Race Day. OK, night before, strike that, week before, race day. I am all nerves. (Cue Italian Grandmother saying, "STOP acting like a jackass, you know what you're doing to my nerves? Roll up the window, you'll get an ear-ache!") Manuela wants nothing to do with me -- I am pacing around, not doing anything around the house for fear of getting injured (I milked that one to the bone) and being a general pain in the ass.
Manuela suggests that it would be better if I went out to my buddy Craig's house in Hopkinton the night before the race -- alone. Fine. So I go out to Craig's house and hung out with him and his wife and ate pasta and kvetched about what I was going to wear for the marathon. The weather forecast was for 20mph head winds, pouring rain, and the temperature was to be in the low 40's. I could deal with the rain and the temp, but not the head wind.
Anyhow, God steps in, stops the wind and the rain and raises the temperature to a balmy 45 degrees. Awesome. I mosey out of Craig's house around 8AM to walk the mile or so to the muster point in the pouring rain. I know I said it stopped, but it really hadn't, yet. Besides, I had a 30 gallon Hefty bag over me, so I was dry -- except for my feet.
Get to the muster point and am directed to the Middle School Gym where it's warm and dry. Wait, you say, weren't most of the people out in a field freezing and getting soaked? Why yes they were! You see, it pays to know people. I got my bib number from a friend who works at one of the sponsors of the Marathon and as such I was technically a VIP runner. One of the benefits of being a VIP was having a dry, warm place to hang out before the race starts.
I'll skip the bagel eating and water drinking and excess urination part and skip to the race.
It's a little daunting being with 20,000 people about to run 26.2 miles. I felt a little boxed in while moving from the gym to the starting line. Everywhere you looked there were people - fat people, skinny people, hot girls, not-so-hot girls, athletes, and people who were like me - first time marathon runners whose friends still don't believe they could run a marathon.
The pack moves forward toward the starting line. I cross it at about 10:41 AM and am off. Off to what, I don't quite know. It's hard -- everyone is jockying for position and there's nowhere to go.
The hardest part about running for a long distance is keeping your mind occupied. An unoccupied mind will taunt you, try to get you to walk, or worse, quit. I wasn't going to let that happen.
Here's a mini-diary of what my mind was doing at various points in the race:
Mile 1: WTF am I doing?
Mile 2: No really, WTF am I doing?
Mile 3: 23 more freakin' miles of this?
Mile 8: Framingham is a dump.
Mile 10: Natick is not a bad town...16 more miles.
Mile 12: Wellesley College... (each and every girl hot or not had a sign saying "Kiss Me" so I did.)
Mile 16: ouch. 10 more miles.
Mile 17: hey, that's my brother up ahead... (caught up with him and ran the rest in thus killing my time as he was a shell by mile 20)
Mile 18: the hills begin.
Mile 21: the hills end...Boston College has some hot girls...
Mile 23: Dooger jumps in and runs along with my brother and me.
Mile 25: Let this shit end!
Mile 25.69: Zoltan yells out encouraging words...sort of.
Mile 26: Manuela jumps in and runs the last .2 miles with me, dooger, and my bro.
Mile 26.2: The End
All in all it was an incredible experience. So much so that the next day after the marathon, I registered to run the Chicago Marathon on October 7, 2007.
Am I nuts?
Oh yeah, I forgot to mention...I still don't have my Daring Fireball T-Shirt. Mr Gruber is now officially on my shit list. (Unless, of course, he provides me with a non-cotton Daring Fireball T-Shirt to wear in the Chicago Marathon.)