Friday morning my wife and I board an airplane at KCI and head east where I’ll run in the 115th Boston Marathon. The 26.2 mile race starts at 10:00 AM (ET) Monday in the small burg of Hopkinton, MA. It follows Route 135 northeast through Ashland, Framingham, Natick and through the screaming coeds at Wellesley College near the halfway point. Then it’s on through Newton and up one of the sport’s most feared and revered icons just past the 20-mile mark, Heartbreak Hill.
It is this hill that concerns me most. It is this hill that has driven me over the past six months to take the harder, hillier training run instead of the flatter, faster course. Snowy weather, cold north winds and winter dark mornings have been my companion as I attempted to prepare for Heartbreak Hill. Am I ready? I don’t think anyone can adequately prepare to run up a steep three-part 1.3 mile incline 20 miles into a marathon – and then run the final five miles to the finish in raucous Copley Square.
Over the past few days my fear of Heartbreak has slowly evolved into anticipation. Maybe my new eagerness is because this is only my third marathon. I’m pretty much still a novice at this distance compared to the veterans of the marathon. I had no real intent to ever run two. But my Boston qualifying time in Tucson in December 2009 changed that. I then ran Chicago last October to stay in shape. Six months later I am one of the very lucky registered entrants in the 2011 Boston Marathon – which filled it’s nearly 27,000 spots in a record eight hours back in October.
I will be in Boston until next Wednesday. During that time my OTC column will be on vacation with me. I am not sure what my Internet access and time allotment is going to be next week but I will attempt to post a column or two about the atmosphere surrounding Boston and the race itself. Follow me on Twitter @greghall24 for updates as well. If all this running stuff bores you to tears, you can just ignore my tweets and columns until my tried-and-true OTC returns late next week. But if you can stand reading a bit about one wicked hard American tradition, I’ll try and keep you entertained from Beantown next week.
My bib number is 12534. The Boston Athletic Association’s website is http://www.baa.org/. You might be able to follow my progress there once the race begins. There are three waves at the start in Hopkinton. The elites and fastest runners head out at 10:00 AM (ET). I’m in the second wave at 10:20 AM.
Come next Monday about 12:30 PM (CT), think of me challenging Heartbreak Hill with another 10K to go. I have a feeling I might need the positive vibes at my back.
GregHall24@yahoo.com and Twitter / greghall24