Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Hundreds of my closest friends

Saturday was a big 22 miler so I decided that I would run along the marathon route to see how it all unfolded. The plan was to get dropped off in Ashland, run 22 miles to the Common in Boston, and then head in to the office to do some work. Apparently I was not the only one with this idea.

As we pulled onto 135 in Ashland I was amazed to see people streaming along the road. Hundreds of people were running the route. WTF? I thought.

I got dropped off, stretched out, and took off along with all the others. After a bit I finally asked another runner what was going on. Turns out it was an organized event with a lot of the charities and running clubs. They had water stops and support people from the start in Hopkinton all the way to BC. It was actually quite nice because it felt like a mini-marathon with all of the other runners out there keeping me company. The only bad part came when we reached mile 21 at BC and I had to keep on running right through the finish they had set up. 5 miles more after that; no lai for me.

The course was nice. Interesting enough and no industrial/strip mall/porn shop areas to sully the route, unlike some other races I have done (cough, Phoenix, cough Providence, cough). The turn onto Comm Ave in Newton was a bit of a wake up call. As soon as you turn there is a nice hill waiting for you to climb up. It was quite the welcome to the Newton Hills. Oh, and Heartbreak Hill really is that long. I never thought that thing would end. But then there you are at the top looking at BC. Yeah! All downhill from there!

Well, sort of. There are actually a couple of tough hills after that, noticeably the overpass of the Mass Pike just before Kenmore Sq. That sucked.

After BC the roads got noticeably crappier with lots of potholes and a lot more crowded as I made my way into the city and had many more people and cars to dodge. Tip of the day: if you are running along Beacon St follow the train tracks, do not run along the service road that parallels it. That service road goes up a pretty steep hill at one point while Beacon St stays relatively flat. My mistake.

Crossing over last year's finish line in front of the library I gave a little "hurrah" but had no time to celebrate, I still had a half mile or so to go. Reaching the end of the Public Gardens I was finally finished. All in all a good day out. I can only hope that the weather is identical on race day, partly cloudy in the low 50's. Perfect. 3 hours and 4 minutes for 22.25 miles along the actual course. I think I am ready for the main event. Three weeks to go!

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