Tuesday, April 20, 2010

volunteering, the BOSTON MARATHON(!!!), and Operation Jack

this blog entry has the potential to be fairly long. please feel free to browse pics and if something looks interesting read a few lines. it may also be scatterbrained. this will not be due to the lack of sleep this week or the glass (read: bottle) of wine im drinking... my thoughts are just so scattered on how to adequately write about everything i did/saw/learned this weekend. ok, you are now pre warned.

on sunday i did something i have never done before.... instead of running a road race, i volunteered. fluorescent vest, flag, and all.

and it.

seeing it from this other side of the race was such a different and an incredible feeling. i know that i personally say "thank you" to many of the volunteers along the course of the races i do, but i didnt know just how many people would say that to me! sure, i stopped cars from hitting them (and let me tell you, a few definitely tried! scary stuff...) but i was just trying to give back. and it felt really good.
here is melissa, me, and rebecca before the race... bet you cant tell which one is me! ;)

im lovin that flag!
i got just a little too excited i think.....sunday was followed by monday (mmm duh), which brought on yet another thing i have never done. melissa, sarah and i got on a bus at 7:30am and headed to boston for the 114th running of the Boston Marathon!! (ps- if you live anywhere outside of the boston area, the bus/train/subway is absolutely the way to go! no traffic. no parking. not having to drive home after having the best/most tiring day). if youve never heard of this race, youre probably living in a box somewhere. if youve never attended this race, plan to go at some point. you will never ever regret it, whether you are a runner or not.

friends. mothers. daughters. fathers. husbands. sons. girlfriends. boyfriends. blind men/women. the young. the old. a man with one arm. cyclists with no legs. soldiers. a runner with a prosthetic leg.

the definition of a marathon reads something like "the triumph of will over reason". we saw that on the faces of each and every person that passed us. and we were at mile 26(point)something. runners had passed their "wall" and the finish line was within sight. we witnessed an incredible neck and neck wheelchair finish. we witnessed the top male finisher look behind him to find he was all alone on boylston st as he crushed the course record. we saw smiles. we saw tears. we saw legs that were screaming they couldnt move one more step but found the will to keep going. we saw a puke and rally. we saw a woman fall down and another runner pick her up and walk with her arm around her holding her up until she started running again. if this isnt what a marathon is all about, i dont know what is.

there were ads all over boston for the marathon... this one from New Balance was in the subway. (i love NB, so heres my plug for them... and the outlet is in skowhegan, maine)
after volunteering on sunday, i realized just how much went into putting on a local race... i cant imagine what it takes to put on a race like the boston marathon!
and of course, bostons finest came out to help maintain order and safety. below is "our friend" tom!

(**FUN FACT** everyone was "our friend" today. including ryan hall. and we decided tom was still awesome, even though he wouldnt cross the street to get us french fries). quote of the day from tom went something like this: "if".... its what makes up the middle of "life". remember that.so we got a super kick ass spot right after mile 26 on boylston st within sight of the finish line. directly across from the prudential center, partially sunny at times, and right up against the fence. this is where we met denton (his wife heather was running) and kelly (whose husband, art was running). here is a pic of (LtoR): some random dude we didnt know, kelly, denton, me, sarah, melissa
(**FUN FACT** i couldnt remember kellys name, but i am happy to report that kelly did one of my all time favorite things and facebook stalked denton to get my blog to find my email to write to me and thank us for cheering on her husband! oh the joys of technology. thanks, kelly, and again, congrats Art!!! ART ART ART!)
long story short about the posters (ill explain more in a bit), we were following @mainerunnerguy and @operationjack for the race, but at&t text updates was a major fail so we had no idea when we would see them. ended up finding them both. loved cheering for them.

we werent even out for a half hour before the wheel chairs started coming. the race for first was so close!. the strength these men and women showed was unbelievable.
then came the women. Teyba Erkesso from Etheopia finished in 2:26:11.
like i said above, the lead man Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya (finished 2:05:52) looked behind him to find that he was all alone and cruised to the finish to crush the course record. denton was able to perfectly capture this moment. incredible.
from the boston marathon site interview with Cheruiyot: "Of his $175,000 pay-day, Cheruiyot proffered that he would probably buy some more cows. And a few sheep." what would you buy if you won $175,000 today for running for 2 hours and 5 minutes?
(so... i wasnt kidding. you might want to have a glass, we still have a ways to go. and this is just so good... so good... so good)"so my friend, ryan hall...." ....finished FOURTH!!! so amazing to see him (in general) and to see him finish top 4!!! woooooo hoooooo!!!!!!
here is a great pic of one of the soldiers in the race. thank you for all that you do/have done for our country!!you might look at this next pic and think, why did she take a blurry pic of half of toms face? well of course, we love love love tom, BUT the blurry runners... more importantly the one in white, is what were looking at here. and the man in white is Sam. i needed to add this in cuz Sam had just given us the thumbs up after seeing our poster, and i was able to quickly grab my camera and snap this shot.
and here comes heather! sarah snapped this awesome shot when heather came up to hug and kiss her loving husband, denton, who we shared the last 4 plus hours with. we just met denton when we got to our fence, and will now be BFFs! (best fence friends). you guys come to maine we will come to oregon? just a thought :) (Heather finished in 3:49:04. 12,519th place out of 25,000! un-freaking-believable. way to go!!) and i hope you guy found a good lobster roll... just not at mcdonalds!
if you have ever watched any race (not just boston) you know how crazy it is to try to find one specific person. youre standing there in one spot only moving your head back and forth, screaming and clapping your hands. your body is mentally drained and worn down from standing in one spot for hours (haha, im the one complaining and i didnt even run the marathon!). at one point it started feeling like the road itself was moving! so crazy. after we saw sam, heather, and jason, we decided it was time to go eat. having only breakfast and a coffee, standing out in the sun without moving, having barely any water, and not moving for 6 plus hours, we neeeeeeeeded food. bad. sam had texted us to come meet at a pub so off we went.

so who is Sam?
glad you asked.
im sure you know im on twitter. mostly for running reasons... i find people that run, enjoy seeing what they do for training (usually a whole lot more than me). i like finding out that many of these runners drink beer and eat chips and french fries and ice cream like me and dont care what they weigh or how well they do just that they love running. i found Sam (@operationjack) through someone who follows someone who follows someone who follows him. and he was doing this crazy (read: super awesome) 60 marathons in a year thing to raise awareness for autism. i was intruiged to go to his website. (you should too, so ill share the link) http://www.operationjack.org/

anyone who knows someone with autism or whose life has been affected by autism will read this blog until they are in tears. so i followed him. and then i told sarah to follow him. and i made him a poster. it was pretty simple. we just loved what he was doing. then he wanted to meet us. so we had lunch with him.
and now sarah will be forming a train 4 autism to raise money and awareness and she will be running her first marathon next year and Sam said he will come to maine and run it with her. ummmm SO AWESOME!! (or in the words of a mainer, "WICKED awesome!!")

although a lot of words written above describe the past weekend, it does no justice to what the experience was actually like. melissa, andrea (who was just across the street from us at the marathon) and i will be running the Sugarloaf Marathon in 27 days and this is just what we all needed to pump us up for that run (*fun fact: melissa is trying to BQ at sugarloaf, and it will be on her birthday next year!!!!)... Sam also pointed out that melissa is going to be 27 next year on the day of the marathon... which is 3x3x3.... and he did finished boston in 3:03..... its.gonna.happen!!!!!!!! :) (ok, ok, knock on wood)

(*****addendum- rebecca will be running sugarloaf with us too! and shes gonna rock it, and hopefully she will be at boston next year too! )

**FUN FACT** i learned how to add links to websites in this blog, hence why there are just a few too many.

and for those of you wondering, the bottle of wine is gone. my 20 miler tomorrow will be fun, probably should have drank beer. more carbs.


  1. You seemed so excited writing this! And yes I read the whole thing, loved it! Im jealous you got to see the race in person very cool! And you volunteered?! Awesome! I still wear my volunteer shirt with pride from last years Urban Epic in Portland! I know what you mean when you say you had to stop cars from running people down! haha Anyways awesome blog, keep up the good work, one day youll be running in the Boston marathon, no doubt!

  2. The best part was I finished 27th in my race on Sunday and that was my third 27th place finish of the year, so that's 3x(3x3x3). I'm a geek at heart. What can I say?

    It was great having lunch with you guys. I think it motivated me more than it motivated you!

  3. I just got goose bumps all over reading this!! I am soooo excited!!! Thanks for all the tips and sharing your stories!