Woke up bright and early on Saturday and was greeted by a 24-degree day. Might seem a bit cool for spectators, but it was heaven for someone about to run 21 miles.
Great scene in Hopkinton, hundreds of nervous runners getting off of buses were greeted by Saucony's Emily Carano and crew who gave everyone a pair of high tech running gloves.
After a few group photos, off we went.
The first few miles of the course are downhill, so running seems like an easy task. Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) coach Jack Fultz always warns that if you think you are running a comfortable pace over the first few miles, SLOW DOWN... you a running too fast. Downhill may be good for the psyche, but it is hell on the quads later on.
A combined effort of several charity groups set up water stops every three miles along the Hopkinton-to-BC route. Breaking up the run into three mile segments seems to make it more palatable. At the water stops, we were greeted by enthusiastic volunteers playing great tunes and wearing all types of festive costumes.
After the first six miles, we came into the less than beautiful section of the Marathon route.
Running along Rte.135 in Framingham, one has to dodge cars and old mufflers on the side of the road.
Just past mile seven coming into Natick, is a gradual hill that peaks at a Wendy's on the left. Several years back, fellow DFMC runner Paul Scully had been fighting injuries and decided that he would end his run at this point. He began to call his sister on the pay phone to tell her not to wait for him at the finish. Before he could finish the call, a 250-pound woman with her arms full of triple cheeseburgers and fries told him to hang up the phone and get his ass back out on the course. Sheepishly, Paul obeyed and completed the run.
The beauty of running Boston is that even those who don't run participate in their own special way. By the time we hit mile-12 in Wellesley, everyone in my group was still feeling relatively strong, but we knew that the hills in Newton were only a few miles away.
Somehow we missed the water stop at mile-15 and were getting a little desperate for hydration by the time we reached the Woodland T stop (approximately mile-17). Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill was campaigning at this point in the run. He may have thought that we were excited to see him, but the water his group was distributing was the real attraction.
Turning east onto Commonwealth Ave. at the Newton fire house, we gathered our strength for the last 3-plus miles uphill. Just past the Johnny Kelley statue at Walnut Street (mile-19), we stopped for one last Gatorade and pretzel. Sitting in a chair was a lovely woman dressed warmly with a long coat a fur hat who must have been 80 years young. She had a little cow bell that she rang in encouragement as the runners passed by. Looking at her and thinking of my late mom, I smiled and started to attack the last two miles (albeit slowly).
The final climb from Centre Street to Boston College, surprisingly not as tough as I remembered. I told my friend Jen, who had gutted out a pulled calf throughout the run, to smile as we approached the finish.
We have three weeks to rest up for the big day. When I stopped running I became a bit nauseous and sat down to try to get my act together. Kelly, a concerned running partner, came over to see how I was doing. I looked at her and weakly smiled. It's OK I said, this is supposed to be hard. If not everyone else would be doing it.
After a hot shower at BC, my group gathered for cheeseburgers and beers at Cityside in Cleveland Circle. After sipping on a few Cokes and Bud lights, all seemed well with the world again.
On Sunday, I met a few friends for my first round of golf this year. I didn't feel badly at all when I announced that I would be taking a cart.
This week is all about resting and getting ready for my annual road race in Waltham. All proceeds from the Shifter 5K for Dana Farber go to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.
The race is this Saturday, April 3 at 1 p.m. at Waverly Oaks Athletic Club, 411 Waverly Oaks Road, Waltham, Mass.. If you'd like to run on what looks like it may be a beautiful day, you can register for the 5K online here.
More information on some of the charities sponsoring runners for the Boston Marathon are listed below:
Check out all the official charities of the 2010 B.A.A. Boston Marathon here.
- Matt Pepin, Boston.com sports editor
- Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
- Ty Velde is a 15-time Boston qualifier who's completed 11 consecutive Boston Marathons and 23 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 12th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
- Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes