Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Getting back to it

Over on my writing blog (yeah, it's a writer thing... a blog for writing, a blog for running, a blog for cooking and a blog about biking... I'm that kind of a Masshole), I wrote about my thoughts on what happened at the Boston Marathon and how I need to stop fearing getting injured while running.  I mentioned I was going to wear my "pun" shirt this year to Hill and Back.  Getting dressed I realized I bought the wrong shirt, I bought this one:

The back has a shamrock with 26.2 in the middle.  Not one I would normally buy as I've never run 26.2 miles in one shot in my life.

I now have a goal.  I'm also betting someone over at Asics is like, "Um.... yeah.  I didn't mean it that way," as they look at their design.

So I turned on the Nike+, set it for 15 minutes and headed out the door to run up the hill outside my house.  (This is the up hill both ways route as the hill crests in the middle.)  I cued up my Angry Irish Run playlist and got the following:

No Rest for the Wicked by Ramshackle Army
Tessie by the Dropkick Murphys
The Rotten Hand by Flatfoot 56
Selfish Man by Flogging Molly
Amazing Grace by Flatfoot 56

Again I wonder if iPods have an emotional algorithm built in because each song hit its mark exactly.  Better than that, I ran, that's right RAN the whole time, all 16:56 minutes for a mile and a quarter.  It's a first step and my only note on the Nike+ record is "We have nothing to fear but fear itself."

One day I will turn right on Hereford and left on Boylston, I know that now and grabbing the wrong shirt off the rack was the little thing to tell me so.

Saturday, April 13, 2013


It's that time if year, time to be inspired at the Boston Marathon expo.

Walking in is overwhelming and exciting. The sights and sounds are a lot to take in. Walking up and down each aisle, talking to people, meeting folks from all over is a heady affair.

Even the convention center folks set up to greet you were sweet about directing folks to where they should be.  It is one of the happiest places to be in Boston this time of year.

One highlight is the Adidas (official whatever of the Boston Marathon) wall with the slogan "All in for Boston."  People jockey for position to take a photo there, often holding up numbers, past medals, etc.

I took a photo of a father running his 5th Boston and his 2 teens who are running the 5k on Sunday in front of the "all in" wall.  The daughter wanted a photo as this is the first time the three of them are doing this together and their mother couldn't quite get a pic from the girl's iPhone camera.  To top it off, the world's most clueless (or less than discreet photo bomber) kept standing there in front of the family like "Duh."

That's when I stepped up, Mr. Photo Bomber wandered off and I got the photo of Chris' family.  When I told him I volunteer at Mile 18 every year, he shook my hand and thanked me.  I always find that gratifying but surprising.  I do this because people have done that for years for my brothers.  It's my honor to do it for others.

One place I met a man who runs for a Christian charity he founded that encourages people who are struggling to find strength and peace in both the gospels and running.  He promised to look for me at Mile 18, I told him not to worry, run his race and bless him for his work.

The vendors are often laughing and friendly, eager to display and demo their wares.  Most of them were chatty and in good moods.  The first day had gone quickly.  One thing on the lips of a lot of folks: The November Project. The idea of a bunch of folks forming a community because fitness shouldn't have to cost you money is an intriguing concept. Some folks were excited because they were moving to Boston (or back to Boston) and wanted to know where to find details.  Others asked if they could join Monday's destination deck (of course, check the website for details).

I love the idea of the blessing of the athletes by "The Church of the Finish Line" in Copley Square.  This annual event is one of those things that makes me smile as well and adds something special to the race for me.

The closest I'll ever get to the VIP stands are days like this where the road is open and the only runners are locals who run the area on a regular basis or out of town era going for a quick jog.  In the raw, windy rain swept Friday evening, the place was deserted but Sunday morning the area will be packed with 5k runners who get the thrill of crossing the official finish line with maybe dreams of one day training and qualifying to run the big race on Monday.

The weather will dry out a bit this weekend with promises of warming up.  Sunday I'll take a ride on Gigi, my road bike, over to Hynes to check it out again.  Maybe I'll try out my new insulated water bottle and think about how to start running again while I train for my century ride.  Either way, color me inspired because it's that time of year when hope springs eternal, the Red Sox are playing ball, the Bruins are in the playoffs and the marathon runs through town.