Boston Marathon Week Part 1

I’ve been back for a week, and still have not written my recap… life has been crazy busy, but I need to get this done before my memory fades!  Luckily I took about 1,000,537 photos, so that should help.  I’m planning to break this into two posts, one as a summary/recap of all the not-the-marathon stuff that we did, and a marathon recap.  First up, the not-the-marathon!

The plan all along was to not race the marathon, partly because we wanted to just enjoy the race and take it all in, but also because we wanted to do some fun stuff before the race, and not stress about whether we were rested going into it.  Queue fun stuff.

We arrived in Boston on Weds night, on Thursday morning we slept in (until 7 EST… luckily Lori and I are pretty in sync with our lack of ability to sleep in).  We headed out to a local mountain (Yes, they have mountains in NH!), to go for a “run”.  We had heard that Mount Monadnock was a bit “scrambly”, but thought, we’d give it a go anyway.  We were also worried about how icy / snowy it would be as there was still unmelted snow in the shade all over the place.

Mount Monadnock “run”

We arrived and the parking lot had quite a few people in it, especially for a Thursday, this was encouraging!  We also asked about ice on the trail and were told that there was only a short section that was icy, so we headed out to “run” to the summit.  We had no idea what any of the trails were like, so randomly picked to go up the “White Dot” trail, aptly named because you follow white dots painted on rocks, trees, etc.  It was pretty technical from the start, very rocky, and very wet.  We ran a bit, but it was mostly hiking.

It wasn’t far up the trail that it started to get very rocky, where we were scrambling up rock, it wasn’t exposed or scary, but definitely not runnable, and required hands on.  It was the best kind of scrambling, where you’re not afraid of dying, but get to climb up rock.17903667_10155154229688774_5078339878184739274_n

As we scaled up the mountain (definitely NOT running), we got to one short section where, it was dicey, finding the right handholds, and getting up over the rock, Lori and I both were in agreement, that we would need to try the other trail going down.  Down is way more scary than up!  We reached the intersection of the White Dot trail and the White X trail when some other hikers were coming up, they reassured us that the X’s were less scary, which was good to hear!  We continued up and got to the summit.  It was cold and windy on the summit, so we gobbled up our summit Reese PB cups, got a couple pics, and headed back down.

Down was much less exciting (this is good!) as we took the White X trail down.  While it was also mostly NOT runnable, it was also mostly not scary.  On our way home, we found a very cute little New England Pub, the Lab and Lager, consumed some very good beer and ate some tasty food.  We were meeting our goals of the trip, adventure, food and beer.

For our Friday adventure, we’d decided to drive a bit further, The Appalachian trail crosses through New Hampshire at Hanover.  It was a 90 minute drive,  but we had nothing better to do, so we headed out.

The Appalachian Trail “run”

Are you noticing a theme here?  Our runs are all “runs”.  From the elevation profile, we expected that the AT would be more of a run, hey Karl Meltzer set the FKT last year running over 47 miles a day, we could surely do a 10k run on it. The biggest difference here, well other than Karl’s running resume of winning 38 hundo’s, and his 20 years of ultra running, he also ran the AT in August and September.

In April the AT is still covered in fall leaves, and because most of the thru hikers start on the southern end, the trail has not been used much.  Simply figuring out where the trail was, and where it was going turned into the biggest challenge of our day.  There were white “blazes” or marks painted on trees, but they were often hard to see, or took a few seconds to find.  The jog 10 steps, look up, find trail, jog a few more steps, watch for rocks under the leaves, don’t fall on your face you’ve got a marathon in 4 days, etc, etc made for slow progress.

We had a blast though, laughed our asses off as we got lost and found again a dozen times over, all within a few miles of this little New England town.  It took us 2.5 hrs to “run” 10k, which we rewarded ourselves with kitkat bars for, and of course we stopped for beers and food on our way home.  I definitely would love to come back and explore more of the trail, it is definitely going to take a bit more research before Lori and I are ready to make our attempt at an FKT!

On to Boston!

We moved to Boston on Saturday.  Saturday was spent meeting up with some running friends I’d only known virtually, getting settled in our AirBNB Condo, and checking out the expo.

The expo was insane.  There was a lineup to get into the building, it moved fairly quickly, but was long so still took a while.  There was security, and everywhere we went our bags were searched, we of course were all to happy to be searched and know that we were safe.  Once inside, the line still snaked through a massive conference center, until we got to the bib pickup lines.  These were super organized with shorter lines for all ranges of bib numbers.  We snapped some pics with our bibs and headed down to the expo!

The expo was huge, and ridiculously busy.  We both wanted hoodies so we headed into the official Addidas area, and tried to browse around a bit, but there were so many people that it was difficult to even move around.  In the end, we each just bought hoodies, the lines for checkout were also crazy.  I found the expo almost overwhelming.  We popped by the Sam Adams booth (they were giving out free beer!), and quickly walked the rest of the expo.  I didn’t see any crazy deals, and there were just so many people!

The Boston Documentary

On Saturday night there was a special preview screening of Boston: The Documentary. What an amazing experience.  The tickets weren’t cheap, and they felt like a splurge for both Lori and I, but I’m so glad that we went.  It was held in The Wang Theatre, and just seeing the theatre was really cool.  It’s an old theatre, with sculptures and really cool decorations everywhere.  

The film was started before the bombings, and tells the history of the race.  Lori and I were both tearing up from the start.  I loved seeing the history, and it really gave me the perspective I needed going into the race.  I have had a rough winter of running, or lack thereof, and watching this made me incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to toe the line and do what so many people only dream of.  I’m grateful not only to be at the marathon, but to have the freedom to run marathons, to have the physical ability to finish and compete, and to be supported by my friends and family.  It was an amazing evening.

Eating, Drinking, and more Eating and Drinking

The rest of our time in Boston can be summed up in many stops for food, and drinks.  I love Boston, it’s a great city, Lori had never been there, but loved it also.  There are so many awesome restaurants and pubs, it’s also a great scene for craft beers, which we both love.

Sunday night before the marathon, we hooked up with some friends from Calgary for the pasta dinner.  I have to admit that I had pretty low expectations, and probably would have skipped it if we hadn’t had friends to meet up with.  It turned out to be pretty good for a free pasta dinner, they have a TON of food, and processed people through really quickly, they also had free Sam Adams included.  17991842_10202850638142654_306883903711901973_n

Next stop, The Marathon!  To be continued… 

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