Friday, April 28, 2017

Boston Marathon Day 5: Tuesday

I woke up around 7am and went for one last brief run along the Charles.  As luck would have it, gone was the previous day's heat, replaced by perfect marathon weather.  It was a perfect chilly spring morning.

I returned to the Airbnb, showered, then went for a walk along Newbury Street where I had breakfast at a small sandwich place that sold breakfast sandwiches.  Then back to my Airbnb to pack up my things, then back out onto the streets of Boston.  There were still runners everywhere, most wearing this year's blue Adidas jacket and walking funny.  I once again did not buy the official jacket, but did my share of limping and grimacing while walking around.

While walking down Dartmouth Street, I saw none other than Galen Rupp, the previous day's second place finisher, and Alberto Salazar, his coach and former Boston and NYC Marathon champ, walk right past me.  I was so gobsmacked at seeing them walk by me so causally, and perhaps still thinking about my last chance encounter with a celebrity runner, that I didn't say anything.  No botched selfies this time.  Instead I just smiled at my good fortune and continued down the street.

I was supposed to hitch a ride with Emi from Who's Up? (the one who went down at mile 25 in the marathon from dehydration) back to New Jersey.  She and her sister and her sister's boyfriend wanted to walk around and check out some of Boston since they only arrived Sunday afternoon, but I had work to do, so I set up shop at the library on Boylston Street to work for a few hours.  At least I had a nice view of Boylston and the finish line to keep me company.

At about 3 o'clock, I went back out onto the street, took one last selfie by the finish line, then walked a few blocks to meet Emi.

I failed to get a picture of myself with Larry, and the same goes for Emi.  I swear I really do have running friends.

We barreled through New England to get home, stopping only once for gas and restrooms and miraculously avoiding any traffic around New York City.  I arrived home a little after 9pm and went straight to sleep, thus ending one of the greatest weekends of my entire life.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Boston Marathon Day 4: Monday Post Race

Click here to catch up on the rest of my time in Boston:

Day 1: Friday
Day 2: Saturday
Day 3: Sunday
Day 4: Race Report

I got back to my Airbnb sometime around 2:30 to see my phone had blown up with messages from friends, family and students, which was nice.  I took some time to take a selfie and post to social media, respond to a few messages, then I finally took a shower and lazed about more.  I had planned to take a nap before heading out for the night, but I was too restless.

I also got a few messages from people back home concerned about a woman from my running group.  She was in the white corral and had passed me at mile 19 looking fantastic, but then never registered a finishing time.  I had just gotten dressed and was on my way out the door to check for her at the med tents when I got another text saying she had been found. She had indeed gone down just before the finish and ended up in a med tent for nearly two hours.  It was just that kind of day.

Around 4:45 I left to meet up with Larry, also from my running group.  Larry had been scheduled to stay at the Ritz Carlton but they overbooked their rooms and ended up putting him up in another hotel, but as a result they were incredibly apologetic all weekend, comping his dinner that night and his hotel room for next year's marathon.

We first hung out for an hour in the Ritz's penthouse clubhouse drinking champagne and eating the many hors d'oeuvres set out.  The Ritz gave every guest a framed congratulatory note with blue and yellow balloons attached.

In my amazement to be experiencing how the other half lives for a night, I never actually got a picture of myself with Larry.  Or any of the food.  Or the three people we spent an hour talking to.  I'm really a bad blogger.

At six o'clock Larry and I had to head downstairs for dinner at the hotel's restaurant where Larry was meeting clients.  He was able to expense the meal on account of this, which became moot when the Ritz comped the whole meal due to bungling his room.  They also sent out the head chef to shake our hands and be one more person to apologize to Larry. The life of a high roller, eh?

And so I found myself in a fancy hotel restaurant drinking beer and eating a $30 cheeseburger (the best one I've ever eaten, for the record, though any post marathon burger is bound to be amazing), and Larry chiding me for not ordering the $50 steak, talking financial mumbo jumbo with strangers, nodding sagely at words like "fiduciary" and finally chiming in when talk veered towards running again.  At the end of the meal Larry was presented with a specially prepared cake in honor of his 100th marathon and his upcoming birthday.

I swear Larry really does exist and this isn't some elaborate ruse.

Around 8 o'clock, after dinner and Larry's clients had left, and after drinking beer and champagne for three hours, I figured it was a good time to head back to my Airbnb and finally get some sleep.  So I said good night to Larry and headed out.

On my way back, though, I passed the Cheers bar.  The last time I had been inside was when I was six years old on a trip to Boston with my family.  I figured I should at least go inside and take a look.  Maybe get a picture.

You know where this is heading.

Once inside, I thought, "well I'm here, may as well order a beer."  So I got another Sam Adams 26.2 and settled in near the bar.

Not two minutes into my beer, though, when in comes Melissa and her mother, two of the three people Larry and I had hung out with in the penthouse at the Ritz a few hours earlier. We were super excited to see each other.

Welp... three hours later I was still there, laughing and sharing beers and stories with random runners as they came and went, including a guy who I'm pretty sure went by Ninja Tom.  I shared my blog address with Melissa, so if you're reading this, great to meet you and congrats on your BQ for next year!

Melissa, ?, Me, Ninja Tom

I have no idea who the guy in the above picture is, but he really wanted a picture with me.

Around midnight my new crew was still going strong and offered to buy my next round, but I finally decided to call it quits and get some sleep.  Lots of hugs and back slaps ensued, and I left the bar.

Happier than I'd been in a long, long time, I stumbled home on a picture perfect Boston evening.

Monday, April 24, 2017

2017 Boston Marathon: Race Report

Quick stats:

14th marathon
2nd Boston
Qualifying time: 3:01:06 (current PR)
Half split:1:47:54
Final time: 3:50:55

And here's the long version:

I woke up at about 5am and showered (which I normally do before a half or full marathon so I can wake up and loosen up a little).  Warm weather was predicted for the race, so I decided to go with my Who's Up? singlet.

I had already set out all of my clothes, as well as my bag for athletes' village, so it didn't take me long to get ready.  Around 5:40am I left the apartment and walked the few blocks to Boston Common to get on the bus.  I was in wave 1 corral 5, and the bus loading time for wave 1 was from 6 - 6:40.  I wanted to get there right at 6 to avoid waiting in line.

When I arrived at the Common, there were already hundreds of runners streaming in from every direction.  There was a security checkpoint to check my bag and my bib, and no wait at all to get into one of the dozens of yellow school buses.  The ride took about 45 minutes out to Hopkinton.

What a difference two years make.  Two years ago it was a miserable, cold, wet New England spring morning.  Thousands of runners were trying to avoid the rain and wet grass by piling under the two large circus tents they had set up.  I didn't bring enough throwaway clothes and spent two hours shivering sitting on a plastic bag.

This year the weather was gorgeous (already about 60 degrees at 7am and sunny), so there was plenty of room to spread out in the village.  The BAA lays out a lot of amenities, including Gatorade, bagels, bananas, coffee and tea, apples, and Clif energy blocks.  I made myself a tea and wandered around for a bit to take it all in.  I saw a line forming  to get pictures in front of the "It all starts here" sign, which I missed last time, so I jumped in line for that before it got too crazy.

I talked to a lot of runners, one of which, from Texas, was glad to hear I shared his goal of simply finishing, rather than coming anywhere close to my qualifying time.  I also talked to a woman while in line for the porta potties who was from Vancouver and qualified in her first ever marathon.  I was jealous.

I went to the medical tent where they had sunblock, and I slathered it all over me.  At about 9:15, the announcer started calling those in wave one to head out to the starting line, which was almost a mile away.  The whole thing was incredibly organized, with volunteers at every step of the way to make sure we were all where we needed to be.  On the way out to the starting line, people were outside of their houses already cheering us on and offering people last minute things such as vaseline on sticks and more sunblock.

I visited the porta potty one last time, then headed to my corral just in time for a fighter jet flyover and the national anthem.

Here I was in a corral with people who had run a qualifying marathon back in 2015 or 2016 somewhere in the vicinity of 3 hours.  I wondered which of them were still in 3 hour shape and which, like me, were just here for the spectacle.  As soon as the gun went off I moved over to the right side of the course to hopefully stay out of people's way.

It was a little disheartening to see how many people were passing me in the first few miles of the race, but I knew that my less than stellar training cycle, along with the expected temperatures in the 70's, necessitated a slower pace.  I ran my first mile in 8:27, which I considered a sustainable pace for the full marathon.  Spoiler alert: it wasn't.

The first half of the race, particularly the first 10k, was absolutely brilliant.  I high fived as many kids as possible.  I jumped and air fived a kid sitting on his dad's shoulders ("I'd like to see you do that on Boylston," said a passing runner).  I sang along to the music.  I smiled from ear to ear and fist pumped the air.  I've rarely been happier in my life than I was right there on the streets of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick and Wellesley.

I almost collided with a teenage girl trying to cross the street around the 10k mark, and I heard a volunteer chewing her out behind me as I ran on.

At mile 12 we headed into the Wellesley College Scream Tunnel.  I had seen something on Twitter a few weeks ago soliciting ideas for signs.  All you had to do was fill out a Google form and the girls of Wellesley would make it for you.  I asked them to make a sign for me in German, figuring my students might get a kick out of it, and they e-mailed me a picture of it a few days later.  I looked for the specific sign as I passed, but didn't see it.  Oh, and for those keeping score at home, I ended up kissing 4 women this year.

The halfway point is just past the Scream Tunnel on the main street of Wellesley, and was probably my favorite part of the whole race.  I wanted to stop to hug and kiss every last spectator and scream "ISN'T THIS FUCKING INCREDIBLE!?!?!"  I was absolutely as high as a kite and never ever wanted to let go of that feeling.

But what comes up must come down.  It was a warm day (now in the seventies).  Not the warmest in Boston history, but up there.  There was no cloud cover and only the occasional breeze from behind.  I was taking water and Gatorade at every single aid station but still could not slake my thirst.  I stopped sweating.  I had trouble stomaching my last Gu, fearing it might come right back up.  The upshot is that in the second half, the race became pure drudgery.

I walked up the first Newton Hill.  Jogged the second.  Walked the third.  I started to wonder if I might run slower than four hours for the first time in ten years.    At mile 20, my quads seized up in debilitating cramps.  I could barely walk, let alone run another 6.2 miles.  A National Guard member came over to check on me and he suggested using my elbows to dig into my quads, which I did.  I had to stop and do this every ten minutes or so for the rest of the race.

People had been passing me for the entire race, but just past the halfway point was when the white corral caught up with me.  For reference, I had started in the first corral (red), and the white corral started a half hour later.

While running, a lot of spectators misread my singlet.  "YEAH! WHAT'S UP MAN?!"  I just chuckled and kept running.  I walked a lot down Beacon Street and spectators were able to get a better look due to my slower pace.  "WHO'S UP?  YOU'RE UP MAN!!!!!!!!"  I appreciated their exuberance, even if I wanted them to stop yelling at me and leave me alone in my misery.

Any time I tell myself before a race that I only care about finishing, I always end up setting some sort of loose time goal for myself anyway.  I probably would have been disappointed to finish in slower than four hours, so I spent the last few miles of the race doing late race mental math and hoping I could make it.  I didn't want to have to hustle down Boylston like last time.  I really wanted to be able to take in those last few blocks.

With less than a mile to go, while going under the Bowker Overpass, one of the few places on the course with no spectators, a man running next to me yelled "I FUCKING LOVE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU!!"  To say this was an emotional moment would be an understatement.

Right on Hereford.

Left on Boylston.

And there opened up in front of me one of the grandest moments in sports.  Four blocks of screaming, joyful humanity, pushing the runners around me towards our nirvana.  I tried to turn around and run backwards for a step to take it all in, but the change in gait sent me down with a calf cramp like I had been shot.  A police officer came over on a bike to check on me.  I grimaced, dug my elbows into all areas of my legs, then hobbled on.

I crossed the finish line in a daze, and slowly moved my way forward to collect my medal and other things.  Not sure why they were giving out mylar blankets, but I took one anyway.  A bottle of water.  A banana.  A bag of food.  Some sort of chocolate protein drink.  I had to stop to sit on the curb a few times to collect myself.  Volunteers kept asking me if I was ok but I really wasn't sure.  After twenty minutes in the finishers' area, I finally felt ok to leave.  Because my Airbnb was so close to the finish line, I hadn't checked a gear bag, so I just walked back to my place to shower and relax for a little bit.

And so ends my 2nd Boston, my 14th marathon, and one tough race.  But we're not done here yet, folks.  Stay tuned for my next post when I get into the post race celebration.  Spoiler alert: there was a fair bit of alcohol involved.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Boston Marathon Day 3: Sunday

On Sunday morning I again woke up around 7am and went for a quick run along the Charles River.  Sunday's temperature was to be much warmer than the day before; it would ultimately reach into the 80's.

Another trip to Starbucks for a chai, then on to the finish line on Boylston Street.  At 8:30am, there were already hundreds of runners milling about, taking pictures.  And a dog.

I then walked the few blocks to the expo at 9am, right when it opened, so I wouldn't have to wait in crazy long security lines.  I was one of the first people into the expo that morning and practically had the place to myself.  I didn't buy anything, but did pick up my free poster.  I also enjoyed talking to some of the vendors.  Sam Adams was there giving away free beer, but not until noon.

After the expo, I headed back to the Runner's World pop up store yet again to see Shalane Flanagan speak.  She's a four time Olympian, (most recently competing in the marathon at last summer's Rio Games), and for the past few years she's been trying to win Boston. She's one of my favorite elite runners due to her badass attitude; her fearlessness and her take-no-prisoners approach to competition.  Unfortunately she had to drop out of this year's race due to an injury, but was hired as one of the commentators.

Runner's World editor David Willey interviewed her for close to an hour about her career, her injury, the recent doping scandals in the elite running world, her new cookbook, and future plans.  It was a great conversation.  Afterwards they let audience members ask her questions, and I got to ask about the doping.  My question went something like this: cheating at the elite level, in the form of doping, and at the amateur level, in the form of course cutting and using bib mules, seems to be more prevalent than ever. At the elite level, do you think the deterrents currently in place are enough to thwart cheating, or do you think the rewards for cheating will always outweigh the risks?  She responded that not just the runners should be held accountable, but their entire entourage, because there is no way the coaches aren't in on it as well.  She also said repercussions right now are a mere slap on the wrist, and need to be more severe.

After Shalane's talk, I wanted to get her autograph and a picture, but I wasted too much time getting in line and they closed the line by the time I got to it.  So I went to a nearby bar to have a lobster roll and fries for lunch.  #whatbostonqualifierseat

Imagine my surprise, then, when I came out of the bar an hour later and Shalane walked right by me on the street.  Before I knew what I was doing, I had turned around to call her name excitedly and catch up with her.  I blurted out, "I'm the guy that asked you a question after your talk, I'm sorry - the line was so long - do you mind if I get a selfie with you?"  It was only then that I noticed she was on her phone and seemed to be in a hurry.  She seemed a little annoyed (I don't blame her), but graciously posed for a selfie with me.  An hour later, while scrolling through photos on my phone, I noticed the selfie with Shalane was not there.  In my bumbling state I managed to botch it and not take a photo at all.  So that happened.  I met Shalane Flanagan on the streets of Boston and have absolutely no proof.  #foreverawkward

I went back to the Runner's World pop up store to see Dave McGillivray, director of the Boston Marathon give a presentation about his life in running.  It was by far the most entertaining talk of the weekend.

For lack of a better idea, I then just wandered around Boston for a little bit.  I had wanted to tour the Sam Adams Brewery, but they were closed Sunday due to Easter.  I thought about doing a Duck Tour, but every tour for the rest of the day was sold out.  Normally I would have just continued wandering around the city, maybe taken in a museum of some kind, but it was 85 degrees and sunny and I had a marathon to run the next day, so I headed back to my Airbnb to get off my feet and out of the heat and sun for awhile.

After several episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," it was time to head over to City Hall for the official pre-race dinner.  I left my Airbnb around 5pm and had a nice stroll along Boston Common, past the Cheers bar and into downtown.  I didn't go to this when I did Boston two years ago, so I had no idea what to expect.  I figured I would encounter another long line since my ticket was for 7pm when the event started at 4, as long lines seemed to be the one theme of the weekend.  But I had no idea the line would be nearly a mile long, wrapping all the way around City Hall.  I considered bailing and just finding a nearby restaurant, but decided to get in line anyway just to see how fast it moved.  25 minutes later, I was entering the food line.  Not bad, BAA, not bad at all.

Food was red and white pasta, cold macaroni salad, regular salad, Italian sausage and meatballs.  Drinks were various types of water, juices, and the ubiquitous Sam Adams beer, which I did not drink.  Normally before a marathon I try to go for a few weeks, even up to 2 months without drinking any alcohol.  For this year's Boston I managed to not drink any beer all day Sunday.  Paragon of self-restraint, this one.

After dinner I strolled back through Boston Common to my Airbnb for another early night.

I laid out my clothes for the morning and made sure my bag was packed for Athletes' Village, then turned in around 9pm.

All told, Sunday was pretty laid back, but just what I needed considering it was the day before a marathon. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Boston Marathon Day 2: Saturday

I woke up on Saturday around 7am, and went for a quick run along the Charles River.  It was a picture-perfect, sunny, chilly spring morning in Boston.  Perfect running weather.

After running, I showered and got dressed, loaded up a few things in a backpack, then headed out into the city.  First stop: Starbucks for a chai.  I then walked the 2.5 miles across the Charles River to Cambridge to visit an old friend, which ended up being a lovely walk. The Boston skyline loomed over my right shoulder, runners packed both sides of the bridge, the sun blazed brightly over everything... Just a stunning morning all around.

Martina and I met 21 years ago when I took part in a summer exchange in her hometown of Oberstdorf, Germany, and we've managed to stay in contact over the years thanks to Facebook.  If you read about my experience at the 2015 Boston Marathon, you may recall that she graciously let me stay with her for a night that weekend.  Since I was staying at an Airbnb this time, we settled on breakfast Saturday morning.

Her husband and son joined us in the backyard as we caught up, in German, over a breakfast of tea, fruit and croissants, after which we hung out on one of the side streets as her son tore around on his bike with some of the neighborhood kids.  Norman Rockwell, eat your heart out.

At 11 o'clock, I had to say my goodbyes and make my way back to the city.

Back across the Charles River, back to Boylston Street where I planned to go into the expo, but the security lines to get in were roughly 3 miles long, so I bagged that idea.  Just as I was figuring out what to do instead of the expo, I looked to my right and happened to see Scott Jurek standing there (famed ultra marathoner and all around swell guy whom I wrote about a few years ago).  He was meeting fans and signing autographs, so I jumped in line and got to spend a minute or so talking to him.  Super tall and super nice.

I then headed back to the Runner's World pop up store because I had signed up for a session called Yoga for Runners at 12:30.  I'm not normally into yoga (I'm about as flexible as Republicans on immigration), but I felt like trying to step outside of my comfort zone, so I showed up and went with the flow.  I was one of two guys in the room, and I had to modify a few poses due to the aforementioned inflexibility, but overall I found I really enjoyed it.  It helped that it was led by a woman who had run Boston herself, and a lot of the session was geared towards preparing for the big race, both mentally and physically.  Everyone in the room was preparing to either run or spectate the race, so we all had a common bond.

Directly after yoga, the room was taken over by a meetup from an online crew called #WeRunSocial, which is basically a group of selfie/social media obsessed runners.  I got to talking to Dani who invited me to stay and have a beer with everyone.  Bart Yasso also showed up, and they were giving away Boston themed Compression socks.

After hanging out with the #WeRunSocial crew, I came out into the main room to see the director of the Boston Marathon himself, Dave McGillivray, up on stage with Bart Yasso and others.  I attended Dave's talk the following day, perhaps one of my favorite talks out of all the events I attended.

I had some time to kill before the Red Sox game, so after leaving the Runner's World pop up store, I popped into a bar on Boylston to try the Sam Adams 26.2 beer that they brew every year in limited batches just for the marathon.  It's a gose style ale that "contains light cereal notes from malted and unmalted wheat with a touch of peppery spice.  Soft wheat and citrus character are contrasted with hints of salt and coriander and it finishes clean with soft fruit and crisp citrus notes."   Luckily for you I can confirm that it is indeed delicious.

I slowly made my way to Fenway Park (just a mile from the finish area), had a burrito at Qdoba for dinner, then went to the park to see the Red Sox play the Tampa Bay Rays.

I'm a casual baseball fan, having played it growing up and gone to my share of Phillies games over the years.  I've always wanted to go to a game at Fenway, one of the most historic parks in baseball, so it was great to be able to finally do so.  The Sox ended up winning the game 2-1.

After the game I walked back to my Airbnb.  I had wanted to go to the premiere of "Boston: An American Running Story" (first feature-length documentary about the Boston Marathon), but I hadn't gotten tickets in time, so I just called it an early night again.  Watched a few episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" and was in bed by 10pm.

Stay tuned for Day 3: Shalane Flanagan, the expo, and the pre-race dinner.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Boston Marathon Day 1: Friday

I'm back from my trip to Boston, and I can already say it was, without a doubt, one of the best weekends of my life.  It was so incredible, so amazing, so uplifting, so rejuvenating, and so many other positive adjectives that don't begin to do it justice.  I want to remember every moment of this weekend for as long as I live, so bear with me while I break it down into separate posts by day.  Let's go back to the beginning and start with day 1: Friday April 14, 2017.

My school was already on spring break so I was able to come up to Beantown on Friday this year.  My dad picked me up at 7am and we drove into Philly together where he dropped me off at 30th Street Station for my 8:30am train.  I was there super early but I was so excited for the trip that I didn't mind waiting.

The train had wifi so I was able to get some work done on the ride up (a teacher's work is never done; in this case I had thousands of grades to enter for the third marking period).  I spent the five and a half hour ride alternately working on grades and watching the scenery roll by outside my window.  I really love taking trains.

I arrived around 1:30 in the heart of the city and walked with all of my gear straight to Boylston Street and immediately found the finish line.

I then went to the expo, still with all of my stuff, and picked up my bib.  There was no pint glass this year but I did score a sweet bottle opener in addition to the traditional tech shirt. Also took a picture of one of the most famous turns in sports:

I wanted to explore the expo but I had places to be, so I kept moving, walking three blocks from Boylston to Beacon Street where my Airbnb was.  That's right, I managed to find a place just three blocks from the finish area.  This made all the difference in how amazing the weekend was.  I was within walking distance from everything and never once set foot on the T because I just didn't need to.

My Airbnb was tiny, but it was clean and quiet and the bed was comfortable, so I really couldn't have asked for more.

I dumped my stuff and immediately headed back out again, this time to Post 390, a restaurant on Stuart Street.  Earlier in the week I had seen something on Twitter about an event with Jared Ward (U.S. Marathoner and 6th place finisher in the Olympic Marathon last summer), and I entered my name, knowing it was a lottery and so I wasn't guaranteed to be selected. But the very next day I got an e-mail confirming my name was on the list.

The event was on the second floor in a private section of the restaurant with its own bar, and only about thirty people made the cut for this event.  The first hour, from 4 - 5,  was a cocktail hour where waiters and waitresses circulated with trays of wine and hors d'oeuvres, and a table off to the side held still more food.  They handed out copies of his senior thesis to everyone, and I sat at one of the tables stuffing my face with red wine and crab cakes while trying to make sense of what I was reading.

Math was involved.  Lots and lots of math.

As I tell my students, there's a reason I didn't become a math teacher.

At five o'clock we were all invited into the next room where a stage was set up.  We first watched an intro video (super amusing to watch Jared Ward standing there watching Jared Ward).

Then a very energetic woman from Saucony interviewed Jared, and finally Jared gave what I can only assume was a very simplified presentation of his thesis on marathon pacing strategy.

In addition to being an incredible marathoner, Jared Ward is also an excellent public speaker. He managed to make complex statistical analysis fun and engaging to an audience of runners, not fellow statisticians.  Bravo to him.

As soon as he finished his talk, I legged it down Boylston Street to a Runner's World event. For the first time at the Boston Marathon, Runner's World rented their own space on Boylston and turned it into a pop up store to host their own series of free events throughout race weekend.  I was headed to the shake out run with Bart Yasso, the Mayor of Running, and Ali Nolan and Hannah McGoldrick, the ladies behind the web series Super Secret Mystery Meeting.

A group of us headed out for 3 miles along the Charles River, then returned to the pop up shop for pictures, beer, and the largest slice of pizza I've ever seen in my life.

Around 8pm I finally walked the few blocks back to my Airbnb.  If this were any other weekend, I probably would have found my way to a bar somewhere and tried to connect with other runners, but because I had a marathon to run in two days, and because I'd already had plenty of beer and wine that night, I decided to make it an early night.  I ended up passing out by about 9pm anyway, so I guess I needed the sleep.

Stay tuned to read about day 2: Yoga, Red Sox and German friends!
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