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. 

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