April 20, 2012

Boston Marathon Weekend. It Rocked.

Last weekend, I had the honor of accompanying Bakes & Abbe on their trip to Boston for the Boston Marathon. I knew it would be a good time, but I didn't know it would be one of the best weekends ever. I can't recall a single moment when I wasn't having a great time and hanging out with amazing people. I've spent the week trying to recap but have realized that it would take me forever and you would probably get bored reading all about it. So instead, here's a little photo recap with a few thoughts on the marathon and a full slideshow of the 600+ race pics I took at the end.
We had the most fun you could probably have on a 4+ hour train ride. Good company, snacks, wine & beer, and friendship bracelets! I even taught Baker how to make his.. it's a very manly bracelet. And of course, I engraved plaques for mine & Abbe's because, well, it's what I do.
We dropped our stuff off at the hotel, freshened up & then headed down for a drink before dinner at the Union Oyster House. Loved this place! Good food and a great vibe all around. I had lobster because 1)I've never had it before and wanted to try it and 2)I wanted a bib.  I then proceeded to slice my finger open on it's shell and dump the butter in my lap. My nickname for the night was Buttery Crotch. It was lovely.
After dinner, we met up with Maura & Bryan for drinks, and then we all met up with Brandon, his buddy Yo, Susan, and some of her friends. I had this delicious drink which was Milagro Silver + Cucumber Juice + Lemon Juice + Cilantro + Tobasco. Holy tobasco it was spicy! And GOOD :) Then it was time to hit the sack... a long day ahead awaited us!
We woke up the next morning, Abbe made some coffee, and we planned out our day: a nice run, the marathon expo, meet up with friends for lunch, chillax some more, and then pre-Marathon dinner at Maura & Bryans.
Of course we had to stop to pose for lots of adorable pictures along our run through Boston. Check out that beautiful blue sky!
We then stopped by the expo so Bakes could pick up his bib & a marathon jacket. While there, we bumped into the beautiful Susan and hung with her for a bit as we made our way to Zensah and Sparkly Soul to say hi to more buddies.
After the Expo, we headed to the Barking Crab for lunch which is pretty awesome! The food was great, the view was of the water, and there was reggae playing in the background. Once again, fun, fun, fun!

After a quick rest, we headed to Maura & Bryans to hang and then make dinner. Abbe made her delicious Kale Pesto with Shrimp and she was fabulous enough to set some aside for me, without the shrimp also, so I could use on my gluten free spaghetti. I made a Kale, Grapefruit & Avocado salad. Dessert was fresh papaya, dark chocolate, wine & cheese. We were all pretty happy and wished Bakes good luck as he and Abbe head out to their hotel for the night.

I stayed at Maura & Bryan's for the evening and we were up late working on our very important race poster!
Abbe, Maura & I met up at a spot just before the 24 mile mark to cheer. We were in front of Neena's which had a display showing the temperature. This is what it looked like as the day continued.
We also made new friends which proved extremely important while taking pictures cause The Dudes, as I so affectionately called them, kept asking people to step back behind me so I could get good shots. They were 23 years old and asked me & Abbe where we went to college. That was awesome :) Also awesome? Getting to finally meet the lovely Kelly from Meals for Miles. Love her!
Then it was time for the wheelchair racers to fly by. They were fast & AMAZING!
Next up were the women's elites. These 2 would later duke it out at the finish line.
Check out the look on Killel's face! It was hot and intense out there, and even the elites were struggling.
Next came the men!
And finally, our friends started to approach! The hairy dude in the red is Kevin. Yes, he ran in almost 100 degrees with all that fur... hot.
And more friends! Next up, we saw Bakes cruise by but I didn't get a picture. And then Eissa tweeted at us (yes, the girl can run crazy fast & tweet at the same time because she is FUNTASTIC) and told us she was approaching. We found her and she stopped for a picture before continuing. Go Eissa!!!
And then we saw Claire who was loving every minute of the race (that's a complete lie). We all got sweaty delicious hugs and then sent her on her way for another 2 miles of non stop fun (sarcasm). I also saw Lindsay and screamed out her name, and did my best to find Megan but with no luck.
Luckily for everyone at the race, Maura was womaning the high five station the entire day. The elites didn't stop much but after them, lots and lots of folks high fived with smiles on their faces. Some runners even went out of their way to head for the high five station before continuing. You could tell that by mile 24, they were really grateful for the cheering and encouragement.
Once most of our friends passed by, I started to make my way towards the finish line in search of a train station. Abbe had already left to meet Bakes and I needed to meet them so we could catch our train ride home. I took this shot at about mile 25 and at that point, just about everyone was walking. The heat was taking it's toll.
Lots of thoughts were going through my head during this race. As I watched the runners pass at mile 24, I couldn't help but notice a wide mix of emotions on their faces. Some looked happy, were running with smiles, while many others looked discouraged and disappointed. One woman cried as she looked me in the eyes and I patted her on the back while she ran on. Another woman walked passed me and asked me, "Can I stop now?" as she shook her head in disappointment. Boston is a race for which you must quality and only the fastest of the fast make it. Once you're in, it's your training focus and lots of sweat and hours are poured into reaching your goals. It was pretty difficult to watch runners dropping like flies after months of work towards their goals. On the way to mile 25, I saw a man lying on the sidewalk and asked if he needed help. He quickly replied yes which a certainty that alarmed me. Roger was an older man and this was his 11th marathon. I sent 3 people to find help while I tried to get him to sip water, eat small bites of my watermelon, and have a cracker. During the almost hour I spent with him, Roger was having trouble breathing, his arms started to go numb, and both his legs were cramping so that he screamed out in pain. I had to give the police officers directions on how to relieve his leg cramps as we waited and waited for an ambulance. I know that the BAA sent out a bazillion emails warning about the heat but since I wasn't on any of them, I'm wondering if the messages included danger signs of dehydration or directions on what to do if you find yourself dehydrated. Just a thought.

I could go on and on.... the women in this race were so freaking strong & inspiring... the determination.... the pain..... the heat... but I will close with these thoughts. I love the running community and I love running. I hope that one day, with lots of work, I too will run Boston. Kudos to all who decided to run on that very hot day, as well as to those who didn't. I hope no matter what your decision was, you know that it was the right one for you. I learned that if I were to ever face a long distance run in hot weather, I wouldn't run it but am happy for those who did and would. And for those who did run it, congratulations on a strong performance at a really tough race.

And now for the slideshow of all my pics. Hope they inspire you as much as they do me!


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