I started running in 1998 when I was only 8 years old. So 18/19 years cause I'm 26 now, so it's been a long time!
How did you get so fast?
As a kid I joined North Kingstown Rec in Rhode Island and ran 3 days a week. It turned competitive and we tried running Junior Olympics and that's when I made it to nationals in both cross-country and track. From there I realized between Junior Olympics and Hershey track nationals it required natural talent and a bit of hard work. The running increased to 5 days a week but the mileage wasn't that high at the time.
Once I got to high school the competition was next level. I went to a private Catholic school (Bishop Hendricken High School in Warwick, R.I.). Once in high school my 2 coaches Jim Doyle and Danny Brennan were a big influence on my training. Between the mileage of around 70 a week, to the various workouts, it all began to align the stars. My senior year I ended up winning R.I. XC states with a 40 second PR, along with coming in 4th at outdoor New England's in 9:16 for 3200 meters. Once I got to college a boatload of injuries and me going from being 5ft 5in, to 6ft 2in in about a year & a half slowed my running down a lot. It wasn't until I was done with college that I could fully recover and get another running game plan together.
Since then, the knowledge my 2 high school coaches passed on to me and the training plans and workouts are what I've been used to base my training off of ever since I finished college running. Just last year I PRd in 4 events. The 5k (14:49) 5miles (24:54), half marathon (1:11:20) and marathon (2:39:19). With that all just happening I know I have plenty of room to improve and time to get even faster and that's the goal!
Was this your first Boston?
My first Boston was actually last year where I ran 2:39:19 and actually proposed at mile 26. Knowing I was going to propose was definitely motivation and definitely helped me on race day.
What made you decide to go all out and run with the Elite Men?
Coming into this year I really wanted to go sub 2:30 at Boston, however due to a hip injury and some time off my time goal went out the window. Even after a month off and only a month and a half of training I still planned on running Boston but wasn't sure my plan until I was joking around with some friends at work. They jokingly said go out as hard as you can and take down Meb, then it hit me! Between Zensah, I have 2 other company's 1.) rabbit, and 2.) SOS Rehydrate that supply me with a few things to keep me running fast. I figured the least I can do since they always support me is to give them some TV coverage and put them in the spotlight. So it was decided then I was going to go out with the leaders and stay with them for a mile or 2 then see how long it would take me to get to the finish.
Did any of them say anything to you or look surprised/pissed off?
To be honest they weren't talking at all to each other for the mile and a half I was there. Almost like they weren't even breathing either. They were so smooth, and efficient it was almost amazing to see and run with. As I began to look at my watch I took the leaders through the mile in 4:48-4:50 and I knew it was going to be a rough day. I decided then I would get to the mile and a half with them and drop back. When I got to a mile and a half I realized I was next to Meb and right before I slowed down I told him "Get after it today Meb, this is your last Boston, go out in style!" He responded with "Thanks, I appreciate it brother!" Then they were gone lol.
How hard was it to run after the initial all-out mile?
Like I said, since the injury in January my running before Boston was minimal. I did 1 workout and it was a 6mile tempo at 5:52 pace and the longest I had run was 13miles 3 weeks prior to Boston. My biggest fear when I got to the line is I told my friends and family I was going for the lead but I wasn't 100% confident I could a.) Get to the lead and b.) Hang on for long. Surprisingly, the first mile was pretty smooth and relaxed thanks to the downhill. It was cool because I've seen these guys race on tv, and now I'm side by side with Olympians and it's incredible. The mile wasn't bad to be honest, but I started getting worried about how I would feel later in the marathon with that fast mile so I figured I would shut it down at a mile and a half.
Has this been your most memorable running moment? If not, what has??
Honestly it's pretty high up there to one of my most memorable moments. The crazy thing is 2 out of my top 3 highlights happened at the Boston Marathon. Me proposing to my wife and the love of my life last year at Boston is definitely the best moment I've had. #2 was winning the R.I. XC State championship cause I wasn't the favorite. Then #3 would definitely being running next to a bunch of Olympians and USA team members!