So this is my final blog post for the Boston Marathon 2017 and as a member of Team BMC 2017
The evening before the marathon I did my final carbohydrate loading, hydration. Eileen and I watched the documentary on Running the Sahara, a 200+ mile run through the desert of Morocco. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k6WdYfZ96DI
One must among other things guarantee the cost of one’s body evacuation in case you die. Eileen said- if you do that, I WILL DIVORCE you! When I had shared prior emails that I had received of other job offers: a 6 month stint in Antarctica? (“Send me a picture of the penguins”) or locum in Hawaii” (“send me a postcard”) it was clear that this event would be off the bucket list (not that it ever actually was on the list or that there is a list). Team Feldman also recommended/decided that if I was going to wear a singlet because of the predicted heat, I would need a body makeover. Eileen Naired and clipped my hair so that I would be ready for all photo ops and to “shave” minutes off my time.
I took my asthma meds, hot shower, stretched and with a box of Kleenex went to bed early.
Summary of the race:
It was a long hot run. I had a bit of a cold as mentioned before and with that some mild breathing problems with my asthma. I started taking prednisone and using inhalers the day before and morning of the run. I had some concerns with using a long acting beta agonist (Symbicort) as I have had in the past some acceleration of my heart rate and was uncertain about the interplay with running the marathon vs heart rate accommodation, decided that breathing took precedence aka A,B,C mantra of emergency medical care. Although I was not 100%, I felt that I could survive the run.
Precisely on schedule Bruce Kraft, my designated driver, arrived wearing his Run BMC T shirt. He dropped me off at the South Street bus pick up in Hopkinton.
As in 2015 the BMC Development staff did an excellent support job at Santander Bank near the starting line with supplies, food, drinks, sun block, vaseline and foot care materials.
These are some of the views arriving at the Athletes Village, walking down the road to the Bank and starting line- best sign “Run Efficiently”:
Gathering at the Bank with Travis and Mike Perkins, Lauren Holmes checking in the runners.
Team BMC Team photo at Hopkinton:
It was already pretty warm in the sun. I blocked up, stretched and prepared to run. Following the singing of the national anthem, 2 fighter jets flew overhead.
This is a picture of the qualifier runners starting, then the starting line
Finally the start shortly before 11:15 the charity runners enter the designated Corrals, line up and prepare to head out. People also donate extra clothing that is collected at the start.
I planned on running with more discipline, not weaving and with the heat aiming for 30 seconds below pace (John Furey instructions). With the steep downhill start and crowd excitement, this still was hard to do. I ran the first mile at 9:30. With the sun, crowd and lack of wind, it felt like a blast furnace. I could feel the heat through my track sneakers and knew this would be a long hot day.
The crowds were even larger than 2015 with the warm weather and great conditions to watch, they made a very festive cheering squad. Among the many interesting running outfits were a couple wearing “newlyweds- honeymoon Boston Marathon,” (she had a white tutu outfit) many dedications, tributes, causes and many countries (Iceland, South Korea, Mexico). I saw a few runners who were barefoot! and in toe sneakers. I passed several of the impaired mobility runners including a veteran carrying a flag running on a blade prosthesis, another on 2 blades, a man who was written up in the Globe using crutches and a boot to complete the run with a new ankle fracture. To each as I went by I offered my comment- “awe inspiring.” I believe Katherine Switzer cruised past me at one point. I would also learn from Larry DiCara that it was his friend and college roommate who was honored for 50 consecutive Boston Marathons starting freshman year at Harvard and completed this year in just over 5 hours.
I ran for a bit with a group from Tufts. One of their group wisely instructed those with him to slow down, save energy for the last 6 miles, when the sun was more powerful and the wind died he told the group to drop the pace.
I knew after the first 6 miles that this would be a long hot run and I decided that survival was the goal and time not a realistic objective. My quads melted in the heat and as mentioned in prior blogs, I know quite well the energy required to run in from the Ashland-Framingham border at La Cantina. It was clear this would be a hard day. I decided to stop at every water stop to drink and douse my head and body, follow my nutrition plan and keep my promise to Dr. Lori Harrington and the medical staff (and my family) that they would not see me in the medical tent. One of the challenges of training in the cold all winter is that the heat can be very problematic and one cannot acclimatize on one or a few warm day runs or running indoors on a treadmill.
My first 10 K was at 10 min/miles, but from then on I slowed quite a bit.
Some images along the way:
I also ran through each of the cooling stations along the course with hydrants with sprinkler attachments.
As promised, Sue Fish greeted me at the top of Heartbreak Hill and shouted encouragement. Although there were many people walking, I plodded along up the hills.
There were several people who dropped from the heat along the route, including one of the runners from BMC JP’s team. I did not stop as there were emergency people around her and those helping her yelled to people to keep on running. Later I would learn from Boston EMS, Carol Shih, one of our residents in the Bravo tent with Ricky Kue and the news reports that the medical tents were very busy with many heat related injuries including several with exertional heat stroke and temperatures of 108 degrees or higher who required ice bath immersion treatment.
I saw many friends and relatives along the way including Irwin and Joni Rich in Natick, Jeff Schneider and his family along Comm Ave, the BMC Development Cheerleaders at mile 17, John Furey at mile 20 before Heartbreak- “how are you doing Jimmy?” he called out. “It was pretty hot out there” I replied, later to learn that it was 78 degrees at Heartbreak Hill. I also realize that there were many others who called out or cheered but given my focus on left/right left and keep going, am not certain that I saw everyone along the way. Bruce Kraft sent a photo from the marathon party at his daughter Amy’s party on Beacon Street.
Having pretty early on conceded trying to better my prior time and with the water stops, cooling stops and a couple of pit stops, I focused on completing the run. I continued through mile 26 and saw my mother, Josh and Stephanie in their Run BMC T shirts cheering and encouraging me on shortly before the downhill at the end of Comm Ave that goes under Mass Ave. I went down the decline to Hereford Street and decided to walk up this street to have some energy to run down Boylston Street (the famous right on Hereford, Left on Boylston) to the finish. I had written on my hand 4JR, thought long and hard about walking even this short distance but decided that sometimes sanity has to guide one’s decision making. Also the knowledge that I had ED shifts Wed, Thursday and Saturday this week to complete.
This is my finish photo – it captures the fact that for me, this was a long hot hard run and I was really happy to have seen the finish line mentally and crossed it physically.
I saw Kevin Shea, Bobby Morley and Jimmy Hooley from Boston EMS who congratulated me on my run. Kevin took a photo of me receiving my medal and I asked him to tell Lori and the others in the medical tent that I was sorry I could not stop by, was feeling pretty beat up. Misbah came to congratulate me and then Greta Morris (marathon runner, garage stair training) walked with me to Santander on Arlington so I could pick up my clothes and get on the T to Riverside where Eileen would meet me. I scrapped any plans of trying to meet my mother, Josh and Steph.There were also many people being pushed around in wheelchairs who were unable to walk.
There were many remarkable things from this run. Our EM RA Marc Reid ran among the top 1000 finishers in the world, Emmy Liscord Speigel past grad and qualifier had a strong run. Travis, Mike and many others- they rocked it! Jeff Rixe who in the past has had tremendous runs in Boston, new baby, limited training and longest run 16 miles finished with an excellent time, took a nap and went to work in the ED!
Probably from the heat, dehydration and long run, my cold and asthma really worsened. Fortunately I was home, able to do work from home and call in to a scheduled meeting at 6pm.
As in the past I would like to offer some metrics about this event, thoughts, thanks and future plans.
Marathon official time BAA and my Garmin (note if 30,000 started the heat took a toll):
My brother Richard is a devotee to heart rate training and targets. I have never done this before. The new Garmin captures these data. I was not sure I wanted to know these results as seeing that I maintain a sustained heart rate of 160 was not what it feels like when I run.
Weight at start: 197 lbs
Weight p finish, rehydration and eating: 196 lbs
Fundraising: (please note that one can still donate to this site p event) https://www.crowdrise.com/bostonmedicalcenterboston2017/fundraiser/jamesfeldman
Perhaps the Development Office will still hold an auction for a stay at the Mountain Club at Loon to push me over $11,000.
Today I worked in the ED. My co-workers, ED staff, residents, runners, trauma surgery all congratulated me on completing Boston 2017.
Thank You’s 2017
Once again I have the opportunity to thank all of those who have shared in this experience and as in the prior version, any omissions are unintentional, order not meant to be prioritized and will shift around as I have time later to edit this- this section is a work in progress as I have to finish early to prepare for another 7am ED shift tomorrow and will continue to revise and edit. Also, I will go back to some of my earlier blogs posts for more revisions. Among these will be a picture of Richard as my mother has located his year book and his Cross Country team photo from SHS.
click on link to sound track, roll credits: (I believe this is a free download cover)
- Of course, Eileen- this could not and would not happen without her support for this entire endeavor. Also, she has promised to take over future fund raising activities- more to follow on this.
- Steph and Hope- always there with ready to run encouragement, fashion consultations (tights, singlet) and of course Steph for tuning up with the BAA 10k on a hot summer day and Hope for her marathon training and insight, encouraging me to train in Switzerland and of course, staffing the in-flight medical emergency
- Team Feldman and now extended Team Feldman, Feldmans Seattle, Ipswich, the Nana, Flickers, Nancy Allen and Bob Dicker, Marcia and Barry, Radacks. cousins…..who are part of the social support network that I am blessed to be a part of.
- Bruce Kraft- owe you lots Brucie and of course, for getting me there on time!
- All of the BAA volunteers and staff- what an incredible devotion to a cause- from the Expo, Registration, bus drivers, course support.
- John Furey and the staff at Joint Ventures- the road map to Boston lies here- his final email:
7.Dr. Habershaw- BMC Podiatry, no foot pain!
8. A very large circle of friends, especially Team Eileen’s who have been there to support us through what this year has been for us, various health issues and life- it happens
9. Marathon Sports – you are the Marathon Doctors
10. All of my co-workers- ED staff, RNs, EMS, residents, faculty, trauma surgery, IRB and the very large world that is part of our special place
11. BMC Development of course since Lauren, Cristen et all make it an honor to be part of the larger mission that this is all about
12. My co-Team BMC team members seen here at the fundraising orientation and Laugh at the Pasta Dinner
13. Harvard friends (Rob and Brenda, Jim, Phil) who were a part of my youth and the caring network for John and all of us over the last 2 years of his illness and to Gloria for her kindness to all of us.
14. Friends from Medomak Camp, SHS, med school who sent me words of encouragement, donated to our cause and cheered me on.
15. The many who flew their Run BMC colors with great pride, exemplified by Dr. Sharon Falk-Bord, Bob and Evan, Bruce and Karen, Steph Josh and my mother, Kenny Lewis….(I sold and shipped a lot of shirts and thanks again to all- it was great fun although I felt at times like a web based T shirt company!
16. Taylor Herring, Donna Medaglis for spinning and cross training classes in 2017- and for your predecessors including Ashley Minogue and the many other spin instructors Monday (and occasional rare Wed or Saturdays) who have helped me get into marathon shape
17. Misbah Mohammed Team BMC Captain 2015, marathoner, web wizard- always a smile, positive word, incredible Google form for my T shirt campaign that people commented “looks professionally done.”
18 SHS Coach Charles Kimball- I sometimes wonder what would have happened that spring track tryout when he asked me whether I wanted to stay with the other weight group (discus, shot) perhaps evaluating my “size and speed” and that I was on the SHS football team (second stringer) and I said I wanted to go out with the distance runners- he said “OK.”
19. Everyone who has contributed to my fundraising effort this year, Team BMC and towards the NEW EMERGENCY DEPARTMENT!!!!!
20. All of the spectators that make the Boston marathon the greatest marathon in the world. The Wellesley Scream tunnel appropriately world renowned for irrational exuberance, exceptional sign creativity (“Kiss me i’m a physicist,” “Kiss me you did more work today than the President ever did!,” “Kiss me I’m Asexual,” “Kiss me if you’re over 65!”…). And every person whose chanting, clapping, cheering, children collecting high fives make every single runner feel like she or he is indeed a hero and part of an event much larger than life. And thanks for the snacks, orange slices, banana slices, pretzels, licorice and this year ice cubes (I grabbed many, ran with these, rubbed my neck, arms and face, put down my shirt in an effort to cool down- it really helped.” And the cheering- “Go Jim!” “Looking GREAT Jim” “You’ve Got this Jim” and “BMC! BMC!BMC! Yeah BMC!.” I tried to wave and acknowledge every single cheer. Thank you.
21. Grand dog Dexter- yes, training runs in the fall on the trails and hills in Callahan and being the smartest dog in the world and Hope for letting him visit with us for a while during her clinical rotations.
and more to come….
Final thoughts Boston 2017
I can certainly now answer the question- one and done? No. Two and through? Probably not.
As one can tell from the story that my blog captures, this is an experience that I find profoundly worthwhile- every aspect of this process. Fundamentally, it is about raising funds to support an institution that has been the focus of my professional life, setting goals and going hard after them. I have raised almost $30,000 to support the future of Boston Medical Center.
Every part of the training for and then running the Boston Marathon, discipline, dedication to the goal is worthwhile. It also does impose a significant physical, emotional and time burden, especially for one who is not designed to run long distances. Beyond the many accommodations one must make- diet, work/life fit, prioritizing training, stretching, light weigh lifting there is also an emotional strain of trying not to get injured, modifying other activities to avoid an injury so as not to disappoint people who have donated to support one’s run. This long campaign that for me must begin in October does really take a toll on many others, especially Eileen. When one is running 10 minute + training miles, it really does add to the time sink when the runs are 10-20 miles fitting in family, work and life.
I will certainly look forward to an occasional run in from Riverside on my own and Eileen has asked me to drive the course with her. These kinds of activities will certainly keep the spirit alive and hopefully in the future rekindle the fire.
It also is problematic to annually solicit family, friends and colleagues to donate to this cause. Donor fatigue is something I would prefer to avoid and there are certainly many important and worthwhile causes out there.
I now have experienced the “alternate year” approach to running the Boston Marathon. This is something that seems to work for me. I will hope to make it to Boston 2019 and once again join Team BMC. One of course can never know what lies ahead for any of us. But it is nice to dream, isn’t it?
This will be my final blog for the Boston Marathon 2017. If the stars align, I will see you again in the fall of 2018.
Thanks for sharing in my experience and happy running to all.
Final Blog stats 2017
Time to go to bed. Long day tomorrow in the ED.