Brian's Journal - Boston Marathon 2007

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4/15/2007 Proctor (written 7 weeks later)
Our flight to Boston Sabbath morning was filled with marathoners, include Maniac Karen Wiggins with whom I ran for several miles of the Skagit Marathon last fall. We didn't linger in Boston though, but drove up to visit Daniel at Proctor overnight. The ground was bare, brown and straw-colored, and all the trees were bare as well, no sign of green yet. We took Daniel and his roommate Alex Dwayne out to dinner at the New London Inn then spent the night there ourselves. In the morning it was snowing in New London, though merely sprinkling at Proctor when I drove down to get Daniel for lunch. Back in New London several inches had fallen and even Proctor had an inch or two when we dropped off Daniel on our way back to Boston. Although the road was slushy and nearly white in places south of Proctor the freeways were clear into Boston. We went directly to Tufts for the dinner since John and Mom had decided not to come down due to the weather. The beneficiary of the funds raised by the Tufts President's Challenge marathon team is the Tufts school of health and nutrition so the pasta dinner was appropriately healthy - steamed white fish and baby patty pan squash, pasta with just a touch of oil and three more kinds of vegetables, whole wheat rolls, fresh fruit salad for dessert. It was delicious, definitely a cut above the usual pre-race fare. By 8PM when we reached our hotel, the Wyndham Chelsea just north of Boston, the forecasted northeaster was really cranking up. Heavy rain was blowing almost horizontally through the covered entrance parking area and the temperature was only in the upper 30's. I was more concerned about my tooth, the one Dr Jayne crowned back in November. It had been a little tender for about a week, a consequence I assumed of pressure from my nightly grinding, but it chose the night before the Boston Marathon to really begin to ache. After trying unsuccessfully to go to sleep I took 3 aspirin and an hour later the ache was gone.

4/16/2007 Boston Marathon
Having prepped everything the night before, it didn't take long to get ready. Three more aspirin kept the toothache at bay, and two more just before the race along with a granola bar. I shared a taxi in to the Common with a young lady named Katy.

Tufts Team
On the Common
The rain had let up some and the wind had mostly blown over but the Boston Common was still very wet. Yellow school busses were lined up from Park Street all the way down past the Garden and more were attempting to get into town; it took us twenty minutes to cover the last half mile to the Common. Rather than wait in line in the rain I stood under the eves of a public restroom or some such monument with a Boston Marathon veteran whose name I don't recall. After watching the Tufts team snake past and the lines thin out we boarded a yellow school bus together and savored the wet warmth along with a group of women from Canada. Everyone was excited.
At Hopkinton police directed us to the high school. We lingered on the bus as long as possible, reluctant to leave its warmth for the cold rain outside. Fortunately the high school gym was open
Portapotty Lines
In the gym
so I wandered inside, back out again in search of a restroom, stood in line a few minutes in just a light sprinkle as the sky lightened considerably overhead, then retreated back to the gym to wait for our start. I found a vacant chair, borrowed some Vaseline for my toes, finished dressing then spotted Karen Wiggins so visited with her and Lesa Overfeld (I think) then walked out with them but lost them in a porta-potty line. I found the bus for my gear bag, #21171, then joined the throng of runners heading down the street towards the start. At 10:30 our wave started but it took another 10 minutes before we could see the starting banner up the hill to our right. The street was littered with shed clothing; coats, gloves and sweats formed dams which diverted the gutter runoff out into the street and underfoot. It didn't seem to be raining much though, and I wasn't as cold as I should have been for all the clothes I was wearing. We crossed the starting line around
The first mile
10:45AM. I didn't try to stop for a picture. The first couple of miles were downhill through bare wet gray woods. A multi-colored stream of runners filled the street. Handfuls of rain-coated spectators stood on the banks, some cheering, some apparently overwhelmed at the spectacle. About two miles into the race I stopped to pee and shed my wind pants and Maniac jacket, tying them around my waist. Kept the gloves on but many others didn't; in places the street seemed almost carpeted with them. Imperceptibly the crowd thinned even as the spectators became more numerous. The road was wet; I tried
Wellesley College
to keep to the high ground and stay out of the standing or running water, but it didn't seem to be raining. Nor did I notice much wind, although some runners later reported that the wind and rain were pretty bad at times. Around mile 10 I heard shrill screaming up ahead, and a few minutes later a sign for Wellesley college, and the right side of the road was lined with screaming girls. Exhilirating sound. I ran along the line with my right hand outstretched to high five all the girls with their hands out. Didn't stop to kiss anyone though; felt a little shy about that. I reached the half around 2:05 having picked up the pace quite a bit from the 10:30 of the first few miles. I was feeling great, in awe that I was really running Boston, moved nearly to tears by the landmarks, the signs marking the town boundaries, the modest houses and lawns
Heartbreak Hill
tucked into the oak woods, the Wellesley girls, the Newton hills. Soon after Wellesley I caught up to a thin gray-haired Maniac - Tom Rogers, with whom I walked and ran a good part of Yakima two weeks earlier. His knee was hurting again so he was anticipating a slow finish, but at least he was running Boston. So was I, and my tooth was fine. I picked up the pace a little more, didn't stop for many pictures in the second half. I high-fived lots of kids though, and drank at all the water stops, ate 3 or 4 Gu's I think. The water stops served Gatorade in 8 oz cups, a nice touch.
Approaching the Finish
I was half-way up Heartbreak Hill before I figured out that this was it, the fabled hill. It was a short curving ascent through an older residential neighborhood. I stopped for a photo and someone offered to take mine; that was nice. Nice too was all the enthusiastic encouragement from the sidelines, "Go Tufts". I wore my yellow Tufts singlet over my red long-sleeved Maniacs shirt so had lots of supporters all along the course. Apparently the crowds were only half as large as normal but they still seemed almost continuous for the second half of the race. Around mile 18 I pushed the pace a little more and ran the last 7 miles at about 8:40 per mile. Not enough to break 4 hours, especially given the photo stops, but I came respectably close and felt great even at the finish. Aboard my gear bus they couldn't find my bag so after waiting for a while I climbed on board to look for it myself and ended up handing out other runners' bags for about 20 minutes. It felt good to help out. Susan met me in the reunion area and we walked back to the Harvard club where we ate lunch and I showered before heading north to Jackson.
Snow was still piled high along the driveway although probably only about a foot deep on the fields. The storm had dropped about a foot of snow and sleet followed by quite a bit of rain. I don't recall if the brook was open yet. I climbed with Kirsten over at the Tracy's barn for a while on Tuesday afternoon then went for a swim, sauna and steam bath at Attitash with John.
The House, mid-April
The Cabin, mid-April
I think it was raining. I built a snow dam in front of the drain on the partly snow-covered pool deck then iced my legs in the resulting pond of slush and ice water. The first round I could only stand about 5 minutes but after warming up in the hot tub I was able to sit in the slush for more than 10 minutes on my second try.
Back home Dr. Jayne put me on penicillin for the toothache and recommended a root canal, which a couple weeks later took care of the toothache for good, I hope.


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