Where do I even begin? The Boston Marathon was amazing! BOSTON was amazing! Overall this was an incredible experience.
Day 1: Saturday
3 a.m. - woke up to get ready to leave mom and dad's to head out to the Pittsburgh Airport. As I have never flown on a commercial airliner (lol, only jumped out of Cessna's) I was so excited to get on the plane, let alone a plane to Boston!
12:30 p.m. - We arrived in Boston, so excited! Called the hotel for a pick up, and they were there so fast. We stayed at the Logan Airport Comfort Inn. We had a few issues with the hotel, but the people who worked there were as nice as can be. Ate lunch, unpacked, and headed out to find our way on the T. I was nervous about getting lost, as we have never even rode Cleveland's public transportation system.
3:30 p.m. - EXPO! Craziness. Complete insanity. There were so many people there that you could barely look at anything. And the Adidas shop - WHOA! NO WAY could you move. I grabbed a coat that I thought maaybe I could fit into (um, I didn't)- Couldn't even try it on it was that packed. We grabbed my bag that had my racing bib in it as well as other goodies and tried forever to find the exit (and as the security gaurd so kindly pointed out, it was in the direction of the big EXIT signs). We all got a good laugh at that one. SHEESH.
5:00 p.m. - We used the rest of the night to explore the city, jumping on the T and getting on and off at various points. It was helpful to do just to get used to riding the T. I needed to get used to it, as I thought at one point the thing was stopping, let go - and NOOOO. I fell into one woman's lap, and - well let's just say she wasn't too pleased. Husband sure got a kick out of it though, and stood there laughing at me. #&^@! T stops took us to Quincy Market, Boston Common, and China Town. China Town was our favorite, and we decided to go back the next day for lunch.
7:00 p.m. - LEGAL SEA FOOD. The wait was long, and I'm not even sure if it was worth it. We waited 1 1/2 hours to eat there, since we heard it was the best. Don't get me wrong, the food did taste good, but it's nothing I will remember. We did try some oysters for the first time, and they were pretty amazing, but as far as dinner was concerned I could take it or leave it. Definitely not worth a 1 1/2 hr wait.
11:00 p.m. - We were finally back in our hotel and exhausted. My feet hurt SO bad! I was so glad I put all our things away before we left the hotel room earlier in the day.
4:30 a.m. - Wake up call! I was glad for some extra sleeping time! (Yes, to me 5 1/2 hrs. is "sleeping in"!)
6:30 a.m. - Continental Breakfast. My son assumed this to mean he could have anything he wanted. He came over with a plate full of muffins, donuts, and waffles. Blech
7:30 a.m. - Out to explore Boston again! We went by the bay, and walked around a bit. The weather was gloomy but that was NOT about to stop us.
9:00 a.m. - Back to the expo to exchange the too tight jacket I thought I could squeeze into. They didn't have any more in my size, so I wound up getting the Marathon Celebration jacket instead. LOL, Me and about 15,000 other people that were in the city for the weekend.
10:00 a.m. - New England Aquarium. The aquarium was pretty nice, had a lot of different things, and one crazy sea lion that was joking around a bit.
12:00 a.m. - Lunch in China Town - Quick Pic BBQ. We had duck, rice, and veggies. Duck is one of my favorite things. To my husband and son it was an adventure they'd just assume forget. At least my son liked the soup!
1:00 p.m. - Beantown Trolley Tour - Ok so, it sounds cheesy, but it really was interesting. They literally took us everywhere except Harvard. Fenway, Cambridge, China Town, Boston Common, MIT, the numerous historical sites - you name it. I was bummed that I couldn't get pics though, the windows were covered with a plastic sheet that would not have made for good shots. My son was impressed with MIT's "Dr Suess" building. I think it looked more like something out of the "Nightmare Before Christmas."
3:30 p.m. - Tomb 5WITS - This was an interactive type of a play, I really don't know how to explain it. You were part of the "show". You had to solve puzzles, riddles, mysteries to uncover the Tomb and be released. We were with a small group of people, one of which was another mom running Boston. This was by far my son's favorite activity in Boston.
5:30 p.m. - A little more exploring and then we headed back to the hotel. This was the plan all along, but we would've gone back earlier if the hotel pool would've been open. It was scheduled to open the day before we arrived in Boston, but it was not. Kind of killed my husband and son's plans for the night before the marathon: Let mom sleep, and go swimming. I was bummed for them, and a bit ticked at the hotel for this. They were so tired anyway though, that we ate, watched a little bit of t.v. and headed to bed. My feet were throbbing, once again. We wound up going to bed around 7:30. We are SUCH party animals.
3:30 a.m. - Alarm went off, I woke up and got ready. My son wanted to eat breakfast with me before the race, so I woke him up and we went to the dining area. I had my oatmeal & fruit, coffee - everything I normally have before a big run. This was unfortunately the only time I did anything right as far as food was concerned during this whole trip. I was pretty much out of my element as far as typical pre race behaviour was concerned. That made me pretty nervous. Other runners were up and performing their own pre race food rituals, and we all just sat around staring at the news, talking about the weather and what we were all going to wear.
5:30 a.m. - The hotel shuttled a group of us runners to the T, and we were off to find the area where we would catch the busses to Hopkinton! I sat and talked with a couple of runners who were like me, running Boston for the first time. We were all nervous we would miss the busses or not be able to find them. When we changed stops at Government Center, me and one of the runners got separated from the other one who was with us. Me and the remaining runner stuck together the rest of the time. The instructions I had told us we should get off at the Boylston stop. However - at the Park T Stop some very experienced looking runners got off. My new runner friend and I (I'll call him Okie) looked at each other, shrugged our shoulders and followed them out. I'm so glad we did. The lines for the busses were not long where we got off at. However, once I boarded the bus (I waited until my assigned time, 6:45) I was shocked. The busses pulled out and where we would've wound up was just packed with people. I could not even see the ends of the lines, there were that many people! The lines just seemed to continue forever. All that you could hear all throughout my bus was "Oh my god". After that shock wore off, we all started chatting. Suprisingly we had about an hour long bus ride. I sat with a girl from PA who had run Boston before, and sat close to a lady all the way from Australia - who on a whim decided to check and see if she had qualified for Boston one day, and she had! Both were awesome ladies who I won't soon forget.
We arrived in Hopkinton around 8:30/9:00. I jumped off and headed straight for the port a potty line, unsure what to expect. The first line moved fairly fast. As soon as I walked into Athlete's Village I walked around, and didn't see much of anything that was interesting. Just a bunch of nervous athletes, and one D.J. I found port a potty line #2, and it was LONG. I figured well, better stand in this line, too - as I have learned from mistakes made in races past. During this particularly long wait I had the pleasure of chatting with a man from Vancouver. We each talked about our respective countries, holidays, and running. As soon as we were done there, they called for the runners in wave 2 to take all their belongings to the bus. As I was taking off all my warm weather gear, 2 F-15's flew past to mark the start of the race! AWESOME! It definitely pumped everyone up. I dumped my stuff off at the bus, and yep. You guessed it. Port a potty line #3. LOL! This line was short. As soon as I opened the door to the port a potty I backed up and out. WHOA!!! It was so full, it was to the top. Completely gross. This is 23,000 people I suppose. It was then time to head out to the starting line and into my assigned corral. All I could think was that I had never seen so many people in one spot. We excitedly shuffled to the start.
Thousand of Garmin's beeped. The race had started! It was slow going at first, impossible to pass anyone - but I spent this time taking everything in. Little by little, room opened up. I imagine people dropped back a little when they realized excitement had taken them faster than they wanted to go. I was hoping that wasn't the case with me. I was feeling good though, so didn't think that this was the case. 5, 6, 7 miles flew by. People all along the course were offering their assistance - lots of people passing out oranges and giving high fives. I absolutely did the high five thing for the ENTIRE race. Gave high fives to every kid I saw with their hand held out. Water bottle in one hand, high fives with the other! It was so much fun! I do have to say I could barely raise my hand up come mile 24! Spectators also ran their own water stops. I took water from one little girl who ran away screaming "SOMEONE TOOK THE WATER!!! SOMEONE TOOK THE WATER!!" It was the cutest thing I've seen! Onward...towards Wellsley. WOW. WELLSLEY. Those college girls were INSANE! I spent the whole time running by and laughing! Those signs! Kiss me I'm Polish, Kiss me I'm Irish, Kiss me, Kiss me, Kiss me! Nothing but girls going crazy. That just had to pump up so many guys. We ran buy businesses, bars, houses with college kids drinking beer, standing on their roof screaming. I ran up Heartbreak Hill and didn't even realize it until the top, where someone had a sign out that had Heartbreak Hill mentioned on it. Really?! I thought, that was it? That pumped me up even more, because I new I didn't have much longer to go. And then there was Boston College. More craziness. The college guys were passing out beads, and I only had strength to grab one as I ran by. From that point forward, the crowd called me either "Red" for my red shirt and red beads, or simply "Beads". GO RED! ALMOST THERE BEADS! and so much more. The crowd completely carried me through to the end.
The people of Boston are amazing. Not just the race crowd, but the numerous number of people who, without being asked, would come up to us as we were trying to make our way around the city - asking us if we needed help. Boston is the elderly lady who didn't speak English, but motioned to my son to sit next to her on the T. We looked at each other, nodded and smiled. There wasn't a need for words. Boston is the hundreds of locals who put up with thousands of runners invading their city. Boston is incredible. One thing's for sure - I'll be going back. It may not be next year, or the year after even, but I will be back. The race was amazing, but the people were even more so. An incredible event, in a city filled with incredible people. What could be better than that?
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