Brian A.: What drew you to Daily Mile? How long have you been associated with the online community?
Doug W.: Not sure of the exact date, but it was sometime in either December, 2009 or January, 2010; joining the community from Twitter after noticing that many friends’ posts were originating from Daily Mile.
BA: So you had a base on Twitter previously, and you essentially moved that base of running friends and people that had similar interests to Daily Mile?
BA: So you did what a lot of us did; executing what was then the Daily Mile Playbook: join Twitter, find friends, cultivate the friendships, move the relationships over to Daily Mile.
DW: Exactly. Daily Mile is an awesome resource that I’ve continued telling my friends and others about; getting them to sign up with the viewpoint that if you’re going to run or be involved in any type of endurance sport or just want to get into shape, the Daily Mile community provides a deep well of motivation and inspiration on a regular basis.
BA: You’ve said in previous exchanges that you trained for the 2010 Boston Marathon, so I know that 2011′s race isn’t your first Boston Marathon. So how many Boston Marathon’s for you?
DW: This will be my second. The 2010 Boston Marathon was actually my first marathon, so this year’s race is my second marathon.
BA: Let me get this right, the 2011 Boston Marathon is your second marathon and its the only marathon event you’ve run so far? You’re kidding?
DW: Nope (Doug laughs).
BA: That’s amazing.
DW: I’m a firefighter and when I decided to run Boston for 2010, I had started to lose weight because in the firehouse every year we have an annual “biggest loser” competition; each year I stopped drinking beer and cut back on food portion sizes, usually coming in second place and losing 20-30 pounds just by changing that aspect of my behavior.
My wife, who is actually the runner in the family, encouraged me to incorporate running into my training program for 2009′s competition, with the goal of actually winning that year. I was also motivated by my upcoming 20 year high school reunion, so I started running in March of 2009, slow at first where I’d run a block, walk a block and repeat the cycle. By May, I had built a good base and completed my first 5-mile run without stopping.
After the 5-mile run, I looked at my wife and told her that “I’m going to run the Boston Marathon,” and she laughed saying I was out of my mind, encouraging me to try a 5k first, which I agreed with, but still insisting that I was shooting for Boston in 2010.
BA: You’re running Boston to raise funds for Children’s Hospital Boston. How long have you’ve worked with them and how we’re you introduced to their Miles for Miracles Team (https://howtohelp.childrenshospital.org/bostonmarathon/pfp/pfp.asp?profileid=wd0030)?
DW: I live in the Boston area and I’ve grown up watching and admiring the marathon, so I figured that I’m here and it’s the marathon. As 2009 marched on, I continued to train and went about it all wrong, wearing beat up running shoes, doing two 5-6 mile runs a day–5-6 days a week, overtraining, picking up overuse injuries, eventually blowing out my right knee through an accident at work that required surgery; losing that entire summer to rehab and recovery.
Needless to say, in physical therapy, I was depressed and my therapist keyed into that, asking me what’s wrong? I told him that there were so many things I wanted to do, and shared with him that I was training for the Boston Marathon. The therapist instantly responded, “you can still do the marathon; we’ll get you into shape,” what was your qualifying time? I shot him a puzzled look and said, qualifying time, what’s that? Which the therapist went on to explain to me, but also sharing that Boston had a charity invitation, which I looked up online and noticed Children’s Hospital’s program, which appealed to me, due to my background as a firefighter and paramedic.
So I applied, went through an interview process with Children’s and was eventually accepted to the team. I was also strongly inspired by Brenya, the daughter of one of my best friends, who was born with a genetic brain disorder, and slated to be my patient partner for Boston. Brenya died unfortunately, and I was invited to be on the Miles for Miracles Team by phone in the parking lot of the funeral home. Brenya’s passing represented a message from God to me and became my mission in preparing for Boston, 2010. When Children’s gave me the nod, I was 275 pounds, completely out of shape, and had just gone through knee surgery, but ran the 2010 marathon at 198, shedding 77 pounds. I’m currently at 193 heading into 2011′s event.
BA: You took the lead in organizing what has become the official Daily Mile Meetup for this year’s Boston Marathon (http://www.dailymile.com/meetups/28-boston-marathon-hootenanny). What motivated you?
DW: I was hoping to be part of organizing the 2010 Boston meetup, but things didn’t work out for various reasons. However, my forte is event planning and I started putting events together in college, doing large scale events and concerts; using that expertise for initiatives to this day; even planning my own wedding. I’m also race director for Lex’s Run for the MDA, a 5k and 10k road race to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
I have a degree in marketing, but don’t often have a chance to put that to use at the fire department (Doug laughs); also working in working in advertising and sales for a number of years. So early on, I knew I wanted to play a significant role in organizing this year’s meetup, getting comfortable with using Daily Mile’s online meetup tools and using connections to lockdown a marathon weekend date at a Boston establishment near the race expo.
BA: What are your performance goals/objectives for Boston?
DW: I ran last year’s marathon in 4:14:09; my biggest goal pre-Boston was just to finish in 2010. However, I’ve set new PR’s in virtually every event since then and my A-level goal is a sub-3:20 finish for 2011.
BA: What’s the next event after Boston on your race calendar?
DW: I’m going to become an ultra-marathoner, participating in the Vermont 50 in September 25th. I’ve helped put together a pretty large group on Twitter and Daily Mile, who will be doing the event with me as well. In the meantime, I’ll be participating in events tied to the New England Mountain Racing Trail Series, to get properly acclimated to mountaneous trails, because that’s what the Vermont 50 is. Should be an interesting summer training-wise, just hoping that the weather is cooperative along the way.
BA: You’re in an elevator and you have 30 seconds to provide a rundown to a stranger about who Doug Welch is as a person. How would you respond?
DW: Wow, you had to put one of “those” questions in here didn’t you (Doug laughs)? You’ve put me on the spot, but I love my family and I’m a very spiritual, intense, and passionate person; almost to a fault, because when I set a goal I focus on it intensely until its achieved. I don’t have a lot of close friends, but those I do become close friends with are friends for life, so I’m very loyal and fiercely protective of friends and family.
BA: The elevator door’s opening and you only have time to say one more thing before exiting. What’s the closer for your elevator story? You have 5 seconds.
DW: I have a motto on my blog (http://reallynotarunner.blogspot.com) that says, “Live like there’s no tomorrow, because there isn’t, go out and get what you want today.”
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