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Posted by Rich Horgan  March 4, 2013 08:50 PM

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After a less-than-stellar 16-mile run last weekend, I was a bit apprehensive about tackling the hills of Lincoln and Concord this past Saturday.

With only six weeks left until the marathon it was key for me both mentally and physically to have a good long run.

As with other charity groups, Dana Farber organizes our weekend long runs from local health clubs and running stores.

The advantage to these runs is that you have a marked course, great volunteers at water stops and most importantly, other people to run with.

For many people, myself included, running 18 miles on your own is not something that is easily accomplished.

With a group of about 80 enthusiastic teammates, we embarked on our odyssey at 8:30 a.m.

After a few miles, I felt that I was probably going to cut my run short and try it another day.

Despite a good night's sleep, I didn't have much energy and found myself walking on one of the first of the many hills on our route. I told my running buddies to head on without me and started to come up with various excuses to make it an early day.

After finishing up the hill and coming to a volunteer water stop, I was shocked to see Matt and Steve waiting for me.

They told me that they weren't letting me off the hook that easy. The next thing I knew we finished seven miles and I was feeling great.

One of the great things about this route is that we run out and back on several different sections of the back roads of Concord and Lincoln.

This allows you to see most of your fellow runners several times and jokes and shouts of encouragement break up several hours of hard work.

At one point I ran by Bill, Hillary and Eileen going in the other direction. Each one these teammates not only raises thousands of dollars for cancer research each year, but also are cancer survivors.

Seeing them smiling as they logged their miles made me feel a little guilty about feeling sorry for myself at the beginning of my run.

While discussing great Jack Bauer stories from 24 with Matt, I prepared myself for the most challenging hill about 12 miles into the run.

Suddenly I was at the next water stop and I realized that I had just finished the hill while trading stories. It's amazing what good company will do for you.

We cruised back to the health club where everyone was cheering and high-fiving each other in the parking lot.

With only one big run left in a few weeks, suddenly 26.2 doesn't seem that daunting.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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