06 May 2011

Boston Tales, Part 2

[ Ed Note: At last, the fourth entry in the Boston Trilogy. The marathon commences! ]

When last we left off, well, we left off kind of mid-stream, since even long-winded me couldn’t bring myself to foisting three solid pages on you at once. On with the rest of the Boston tidbits…

Well, La-Ti-Dah To You: New to this year’s overpriced Addidas clothing expo feeding frenzy was not just this year’s Boston jacket (yes, I have one, a gift from a highly benevolent manager), but a second jacket emblazoned, “Boston Qualifier”. Yes, the fact that eighty percent of all Boston runners are qualified isn’t enough, apparently we now must separate ourselves from the rabble of those charity and club-number runners. The horror! Sorry, I don’t buy it (and didn’t buy it). Don’t tell me not to respect people who (a) are willing to scrounge up thousands for a good cause, and (b) are willing to be out there on the course for twice as long as I can handle. Later in the week during our family R&R on Cape Cod, we spotted someone sporting said Nose-In-The-Air garment. Despite my usual Runners’ Turret’s which prompts me to strike up a running conversation whenever the opportunity arises, I just had no interest.

Best Sign Awards: First, the person who really wanted to send a deep message but couldn’t quite put their finger on it, and therefore made a sign that just said, “Inspirational Running Quote!” And second, the person who didn’t want to discriminate in who they supported and held up the sign reading, “Go Random Person!”

Damage Report: More blisters than usual. Blame it on the different socks. But the biggest wound from the event? A nasty internal bleeding bruise from a blood draw gone bad the day after the race. I’d signed up for a medical study examining the impact of statins (cholesterol meds) on certain muscle enzymes under heavy exercise scenarios. Interesting topic, though I’ve yet to see the results. Post-race, in the med tent, being dehydrated, I had no veins and they had to use the back of my hand. For the day-after draw, no such problem, but man, the ugly results of that still linger, more than two weeks hence.

Shout-Outs: Speaking of that medical study, a big shout-out to Amanda A, key driver of said medical experiment (save that bruise, no runners will harmed in the making of this event), who completed her first marathon two weeks after Boston. I guess you can’t hang around all us crazies and not have it rub off. Another shout-out to niece Kristin K, who completed her first half marathon on the same day. Sadly for her, she does share my gene pool, so it’s not just proximity that’s driven her to this vice. I smell a full in her future someday.

Trumped in the Nearly Three Club: I’ve had plenty of reaction to missing three hours by a mere seven seconds. Most see it as a disappointment, but for me, with four sub-threes under my belt, it’s a victory of rationality, the seven seconds a curious irony. Irony runs deep and wide, though. While on the Cape, my wife pointed out an apparent runner at poolside, who turned out to be Coloradoan Eric Cameron (#1619) of DogGoneRunning blog fame. Fame, you say? I’ll give him the title on the assumption that we all deserve it. Fact is, I’d actually heard of him, and he of me, he knew of my bionic foot! I’d read his blog on rare occasion, and we’ve shared the same stage contributing material to Chris Russell’s podcasts. Another ‘go figger’ moment. Not to mention he’s a man with my style of insanity, singing, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood” as the gun went off – a tune I’m frequently prone to expelling – from the other side of my starting corral. Had I only heard it… Anyway, point is, he landed at? You guessed it, three hours and seconds, thirty-six in his case. And not to be outdone, while on a recovery jog a little later on the blissfully flat Cape Cod Rail Trail, a chat erupted with Ashley G, training to hit the Olympic B standard at Vermont City, who’d run New York last fall in – yes, she trumped me – three hours and one second. She’s since nailed two-fifty. Go Ashley, go!

King & Queen of the City: My partner in the insanity of Run Marlborough 2011, Chris Johansen, not only finished her first marathon, but had a grand time doing it, and her four-oh-nine landed her the top time of three women from Our Fair City. Our local paper lists everyone who ran, but the vaunted Boston Globe lists only the top male & female runners from each city and town. Not only was this a big thrill for her, but to have the two city-covering quest crazies filling those two spots in the Globe was, well, I won’t say touching (you can get arrested for that now) but pretty cool.

Relive The Experience! And finally, we closed the day with the Boston Experience. Since my clan meets me in Newton Lower Falls and has never seen the start, after the bus ride back to Hopkinton I took them down to the high school for a walk around of what had been, hours earlier, a sea of thirty-thousand, and tried to relate to them the environment, as evidenced by the sheer number of remaining port-a-johns. After that, a quick trip to the starting line, dodging traffic for Darling Daughter the Younger to get a matched set, a starting line shot to go with her finish line shot of a few days earlier. I can see this being transformed into a theme park experience! Live the dream!

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