Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Boston Marathon

We just returned from a great trip to Boston.  I had not been there since I was a teenager, and Jason had not visited before.  We stayed at the Omni Parker Hotel in downtown Boston.  This was a much bigger splurge than we usually do for accommodations, but it was so nice to be able to walk to everything and be in the middle of the action (especially since we did not rent a car).

Of course, this was not just a trip to Boston.  Our visit was primarily for Jason to run the Boston Marathon.  After his 4 Ironmans, his latest goal was to qualify for and run Boston.  Of course, he trained very hard and qualified for the marathon this year.  The Boston Marathon is extremely competitive and just qualifying to run in Boston is quite an accomplishment.

This was also the first time that we had been away from Miles and Vivienne for more than a couple nights.  We were gone for 5 full days and 4 nights.  My parents took wonderful care of the kids for us.  I'm not sure that Miles and Viv even noticed that we were gone.

On our first day there, we went to the marathon expo.  It was very organized, and Jason was able to get his packet quickly.  Then we explored through the booths and sampled some of the free samples.  We grabbed lunch at Chipotle (a pregnancy craving favorite of mine) and headed back to the hotel.

Dunkin Donuts was on every corner.
On our first morning in Boston, we went to the Paramount in Beacon Hill.  The food was awesome and the ambience was fun.  The restaurant was established in 1937, and we can see why it has survived for such a long time.

After breakfast, we went on a Duck Boat tour.  It sounded like it was going to be cheesy, but we loved it!  They gave us so much information about the history and architecture of Boston, and it was fun to drive the bus into the Charles River and boat around for a while.  This was a great way to see Boston without using our legs too much, because Jason was saving up his legs for the race the following day.

Jason had been watching the weather forecast for Boston for a couple weeks before the race.  As the day approached, it became more and more ominous.  The forecast was projected to be in the mid to upper 80s - not ideal for a marathon.  The race organizers were sending out emails to the runners recommending that they "just enjoy the run - this is not a race" and offering deferments to people who were not elite runners.  Of course, Jason did not take the deferment, but his original hopes of a personal record time for the marathon were put on the back burner.

Monday was Patriot's Day, and this was the morning of the marathon.  Jason got up around 5:30 to catch a bus out to the start line.  In Boston, they bus the runners 26 miles out, and they run all the way into the city, finishing just under a mile from our hotel.  While Jason was warming up for the race (which didn't start until 10 am), I slept in and then went for a jog around Boston Common and across the finish line.  It was surreal to think that in just a few hours, the runners would be coming down Boylston Street.

After my jog, I went to the Granary Burying Ground, where Samuel Adams and Paul Revere are buried.  I was enjoying the serenity and history of the site when a parade went by.  Before I realized it, they had stopped in front of the burying ground and some officials were walking up to Paul Revere's grave for some kind of ceremony.  It was neat to see this on Patriot's Day (when we celebrate the first battles of the Revolutionary War).  Once the parade moved on, I went to the hotel to get cleaned up and go to the finish line.

I'm hoping that Jason will write out a race report so that I can include his experience running the marathon.  It was clearly a very tough race day.  Everyone that we know finished 20 - 40 minutes slower than their goal times.  Jason finished in 3 hours and 27 minutes.  It was slower than he had hoped for, but it was a very good time, considering the conditions.

I thought I had left the hotel with plenty of time to see him cross the finish line.  Little did I know that the finish line was an absolute zoo.  Of all the triathlons and marathons that he has done, this one was by far the most difficult from a spectator standpoint.  It took me over an hour to find a spot where I could be 5 people away from the fence on the side of the race (which at least got me close enough to identify what little I could see of the runners as they went by).  So many road crossings were closed, and the crowds were unbelievable.  I was getting pretty stressed out that I was going to miss seeing him run by, but luckily I got to my spot with a few minutes to spare and caught a glimpse of him over the crowd.

After the race, he was in decent condition.  He at least came out walking, which was not the case for all the runners.  I saw lots of people coming out in wheelchairs.  He wasn't feeling too perky, and there were people everywhere, so unfortunately, I didn't get a good post-race picture of him.

We got on the T (the subway) to head back to the hotel.  At the first stop, he said we needed to get off the train.  He proceeded to lie on the ground in the subway (ew!).  I wasn't sure exactly what to do - whether he was going to throw up or pass out.  He said he was just feeling nauseated, so I stood over him while all the people on the train pointed at us out the window.  We decided to walk to the rest of the way back to the hotel, stopping at McDonald's so that he could get a large Coke to drink.

Once he showered and changed, he seemed to feel much better.  We walked around the corner for some burgers and fries.

My Boston Finisher!
The next few days were great.  We did tons of walking.  We walked to breakfast each morning.  We walked all over downtown and to the Esplanade.  We walked the Freedom Trail, a 2.5 mile walk by lots of historic sites.  (This city is great for any lovers of the Revolutionary War.  Unfortunately, I remember very little from high school history!)  We climbed to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument.  294 steps feels like a lot more when you're pregnant!

We visited the North End for some cannolis at Mike's Pastries (twice) - absolutely amazing!  We had a wonderful seafood dinner and took in a Red Sox game at Fenway Park (complete with drunk Bostonians beside us - loved it!).  Our final day was spent visiting Cambridge - Harvard and MIT.  It was just a great time to spend together and explore a new city with one another.

Before cannoli.

After cannoli.

USS Constitution - the oldest commissioned naval vessel afloat

Fenway Park
Make Way for Ducklings
The Boston Public Gardens

I know that the race wasn't what Jason wanted it to be, but I couldn't be more proud of him.  Just qualifying to run in Boston is a goal that most people can't reach in their lifetime.  Not only did he qualify for the marathon, but he finished strong and was in the top ranks of racers.  I know he would still like to run a sub-3-hour marathon, so I see lots of running in our future... and I'm pretty sure that we'll be back in Boston in a few years so that he can feel like he didn't let Boston get the best of him.  Hopefully my parents will be up for babysitting THREE kids for a few days at that point!

We got home late in the evening after the kids were already asleep.  The next morning, Vivienne and Miles were ecstatic to see us.  They were jumping up and down in their cribs squealing when they saw us walk into their room to get them.  Boston was a great getaway, but it was also nice to be home with our snuggle bugs in our pajamas watching Sesame Street.  I have to admit that maybe I even missed Elmo a little bit.  Or maybe not...

1 comment:

  1. Aww, what a fun trip! I've seen those duck boat tours and kind of wondered what it would be like to ride the "bus" into the water as a "boat." Crazy. I can't believe it was that hot - so glad Jason survived intact and was good for the rest of the trip. You guys look so cute on all your photo opps. I am sure those two little cuties were thrilled to see mommy and daddy back home. It's nice to get away and recharge, and then be refreshed for kiddos again! Yay grandparents, that's for sure!