It seems hard to imagine that the Boston Marathon was only a little more than a week ago. Despite not running (my time at Marine Corps qualifies me for the 2013 marathon, not the 2012) I had a number of friends running, some whom I had just met and others who have become a core group of running friends. I also had the Blindfold Challenge and working the expo for Powerbar on Saturday morning. On top of all of this, I was sick with an as yet still undiagnosed malady (that seems to be on the wane but who knows? I feel like I’ve had said malady on and off since December).
Saturday I worked the expo. First time ever working an expo… well, second if you count the multisport expo. Powerbar had set up a race simulation, which had the mile markers and elevation of the course, as well as a number of foam blocks that people could run through to see what their legs would feel like at Heartbreak or after the race. This was more of a hit for the kids of racers than the racers themselves (some of the kids were short enough that they had to push the foam rolls down away from their faces). After that was done, headed to brunch with the sister and brother-in-law and then tried to get a bit of rest before throwing down my ride for the day. However, the sick got the best of me and I just sat on my patio and listened to music while I did my taxes. Awesome. Dinner was with Jamie, his wife Sam, Jill, her husband Alex and their friend for the Carolinas. I of course made sure I did not spill on myself.
Sunday was Blindfold Challenge day. Ran down to Copley, met up with my brother-in-law, saw Dutch and Julia, and then said hello to the rest of the Blindfold Challenge runners. There was a lot of waiting around, a team picture, and then more waiting (the best part of racing is the hurry up and wait). Chris and I seeded ourselves at 7:30 miles. Faster than we thought we would be, but we were hoping that it would put us out of the traffic of slower runners. Not so much. The whole day was a challenge for him holding me back and trying to guide me around slower runners. Some runners decided to wear headphones, which inevitably meant that they couldn’t hear Chris shout “Blind runner coming through”, and we might have removed more than one runner’s shoes when I ran up the back of their legs. Odd to know exactly where I was running but NOT know exactly where I was at the time. Chris mentioned at one point we were running down Charles St, which sounded odd to me. Turns out we were just running PAST Charles St. As we turned onto Hereford, I heard the RaceMenu vuvuzelas, and then heard some friends cheering for me as we approached the finish line on Boylston. All in all, an utterly bizarre experience. Since I didn’t see myself crossing the finish line on Boylston, I still assume I haven’t. Superstitions and all. Video coming as soon as I can edit the 30 minutes down to 5 or 6 minutes from the start of the race
The rest of Sunday involved a diner breakfast, a trip to Home Depot to collect sponges for Operation Spongebath (inspiration was taken from the supporters at Rev3 Costa Rica who sponged me down in the 95 degree heat), and attempting to get in my 13 mile interval run (which the sick prevented me from completing… got in 3 intervals without coming close to hitting the target and just bagged it).
And so on Monday I trekked out to Heartbreak determined to make some people’s days better. It was my first time cheering on the Boston Marathon for more than 15 minutes, and it was a blast (furnace). I had 16 sponges and a plan, and a tent full of teammates to go along with it. At first I was going to do a faces of heartbreak, but as more people came through, taking care of them became a priority.
For the elites and ultra-fasties, we just had small sponges that had been dunked in ice water that they could take with them. As the day went on, we started taking cues from the Costa Ricans and dousing the runners in ice cold water from sponges (see the Operation Spongebath link for video). Saw almost everyone I was looking for. Jill came up and gave me a big hug (despite having only met me two nights before)… it took me a second to realize who it was, and then the fact that I was giving her ice to shove into her bra was totally ok. Saw my coworker John and filled his bandana with ice. Saw Ally and Kathleen and Katie and tried to give them as much encouragement as possible (knowing that I hate to be encouraged when I am in a dark place). Did the same with countless other runners. Got proposed to (hard to say no on Heartbreak Hill… OR IS IT?!). Was told a number of times that I was loved (only by female runners, so I’ve got that going for me). Being able to do something for other athletes is the best. Next time you’re out there, thank a volunteer. Better yet, tell them you love them.
Finally, here’s video from the blindfold running. It’s actually kind of boring. A lot of time is spent at the beginning where Chris and I are talking about how things are suppose to go and just standing around waiting for the start. I actually sped up a lot of the running portion… which makes the headbobbing even more noticeable. So if you’ve got any proclivity towards motion sickness or epilepsy, don’t watch it. But if you do make it through, you get treated to Ally Reilly cheering, me crossing the finish line, and Chris and me almost taking out a fellow finisher.