Conditioning for marathon viewing, 1
All my daughter's athletic life we have had to deal with the corrosive cynicism of other adults who assume that a) we forced her into this or b) we're bragging about whatever she does. Somehow this cynical response doesn't come into play if one's child is a doctor, lawyer, computer scientist, chef, ambassador or leader of a religious revival. No, only athletics. Excuse us for talking about it, but an athletic child can no more help being athletic than she/he can help breathing. It's a major part of that person's life, and often parents either talk about it or say nothing. So if you don't like it, fuck you.
In this case, our child is past 30, and has wanted to run Boston since she was 11 or 12. She is long past the point of worrying about parental approval. Like her other athletic undertakings, it's one she chose for herself and has pursued for her own satisfaction. Neither of us is a runner, and we both find the wish somewhat incomprehensible. I've done bicycle and Nordic ski races, so I have an inkling of what goes into it, without getting why someone would subject their lower limbs to 26.2 miles of constant pounding.
Em's forte isn't speed but endurance and preparation. In the language of coaches and trainers, her muscles are slow-twitch dominant. She's run half a dozen marathons over the last ten years, and more shorter races than I can easily recall, so she knew what she could count on accomplishing and what she might be able to accomplish if her luck was in. A personal qualifying time was a bit out of reach, so when she had a chance to run for a charity, she took it, prepared for months, and raised more than the necessary funds.
When she arrived, some days ahead, we were recruited as local talent, soigneurs and scouts. This included dietary planning, scouting the course, and reading everything we could find written by people who had run the course. In the course of this we all got some perspective on the event from non-New England runners. It's popular amongst area residents who aren't New England natives to disrespect any New England athletic activity as overblown and comparatively insignificant. That sentiment is greatly misplaced in the case of the Boston Marathon. Runners from every part of the world come to this race to test themselves on a course that is challenging in ways one can't appreciate without actually running it. The race lives up to its hype. Em, having run marathons in widely scattered locations, also confirmed that the crowd in Boston is more involved and supportive than what she had previously experienced.
That gets me back to spectator conditioning. Em's bus left South Boston about 0600. That meant we got up at 0415 to pack and make it downtown. The parent's plan was to go back to Wonderland, take the subway downtown, get breakfast and a rest room.
Downtown Boston is chronically short of rest rooms. It is especially so at six-something a.m. Thus we were able to get breakfast, but then had to walk to the Pru before we found open johns (all the race Porta-johns were still locked). To get there, we had to negotiate all the monuments to Boston's post-bombing (over?)reaction* until we found relief at the Pru and an open Green Line station at Hynes. By this time our old legs had walked some little distance, and we weren't even in the agreed-upon viewing location yet. Not by 'arf.
*It is worth noting that, up until 2013, Boston was one of the few marathons anywhere that didn't forbid unattended gym bags or backpacks. A little caution in advance would likely have forestalled the need for what may be an excess of caution after the horse has left the barn. Just as a little cooperation between FBI and local police might have forestalled the brothers Tsarnaev from blowing up something else.
Labels: Boston Marathon