Sunday, April 21, 2013

Boston - Act 1: Loopfest

So much to say. So many have said so much already, so I'm going to hold off on deep thoughts and break it into three parts and just take it chronologically. I'll express my feelings as they happened. So two parts will be free of any sadness. Because most of the weekend was amazing.

Act 1: Meeting and hanging out with Loopsters

Act 2: The race

Act 3: After the race

So, on Friday, DW and I took off over the Pacific, banged a left u-turn, and made for the Atlantic. Five hours later we were landing in Boston to start the dream-come-true trip (for me anyway. DW said this weekend was all about me and subjugated any desires of her own. Love that lady.) The flight was full of runners, which, as you know, are pretty easy to spot. Boston jackets helped.

We were a little late, and took a cab directly to the first loop meetup, at a bar right next to our houseboat. We dragged our bags to the back and found a table of internet celebrities!

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Ken and MTF (Maranda), Whitey102 (Mike), Chris and TOSuperstar, Joe and Lauren, QuickRunna24 (Nicole), Bookerman (Scott), and me. It was nice to meet some new people, including our Boston area hosts, Lauren and Scott. Sampled the local Sam Adams draft a few times and called it a night.

We stayed at a rental houseboat with TO and his dear wife Chris. It rocked a little that first night since a storm had just passed through, but it was perfectly fine and a great option for us.

Saturday we slept late and then took the T (subway) to the expo. I felt like a kid at Christmas picking up my bib and shirt, and then buying my Boston Marathon jacket. Very proud and excited and soaking in the awesomeness. Unlike other expos (like LA), every runner there was a serious fast runner, and it definitely lent a different vibe. Like we were all special.

The booth area was very crowded and was basically like other expos, although bigger and better. My favorite part was a little theater area where we watched the course video which was interspersed with interviews. It was a great summary of the course, the history, the momentousness of the race. And even my DW (who knows very little running history) was getting excited about it. I was fighting back tears often during the video (and all weekend, who am I kidding). Soon I would be running through these famous landmarks.

After the expo we walked the 3 blocks down Boylston to the finish line which was closed to traffic and everyone was taking pictures. We also had some random loop meetups. JJ (26.2) found me in the expo, and I met up with Mr. Andante who happened to be in town. We also ran into Dean on the street.

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Sat on the finish line, and said "See you later".
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and it is not a loopfest until Bangle kisses somebody...
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Pre-race BP for luck?
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Saturday night, Tom and I and our wives walked the North End which has over 100 Italian restaurants. And they were all full with wait lists! Runners were everywhere. Yet somehow we found a nice one and got a table with no wait. Had to sit outside which was a little cool, but it was great food, and really fun.
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We also were told to get some cannolis at Mike's bakery, but there was a line down the street! So we put that off until it was less crazy. Instead we walked back to Faneuil Hall and met up with JJ and Whitey, and a certain speedy Pittsburgher that I had been looking forward to meeting.
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Yes, that is Lady Capulet herself. She and her DH were a pleasure to meet. One more amazing loopster - it seemed each one had their own story of how they got to Boston. Of course, having read all of their blogs earlier, I not only felt like I knew them, but I could appreciate what it meant for each of them to be here in Boston.
One or two more drinks and we called it a night.

Sunday we headed back into the North End and saw Paul Revere's house and picked up some cannolis.
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Then Corcorama arrived in town and moved in to the boat with us. I had met Erin in Philly, but it was great to see her again and hang out with a like-minded cynic. And then we walked over to do the Boston Duck Tour. More Loop Meets as we met Chicago Phil and BlairBear. I remember rooting for Phil and advising him as he trained for and got his BQ just in time to get into this race, so it was great to meet him. Then we enjoyed a very funny (and educational) tour of Boston by land and sea. Bonus - I got to meet the famous Juju. She lived up to her reputation as adorable.


From there we walked straight back to Faneuil Hall for the Loop Carbo-load dinner at Bertucci's. More loopmeets, food, drinks, photos and fun. We spent over 2 hours there and had time to move around and talk with everybody. We also had a surprise special guest as Senior Runner and DW arrived! SR made a little toast to all the runners, and we all felt like someone sprinkled holy water on us or something.
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Bonnie777 and her new baby!

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Whitey and Chicago Phil

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JJ and SR

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TO and Quick Runna

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Me and SR
Me and QR
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Maranda and her soon to be husband Ken
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Me, Corc and JJ
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QR, her DH and Brother Elias

Eventually we wrapped it up and some of us went to a little pub for one more round.
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Me and the Monk! Great to meet you, Elias!

Sunday night came and it was lights out at 9:15, but I had my usual pre-race insomnia and tossed and turned until after 12. Probably slept about 4 hours total and was up before 5. Race day! Here we are inside the boat as dawn arrived. Time to head over to the T and run the Boston Marathon!!!!
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to be continued....

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