The Boston Marathon is more than just a running race.
I know that sounds strange, but the race this year was more “event” than race given the hot temperatures and the inability to really go out there and compete. It just wasn’t safe to do so.
To describe it in words is tough to do. It must be a little bit like the way the “hippies” talk about the 60’s.
“You just had to be there”.
There is a tremendous amount of hoopla surrounding the weekend as runners from all over the world descend on the longest running footrace on the planet.
The town is simply buzzing from the moment you walk off of the plane until the day after where marathoners are still dominating street cafes, pubs, Quincy Market, Faneuil Hall and riding around on WWII era amphibious assault vehicle through the streets of Boston and the Charles River.
The colors of the race year are everywhere, in 2010 all I saw wherever I looked was the familiar blue and yellow of the Boston Athletic Association.
This year it was the Orange and Black of the 2012 race. Right now as I type this I am wearing my colors. Proud of finishing what I hope will be the toughest race of my life.
Yeah, the weather for race day pretty much sucked.
If you were able to manage your expectations, give up on the fact that you were actually “racing” and just run for the experience of competing at Boston, it was one heckuva day.
I feel for and am still worrying about the runners I saw collapsed on the side of the course and at the finish area. One I ran past literally less than 200 meters from the finish line.
I saw runners in wheel chairs being pushed to medical tents. Others already in the tents with an IV in one arm and ice packs around them to lower their core temperatures. There was a lot of carnage along the course.
More at the finish.
But I feel like just making it through to the line in one piece was a major accomplishment, my training obviously helped me stay upright and keep moving. I’m glad I prepared as diligently as I did. Hopefully it will springboard my TRI season to a new level once I am fully recovered and back to training.
I am going to take some extra precautions for the next couple of weeks. Nothing “tough” and nothing “up-tempo” if it is not cool out. This is the time of year in Austin where we typically start our 2-3 week period of heat acclimation for the summer. I’m going to be careful with that and make sure I am hydrated and rested before pushing it too hard out there.
This year’s “Boston” is the type of race that can linger and effect your fitness and performance for a longer period of time than just when the soreness from the race leaves your legs and body. I plan on competing for a long time, there is no rush to start killing it out there right away. We have a TRI on May 6th and that will more than likely be the first time we spread our wings again after recovering.
Looking back on the weekend there were a lot of great things about “Boston” aside from the race. This was Landry’s first trip to the Boston Marathon where at not quite yet 20 months old she has seen her first New York City Marathon and her first Boston Marathon. Have you?
That is pretty special right?
She was able to pile on to one of those Duck Tours with Mom and Dad and had a blast seeing Boston.
She even got a chance to drive the “boat” on the Charles River. Captain Landry did a tremendous job, Paci in her mouth and all.
After a GREAT sports Massage at Back Bay Massage on Boylston Street, (runners – schedule a session with Sarah, she is tremendous!) I took a walk over to the North End for lunch. I stopped into the Florentine Cafe at 333 Hanover Street and visited with the local Italian men who are regulars. I sat at the bar with my homemade Cavatelli in a light red sauce with fresh Peccorino Romano Cheese grated over my bowl and was told stories about the neighborhood. What growing up in the North End was like and I told them what it felt like to race through the streets of Boston.
As I was talking with them, a man named Jimmy was eating a salad and drinking a beer next to me. He quietly listened to me compliment the B.A.A. and the job they did managing the course, the heat and the runners to make it as safe as possible for everyone.
Turns out, Jimmy is one of the 22 full-time employees for the Boston Athletic Association. He wanted to hear my take on things before he told me that – and then shared with me all that goes into planning the race as they are already working on the 117th running next April.
Jimmy turned me on to a little local pastry shop that “blows away” the famous Mike’s Pastry on Hanover Street. I stopped in on Jimmy’s recommendation and picked up a pound of my favorite pistachio green leaf cookies from my childhood.
Jimmy – you are the man! Thank you for the great advice and offer about coming to see you for next year’s race for some complimentary Boston Marathon Gear!
I then walked over to the Bill Roger’s running center and shook hands with Bill and chatted about the race. Nothing to sign this year, but seeing him look at me with a great deal of respect for finishing the race in what he described as, “just a crazy, crazy day to run a road race” made me smile.
Tuesday night at Fenway Park I caught a foul ball.
Wednesday I flew back home to my girls in Austin and more hugs.
Boston 2012? O.K., so the race didn’t come together for me like I hoped, but you know what?
It was still wicked awesome.