One thing I have to say up front... Boston knows what they are doing. They know how to handle this event and this many people. The Rock and Roll marathons need to come take lessons from these guys. The experience, everything, transportation, aid, support, logistics, the finish line, the results, EVERYTHING was perfect. I didn't notice a single glitch. I cannot wrap my mind around what it takes to pull that off. I don't know if I'll ever do another mega race except for this one. They'll all fail by this standard.
Also, kudos to the city of Boston. The people were incredibly hospitable to us tens of thousands of people who descended on their city for this race. The city is abuzz all weekend. There is so much energy in this town surrounding this event. I really cannot describe how the locals embrace and get behind this event.
A Picture of the End
Not much matters less than my finishing time in this race. Boston is about the experience. I'll post soon about my performance, but this post is about the Boston experience. I got the idea for the picture below from my friend Eric Charette and I've seen others do the same. I like it.
|Race shoes, shirt, bib, Garmin, and finisher's medal|
I was blessed enough to be able to bring my family with me for the entire trip. Spring break fell the week before, so we made a mini-vacation out of it. I was a little concerned that would wear me out, but it was so much fun that if it added 10 minutes to my time, it was worth it. We did a quick tour of coastal Maine up to Portland on Friday. Beautiful! We explored downtown Boston on foot with Shane O'Neill and Linda and Beth Scavarda on Saturday. Sunday, we went to church in Tyngsborough, MA and stayed all day with the Christians there. That was a wonderful experience!
Shane joined me for the expo. Ugh! It was so crowded that you could barely move! I wanted to spend more time there, but it was just too miserable. I didn't get to see nearly as much as I wanted. If I ever do Boston again, I'll spend more time at the expo. The highlight was the ability to try on the Nike GPS sportband. I don't know if I'll replace my Garmin with it or not, but I really liked it, $299 MSRP.
The Bus Ride
Part of the Boston experience is the bus ride from Boston Common to Hopkinton. You never know who you'll meet or what you'll end up talking about for the nearly 1 hour ride to the start! I had planned to meet a friend here, but with the sea of people, it was just impossible! I hoped I'd catch up with him at Athlete's Village in Hopkinton, but no luck there, either. So, from the time I left my hotel until Mile 24, I saw NOBODY that I knew! But I was far from alone.
Shivering! 40 degrees and a 10-20 mph wind made this not so great. Oh, I know it could have been much worse. I really have no complaints about the weather. But I could not get warm pre-race. I felt like I was wasting too much energy shivering.
I staked out a spot in the sun to get some warmth. I felt like I needed a flag or something to claim my ground! People everywhere! I bought a $10 fold up camping chair to take with me based on the advice of Dink Taylor. Nice. I was happy to have a place to sit! Others were jealous! I had a nice dry place to sit comfortable for nearly 2 hours. Some charity now can enjoy that chair.
Wow. I was struggling with disbelief that I was actually there. I even got emotional a couple of times near the start. I don't know why, but I fought back some tears. It is an overwhelming experience! The energy of the crowds at the start is incredible. The noise. The knowledge that the elites are just ahead. The anticipation of Wellesley and Newton and Boylston. Indescribable. This is why I trained and suffered to qualify to be part of this.
To be continued...