my thoughts on marathon monday

I’m surprised that WBZ news didn’t call for my commentary on the goings on around Boston yesterday. I suppose with all the mayhem caused by the volcano keeping many of our European runners away, they forgot what a valuable contributor I would have been. Their loss, the blogs gain.

In the interest of truth and honesty, you should know that I’ve been living in Boston for nearly six years and have never seen the marathon. For two or three years I actually lived on the route and just never wandered over to watch. It’s terrible, I know, but I can’t change the past. Nowadays my company doesn’t give us the faux Patriot’s Day holiday and I really can’t justify taking off work and using a vacay day to watch a bunch of people show me what little self discipline I have.

I think I’m also secretly afraid that I’d be so overwhelmed with emotion and good spirits that I’d do something stupid like sign up for the marathon. It sounds out of control, but that’s exactly how my life goes. After finishing my last half marathon, I made a video explicitly to remind myself to never, ever do it again. Apparently I wasn’t clear enough with myself because I’m running another half in about a month.

For those of you who do not live in the Boston area and/or are not familiar with Marathon Monday I’ll give you the highlights:

• lots of people. It’s actually a little hard to tell who is running the marathon and who is dressed like they are running the marathon. Lots of jogging happening, which is usually a big “I’m not actually running the marathon” red flag. Everyone knows you don’t go running around willy nilly when you’re supposed to be running a marathon in 24 hours.

• plenty of open restaurant reservations… as long as you don’t want to eat at 5:30. I dont know what it is about runners, but they eat dinner at 5. Then they go get crazy at an oxygen bar or something and are tucked in watching Dateline by 8:30.

• jackets, jackets everywhere. This is a faux tradition and the jury (me) is still out. At first I thought it was cool to see people from every year wearing their respective jacket, but then I found out you can buy the jackets at City Sports and I didn’t feel quite the same about it. And then I got to thinking about it some more and wondered how I’d feel if that’s how the world worked. Could get sticky. I mean, do olympians wear their track suits from previous years to the opening ceremonies? No. And you know why? Because unless you hit someone with two by four or accidentally got hooked on meth post-games no one is going to remember your name. And it makes you seem a little sad. Like I said, though, I’m still deciding whether I think it’s weird or not.

• velociraptor women. I feel kind of bad for these women, but I suppose turning into a tucked-up-mini-arm jogger with a jutted chin is the price you pay for being addicted to running. It’s not unlike leather faces with tributary lips… no ones fault but their own for not putting down the Dorals. Even when these ladies aren’t in their Asics and short-billed running hats there is no mistaking them. There’s not a sweater set in the world that can disguise a velociraptor.

• gratuitous outdoor activities are mandatory. It’s as if Boston cares very, very much they the throngs of marathoners and spectators understand how much we, as a city, value outdoor recreation. You have never seen so many speed walkers, roller bladers. picnickers, photographers, or joggers in your life. Trust me, I live here year round. The jogging you see in and around Marathon Weekend is for show. (I think it may also be a mating ritual. Casual girl jogger impresses boy marathoner with her sprightly pony tail and perfect form. We can all hope that next year he proposed to her at the finish line.)

• The news coverage goes from sun up to sun down. I’m fairly certain a nuclear attack on the US wouldn’t keep us from reporting upon whichever Ethiopian stomped all over our hopes of bringing the title back home. (I think we’ve even extended our definition of home to be “the general land mass of North America, including any disputable land masses near our shores.” Even a fucking Canadian would be patriotic at this point…

• The stories of soldiers running for their wounded or dead friends is enough to make you want to have an affair with a soldier.

I for one watched the coverage from the treadmill at Equinox. Let me tell you something, despite my general disinterest in the marathon, nothing in the last 6 months has made me feel like as big a loser as watching marathon results from the treadmill of my swanky gym. (Where I was panting through 5.5 miles.) Amputees we’re crossing the finish line in under three hours and there I was pissed that I’d left my iPod at work and was going to have to jog on a padded floor in an air conditioned room without tunes.