Our plane dropped under a thick layer of clouds, revealing the south side of Boston, little islands interspersed along the coastline. Land and sea washing into one another, like watercolor patches of green and blue paint. The miniature play-size buildings grew to life-size homes, garages, and cars.
I’ve flown into Boston countless times over my life – returning home, returning to school, returning to work – to my friends and family. Yet, arriving yesterday was different. I’m here to run this city’s notoriously challenging marathon. My heart jumped – the intimidation setting in.
Boston’s never scared me before, especially Marathon Monday – a festive state holiday when crowds of revelers take to the streets – the day the Red Sox play in the morning – the day some crazy 25,000 people run from the burbs to Copley Square. For the first time, I feel like a visitor in my own hometown, but not in a bad way necessarily, as I was extremely proud of why I’d come to Boston.
If you have to be an outsider in Boston, I recommend coming as a marathoner. At the baggage check, I saw the first official sign welcoming the marathoners to Boston. I overheard other passengers talking about mile 11 and mile 17. I sized up my competition – skinny athletic people. More heart jumping.
At the curb outside the airport, one of my best friends greeted me with a big hug. Traveling into the city together, we talked a mile a minute and I totally forgot why I was here. But not for long, when we arrived at her apartment (my home for the weekend), the marathon came back into focus in the BEST possible way (see picture above)!
After conducting some news interviews downtown, I wandered around town and took some photos. It was 40 degrees and lightly raining yesterday afternoon in Boston, but I barely even noticed the cold chill. I took my time, even posing in front of the Swan Boats – I’m allowed this indulgence – I’m a marathon visitor now.
Today I will be picking up my official bib and tracking chip for my shoe. I will also go for my LAST training run! I’m feeling great – actually, I’m on cloud nine. Usually, I’d complain about the weather, but I’ve never been so excited to be here!
In closing, I’d like to share my favorite poem with you:
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?
like a heavy load.
(Nike made an amazing commercial using this poem a few years ago, if you haven’t seen it, here’s the link.)