My First Love

I’ve escaped my normal routine to spend some quality time with my dad. And pay homage to my favorite event – The Boston Marathon. Call it my first love. Long before I ever caught the triathlon bug, I wanted to qualify for this event one day. It began at age 14. Okay, that would make it puppy love, I guess.

I have fond memories of waiting for the runners to pass by as I waited along the route with my dad and best friend, Jean. Sadly, she has to work tomorrow. On Patriot’s Day? That’s just wrong. Not me, I’ll be making the trek to Wellesley – far enough away from the co-eds to not sustain any hearing loss. Close enough to see all the action.

45 super speedy Kenyans
Lance Armstrong
Team Hoyt – Rick and Dick
And, of course, Tri-Boomer

The fastest American women won’t be there. They already raced their hearts out today in the Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in Boston. I saw it all on my laptop over breakfast. Deana Kastor won and made her extended Boston family of 38 wicked proud.

Yesterday, I went to the Boston Marathon Expo. I was giddy, meeting Rick and Dick Hoyt and Bart Yasso – and getting their books signed. Yes, they’re all triathletes. All of them have done Kona. Wow! Dick Hoyt told me about a practice swim in Florida for the Worlds 70.3 where it was really choppy, pulling his son with Cerebral Palsy in a life raft. The Coast Guard helicopters were out practicing and thought they spotted someone in trouble. They almost didn’t race because the water had been so choppy that week, but on the day of the race, it was like glass.

Bart Yasso introduced me to his buddy, Mike, the race director of a marathon in Alaska. He definitely piqued my interest with that event. Here's why: The Nike Women’s Marathon was 6200 feet of climbing and 20,000 runners and walkers. Humpy’s Marathon is 500 feet of elevation and less than 400 runners.

I felt compelled to congratulate anyone I saw with a big red bag because I knew they were qualifiers. They were racing on Monday. And they were only too happy to tell me how they did it. It was a blast connecting with them. To see that it is possible.

This began by the way as soon as I boarded the plane from Long Beach. The woman who sat next to me qualified at the age of 60 with a 4:30 marathon. She was adorable. Her name is Liz. And as it turns out, she lives three blocks away from me. When our Heineken Lights arrived, I gave her a toast.

Back to the Expo – there were funny t-shirts:

“I’m a wicked fast runnah.” (Gotta qualify before I buy that one.)
“Love Boston/Hate Heartbreak Hill.”
“High mileage.”

I walked out of there feeling invigorated and more determined than ever to get back here as a participant. Especially when I walked past the finish line on Boylston Street. Don’t know if it’ll happen this year, next year, or five years from now, but I figure I’ve got to the toe the line a couple of times a year to find out.