Passion isn't just for movie characters. Illustration by Jim Carroll
Well, the marathon is right around the corner and I have to say I feel great. My physical condition is the best it’s been in years and I feel confident about my ability to run the marathon. I wish I could say that I accomplished this all on my own, that when I won my spot into the marathon I immediately went into a training routine usually reserved for Hollywood-invented characters like Rocky or Rudy (actually Rudy was a real person, but you get what I mean). I’d like to think I’d be one of those characters who takes on an impossible challenge, trains hard on his own and eventually succeeds in the face of impossible odds to prove the human spirit can topple any adversity, all brought to life in an inspiring three-minute training montage. Well, I know myself. The montage would start with me training very hard, but would end just as quickly with me limping the last 22 miles of the marathon, the human spirit being soundly defeated by procrastination and Pringles.
I owe a lot my new-found confidence and improved cardiovascular condition to the folks at the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project. After winning a lottery spot for the marathon, I set out to research marathon training programs. There were a lot out there, but I settled on the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project after hearing a presentation they gave this past summer. The presentation was put on by the New York Flyers running club which brought on Run S.M.A.R.T. as its official training program after a lengthy interview process with a long list of candidates.
Brian Rosetti is the founder and head coach of the Run S.M.A.R.T. Project. He is also the coach assigned to my group of runners, one of four groups within the program. I’ve had many great talks about running with Brian over the last few months. He is really into it — I mean really into it. He started the company because he got into the science behind great running with the goal to maximize the potential of any level runner. Eventually he became affiliated with legendary running coach Dr. Jack Daniels. His program is heavily informed by Daniels' principles and he works closely with him on a regular basis.
I emailed Brain some questions about his program for this blog and his answers were long, detailed and passionate. Let me give you the CliffNotes version. Brian loves running. Brian loves the science that improves running. Brian loves to teach people how to run better.
Not everyone has to join a marathon training program. Some do train on their own and are quite successful. I just found it really worked for me. Another great thing about being part of a training team is the people you get to meet. New York, by its nature, draws motivated people from around the world who want to do something special. Now, imagine these people with the passion to take on a huge challenge like finishing a marathon, and you’ve got one interesting group. One of those people is Genevieve, a deeply devoted mother of two who works at the UN for a cause she is very passionate about. She is often called away to different locations around the world at a moment's notice. With all of this, she still makes almost every group practice and puts in all her scheduled training miles, no matter what country she is in. Let’s see Rudy do that.
Sometimes, we meet people in real life who are far more inspiring than anything Hollywood can invent. Both Genevieve and Brian exhibit the passion and commitment that I think makes New York City so special, and it’s what I hope carries me to the finish on Nov. 3.