I really should still be asleep, since I am running the Boston Marathon today. But as I sort of anticipated, my eyes clicked open at 5am like they always do and I’m sitting drinking coffee while the cat goes bananas in the living room and the sun slowly rises above my beloved city. It’s our little tradition. Much like Boston has it’s own little tradition: The Boston Marathon. Every year thousands upon thousands set upon my city to run from Hopkinton to the steps of the Public Library. Some run for the golden laurel wreath, others for charity and some because it’s the oldest and arguably the most prestigious Marathon in the world.
As I’ve grown up my feelings have changed about the Marathon. As an angsty teenager, I had very little time for it. The Marathon shutdown my city, like Head of the Charles and what’s worse brought tourists to my city, like the Freedom Trail and King’s Chapel. In my twenties, I learned to deal with it, I avoided driving near Boylston and worked most Marathon Mondays, so it didn’t affect me much. When I met my wife, she organized my first trip to watch the race since I was a child and it was a lot of fun: a group of friends cheering on people who had just run 23 (!) miles with adult beverage-filled coffee mugs.
Last year, though, as I was running to train for my first 5K, then later the sprint triathlon, something had changed. I started talking to my co-workers who had run for NORD in the past and who had done Ironman races about their experiences. It had never, ever occurred to me to run a marathon. Now I was running, certainly not long distance, but running nonetheless. Could it be possible that I could run Boston?
But here I am on the day of my first marathon. I’m more calm than I was last night and well rested. I think I’m properly hydrated and sufficiently carbo-loaded. I feel as though I’ve prepared well over the winter months for this day and that’s something that little 17 year old punk rock Matt never would have fathomed, especially not as he chain smoked Camels and scowled down Dartmouth Street toward Copley Square.