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.

Sailing on a sea of clouds

Sailing on a sea of clouds

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:

My first view of Boylston Street, the most famous road in marathoning.

The street was already closed off and race preparations in full swing.

Finish line structure.

Bunch of 'posers'.

Ancient and modern buildings were scattered around side-by-side.

What, no Nike swoosh or Adidas stripes??

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.


Not sorry to have missed the 1994 edition...

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 loot!

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!

The gear!

These bottles worked great! I just used them on the way out and then tossed them for the actual race.

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.

Natalie age 11

Jessica age 7

Stay tuned for my BUM (that’s Boston Ultra-Marathon) race report…

Posted on April 22, 2010, in race, run. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Hey question, you say “decided to make the absolute best of this trip that was my 40th birthday present.” How many do you get? :’) New mountain bike “40th Birthday”, WRIAD Epic ride “40th Birthday”… Is this what I can look forward to in 3 years? :’)

    • Ya like you should be keeping score!! bike+Boston = piano (it was a really nice piano…). Done with the presents for now. Let me know if you need any ‘help’ celebrating yours.

  2. dang amazing story man.

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