The night before my early morning flight to Boston was not going exactly as planned. I had hoped to get to bed early, sleep for seven hours and still have time for a quick shower before the cab pulled up to my house at 6am. Instead, I found myself at 3am sleeping on the couch in my living room, scrunched up under a too-small blanket with my dog snoring loudly a few feet from my head.
How I ended up on the couch was irrelevant by that point but my seven hours of sleep ended up closer to three or four. Oh well. As everyone knows, it is the night before the night before the race that really matters so here's hoping to a good night of sleep on Saturday!
Once the cab pulled up, the day began to get better. The quick 15 minute trip to the airport was uneventful and I walked in to a surprisingly quiet Portland airport right on time. Within minutes, I spotted Devon from Distant Runners and we began talking excitedly about the upcoming weekend as we made our way through security and to the departure gate for our non-stop flight to Boston.
Once at the gate, however, I noticed an interesting phenomenon. Whereas most public places these days are overrun with people who eat too much and exercise too little, the passengers about to board the plane were an overwhelmingly fit group of people. There were people wearing warmup pants, running tights, old race shirts and new running jackets. People carrying multiple bottles of water, bagels, yogurt, fruit cups and bananas. And almost every single person was wearing running shoes. I was with my peeps!
I found myself sitting next to two people that were both running Boston. One had run it two previous times and the other had finished four Boston marathons. We chatted for a while and made a pact to allow everyone to use the bathroom as many times as they liked on the flight -- there would be no restrictions on hydration in our row! After a while, I turned on my kindle to do some reading and overheard them talking about pace. They were debating whether or not to start at a 6:30 pace (equivalent to a 2:50 marathon). Okay, so maybe they weren't my peeps after all but at least we spoke the same language.
So now here I am, still on the plane as I type, with just over two hours until we land. My husband has been in New York for work all week and is also en route to Beantown. I can't wait to see him at the gate and give him a big Happy Anniversary hug! Then we are off to begin a long child-free weekend centered around the marathon.
I am so excited to experience the history surrounding this race -- the quad-killing downhill start, the screams of Wellesley, the brutality of Heartbreak Hill and the triumph of crossing the finish line. Although I have run a few famed marathons such as Chicago, NYC and MCM, I know this one will be special, in part because I know so many people running it this year. Kate, Amanda, Tia, Carissa, Holly, Christine, Dana, Devon and Sara are just a few of the friends I hope to see (or meet for the first time) in the next couple of days. Not to mention, I will be seeing Coach Rick, without whom I wouldn't be feeling nearly as confident.
There is still so much that could go wrong between now and Monday afternoon. The weather could take a turn for the worse and we could have another hot year like last year, I could suffer through restless nights and arrive at the start line horribly sleep-deprived, my stomach could protest and I could end up spending significant amounts of time in the porta potty, the niggle in my left knee that has kept me from running since Monday could turn out to be something more, my pacing could be way off and I'll end up in a death march to the finish line...
I think that is one reason I love the marathon so much -- because so many things could go wrong that it is almost a miracle when it all goes right! We can do everything possible for months in advance to prepare and it can still fall apart on race day for so many reasons. It takes not only lots of physical endurance, mental strength and commitment but a lot of luck to really pull off a great marathon.
Here's hoping all of us running on Monday have a great race!
Anyone else heading to Boston this weekend?