Wednesday, May 4, 2011

2011 Boston Marathon

This year, I took my wife and 3 youngest kids with me to Boston for the Boston Marathon. With the Red Sox and Celtics, Boston Ballet, aquarium and incredible history surrounding the city, Boston is a great place to take the family. With a nice little run to top it off.

After 115 years, Boston has perfected the art of the marathon. This year on April 18, Patriots Day, a perfect day to run (40 degrees at the start and 50 degrees at the finish) a new world record was set at 2 hours and 3 minutes. I was within 200 yards of the winner . . . then the starter shot his pistol.

This year the 27,000 runners were divided into 3 waves in order to help with the running hoard. The bibs for the runners in wave 1 were colored red; in waive 2 white; and wave 3 blue. It was Patriots Day, the holiday commemorating the start of the Revolutionary War, so red, white and blue were apropos.

During the months of training for a marathon, I ran anywhere from 40 to 70 miles a week. On the weekend, I did my "long runs", which were typically 18 to 20 miles. Before you "toe the line," you must be in shape. So, the first 16 miles are not too bad. However, at mile 16 the runners enter the Newton Hills, culminating in the famous Heartbreak Hill. By the time I hit
the peak of Heartbreak Hill and headed into Boston, I was pretty worn out.

When you hit the crest of Heartbreak Hill, there are only 5 more miles to gut-out and you can see Boston in the distance.

Just when you think you can't run any more, and you are telling yourself that you will never run another marathon, you run through thousands of cheering students from Boston College, and in the distance, you can see a giant "Citgo" sign, which is 1 one mile from the finish line.

The final mile at Boston is amazing. The cheering from the thousands of people as you turn towards Boylston is deafening. Then you turn back North and can see the finish line less than a quarter mile in the
distance. Your legs ache and you are exhausted, but you maintain a silly grin knowing that you are almost finished.

When you finally hit the finish line, exhausted and elated, you fall into a crowd of walking dead, where high-fives and kudos are exchanged between complete strangers.

What a great place for a marathon.