If I learned anything during my 4 years of being a distance runner it is the magic of the marathon. This is the longest distance most people will consider running, the goal among some, and the beginning for others. But the marathon is nothing without the goal of Boston.
Anyone can run a marathon. Yes, I will make that statement and say anyone. It might take someone 6 or 7 hours, but it can be done. Boston however is the crème dela crème, the best of the best, the pick of the litter whatever you want to call it Boston is magic. Every year during the third weekend of April the best runners from all over the globe converge on Boston. This year I decided to join them, not to run the marathon, I’m still twenty minutes too slow, but to take part in the B.A.A. 5k and do my small part of the Boston Marathon Weekend.
We arrived Friday night, and as soon as I could see the Citgo sign I started freaking out. I squiggled in my seat, I couldn’t sit still, and when we missed our turn and got stuck in 25 additional minutes of traffic, forget it, I almost combusted. Seriously who schedules a Red Socks game during Boston Marathon Weekend!?!?! Someone who isn’t thinking that’s who!
Despite not running the Marathon I still wanted to get to the expo, because HELLOOOOOOO BEST STUFF EVER!!! However the expo closed at 6, I was lucky enough to be stuck in traffic until 5, which only left me an hour for the expo. But it all worked out. After we figured out how to park in the parking garage and where the hell we were THE EXPO WAS A MAGICAL PLAYGROUND FOR RUNNERS. Seriously. I’ve been to other running expos (Chicago, Philly, NYC) BUT THIS, THIS WAS A MAGICAL EXPO. There was two rooms of Stuff, and really no order to it other than the semi rows, so you just had to go up and down and look at everything. Of course the first thing I saw when I walked in was the Brooks booth. I got a pair of Brooks Launch’s not too long ago and I love them for my shorter distances. BUT THEY JUST CAME OUT WITH THE LOBSTER LAUNCHES FOR THE MARATHON… so I had to stop and stare at those for a while.
Walking around, I wanted everything. There was so many cool shirts, so many different Boston sayings and so many different products to try. The first product I did try was no other than the Nuun Performance. Since I do train for Ultras and do stupidly long runs this new endurance mix with electrolytes and carbohydrates is really up my ally, and since I already love Nuun Active, and Nuun Vitimins… it was a no brainer that I stopped, bought some, and got my Nuun Boston water bottle, because you can never have enough water bottles (despite what my mother says).
I saw the Saucony booth next and stared googly eyed at the New Boston Freedoms… even though my regular freedoms delivered to my house that morning. I did pick up a shirt from the Saucony booth because who could resist a “Boston Runnah” shirt. I walked around until the last call of “5 minutes till closing” then decided that I NEEDED the lobster Launches and with thirty seconds to spare I obtained my pair and couldn’t stop staring at them until I left the expo.
With all the excitement on Boylston Street we left the expo and headed across the street to the Runners World pop up shop. Bart Yasso looked so good on the Runners World Instagram wearing a bright blue “Boston is for Runnahs” sweatshirt that I had to get one for myself. That’s also when I stumbled upon the finish line. Such an iconic part of Boston, I seriously jumped up and down squealing and pointing like a little girl.
We walked down the street peering into all the shops windows which were alive with marathon memorabilia, and finally got in front of the finish line. It was amazing, there was a crowd of people lined up just to take a picture, and of course I was one.
After dropping off bags and bags of goodies in the car finally decided it was time for some dinner. It was surprisingly hard to find a good meal on Boylston Street. There was lots of bar food, a BBQ joint, and a green smoothie place, all fine and dandy for lunch, but I was getting hangry and needed dinner. Finally we walked around Newbury Street and found a great Italian restaurant called PapaRazzi. I had a cup of Pasta E Fagioli, some Calamari and finally a bowl of gnocchi for diner. The sauce was fantastic, and I cannot wait to go back when we run the Boston 10K, but next time I should stick to one glass of wine and water, lots of water.
After a night sleep that can only be compared to sleeping in the same room as a lumberjack sawing down a redwood, I was up at 6am for the 5k. The only thing is the 5k did not start until 9:30. This was the latest race I’m running all year, seriously, I did not know what to do with myself.
We walked around town for a little searching for my Dunkin Donuts, because this girl literally runs on Dunkin. Then we went and walked around the start line, took some pictures, picked up our shirts and made the decision to go change into shorts for the race.
Finally race time approached and as we headed back to the start the sea of people grew tenfold. We could not find the corals, or even get to them. We were trying to meet up with a bunch of our friends and that was even hard to do. I literally crawled into a corral which had people of all speeds starting together, because people cannot follow directions.
As the minutes till start ticked down, I found myself standing right next to the professionals warming up and could not help staring, this is the second time this year I have basically been with the professionals and ITS BEEN AWESOME. Finally I stopped drooling and got ready to start.
At the start forget a countdown, it was literally someone over the loud speaker saying “GO!” which kind of threw me off, but at that time all 10,000 of us took off… and since 99% of people did not line up in there correct coral, we walked the first 200 meters. It was horrible.
As soon as we got off on Commonwealth Ave it hit me how hot it was out. I was parched. My mouth was dry, all I could think about was water… but me being the stubborn 5ker I am, I passed the water station and did not stop because precious seconds.
Right after the turn around I met an underpass and cursed whoever told me Boston was flat. Okay this is a bit of an exaggeration, this was not a bad hill at all, just a slight incline, but when you are sweating, dying and thirsty it’s horrible. I was the thirsty equivalent to hangry.
I looked down at my watch and 2 miles already went by when I was half way through Hereford Street. I was amazed how fast this was going. Then the most famous turn in marathon history was in front of me. Hereford to Boylston Street. I wanted to take my phone out and record it, I wanted to take pictures, but I couldn’t. I just had to take it all in. After the turn the famous finish line lay before us. It was magical, everything was already set up. I couldn’t help but daydream to the day that I would cross this finish line in the Marathon. I started crying. It was so much Boston, the marathon, all the runners it was amazing. And then I was slapped back to reality when I missed the last water station and realized I had half a mile to go.
I “sprinted” (as much as one does when they have been out in the dessert for 10 days with no water) to the finish line on Charles Street in the Middle of Boston Common. The feeling was amazing. I think I smiled the entire time. My small part of the Boston Marathon weekend was already over and it took just over 20 minutes.
I finally got water and walked to the fence to watch my friends finish. It was amazing this entire experience. Anytime the best runners from around the world get together you know it’s going to be a great time. I regret not taking pictures during the race, but I know for next year.
The Boston Marathon is where legends are made, where dreams come true, a real life Disney land for runners. Anytime you can be a part of it, no matter how big or small, I highly recommend it. You might even find some unicorns while you are there.