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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