Monday, April 25, 2011

Boston - Day One

I have always trained in a group setting. The few times I have had to run alone I felt "out of step" as if something was missing. Yes, something was missing, my Friends! On April 18th, I had a dream come true when I ran the Boston Marathon. It seemed so long ago that I had run my qualifying race and the countdown began.

This post will not be about the marathon. This post will be about the incredible journey to Boston and the events we participated in for four days. So many stories that I will divide the blog by days. This is about my Friends!

The fun began early Saturday morning and didn't end until midday Tuesday. Lea Anne and I were met at Orlando International Airport by Donna and Linda, both of whom would run the 5K on Sunday before the marathon. Lea Anne unfortunately was still recovering from bunion surgery and both the 5K and marathon would have to remain for another day. The flight was perfect into Boston. We were greeted with the announcement that the temperature was 39 degrees and windy. Walking toward the terminal in the walkway from the plane I prayed that Monday morning would not be a similar day. Bags arrived on time. We had plans to ride the "Silver Line" to our hotel. Tickets purchased, off we go. Two stops to our destination and the chatter and smiles had not let up. Exiting the train station we were greeted by Terry and Jean who had arrived on Friday. A few photos and a quick walk to the hotel. The weather was cold, windy, a few sprinkles, not what runners from Orlando were looking for.

Once checked into the Seaport Hotel we heard there was a shuttle leaving for the expo. Quickly we gathered and boarded the van for the ride. It seems the ride was arranged by a lady from Switzerland who was not a runner, but needed to get to downtown Boston. We enjoyed her company and conversation. As we approached the Hynes Convention Center, the feeling of fish swimming up stream overwhelmed me. It appeared that everyone else was exiting toward us. Through the doors, we were not alone. Both the up and down escalators were packed with runners and their guests. The crowd was a sea of Boston Marathon jackets from the late 1990's to 2011. Runners wore shirts from the New York City Marathon, Marine Corps and hundreds of other races. Boston Red Sox and Boston Celtic jackets and hats dotted the crowd. The expo was so large it filled two rooms. Anything and everything you would ever need to run was contained in this building. Again I was trapped in the onrush of people. It seemed I was the only one going in the direction I chose. Finally, at one point you have seen all you need to see and it becomes time to eat. The remainder of our Saturday would be spent eating lunch, napping, then off to dinner. At dinner we were joined by Susan, Steve, Dan and Dustin, more friends, more fun! I will devote a separate blog post to the restaurants of Boston where we dined. Our first day was complete, a fun filled, full day of preparation was had by all. That's what friends are for!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Grete Waitz (1953 - 2011)

The day after the 115th running of the Boston Marathon, we lost a legend of the running world. The newspapers, television and running publications have posted their stories about the accomplishments of this lady. I would like to take this time to write about an encounter I had with Grete in 2007.

I was working with EMMI in Orlando and we were assisting the New York Roadrunners Club with the events surrounding the New York City Marathon. I had run NYC in 2005, but this year I was getting a behind the scenes look at part of the operation.

A group of us were at the expo, just passing time. I heard an announcement that Grete Waitz was going to be at the Adidas booth signing autographs. I made my way to the booth and saw upwards of 100 people lined up to see her. She sat smiling at the people who came by for the free autographed poster. I was amazed that no one was stopping to say "Hello" or engage her in conversation. Watching this process was like watching an assembly line stamping out widgets.

As those of you who know me, I am not shy. As my turn came to receive my poster, I extended my hand and introduced myself. She shook my hand and smiled. Before I could say anything she asked me if I was running the marathon the next day. I replied that I had run the Marine Corps Marathon the previous week so, I would not be running New York. Her response was, "you come back next year and we'll run together." Now I know she was kidding (or was she), but a very charming personality was on display. So many people had walked passed her without a word. We exchanged a few more comments and was ready to move on and let the people behind get their poster. As I was saying "good-bye", she reached under the table and took out a black Adidas ball cap. Picking up a silver colored "Sharpie", she autographed the hat and handed it to me. I shook her hand and wished her well as she encouraged me to keep running. Her closing comment was, "see you next year."

There was not a next year, there will not be a next year. I have one ball cap that I will cherish along with a memory of a very charming and gracious lady.

Hello Again

I completed the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18, 2011. Therefore, I will be resuming this "original" blog and discontinue "My Goal is the Boston Marathon" blog. I will be updating this blog with new stories and photos. The Boston experience was wonderful! Thank you for reading my blog, I hope you enjoy it.