Tag Archives: Cheering

Marathon Spectating: Boston 2014

This past Monday, I had the pleasure of cheering at the 118th Boston Marathon.

Even though I didn’t run and am far from qualifying, it was a truly electric and magical weekend. It took only a few minutes of being in Boston to understand why runners so desperately want to run this race. It’s about more than the prestige of hitting a qualifying time. It’s about banding together with thousands and thousands of people just like you – people that love a sport that can be so uplifting and heartbreaking – and having an entire city there to support you, like you’re a rock star.

My magical weekend started on Saturday with a 4.5 hour drive up to Boston after my last longish run before this weekend’s half marathon. The first event on the list was a Strength Running meet-up in Clarke’s at Faneuil Hall. Since Jason is actually my running coach, I didn’t want to miss the opportunity to meet him in person. Of course, being the awkward turtle that I am, I simply introduced myself as Danielle and just assumed he knew who I was (who do I think I am?!). Since the e-mail I use for running related things is tied to my blog, it would make sense that a lot of people know me as “Foodosaurus Rex.” So it wasn’t until I was leaving that I mentioned my last name, and of course felt like a jerk for not having said something earlier. But at least we got a picture together!

Me & Jason!

Me & Jason!

After the meet-up I went to Veggie Galaxy in Cambridge for dinner and had a phenomenal veggie burger. I always like to search for vegetarian restaurants when I’m traveling since there aren’t a lot in my area. So when I saw this was a vegetarian diner, I was pumped to give it a try. I started with a beer (of course), and ordered their Kendall Square burger (hello beer battered onion rings) with a side of french fries. It was so delicious.

Kendall Square Veggie Burger

Kendall Square Veggie Burger

Since I was in the area for work, I drove back up to Lowell (about 30 minutes north of the city) and crashed hard. And before I knew it my alarm was going off and it was time to head back down to the city – this time for an Oiselle Team meet-up! I got to the city early to make sure I wouldn’t have a problem with parking, and did a quick lap around the expo. After the expo I made my way to our meeting spot and we posed for a picture before heading off towards the Charles.

A gaggle of birds

A gaggle of birds

I had three miles on my schedule that day, so I decided to run with a group that was doing a 4 mile shakeout, including Stephanie, Mollie, Mary, and Sara. I also had a nice mini-reunion with (two out of three) of my favorite North Carolina runners, Allie and Ellen! While on our run we actually passed Desiree Linden, and we got a little head nod and wave from her. Of course I geeked out and tweeted about it, which she favored… which resulted in more geeking out. After our run we took a short walk to Render Coffee, which a teammate’s brother owns. They were kind enough to offer free coffee for all of us, and I thoroughly enjoyed my hazelnut latte. Of course I continued my geek fest when I sat down next to none other than Lauren Fleshman, and wanted to say everything but instead said pretty much nothing. She was (no surprise) super friendly and down to earth, and I wish that I actually had things to talk to her about!

Hanging outside Render Coffee

Hanging outside Render Coffee

After coffee I took the T and wandered around Harvard a bit, had a delicious Easter brunch at Beat Hotel (in running clothes, while everyone else was in their Easter best… whoops), and then got to meet up with one of my college swimming teammates for dinner and drinks!

When my alarm went off Monday morning I was ready to go. I knew that the earlier I made the trip from Lowell to the Boston area, the better. I wanted to cheer around mile 23, figuring it’d be far enough from the massive finish line crowds and at a point where people really start to need encouragement. I made it to Brookline around 8am and stopped in to Eagle’s Deli for a breakfast sandwich to fuel the day of cheering. I walked up a few more blocks and positioned myself a few hundred yards away from the mile 23 marker. I had expertly staked out my spot, and was ready as soon as the first wheelchair competitors came whizzing by.

Rah rah!

Rah rah!

I’d been following the elites on twitter, so I knew what was going down in both the women’s and men’s race. At the beginning of the race I – along with almost everyone else – was completely consumed with the women’s race and Shalane. Unfortunately her race started to unravel a bit by the time she reached me at mile 23, but that didn’t stop me from screaming basically in her face as she ran by. I could see the discomfort and disappointment in her face, but I knew she was doing everything she could, and everyone in Brookline was thrilled to see her and applauded her gutsy race. And then, all of a sudden, we realized that Meb was leading the men. I’ve always been a big Meb fan, but my appreciation for him grew after the 2013 New York City Marathon, where he struggled but ran it in with someone and was so humble about it. To think that at (almost) 39 he was leading the race was such a thrill. He was almost 5 minutes ahead of the chase pack when he flew by, and we all screamed as loud as we could in hopes of propelling him those last 3.2 miles to the finish. Of course I was mesmerized by the thought of Meb winning, and followed along on the live stream… I was ecstatic when I saw him cross the finish line!

After the elites went by, I focused on trying to find all of the people I was tracking either via the app or text messages. It was kind of hard to keep track of everyone – for whatever reason I had a hard time figuring out from the 30k alert how long it would take them to get to me at mile 23. Plus, I was so afraid I’d look down at my phone and miss someone! I saw almost everyone I hoped to cheer for  – Jason, Jess, Jenny, Laura, Mary, Sara, Corey, Lindsey, Dani, Mollie, Julia, Stacey, and a few others I’m probably missing. It was tricky to try and yell loud enough for everyone to hear me and see me, but I was able to pierce the sound of the crowd around me for a few runners. My favorite was Mary, who happened to be running right on the side I was cheering. I basically screamed in her face – I’d like to think it helped propel her to her amazing PR! Unfortunately I missed a few people, and some people didn’t hear me, but I spent four solid hours cowbelling; I have the bruises and raw skin on my hand to prove it!

I was exhausted by the time I got back to my hotel, but it was so worth it. I would do it again in a heartbeat – and I hope I can be back up in Boston for Patriot’s Day 2015! Next up on my cheering schedule is this Sunday at the New Jersey Marathon. So if you’re running, let me know… I’ll be sure to cowbell for you! But first, I need to run my own race – Asbury Park Half Marathon tomorrow!

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Filed under Running, Travel, Vegetarian/Vegan

A Marathon Weekend

I can’t believe I haven’t blogged in almost a month – whoops! But have no fear – I’m back!

This past weekend was full of running, so I had to share. Since my last update in regards to not running a marathon this fall and planning to make (small) racing decisions much closer to the actual date of the race, running has been going really well. Though I’m sure I’ve now jinxed myself. I managed to squeeze out 100 miles in October which is the highest mileage month I’ve seen since June! My paces are starting to get closer to where they were pre-foot drama, and I’m hoping to be able to do a 1:50 or lower in the Richmond Half and keep on truckin’ after that. I have some ideas for races after that, but no solid plans.

But back to the weekend – it was New York City Marathon Weekend!! While I’ve never run the race (was supposed to last year), I’ve spectated a few times and grew up loving the NYCM excitement. Now that I have so many runner friends (in real life and on the internet!), it wasn’t even a question if I’d make the trip into the city to cheer everyone on – I knew I had to be there. Conveniently, one of my good friends from home now lives in Brooklyn, (in the same neighborhood where I grew up many moons ago) which made it easy to head into the city early Saturday morning, stay over, get my cheer on, and leave afterwards.

Since a bunch of Oiselle Team members were running the marathon including the top bird Sally, we all got together for brunch on the Upper West Side at Josie’s. I took an early train into the city (that was already running 20 minutes behind schedule at 7:45am), and met up with my teammate Lauren to walk from Penn Station to the restaurant. It was an absolutely gorgeous day (I was sweating a bit wearing my long sleeve shirt!), and it was fun to see the throngs of runners out for their pre-marathon “shakeout” runs. Brunch was fabulous (how can I ever say no to a breakfast burrito?), and I had a wonderful time getting to know new teammates and catching up with others, while also checking out some of Oiselle’s spring line!

Picture from Steph! Me, Steph, Sally, and Victoria!

Picture from Steph! Me, Steph, Sally, and Victoria!

After brunch I took advantage of the beautiful weather and met up with my friend in Brooklyn and hung out in Prospect Park for a bit. It’s funny going back to a place where I spent so much time when I was younger, thinking about that giant and beautiful park in the middle of the “concrete jungle” where I used to force my mom and dad to play some completely ridiculous games with me. While we were sitting on the grass at one point, I mentioned how I used to play “rolly-polly” and insist my parents join in… which was basically starting at the top of a hill, and barrel rolling myself down it. Only a few minutes after talking about that, three adorable little kids came running over, threw themselves on the ground, and started rolling down the hill. It was quite a moment of nostalgia!

The "Dog Beach" at the park

The “Dog Beach” at the park

It eventually started to drizzle, so we made our way to a fun new wine bar on 6th Street where we each had a wine flight of 4 different white wines. The bar is small, but they have artwork (available for sale) and some really great wines you can get by the glass or bottle. The rest of our evening was low-key, since we had plans to get up early for a run, followed by marathon cheering!

We woke up around 7am (thanks to the extra hour of sleep!) and made our way back to the park for a run. It was gray and windy, and I couldn’t help but think of all the runners huddled at the Verrazano bridge anxiously awaiting their start. I hoped the wind would die down, and it did, but not until early afternoon. I did a loop of the park, and headed back for a total of 5.55 miles. After doing my “long” run of 10 miles on Friday and walking about 8 on Sunday, the 5 miles was more than enough. Plus, it finally got me to 30 miles for the week, which I haven’t seen in a very long time!

Oh hai Kim Smith & Amy Hastings!

Oh hai Kim Smith & Amy Hastings!

After the run we quickly got ready and claimed our spot on 4th Avenue and 10th street, which was a perfect spot to see the elites come ripping through. We stayed in Brooklyn for a bit after that in hopes of seeing some friends in the first waves (I missed most of them, of course), and then we quickly took the train to Manhattan, where I met up with Ashley & Co. for some cheering at the 30k mark. I was able to see everyone I was hoping to see (with the exception of a few), and even got a sweaty hug from Kara! After the last of the runners I was hoping to see came past the 30k mark, I was ready to head home. I never realized how tiring cheering can be since I’m usually the one out on the course! So naturally when I got home I ordered a pizza and found myself in bed by 8:30pm.

Cowbellin'

Cowbellin’

While I was out there cheering, I had mixed emotions. Part of me was so relieved to be on the sidelines cheering, while part of me wanted to be out there, crawling my way through the city. And of course, like any logical person, I randomly teared up and had to take a moment here and there throughout the day. The marathon is such a beast – I love it, I hate it, it makes me happy, it makes me sad, and I can’t get enough of it. Hopefully I can get myself through some longer runs “for fun” in the near future (i.e. running a 14 or 16 miler without the pressure of official marathon training). If I’m able to do that, I’ll consider signing up for my next marathon. But until then, I’m going to stick to 13.1 and under. And if anything, this weekend reminded me of one very important thing: I LOVE RUNNING AND THE RUNNING COMMUNITY!

Tell me …
Did you run the NYC Marathon this weekend? 
And if you didn’t, when/where are you racing next?!

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Filed under Running