Tag Archives: Boston Marathon

52 Weeks, 52 Runs. No. 16: Ranting and sweating

A note to all the compression-socks-wearing, tank-top-and-shorts-sporting, giant-GPS-watch-bearing runners who started way too far back in the pack at the B.A.A. 5K in Boston on the weekend. We know you’re awesome. You know you’re awesome. How about giving those of us who aren’t so awesome a break and not crashing into us as you speed through a 6,000-strong crowd of runners (a moveable beast?) in a misguided attempt to get to the front. Did you spend too much time at Starbucks and forget that the race started at 8am? Or maybe you just wanted the rest of us to see your awesomeness in action. In which case, mission accomplished. This is exactly why compression socks give me the fear.

Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, here’s a photo.

B.A.A. 5K

Crowds gather in the shadow of a couple of Boston landmarks (Trinity Church and the John Hancock Tower) for the B.A.A. 5K.

I always try to find the joy in this running lark. Otherwise what’s the point? But this weekend’s 5K was packed with folks who take the pastime seriously. Very seriously. Which is fine, of course. I am full of admiration, awe, respect, etc., for people who can a) run a marathon; b) run the Boston Marathon; and c) run the Boston Marathon in extreme heat, which is what I know many of the 5Kers were doing the day after this run. So, go ahead, take running as seriously as you like. But do it from the front of the pack.

Wait, am I ranting again? Here’s another photo.

B.A.A. 5K

More milling in front of another Boston landmark: the public library. It’s very old.

I guess I shouldn’t have expected anything different from a 5K put on by the Boston Athletic Association (B.A.A.), which hosts the world’s oldest and most prestigious marathon. If ever there were going to be a collection of uber-runners in one place, it was this weekend in Boston.

There was a benefit, though. This run was fast. Really fast.

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Running in Boston. But not running Boston

At the risk of the Boston tourism folks hunting me down and beating me with giant Red Sox foam fingers, I think the city can sometimes be a little … sleepy. So it was great to see it spring to life today. Granted, the weather was stunning, but there was also running in the air (I was going to say sweat, but that makes me feel gross).

I thought I’d make a quick swing by the finish line for Monday’s Boston Marathon. I’m going to be running across it tomorrow, at the B.A.A. 5K. When I do, I’ll at least feel as though I ran a marathon, so that will have to do for now.

It was inspiring watching excited runners taking snaps. (I was going to do one of those shots where I pretend to be running across the finish, but thought that would be a bit odd seeing as I was alone.)

This time last year, I wouldn’t have cared too much about the marathon, but all of a sudden I do. Funny how that happened …

Boston Marathon

It's a fine line.

Boston Marathon

Don't look up. OK, look up.

Boston Marathon

We like to watch.

Happy running to all the speedy folk! Stay cool.

A lowly 5Ker among a sea of Boston marathoners

I’ve decided I have to run the Boston Marathon. Have to.

What inspired this new-found proclamation? Next time I go to the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo on marathon weekend to pick up my bib, I would like not to be told, “Sorry, you can’t get your number here at this big table that says, ‘Welcome runners. Number pickup.’ Rather, you have to proceed to the far right, down three flights of stairs, into a basement, through two steel doors with secret codes, down a dark-as-night corridor, and across a bridge under which lives a troll who requires answers to three riddles.

OK, it may not have gone down exactly like that. But for those of us doing the B.A.A 5K on Sunday instead of Monday’s fancy-schmancy marathon, our number pickup was in a teeny, nondescript room off the back of the giant expo that you had no hope of finding unless you experienced the above exchange at the pickup desk for the real runners.

And that is why I have to run the Boston Marathon.

John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo

A sea of orange Adidas gear (the company is the official marathon sponsor). The screen above says "Boston is all in." Will the runners be playing poker?

Don’t get me wrong. The expo was fun and all. And I certainly don’t want to diminish the achievements of those folks doing the 26.2; it’s an astounding feat. But I felt highly conspicuous as I walked among the stalls without the telltale bright orange swag bag given to the marathoners (no swag for the 5Kers).

The fact that I feel as though I’ve run a marathon at the end of every 5K clearly doesn’t count.

John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo

Coveted shirt.

I was surrounded by shirts with various Boston-y things on them, like “Boston Runnah,” “Haaahtbreak Hill” (or something along those lines) and “Boston 26.2.” Mizuno had an amazing shirt that just said “RunBos 2012.” And Nike had the one pictured on the left. Sure, I guess I could have purchased either of the latter two, but I couldn’t bring myself to. Not until I run the real thing. I don’t want someone coming up to me on the street to ask how I did.

My favorite display was by Brooks, who brought “Pure running heaven” to the expo and were showing off their wares behind golden pearly gates. Inside was plush carpet and cherubs hanging from the ceiling wearing Brooks trainers. Angels beckoned you in with “Welcome to running heaven.” Genius.

John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo

Pure running heaven by Brooks.

But, as much as I appreciated Brooks’ heavenly commitment, and was thrilled by the presence of Dick from the inspiring Team Hoyt (he and his son are about to run their 30th Boston Marathon), and a candy-red Lululemon truck, I felt out of place among all the energy gels and compression socks (fear!) and bright orange official threads.

John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo

Portable Lululemon.

So I took my bagless 5K bib and T-shirt and slunk towards the exit. Who knows if I’ll ever be able to wear one of those marathon jackets for real. But it’s a cool thought. And and least then I’ll know which table to go to.