Boston Day 1: Travel/Expo/Race Prep
See previous post for background on my plans to run the ‘double Boston’.
I felt a bit silly waiting to board my flight. Traveling across the country to run in a race just seemed a little over the top for me. It’s not like I have a huge history of running road marathons and was fulfilling a lifelong dream. I was a relative newcomer to the sport, and had only run one previous marathon, but here I was going to Boston. I felt kind of like a trespasser. Would it be worth it? The time, money, stress, hassle?? So many people thrive on qualifying for and running Boston. I could only hope that I would catch some of that fever, and decided to make the absolute best of this trip that was my 40th birthday present.
I arrived late Saturday night, leaving all day Sunday to drive downtown for the packet pickup and shopping at the expo. I got very frustrated trying to drive where I wanted to go, but soon realized I had plenty of time and decided not to fight it. Turned out to be a good call, because even though I made several wrong turns and covered way more ground than I needed to, I got very familiar with the area and that knowledge served me well in the coming days.
I parked and walked a few blocks taking in some sights:
The race expo was nuts. Super crowded and tough to even walk around. It was big, but at the same time felt very cramped. Not quite as massive as I had imagined. I spent a lot of time buying T-shirts for the family and a few other things. I also got the obligatory jacket. Not sure how much use it will get, but it’s pretty much mandatory for your first time at least.
I was happy to get some Sennheiser headphones. The new generation Adidas-branded ones are sweet. I had used the previous generation for a year, but they had just broken a week ago so the 30% off deal at the expo was a nice find. They’ve improved the design and lightened them up.
After shopping I lugged my huge bag of stuff back to the car and headed for the hotel to get ready for the big day. I stayed in Wakefield which was a bit of a drive at 20 miles or so, but had easy access to the city right down I-93.
The soggy weather was clearing and things were shaping up for race day. I planned on starting my run between 4 and 5 in the morning and knew I would be needing a few more clothes for the predicted 38 degree temps. Other than water refills, I had to be totally self-sufficient for the run out to Hopkington and back. I wanted to take as little as I possibly could, while at the same time having everything I would need. I settled on a strategy of disposable layers. I would wear the clothing I wanted to run the actual marathon in as my base layer, and everything else on top of that would be expendable.
I made a trip to Wal-Mart and snagged a beanie for 50 cents, a clearance-rack flannel shirt for a couple of bucks, a pair of $1 gloves, a package of black tube socks, and some scissors. Normally I would carry all of my food/gels/bloks in a small waist pack, but didn’t want to do that for this run. Instead I brought a very old bike jersey with me from home and also wore my trail running shorts – lots of pockets and options for carrying everything. I cut the toes off of the tube socks and had instant disposable arm and calf sleeves that I could easily shed once the day warmed up. I also packed a garbage bag to wear while waiting for the start because I knew I would get chilled from sweating on the run out there. Water would be carried in two old waterbottles with duct tape hand-holds. My shoes were La Sportiva Wildcats. The same pair I ran Leadville with last year. They are comfortable for long distances and I had used a razor knife to remove the hard plastic heel counter to keep it from aggravating my injury. Lighting my way in the pre-dawn hours would be a single AA Buzz Lightyear flashlight. Pure utility!
Yeah, yeah, so the lid is up.
Two sharpie tattoos from my daughters completed my ensemble. I think I nailed the perfect hobo-thug look I was going for.
Stay tuned for my BUM (that’s Boston Ultra-Marathon) race report…