Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Running Towards a Goal

Twenty-five years ago Wyckoff resident Paul Scire was accepted to LaSalle University on a Division I athletic scholarship for cross-country and track. He was a promising runner, but illness and multiple injuries plagued his college years and he was forced to quit running altogether.

Two years ago Scire picked up his running shoes again and started to train. Now, at age 46, Scire has found that he still has potential. Through running, he says, “In some way, I now want to recapture what was lost so long ago.”
He seems well on his way. Last April he ran the New Jersey Marathon, his first ever, in 3:06:37, which is impressive for any runner, let alone a 46-year-old.

Scire, the Director of development and alumni relations at Dwight-Englewood School decided to train again, only this time he wanted to run faster. Last Sunday (Dec. 05. 07) Scire approached the starting line of the ING NYC Marathon with a goal to run below three hours, and he did with a time of 2:58:28, perhaps gaining a little of what was lost. “I think I’m moving in that direction, I still have a long way to go. I’ve only been running again for two years, I’m still trying to get back into the sport, I still have some room for improvement,” he said standing in Central Park after the race, with an air of accomplishment.

Scire’s decision to chase after his lost running career was aided by a unlikely running companion, Chancy, a Hungarian Pointer. Two years ago in January Scire was walking Chancy in a winter coat and snow boots. The pup began to pull yearning to go faster. In snow gear on that frozen winter night Paul started to jog with Chancy. He ran a half a mile and headed back home. The next night he ran Chancy for a mile. “Little by little, night after night, I added distance. When I worked my way up to three miles, I decided it was time to buy running shoes and some workout clothes,” Scire recalls.

Scire then realized that he still had potential, but he doesn’t hesitate to give credit to the dog: “She definitely got me off the couch and out the door on some cold winter nights that you’d rather stay inside and have a cup of coffee.”
Eventually Chancy wanted to stay in on the cold winter nights. “Now I put my running shoes on and she crawls under the table, I guess I go too far and too fast for her,” he said with a laugh.

Scire then joined the North Jersey Masters and the New York Road Runners Club and found that his favorite aspect of running are the friends and training partners. Scire and his friends work together, support, and inspire each other to get through tough workouts. They even stuck together during the New York City Marathon. Running partner Tony Galka ran past the finish line just eight seconds behind Scire.

But training for this past Sunday’s marathon wasn’t all dog walking and socializing on the track—Paul runs 60-70 miles a week, weight-trains and works with running coach Joe Pasternak. He has come to realize that the most important element of training is perseverance. Unlike basketball, baseball and football, running requires minimal skill, although he doesn’t deny that people can be born runners. He says, “What you put in is what you get out of it. If you work hard you are going to be good at it.”

That attitude helped him when Crossing the 59th Street Bridge at mile 16, Scire got a bad cramp. He said he contemplated stopping, but his “desire” and “non-quitting” attitude prevented him. He kept pushing and ran miles 16 to 20 hunched over. Luckily, for him “the wall” didn’t come till mile 24. But by then “it was just a matter of gutting it out, make sure you don’t stop, keep moving forward” Scire said.

59th Street Bridge
(Photo thanks to http://www.lightningfield.com/log4/0528c.jpg)

Scire wasn’t only holding himself up during his second marathon. With each step forward he was thinking about a boyhood friend he lost in the World Trade Center Tom Cahill. “I was carrying a friend of mine,” he said. Scire explained Tom was an athletic guy, and running the marathon in the city reminded him of his good friend. “I was thinking about him quite a bit today, I miss him,” he said.

Now that he reached his goal Scire is going to start training “in earnest” starting in January for the Boston Marathon this April. There he hopes to run a 2:55:00 or better. After that it’s off to Chicago in October 2008 hoping to run below 2:50:00. He opened the door this Sunday to accomplish his first goal. Now he’s setting a new one and running to catch it.
Reaching a goal requires discipline, training, correct mindset, and a healthy diet. However, after the race Scire bought a bag of peanut M&M’s. “All through training you eat the right stuff, and I promised myself after the race I’d get a bag of peanut M&M’s,” he explains. It looks like one bag of candy and a couple days off running till he starts training again is the only break he will allow himself. After the race he went back to New Jersey for a meal with his wife and kids, an ice bath and then, he said with a smirk, he would “take the dog for a walk.”

No comments: