It's only taken me a week to write this darn blog...but here goes! You might want to go to the bathroom, get a big bowl of ice cream, a cold beer and sit back and relax. This will be epic.
A few months ago I realized that I would have April 19, 2010 off from work...since I worked the weekend it meant I had the Friday before off and the Monday after off. As soon as I realized that this was Marathon Monday I called Danielle to see if she was up for making the trip south with me to watch the Boston Marathon (um duh, dumb question!). After watching Chicago and New York online, I needed to see Boston live! We recruited our friend Melissa and headed south via Concord Tailways and headed to Boston.
We arrived at South Station at 9:30, took the T to Arlington and ended up blocks from the finish line. We had told some people we are following on Twitter that we would be near the finish line so we ventured out to find a good spot. To our surprise the finish line was not mobbed, packed, or difficult to get to. We were pumped that we would be able to get front row spots right along the fence and feet away from the runners.
We ended up camping out here, right about mile 26.something. To the left of us we could see the finish line. It's here where we started making all of our friends ( pretty much everyone was "our friend" that day).
Here is our new friend Tom, one of Boston's finest Police Officers. Tom kept us company for the 6 hours we were standing out there. I'll still call him my friend today, even though he wouldn't go get us french fries from across the street (not so fun fact: i really love french fries...i mean really! Being 6 months pregnant and smelling them all day and not having any was not. fun.). Tom said he would meet us in the same spot next year...we'll see if he shows!:-)
We hadn't been standing there too long before the wheelchairs started to come. I can't believe the strength these men and women showed fighting all the way to the finish. We noticed that many of them had black marks on the back of their arms from where the tire had been rubbing against them...for 26 miles! um, ouch?
At last the runners started coming.
First place for the women was Teyba Erkesso with a time of 2:26:11.
First place for the men went to Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya with a time of 2:05:52. As he came down Boylston Street he turned to look and see who was behind him only to find he was all alone. He crushed the course record (which I think he had previously set?).
Annnnd then "our friend" Ryan Hall came cruising down Boylston, good for 4th place (2:08:41)
Just behind him in 5th place was the New York City Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi (2:09:26)
Once all the elite runners finished, it was time for what I like to call the "normal" people.
Since we were so close to the finish line, we saw all kinds of struggles, triumphs, and emotions. We saw a man get down and do 10 push ups, a puke (or 2), smiles, tears, legs that wouldn't move anymore, a runner fall down and another pick her up and walk with her until she could run again, and our service men and women.
We (Ok, I lied, Danielle made them...she's so good at that) had made a few posters for the race for "our friends" whom we had never met, but we were following on Twitter, @mainerunnerguy and @operationjack. Despite the mass of people running and not really knowing what they looked like, only their bib number, we were able to spot both of them. Hopefully they loved our signs!
I know...kind of an awkward picture but it's all I have. The blurry runner on the right is Sam aka @operationjack. Danielle snapped this just after he gave us a thumbs up on our poster...more on him later. Sam ran a 3:03:48 1,730 out of 25,000...um, awesome!
Meet Heather. Heather is the wife of Denton who was also our new friend. Heather and Denton are also from Portland....Oregon. We stood next to him and a women named Kelly who was there cheering on her husband Art (fun fact: when you cheer for a man named Art in a race, you end up sounding like a seal, "ART, ART, ART" try it...it's true!). I snapped this picture of Heather as she came to give her husband a hug before finishing! Heather finished with an amazing time of 3:49:04 and took 12,519 place out of 25,000!! Nice work Heather, (think about the Maine Marathon October 2011 and come to OUR Portland!).
A group shot of the BFF's (best fence friends) Kelly, Denton, Danielle, Melissa and I. Thanks Tom for taking this picture:-) Too bad Tom will never read this blog...I think he might be amused if he did. Oh well.
It was about 3:30pm, we had been standing out there for 6 hours with minimal food and water, aching legs, tired arms (holding those posters is harder then you may think), stained voices and blurry vision (at one point Danielle says "um, the road is moving"). We decided that we needed food and water and went to meet Sam for lunch.
Danielle and I are both on Twitter and enjoy following other runners. It's fun to see what other people do for taining. Danielle came across @operationjack and told me to read his blog. Sam is doing a c.r.a.z.y thing this year and running 60 (yes 60, not 16) marathons to raise money and awareness for Train 4 Autism. Sam's mission is called Operation Jack, named after his son Jack who is autistic.
As many of you know my younger brother Zach is autistic and so when i heard about Sam and his mission I was so excited and I knew I wanted to help. I just didn't know how. We met Sam for lunch and we chatted for a while about his efforts, OJ, T4A and Jack. We asked Sam why he hadn't picked a marathon in Maine this year...as you can imagine he schedule is a little crazy this year and he just couldn't fit it in. I told Sam if he came out and ran the Maine Marathon I would run my first marathon (um, yikes!). So Sam said if we got an Operation Jack team together, he would come out and run. I'm pretty sure he didn't know that he had just challenged a group of ladies who are up for anything! Challenge on!
I went home that night and could.not.sleep. I had so many emotions running through my mind as I tried to go to sleep. As I have talked about before, I've been having quite the pity party about not being able to run right now due to my pregnancy. This is just what I needed, watching all those runners finish was so inspiring and got me pumped to get back on the road. I thought of so many things that I wanted to tell/ask Sam and I didn't have a chance to at lunch.
I'll save you a lot of boring details but over the last week Danielle and I have been chatting with Sam and we've come up with a challenge for 2011.
1. We need to start a Maine chapter of Train 4 Autsim
2. Get a team together
3. Raise 5000.00.
4. Run the October 2011 Maine Marathon.
I cannot tell you how excited I am do be a part of this project. There will be a lot more details coming soon. BUT...if you want to join our team, please let me know!! You don't have to run the full marathon, you can run the half or even get a team and run the relay! If you're not from Maine....October is the perfect time to visit, come run with us! Think about it!:-)
If you are still reading...wow, I hope you got a second bowl of ice cream. I need one after writing this!
My week ended by returning to Boston on Thursday for a Red Sox game...ahhh it felt so good to be back at Fenway. Baby Tyler is due at the end of July and I wasn't sure I would be able to get down after that this summer so I figured I needed to go soon!
What. A. Week. So good, So good, So good!!!