Tuesday, April 27, 2010

2010 Boston

The 2010 Boston Marathon is in the books. I wasn't sure if it was possible for 24,999 other people to have as much fun as I did, but somehow, I think it happened.

(Got talked into the Friday night Sox game by some enthusiastic fans on the train.)

The weather was a little dreary Friday-Sunday, just enough to keep the tourism attempts in good balance with afternoon naps. Had a great Saturday morning run along the Charles River, and instantly wished I had taken my camera. As soon as we stumbled out of the hotel and got our bearings, we saw a collegiate crew meet getting set to go. Upon further exploration, ran through through some smart-looking MIT buildings and encountered Gisele (aka Mrs. Tom Brady) also doing a little Saturday morning jog. We think, anyway.

(Funny how an expo full of running shoes and energy drinks can make you so exhausted. You could navigate by the yellow bags all weekend.)

Clouds and drizzle gave way to a glorious day on Monday. The sun came out long enough to make the chill in the air tolerable, then dutifully went behind the clouds before it got too warm. I didn't notice much wind, and if anything, there was a bit of a tailwind. I boarded the parade of buses and felt a twinge of 'what-have-I-done' as we pulled onto the interstate on the way out to Hopkinton. The 2-wave start seemed to work well, as I left early enough to be comfortable, but not so early that I had to sit around and wait for hours. By the time I got off the bus and wandered around the holding pen for a little while, it was time for the first wave to start, and then those of us in the 2nd wave enjoyed a bit of a breather before it was our turn. The walk to the start was fantastic... all of the volunteers were lined up doing the slow clap and making us feel like superstars as we paraded to the corrals. I got up to my spot in the front of the 2nd wave just in time for the gun. The course is a gentle downhill the entire way, except for a few redeeming uphills during the 2nd half. Miles 1-10 felt great, and then I started to feel my quads. Through Wellsley (mile 12) and up towards Boston College (20ish) I was trying to balance fun and hand-slapping with some 'time to get to work and hope the wheels don't fall off' focus. I relished Heartbreak, it was great to go uphill for a few minutes. The crowds were amazing. I finished through the last couple of miles with that familiar feeling of needing to be done soon, but not wanting it to end, either. The last left turn onto Boylston was incredible. I still wonder how that crowd yelled with that kind of intensity for that long.

(The "Athlete's Village", aka the Hopkinton high school grounds. Happy to be in the 2nd wave, as this cleared out significantly not long after I arrived.)

(Going through Natick, around mile 10. I'm not great at photography in motion...)

(Wellsley College, around mile 12. The outstreched hand was the story of my day. What amazed me was that once you reached for one, 50 more immediately appeared. Although Wellsley was cool, the spirit award for the day went to Boston College.)

(Approaching the finish line on Boylston St. The left turn from Hereford to Boylston was absolutely amazing. More cumulative and sustained energy than I have ever witnessed at a sporting event.)

(Looking and feeling pretty darn good at the finish. Well, better than that guy behind me, anyway. I wore a bike jersey for the pockets, thanks to Team Cheerwine.)

Not that I'm counting, but I finished in 3:37:15, which was my exact qualifying time from December 2008. How funny. I had a great time. The trip was fun, I enjoyed myself, and the race was the highlight. I had said "once in a lifetime" all along, but what would be the harm in eating my words? To be continued...