Absent from the Boston Marathon for three years, 2014 called me back. This race is so much more than the race.
Our approach to the big weekend was a measured one, enjoying an ocean-side run along the New Hampshire coast with friends. The day ended with a beautifully prepared late-night dinner where we reluctantly left the table just short of midnight.
Avoiding the hassle of driving in Boston, a morning that came too early found us catching the commuter bus from Portsmouth to South Station. After a luggage drop at the superbly located College Club of Boston, we made way through packet pick-up without a wait. How do they serve 38,000 runners with that efficiency? The Expo was well spaced with lots of new products and a few celebrity runner sitings.
With a Monday race day, Saturday evening is traditionally my time to gather up my Boston-based friends and catch up over dinner. This year, we chose Joe’s American Bar & Grille, casual with delicious selections and local favorites. Macaroni and cheese with lobster was my choice and perfect to keep the carb count building.
An after-dinner walk on Boylston Street, closed off to traffic, became a promenade with hundreds of people, runners, families, locals, mulling around the finish line. There was a sense of serenity in that evening crowd, a feeling that can only follow the deepest of pain and loss.
Take A Breath Sunday
The day before any marathon, and this one in particular, is my day for quiet and contemplation. After a brief shake-out run in the Public Gardens, a service down the street, a light mid-day lunch/dinner and the ritual laying out of race morning clothing/bib/Garmin, I hunkered down for the day.
Race Day Reverie, Resilience & Reverence
A 38,000 runner race, and I walk right into several of my training partners enroute to the bus lineup. Arriving in Hopkinton, we settle in until our corrals are called.
With an 11 a.m. start, temps were a bit warm as I topped a hill near Mile 15 and spotted friends and family.
I see several runners with cramping legs and other difficulties. Not wanting to join their ranks, I maintain an even pace, continue to drink water and munch on the clementine stashed in my pocket. At mile 21, I remind myself it’s downhill and flat from here. I can feel the heightened emotion of fellow runners and hear the increasing volume of the crowd as we make the turn onto Boylston. I finish at 4:39:21, a BQ (Boston Qualify for my non-running readers) with 39 seconds to spare.
Continuing through the finish line wrapped in the activity and commotion, there is also a deep feeling of peace. I am honored and grateful to be among this community
A quick shower and check-out and we’re headed through Boston traffic for a comfort food dinner New England-style at Petey’s. Broiled scallops and the very best coleslaw made for a perfect post-marathon meal.
Thank you Boston, thank you friends, thank you supporters of One Run for Boston. It’s time to go home.