07
Apr
16

Marathon No. 8: Boston weather finally cooperates

After letting Boston go for a year, I was able to return for the 2006 edition. This trip back was different from the prior one in that my wife stayed back in Bozeman. Airfare was too expensive for both of us to go.

Fortunately, I had plenty of family and friends to help me out in getting around and for places to sleep.

With the help from Bozeman Chronicle – which was always very supportive of my running, paying for many of my race fees during the “good old days” before the recession – I made the trip into a working one.

I flew back to Massachusetts the week before the Marathon and sent back daily stories/columns to help offset the cost of the trip. I attended the annual celebration of Kenyan runners at Hopkinton’s Elmwood School, where they treat the marathoners like rock stars. Loud music, spotlights, confetti and screaming children. A special treat for all involved, including me.

I split my time at the Cape (where my parents live) and my friend Kinch’s house in Natick. My friend John, who was in the middle of a double-digit Boston streak at the time, also spent a few days at the Cape.

On the Friday before the race, I was at the Cape around noon when Kinch (full name, Mark Kinchla) called. “I’ve got Sox tickets; we’re sitting in a suite. Get your skinny ass up here.”

His wife works at Bain Capital in Boston and they had some sweet/suite tickets available for the game against Seattle that night. Count me in. Wait. I couldn’t just leave John at the Cape with my parents while I lived it up at Fenway.

I called back and asked if there was a ticket for John. Affirmative. My boney behind was on the way.

In all the years I attended Sox games, never had I sat in a suite. Not even close. We were like kids in a candy store. While the other Bain employees showed up in the fourth inning and never left the suite, we showed up early, sat in the outdoor seats, ate all the Fenway Franks and clam chowder we wanted and the Sox won. “Love that dirty water …..”

The trip started out on a high – and stayed there.

For the all-important night-before-the-race slumber, I slept at Kinch’s mother’s house, a block away from his apartment in Natick. It was dark and quiet, and I slept well. I wasn’t keyed up, so it was easy to drift off. I was awake just after dawn, but got a good solid 7 hours.

The final ingredient involved the weather. It was near 70 on Saturday as John and I put in our final pre-race run on the Cape. But for Marathon day, it was London-like: drizzle and 50s. The sun barely came out.

Perfect.

There wasn’t a whole lot to write about when it came to the race. There was no heat, no cramps, no walking, no despair. Just a good run. It was cool enough that I began the race in long sleeves, but when I heated up, I didn’t discard the outer layer. I stashed it in my shorts. Thanks to some sage advice from a former running partner, I remember her telling me that it can get quite cool the closer you get to the water.

At about 24 miles, I put the long-sleever back on.

But while I was in short sleeves, my Big Sky Wind Drinkers T-shirt was visible. Spectators yelled “Go Montana!” and “Go Big Sky!” It was an unexpected boost and was part of a great day.

After a pair of 4-hour finishes here, I nailed this one in 3:11. I quickly put layers on at the finish and rejoiced with my family. The only this missing to make the scene perfect was my wife, but my mother soon got her on the phone and I gave her the good news.

I was actually able to have a meal not soon after at my brother’s condo in Brookline. The prior two Bostons, that was not possible.

It was my last Boston for a while, but it was a good feeling to finally have a positive experience from start to finish. It was back to small-town marathons for the next seven years, which included a three-year break from the distance in order to welcome a new member to the family.

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