Blog
Life. Giving. Breakthroughs.
December 13, 2014

With my Boston Marathon training officially starting at 8 AM this morning, I'm excited to announce that I'll be running in April for the 2015 Brigham and Women’s Hospital Marathon Team, in support of life-giving breakthroughs.




My family and I have many deep connections with BWH. My mother has worked there as a nurse for 40 years, my father has had neck surgery and 2 knee replacements there, and my brother, nephew and I were all born there. It's an honor to represent the hospital that has given so much to my family over the years.

I've committed to fundraising $8,000 for BWH. The money our team fundraises will go towards finding better ways to predict, prevent and treat the world's most challenging medical issues. I hope I can count on you for a donation!

Over the next 4 months, I'll be working very hard and running a ton of miles through the nastiest weather New England has to offer—but I can't do it alone. I'll be counting on the support of my family and friends to help me achieve my fundraising goal and help this special cause.

If you'd like to support BWH and my marathon journey, please check out my fundraiser page or shoot me an email to find out how you can donate offline. And you can check back here or my Twitter page to follow my training and fundraising progress.

Only 18 weeks 'til Marathon Monday! I'm looking forward to the journey. See you on the road!

PPP


Owned the Finish Line
May 3, 2014

Almost 2 weeks have passed, all the barricades have been removed from Boston's streets, my legs are finally functioning normally again and I’ve had plenty of time to absorb it all.

Everything about the 2014 Boston Marathon was amazing. From the 5 AM team meet-up in Copley Square, to the 5 hours of pre-race lounging at the Hopkinton Senior Center, to the 4 hour and 17 minute jog through 8 towns and cities, to seeing my family and friends along the course, to limping the final stretch down Boylston Street, to crossing the finish line at 3:45 PM — it was a perfect day.


First post-marathon photo


With some of "Team Payack" (Kevin, Bri, me, Devin, Naomi, Karina)

I finished in 4:17:15. I wanted to break 4 hours, but I'm very happy with my time. The warm weather was a huge factor. The sun and heat (which were rare to train in this year) seemed to slow most runners' paces pretty significantly. I was also battling calf and quad cramps for nearly the entire second half of the race, despite my tireless hydrating.

No matter how much pain I had to overcome though, I enjoyed every moment of the 26.2-mile journey (despite what I may have told Bri in the immediate aftermath of the race ... that was the endorphins talking).



Crossing the finish line on CBS' Boston Marathon coverage

I can't thank my family and friends who were on the course enough. Their presence gave me a huge physical and mental boost. To everyone at miles 11, 15, 17.5, 22.5, 24.5 and 26, THANK YOU! You, the Gatorade, GU Chomps, bananas and Icey Hot made all the difference!

After the race, our team met at the Marriott Copley Place for dinner, showers and R&R. It was a great chance to congratulate teammates, share stories and compare injuries. It was also a great chance for our team coaches, Dan and Spencer from Marathon Sports, and Adidas to hook us up with a pair of new running shoes and custom 2014 Boston Marathon jackets (just a couple of the endless perks of being on the One Fund Boston team):



After everything that happened during and after last year's race, the 2014 Boston Marathon really was a dream come true. The experience I've had over the past 4 months has been more than I could have imagined and I can honesty say I'll never forget it … Also, this medal might never leave my neck.

I really appreciate everyone’s overwhelming support and generosity throughout this journey. It's been very humbling and one of the best experiences I've ever had. I'll never be able to thank you all enough! And if you're still interested in making a donation to the One Fund, you can do so here through the end of May.

And now that it's all over, I'm thinking about commemorating the past 4 months with a tattoo ... Silhouetted Boston skyline with a red Citgo sign on my inner bicep? Thoughts?!

#BostonStrong

PPP


Happy Marathon Monday Eve!
April 20, 2014

Marathon Monday is (just about) here! I’ve run my last run, braved the Expo, picked up my bib number and laid out my race day uniform. There’s nothing left for me to do but to kick back, hydrate, carbo-load and rest.


Picking up my bib number at the Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday

I could not be more excited or feel more prepared! Thanks to all of my donors, I’ve been able to personally raise $10,480 for the One Fund. And my team has raised over $755,000 combined … Amazing. You can continue to donate through the end of May.

This past week has been truly special. It started off with a Sports Illustrated cover shoot at the Boston Marathon finish line. My team and I jumped in the photo, in uniform, right before our team-run last Saturday. We’re pretty far back, but some of those orange pixels are us!



Our entire team was invited to the Tribute on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the 4/15/13 bombings. It was a very moving ceremony and such an honor to be invited. Among the speakers were 4 survivors, former Mayor Thomas Menino, Mayor Marty Walsh, Governor Deval Patrick and Vice President Joe Biden. The ceremony ended with a procession down Boylston Street and a moment of silence at the finish line.


Former Mayor Menino, Mayor Walsh, Vice President Biden and Governor Patrick during the ceremony on Boylston Street on Tuesday

We had our final team meeting/dinner on Friday night at the Old South Church in Copley Square. It was great to all come together one final time before meeting up at 5:00 AM (yes, 5:00 AM) on Marathon Monday morning.

This week also brought me some really cool work opportunities. ESPN reached out to me a few weeks back to create a “Boston Strong” image for them to use on their social media channels. They sent it on Tuesday morning and it got A TON of attention online.



I also used this week’s Life on the Left Bank cartoon as a way to pay tribute to the victims of last year’s bombings. The Cambridge Chronicle also asked if I’d write a guest column about my experience with not getting to finish the marathon last year and running this year’s for the One Fund.

Needless to say, it’s been a BUSY week … A busy week at the end of a busy few months. And there’s nothing left to do now but run.

You can follow my progress on Monday with the BAA Marathon app or by texting my bib number (31932) to 345678 for mobile updates. My start time is 11:25 AM.

I can’t thank you guys enough for all the support you’ve given me along this journey! This has been a once in a lifetime experience, and Monday is a day I’ve been looking forward to for a long, long time.

It’s going to be a special day. See you on the course!

#BostonStrong

PPP


50 Days
March 2, 2014

The Boston Marathon is 50 days away ... I can’t decide if that feels close or far away.

Training and fundraising, while working full-time and freelance, is tough, but the One Fund Boston team has truly made it easy (or tolerable at least). I’ve been meeting interesting, motivated people with a wide range of running experience. Teammates and coaches have been sharing helpful running and fundraising tips through our Facebook group. Team runs and meetings are always a good time. And everyone has a unique story to tell about last year’s race. Our team was even recently featured on CBS Boston (refresh page if video doesn't appear):



Despite the rough winter we’ve been having in Boston, my training has been going well. I’ve found it pretty easy to motivate myself this year, knowing what and who I’m running for. Any time I feel tired or weak on the running paths, I think of the innocent people who lost their lives at the finish line last year. I think of those who lost limbs and would do anything to be running in my place. I think of the strength of the families that were torn apart, and the resilience of our entire city and community.

With only 7 weeks left until the marathon, training is really ramping up now. I ran the Hyannis Half Marathon last weekend with my buddy Dev, who’s also training for the marathon, and I did an 18-mile run along the Boston Marathon course this morning (my longest training run so far).


Dev and Me running in the Hyannis Half Marathon on February 23, 2014

My fundraising is going well too. I've raised over $3,600 so far, 45% of my $8,000 goal. And our team has raised over $292,000 combined!

At a recent team fundraiser/auction hosted by One Fund Boston and Marathon Sports, I fundraised $600 towards my personal goal with the help of an autographed Dustin Pedroia photo donated by the Boston Red Sox and a signed copy of Jeff Bauman’s new book, Stronger, donated by Jeff and his publicist, Katlyn Townsend. (THANK YOU, GUYS!)

This has been an amazing, surreal experience so far. And with every week and training run that passes, it becomes more amazing and more real.

I'll be hosting a fundraising event on Sunday, March 23 at Fenway Park's Bleacher Bar. Everyone's invited! If you’re interested, please check out the Facebook page and Eventbrite page for more info and ticket sales. If you need additional info, just shoot me a Facebook message, email, text, call, tweet, etc. And of course, if you can't make it to the event, but would still like to donate, you can do so here.

Thank you for all the support! See you on the running paths!

#BostonStrong

PPP


Running 26.2 for One Fund Boston!
January 13, 2014

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m so excited to announce that I’ve been selected to join the 2014 One Fund Boston Marathon Charity Team!

As you’re probably already aware, One Fund Boston was formed to assist the victims and families affected by the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings and the events in the days that followed. This is a great charity and I’m truly honored to be part of their team.

I ran last year’s Boston Marathon as a bandit, meaning I didn’t have an official race bib number. Like many others, I didn't get to finish the race.

The pack of runners in front of me came to a sudden halt as I approached mile 25.5. At first, I assumed there was just a traffic jam in the underpass we were approaching, but as seconds of waiting turned into minutes, I began to realize something was wrong.

Runners pulled out cell phones and began checking news websites and calling friends and loved ones. Those who had phones shared with those who didn’t. Teary, exhausted faces were everywhere. There was confusion as to what exactly was going on, but whispers of explosions, bombs and people losing limbs and being killed began to circulate.

I was able to get a hold of my girlfriend and father who were meeting me at the finish line—We were all just moments away from Boylston Street when the bombs went off. They were able to locate me, and we decided it was best to flee the area and walk home to Cambridge over the Mass Ave Bridge.

An emotional and chaotic week followed Marathon Monday. I was angry I wasn’t able to finish the race, but so relieved that my family, friends and I weren’t closer to the bombings. I visited Boylston Street on my first run after the Marathon, and ran the final 0.7 miles of the Marathon route the first day the street was reopened.

I knew right away after last year's race that I’d run the Boston Marathon again this year, but never thought I’d be running for One Fund Boston. This is really a dream come true—I'm honored to be able to give back to the city in this way. I plan to share my experiences training for the race and working with One Fund Boston this winter/spring on my Twitter feed and right here on my blog, so stay tuned!

My official fundraiser page, where you can learn more about One Fund Boston, read about our team and donate money, is up now! If you can afford it, I’d really appreciate your donation—Every little bit helps. Remember, your donation goes directly to the victims and families affected by last year's bombings and the events in the days that followed.

Thank you so much in advance! #BostonStrong


Me at the 2013 Boston Marathon Sports & Fitness Expo at the Hynes Convention Center last April


My new cartooning gig.
March 6, 2013

So, I got a new cartooning gig at Boston's Banker & Tradesman. Fancy huh? My cartoon will be appearing weekly (print edition comes out Mondays) and focusing mostly on Boston/Massachusetts financial and real estate news ... Not at the top of my list of interests, but who knows, maybe I'll learn a thing or two! I don't have a name for this cartoon yet, but I'm sure something financial-ly will come to me after I'm a few weeks in. Suggestions are welcome!

I have to send a big THANK YOU to my buddy David Harris (former Cambridge Chronicle editor and current editorial director at The Warren Group) for giving me this opportunity. My first cartoon is in this week's print edition and online for subscribers at http://bankerandtradesman.com/news154049.html. Check it out if you get a chance! I haven't picked up a copy yet, but here's a screenshot of my cartoon looking all awesome on their website:




I have a blog.
February 15, 2013

Yo! I'm just writing to give people a heads-up that I created this page on my website as a place for me to write (without having to set up a more traditional blog at a separate URL). Besides tweets and status updates, if those count, I haven't written much since my days of editing for my college newspaper and post-college freelance copywriting. And although I love to tweet, I've realized that sometimes I have more to say than 140 characters at a time allows. #Blog.

I'm not sure how often I'll actually write, but I'm happy to have the option to ramble online if I need to. Please check back here for updates on my work, upcoming events or art shows and, of course, the occasional online rambling.

Don't be a stranger! Thanks for stopping by,

PPP