Posts Tagged ‘Run for Dom’

A few of my athlete friends told me in the weeks leading up to Ironman Texas that after that race, you would never be the same again.

That after Ironman, I was going to feel different, look at challenges differently, have a shift in focus, refined clarity.

After 2 months of enjoying some downtime in June and July, running when I felt like it, riding the bike a bit, a couple of easy swims I have reached that point.

What I have realized is that at the end of the day, I’m a marathoner.

I might not necessarily be a great one.  And in fact, there is strong evidence that I am a much better middle distance runner (10K, 10M, half-marathon), but at the end of the day, that is who I am.

With the four-year anniversary of us losing Dom staring me in the face – (8/15/10 – RIP) – I decided that I wanted to get back to basics, set aside the distractions of being a part-time triathlete/Ironman and get ready to train in a serious way for this year’s hometown Austin Marathon.austin-marathon-600x399

Specificity and consistency are the two things that build a strong runner in my view.  It has always been that way for me.  When I have been able to stay injury free and stick to my schedule of Monday off, Tuesday Easy, Wednesday Hard, Thursday Easy, Friday off, Saturday Quality, Sunday Long I have been a very dangerous runner on race day.

So we’re going to go back into the shop for the rest of August and September.  Get back to our 5 run day, 2 off day schedule and build our base back to the point where we are bullet-proof heading into the 18 week training cycle for Austin.

I haven’t worn my watch all week on my runs and I am not going to put it on until after Labor Day.  I’m running entirely by feel, covering my known routes where I do not need to track each individual mile.  I’ve worn ruts in the streets and trails around our home in Austin.  I know exactly which routes are 5 miles, 6.2 miles, 8.3 miles, 10, 12 and 16.  The combination of those routes provides me with every single distance necessary to complete marathon training from 10 kilometer threshold runs, 8 mile easy days, mid-week medium-long runs and Sunday long days all the way up to 22 miles.

I spent the last few days putting together my training plan and have the 90 workouts aligned in our calendar that will take us from October 14th up to race day on the 15th of February.  There are some rather big days sprinkled throughout that cycle and realizing that we are now in our 47th year on the planet, recovery and rest is going to be more critical than ever to staying healthy and toeing the line at the Freescale Marathon 100% ready to rumble.  It is going to require the occasional vacation day from work to recover after a hard mid-week threshold workout of 12-14 miles at 6:39 pace, but that is just fine.  We’ll make the time.

The question looming out there is can we throw down a best-ever marathon time 8 1/2 years after our first one?  It will be 4 years since we ran Austin back in 2011 and a little more than 3 years since we ran our current PR in NYC.

The answer as of today is, I’m not really sure.  In the coming months that picture is going to come into focus.  I do know this, if we are able to put together a solid cycle, stay healthy and remain determined to put ourselves in the best possible position on race day – the results will be there.

If we get a nice cool morning and no wind, maybe even that elusive sub 3 hour marathon is out there in front of us.  If not, can we PR?  I’d be pretty darn happy with that.  An Austin Marathon course PR which would require a 3:15 flat?  That would be fine.  A Boston time of sub 3:25:00?  Barring a disastrous race, we should be able to throw that down fairly comfortably .

But that’s the thing about going for it in the marathon vs. other race distances.  A small miscalculation in a 10K may cost you :30 seconds.  In a half-marathon, you may fade late and lose a minute to a minute and a half.  The difference between running to your potential in the marathon and finishing :20 minutes behind your goal time is actually razor-thin.  Those last 10 kilometers after mile 20 is when the marathon actually begins.

How you get to mile 20 will define your race more than every other variable.

Fitness, health, nutrition, hydration, your mental toughness, course conditions, the weather – it all comes together in a perfect storm on marathon day.

That’s what makes it such a remarkable event.  That’s what makes it worth going back to.

That’s what makes me a marathoner.

I know that we have one more great race in us.  Time to prove it.


So, it’s been about a week since I decided to go for Ironman.  I’ve gotten back on the bike, logged a couple of quality rides and even threw down a pretty speedy 51 miles on Sunday.  Took Monday off, then ran Tuesday, rode Wednesday and ran again this morning.

Foot is feeling fine and dandy.  So without any further complications and a little bit of good luck for a change, we should be looking pretty good by the end of September 32 weeks away from Race Day in the Woodlands.  Sounds like a ridiculously long time to prepare for something – and it truly is, but the first 6 weeks of that period will really be about catching my swim back up to my bike and run.  For half-ironman (1,931 Meters) or 1.2 miles, we were actually swimming closer to 3,000 on our long endurance swims.

I’m an over-distance guy when it comes to races that require you to “hammer” so to speak.

If I’m really racing a half-marathon, I want to be training up to 18 miles in my long runs so that the 13.1 on race day is a distance that had been covered multiple times.  Then it is just a matter of racing at the proper intensity level and adjusting down training pace of say 7:15 min./mile to 6:18 min./mile on race day.  The added endurance helps me hold pace late in the half-marathon when “one mile to go” doesn’t really feel like a big deal.

I did the same thing with Half-Ironman training, knowing I “only” had to swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 and run 13.1 I was training at distances longer than I would have to cover on race day.

For Ironman however, much like marathon training – over-distance is not a luxury I will have.

There are a few reasons why Iron Man Triathletes only ride 100 milers and run 18-20 as their long run.

1.     Time.  There are only so many hours in the day/week to train.  Prioritization becomes the key.

2.     Injury.  It is one thing to be monitoring your run mileage during marathon training, but add in two more disciplines and you have to be very smart with your overall load.

3.     Necessity.  Just as it is not necessary to run 26.2 miles at a time when training for a marathon – it is not necessary for Ironman either.

We will be capping our swims in that 3,000 – 3,500 meter area.  Perhaps one or two open water 2.4 mile swims just to build the confidence as everyone knows this is the weakest arrow in my quiver.  Speed will not be important for my swim, but knowing that I have that 2.4 miles in me where when I get on the bike, it feels like the swim never happened – will be key to my race.  1:20-1:25 on race day and we’ll be over the moon happy.

1:30 or so and our race will still be right on target.  Nothing crazy – just get out of the water.  If over the winter my swim technique, body position and times improve to the point where we can push harder in the water – great.  But honestly, I’m investing where I can get the most bang for my buck.

The Bike.

When I am fit, healthy and trained properly – I can go out and throw down a 3:15 marathon without too much difficulty.  A 3:10 with a little bit of good luck and weather and even a 3:05 on a good day.  For Ironman, we are going to be looking to run off the bike somewhere around the 3:45 to 3:55 range.  Again, faster on race day if we get good weather – wonderful.  But sub 4 hours is going to be where we live and not too many 1st time amateur Iron Man hopefuls throw down that kind of run.  We’ll be just fine.

The Bike however is a different story.  It’s one thing to throw down that 2:38 bike in Kerrville last Fall, but Can I get off the Bike at Ironman TX in 5:30 to 5:40 and still have enough left in the tank for the run?  That is where our race is going to come together or not.

There is no such thing as a strong Ironman Bike if your run is wasted.

At some point, just like my first marathon during the event, I’m sure I’m not going to be too fixated on splits and time.  It even happened to me in Kerrville a bit, although I was having a great debut at the Half-Iron distance.  Your mindset just shifts to just finishing.  But the beginnings of our race plan is starting to take shape:

1:30 swim, 5:40 Bike, 3:50 Marathon + 10 Minutes in Transition 1& 2 = 11:10:00

Some oversimplified conversions out there say, Double your Half IM time and add :40 minutes which would give us a 10:52:00.  It is going to be quite a bit hotter more than likely down in Houston than it was in Kerrville and of course the weather and nutrition is going to play a major role on race day.

But something between 11:10 and 11:30 seems like it is reasonable.  Better to leave 15 minutes on the clock come race day and not end up walking the marathon at the end, than to push the envelope and try to lay down a near-perfect Ironman in our first (and last) attempt at the distance.

In the end – we actually are racing for a finisher’s medal for the first time since 2006.  It is a great feeling – in some ways I will have less pressure on me at Ironman than I have in New York, Boston X2 and quite a few other events.

Just have to get out of that water ….

I’ve run 12 out of the last 13 days.  That has never happened in the 8 years I have been a runner.  I have to admit, when I climbed into bed last night I was very thankful that today, Friday was a rest day.  From here on out, until race week at Big Cottonwood on September 14th, Thursday nights are going to be looked forward to.

As I hopped out of bed this morning I do what I always do, I take the first few stiff steps toward the bathroom and I take stock.  How do the stems feel today?  Any new aches and pains?  Any soreness?  Tightness?

All I felt this morning is strength and fitness.  It is coming back quickly and in fact I am starting to think that our injury in December and subsequently having to pull out of the Houston Marathon was a blessing in disguise.  We missed a rather miserable race day in Houston.  Cold, windy and rainy – a race where one of my close friends and a runner that I have the utmost respect for not only as a talented athlete, but a determined, tough, gutsy and very strategic road racer took his first DNF (Did Not Finish).  If ever there was a race day to miss.  January 13th appears to have been that day.

After recovering from the Achilles strain I was able to take a physical and mental break from training non-stop, take a step back, look at my progress over 2012 – which included new PR’s in the 5K, 10K and half-marathon as well as completing our first Half-Ironman and realize that we had one heckuva year last year.  It was a strong foundation to build upon and if we were smart and could find new ways to challenge our fitness level and our running talents – we could “next level” this thing.  And with most of the year still in front of us we could do it in 2013.

The injury forced me to set the triathlon aside for this summer, we’ll get back on that horse next season, and focus on our run 100%.  Something we had not done in about 18 months.  It led to deciding after all this time that I would add track work to our training and more importantly a running coach and training partners.

This Wednesday’s workout which had my legs feeling like toast on my Thursday recovery run and all day yesterday clearly is going to force adaptation.  I am starting to look forward to June 15th’s 5K in Holland, TX as something a little bit more than just a fun morning running in a small-town festival race.

I am going to look back at the previous 4 years results at Holland and see if we can post a course PR for ourselves.  After 6 weeks of training with coach and a couple of track workouts every week, can we shave :05 or so off of our Holland time from 2011?  Last year I was about :07 seconds off of that time, but had held back ever so slightly knowing I had the Lake Pflugerville Triathlon the next day – on one of the more taxing race weekends I had ever attempted.

The road to Cottonwood is paved with tough workouts and 17 more “Thursday Nights” before race week.  We still have a long way to go, but that is something that has me even more excited.  I feel like we could be ready for the marathon in 6-8 weeks right now.  Instead we have more than twice that amount of time to sharpen the sword to a razor edge and run right up against it on September 14th.

Initially I thought that we would play it safe at Big Cottonwood – not take too many chances and just lock in with a conservative race plan and run a solid BQ.  As I was toiling away on the track on Wednesday, running 100′ after 100′ I started to get that feeling in my stomach that running a conservative race just isn’t my style.

I’m smart enough to know that charging down Cottonwood Canyon :10 seconds faster than goal pace is a recipe for disaster.  A mistake that I’ve learned long ago does nothing but make the most difficult 10 kilometers in road racing – the final 10K of a marathon – nothing more than a suffer-fest.

On race day, I will have a specific plan, and I will execute it as close as possible mile after mile.

It is going to be in the setting of that plan that we will be fearless.  If my indicators and splits are showing that we are indeed ready for 2:59 in Utah, well then, that is exactly the race we are going to run.  If it says 3:01, well then, so be it.  But I have a feeling that if we have been close to or ready for 2:59 in the past – this training cycle, this hot Texas summer to train in and this particular marathon and course set things up for us like they never have previously.

All I need is the weather, and if the tailwind is blowing down the canyon that morning like most of the locals claim it does 99% of the time – well then we are going to take no prisoners.  It will be strange running a marathon without any crowds around us.  In the past I have trained 100% by myself and then on race day had tens of thousands of runners around me when the race started and in the case of Boston 2X, Philadelphia, New York, Pittsburgh 2X even here in Austin I have been in a pack of hundreds throughout the race.Cottonwood

This time we will be training in a crowd, doing workouts with our group – and then on race day less than 2 miles into the race I will be more than likely be running in a group of 6 or less.

By the midpoint, maybe 1 or 2.  By mile 20?  Alone.

There will be nobody to push with, nobody to chase down, and very likely nobody on our heels.  We may have more than 2-3 minutes between us and the nearest competitor in front of us and behind us.  There will be no hugs waiting for me at the finish line from Dawn and Landry as they are going to be having a Mommy-Daughter weekend in Austin.

So Dom, this one is going to fall squarely on your shoulders.  When things start to get difficult and the downhills have robbed my legs of the juice that they had only a couple of hours earlier I am going to need you.  Just remind me how if you had the chance to trade places with me at that moment you would do it in a heartbeat.  You would gladly hop right in those race flats to feel that pain, embrace it and channel it because it serves as a reminder just how alive I really am.It will have been three years and 30 days exactly since you passed away Dom and I still think about you on every single run.  Some more than others of course, but on race day you always seem to show up just when I need you the most.  I’m counting on you for this one Dom.

I’ll run the 1,201.80 training miles.  And I’ll run the first 22 on race day.  All I’m asking you for is 4.2 miles Dom.  Less than 29 minutes ought to do it.  See you at Big Cottonwood my brother.big_cottonwood_canyon_map

Kicking Cancer’s Ass 26.2 Miles at a Time

29 months ago I was licking my wounds from running the second of two marathons in 13 days for Dom and his battle with cancer. 

It seems almost impossible that it has been that long since we came through the chute in Pittsburgh with Dom looking on and Landry still growing in her Mommy’s belly almost 4 months away from making her grand appearance on August 29th.  A Sunday.  A long run day of course.

At that point I took a step back and tried to really evaluate where I wanted to go from there with respect to running and more specifically the marathon.

I was a 42-year-old marathoner with a 3:17:43 marathon PR that was getting dusty, now exactly 12 months old.  If I wanted to continue to ascend as a runner, especially in my early 40’s I was going to have to make some changes to my training.  More speed work, more hill work, more racing at the shorter distances to gain valuable race experience and of course more mileage.

To that point I had maxed out my weekly mileage at 55 miles per week and felt like if I pushed any further than that, injury was going to rear it’s ugly head.  I needed to keep my Mondays and Fridays as “off-days” from the pounding – which limited the amount of runs and miles I could cover in a week.  I would have to get smarter, work harder and I was going to have to find a way to keep pushing.

A few months later on August 15th we lost Dom.  It was a dark, dark day.  I can’t speak for everyone who knew Dom, his family, friends or acquaintances.  I can only speak for myself and when I am completely honest, I have to admit that I lost some faith that day.  To that point I believed that if you did the right things, never gave up, battled and persevered – you were to be rewarded.  42 years of growing up a carpenter’s son and member of the Catholic Church had taught me those lessons over and over and over.

And then, it simply didn’t work.  Dom, despite all efforts, treatments, procedures, surgeries, prayers and hopes was taken from his family, his wife, his daughter and son before he reached his 40th birthday.  Somehow “fair” just didn’t enter into it.

As I was flying back to Austin after Dom’s funeral by myself, (Dawn could not make the trip as she was 8 1/2 months pregnant) – I replayed all of the conversations I had with Dom over the last year and a half.  There were times sitting alone on the plane that I laughed out loud, others when I quietly wiped a tear from the corner of my eye, hoping nobody noticed.

But the one conversation that I could not shake was the last one we had in person.  We were hugging each other in the finishing chute under the cover of the Convention Center in Pittsburgh when he whispered to me, “I know you couldn’t run these last two marathons the way you wanted to racing for me.  Go out and run the next one for you and absolutely crush it.”

That was when I decided that I was done running marathons.

I wanted to race them.

It wasn’t going to be enough to simply survive the race, I wanted to hammer away fearlessly and push the envelope of our talent, training and abilities.  I wanted to not leave a single second on the race clock.  The same approach I take in a 5K, 10K, 10-miler or half-marathon.

Leave nothing for later.

This week the runner that could not run more than 55 miles a week as a 42-year-old will be running 80 miles this week at age 45 1/2.

18 miles on Tuesday, 12 on Wednesday, 18 on Thursday, 11 on Saturday, 21 on Sunday – 80 miles.

Training for Houston, knowing this is my last planned marathon for quite some time has been challenging.  Out of the 495 miles we have logged as of lunchtime on Thursday of this week, 123 of them or 25% have been at marathon goal pace (6:52) or faster.  Something we have never done before.

The 80 total miles this week will again be something we have never done.

Next week, another tough mileage week with a 5K race thrown in on tired legs Friday night to make things interesting.

Then our last real test of the training cycle on December 16th at the Shiner Beer Half Marathon.

A final 80 mile week, the week following Shiner and then we will taper this thing up and get ready to race our ass off down in Houston.

I’m not entirely sure how we’ve gotten here.  But make no mistake, this is where we are.

After all this hard work there really isn’t a question as to whether we are going to go for it down in Houston and try to accomplish a goal time in the marathon that less than 1% of the 1% of the population that has run a marathon has ever accomplished.  Running 26.2 miles at 6:52 pace or faster.

We most certainly are.  The question on that day will be how badly do we want to hang on to the pace group when that voice inside our head that keeps saying “I can’t” is replaced by another voice that whispers in my ear for the first time – “I can”.

I’ll recognize that voice when I hear it.

Just when I need it the most.  It will be Dom.



Posted: August 15, 2012 in Motivation
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August 15th is here once again, it’s been two years since we lost Dom to cancer.  It still hurts.  A lot.

I know that I am not the only one who has lost a friend or family member to disease, illness or accident.  Sadly, most everyone that I know can share a story or two about someone they cared deeply about who passed away before their time.  I’m long past feeling sorry for myself, wondering what the meaning to it all is, what I am supposed to learn from the journey, from the experience.  After two years of thinking about Dom and all of the twists and turns that his treatment, surgery and recovery took on the way to August 15, 2010 I’ve come to realize that there really aren’t any good answers.

Coughlin’s Law – “Everything ends badly, otherwise it wouldn’t end.” 

Bottom line is that there are two beautiful, funny, smart little children growing up in Dormont, PA without their father.  There is a wonderful young woman who misses her husband, and an amazing family in Hopewell, PA – a Mother, Father, Brother’s, Aunts, Uncles, Sister-In Laws, Cousins, Nieces and Nephews who miss Dom terribly.  He was everybody’s favorite.  No matter who you were, young or old, a relative, close friend or somebody who got introduced to Dom with a beer in one hand and a brat in the other at a Pittsburgh Steelers playoff game like I did … you automatically loved that guy.

Dom was simply, all-time.

I’m not ready to let go yet.  I still race with his initials on my shoes and his voice in my head when times get the toughest.  If you are really “racing” an event – and not just running in a race – there are large differences between the two, every athlete reaches a point where things seem like they are starting to fall apart.  In a short event like a 5K or 10K it becomes about pain management.  You physically can keep running at that pace.  It is physiologically possible – you just have to shut down your pain-sensors and keep pushing.  Don’t give in.  Hang on until you reach the final mile.  At that point I know that I’m going to make it.

I can do anything for one mile.

In the longer races like the marathon or next month’s Ironman 70.3 it is not the same feeling as a short distance event.  It’s not pain management as much as fighting the changes that your body is going through related to fuel and endurance.  It is what I refer to as “the dark place” where you have to be mentally strong – continue to fight – don’t give in to your body’s desire to slow down and conserve energy.  That is the battle at play.  Your fuel is running out and your body is automatically sending you signals as to how fast you can continue to go on your remaining glycogen stores and fat.  It wants you to slow down.  You want to stay the same.

The battle is internal and it is a dark, dark place.  Until that final mile.

I can do anything for one mile.

It is those moments when I turn to my source of strength.  I think about seeing Dawn and Landry at the finish line.  I imagine what having those little arms around my neck are going to feel like.  What hearing Dawn’s voice in my ear will sound like – and I think about Dom.

There are a lot of brave individuals who have battled cancer.  I meet them all the time.  My desk faces one of them at work every day.  My Mother is another one.  They are amazing to me.  Inspirational.

I don’t know of any who were braver than Dom.

Talking to him throughout his battle was something I will never forget.  I would be at home with ice on my right shin and a bag of frozen peas on my left instep nursing two nagging injuries that I was battling training to run two marathons in 13 days for Run for Dom – and Dawn would hand me the phone with Dom on the line.  We would talk about his treatments, his surgery, how he was feeling and he would ask how my training was going.

“Great” I would say.  “We are going to kill it in Boston Dom.” I would tell him.

All of a sudden my shin didn’t hurt so much and my left foot felt a whole lot better.

That was all Dom.

There were some pretty tough moments racing Boston and Pittsburgh back to back like that.  The thought of it today still makes me shake my head and wonder how in the hell I pulled that off – especially that second marathon less than two weeks after Boston.  But I would sign on and do it again in a second if it would make a difference.  That was what it was all about, helping provide support to Dom’s family and contribute to his children’s educations.  We crushed our goal of raising $26.2K and kept on going almost $10,000 past that mark.

Dom< Val and Renee at the DorStop in Dormont, PA after the Pittsburgh Marathon in 2010.

In the races since I’ve been running for me as much as Dom’s memory and we’ve had some pretty amazing experiences – a lot of them were made possible by Dom as he taught me just how tough I really am.   How much I can endure and how much it takes to break me.  Most of us go through our lives never knowing what those limitations are because we are scared to find out.  Dom’s battle with cancer granted me the opportunity to put myself out on a limb and see just how close I could come to reaching those limits.

I haven’t stopped reaching since over these last two years.  I want to test myself.  It makes me feel alive.

So Dom, when we dip our toe in the water at next month’s Kerrville Half Ironman and I am staring a 1.2 mile open water swim in the face, a 56 mile hilly bike ride through the Texas Hill Country and a 13.1 mile run back through town to the finish line you are going to be there with me every stroke, pedal and step of the way.  Just as you have been for the last 24 months.

Today the training schedule called for a 10-mile training run.  I ran an extra 2 for you this morning, one for each year you’ve been gone.  They were the fastest miles of my workout.

I can do anything for 2 miles.

I miss you Dom.

A Run to Dom

Posted: December 25, 2011 in Motivation
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4:45 a.m. Christmas morning as I slipped out of bed with Landry and Dawn still sleeping. I had a 10 mile run on the schedule, following my 20-miler the previous day. Not being home this year for Christmas I did not have the luxury of just heading out on our 10-mile loop, switching on the auto-pilot and knocking out the run before it was time to get back and open presents.

I needed to come up with a route from Dawn’s parents house that would give me an early morning safe out and back route. I was kicking around the idea of running from the house out to the cemetery where Dom was laid to rest two summers ago after he passed away on August 15, 2010.

The route wasn’t the greatest as it ran along two busy roads with very little shoulder, but that early on Christmas morning I thought it just might work. The other issue was the incredibly steep climbs that I would have to make out of Dawn’s childhood street, followed by a solid two more miles of climbing to reach the High School Dawn and Dom attended.

More than 1,000 feet of climbing in just over four miles to reach the cemetery. Pretty tough after a 20-mile run the previous day.

I was playing over the options in my head on Christmas Eve when Dawn, Landry and I went over to the D’Eramo’s house to visit with Dom’s Mom and Dad, Brothers, Aunt, nieces, nephews, his wife Val, his daughter Sierra who is now 5 years old and his son Nico who is almost two.

As I sat there with my plate of stuffed shells, smelts, stuffed mushrooms and a few other delicious side dishes listening about the trip to Italy the family is taking this summer, all I could think about was how much Dom would have loved this dinner.

Kids running around everywhere, stories being told, lots of joy and happiness – it was the kind of night I always think about when I think of Dom. He was always the center of attention at gatherings like this one, holding court, entertaining everyone with is story-telling.

Nobody mentioned it, but you knew we are all thinking the same thing.

It’s just not the same without Dom.

As I laid out my running gear on Saturday night, I knew exactly where I was going on Sunday morning.

I put on my tights, Under Armour cold weather gear, two pairs of gloves and fired up my headlamp in the 29 degree temperature. Without so much as a single flat stride I started to climb for one mile straight out of Dawn’s neighborhood.

My legs felt strong despite a high mileage week, but I was barely keeping my pace under 9:00 minutes per mile on the steep ascent. I wasn’t even on the “hill” yet.

I decided to forget about the watch and just think about the trip to see Dom.

I reached Broadhead Road, made a right turn and started ticking off the miles. There was a rolling section through town, past Dom’s street where he grew up and then a long climb past the hunting club and the Middle School Dom and Dawn attended where my Mother-in-Law still teaches.

Then it was past the turn for the High School and finally another 3/4 of a mile of climbing and I turned left into the cemetery. As my headlamp shone into the grounds I scattered three large Pennsylvania white tail deer. I ran past the groundskeepers house and down the hill to Dom’s row.

Just off of the path on the right I slowed to a walk and my headlamp shone onto Dom’s grave site. It had been awhile since I had Dom’s undivided attention, so I decided to catch him up on a few things.

I told him how wonderful his family is, how beautiful his daughter has become, and how big and strong is son Nico is. How I could hardly keep up with him as I chased him around his house the night before.

I thanked him for all that he has afforded me, especially over the past few years and that without him pushing me to keep training, keep racing and continue on in his memory, races like New York City never would have happened.

“Boston” would just be this race I ran once, not something I am training for with all my heart, body and soul this year.

As I started to feel the cool morning air stiffening my legs as I kneeled in the grass, I knew I had to get moving again. I shared one last thing with Dom that I’m keeping just between the two of us until after Boston, which I know he will hold sacred.

He is a MUCH better secret-keeper now than he ever was before …. and I started to make my way back home.

The hills which were my enemy on the way to visit Dom were now carrying me along at paces under 6:00 minutes per mile.

I reached the house in 1:16:12 over 10 miles. 7:37 pace.

My Boston Qualifying requirement for my age is 3:20:00.

7:37 pace. Pretty fitting.

Thanks for the time this morning Dom. I miss you more than ever.

A Post From Landry

Posted: November 3, 2011 in Training
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I’m getting really excited! Tomorrow morning Mommy and I are flying on an airplane!

We are going to New York to watch my Daddy run in a really big race. Pretty much the biggest race in the whole world he told me.

It’s already been an awesome week as on Monday I got to dress up in my Piglet outfit and go trick or treating in our neighborhood.

I got some candy, but my Mommy told me that wasn’t for little Piglets, so I ate some goldfish instead.

I think my Daddy ate the candy, he eats a lot even though he looks kinda skinny. Must be all that running that he does.

Daddy says we’ll be staying in Times Square and there will be more lights there than I have ever seen. More than Christmas even. That sounds pretty cool.

He also told me that we would go to an awesome toy store, FAO something which has it’s own Ferris Wheel inside!

Then on Sunday Mommy and I will be going to a huge park and wait for Daddy to finish his race.

I’m pretty sure he is going to win because he promised to give me his medal afterwards like he did for Uncle Dom after the race he ran in Pittsburgh.

I wasn’t born yet, so Dom got that one.

Anyway, New York sounds like a pretty awesome place for a race.

Go Daddy!