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Running the Boston Marathon was a lot different than I thought it would be

Posted May 26 2011 10:53am

When I ran the Boston Marathon, it was a strange experience. It wasn’t like any marathon in which I had ever participated.

The runners all congregated in the lobby of a large office building many stories tall. In addition to the runners, there were business men and women all milling about who worked in the building. I saw a friend of mine, a guy. Was that my neighbor down the street? Or was it one of my online friends from DailyMile? He yelled out to me, waving his race bib. He said, “I can’t run this thing. Do you want my bib?”

NICE! I had a bib now and could run the Boston Marathon! I pinned it on and immediately started running the race.

Now the Boston Marathon doesn’t travel through quaint little towns outside the city of Boston and then finish on the streets of the city itself like you thought. Actually, the entire marathon is housed in interconnected office buildings and hospitals. That’s right! The entire race is run indoors, and the runners slog through offices and conference rooms, down the corridors of hospitals, through bathrooms and corporate lobbies. The people who work in these buildings are the spectators, though usually they are busy doing their work stuff and aren’t really paying any mind to the runners. The route is marked with small orange cones. The office custodians stand at various locations along the course and direct the runners on which way to go. These interconnected office buildings are a labyrinth of hallways, rooms, stairwells, and reception areas, and it would be easy to get lost or miss the route markers.

One thing I liked about this race was that the miles went by really fast. In fact, I wonder if their mile markers were all that accurate, because I was cruising through the miles easy as you please, which was remarkable considering how difficult it was for me to even lift my legs due to my feet kind of sinking into the carpeting.

I stopped several times to go to the bathroom in the nice office bathrooms along the way. I kept having to pee! And I never could get rid of that feeling no matter how many times I stopped at a bathroom.

The best part of the Boston Marathon was the end. After running miles and miles, I saw that the last leg of the marathon was actually two sets of large, crazy slides…you know–the kind you see at fairs that you ride down on potato sacks. The first set of slides, on my right, had three parallel rows of slides, and the runners had to climb up on their hands and knees. The second set of slides also had three parallel rows of slides and the runners had to slide down these. You had to climb up the right set and slide down the left side three times, which I did, but I lost count and did it more than 3 times I am sure. After I finished going up and down the slides, I had to climb back up the slides to the top where three old ladies were sitting. There, they handed out the medals and the insulating plastic blankets.

After picking up my medal, I checked my watch and was thrilled to see I finished the marathon in 4 hours and 2 minutes, and I didn’t even feel tired. As I turned to head back down the slides, I saw Beth from Shut Up and Run . I said hello and introduced myself. She told me she didn’t have time to talk to me. I should have known, because she was dressed in a dark, tailored skirt and jacket with a hat, much like career women in the 1940s would have worn, and carried a clip board. She must have been on official marathon business. So I just silently followed her down the escalator that was positioned between the two sets of slides. As we quietly rode the escalator down, runners on my left were climbing up the slides on their hands and knees, while runners on my right were sliding down, in quick succession.

I exited the office building and stood outside for a moment. I texted my husband and told him I would try to find a ride home, and then began the long walk back to the marathon start, which I didn’t think would take very long since I thought the mile markers were way off to begin with. I was hoping there would be some runners milling about the start from the Philadelphia area with whom I could hitch a ride home.

When I woke up this morning, I was really hungry (and I really had to pee). Turns out running a marathon in your dreams makes you hungry too!

Wow, running the Boston Marathon was a lot different than I thought it would be.


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