Read my runner feature on Coffee with Caesar!
Marathon Monday has arrived, and while the runners hydrate to beat this record heat, read on and get to know one of our featured runners, Neal Boyle. Neal is running on the Race for Rehab Team benefitting Spaulding Rehab. Please be sure to stick with us all day Marathon Monday for updates as our Coffee with Caesar team tracks his progress on our Facebook & Twitter .
CWC: How many marathons have you run? Which ones? When?
Neal: I’ve run three marathons so far: Chicago in 2010; Los Angeles in 2011; and then Chicago again last fall in 2011. Boston will be my fourth. It’s also an extra special marathon for me because Boston is home. I am wicked excited to get to have my parents see me in action and at the finish line. I love them, and they’ve been so supportive of this running bug that I’ve caught.
CWC: Is this your first time running Boston?
Neal: Indeed, the 116th Boston Marathon is my first Boston Marathon! Hopefully, it won’t be my last!
CWC: Why did you want to run for Spaulding Rehab?
Neal: I like to think Spaulding found me. A good family friend — McKenzie Ridings — has been following my marathoning exploits, and asked me after my last Chicago if I would be interested in joining the Spaulding’s Race for Rehab Team. It was really hard to say no. On the identity end of things — by virtue of growing up in Charlestown, Spaulding Rehab has always been a trusted name in the neighborhood (incidentally–in elementary school, we used their old stationary for photocopying!) and among family and friends. Philosophically–I really believe in the hard work that Spaulding patients and staff put in to recovering from traumatic injuries. The efficiency of Spaulding’s care, the sheer will and perseverance of Spaulding’s patients — all of this makes you understand why Spaulding is a special place, and why Spaulding’s motto, “Find Your Strength”, is so fitting in the context of rehab and the context of life really. Personally–I suffered a severe radial hand laceration in 2010 that required surgery and months of rehabilitative therapy. The recovery was hard and took lots of work, discipline and faith–but my journey pales in comparison to the work that goes on at Spaulding. With all of these considerations, running for Spaulding makes sense, and I’m honored to be running on behalf of Spaulding’s patients, staff and families who put up the good fight every day.
CWC: What have you done to mentally prepare yourself?
Neal: Good question. I got some really good pieces of advice during my first summer of marathon training — mostly along the lines of “you learn a lot about yourself when you’re on your own” and “you get scared where your mind takes you.” For Boston, I did a lot of the running solo and half the time, on a treadmill. That was weird for me because I love running outside and with people. What going solo has done for me, though, is help me listen to how my body is doing, and it has prepared me for getting through the inevitable mental breaks. Oh–and think about legal questions. I’m a lawyer, and a lot of the best solutions I’ve come up with for work have come out of long runs!
CWC: What is your game plan for heartbreak hill?
Neal: I take Barney Stinson’s marathon advice from the TV show “How I Met Your Mother.” Go ahead and Google it!
Seriously, I’ve only run Heartbreak Hill once. Lots of folks have given me tons of pointers, but I know two things: first, there’s a nice traffic light at the top of Heartbreak Hill, which is good for focusing; and secondly, my power is in my legs — I love dead lifting, burpees, all that crazy cross fit junk. So, in the Newton series of hills, and especially Heartbreak Hill, knowing that I got the tools to get me there, I just keep telling myself: “Don’t give up; your time is now; lift your legs Neal; find your strength!” It’s almost like being in a trance. Then, I find myself at the top of the hill and have a chance to slow down on the downhill side!
CWC: Do you prefer to run alone or with other runners?
Neal: Hard question! It depends. But I will say, it’s nice having someone to talk to you every now and then, especially when you’re running along Lake Michigan in Chicago. So I guess that means I like running with folks. That said, I’m looking for a dependable running partner in Chicago who cruises along at a 7:45/8:00 mile!
CWC: When training, did you listen to music? If so, what is your favorite song to run too and why?
Neal: I totally listen to music. I’m going to embarrass myself because, right now, I really like rocking out to that Beyonce’s song “Countdown”. It’s just got a good beat, I think Beyonce is a badass, and quite frankly, singing it out loud helps me regulate my breathing.
CWC: If you could meet any famous person, who would it be?
Neal: Living or dead? I’m going to be ridiculous here and say Jeremy Piven. I’d like to learn how to act, and he just seems like a cool guy to hang out with in Wrigleyville and catch a Cubs game with (yes–I’ve converted!).
CWC: What is your pre-race ritual and why?
Neal: Drinking my flat Mountain Dew and just watching everyone get into their groove. I love people watching, I need my pre-race sugar and caffeine, and the entire running scene still strikes me as a really marvelous thing. There’s all these people coming together to run. I still think it’s pretty cool that there’s this big community and we’re all just coming together to share a race. Yes–I’m getting all meta-religious on you!
CWC: If you could go for a run with any present or past US President, who would it be?
Neal: Definitely Barack Obama. I’d love to pick his brain on his next Constitutional Law class syllabus because, yes, I still love school!
CWC: Do you have a running mantra? If so, what is it?
Neal: Jesus Christ, I think I do! I guess I’ll now have to call it the “Song to Heartbreak Hill”: “Don’t give up; your time is now; lift your legs Neal; find your strength!”
CWC: What is the one piece of running “equipment” you can’t like without?
Neal: My 2XU compression pants. That equipment has saved me on those long runs!
CWC: What do you consider to be your strengths and weaknesses as a runner?
Neal: I think the discipline needed to be a runner is a definite strength for me. My take is that the sport is all about building, maintaining, resting and then repeating. That takes a lot of discipline in each phase, and also a whole heck of a lot of faith. That’s all stuff I’m good at and seem to apply to a lot of other areas of my life. In terms of weaknesses…post-race drinking. I love putting back a couple of 312s after weekday evening runs along Lake Michigan.
CWC: Do you think running for a cause motivates you?
Neal: Absolutely! Actually, running for charity gives me an excuse to try my hand at fundraising and it allows me to get my friends involved in causes that are important to me. The races currently serve as my road into the world of philanthropy. Wait, did I just almost make a running pun?
CWC: Have you made any marathon pacts?
Neal: Back in 2004, while watching the Boston Marathon in Brighton with a bunch of law school friends, my near and dear friend Greg and I made a pact — that we would each run a marathon before we turned 30. Well, we pushed that deadline off to age 40, but back in 2009, I realized time was running out. That’s when I really started to think that running a marathon could be a reality.
CWC: Do you have any crazy marathon goals?
Neal: My friends Colleen and Jim want to run each one of the World Marathon Majors (Boston, Berlin, Chicago, London and New York) before age 40. I thought that was a really cool goal, so I’ve adopted it as one of my own goals!
Neal is running the 2012 Boston Marathon on behalf of Spaulding Rehab Hospital! Please visit his fundraising page for more information http://www.crowdrise.com/teamspauldingracefor/fundraiser/nealboyle
Marathon Day is here!
I still have a lot of thanking to do, but on behalf of Spaulding Rehab's Team Race for Rehab, I want to thank you all for supporting the hospital's great work, the fight that the patients put up every day, and the faith that the families put in to the road to recovery. Marathon Day is here, and I'm proud to report that, as a team, we've met 118% of our $100,000 fundraising goal. We could not have achieved this without you--THANK YOU!
On a personal level, thanks to each of you for supporting me in this crazy journey. Most of you have had to put up with non-stop runner's talk, loads of random facts about the Boston Marathon, or even put up with me and my multiple daily feedings! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for enduring the insanity. I have a hunch that my runner's insanity will continue, but the fact that you believe in me and the Spaulding cause will get me through the finish line. Heartbreak Hill or bust, baby!
Now, the good stuff. There are multiple ways to track me on race day, Monday, 4/16. My bib number is 23873. You can do one of two things:
1-Register directly from your AT&T, Boost, Nextel, Sprint, T-Mobile, US Cellular or Verizon mobile phone for runner updates. Text RUNNER to 345678. Follow directions from there.
2-The Boston Marathon uses a computer chip timing device as the primary method of scoring the race. The B.A.A. tracks every athlete at each 5 kilometer checkpoint. Family and friends can track the progress of their favorite runners by logging in to the B.A.A. website (www.baa.org) and entering the name and/or bib number of the entrant(s).
Either way should work. For now, I'll see you all next at the other end of the Boston Marathon. Here's to "Right on Hereford, Left of Boylston"!
I was recently Team Race for Rehab "Member of the Week"! Here's what Spaulding had to say about me and running for Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital:
Neal Boyle is a Charlestown, MA native, currently residing in Chicago, IL. He has completed four marathons, but this will be his first Boston. Although the other marathons he has run did not include many hills, Neal is not intimated by the hilly Boston course. Neal enjoys cross and weight training and believes that paired with his running schedule, he will be ready to tackle Heart Break Hill in April.
Growing up in Charlestown, Neal and his family always viewed Spaulding Rehab as a trusted place to receive world-class rehabilitation care. "I am excited that Spaulding has chosen the Charlestown Navy Yard as its new home," said Neal, referring to the new state-of-the-art hospital being built to replace the current Spaulding building.
Neal was first introduced to the Race for Rehab team through his friend and Spaulding's Interactive Media Manager, McKenzie Ridings. For each marathon he trains for, Neal tries to focus on a cause greater than himself, so when McKenzie told him about the Race for Rehab team, he knew that he had to apply. Throughout the past couple of months, Neal has truly developed a love for Spaulding. He said, "I am absolutely certain that running for the patients and the families who use Spaulding will get me through the finish line on April 16th."
Spaulding Rehabiliation Hospital wrote -
Spaulding Rehabiliation Hospital's Race for Rehab Team is proud to be running as part of the John Hancock Marathon Program.
Our team will be racing to raise funds toward Spaulding's Annual Fund. Our Annual Fund will support all of the hospital's most pressing needs. Spaulding prides itself on rehabilitation with a critically important "can-do" attitude. We encourage our patients to find their strength after suffering from injury or illness. We offer six major rehabilitation programs, based at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston. Each rehab program is interdisciplinary, bringing the skills of a team of rehabilitation specialists to bear on the unique needs of each patient.
Our programs offer rehabilitation in the following areas:
Amputee and Vascular Disease Rehabilitation
Brain Injury Rehabilitation
Child and Adolescent Rehabilitation
Spinal Cord Injury Rehabilitation
Spaulding is in the process of building a state-of-the-art new hospital in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Your New Hospital will be a very special resource for Greater Boston, New England, and beyond. It will greatly enhance clinical capacities, provide comfortable and accessible patient accommodations, promote a truly transformative clinical research enterprise, and be a source of aesthetic enjoyment for the community.
Members of Spaulding’s Race for Rehab Team have many benefits including:
• Team training runs
• Training tips from one of Spaulding’s Physical Therapists
• Individual personalized fundraising websites
• Team meetings and fundraising assistance
• Pre-Marathon pasta dinner
• Exclusive chance to meet with team captain Ernst van Dyk, nine-time Men’s Push Rim Wheelchair champion of the Boston Marathon
• Marathon Monday viewing party for family and friends to watch the race and meet the runners afterward