She is more than a marathon. She’s more than the oldest marathon in America. She’s more than the grandest of epic road races. She’s all of those things and much more. The Boston Marathon is a spectacle and her course is a seductress. She isn’t merely crossed; she’s conquered.
Here begins my story of my running of the 112th Boston Marathon.
I decided to run Boston for the second time in as many years for a few reasons. First, being to exact revenge on the course that beat me to the ground a year ago. Second, to bring a noble purpose to my running by raising money for Team Hole in the Wall.
Springtime in Boston is glorious. Not that I knew that from last year when it was sleeting the day before the race. But this year there was none of that. Magnolia and cherry tree blossoms begged to be walked under. Their fragrance filled the Common Gardens and helped to divert my mind from the task of the next day.
The evening before the marathon I stood on the curb outside the hotel and watched the traffic slowly make its way towards the highway leading to the airport. In a city of over a million with tens of thousands here for the race my aloneness began to take hold of me on that curbside. The sun was beginning to move behind the tallest downtown buildings putting a certain mood in the city. I walked the few blocks west on Boylston Street and stood on the finish line. It was an eerie feeling to stand in the middle of the street free of cars. Dozens of people milled around the line, standing on it, touching it, just simply taking it in. I asked a stranger to take my photo while I knelt on it. Then it was time for dinner.
It was a long and quiet evening in my room. All was done but to run.
Not many people know it but I wasn’t trained (again) to run a marathon. A nasty case of tendonitis in my left knee kept me from training over a month leading up to the race. The good news was my knee wasn’t hurting (much) but I lost some general running fitness. Nonetheless, I was determined to beat my time of last year and attempt to finish within 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Race day morning was overcast and in the 40s. Perfect conditions for a marathon. But it didn’t last. At 10:00 the clouds parted and the air warmed quickly. Maybe too quickly.