A Victorian B&B with street parking and a convenient metro stop was base for my 2010 Boston Marathon. My host greeted with a question spoken in an gentle old word accent. “Are you a marathon official?” No, I clarified, I am in Boston to run. “You, you are running the marathon?” Having assured him that, yes I qualified and had run the marathon previous years, Rudy shook his head and made a thoughtful offer to have a pot of chicken soup waiting after the race.
I settled into my third floor bedroom to prepare for an early a.m. departure. Race morning, I caught the metro to the Boston Commons, found a window seat at Dunkin Doughnuts, sipped coffee and, until I joined them, watched runners congregate at the shuttle pickup.
Time flew at the Athlete’s Village and I was soon throwing my warmup bag into a bus window. In my corral were several women in the 60-64 age group. We compared qualifying times then suddenly we’re off, punctuated with the beep-beep-beep of chips on the trip that would end at Copley Square.
Within three miles of the start, I ran across my goddaughter, running for Dana-Farber. We fell in, chatting long enough to arrange to meet at the finish, then went on our separate journeys.
My goal for this Boston was to actually qualify for Boston at Boston, a time that had so far eluded me. I had trained well and felt strong through the hills. Crossing the finish line, my Garmin indicated I was 30 seconds off my qualifying time. (Later, seeing my time listed as a BQ on marathonguide.com, I realized while I didn’t technically meet my goal, I did qualify within the 30-second grace time Boston then allowed.)
Finding my goddaughter (would love to have a photo but lost it when my cell phone crashed) and her family at the finish, I declined an invite to join them at a Vietnamese restaurant, thinking ahead to the soup
Arriving at the B&B, Rudy greeted me from the second floor landing, waving my freshly printed results, excited and incredulous. “How did you do that?”
After receiving his congratulations, my evening went downhill. He had forgotten a commitment to a bridge tournament during the day which did not leave time for cooking. “So, you see, I am sorry but I have no soup for you.”
Having waved off friends who were now on the other side of town dining on comforting Vietnamese cuisine, I accepted the annoucement with all the grace I could muster. After making my way back to the third floor and luxuriating in a warm shower, I reassessed my food stock: two energy bars, a sandwich bag filled with a mix of pecans and walnuts, a banana, 2 small cartons of chocolate milk, and a can of Pringles. Opting out of a restaurant search, I dined on an odd mix of these items and was soon asleep.
Although there was no soup for me, morning came and Rudy served a wonderful Dutch omelette accompanied by fresh fruit, hearty bread and interesting conversation. It made the last trip from the third floor on my post-marathon legs worthwhile.
Soon enough I’m leaving the Mass Pike,
listening to a couple of DJ’s continue the neverending debate over the best pizza in New Haven.
So long, New England and Boston – I love you, I’ll miss you and I’ll be back.