Thursday, May 06, 2010

boston for spectators

Sorry it has taken so long to do this...but it has been a busy couple of weeks. So I guess we'll start at the beginning.

The drive down to Boston was fairly uneventful except that as we were driving through New Hampshire, there was SNOW...and lots of it! Now, you'd think that living in Ottawa, this wouldn't be a very big deal but we didn't have snow in March (yes, that's right...NO SNOW IN MARCH). Craziness. Anyway, there was so much snow that I felt I needed to take a picture:
It was like winter..
But I digress...we were going to Boston for a reason: the marathon. We arrived on Saturday and after dropping off our car and our stuff at a relative-in-law's place in Brookline, it was off to the expo. And what an expo. If you've ever been to a big marathon expo (say in Ottawa...which has a pretty good expo), take the size of it and put it on steroids (Calgarians-think the entire Round-Up centre worth of stuff). EVERY company that has even thought about making something even remotely related to running is there. All the big shoe companies were there, all the apparel peeps were there (lululemon even had a booth), the nutrition people like GU and Powerbar and Larabar were there, and then all the specialty people like Zensah, Recovery Socks, and Running Skirts. Plus all the big (and small city) marathons were there as well as Boston's local running shops... If you wanted ANYTHING related to running, it was there.

With Adidas being the big sponsor, as soon as you entered the expo, you were faced with this:
All Boston Marathon colours, all the time. Celebration jackets, capri pants, t-shirts, sweat shirts, hats, cups, sandals...everything in the Boston Marathon blue and yellow. Out of control I tell you.

Anyway, the expo was pretty cool, as was checking out the finish line:
The day before the marathon involved checking into our hotel downtown (decently close to where Jordan had to get the bus the next morning) and a little bit of sightseeing. We headed to the Faneuil Market (only in Boston would "Faneuil" rhyme with "Daniel") had some chowdah:
drank some coffee:
And just generally had a relaxing day. Of course we did some carb loading as well. I had to remind myself that I wasn't running a marathon the next day, so I didn't have to eat quite as much as Jordan...but when confronted with a ball of fried risotto with cheese and tomato sauce, there was no point in resisting:

Plus, I DID have 10 miles to run in the morning before the marathon.
After dinner, we decided to do a little more wandering and saw the finish line again:
When you are running across the finish line, the words are upside that your finish line picture says "FINISH" the right side up. Jordan was a little superstitious and would only cross the line the "wrong" way (not the way he'd be running it), but we did get a picture:
I hope the guy to his right ran the marathon.
Marathon morning involved Jordan getting up early to eat and get his stuff together in order to head to the Boston Common to catch the bus. Since I didn't go with him, all I know about his morning is that he caught one of the first buses, thought the bus ride felt pretty darn long, and even managed to catch a bit of a nap in the Athletes Village in Hopkington.

I got up just as Jordan left and also had to prep for a run- I had a 10 miler to get in and decided to make the most of it. I ran to the Boston Common, where I got to see thousands of runners waiting for the buses. It looked inSANE. There were runners everywhere...
I ran through the common, through the Boston Gardens (really pretty) and down Commonwealth Avenue...where I ran into the military. Strange.

I just kept running and running and realized that I was running on the actual route of the marathon- just the wrong way. It was early enough that I could tell where the water stations would be on my way out and then saw them setting up the water stations on my way back. 
One of the coolest things I saw on my run was the infamous Citgo sign that marks the 1 mile to go point in the marathon. I've heard so much about it that it was cool to run by, even if I wasn't running in the marathon.
Source (cause I took a picture on my phone, not with my camera)

It was cool to run part of the route, but the point of the day wasn't for ME to get my run in, but for Jordan to run and for me to get my butt to the finish line. So, after getting lost getting back to the hotel, and also getting lost on my way to the marathon route (shoulda taken the T instead of walked), I finally got there. 

I was pretty much on the corner of Hereford and Boylston- which is the last corner of the race. I'm not sure what the exact distance is from that corner to the finish, but from where I was standing it looked like it would have been a rough go. You can SEE the finish line, but it is still far enough away that it might just seem like an eternity. Luckily, there are a TONNE of people cheering you on:
(this is the second place woman trying to catch the leader. had the race been 26.4 miles instead of 26.2, I think she would have)
Getting lost wasn't the end of the world. I still made it in time to see the elite women winners (they start 30 mins before the rest of the race) and then the elite men.  The men's finish was a little unexpected actually- the winner ended up breaking the course record, so he turned the corner a few minutes before I expected him to and it was pretty cool think that I just saw a record breaking Boston finish!

Once the elites finished, the waiting game began. I had been getting texts from Jordan's dad throughout to the race, so I knew that he had been on track for a sub-3 hour finish for most of the race, but the last couple of checks were a little TOO close. It was nerve wracking to watch the minutes tick by and wonder when he'd be turning that corner. 

When I finally saw him, the time on my cell phone said 12:59. The race started at 10:00. I yelled as loud as I could (along with all of the people around can't hang out waiting with the same people for a few hours without making some friends and without cheering for the runners they are there to see...) and really hoped that it had taken him a couple of minutes to get over the start line so that his "net" time would be under 3 hours. I even managed to get a picture of him running for once! Usually I'm so focused on trying to find him and yelling, that I forget about the camera. Now, the picture I got isn't all that GOOD, but at least I got one.

I kept watching for a couple of minutes after he went by (to cheer for the son of the lady standing next to me) and then started the hike over to the meeting area. On my way, I got the last text from Jordan's dad- the one saying that he had finished in 2:59:44. I'm not going to lie- I may have squealed (and perhaps it was at the same time that my sister squealed in the shopping mall when she got that same news).
I met up with him in the meeting area and found a very tired, but very satisfied runner :)

We celebrated with beers and burgers.

Boston- if you qualify, do it. If you have a chance to spectate- do it. I thought it might be a little sad- going to a race that I will likely never have the chance to run. But going with someone who qualified and ended up running a personal best- that is probably just as satisfying an experience.
Oh- and when you walk around Boston the next day? You will see a lot of this:
The "celebration jackets" are everywhere I tell you...everywhere.

(sorry if there are typos...I'll edit another day :)


Derek said...

Great Posts. Although I'll never qualify I would love to see it in person one day. I can imagine it being thrilling!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like an awesome trip. I'm so impressed with both of you. Jordan is a machine. And you got up and ran 10mi that day too! From someone who finds it hard to WALK for a few hours I find you two inspirational.

PS - as I look out the window at all the snow that has fallen in the last few days here, I'm quite jealous of your snowless months...


Katie said...

Holy cow! Sub 3 hours! Amazing! Congrats to your hubby that's such and awesome accomplishment!

It's funny to read about you sightseeing. My hubby, daughter, and I often go to the fanuil hall area of Boston on the weekends. We live about 25 minutes away and it's a nice area to just walk around. We also walk to the common fairly often.

Sounds like a great trip!