18 April 2010

'Twas the Night Before Boston

‘Twas the night before Boston, and all through the house, I couldn’t help but scurry, since it seemed there was just too much to get organized, set up, planned, schemed, prepared, eaten, rested, packed, put to bed, whatever. Why does it always seem to come to this? It’s just another race in the morning. Yeah, but…

We have a confluence of events around this time every year. Boston happens to fall right around my dearest wife’s birthday (that’s not to imply there are other wives not so dearest, but you knew that), and this year the two coincide – yes, she was indeed born to the Shot Heard Round the World. No further commentary on that. But somehow my daughters and I have to scheme to provide a decent birthday celebration after the race, which means more than the usual logistical planning today.

And I’m always amazed at how much logistical planning is involved in any race, let alone Boston. When I travel for a race, I generally throw just about everything I own into the car so as to be ready for any weather eventuality or wardrobe malfunction (thank you, Ms. Jackson, for that fabulous contribution to our lexicon, it rapidly became a favorite). Once there, it’s no big deal to pick what you need at the start. But for Boston, there is no car. We leave the safety of our automotive cocoon at the parking lot of Hopkinton State Park, and once we board the BAA-provided bus to Hopkinton Center, we’re self-sustaining. And it’s not just about being equipped to stay warm and ready up to race time with only what we can wear, carry in the BAA-provided baggage bag, and are willing to part with at the start, but we’ve got to think about needed gear for warmth and comfort (of both ourselves and those unlucky enough to be around malodorous runner-types) at the far end where it’s often notoriously windy and cold. And all of it has to be stuff we’re willing to never see again, because as good as the BAA logistics are, well, you never know. In a word, it’s complicated.

Fortunately the weather forecast is on the upswing, which you’d never know from today’s psychotic downpour-to-sunshine-and-back-again-in-five-minutes routine, simplifying things somewhat from previous years. There’s no rain forecast for tomorrow, and though chilly, the temps are predicted to stay in an ideal zone with a strong enough wind, mostly at our side but slightly behind us, to possibly stave off the all-too-frequent head winds that like to greet us as we top the hills of Newton.

So the race is complicated enough, but let’s make it more fun. Having spent pretty much the whole day yesterday gallivanting into town to the expo and madly trying to find that last merchandise prize for my wife’s latest solar lap, in addition to having made the near-fatal mistake of showing my daughter the course by driving it (backwards) out of the city at an average clip slower than I expect to run it tomorrow, well, yesterday simply vanished. All that planning, logisiticizing (yes, it’s a word, I just decreed as much), and so on has fallen to today. And I’ve made it harder by submitting to the marathon weekend spirit and inviting a few out-of-town runners over to my home for pasta tonight – guests whom I should note I’ve never even met beyond the confines of email (“Can you send a picture so when you show up at my door I know you’re not the mass murder from the next town?”). That’s what happens with the excitement of marathon weekend, and that’s the beauty of it all. And that has to fit in with my stint of coaching the kids’ track team practice tonight. And the nasties like attacking that plugged drain. It’s enough to drive one batty, I think I’ll just go for a run.

All that aside, most bits are in working order. The left Achilles irritation has never really totally vanished, but it’s pretty far below the threshold of worrying. A few calf twinges, possibly an issue by 21, but we’ll worry then if it happens. And the pesky right ankle that only likes to hurt itself when doing totally non-running things acted up a little yesterday. I’m pretty confident through 18 or so, then all bets are off, my long outings haven’t been great. Whatever. Damn the torpedoes. We’re going for a run tomorrow, and it will be a grand time even if it isn’t a grand time.


  1. Ack... I waited until this morning to register for Bost Marathon updates on your bib number and it said alert registrations were closed.

    No problem I thought, I'll just watch it from the web update site but I can't find that either. Guess I need to find a Boston TV stations webcast and watch for you amongst the front runners.

  2. I take that back, I can still get updates by sending a SMS. Btw, that's a very low bib number you have, running with the Kenyans?


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