Monday, April 09, 2007

A Funny Thing Happened on the Road to the Boston Marathon

After a week of mostly dreading having to run the Boston Marathon, including sleepless nights of tossing and turning in bed followed by eye-bag inducing nightmares, a funny thing happened.

The taper began to take effect and I am significantly less tired - make that exhausted - and I spent the weekend as a specatator at an ultramarathon.

My friend Rachel, whom I take some small credit for turning on to ultras, ran a 50 K trail race on Saturday and came in as the fourth woman in a field of some 125 runners, and second in her age class.

Her significant other, Michael and I spent the day trying to navigate around the back country of Port Moody to find aide stations where we might cheer her on and as we waited we cheered and clapped for the other runners. Michael busied himself by pouring out Coke and doing everything in his power to make sure that it was flat.

I wore my Boston Marathon jacket from last year - both for my "street cred" on the course and to help pysch me up - and I had two first-time Boston Marathon runners come up to me, introduce themselves and then pepper me with questions about the course, the wave starts, and the city of Boston. It made for some wonderful conversations and I didn't even mention my Blog once. And was a wonderful reminder of why I wanted to return to Boston in the first place.

The first runners crossed the finish line for the Diez Vista 50 K after about five hours and thirty minutes. About every five minutes another runner would cross the finish line to the sound of clapping and cheering and hugs from family members. It was great. It reminded me of why I love ultras and small races and the comradery of the athletes and supporters in the endurance athlete community.

Michael and I checked out the new Montrail trail runners and the Nathan Human Propulsion Hydration packs at the displays put out by the race sponsors and made our wish lists. The Nathan products are just amazing. Extremely well-designed for ultra athletes. I vowed to get a Nathan dual-bottle set-up for the Stormy 50 Miler I am doing later this summer. We taked shop with the product reps, bench raced the products and had a great time.

Watching the runners all day made me wish I was out on the course, buoyed my spirits and brought me back to the realization that I run mostly for the sheer enjoyment of it and that I should get less caught up in worrying about results and times. Some of the biggest cheers and rounds of applause of the day were for the runners who were two and three hours behind the front runners. In other words, runners just like me.

Reporting from the back of the pack - and loving it, Vince Hemingson.


Blogger Joe said...

It sounds like everything is right again in Vince's world. Good for you. Hehe, I love that "street cred" remark.

I was at the Denman Running Room yesterday for the half marathon training run on the back half of the actual course. I had lots of fun running at the front with some fast guy named Steve. I'm sure you probably know him.

When I got back to the store, I asked a couple of people if they saw you there and they said "no" so I guess you weren't there yesterday? Well, I was hoping to say "hi" and wish you luck in Boston. Maybe next time.

If I don't see you in Blogland this week, good luck in Boston.

12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Vince Hemingson said...

Thanks Joe.

I was there on Sunday, but only ran 10K and dialed in my new Polar RS800sd so that I was properly callibrated for Boston.

1:07:00 PM  
Blogger Joe said...

I just checked out the Polar website. That Polar RS800sd is pretty neat! How does it compare with the Garmin Forerunner 305?

11:05:00 AM  

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