LINCOLN – Mike Theroux doesn’t have to go too far back in his memory bank to recall the first time he went for a run.
That’s because it occurred just six years ago for the 47-year-old Lincoln resident.
“I ran from my house to Lincoln High School and back,” he said. “It was about a three-mile run. At the time I was happy I was actually doing it, but it was amazing how much that run took out of me.”
Theroux will be running three miles again tomorrow. Only this time, he’ll still have 23 more before he reaches his final destination.
On Monday morning, Theroux will be among the more than 26,000 participants that will take part in the 115th edition of the Boston Marathon. In his short career, it will be his seventh marathon and second straight year at the historic 26.2-mile race.
“It’s kind of surreal how it’s progressed,” said Theroux, a general manager at Chili’s Grill & Bar in Smithfield. “At first, I was just trying to get in shape. I started to do three miles and then I went a little further, like four or five miles. And it just kept going from there.”
The original intention of hitting the pavement for Theroux, who participated in baseball as a youth and played varsity hockey for Cumberland High in the early 1980s and for two years at Roger Williams University, was to shed a few pounds. Once he started to get into shape, his competitive nature took over.
He competed in his first marathon about a year after his initial run, finishing the 2006 Breakers Marathon in Newport with a credible time of 3 hours, 42 minutes.
“I remember what was going through my mind as I was running it. I was thinking about how crazy I was to be doing this,” Theroux recalled. “The last few miles, I told myself I’m not doing this again. But the pain eventually wore off and you just want to do it again.”
Theroux’s next attempt at the grueling distance occurred in May of 2008 when he took part in the Cox Sports Providence Marathon, covering the challenging course in 3:51:50.
“I didn’t have much success there,” he said. “That was a very hilly course. Ever since that marathon, I have become more serious.”
Theroux has dropped his time down considerably since that Providence race. He now owns a best of 3:24:20, set at the 2009 Bay State Marathon. He was more than a minute from that mark at Boston last year when he finished the race in 3:25:49.
Theroux cherished his first time in the storied race.
“The people cheering you on are unbelievable,” he said. “(There) are no dead spots when it comes to spectators. Wellesley College (at 12 miles) the cheers are deafening and the same at Boston College (at 21 miles), right after Heartbreak Hill. It’s just a tremendous sense of accomplishment (finishing). You feel special when you run this race.”
In preparation for Boston, Theroux has been averaging about 70 miles a week with a long run ranging between 12-20 miles on Sundays. He’s also been doing strength work two to three times a week at Fore Court Tennis and Racquet and for 40 minutes a day, six times a week, he does core exercises.
Most times Theroux can be found logging his miles on the Blackstone Valley Bikeway or out on the road to Providence for his long runs.
Theroux believes he’s done the necessary sacrifices for a solid performance in Beantown. That includes waking up as early as 3:30 in the morning to get in his daily run. He’s been doing that at least twice a week.
“I have two kids that I have to get ready because my wife works at 5 in the morning,” he said. “My wife and I like to dedicate our time to our kids after we work. You do what you got to do. Running a marathon is a full-time commitment.”
Theroux’s goal this Patriots Day when he makes the final left-hand turn down Boylston Street to the finish is simple.
“I did 3:25 last year,’ he said. “If I can beat 3:25 this year, even if it’s 3:24:59, I would consider that a huge victory.”