Boston Marathon, The Second Time Around

What a difference a year makes and doesn’t. Mrs Mallard BostonThe crowds exceeded a million people and spanned the entire race course, easily 5-10 people deep in the cities, colleges and wherever Sam Adams tents appeared.  They cheered loudly, made me laugh and kept me running forward.  One of the first signs I passed read “Run if your horny.”  Seriously, 36,000 runners were not stopping regardless of whatever their urge was or wasn’t at the starting gate.  These are some of my more memorable moments including T Shirts, reminders from last year and a few personal favorites.

 My Favorite T Shirts

“2013 25.6 miles, 2014 26.2 miles”  Inspiring to say the least.

“No death penalty”  Quite a message hand written beneath her bib number.

“Running for Krystal, Martin, Lu and Sean”  Countless.

“Boston Strong”  Had delusions at mile 5 of getting this tattooed on my right shoulder inside a small heart at the end of the race, but it passed.

 Leveling Moments

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The hotel welcome letter.  I’m sure each hotel carried a similar greeting, it just wasn’t the traditional nice warm fuzzy with a couple of mints on the pillow case welcome I was used to.

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I stood in front of the victim’s memorial on Easter Sunday beside an older gentleman. Both of us had tears welling up in our eyes. He said “I didn’t know this was here.  It took me quite by surprise, so moving, such a tragedy.”  All I could do was nod my head in agreement.

Sunday morning I snuck out to the Marathon Sports Expo located in the Hyatt Convention Center before my daughter woke up. One-third of the way deep into the exhibits, warning sirens began to sound. “Please exit the building now. We are under an emergency evacuation warning and we ask that you please proceed quickly and quietly to the nearest exit and vacate the building immediately.” My thoughts were “You’ve got to be joking.  This has got to be a test, just tell me you’re testing the overhead announcement system.  This is how I ended the last trip!” I called my husband to tell him I was trying to make my way out with the crowds of whom, some continued to shop?  Once I had weaved my way to the exit, the evacuation was called off and the security guard indicated that a smoke alarm had gone off in the next building.  I told him “I  just exhausted all of my glycogen stores”.

IMG_2560Black SUVs and unmarked police vehicles were everywhere, actively patrolling or parked in presumably key locations.  Massachusetts State Police Incident Command and Hazmat vehicles were front and center at mile 26.  They were fully prepared for anything.

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IMG_2574Heading out the morning of the race, I passed several K9 units and police, fully amped and padded. I thanked them for the service but refrained from petting any pooches.

Upon entering the Athlete’s Village we were all subjected to a “Hands In The Air”, wand search as if we were about ready to embark on a plane, only they didn’t make us take off our tennis shoes.  Police patrols were all over Village, on the roof, standing the perimeter and on ATVs scanning the surrounding woods.  Honestly, I don’t know how much of this was normal precautions from year-to-year and how much had been added, but I was keenly aware of it this time around and it was oddly comforting.

At mile 25, police were positioned on both sides of the race course, spaced 20 yards apart wearing a “Don’t mess with me” face. This was a stark contrast to their presence throughout miles 1-25  where they enjoyed the race while maintaining a dutiful presence.

Personal Favorites

IMG_2566Runners gathered for Easter Mass at the Old Stone Church.  While I didn’t attend I heard that all of the runners were honored by the placing of a Boston blue and gold hand knit scarf around their neck.  During various parts of the ceremony, these scarves along with custom made scarves representing every country participating in the Boston Marathon were waved a sign of peace for the victims, those still healing and the Boston Community.

A happily buzzed college student slurred “I love your shorts”  ¾ of the way up IMG_2583Heartbreak while she waved her beer at me. I love my neon green shorts too.  It reminded me of one of my favorite T-shirts from last year,

“Do these shorts make me look fast?”

We were told that four military helicopters would perform a united pass at the beginning and not to worry, it was planned.  They swept the skies again at mile 15 and I pretended I was racing them from the ground.  They won.  It was pretty powerful to watch and calming.

A guy in front of me at mile 23 started saying “You got this! You got this!”   He was talking to himself, not me or a running companion. It was positive self talk at it’s best so I copied.

The 118th Boston Marathon was my tenth marathon and actually my slowest, yet I enjoyed every minute of it.  A good running buddy once told me,

“You only have one record-breaking PR, one slow race and everything else is in between”.

Next year and forward I’ll enjoy running the everything in between.

This is the story from my first Boston Marathon in 2013 “The Bucket List”.

To read more about the scarves check out “Dear Runners.”

To view the 42 best signs at the Boston Marathon check out Buzz Feed’s Post

 



Categories: Sports Nutrition

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4 replies

  1. I love this! Thank you for sharing!

    Sent from my iPhone

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  2. Hi there! I just stumbled across your blog via a Google Blog Search. I was a Marathon Scarf Project scarfmaker and volunteer. Nearly 7,400 scarves were collected by knitters at the Old South Church (“The Church of the Finish Line”) from 49 states and I believe 12 other countries. They were distributed at various times in the days leading up to the marathon and the final distribution was at their two Blessing of the Athletes/Easter Sunday services. It was requested that all scarves be in marathon blue and yellow (most were). I don’t believe there were any scarves representing the countries who participated in the marathon. I’ve been blogging about the project at my blog. Here’s a letter to runners about the project and there’s a little more in some of my previous posts.

    https://curiousthreads.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/dear-runners/

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    • Thanks so much for sharing your blog post. That was an amazing story and gift that of time, talent and compassion! Many, many thanks!

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      • You’re welcome! I wrote the letter when I realized there was so much more to the scarves that some recipients might never know if they weren’t able to connect directly with their scarfmakers. I wanted to share some of those stories.

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