Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Return to elite hydration

This year, like last, I volunteered at the 10K elite hydration stop of the Boston Marathon.  I love Marathon Monday so much, getting to be out on the course helping the pros run their best (especially in a scorcher like we had on Monday), cheering on the amateurs as they reach their goals and riding my bike all over the course on a gorgeous Monday when most other people are at work.  It's just fabulous.  I won't go into the whos and whats and wheres and whys this time, since I covered that last year.  Here are the highlights.

1.  Losing my bottle cage.

Ok, this is less of a highlight.  I was riding my tri-bike, trying to make a workout out of my ride to the 10K mark, and I went over a bump.  I heard a crash, and looked back to see my rear bottle cages in the middle of the road.  I pulled over, and went back for them.  What I found was my cages and this small mustache-shaped brace.  If you look carefully, you'll see that the screws that were holding the brace in place have been snapped clean off.  Fail.  I had a back pack, so I chucked the cages in there and put the bottle in a side pocket.  Not as easy to retrieve, but better than nothing.

2.  Wearing spandex gives people license to talk to you

We stopped at a Dunkin Donuts on the way out, and every one was asking how far we were riding and if we were running.  Putting this in perspective:  on any other day, I would assume some one approaching me was either selling something or crazy.  And the idea that some one who presumably drove to the Dunkin would have anything to say to me other than abuse about being on their roads, well it just doesn't happen.  This is the magic of Marathon Monday.

[my table]

3.  And the cyclists were out in force

We saw hundreds of riders heading out to the start and back again while the roads were less utilized.  Perhaps it was just the warmer-than-usual weather, but it was great to see so many people out, and to get swept along with a group or two.

[here come the ladies]

4.  It was a smaller elite field

Organizers told us beforehand that because of the Olympics in London this year, they had a smaller crop of elite runners registered.  Pair that with the blinding conditions and my women's table only had 2 bottles on it, my mens table had none.  :-(  Some one suggested that perhaps because World Records cannot be set on this course that pros were less interested, but it's still Boston.  WR or no, it's still a significant line on your resume to win this race.

5.  No taste testing this year

With fewer athletes, hotter conditions, and a better organized strike of the water stop, there wasn't much opportunity to try out the elite's drinks this time around.  I'm curious if they would have been more salty this year.

[the men approach]

6.  A desolate, post-marathon wasteland

Once the majority of the race had passed through, we packed up and rode out to Heartbreak hill for a little cheering.  As we rolled through the amateur water stops, the road resembled some post-apocalyptic scene.  The street was strewn with cups rolling around, a few dazed runners staggered through.  Looked like a scene from a movie.

7.  Lost and found

Just as we were packing up at the 10K marker, a runner came up to me and thrust his balled up jacket my way.  He said, "Here, take it.  It's from Chile."  It's a very nice jacket, and I'd like to return it to the runner.  I've googled the team name, and they appear to be a race organizer from Chile.  I couldn't find anything on their marathon team itself.  There are only 24 males from Chile who raced Boston, and based on the time, I think I know who it was.  I'm going to try to contact the BAA and see if they can put me in touch with him.  If you have other ideas for how I could find this runner, please let me know.


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