Patriot's Day. Cloudy, 50F, little breeze, beautiful cool clean spring day, close to perfect for long distance running. And so I drove with the kids and the niece to Wellesley for a look at the 110th Boston Marathon. At 13 miles, most runners are well warmed up butstill feeling the happiness, especially after the so-called Wellesley "scream tunnel". My wife, a Wellesley alum, especially dislikes the weird sort of commercialization of this primal phenomenon which has emerged in recent years - I mean there are scream tunnel T-shirts, good grief. It really is freaking loud though; we could easily hear it a half mile away where we parked. Last year we hung out there among them, an endless river of runners careening past down the long gradual hill into Wellesley center. A quarter mile line of girls, 2-4 deep just screaming, like a Beatles concert. And with hands outstretched, fiving the runners as they past. Like an energy source for them, both. But I couldn't face the deafening noise again, we watched from the town center.
We'd just missed the top elite women; the men were next. It was exciting to see Meb out in front with the lead pack of just three, followed by Culpepper's pack, just another three runners, about 50 seconds back, I was surprised by the large gap. Last year the lead pack in Wellesley must have been comprised of about twenty or more. Awesome to watch the elites, such lightness, ease, and relaxation; poetry in motion. A thin sparse string of elites followed. Spotted some Hanson-Brooks guys. Not too far back a blind runner, tethered to a sighted one, I'd read about him, had two guides, one for the first half another for the second - both guides themselves 2:30:00-something marathoners. Team Hoyt not long after (earlier start).
The stream thickened considerably after another 10 minutes, the "slower" guys targeting "only" a 2:30:00-plus finish. It would be interesting to see some kind of distribution graph. There are large very sparse gaps between the elites and the masses. There's a partitioning effect - either you're an elite, train full time, and are running sub 2:20:00, or you have a job and the best you can get to under those circumstances is 2:35:00. It's also interesting for me to see it's also there abouts, around 2:30:00-plus pace where you start to see a larger variations in body types and running forms; not everyone from here on out has natural genetic ability; some of these speedsters just don't even look like runners, awkard and painful forms, big muscle dudes, chubby ones even. Amazing. Those are the really inspiring ones.
Fun day. With lot's of luck and work maybe I'll be there next year. It was last year watching when I got an inkling that I might be able to do it. More confident now, if only I can shake this quad thing, still no running for me. Fmi, since last report, I did elliptical 65, 73, and 36 minutes on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Experienced my first deep tissue massage on Saturday, doctor recommended. Ouch. I didn't know it was supposed to be painful. I can take pain if I know it's good for me, I'm just not convinced it is. The massage therapist, Leo the Russian, said (in a perferct Boris Badinov intonation) "David, please, tomorrow, you no use swear words against me - you will be sore, it's okay". No worse for wear, not sure I'm any better either.
I must say the marathon coverage is really awful. Stupid commentary and lack of pertinent information. On the radio, the guy states that well over 90% of these runners "just want to finish." Right. After they announced the winner (Cheruiyot), it was like ten minutes before they mentioned Meb and Culpepper at 3rd and 4th (wrong, Culpepper was 5th), never mentioned 2nd (Maiyo) or Sells (4th) at all. On TV, M said they also never even mentioned the 2nd place finisher - was Bob Lobel high or what? And some idiot was running through the crowds at Heartbreak Hill trying to interview runners while running, just getting in way. And the coverage is always the elites and then all the human interest and charity stories, yeah, great stuff, but c'mon this is a sporting event, how about covering some of the very dedicated and talented local sub-elite runners.
So congratulations to any finishers of the 110th Boston Marathon who happen by. And, especially congrats to team USA, five of the ten top positions - Meb, Sells, Culpepper, Gilmore, Verran - awesome, the beginning of a new era, back to the golden age of Rodgers, Salazar, et.al. Go go go. Here's a good write-up of the race.
(Above, local college student vandalizes marathon course.)