Sunday, April 19, 2009

26 Point Two

Good morning from Massachussets Masachusets Massachusetts, a state I still can't type without doing a Google-assisted spell check. Did you mean Massachusetts? Yeah, that's the one. I'm sitting in an overpriced, underappointed hotel trying to smooth the pillowcase creases out of my forehead and obsessively counting the hours until tomorrow's Boston Marathon. I'm running this thing for the second year in a row because I enjoy both a sense of accomplishment and severely chafed nipples. I'm getting ready to go scarf a pair of Dunkin Donuts, pick up my number, and get a handy typewritten list of ways I can die during the race but first...

Five Quick Things:

1) Traveling yesterday was liberally doused with Unpleasantness, mainly because I didn't gobble my normal pre-flight anti-anxiety meds, lest they interfere with my highly tuned Diet Coke-and-Cakester fueled training plan. I spent a pair of flights shaking, twitching and picking at my eyelids while the man in Seat 3B gave me the mile-by-mile replay of the 112 Boston Marathons he's done before. I'm not down with generalizations but runners tend to be intolerable when they meet other runners and this guy was no different. He had the healthy complexion of a dried apricot and cheeks hollow enough to hold my winter clothing and--somewhere between one-sided explorations of his pulled hamstring or his plantar warts--I noticed that he was wearing a t-shirt that said "RUN LIKE AN ANIMAL". I assumed that meant "on all fours and in pursuit of prey", so I debated whether to throw my pair of USAirways-issued peanuts into the aisle to see if he'd chase it. Instead, I nodded politely before excusing myself to hide in the bathroom.

2) Since I didn't really pack anything other than my running shoes and my Snuggie, my bag was small enough to cram in the overhead bin. The downside? TSA confiscated my hair gel because and--I'm quoting here--it appeared to have been "tampered with", it looked "suspicious", and I had to "surrender" it. I tried to argue my case by pointing out that the only thing suspicious about it is why a land-locked kid like me would smear her head with something called "Surf Hair". The man in the blue vest didn't budge, dropping it in a plastic bin where it landed with a muffled thud. Obviously a stop at CVS is on the agenda today because I can't be seen in public unless my hair is a carefully constructed mess of matted peaks.

3) As if dragging our carcasses the 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to the Common isn't painful enough, Boston hotels enjoy adding to the misery by quadrupling their room rates. I'm staying in a place that falls between "discarded refrigerator box" and "kidnapper's basement" on the luxury scale, but the three nights I'll be sleeping here are pricier than the FIVE I spent in a hotel in London, where the linens weren't made of a shoddily woven combination of pollen and gravel.

My room is the definition of basic, co-starring the aforementioned itchy sheets , an unfortunate-looking armchair, and a bedside shelf bolted to the wall. Oddly enough, there's also a collection of reference books in here, ranging from Fenway Fiction--an anthology of Red Sox-related short stories--to a thick volume simply called FACTS. They must know that I plan on spending a lot of time in the bathroom. This morning I learned the names of Latvia's former presidents.

I'm also distressed that there's just a small shower--one without a bathtub--especially since I was counting on a post-race soak. This means I either transported this carton of Epsom salts up the eastern seaboard for nothing or I'm going to have to flood the lobby.

4) Speaking of the Sawx, I'll be at the game this afternoon. Here's hoping Jon Lester's left arm looks better than it has so far this season.

Confidential to Jon Lester: After the game, would you like to share my Snuggie? What if I told you I could list the national holidays of Vanuatu?

5) I'm nervous, yo. Without boring you with the details, my training wasn't quite as stellar as it was last year. I missed a handful of workouts because of travel or our disgusting wet winter and I honestly just don't feel that sharp. My times were always slower, the workouts felt harder, and I have no idea what to expect tomorrow. I'm trying to be optimistic that I won't be openly weeping by the sixteen mile mark but--at the same time--I don't want to get disappointed when I get passed by a runner wearing a costume. Or pushing an oxygen tank.

OK. I'm out to roam through the Race Expo, which promises to be a crowd of people with prominent rib cages and oversized calves. There will be more from me later, perhaps tonight when I liveblog all the reasons I can't sleep.

28 comments:

Your Ill-fitting Overcoat said...

Good luck! I was going to say 'break a leg' but that seems... inappropriate.

Michael said...

Welcome to BAHstun, my once and forever hometown.

A book called "Facts". Isn't that quaint? When we thought we could include all needed facts in between two covers? I remember seeing a photo of some columnist, maybe Art Buchwald or someone like that, in his office. Behind him on the shelf is a large binder, the spine of which says, "Facts On File, 1982". I remember wishing I had a book of facts like that.

Good luck, of course. I'll look for you at the game while I watch from my laptop. You'll be the devilishly cute one in the Snuggie with the "Marry Me, Jon Lester" sign, I assume.

Ethan said...

Let me also welcome to Boston. I'm sure you'll kick ass tomorrow, but hey: good luck anyway.

@beep

Leif said...

If you look even half as good as the warming-up-in-a-yellow-sports-bra photo, you'll do fine. Perhaps some accommodating blog fan in Boston will let you use their tub tomorrow night?

Also, in Captain Obvious news, don't they sell some sort of marathoner pasties or something to protect your poor nips? If not, I'm patenting that today. You'll have to test them for me of course…

JerseySjov said...

welcome to sunny massachusetts!
good luck in the race. you should do ok as long as you keep on running in the proper direction; that's what i would do.

Mary@Holy Mackerel said...

I am in awe of anyone who runs more than the length of a hallway in the house. Good luck!

theloosemoose said...

GOOD LUCK!!! I'm too cheap/cowardly/slow to ever run Boston myself, so I am eagerly looking forward to reading all about your day. Have a blast, you!

TMC said...

Awww... I know you're stressed but I'm sure you'll do great. It's such an achievement! Good luck, J! :)

jen said...

Good Luck J!! I am insanely jealous that I am not there. Run an extra few miles for me please. Have fun!!

Anonymous said...

Best of luck to you. I'll keep my fingers crossed for tailwinds at 30,000 feet and good running weather throughout.

*Akilah Sakai* said...

Godspeed!

P.S.
Your description of the hotel room was hilarious. I hope it isn't really that bad. My goodness! Too bad you can't soak after the race. That sux.

emmysuh said...

YOU CAN DO IT, J! I think you are awesome because you can even run one mile, let alone 26. I can run from here to the door. I'll send you all my "fast and awesome" thoughts.

I would like pics of the hotel room. I've stayed in some pretty AWFUL places, there's nothing like snuggling down in your bed and then realizing you probably caught 6 kinds of STDS just by letting you cheek touch the pillow.

Michael said...

Big Jon Lester FTW! Literally!

Always remember these Five Boston Rules, too:

1. If the Lord had intended us to say the letter "R", he would have put it in a more important location in the alphabet.

2. That road you're on? It's the wrong one.

3. Don't bother looking for the sign. It's not there.

4. There is no safe way to get through a rotary. It's like having sex-just close your eyes and pray.

5. Yes, those coeds at the side of the road have been drinking. Why do you ask?

nancypearlwannabe said...

Good luck tomorrow! We'll be at the Publyck House in Brookline, watching the runners on Comm Ave and drinking our faces off. I'll shout for you!

Also, I don't know how you feel about couch surfing but if you run next year you are welcome to stay in our guest room. It's no Omni Parker, but it's free and it's on the red line.

Betty Underground said...

I'm dying to do the Boston Marathon, but think it will be years before I can hit a qualfying time. Being that I am 42, I figure I'll just wait for the years to pass until the qualifying time gets a little more reasonable (I'm aiming for the 70 and over... gives me a few years to train!)

Good luck!

Mike said...

Don't forget to keep waving so we can pick you out of the crowd.

Mike said...

And now I know to look for number 9456.

Non Sequitur Chica said...

GOOD LUCK!!!

IRJessica said...

If you NEED a post -race Epson soak.... you can get in a large trash bag in the shower. It can work. Don't ask.

If you don't need Epson- pay a day's membership at a gym (usually $15 or so) and use their hot tub/ steam room / sauna.

GOOD LUCK!!

Deidre said...

Good luck!!


Maybe at 16 mile mark you can start listing all the governments of macedonia to keep your mind off the pain?

Anonymous said...

Kick ass out there! And think about all the delicious food you can eat at the end.

You are amazing.

Anonymous said...

Good luck!

yoritomo said...

i'm waking up before the crack of noon to track you, best of luck! if you get back to slappytown and need anything but don't feel like walking, let me know!

joy refurbished said...

I give my personal (and highly valued) kuddos to anyone who can run the 26.2 miles needed to fit in this category of athlete. As far as I'm concerned 26.2 might as well be the equivalent of one hundred thousand miles.
Good luck with the nipples.

Mike said...

Here's a present for you for finishing. You did finish didn't you?

http://entertainment.todaysbigthing.com/2009/04/20
(it's about Hugh)

Vegas Princess said...

Next year look me up. My parents live a mile and a half from the start point of the race. I am sure they wouldn't mind opening their home to a complete stranger their daughter "knows" over the Internet.

Abecedarius Rex said...

Spelling "Massachusetts" is like "Nietzsche", you look it up once on dictionary.com and the rest is cut and paste, paste, paste. My sister (in her larval stage) used to try saying "Massachusetts" but it always came out "Massoftwoshits" which I still think is kind of appropriate, so, hope that helps...

Caroline said...

Okay, fine!

So, I've lurked here on and off, after discovering some time ago what an amazingly talented scribbler you are.

And, well, well, well, then, now I discover you not only have a way with words, but you run! And you run Boston!!

Fine, then, be the incredibly talented writer, runner and whatever else you're amazing at, see if I care!!

Not that I'm be even a tad envious ;)