Today my wife and I will drive the three miles to Hopkinton, Mass., where the Boston Marathon begins. We’ve got local knowledge that allows us to wend within a few hundred yards of the route itself, park without fear of being towed, and secure a great vantage point.
It’s been ten years since I ran my first and only marathon – without training for it. Here’s the story:
For years, I swore I’d run the marathon someday each time we watched. It’s just so pure. You either get that or you don’t; I’ll not waste time explaining.
In 1998-1999, I was running more and better than I ever had before, clicking off 9-minute miles without drama. In the back of my mind, the marathon stopped being a crackpot fantasy and became a goal, I suppose.
But a vague one. I’d never run farther than eleven miles, and contrariness prevented me from subscribing to running magazines. For me, simplicity has always been the big draw where running is concerned. You need the right shoes, a pair of shorts and a T shirt. Once you take that first stride, you’re either running or you’re not. Simple. Cut and dried.
This attitude prevented me from learning much about the sport. I had never heard of interval training, knew I ought to stretch but never did, and thought advanced fabrics were for sissies – make mine a cotton T shirt, thanks.
Blissfully ignorant, I came home from work Friday, April 16 and flipped on the Weather Channel. Holy cow, the forecast was perfect marathon weather: coolish and overcast, with a bit of a west wind to push runners along the route. When my wife walked in the room, I calmly announced that on Monday, I would run the marathon.