The night before the race I sat upright in bed staring at the news on TV in disbelief. The weather for Boston Marathon day was expected to be rainy and windy with temperatures in the 5 to 8 degree range. A reporter declared it was to be a challenging race for Boston runners due to weather conditions, but, at least, most of them had trained in cooler temperatures during winter. In my mind I screamed “But what about those who trained through extreme summer heat?!” Despite this, I kept an optimistic attitude as I prepared for the worst. This was Boston Marathon! Come hell or high water (no pun intended), I was going to have a grand time!
FULL BATTLE GEAR
Before going to sleep, I double checked the race gear I had laid out earlier that afternoon. From initial plans of wearing just a shirt for the race (It was spring, after all!), my new wardrobe was now intended for full battle… vs. the cold, that is!
Plan was to wear four layers: shirt, long-sleeved top, fleece jacket (I didn’t bring a raincoat and this was my throwaway jacket), with a black trash bag to top it all off. Good thing I brought my gloves even if I thought I wouldn’t need it. At the very last minute, I inserted extra socks into the pocket of my jacket because one of my top concerns, as I’m sure it was for a thousand other runners on race day, were blisters from soggy socks.
I shut off the lights at an early 10 PM and expected a good night’s sleep in my comfy Sheraton bed. Boy did I get it all wrong.
At around 1 AM, I jumped out of bed as a loud alarm rang inside my room. This was quickly followed by a stern woman’s voice dictating that there was a fire in one of the floors of the hotel. We were to dress up and be on standby. Should we hear a second alarm, we were to evacuate via fire exit.
Are you kidding me?! Was this really happening to me? And not just on any night but the night before Boston Marathon?! I was on the 27th floor and I wanted to get the hell out of there.
I quickly got dressed. My heart was pounding in fear. I sat on the bed anxious and restless waiting for that alarm to ring. I looked to my left and saw my marathon gear. Do I pack this up and take them with me when we evacuate? Or maybe just the shoes? I got up and went to the hallway where other guests peeked out of their rooms in fear. Should we evacuate? Do we wait? I went back to the bed and waited for what felt like forever.
A few minutes after, we received another message on the speakers. The emergency had been addressed by the fire department. We could go back to sleep. Sorry for the inconvenience.
How do you sleep after such a hair-raising, heart-pounding experience? Took me over 30 minutes to calm down and doze off.
Despite the ominous start to Boston Marathon day, I woke up at 6 AM fresh and optimistic. The weather out looked perfect. Well, forecast was good weather that morning until around 9AM when rain was expected to fall. Reporters had said that the race would be like two separate races for the elites and other waves. The elites would start and end the race without a drop of rain, while the rest of the waves would start with rain. Gulp.
I ate a heavy breakfast of a huge croissant sandwich I bought at Starbucks the day before and kept 1/4 of it plus a banana and a Gatorade bottle in a plastic bag I planned on taking on the bus ride to the starting line at Hopkinton.
With my wave starting at 11 AM, I had a lot of time to relax in bed and took my sweet time preparing all my gear. I needed to be at Boston Common, where baggage deposit and bus pick up to Hopkinton would be for runners, at 9:30 AM. I left Sheraton hotel at 8:30 AM with plenty of time to spare having practiced my subway trip the day before. I knew the subway trip from Prudential station to Boylston station would take less than 10 minutes, but I left early in anticipation of the heavy foot traffic for the marathon. There was absolutely no crowd in the subway and I found myself at Boston Common as early as 9:00 AM.
BOSTON COMMON: BAGGAGE DEPOSIT AND BUS PICK UP
The scene in Boston Common was less frantic than I had expected. There was no huge crowd here and runners were calmly chatting away. The weather was comfy and dry. I deposited my baggage at the counter taking only the small plastic bag of food with me and headed over to the buses.
Buses were lined up in an organized manner with volunteers manning all stations. With so many buses arriving and departing, there were no long lines. As we entered the bus, volunteers wished us well. One volunteer told the runner ahead of me: I hope it doesn’t rain! To which the runner replied: Ssshhh… don’t mention the R word!
The bus ride to Hopkinton took roughly an hour. I finished my sandwich and banana here and drank some Gatorade. It was here that I noticed droplets of rain hitting the glass windows. Here comes the rain, I thought nervously.
HOPKINTON: ATHLETE’S VILLAGE
The atmosphere at the Athlete’s Village was opposite poles from Boston Common. It was here that the happy chaos and nerves of marathon day filled the air. I walked into the Village to see all the runners bundled up in layers of clothing or trash bags while waiting for their respective race starts. The announcer welcomed runners saying that there were portalets at the perimeter of the area and free coffee, water, Gatorade, and bagels at the tents. Yeah baby!
I headed over to the portalets first. While waiting in line for about 20 minutes, I was shivering in the cold despite my four layers of clothing. As soon as I did my business, I ran over to the covered tent and waited for my wave to start.
As I sat in the tent amidst the throwaways of hundreds of runners who had gone ahead of us to start the race, I realized how resourceful I was LOL. I picked up a transparent rain coat and replaced my black trash bag then I wore a mylar blanket as a skirt to warm my frozen legs. If I couldn’t run well due to the cold, I better looked good while doing it right?
The announcer called Wave 4 Corrals 7 & 8 and I stood up knowing that it was time for me to start the race. I walked out of the Athlete’s Village nervous and excited to start this dream race.
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Thank you to Gatorade for sponsoring my Boston Marathon adventure. Thank you as well to my other sponsors: Unilab Active Health, Fitness First, Specialized, Peak Form Manila, Otterbox, and Oakley.