Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Boston Trip in Photos

We left Memphis early, early Friday morning.  The flight from Memphis was filled with runners and friends of runners, and it was fun to see all of the Boston Marathon Jackets from previous years.  When we arrived in Boston, it was COLD and RAINING...  Not just chilly... I mean COLD!!!  The forecast promised a warming trend, and I was certainly keeping my fingers crossed!

After checking into the hotel, we (mom, Hillary, Roan, Jimmy, and I) headed across the street to the BOSTON MARATHON EXPO!!!  As we walked into the atrium, the air was charged, and there were runners everywhere!  A permanent grin was plastered on my face... This was it... THE marathon to beat all marathons!

When we reached the top of the escalator, Runner's World was there interviewing people.  Runners' World!!  THE Runners' World!  They asked Jimmy about running, but he kindly deferred to me.  He said it was because he was there as a charity runner, but my sister said it was because my mouth was hanging open and my eyes were as wide as they've ever been!  :)

They asked me several questions about how I qualified, etc. and Look... I made it on the slide show on the Runners' World website!!  You can see the "Road to Boston" article here!

We found the expo and got in line for our race numbers, and I was still grinning! 

Roan and Jimmy got their numbers, and we headed into the biggest expo I have ever seen!  AAAHH!!!   A runner's dream... shoes, skirts, samples, books... everything running you can imagine to see, touch, and experience!  Can you sense my excitement?!

The first part of the expo was the Adidas store, and I got my Boston Jacket.  Koach Kenneth Williams tried to explain that I would want one, but I guess I didn't really "get it" until I got there and saw for myself.

The jacket is like a symbol of initiation into a running fraternity.  Each year the jacket looks different, and runners wear their jackets all over Boston (did I mention it was COLD?).  Some runners even embroider the years that they have completed the marathon... Koach just dropped his off to have the 12th year sewn on his!!  (He now has 2012 and 2013)

 Runners in jackets all over the city gave each other nods of encouragement... those glances that mean, "Hey, great job.  Glad you are here."

In addition, the people living in Boston would see a jacket clad runner and comment, "Good luck Monday!  Thanks for coming!"  Or "Where are you from?  Good luck!" The citizens of Boston really know how to make runners feel welcome.

As I made it to the checkout of the Adidas store, my cashier said, "So are you excited to be here?"  I laughed, realizing I had a ridiculously silly grin frozen on my face, reflecting my utter excitement and sensory overload...

We made our way through the booths and displays... and mom and Hill were so patient!!  I think the atmosphere of the expo and the city in general was beginning to infect them... They made signs for me at the Brooks booth.  I love their "Run Happy" slogan!

I purchased several souvenirs, including Greg McMillan's new book:  You (Only Faster).  Ok, let me just say that this guy is one of my favorite "running authorities."  So, to get an autographed copy of his book and picture with him was super exciting!  

 After the expo...Whew, I'm tired just typing about it... I know I over used exclamation points, but it was the only way to convey that high pitched voice, wide open eyes, silly grin, "oh my, I can't believe I am here" kind of feeling I had inside!  :)  That night we got take out P.F. Chang's and had an early evening in our hotel room.

On Saturday Jimmy had AMAA meetings, and Roan decided to take advantage of a day all by herself in a hotel room!  (Who can blame her!)  Mom, Hillary, and I got tickets for a "Hop on, Hop off" bus tour of Boston.  It turned out to be a great way to tour the Freedom Trail and the city!

As we went from stop to stop, the drivers gave detailed history and information about different landmarks... all in their great Boston accents!  We learned all about the "Ah-ches, ah-chitec-sha, etc" of various buildings.  If you are ever in Boston, look for the driver named Wicker- he was fabulous!  We got off the bus proud to be Americans!

We had lunch in the antique district at a pub called Sevens, recommended by our concierge.  It was a nice taste of a local Bostonian place!

We toured King's Chapel and sat in a pew box....

Saw the Statehouse, where the last symbols of the monarchy in Boston remain... A lion and a uniorn adorn the top of the building.  This is why the B.A.A. symbol is the unicorn!  It was so neat to see these buildings right in the middle of skyscrapers... I am glad the city planners had the presence of mind to preserve these landmarks!

I posed beside our tour bus...

And we hurried back to our hotel to get ready for dinner!  Koach coordinated a dinner reservation for all of the North MS runners and their families.  It was a great night at Legal Seafood; we had a great dinner and I made some new running friends!  Here are all of the North MS runners who joined us...

Early Sunday morning Roan and I joined a group at Koach's hotel for a "shakeout run" led by Coach Bart Yasso... yet another rockstar of running!  Most of the people from Saturday night were there, as well as a few otheres.  We took a leisurely jog around Boston and got to see the runners in the Boston 5K.  This proved to be a great idea, because it helped Roan and I get a better idea of what we should wear for the race.  Here are Roger McMilin, also from New Albany, and I before the run.. sporting our jackets.  

After the run, Hillary, mom, and I got ready for church.  We took our hop on/ off tour bus to the Park Street Church, where Samuel Adams and many other famous Bostonians are buried.  We noticed on Saturday while touring that their sign said "Congregationalist Trinitarian Evangelistic," and it sounded like a good fit.  The service was very good, and I would be happy to worship there again!

After church we went down to the wharf area and had lunch, and then walked to the house of Paul Revere.  It is another example of a REALLY old home (circa 1680, I believe) surrounded by a modern city.

We finished our Sunday afternoon with a tour of the USS Constitution, also known as Old Ironsides.  I think they need to have an NCIS episode filmed there...

Our bus trip home took a bit longer than anticipated, so we quickly rushed to get ready for dinner and met Roan, Jimmy, and Koach in the lobby for the AMAA pre-race pasta supper.  Guest speakers?  More rockstars... Bill Rodgers and Amby Burfoot.  Bill just released a new book titled "Marathon Man," and Roan had gotten him to sign a copy for me while we were running late!  He spoke about his running experiences and winning Boston 4 times... wow, the guy is an athlete!
Amby cracked us up with all kinds of running stories, from winning Boston in 1968 to running marathons with Oprah and Will Ferrell, and I REALLY enjoyed his talk.  He even told a story about running the original marathon in Greece!  Afterwards, Roan and I got our picture made with him.

After dinner we went back to our rooms to test out our outfits for the next day.  Roan and Jimmy came down, and we had to ask Lynn back at home if we looked alright... Mom, Hillary, and Lynn approved, so we carefully laid out all of our items for the next morning.

Marathon Monday...  Race Day!  We left the hotel very early to meet Koach and the other runners in front of the Sheraton.  From there, we took a taxi to the Boston Commons where we got on a school bus and headed out to the start.

For more details on the race experience, you can read this post, "Processing My Boston Experience."  It seems silly to re-write the same stuff, especially when I didn't take any pictures!!

While I was running, mom and Hillary did some more touring stuff and then met me at the finish line!

I do want to re-post these pictures of mom, me, and Hillary right after the race... and about 5 minutes before the explosions.  Gee whiz, I was beat.  When mom first hugged me, I burst into tears (emotional overload/ exhaustion), and then my sides started cramping from crying... it was pitiful!

And then it happened... Here are my after pictures...  (The first one is not mine)

From our hotel window... All of the cars below were unmarked police cars or ambulances.  The streets were blocked off to the right, and you can see that the previously crowded sidewalks were empty.

View from our hotel lobby a few hours later...

We were very thankful to arrive home safely on Tuesday!  

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