12 miles. Just 12 miles today! I tried to mentally prepare for today’s “long” run as I would for an 18 or 20 miler, but I just felt so much more relaxed as I drove out to Heartbreak Hill to meet the Run to End Alzheimer’s team for our final group run.
Note to self, maybe this is how I should have been approaching long runs all season.
I chose to meet for our scheduled team run rather than head to the finish line for the Sports Illustrated photo shoot which welcomed the public to fill Boylston Street for pictures for an upcoming magazine cover. Not surprising to the people of Boston, or the running community, the shoot was not lacking subjects despite my absence.
For me, it was important to fully participate in my last team run. This is the group I have trained with for month and the training partners with whom I have shared many miles. Our planned route was from Newton to the finish line, so at the very least, I figured I would get to see the end of the photo shoot. As I ran down Beacon Street with some of my usual long run partners, Bob, Ken and Dale, we saw a ton of runners heading back our way, presumably coming from the photo shoot. While it may have been common to see runners in large packs along the Newton Hills all winter, I have never experienced that on Beacon Street. Runners in their team singlets and 2013 race shirts ran towards us with high fives and shouts of “Nice job!”. Some were friends, but most strangers other than the fact they shared the bond of the Boston running community.
We did make it to the finish line and while the crowds had in fact largely broken up, many people still remained; including Carlos Arredondo, who in 30 seconds of interactions and photos with my teammates made me feel relaxed and at ease.
We may have lingered a little longer than a suggested on such a run, but something else that still had not left the finish line was the World Series trophy. Although I’ve lived in Boston for all of the Red Sox World Series titles since 2000, I’ve never seen the trophy in person. So that obviously warranted a photo.
Today’s crowd on Boylston Street was not about being on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but rather about being part of something that represents who we are, whether it’s Boston, running or both. The event will not be the last held on Boylston Street before next Monday. Whereas last year, Boylston Street was shut down for days following the bombings, one year later, around the same time, it will thrive.
While I was waiting for my chance for a photo with the World Series trophy, I noticed I was standing on the finish line. I kissed my finger tips and bent down to touch the painted asphalt and whispered, “For a great race.” And I have no doubt it will be.
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