Being the overachiever I am, as soon as I realized that there was this marathon out there... the Boston marathon... for which one needed to qualify... well, that did it. No one was going to shut me out of a race because I couldn't run 26.2 miles fast enough.
So (never start a sentence with so), those of you who know me (and love me notwithstanding knowing me) or follow my long-lost blog are fully aware that I qualified for Boston last October.
Well, I done it. I done ran Boston. Not well, mind you, not as fast as I could, but part of that was on purpose so I could soak in all the excitement and part of that was due to my strained back, which began sending shooting pains down my legs starting at mile 17 and continuing past the finish. If it weren't for the throngs of yelling spectators I doubt I could have kept running... but on the Boston course... you just can't help it.
Guess who won the Boston? A Kenyan! Shocking! Americans Ryan Hall and Meb K. (an African turned American) were in the hunt but couldn't pull it out, coming in 4th and 5th respectively (although give Hall a break; he ran Boston faster than any other American ever has and the winner blew away the old course record). I think I know why Ryan didn't pull it out, though. Take a look at the photo. Here it is. Look. I'll wait. These are all AP photos, by the way. Just to give credit...
Did you look? What do you notice? Besides the fact that Ryan Hall is white and the others aren't. What else? Look again.
Still don't know? It's the hair. The Africans all have this smooth, aerodynamic doo, but not Hall. His HAIR is what's holding him back, I'm sure of it. He led the race for just about the entire first half, and I'm sure the Africans saved all kinds of energy just streaming behind his wall of hair blocking the wind. The hair just provides too much wind resistance. I'm sure if he had shaved his head he would've had it; I just know it. I'll suggest it to him next time I see him.
All kidding aside, what an awesome course and what awesome fans. Boston is so proud of this marathon, the sporting event 2nd only to the Superbowl in terms of media coverage. The entire race route is lined with people, but not just any people. People all ages, shapes and sizes who are busting their butts as hard as the runners are to encourage the runners... handing out water, beer, jelly beans, wet sponges, orange slices, m&ms, kisses, hugs, and most of all high fives. I think I high-fived every little kid in Boston, and I don't know whom it made happier: me or them.
I experimented with my motivation. Parts of the race I ran in the middle because (as my sister in law knows from having run a marathon with me) I like to stick the center of the road to avoid the slope; I found, however, that I was a lot more juiced running right next to the crowd and high fiving as many as I could.
The highlight of the day for me was the bus ride from the Boston commons out to the suburb of Hopkinton, MA where the race starts. A plethora of buses transport all of the runners from downtown Boston out to Hopkinton, and I found myself on one of them at 6:45 am headed west on a crowded school bus out to Hopkinton on interstate 90. After about an hour on the bus, still on the interstate, the guy in front of me, sporting a Brazil hat and a Brazil shirt and presumably from Brazil (although that's not really important), got up from his seat and crouched mysteriously next to the bus driver. A few minutes later the bus pulled to the side of the road and the Brazilian got out, walked to the edge of the interstate by the woods, and peed. He peed and he peed and he peed and he peed. Then he peed some more. The man had to pee and had to pee badly. Everyone on the bus shared the same conundrum. Do we stare or try to give him privacy? As the poor man jumped back on the bus, he thrust his hands into the air, looked up, and yelled "YES" in triumph. This was a very relieved man (pun intended). The busload of people applauded and whooped and hollered. We were very happy for this man and his empty bladder.
Subject change without transition: On my long runs weekend mornings I sometimes see people wearing the Boston marathon jacket; there's an official Boston marathon running jacket every year (whose design changes). I always stared at the jacket wearer with jealousy. "Ooh. Mr. fast runner. Aren't you cool? Got the boston jacket, huh? Think you're fast, huh?" Now I have mine.
Yeah, the color is kinda icky, but at least the drivers will see me as they look up from texting.