Saturday, May 8, 2010

(Belated) Boston Breakdown

Part I: Pre-Race

Briefly, I want to thank a few people who made my first Boston experience amazing. Initially, I’d like to thank Buck & Bunny (my parents) as well as Mooney & Thor (my sister and her husband) for making the trip to Bean Town (or is it Beantown?).

Next, I want to thank the B.R.A., all of whom were excellent and fun. I can understand why the Redhead and B.o.B. love them so much. I have a man crush on them from hereon out. Plus, they (as you will read later) gave me the hook-up of all hook-ups by letting me hang in the pre-race house. Yep, while others were standing around or plopping their legs on the schoolyard grounds, I had a comfortable home with no bathroom line to speak of. Jealous? You should be.

After arriving on Friday night and taking the long way to the hotel, the Redhead and I made our way to one of what would turn out to be many amazing restaurant recommendations from Failed Muffins. Then, although rightly stuffed, the Redhead found a Taco Bell (I did say it was Friday after all). So good. So full.

We awoke early Saturday to navigate the T and make our way to the expo. As Sun Runner calls it; ‘porn for runners.’ I bought a lot of stuff. Lots of stuff. What can I say, it was my first Boston. Generally, the expo was good, but not great. Very crowded and a poor layout. But it was still the Boston Marathon Expo. And one of the best things was seeing the older Boston Marathon jackets, from 1998 and such. Next we headed to Harvard. There, I demonstrated my massive intellect whilst making fun of Harvard kids by reminding them that their football team sucks and that Elle Woods dated Luke Wilson…yeah, the guy doing TV commercials now. Then we met up with Buck and Bunny for some fine Boston eating. Finally, exhausted, we went home.

Sunday I watched the Redhead destroy her 5K pr. But I’ll let her tell you about that. Then there was the successful blogger meet-up. It was awesome to meet so many runner/bloggers. Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to spend as much time with as many of you as I would have liked; and I’m sorry. Shortly after the blogger brunch, we went to see Thor and Mooney for a quick hello.

Soon thereafter the Redhead and I joined the B.R.A. for a pre-marathon pasta dinner. There the fine members of the B.R.A. treated me as if I was one of their own. Something I’m sure they only did because of their profound admiration of the Redhead. They were so kind they didn’t even ask me why I had to excuse myself to the restroom 378 times.

No sooner had the plates been swept away than I was trying to get to sleep for my first Boston Marathon. Yay!!!

Part II: Race Day

Get on the bus Gus. Again, I would be lost without the B.R.A. Under the aegis of the B.R.A. I was able to avoid the massive lines for the plastic poop buckets and prepare for the race in a comfortable home which was right across the street from the athlete village. There is nothing like being surrounded by a 'one person deep' bathroom line and countless years of Boston running experience.

One thing you don’t know about until you are doing it is this, there is a bit of distance that must be covered from the athlete village to the stating line, maybe over half a mile. And it’s a little too crowded to really use it as a warm up—just a little something to store away. (My bus driver on the right)

Despite rain and cloudy weather up to that point, race morning was without a sun in the sky and 50 degrees at the start. Such running weather is ideal for most runners, but not for Spike. Spike prefers to run under Eeyore skies. The sun, unhindered by any clouds and streaking towards is apex, is not such a good thing for me to run a marathon under.

But I was there, toeing the line, and excited as all crap. Fighter jets flew overhead and we were off. I took it easy, didn’t get caught up with the rush down the first mile or the second mile. I was playing it smart, getting water at every mile. The sun remained a steady sentinel for the first half of the race.

As I was approaching the fabled Wellesley College, the amatory girls could be heard screaming like crazy. This part of the race was amazing, but I ran swiftly through the sea of sirens without stopping—my iPod serving as Odyssues' wax. Moreover, I knew my sweet reward awaited at the finish line.

Alas, despite the massive surge in adrenaline, it was around the half-way point where I had to take stock. I knew I had to slow down, or push forward and risk a disastrous result; also, I knew I was already beginning to cramp.

I slowed a bit, and cruised into the Newton Hill, where the cramps exploded at the first uphill. I pulled aside, tried to relax and stretch them out—but nothing worked. I started moving again and could run at a slow pace, but when I tried to push it, the calfs cramped up. I blame Nitmos.

This is where the weather and the hills bogged down my race, but not my spirits. I just kept smiling knowing Buck and Bunny were at the end of mile 22. I stopped to say hi, and continued to pick off the last few miles—making sure to walk through each water station and drink and entire cup of water (and sometimes some Gatorade).

When the legs cramped up, I walked a bit. I took the time to enjoy the entire experience and the crowd. The crowds were amazing everywhere, and even more so in Boston College. Nothing like drunken college fans ‘encouraging’ you on.

Finally, I turned the last corner and began my lookout for the Redhead—whom I noticed and kissed with great excitement. Then, I made my way down the last .2 miles (or so) and finished. Exhausted, battered, thrilled, and victorious.

I didn’t kill this course by any means, it was one of my slowest time I ever run; but I didn’t let the course kill me either. I took what I could from that day with the knowledge that I’ll be back again.


Harold said...

Congrats on Boston, just getting there is quite a feat!

Adam said...

I'm not going to lie...reading these NEVER gets old.

Congrats on the finish. even if it was one of your slower races, at least you now have an answer to the question "oh, you run? Have you ran boston yet?"

Viper said...

Congrats on Boston. Nice report (finally), though the rush of excitement is a bit lost after, what, a month since the race ... Cheers!

TallGuySurfing said...

Way to take the best of a bad situation and rock and roll!

Katie A. said...

Even the worst day in Boston is better than the best day any where else!
You did great, and I also had the dreaded cramps coming at the Newton Hill. It was my SLOWEST marathon by over an hour, but that's okay. Because like you, I enjoyed every single second of it and drank it all up!
I'm going back next year for revenge, how about you?

Sun Runner said...

I saw you there, blah blah blah, it was awesome. So. Here's an interesting experiment. Wear some item of Boston race gear to your next local race. I guarantee you'll get random people coming up to you who want to talk about their Boston experience and want to hear about yours. It's as if we're in a secret club with extremely rigid entrance requirements. I'm finally one of the cool kids!

Xenia said...

Congrats on Boston and way to beat Sun Runner at finally posting about it. :)

Frayed Laces said...

Haven't checked in for awhile, but I picked a perfect time to do so! Congrats on your Boston experience! Glad to hear you and redhead are still going strong :)

NY Wolve said...

Boston is sort of my ultimate running goal, so I am envious. I am glad you experienced it and had a decent ride. Some day...