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.

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