Friday, April 24, 2009

Boston….Because I Can

There were posters all over town stating "Boston...Because I can" and that is so fitting. I did it for the fact that I never thought I'd make it, and for those that may never...Boston. The Mecca. The Super Bowl. The one every runner wants to run. The one that to some is only a dream, and to others a complete surprise (seriously, first marathon 4:48, no CLUE of my potential). No matter what though, if you are involved in running, and particularly in marathoning, you know the significance of Boston. It is THE ONE. But does it live up to the hype? I’d say above and beyond. It was…Boston.

I could write about the whole trip, and maybe I will at another time, but for now, it’s about the race. I managed to get to bed around 9:30/10, I had my alarm set for 5:15, (even with a later start than normal, you have to bus out to the site and busses stop at 7:30 or so and I didn’t want to be rushed) but I was up, dressed, tucking things into my drop bag, debating over wearing Garmin (which I opted to leave behind and just go with my Timex Ironman that I could do my own splits on), and grabbed a little breakfast at the hotel to haul with me by around 5:45…I had woken up twice, but was wide awake before the alarm. I hugged mom and dad goodbye and headed out to catch the train with someone else that lives near the hotel. We took it to the buses and hit the first real experience of the day. Mobs of people all lining up to get on school buses, with their drop bags, running clothes, volunteers in their bright yellow jackets…it was so exciting. The volunteers there were fabulous, friendly, telling you congratulations, directing everyone efficiently onto the buses. Probably 15 minutes wait and we were on the bus taking us out to Hopkinton. It takes about 45 minutes with the traffic and longer route they have to take and by the time we got there it was definitely time for a port-a-potty stop…that took at least 20 minutes, maybe more, and all the lines were LONG. After the bathroom, I saw a couple of friends I was planning to try to get lined up with in our corals but never managed to find (they had gone to a potty line and were heading to corals after that). Decided to relax and sit for a while…then the announcer pointed out the F14s (I think) that were out in the sky, waiting for the other planes to clear out before they did a fly by, something like 100 meters off the ground (at least according to the announcer). This signaled the start for Wave 1, which was at 10. Once the race was off Wave 2 was set to line up. I took a picture of a sign that made me teary eyed, and everything about the day was starting to hit me…I never broke into a full cry, but teared up quite a few times. One more potty stop and got into my coral just before the start gun went off. And next thing I knew we were off…I was running the Boston Marathon.

There is a steep drop coming out of Hopkinton, but honestly it didn’t feel as bad as I had been warned it was, and there are some uphills too, so it’s not just a tearing down of the quads. You run through 8 towns on the way back to Boston and the people lining the downtown areas of each of those towns was incredible, not to mention the people lined up most of the stretches of the road between those towns. I saw Santa around mile 7 (no, I wasn’t hallucinating, see picture) and I saw Elvis around mile 8 or 9 (no, again, wasn’t hallucinating!). I walked through some water stops so as to get gel in me and enough water to wash it down. I did Boston different from other marathons. I went back to gels, which I haven’t used in a while because I really can’t stand them, but I didn’t want to wear race ready shorts and that’s the only way I can carry my beans, shot blocks, etc. I had bought a spibelt so I could carry my camera, and it held my gels, 2 of them at least, and I got a Powergel at mile 17, and a friend was going to be at mile 20 (asked him to have either a gel or Swedish fish)…so between all that I decided it was enough since I wasn’t going for time anyway…

Now the race definitely isn’t easy. Everyone knows that. But honestly, I didn’t think it was THAT hard either. Granted, my time isn’t great, 4:14:20, while not my slowest, was not my fastest either…but I experienced it. I slapped hands. I smiled at people yelling “go Irish” (my shirt was from a 100% Irish race I had done), I hurt a bit…my feet were sore at some points, my glute/hip/pelvis was acting up some…but I continued on…soaking it in. And considering my lack of training (one and only 20 miler was 6 weeks prior to Boston), the time I took taking pictures, talking to my friend, hugging my parents, time actually wasn’t that bad.

Wellesley is what they claim it is. Lots of screaming girls and you can hear it for a long time before you get there. The hills start at just after 15.5 and the first one is killer…I managed to run up each one. And then I saw mile 20. A friend was going to be handing out beer with his hasher group just after mile 20…and ahead of me I could see Heartbreak…and just before that I found my friend. I took a beer. I drank the beer. I had a hug from him. I gave him a kiss on the cheek…I asked him for a piggyback ride…had one more sip and I was off…up and over the top, down and over the second top (yes, Heartbreak peaks, has a downhill and peaks again slightly) and I managed to run the whole thing. And when I came around the curve at the bottom, that starts heading you toward Beacon, I saw a sign, just after mile 21…It said “Sorry feet, time for the brain to take over”…and it did…and I was hurting, and I kind of wanted to walk, but the crowds from this point in are so packed in, and so loud, you just can’t disappoint them. A little bit past 21 you turn onto Beacon and then you see the Citgo sign, and while you can see it for a while, it actually is something to hold on to because that sign marks the 1 mile to go point…so I was pushing for it…and just after mile 24 look who I saw!

For those that can’t quite make them out, it was the Hoyts…I yelled for them. Then there is Citgo…Fenway…and more crowds…and then down an incline, down then up, and there is the turn to Hereford, and I knew I was going to see mom and dad shortly…and you make that right, and you can see one block up, Boylston…and mom and dad were right there, and mom saw me right about the time I saw them…and I headed straight to them, gave them a hug, got a picture and told them “I’m going to get my Unicorn”…and 4-5 blocks later I crossed the finish line and my Boston story was mine. Marathonfoto even caught me running to mom and dad, which I think is cool. I’m definitely heading away from the “normal” crowd and short turn they take.

Even having run Chicago, with more runners, the finish area is just packed. I don’t think anyone wants to leave, for the experience…that and you can’t get your medal till you turn in your chip, and that took some time since they chips were all laced in, who wants to lose their Boston time?

After that I went to the meet up area and waited for mom and dad and we went to have a celebratory drink…they saw my medal, but for some odd reason we never managed to get a picture taken of me with it, or the three of us at the bar having the celebratory drink. But still…A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. The race…the people…the excitement…everyone there, everyone enjoying themselves…first or fortieth, I can’t imagine Boston not being a great memory each and every time. I’m qualified through 2010…I might go back…but next year…maybe I’ll be able to train harder, and honestly, I think I can beat it…and maybe even get a PR there…

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


Qualifying marathon entry fee: $85
Boston marathon entry Fee: $116

Plane ticket to Boston: $320

Hotel room for 3 nights located on the T: $700

Blood, sweat, tears and work going into qualifying and then running…???

Opportunity to capture the elusive Unicorn: Priceless

Boston is more amazing than words can say and I’ll be posting more in the next couple of days. I just need time to get my thoughts and words together.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Short, for now...

OK, every time the posts get further and further's not JUST being busy, which I am...but I should have a little time on occasion for things. Today had a nice dinner with sister, her boyfriend and a friend. Our brother was invited too, but never bothered to call me back and tell me yes or no, and apparently told our mom on Friday "it's just another day"...that may be so, but doesn't common courtesy say that if you are invited someplace for dinner, you should at least call and say yes or no if you are coming or not? Anyway, mom said "well he sometimes doesn't check his messages..." boy is 26 years old. At that age you can at least have some courtesy for people right? If he calls you, needing something, and you don't call back in an hour he's calling or emailing...

New's Britney Bitch...yes, that's right, I was at her show a week ago in Minneapolis. OK, so she lip syncs, big deal...she does perform well and it was a good entertainment...not to mention I was in a suite...and I did get the tickets for free. Even so, I wouldn't have been disappointed if I had spent money on them.

My new camera has a fantastic zoom:

Me and my sister...I was supposed to go with the friend that had the tickets but last minute he had to go out of town so my sister gained on it:

OK, now I have to get working on a paper and some other homework as I need to finish between tonight and tomorrow along with packing as I leave Thursday for Boston. Thankfully I managed to have a couple of decent runs over the past few days but not sure it's in enough time for Boston. That race could hurt.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

A Shout Out to Jim

OK, he's not reading this, I don't even know his last name, but Jim rocks. Yesterday my failure to put air in the tire that I KNEW was low, caught up to me. I got a flat...and I was in a went flat near a service station so I was walking there to get help when I hear someone ask if hey can help. I turned surprised and a nice gentleman was getting out of his car and walking over to look at my trashed tire. I thanked him profusely and he got out a nice jack (I know the ones that come with cars are crap!!) and I got my doughnut out and in 15 minutes or less he had it on my car and was telling me about a discount tire place. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get that information from him cause it was at his desk at work and I was going to need it before Monday, but Jim was an incredible savior to me at that time since I was on my way to meet my sister and I really didn't have time to deal with the problem right then. Without his help I would've been paying a small fortune I'm sure to the gas station. I wanted to give him something and asked him if he would take something for it...and he refused. Talk about an extremely nice guy. My goal now is to find someone, or a few someones, I can at least do something nice for and repay Jim's kindness by paying it forward. Thank you Jim.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I've been away for a bit. I had a post last Thursday that I was supposed to get updated and now it's late and no longer relevant so I skipped it. I was out of town last weekend. Saw some sights, gambled a bit, saw a was a blast. I'm not leaving for Boston two weeks from tomorrow and am I ready...far from it...anyway, will try to get a more proper update over the weekend. Might have another concert to add to the listing for the week too.