I have used this space to share my journey with all of you. My journey from out of shape teacher, to marathoner, to full fledged marathon addict. Often, these posts are easy to write, but I have found my post-Boston post difficult. For several reasons, there are parts that I love to think about and rehash with friends, but there are some memories that I am still wrapping my head around. I am going to use this space, as best I can to flesh all of these things out, and appreciate your time in reading it.
Build up to Boston (The trip to New England)
I am not the best airplane traveler in the world. I am a total germaphobe and actually get claustrophobic pretty easily. I have flown in the past, such as my trip to Orlando in November, but I prefer to drive. We decided to drive to the race from Pittsburgh. The decision was made easier when we decided to drive to Mystic, Connecticut for a few days before the race. When we lived in Scranton, we’d spend weeks at Mystic every year. We were there so often, we were known by the residents, and we’d always go to the non-tourist restaurants and hangouts. Staying at Mystic would allow us to trim the trip a little, while resting a little bit as well.
My son and I chilling in Mystic, Connecticut-April 13, 2017
During this time, I was pretty anxious about the race, but kept up well with my routine (as best as I can). I was doing some easy running, and staying pretty healthy. The only lingering issue was a little annoying chest congestion left over from a cold that I had battled the week before. It didn’t force me to do anything different, except have to deal with some gross phlegm during some of my runs.
I must tell you that throughout this time, it was still unreal that I was going to run the Boston Marathon in a few days. I was excited, but honestly would go through moments where I wanted to forget about it. This is one of my post-Boston reflections: I allow my doubt and fear of failure to paralyze my actions. In the deepest recesses of my mind, instead of realizing that I had trained great since January, I feared that I would drop the ball at the race in front of so many great runners, and many friends that were running. I don’t think I even vocalized with anyone my clear goals for the race. While part of this might be the fear of “jinxing” myself, I think it also allowed myself to think I could deal with failing at my goals if they didn’t happen.
For two days, we hung out in Mystic, and then traveled a little north to Providence Rhode Island on Friday. Again, this made our trip to Boston even shorter, and we were able to go to a few places we loved in Providence. By the way, if you have never been to Mystic or Providence…..you need to go. They are both fantastic places to visit and eat.
Saturday-April 15th-Hopkinton to Boston (By Car)
On Saturday, we got up super early to go to Hopkinton for pictures. It was getting real now, and I had my first horrible night of sleep in a long time. In the back of my mind, I had two anxieties: failing to finish the race, and cramping. For my first nine marathons, cramping had never been an issue. I even remember running my 3:03 PR in Myrtle Beach, and walking to my hotel feeling great (and drove 500 miles in the car with no impact). That changed at the 2016 Pittsburgh Marathon, however. At Pittsburgh and Chicago, I suffered from horrible cramps right after the finish line. Both times, these cramps knocked me down, and in the case of Chicago (besides the issues with my concussion), I had to get an IV. I honestly have no idea what changed in these races, but I was terrified that it would happen during the race, preventing me from finishing, or at the finish, where my family would be waiting. Typically, my wife and son chilled at the hotel and waited for me to return, but they would be waiting for me at the finish this time. That was pressure!
The drive to Hopkinton was fantastic. The town is the picturesque New England town that you see in postcards, except they also have a Starbucks. My wife packed my Boston Marathon Jacket because I had refused to jinx myself by packing it. It even had the tags on it. I wanted to take pictures with the jacket on, but would 100% not share the pictures with anyone until the race was over. Yes…I believe in jinxes. One of the funniest moments came when we gathered for our family picture at the starting line. I put the jacket on, and my son said, “Dad…isn’t it bad luck that you put the jacket on.” Ha!!!
I must admit that I was absolutely scared out of my mind for these pictures
Family Picture at the starting line. This was a lot of fun.
After our trip to Hopkinton, we were off to Boston (albeit by car this time). I was pretty much in full terrified-mode at this point.
Although I will focus on the race in my next post, I wanted to briefly discuss some lingering issues that, upon reflection, were creeping up on our trip to Beantown:
- It felt like an out of body experience traveling to Hopkinton (and onto Boston). I tried to convince myself that it wasn’t but it was.
- I was doing a few things that were out of my routine, and I could tell that I was just a little of “my game.” For example, I found myself worried about what I was eating, and how much weight I was putting on in my taper. During my therapy sessions, I know that my eating disorder issues manifests itself a lot during times of stress (or inactivity). I found myself worried about my weight, and was even pissed I didn’t pack my scale, even though my wife had taken that from me in January as my own New Year’s resolution.
- I noticed that I had not taken an epsom salt bath for 3 days. I typically take one every night. Just another example of getting out of routine.
- I wasn’t too concerned about over-hydrating, and instead just staying with my hydration routine. All the weather forecasts were calling for decent temps and even a tailwind………. Boy would they be wrong.
Thanks for reading. For my next post, I will focus on Boston Weekend and the Marathon.