My new boss called me on Monday evening to make sure I was OK. After I told him Kathy and I were not harmed or immediately affected by the blasts, he left me with a final statement/ directive that really took a while to sink in. He said, “Be sure to look after the Mrs. She was there. She was close. She may be a little upset and freaked out. Just keep an eye on her.”
Anticipation had been growing since late September 2012, and I thought the day would never arrive. Boston is the pinnacle of road racing and getting there was important. The hard part of qualifying was over. The best part of running and soaking in the moment was drawing near. Boston was finally here.
Kathy chose Golden Adventures to plan our stay and some activities. The Boston Park Plaza Hotel would be our Mother Ship for four days and three nights. This fine building has been welcoming tired souls since 1927 and is beautiful. Our room was 1134, which was pretty close (kinda) to my Bib #11032.
|Where #11032 stayed in Room 1134|
We were about a half mile from the Boylston Street, Copley Square, Boston Marathon Finish Line. Absolutely PERFECT, right? Just a hop, skip and jump from Boston Common and another 7-iron to the Charles River. I love that Dirty Water! This was a dream vacation and my wife was here to share it with me.
Sunday morning was amazing. Kathy let me wake early and head out for a Shakeout Run with Bart Yasso and other runners from around the World. I met Bart, Kenneth (@Marathon Koach), Matthew (@RunningAmick), and a fellow marathoner from Poland. We ran to the Charles River, chatted along the way, and after 2.75 easy miles returned to The Sheraton. Koach bought us all Coffee and said, “$50 on Sunday Morning gets you way more than $50 on Saturday Night.”
The Boston Marathon Expo was HUGE. Sunday was the final day for the Expo and Packet Pickup. I was amazed how organized it was with so many people. The Expo was FREE to whoever wanted to visit, so you can imagine the mass of humanity. Runners are patient people. This truism will permeate the entire trip. Mark my words, RUNNERS are sharing, patient, loving people. Picked up my Bib, Bag, and made sure to get my Boston Jacket. I never saw the posters.
Sunday Night was fun. We had dinner with all Golden Adventures Marathon Runners and their loved ones at Magianos. Plenty of Bread, Pasta, and all the good foods to LOAD UP ON before race day. The thing that really is strange is that the Boston Marathon start time is after 10am. Most marathons are NOT on Monday and start at 7am. Diet plan is VERY important.
Monday Morning went great. Golden Adventures offers a private bus ride to Hopkinton that leaves the Hotel at 7:30am. This is awesome because it allows for ONE MORE HOUR OF SLEEP as Official Marathon Buses leave at 6:30am.
On the ride, I met Ginger from Memphis. She had deferred from last year and was running her FIRST BOSTON MARATHON just like me and Diana, and Chris. The ride to Hopkinton seemed long…way more than 26.2 miles. This must be why people say, “Do Not Drive the Course or pay attention to how long it takes to get to the start!”
In Hopkinton, it is just HURRY and WAIT. Next time, I am wearing jeans or sweat pants. Yes, it was cold in the shade. I was not uncomfortable, but pants would have been much smarter. The police presence was big in Hopkinton and they made sure all runners used ONLY “Approved Rest Rooms” and wrote tickets to those “Wall Waterers”.
The walk to The Start Line is NOT short. There is NO DOUBT which way to go and when to go. Remember, RUNNERS are patient people. RUNNERS are giving people. The one booth I remember seeing in front of a simple home said ALL FREE: Sharpies, Band aids, Water, Bananas, Oranges, Tissues, Gloves……WOW. Note to self, “Next Time, write your name on your arms with FREE Sharpie.”
The starting Corals were so organized and well marked. Again, police presence everywhere made it mandatory to go where you were marked to go. I made my way to Coral 3, tossed a kid watching my unused Cliff Bar, did my first shot of PowerBar Gel and they started the countdown.
The starting line at Hopkinton. You would not believe the bags of clothes collected from runners! I gave my gloves.
At the start, I remember one runner behind me say, “This is #20 for me and I still get a charge out of this!” The mass of runners moving downhill from the start is SUCH A RUSH! I can not wait to do this again.
My most vivid memories of the run include these:
EVERY TOWN turns out to cheer! LOUD!
Never felt alone.
Water and Gatorade EVERY MILE!
Plenty of food from the PEOPLE of Hopkinton, Ashland, Framingham, Natick, Wellesley, Newton, Brookline, and Boston. Oranges, Bananas, Water, Beer….you get the idea!
The turn down BOYLSTON…..just WOW!
I have chills now thinking about it.
As I ran the final yards down Boylston, I looked for Kathy. Why was I looking on my right? Little did I know, she was on the LEFT! She chose the left side!
My finish was 3:26:30…about 1:48pm according to AT&T Athlete Alert. I slowly made my way down Boylston to get water, food, blanket, my clothes bag, and meet Kathy. I called her and made sure she knew the plan to meet at the family area and we talked. I am so happy we got to talk.
I finally met up with Kathy, by the “M” Family Area and behind a bus….so funny as we were standing right beside each other just looking around. SO MANY PEOPLE.
It was while she was waiting for me that she heard “Thunder” and looked to the sky. She thought nothing of it… We made our way back to the hotel and our phones went wild. I started to get texts like crazy. I posted to Facebook and Twitter “Kathy and I are fine. We were not by the marathon explosions.” I then hopped into the shower, still not knowing the magnitude of what had happened.
Kathy was fielding calls, when the phone service came back up, and many texts and posts did not go through on first, second, or tenth tries.
We tried to contact our kids, families, and friends but some still were missed and had looking questions.
We watched TV and connected with some NEWS agencies from DFW.
Before we knew it, it was 6pm and time to get dinner. Was it safe? We decided to just cross the street and eat at Flemming’s Steak House with Blackie and Diana. It was good to get our minds off of what was happening.
While we ate, there were sirens and passing emergency vehicles. The SWAT TEAM van sped by with armed servicemen hanging from the back.
I ordered a Sam Adams.
The next day, after not much sleep, we got up not knowing what to do. Originally, we would have done a little more sight seeing, but now we felt like we better get to Logan early.
We had been asked many questions by family, friends, and news agencies. We told them our story and I felt like it was not much of a story. I had not heard the blast. I did not know it happened until TV and Texts. I never felt in danger during the event. My story was not one of a close call or a rescue. It was not exciting and news worthy. Then it hit me……Then it smacked me square in the jaw. It is not about you Curt. Think about others. You are a runner. You share. You are patient. You need to love more. What about others? Remember what your boss told you. Don’t forget about your wife. Be sure and hold her and make sure she is OK.
Later that night as we boarded our plane at Logan Airport, I got to sit next to the most loving and beautiful person in the world…and she held my hand as we took off.
I will not forget Boston 2013. It made me think about what it means to be a runner. It made me think about what it means to be an American. It made me think about what it means to be a human. Love the way God loves….unconditionally. Share. Be Patient.
Oh, and by the way. Those posters they gave away at The BAA Expo….I never got one at The Expo. BUT, an awesome runner at Logan Airport gave me one of hers and made me smile.
ALL IN FOR BOSTON!
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