Thursday, April 5, 2012

For the Fun of It

Remember the movie Forrest Gump?  Forrest starts running.  He runs for three years, two months, fourteen days and sixteen hours when he suddenly just stops.  He turns around to the group of runners following him and says, "I'm pretty tired.  I think I"ll go home now."   And his running days are over. 

I had a similar experience on Tuesday.  I went out for an 8 miler.  After 1.57 miles I stopped.  I just stopped.  Mentally I was done.   Not just done for that run on that day but done with it all.  After 8 straight months of constant training, I had officially run the fun out of running.  Like Forrest, I was tired and I went home.   

I realized it was time to stop focusing on training and start focusing on the end result of our training... our trip to Boston!   I’m so ready to be there.  Enough of all this training stuff, it's time to get on to the good stuff!  (Going to Boston was really just a good excuse for a fun girls trip anyway.)   

Niki and I leave next Thursday - one week from today!  Neither of us have been to Boston so we're excited to experience the city.  If you have recommendations for things to do and/or places to eat, please email one of us.  We leave Thursday but the race isn't until Monday, the 16th, so we have several days to enjoy the area.  

If you're not familiar with the Boston Marathon, it's quite the event.  At every other race I've done, you register months in advance, then you MAY get an email or two before race day, you show up for packet picket up and get your tshirt, race number, etc. then arrive the next morning for the race start and you're off.

Not Boston.  First I got a letter with my Confirmation of Acceptance (see photo).  Then I got - again, in the mail - my official Number Pick Up Card with a big Welcome packet (see photo).  In addition to regular mail, I get a weekly email from my personal Boston running coach with training tips and such.  AND, I got a racing shirt from my charity, Children's Hospital Boston (see photo).   Wow.  These people are serious.

The most interesting thing about Boston to me is race morning.  I've heard about it for years and can't wait to actually experience it.  Unlike other races where you just find a parking spot somewhere close to the start line, then run a big 26.2 loop and come back to the finish, the Boston Marathon actually starts in the town of Hopkinton which is 26.2 miles away. You start in Hopkinton and run to downtown Boston.  To make all that happen, runners ride school buses from downtown Boston to the start in Hopkinton.   I don't know exactly how many runners run Boston but I know that there are at least 22,112 because that's my race number!  So over 22,000 runners have to be bussed from Boston to the start line.  Can you imagine the logistics of that????  Buses run from 6am to 7:30am.  Runners get to Hopkinton then have to hang out at the Athletes' Village for HOURS because the first wave of the marathon doesn't start until 10am.  (There are three wave starts to get all those runners on the course in a somewhat orderly fashion.  Niki and I don't actually start until 10:40am.)  

The Athletes’ Village is the holding area for runners until the race starts.  It’s staged at the local high school/middle school campuses.  22,000 plus runners basically camp out.  I’ve been told by past Boston marathoners to 1) dress warmly 2) bring something to lie down on and 3) bring something to read.  I read on one website where a runner suggests grabbing the local Boston newspaper and two trash bags, then once at the Village, take the paper apart, ball it up and stuff it in the trash bags to create a makeshift bed to sleep on.   Really?  What have I gotten myself in to?  Am I running a marathon or going on Survivor?  I’m afraid it may be a little of both.  

Boston Marathon Athletes' Village
We leave for Boston next week and whatever comes our way, there’s one thing I know FOR SURE… Niki and I will make it fun.  That’s what Boston is about for me and I’m so ready for it.   After my experience Tuesday when I just stopped, I now have a new mantra to repeat in my head on race day... Run, Forrest, Run!  It's time to put the FUN back into the RUN and I plan to do exactly that!   

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