Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Boston 2005

David, K2 and Lee at the start prior to the race.

K2 goofing during the Freedom Run.

K2 and David at the finish.

Charlie at the finish line.

Charlie, Lee, David and me after the race at Lee's hotel, K2 was still MIA when this picture was taken.

The short version. I had stomach problems from mile 10-21. But what a fun time. The longer version below.

Boston, finally after 13 marathons I made the big show. It lived up to all of the hype. This was the grand-daddy of them all, the runners superbowl. It only took me 5 years to qualify. That’s another story. For me it was a personal worst, but the most fun I’ve ever had at a marathon. Boston has everything, times 10.

The expo was a must. Bruce and I met Charlie at the baggage claim at Logan and our adventure was on. We went straight from the airport to the expo, just so I could get "the jacket". We lost Bruce, and he lost his race number. Met Lee and David and put together our strategies for the next couple of days.

Rode the "T" to our hotel, and hiked a mile with our suitcases in tow. Met my Texas "RAW" friends at the pre-race "Freedom Run". This was a running tour of downtown Boston. We ran, we walked, we took pictures and Paula called me on my cell phone. This pre-race had 4,000+ runners, more than most of the marathons I’d done. K2 didn’t get a t-shirt, they only had 4,000. Another runner gave up his, when he heard her whining.

Met everyone again at the pasta dinner and met two other groups of runners with their families. We shared stories and had a great time.

Got up at 5:30 on race morning to catch the hotel shuttle to downtown Boston. Our driver, hadn’t been downtown in 15 years, but he got us there with some humor.

The bus ride to the start was at least an hour, and evidently the last toll plaza cashier, didn’t think us "runners" were exempt from paying the toll.

We set up our spot at the atheletes village with the other 18,000 runners to wait another couple hours until the noon time start. It was almost circus like, watching all of the runners go through their routines waiting for the start. We lost K2, but she found us. Charlie got interviewed by a television crew for the Leno show, as I blew up my air mattress.

Found out how much is to much Gatorade. Saw the "barefoot man" and some of his crew in my carrel. The jet flyover, gave me goosebumps. It took 5 minutes to reach the starting line, but I was going to enjoy every second of this race. It was 70 degrees and sunny, a great day for the spectators, but to warm for most runners.

I adjusted my pace from the start. The crowds were unbelievable. Kids "high fiving", a drag queen having way to much fun. The biker bar blasting rock and roll. I passed David at 5 miles he wasn’t having a good day, stomach problems. One spectator had his Siberian husky on his back, piggy back style. Bruce passed me at mile 7, he ended up with a personal best. The guy in the back of his pickup truck singing Sinatra. John Kerry cheering for the runners.

The girls at Wellesley were deafening. They had signs wanting a kiss. One guy stopped and did pushups, the girls went nuts.

K2 went by and I ran with her for a short while, she told me to eat some oranges to help with my stomach. She zoomed on and ended up running another Boston qualifying time. I’ve watched the marathon on TV several times, so its really cool to see the landmarks in person. The Citgo sign 2 miles from the finish, the Farmingham train depot, heartbreak hill.

Actually felt better at the crest of heartbreak and starting picking up the pace. I was passing people and the crowds went crazy. The volunteers, and policeman were great. The closer to downtown we got, the thicker the crowds. They make you feel like an Olympian. The guy with the American flag was getting USA chants as he ran, I almost hated to push past him. The troops in BDU’s with full backpacks were getting the same.

The straight shot down Boylston seems like forever, maybe because I slowed down to soak it all in. One guy stopped to pump up the crowds and they responded. I forgot to hit my watch at the end, I knew it would be my slowest marathon ever, but what a marathon.