I have just finished my “victory lap”, albeit some 40 hours after I officially crossed the finish line. I've been reading all the final chapters in these marathon-training books that I have amassed over the past few months and they all say to relax and bask. Well, I am not a "basker" so I decided to write my own finish. Even though it killed to walk down the stairs this morning (I used both rails), it just seemed like proper closure to strap on my still slightly damp shoes and take a slow cool-down run along my training route. I'll probably regret this in a few hours, but right now I feel good.
Regarding the finish, the last .2 miles was without a doubt the most fun stretch of running I've ever had in my life. There was a guy in front of us whom I recognized from this winter running down the streets of Needham and Newton. He looks like Jack LaLane (maybe he is?!) and runs bare-chested in shorts in zero-degree weather. He had a huge smile on his face and was shaking all the stretched out hands people were offering us and I thought to myself this could be his last marathon given his age. And then I thought, hey, this is probably MY last marathon too! Making that turn from Hereford onto Boylston Street and seeing the blue and yellow Boston Marathon banner strung up at the library will forever be engrained in my head. Heidi and I beamed at each other and I remember looking around at everyone screaming and cheering and I think I started yelling too! Now I know how Doug Flutie felt when he saw that ball caught.
We stepped on that final mat together and the next few minutes were a blur. It seemed surreal that our journey was done, even though all we had talked about for the previous 26 miles was how great it was going to be to be done. Someone handed us bananas and foil and we headed down the exit ramp to turn in our shoe chip and receive our medals. To paraphrase a recent Lucinda Williams song, I wouldn't trade that dime store medal for anything. (Audrey, remember this when you clean out my house and move me into the nursing home!)
And for all of you out there who decide to do this for the first time, take it from me – don't order the fried clams when you're done! After I found my family, all I wanted to do was change clothes and sit down somewhere warm. My always-hungry son suggested Legal Seafood and for a while it sounded like a great idea. It was on our way to the car after all. Let's just say I brought the clams home untouched in a doggie bag. And they're still in the frig. And to think I used to love them...
In closing, I'd just like to thank the folks at Newton-Wellesley for number 21294, to all the ladies in my running club for cheering me on, to Heidi without whom I honestly wouldn't have run this thing and most of all to my family, who supported me through all the weekend disruptions, the complaining and the smelly ride home. And if anyone wants my training books, you're welcome to them! Amputees, octogenarians and blind people passed us on Monday... Everyone should try this…once!