The Boston Marathon is not just about showing up at the start line on Patriots Day morning and waiting for the gun to go off.
It is an entire weekend of excitement, energy and anticipation. Runners start to fill the streets of Boston days before the marathon. It is easy to pick them out of the crowd, not only because of their stature and choice to wear athletic shoes as a fashion statement, but because of the iconic Boston Marathon Jacket.
Veterans of the race wear previous years jackets proclaiming “Yes, I have run this race before and am back to run it again!”. Newbies, like myself, are wearing the brand new 2013 jacket screaming “I am a first timer and am so excited to be here!”. Regardless which jacket we were wearing, those of us wearing them would exchange an unspoken look or nod of being part of the same club. As race day grew closer, so did the number of jackets walking around the city.
The ExpoFirst stop of marathon weekend is the race expo Hynes Convention Center, where you go to pick up your race bag and spend oodles of money on marathon memorabilia (including the afore mentioned race jacket). Myself, and what was anticipated to be 80,000 others, milled around the large exhibit hall munching on samples of power bars, checking out the latest running gear and watching the looped video that previewed the entire course and scared you even more about the Newton hills. After the expo we walked down Boylston Street to the where they were setting up the finish line. I admired it with awe, snapped a few photos and hoped that my undertrained legs would be able to carry me there on Monday. However, I knew deep down that not crossing that finish line was not an option because I had come a long way and would do anything to get there. Little did I know.
The rest of the weekend was spent doing typical touristy things that would leave me with very tired legs come race day. We took in a Red Sox game at Fenway (Sox won, bottom of the tenth!), walked the campus of Boston University (where my husband completed his masters online this year), strolled through Boston Commons and stopped for a 26.2 Samuel Adams brew at Cheers (NORM!). Well, my husband did. I had a 26.2 cup of water.
We ended the weekend Sunday night with the pre-race marathon pasta dinner at the Civic Center. There is nothing better than a free, steaming hot plate of carbs to put in your belly the night before the race. We met up with an old college friend who was also running Boston for the first time. Over dinner we shared stories of how we qualified for Boston, the hurdles we had to overcome during our training, what we had heard about the course and what our goals were for the next day. I am sure the conversation was similar at the hundreds of others of tables surrounding us.As I was laying out my gear and going to bed that night I told my husband “This has been an absolutely perfect weekend. Now I just have 26.2 miles to run to cross that finish line to have the perfect ending.”
Sidenote, a huge Thank you to all the volunteers and organizers that put the pasta dinner on. The food was delicious and it was very well organized!