Boston Marathon 2014

Jessica Sowalsky's Marathon Blog

Boston Marathon 2014 - Jessica Sowalsky's Marathon Blog


It is that time of year – to be thankful. I am thankful for all of my donors. All of you give me the strength and encourage me to push myself harder in my training. I hope that our efforts will lead to a future where we see a world without cancer.

Thank you to everyone who has donated since September 19, 2013:


Aaron Reiser

Abbie Loewenstein

Eva and Alan Radding

Amy Schwartz

Andrew and Danielle Batchelder

Anne Donohue

Arnold and Gail Kraft

Bernice and Max Cohen

Bernice Wolk

Carl and Ashley Mealey

Carolyn Greenberg

Clara Sowalsky

Cynthia and Sheldon Fine

Diane and Bob Witt

Debbie and Alistair Hewitt

Deedy Uliss

Dolly Fine

Eddie Downes

Eddy Chen

Edie and Don Day

Elaine and Herb Kamowitz

Elizabeth Mehren

Emily Johnson

Emily and David Kieval

Eric Soll

Garland Waller

Joe Spanos

Halee Burg

Haydn Kissick

Helen Fine

Lyn and Bob Silverstein

Hyun Yeul Lee

Ina and Marshall leinson

Ira and Gail Korinow

Iris and Irv Meltzer

Estelle and Jack Hayman

Jack and Lynn Siegel

Jack Weiss

Jake Kassen

Jan Glassman and Joel Sowalsky

Jared Bluestein

Jessica Rodrick

Kenneth Holmes

John Montgomery

Jose Ponce

Joyce and Paul Manowitz

Judith and Harvey Malin

Kaitlin Maguire

Karen Jacobs

Kathleen and Rob Battaglia

Kate and Paul Burak

Kathryn, Paul and Ella Rose Schaeffer

Kim Relick

Laura Dunn

Laurie and Lee Caplan

Leonard Karas

The Crane Family

Lisa and Bob Reibstein

Lois and Brad Sideman

Lynn and Jeff Shapiro

Lynne and Stan Dress

Tori and Marc Zissman

Anne and Marty Lurie

Mary Weinberg

Merle Schell

Michael Boardman

Jessica and Mike Newman

Michelle and Larry Soll

Stu, Mitzi, and Jonathan Perlmutter

Nancy Parker

Nathan and Zara Tabor

Patrice Oppliger

Paul Brody

R D Sahl

Scott and Rachel Lyke

Richard Day

Rob and Laurie Batchelder

Robert Bluestein

Bob Sullaway and Family

Marianne and Ron Goldfarb

Ruth and Marty Baer

Sarah Gulla

Sean Gerrin

Shane Kocher

Sheila and Norman Brody

Joyce and Steve Witover

Stuart and Shell Rossman

Susan Walker

Josh Sowalsky and Suzanne Chipkin

Tamar Kieval Brill

Terry Knopf

Thelma Smolker

Tim Lynch

Tobe Berkovitz

Trudy, Mitch, Melanie, and Michael Zakin

Will Lannon

Ziyang Yu


First-Timer’s Run

Yesterday was the first-timers run for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. Sixty first-timers came with about 10 veterans from the team. We met at the Marathon Sports in Brookline and the veterans told stories about their experiences with the team and the Boston Marathon, and gave us some advice about training. Afterwards, we went for a 4 mile run around the Chestnut Hill Reservoir as a team. It was a gorgeous day for a run. It was a great time to socialize and meet new people. After the run, we went out to brunch to the Abbey and I got the chance to talk to a lot more people there. The next time I will see most of these people is at the December 14th DFMC group run.

From that day on, it is the official start to the Boston Marathon training season! Let’s go!

Interval Training

Yesterday, I went to the Natick Track and ran 4 by 200 meter intervals for two hours. I have not been on a track since High School when I was a Sprinter on the Andover Girls Track and Field Team. I ran an 8 minute sprinting pace for each of the intervals. This is a great pace since my race pace is around 11 minutes.  I plan on going to the track more often so I can lower my pace time for my races.


On Sunday, I plan on going to the Natick High School outdoor track to run intervals. Intervals allow your body to have the ability to run faster and gain the endurance you need for long races. Plus, your running pace will get faster because you are running a short amount of distances at a faster speed.

Here is an article about intervals:

This is the work out that I plan on doing:

Interval training sets:

4 sets of 4 x 200 meter runs (repeats): Each 200 meter run is faster than the previous one.

Allow 1 1/2 minutes of recovery time between repeats. Concentrate on increasing your speed as you progress from your first repeat to your fourth one.

Set 1of 4:

#1: Run at a pace faster than your warm-up speed.

#2: :03 seconds faster than #1

#3: :03 seconds faster than #2.

#4: :03 seconds faster than #3.

Repeat the above series 3 more times.

Allow 2 minutes of recovery between sets.

Recovery Post Intervals: Easy walking for several minutes followed by light stretching if necessary.


Before I go out for a run since I had the mild injury I stretch. Stretching makes a runner become more flexible and more resistant to injury. There has been a debate in a lot of running magazines that  say” Should I stretch before or after I run, or at all”?

Here is an article on this debate:

From experience, I think stretching is the way to go no matter what. You should stretch before working out, before going for a run, and even before doing yoga. This way your muscles are warmed up and you are ready to go.

What are your thoughts on this topic?

Chilly Half Marathon / OUC Orlando Half Marathon

Yesterday, I ran the Chilly Half Marathon in Newton, Massachusetts. There were 1,600 runners. The route had a ton of hills and it was very challenging. My finishing time was 2:38:20. 400 runners did not finish the race.

Three weeks from now, I will be in Orlando, Florida for a wedding.  The day before the wedding I am running the OUC Orlando Half Marathon. This will be my last race before the Boston Marathon and before I kick the Marathon training into high gear.

Only the best is yet to come.

First Team Meeting / Chilly Half Marathon

Wednesday was my first team meeting with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. About 100 people showed up to this event out of 600 people who are on the team. The rest of the team members were on Webex listening in over their phones or computers since some of these runners live in China or Italy. This meeting discussed when team runs would be, when events would be taking place, and what to expect come Marathon Monday. I met a lot of new people and I know there is a lot more to come.

In two weeks, it is my first-timers run with DFMC. We are meeting in Brookline and all of the new runners on the team are invited. We will run 4 – 5 miles and then go out for brunch. I cannot wait for this event. It will be another great opportunity to meet people.

This Sunday, is my third half marathon for this year, the Chilly Half marathon. I cannot wait to run through the city of Newton and part of the marathon route on Commonwealth Avenue. I will let you know my results from the race. Wish me luck!

DFMC Team Meeting

This Wednesday is the kick-off meeting for the DFMC team. I will be meeting my DFMC teammates, Board members, and Running Programs staff. We have a meeting at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and this meeting will discuss the Barr Program’s world-class research and I will have the chance to socialize and meet new people. I have been looking forward to this event since I joined the team in September. I will recap about this event in my next blog post on Friday.


Today I had my first personal training session at GymIt in two months. I have been going to the same personal trainer for three years. It was amazing. We worked on mobility for runners. By using a dumbbell or a golf ball and pressing either of these items into the quadriceps, ankles, and calve muscles of your legs it releases tension in these muscles and in your lower back.

It makes you feel like a brand new person. I plan on doing the below ten exercises every week at home or at the gym to make my legs less tense. If you have back or ankle issues I suggest that you try the below exercises out. Watch each of the ten videos so you know how to do the exercises correctly.