If you call yourself a runner, the Boston Marathon is your Super Bowl. I’m in my 60’s and started my running obsession just 10 years ago.
I had run various small-time races all of my life. The 7-mile Bay to Breakers in San Francisco was a favorite. It has its own “Heartbreak Hill”. So, I obviously I had experience on my side.
To prepare for Boston I read every advice column I could find. “How to train for the downhills”, “How to train for the Newton Hills”, and finally and most importantly, “How to hold it for an hour on the bus.” I kept that one for next year. It’s okay to overtrain in some areas.????
I qualified for Boston for 2021, but injured my Achilles training for the October race, which had been postponed from April due to the pandemic. The decision was to take it easy and run the 50th anniversary of the NYC Marathon in November 2021 and be ready to go for this spring. There was also something about running on Patriots' Day in Boston to cast aside the pandemic blues. I got what I was hoping for.
The vibe in Boston is intoxicating. Everyone, everywhere seemed focused on this iconic race. A fellow runner on the train was running in his first one. Small world story, he met me when I ran the last 21 miles 3 weeks before. Which ended up being 22.5. NOTE: Turn right at the Firehouse, don’t go straight.
Pasta in the North End on Saturday night, the Expo Sunday morning, and hopefully a good night’s sleep for Monday morning. It goes without saying that the night before a marathon will be a restless sleep. Goal achieved.????
The Gang met at The Four Seasons Hotel and of course, took a photo and posted it on Facebook. Our troop leader, Hiromi N, shepherded us to the bus line where we waited to sit together (another photo posted to Facebook). We all waited together in the bathroom line (no photo taken for obvious reasons), and then each proceeded to get into our various assigned corral.
I’m not sure how it happened, but in the scrum of getting through the security and taking off my wool slacks with the moth hole in them, I lost The Gang. Which in turn, made me miss my corral start time and landed me way back in the last corral of my wave. You know you’re in the back of the heap when the guy next to you is in a Benjamin Franklin costume.
Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, the Newton hill before Heartbreak Hill, Boston College, Brookline, and then finally – under the tunnel, right on Hereford, left on Boylston. As you approach each town there are banners announcing your entrance. It’s like an announcement to a party – and it is! It’s New Year’s Eve in each town. A celebration of runners and life!
I couldn’t write this without a note about our boy Ed A.who has been cheering us on in Boston for 25 years. Every year he makes the pilgrimage, toting the Flyers banner, and HE CHEERS!! It’s an emotional moment seeing Ed. So brother, a huge thank you from me and all of us. We love you!
“You’re only as good as the support around you”. This is not a jock strap tag line, it’s the truth. And I have it. Flyers Marathon Training Program (MTP) leadership from Flyer Coaches Brian Rosetti and Amy Sitar, my “Rat Pack” posse, competition and unbelievable camaraderie from the Flyers Gang, and the love of an amazing woman – Flyer Anne H. Anne introduced me to The Gang and I am who I am today because of her.
|1 more mile to go!
I’ll leave you with a song I wrote the week of Boston. I was on a high getting ready for it all. Because we all want “One Good Life to Live”.
Thanks for reading, listening, and just being here.