April 19th, 2005
By Tiffany Cameron
Ah, marathon morning! Ordinarily this day would start pre-dawn guzzling a 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade, downing a PowerBar, and a one-mile warm up to get the bodily functions functioning before the race. But this is Boston! The race doesn’t start until noon. Ha! I laugh as I roll over in bed at 6:00 a.m.
Once downstairs, I agonize over the Frosted Flakes or the healthier Special K…..critical decisions for a pre-race meal. I opt for the Special K sprinkled with walnuts and enjoy my leisure time before the race. There’s nothing to worry about. I haven’t trained for this but what the heck; it’s only a long run. I decide to take a 1.5 mile walk just to loosen up. Afterwards, in the shower I nearly sever my Achilles tendon with a dull razor–an omen, I decide. Once out of the shower, I scoff at marathon protocol by donning new socks, new shorts AND ingesting 600mg of ibuprofen (to alleviate inflammation during the race). I still have plenty of time to drive to the train station, which will deliver me near enough to Hopkinton that I can walk to the staging area where I will be shuttled to the start.
A side note here: Last week I was laughing as I told my friends about a dream I had involving a friend and myself at the Boston marathon and I had forgotten my bib number and chip. Further, I was telling my friend that it would be a warm day so he’d better drink up. That dream was to become a reality as I leisurely head out the door for the train station, only to realize two miles from my house that I had forgotten my bib number and chip, and yes, it was a warm day! Now, realizing the time I thought I had to get to the train station was slipping away I drive somewhat frantically back to the house only to find that my two sons are now fighting when I walk in the door. Not only do I have to find my bib number, I have to play referee. Nearly hysterical, I call my husband and scream that I can’t find my bib; as if he can do something about it. Minutes later I have found the bib and chip that I need to run the marathon and head for the train station again. All composure and lack of worry are now forgotten as my head and heart start screaming that I am not going to make the train in time!
Nearly hysterical again, I call my poor husband and spew out a few expletives about slow drivers and missed trains. He calmly talks me into driving to where I need to go and convinces me that I can do this even in my altered state. Following his directions, I arrive at the desired parking place at 11:15; 45 minutes before the race is to start and I still have a ways to go before I can line up in my starting corral. Unsure of exactly how far I must walk, I quickly slap on sunscreen, attach my chip to my shoe and head down the road carrying a water bottle and my plastic gear bag. Having hydrated properly that morning, I now have to relieve myself and am nowhere near a port-a john. Having a runner’s lack of modesty, I hop into the woods and take care of business. As I’m standing up I notice a huge black mark the entire length of my left leg. The sun screen had worn the black ink off my gear bag onto my leg! It looked like a huge bruise on my whole leg. Also possessing a runner’s vanity I had to wipe the smudge off. Finally, I reach the staging area where I catch one of the last buses to the starting line and I can finally sit down and breath a sigh of relief. It is now 11:30 and I still have far to go before I can line up…
How do you describe the Boston marathon to someone who’s never been there? For starters it’s what I would call organized mayhem. In Hopkinton (the starting area) there are more helicopters than seems safe in this small air space, planes pulling banners overhead, thousands of people, media trucks, vans, family, friends, vendors and more all lined up on Main street. I of course, have to make my way ‘upstream’ about ¾ mile to the baggage drop off bus which I finally do at 11