I’m not sure exactly why I’ve waited a month to write about Boston. Perhaps it was my almost complete lack of photo-taking. More likely, it’s the feeling that I had finally completed a major undertaking, which leaves me exhausted and satisfied for about a week, then the elation turns into nervousness as I realize that I need another goal. New goals are scary, especially considering I had five years to get comfortable with this one.
To put it simply, the Boston Marathon is the best marathon in the entire world, in practically every way. It lives up to every expectation, from the talent level of the field, the difficulty of the rolling course, to the crazy pre-race expo and festivities, to the absolutely mind-blowing crowd support.
The course is every bit as hard as people say, with a quad-crushing downhill trend for the first half, and then crushing uphills for about six miles until 22. I was a bit out of shape for a fast attempt, but I still went out a little fast, loving the opportunity to flow along with huge packs of runners my speed or faster. I honestly got a tiny bit discouraged around half-way, as I’m not accustomed to being continuously passed by entire packs of people, and this trend didn’t let up for the entire race. But even that was incredible, running in a crowd for an entire marathon.
Uncomfortably rounding one of the last corners
I’ve never seen crowd support anything like this. Honestly I wonder why so many people turn out, as they are out in decent numbers for the entire course, and in huge crowds through the towns. Children were hanging out of trees, people were barbequeing, college kids were insane. I had heard the stories of the Wellesley girls, but nothing could have prepared me for what sounded like a Beatles concert a half-mile away. I’d go back just for that.
Unfortunately I didn’t quite have the legs I had in Portland or Myrtle, and the weather turned out to be a bit hot and sunny for me, so the hills and sun took their toll on me. No mushroom clould, but running sub-3 was definitely out of the question, so I managed to hold on for a Boston-qualifying 3:13 (Note: I’ll be 35 next year, so I get five minutes, and yes, I was already qualified for ’09). Unless my dad qualifies for ’09 (he will definitely be there for ’10; more on that later), I’m going to try to kill this course next year. Revenge on those hills will be sweet.
Possibly the perfect restaurant? Must try it in ’09
For the entire weekend there are runners everywhere, and you can tell they’re serious runners. Everyone wears bragging gear from previous races, or they’re already wearing a wind jacket for the current race. Thousands and thousands of people, all excited to be there. If you are a runner, really a runner, you must do Boston at least once. It’s not just the reputation, it’s a religious experience. And if you aren’t a runner, I don’t know how you could experience the Boston weekend and not be one by the end of it. Just ask Jeri, Susi, or either of the Pauls.