I just remembered…
I’m running the Boston Marathon!
It’s easy, during training, to get distracted by the process. We pick a race, we register, and we get down to business. We choose a training plan. We keep track of our workouts and mileage with…I admit…sometimes freakish attention to detail. We studiously consume produce of varying colors, use foam rollers and massage sticks, and are probably more aware of bedtime than the parents of a toddler. Ok, almost, for that last one [I know many parents of toddlers. God bless them.].
I’ve been doing each of these. Scarily, I could probably find the tart cherry juice and spinach at my grocery store blindfolded. So those moments when I remember the point to all this, which have grown more frequent as April 15 draws nearer, seem positively magical.
The race has so much history and so many stories, someone could teach a college course about it, if they don’t already.
In the last few weeks, several people have asked me if I’m excited. I’ve smiled and gamely said “Yeah!” but with lots of other things vying for my brain’s attention: stuff at work, stuff at home, not to mention plenty more training miles to run. No sense tempting fate by getting too excited too early, right?
But now? Forget tempting fate. I’m excited.
This will be my third time running Boston, but that doesn’t make it any less of an event. It just means I know some really, really great things to look forward to. Things like my family’s tradition of eating at the Union Oyster House on Saturday night (don’t worry, I abstain from the shellfish), and at one of Boston’s 87,000 [rough estimate] scrumptious Italian restaurants on Sunday night. Things like the marathoners’ Mass on Sunday, where the priest says a blessing over all the runners present, and where the organist has been known to play the Chariots of Fire theme. Things like the bus ride to Hopkinton.
Oh my Lord, the bus ride! The last time I rode that bus, the majority of the passengers were women. We had a great time with plenty of chatter and laughter, and then…well, let’s just say the bus ride got a little long, and those buses don’t come equipped with toilets. There was nearly a mutiny. Luckily, we arrived in Hopkinton, with its beautiful Porta-Potties, just in time – warm-up sprints are good before a marathon, right?
I’m even looking forward to the race course. I’m looking forward to testing my mental strength and tapping into the restraint required to not go crazy in the first 12 miles. I’m looking forward to running past the ladies of Wellesley, whose vocal chords could make everyone from Mike Ditka to Bob Knight tremble. I’m looking forward to the Newton hills, to beer-fueled frat boys hollering “support” from rooftops, and to turning one of the finest corners in all of runningdom: from Hereford onto Boylston. Here, if nothing else, 117 years of running, give or take thousands of New Englanders, will carry all of us marathoners across the finish line.
Am I excited? Yup.
Let’s do this thing.