Friday, January 2, 2015

Fundraising Friday: Meet Brian Simons

Brian signed his email to me providing information about his Boston Marathon run for Spaulding Rehab with, "Your friendly neighborhood runner and PT."

Brian is a physical therapist who works full time at Lahey Clinic and works as a per-diem physical therapist at the Spaulding North End Nursing and Therapy Center in Boston.

I asked Brian, why run the Boston Marathon and why for Spaulding?

I am proud to be a part of this organization, and relish the opportunity to help it outside of my work hours. The staff and the entire network provide holistic, evidence-based, high quality, and compassionate care to patients and their loved ones at times when they really need it. By joining and fundraising for this team, I get to help raise money to make this care even better.

This is Brian's first and as he said hopefully not his last marathon:

There are a lot of reasons why I chose to run this now. I am finally getting to the point in my life where I enjoy running. I didn't always. I started running by joining the cross country team in high school when I didn't make the soccer team. I needed something to stay in shape for my best sport, wrestling. The coach let me train and run races with the team, as long as I got in the way of the fast guys on the other teams! I never really loved running then. After a couple half marathons, I am beginning to really my alone time on the roads. It is meditation time. I finish calm and happy. It's great!

Second, my knees tell me that I should probably cross this off my bucket list before I get much older. I know the pounding they have taken from wrestling, running, martial arts, and life has taken a toll. I want to cross that line while people would still say I am in my prime, and before my body tells me I can't.

Finally, it feels right to run as soon as I can after the tragedy in 2013. I wasn't prepared to run last year. Spaulding helped treat the victims. I feel I might honor them by running and helping others who are and will be treated where they were.

Brian ran his first race in 2010; the Virginia Beach Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon. He was trained and ready to run the 2013 Tache Real Estate Wicked Half Marathon in Salem MA, but sprained his foot 2 weeks before the race. He was able to complete it this year at the end of September 2014 with a much faster time than he expected! However, after that race, he developed a "mean case" of Achilles tendonitis. He is working hard in physical therapy and taking his training slowly so he can run and complete the Marathon without any other injuries or issues. This injury has given him an even deeper appreciation for what his patients go through trying to regain their functioning from reducing pain, to learning how to walk again, to being capable of feeding themselves and more. Their goals are a real struggle that takes time and training to achieve.

Brian is poised and ready to train through the New England Winter as he carries his patients with him in his heart.

He also has a wonderful sense of humor which we all know is critical when you are training for the Boston Marathon. Here is a photo he took before he went out on a run on Christmas Eve:

that inspired this poem:

'Twas the night before Christmas
And in spite of the rain
I'm running the Boston Marathon
so I still had to train.

I put on my jacket, gloves, hat, and my tights,
and I ran out the door
past all the Christmas lights.

8 Santas, 2 reindeer,
And a couple of elves,
Windows with Shepherds
adorning inside shelves.

My plan was for five,
A nice distance I thought,
Then the drizzle fell harder,
Confident I was not.

Not even a mile
Was I into my run,
And I could not stop thinking,
Of when I could be done.

I mustered some strength
For my goals I must meet,
And just then a wave
Engulfed my Brooks covered feet!

Soaked by a car, and not too far in,
I thought to myself
That I surely can't win.

It was dark and was wet,
and I was away from my home,
I was uncomfortable, scared,
And I felt all alone.

I imagined my patients
And the tough times they push through
The effort, hard work, patience
And lessons learned too.

I remembered what I signed up for,
I had joined a crew
Spaulding Race for Rehab
So finish for them I must do!

I jogged and I pranced
And I strode and I trotted
And I ran and I pushed
And I splashed and I plodded.

The time crept by slowly
And my energy waned
the greatest intentions I had
Trickled down sewer drains.

I was ready to stop at 4 miles
And to seek some dry ground
When something strange happened
A new feeling I found!

As my aches melted away
And my cadence picked up
Renewed, oh Hooray!

Back past busy stoplights where puddles and cars met
I dashed past where my shoes
First got soaking wet

I flew past all the lights
Of the reindeer and trees
Like a soggy 28 year old
(just imagine like a breeze).

I made it home
And fresh clothes I did fetch
So I could foam roll
And get a good stretch.
I had just finished six
And when done my cool down
So proud I was,
Of my jaunt around town.

Then I cracked open a beer
And started writing this story
A long-winded tribute to our patients
And their glory.

Also to my fellow runners
And sacrifices you make
To help out others with the strides that you take.

The happiest of holidays
To the young and the old
Now please consider donating to Spaulding Race for Rehab
So I can reach my $5000 goal!

He's also a Tough Mudder:

This last photo is of me conquering my fear of heights at a ropes course in college. I have something new to conquer now!

So let's get this fierce, friendly neighborhood runner and physical therapist to the starting line of Hopkinton with a whole lot of cash for Spaulding Rehab Hospital where patients are able to find their strength everyday! Follow this link to donate to Brian's fundraising page. You can follow his training adventures on Brian Races for Rehab.

Journey well!

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