Whippet of the Week: Tom Flanagan

1My running journey began back in 2009. Up until 2007 I was a video game addict and, being skinny at the time made me think I was in good health. Upon a routine doctor visit I was told that both my blood pressure and cholesterol were above normal and I needed to start exercising. It scared me a bit, both knowing that I wasn’t in great health, and knowing that I needed to go outside and possibly interact with people. This anti-social computer nerd wasn’t really thrilled with any of it. Eck… I gathered up the courage to face my fears a couple months later and switched up my game controller for speed skates and joined the K2 team that skated in Central Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays. After many close calls reaching speeds of 40mph going down Harlem hill and watching one of my teammates flip over the handlebars of a bike, I decided that running might be a better option for me, especially since it was cheaper and I could run home from work everyday.

2I had been running solo until late 2010 when I was contacted by the infamous Matt Wong on athlinks.com. Strange as it may seem, the Dashing Whippets were one of a few teams I had considered joining. Someone from the team contacting me directly made me feel valuable. So, after healing from an injury, I joined the team in early 2011 and ran my first race under DWRT at the Coogan’s 5k in March.

I can’t believe it was my 5 year anniversary since joining the team earlier this month. I’ve met many great people on the team, run some great races, and am definitely glad that I joined DWRT over any other running team.

My long term running goals that I set in my mind a while back have been a sub 18 min 5k (check), sub 1:20 half marathon (check), sub 5 min mile 😐 and sub 3:00 marathon 🙁 … Not breaking a 5 minute mile hasn’t been too frustrating for me since I never really train for speed over distance. The marathon on the other hand is my Achilles heel. Three marathons with record or near record high temperatures have landed me in the medical tent every race. I recorded the lowest body temperature of the day in my first marathon as 95.5F, suffered from hyponatremia at mile 20 in the Boston marathon and a blood pressure of 90/50, and then collapsed on a fence at the finish of the NYC marathon last year. I won’t give up on my marathon goal. However, if you ever sign up for a marathon that I’m running, make sure you enjoy racing in hot, humid conditions. Also, I have a really high pain tolerance but if you ever want to hear me complain try talking to me after mile 14 on a long run. It’s not pretty.

3Cheering on other members of the team has also been a really fun alternative to my masochistic tendencies of running at 110% effort in races when I know I have a legitimate shot at a PR. The mini 10k has always been my favorite race to cheer on other teammates. In addition to watching the pro female athletes and whippet women giving it their all, it’s a great opportunity to go crazy and dress up in embarrassing outfits. Others on the team always have to keep me in check from crossing the line and going overboard. I don’t know what we’re going to do this year as the mini is no longer a team points race. Sad face. There’s also the Central Park underwear run where I lower my dignity into the basement somewhere, but I won’t talk about that… well I do like… nope, leaving it there.

4Another hobby of mine is photography. I’ve photographed a decent amount of races and team social events. I find it very gratifying when others send me thanks for the photos that I take or, even better, when they make one of my photos their profile photo on Facebook. It’s a hobby where you can go broke really fast with each lens costing more than a typical week long vacation. I do need to show up and take photos of more events in the future. Recently I’ve been slacking.
Outside of team related activities, I’ve lived in Battery Park City since 2008 with my boyfriend Jeremy of 10 years. We spend our free time doing strength training in our living room, which is pretty much a home gym at this point, watching YouTube videos, and drinking too much coffee. I’ve been working at Marvel for a little over a year as a Web Engineer. It’s been a breath of fresh air after working in finance for 10 years. If you see me wearing a Captain America or Deadpool singlet during my runs you now know why.

More about Dashing Whippets Running Team

The Dashing Whippets Running Team is a New York based running team that is founded on, and driven by, the diversity of our team members. With team members from all over the city, the country and the world, and with greatly different running goals, we find unity in recognizing and appreciating each others differences and our mutual enjoyment of running and participating in the New York running community and beyond.

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