends back but came down with a stomach bug which added to a stretch of 10 days with zero miles logged. It is not the ideal training regimen inside of 8 weeks until race day.

So last Saturday, I was psyched to finally join my fellow DFMCers.  There was a little rain in the forecast but nothing that would put the run at risk.  And my body, despite a few nagging injuries, was in decent shape.  So what could go possibly happen to prevent me from getting out there with the team?

I woke up to a call from Boston Police Dept to let me know my car had been broken into and towed from what I had expected to be a pretty safe spot under a light post on Newbury street.  They smashed window, the inside of the car was a complete mess and made off with two laptops, all my files and notes for my new job, plus some other odds and ends….and sadly BK’s gold chain.  Fortunate that they left my wine and quite a few other things as I was in the middle of a 2 week road haul around New England.

So as every Boston runner has had to all winter, I audibled.  Spent my Saturday recovering my car, driving outside the city to get my window replaced and purchasing a new laptop and work setup.  My Sunday morning was booked solid and I was supposed to drive to NY directly after so I didn’t really have plenty of time to get in a 16 miler.  But I decided to scrap the Sunday night trip which I was bummed about as I really couldn’t afford to miss a 3rd long run in the last 5 weeks.

I ended up looping a good chunk of the Charles with another DFMCer which turned out to be a great run and alot of fun.  Of course, I hadn’t checked the weather as I wasn’t scheduled to run Sunday.  And about 4 miles in, we were greeted with snow which came down at a pretty good clip, accelerated by some nice gusts of up to 20 or so mph.   It turns out, Boston officially reached it’s all time high for winter snowfall while I was out on the pavement.  Pretty fitting if you ask me….

and unfortunately, I wasn’t able to enjoy a Guiness or any Jamo as I usually do on St Pattys Sunday in Southie but I did get a green bagel for fuel!

green bagel


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It’s in my blood, I’m a sucker for a charity auction

It was two weeks ago, but the fear I had after almost winning a trip is still with me.  I may have gotten myself caught in a bidding war for a trip that I actually didn’t want to win.  The event was at Sugarloaf and a cancer survivor had just shared his story which had me a little too ready to play.  I decided to jump into the bidding on the first live auction item a it was starting slow.  So I felt the need to raise my paddle about a half dozen times…. to the point where we were “going twice” and I was about lose my lunch.  Fortunately, the guy at the table over outbid me and Travis held my arm down to save me from pushing it further.  It really was such a BK move, I guess I learned from the best.  After hitting a few more glasses of wine I stuck my paddle up for a few more items before Travis took it away from me.  I made it out of the live auction without any items to me name but I did walk away with a few silent auction items thotho!

The Sugarloaf Charity Summit is and will always be my favorite silent/live auction.   It’s predecessor, The Sugarloaf Jimmy Fund Celebrity Cup was an event my family participated in every year.  It was the reason I first heard the word “cancer” and I had never seen my parents so motivated to support a cause.  Each year, to my mom’s dismay, my Dad would play the same “bidding up” game in the silent and live auctions.  A warning to all you future parents….do NOT, let me repeat, do NOT let your kids know what your bidding number is.   I have a Nomar Garciaparra Rookie year game-worn signed jersey to prove it.  My Dad never bid on the item yet we walked away with it….you get where this is going.

The event is also at the mountain I love and my home away from home.   It’s still held in the King Pine Room, a room where my mom cursed on stage at my father, I believe in 1999 or 2000 in front of a room of 600+.   Back then, Saab used to donate a car as the main raffle item and the tickets usually ran fairly pricy, I want to say $100.   Earlier in the dinner, my mom asked my Dad if he had bought tickets and he said that he had skipped it this year.   Later on, when they pull the winning ticket and announce my Mom’s name, she was beside herself laughing.   After what was probably an extra glass of Chardonnay or two (BAC levels have always been high in the valley), she got on stage to accept the key and grabbed the microphone.  She led with “You son of a bitch, you lied to me” and that was enough for them to yank the mic away and get the crowd laughing.

In 2011, when the organizers of the event and the Sugarloaf community learned about my Dad’s diagnosis, he was the immediate choice to fill the “survivor speaker” role at the upcoming January auction.  Unfortunately, he had some serious kidney issues that came up and required hospitalization in Boston.  They sent him a note and said he was locked in for the following year.  For those of you who know the story, the BK did not make it to the following January and I was afforded the honor of speaking in his place.   I shared some of his words from a previous speaking engagement and put his ski boots on the podium.  Personally, it was a pretty big moment for me and I believe Trav and Lex as we were in the initial stages of coping.  The warmth of the other Sugarloafers and the mountain made that night so special.

This event now splits its’ proceeds between the Maine Cancer Foundation and the local women’s breast care center.  As a proud Mainer, I do at times struggle with the idea that my fundraising efforts are predominatly to benefit DFCI in Boston.  After all, it was Dr. Boyd at Maine Med who saved my father upon his admission when the nurses never thought he would make it out of the ICU.  It was the nurses who first helped me deal with his diagnosis, likely many of the same nurses who were present when my mom was also treated at MMC.  Once Dr. Boyd got my Dad’s leukemia under control, she said his case was severe enough that he needed to head to “the Dana” because it was their trials and studies that are leading the way.   I remember how she said the protocols she followed were tested and implemented by their doctors and doctors from the other leaders like MD Anderson, Sloan Kittering, Fred Hutchinson and Mayo Clinic.  This was prior to me spending a few hundred days down in the Longwood Med Area which confirmed everything she said and more.

So while the search for a cure is on and the finish line is in the distance, I’ll be focused on raising for Dana.  But you can count on me raising my paddle in the King Pine Room every year, thinking of the days with Bri and Deb.

The young Jimmy Fund Supporter

The young Jimmy Fund Supporter

Yes, my first documented Jimmy Fund Fundraising efforts were in 1996.  I hit the $500 threshold and was given a pair of K2 skis which were about 40 cm too long for me.  Little did I know it would be my first of many events supporting DFCI.


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26.42 km from hell

I have never written a recap, report, mile by mile analysis or the like for any of my previous marathons or even any races.  But this training run gets one.  It could be my best training run of the year, or it could set me back 2-3 weeks…..my ITB and Sciatic nerve are screaming bloody murder, and I can’t tell if they are tears of happiness or joy.  I should have foreseen this all when my pre-run bagel was burned.

This year, I have focused on injury prevention more then ever.  I upped and started Yoga, which is actually starting to go OK….signed up for bi-monthly sessions getting my legs worked on…I skipped the urge to play hooky(ski the loaf) for the last few NE storms and I have allowed my schedule to be flexible for any tweaks/slippery conditions etc.  After last weeks blizzard(s)/nor’easters/etc, I had to move my regular Saturday run to Monday.  Yup, the morning after the superbowl.  I consulted my campaign managers and opted to crush a 12 pack of seltzer waters during the game while I watched two of my friends slug beers, pop bubbly and do wine chugs.  Campaign win.  Then Monday AM we get another 8-10 inches, so run gets bumped to Tuesday PM after my workday in Banga gets cancelled.

About an hour before the run, I drove the majority of my route, dropped 2 bottles of water and tried to take a look to see how the roads were.  I may have taken a call or two while this happened and managed to drop the bottles but forgot to check the conditions.  I am now two weeks behind schedule, which was at that point, a 16 miler, so that’s on the docket.

Pre – run – couldn’t find my Craft top, couldn’t decide on clothing, made some last second rash guesses without consulting the outside temps and threw on an extra layer to play it safe.  Figured it was good as I would be doing the first half with sun/second half after sundown.

Mile 1 – Play slalom through the CMP trucks on Woodford St as they tend to a live wire knocked down by a plow that is in the middle of the street.  I probably should have taken the detour.

Mile 2 – Steaming hot.  Completely midjudged dress for the run.  Hat gets yanked, drop all zippers, hope to even it out.  The footing around the blvd (car side) is miserable.  I’m basically waddling around like a damn penguin.

Mile 3 – First intersection encounter.  Not even 4 pm and it was a mess…Washington ave exit is havoc….1 lane instead of 3…my sip of water was glorious tho.  A bobcat pulls out in front of me going 2 mph to hit the sidewalks for the first time since the storm.

Mile 4 – Felt like I was in the Sahara.  Had to strip down shirtless in the middle of Martin’s Point Bridge.  Someone honks at me.  I don’t think they wanted to see more.  And I don’t think I would stand a chance at PTs Mens Amateur night.

Mile 5 – Falmouth Public Works was a little bit more on point then Portland, but not much.  Running in quicksand looks like the theme of the day.

Mile 6 – My second dropped water bottle was in a lot that got replowed.  No time to dig it up and No water for Ja till mile 13.

Mile 7 – Took the Rt 88 dip hill between Skillins and Town Landing quite nice.  Sun had hit it and it was dry.

Mile 8/9 – Cumberland Public Works, why did you learn how to take care of roads the year I move away?  26 years and I always longed for the moment I was in Falmouth because you were underfunded and miserable….now you are on top of your game.

Miles 10 – Start getting pretty cold as the sweat dries and running into the wind so I crank it down for a mile while the footing is still hard but realize I may not have been ready to tackle the longer miles in the conditions.

Miles 11-12 – Enter a dark place.  Sundown hits, the sweat is frozen, my ITB begins barking like wild. Realizing the effect of the soft footing on my legs, my feet and the whole body. Realize hydration becoming a big issue, stomach also on the fritz.

Mile 13-15 – more hell around the blvd, this side was even worse.  Washington Ave exit miserable.   My second dropped bottle was apparently located by another passer by and thrown away.   Cramps commence in L calf, L groin and L glut.   Couldn’t have been a pretty sight.

Mile 16 – Absolute mayhem at Woodfords corner.  Between the power line that was down and rush hour, it was gridlock.  I thought I was on Storrow before a Sox game.  I mustered up a little energy for the last mile uphill and actually enjoyed running around all the cars that had shifted into park.  Must have passed 60 cars.  A little more dodging and weaving then I would have hoped but it actually was like running between the blockades from Kenmore Square in.  Ya, I just buckled down and ran on the yellow line which most cars seemed OK with and actually made a little extra room….even got a high five from a guy in a pickup.  Made me love Maine for a moment until I got back to the quicksnow on Stevens.   After 16.42, it was done, is done, and hopefully my body only hated the act and will bounce back quick.

Post run – mustered my way upstairs and threw my clothing off in the kitchen in what was a childish fit.  I opened the fridge and saw a liter of orange Pedialyte (leftover from #MW2014) and my mood/dehydration/craving for electrolytes demanded I drink it.

Now – Curled up in the fetal position in front of the Rinnai trying to find some sort of middle ground temperature, slugging my orange drank and praying that my IT band was ready for the beating it just took.   Pretty sure I am going to tell the pizza delivery guy where I have my hide a key and have him bring the food for the couch.  If only Bills delivered, I could stop my whining.  It would be real anti-#CoachKroot of me, but I would love to swap out my shots of Pickle Juice for Jameson.

Was that really only 26 km?   Oh well, 75 days and counting…..

A few numbers……

Fastest Mile – #10 @ 7:49
Slowest Mile – #14 @ 12:54 (Maybe my slowest training mile ever logged?)
Avg Pace – 9:02   (for sake of comparison….I ran a 10 mi last week at 7:56s and was hoping this would match it)

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The New link for my 2015 Boston Fundraising!


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Fear the Snow Beard

Over the weekend, I logged my longest run this year, a 14 miler in some wonderful Maine weather.   It was 4 degrees, feels like -9 with windchill.   The picture should take care of the rest.   It acts as the perfect training to make those Newton hills feel easy in April!

cold run 2015  snow beard

#DFMC #snowbeard #krootingforacure #Boston2015


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2014 Walk Wrap Up

Happy Holidays Team Kroot,

I wanted to send off the final message of the year during the holidays, as it is a time where our collective cause has that much more meaning.

Team Kroot xmas 2014

A few weeks back, a few of us attended a dinner for top fundraisers and Captains where the walk announced they had record breaking numbers on participants, teams and total money raised.  I am happy to say that we not only topped our 2013 total of $50,000 but we blew away our goal of $60,000.  Every year when I set the goal, I begin to get nervous but every year our team has pulled together.  The grand Total was $69,328.48.   It truly is amazing.

In my continuing effort to “unbrand” the name we are going to be doing a t-shirt overhaul next year modeled after the Burnheimer Strong shirts.  We want to be able to allow everyone to express and honor the people closest to them, by designing the front of their shirts and will remain a collective unit with Team Kroot on the back of their shirts. I’ll have more info next year on getting this setup.  That said, the goal is to have 125 shirts out there and grow our crew!  Start your rekrooting over the holidays.

A few have inquired so I did want everyone to know that Team Kroot is signed up for the 2015 walk, scheduled for September 20th.  We sincerely appreciate those who considered the walk date when booking wedding venues!

Also new for 2015 will be an expansion of the Team Kroot DC Walk to accommodate friends and family who aren’t in Boston.  I will be present and walking for both….so I expect someone to carry me on Sunday from BC all the way to Copley Square.  Start drawing straws for that assignment…

I am touched every time I look at the amount we have raised and even more so, by the long list of people who are with us every year.  Your support and contributions mean more then I could ever express.

Finally, our thoughts are with those who are experiencing the holidays for the first time without a loved one.   Trav, Lex and I will be raising a glass to you and yours.

See you next year!

Love, Jason

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Letter to a Friend

In my hope and commitment to keep this blog interesting, I will abstain from giving you statistics on my coldest run, my weekly mileage or blabber on about the ITB/Patellar tendon/Knee injury that forced me to run 9 miles, yes just NINE, in all of February.

This post is about a real element of leukemia and one of the major obstacles most leukemia patients have to overcome during their battle.  The post is entitled “letter to a friend”.  The friend is someone I still haven’t met to this day but someone I feel an incredible amount of gratitude towards.  Despite the outcome in my particular situation, I am still left wondering….how do I say thank you?  How do you thank the stranger that was your hero and saved the life of someone you love.

As a quick aside on transplants……If you didn’t stop selling reversible tapestry jackets in your early 20s to take up researching leukemia and cancer, the traditional “bone marrow transplant” has become a thing of the past.   The surgical procedure that takes weeks of recovery for the donor and have many complexities has been replaced by “stem cell transplants”. Over 90% of transplants no longer require bone marrow, they only require the stem cells that produce the marrow.  For the donor, it takes a short course of medicine that boosts stem cell production and a procedure that is essentially a long blood donation.

For the recipient, the change in procedure isn’t a cup of tea.  Not in the slightest.  The only easy part is introducing the stem cells into the recipient’s body, no different than a blood or saline infusion.  The first weeks are grueling and the risk of graft versus host disease are very real and very significant for the first 6 months to a year.  Milestones are set at the discharge date, 100 days, 6 months and the 1 year birthday.  Over this first year, the recipient gradually eases back into “regular living” (eating in restaurants, going out in public, shaking hands, not wearing a mask, etc).

So to get back on track…..  “Letter to a friend” is the name of the word document I re-discovered a few weeks ago on my dad’s computer that I helped him draft.  It’s a letter he was never able to finish and a person we never got to thank.  This man’s gift gave me another year with my father, which I will forever cherish.  We tried composing this letter many times but would always end up in tears.  We did always come to one conclusion, that one day we must fly to Europe and meet this stranger, our hero.  This is one of the many things I often think of that we won’t have the opportunity to do together.

Earlier I asked the question, “How do you thank the stranger?”.  The only answer I have is to be that stranger for someone else. Be a hero for them, their family or their 24 year old son.  There’s no guarantee, but that stranger gifted me the most valuable 14 months of my life.

So I ask you to be the one who saves their life, secures their future and helps us all beat this disease. Please, take those 5 minutes – there’s someone out there who needs a match.    BeTheMatch.org/Join

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