Thursday, May 3, 2012

A 26.2 Mile Journey, Part 1: The Decision - Guest Blogger Post

By Kevin Bernier

So, for those of you who were expecting Karl, please let me introduce myself. My name is Kevin and I know a lot about Karl that I bet he wishes I didn’t know I went to high school with Karl. I also just finished training for, and running, my very first Marathon: the Boston Sauna-thon, the Hike in the Heat, the Boston Marathon. Karl asked that I write a few entries about my experience training for and running the Marathon, so that’s why I’m here. To keep things in an easily digestible format; I’m going to do this in 12 posts (I tend to spend too much time trying and mostly failing to make you laugh) four posts: The Decision, Training, Gear and Race Day.

So first, a little running history: I ran was on the track team in high school, but only ran participated in the 100 Meters, 200 Meters and 4x100 Meter relay. When we did our weekly distance runs (usually 5 miles or so) I cut through peoples’ yards so I didn’t need to run the entire thing, ran the first ½ mile or so and hid in the bushes until the group came back was not that into it. I have run on and off since high school, but never more than 5 miles.

Kevin running in The Half of Quincy Half Marathon, March 2011

In October of 2010 my friend shamed me into running I ran my first 5K in Somerville. I trained a little bit for the race, running anywhere from 2-4 miles a couple times a week. I had no idea what I was doing or how to pace myself. The idiot who convinced me to start running again, My friend, who was giving me pointers on training and running, told me whatever I did, I should not do something “stupid” like start out at a 7:45 pace (we figured I’d run it at an 8:00/mile pace) or else I’d have nothing left in the tank to finish. Wouldn’t you know it, adrenaline took over and I ran the first mile in 7:04, and ended up finishing in 22:30 (a 7:15 Pace). I was completely gassed at the end, so good thing it was only 3.1 miles or I would have ended up on the ground in a heap. I was hooked -- one month later in a moment which can only be described as pure insanity I signed up for my first half marathon, which I ran in Quincy in March of 2011, finishing in 1:47:54 (a 7:47 Pace). I was supposed to be running this with a couple friends; however, they bailed I ended up training for it and running it by myself. I’m pretty sure I had issues walking and doing stairs during training and after the run (fun stuff, right?)

All of this brings me to September 2011, when I decided against everyone’s better judgment it would be a good idea to run the Boston Marathon. I lived in Boston along the route for several years and always joked that said I’d run it one day – I assumed figured I was in good running shape from my half marathon, why not do it now? And, although my wife (who didn’t really think I would sign up) and I had just had our second child in August 2011, I closed my eyes and hit submit on my application to DFMC decided to go for it. I did not think to consider the impact having an infant (and a 3 year old) would have on my training (I tried to do a 12 mile run about 2 weeks after he was born and crapped out 4 miles from home due to complete stupidity for trying to run on 2 hours of sleep pure exhaustion and dehydration), but I’ll get to that in the next post.

As you may or may not know, if you want to run the Boston Marathon with an official bib you need to qualify, which for my age group meant running a previous marathon in under 3:10 (since that was too easy, for 2013 the qualifying time for my age is a satanic 3:05) – wasn’t happening; or you can get a charity bib and they’ll waive the qualifying requirements. I signed up with the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) and got a charity bib – which includes a commitment to raise $4,500, in addition to the entry fees and other fees you need to pay in order to run (and if you don’t raise the $4,500 by the time of the marathon, they take a credit card so they can charge you what you don’t raise!! I can only assume that some wonderful people somewhere along the line decided to just grab the bib and not raise the money -- classy). I ended up raising almost $11,000 and the Dana Farber team’s goal was to raise over $4.8 million: http://www.runDFMC.org/2012/kevinb. For those of you considering running a marathon I highly recommend raising money for charity while running – not only will you be helping good causes (raising money for the Red Sox to buy out Bobby V., John Lackey and Carl Crawford is a “good cause” but not really what I’m getting at), but you’ll also be giving yourself some extra motivation during the long training periods (most training plans are 18 weeks…so you’ll need extra motivation somewhere along the line…unless you are a robot).

Stay tuned for the training post, which I’ll try to get to soon (and by soon I mean I am not committing to any timeline other than “soon”)



  1. Great guest post. I've always thought of running Boston too. I guess I need to get that qualifier done first though. I've yet to complete a marathon.

    1. No need to run a qualifier; you can always sign up for one of the charities. You have to raise $4,500, but it at least eliminates the need to train for and run a marathon ahead of time