Monday, May 2, 2011

Thank you, Mike Chowns...

for spurring me on to post something, already!  It's been a while...

So, allow me to tell you about my recent trip to the Boston Marathon.  Not to be IN IT mind you ( I barely enjoy driving 26 miles in a car), but to watch it and to cheer Ryan on.  It is a surreal experience to be surrounded by so many uber-fit people, who say, "What the heck?  I wasn't doing anything for the next 2-6 hours anyway.  Why don't I just start running?"  Some of the more intense ones (insert: my husband) don't listen to music or anything.  Just them and their thoughts.  For 2-6 hours.  So, I went along to gawk in curiousity and in the hopes of getting some freebies at the Race Expo.  At times I tried to project a runner's air about me, so that people would think I was one of them.  I think they could see through that, though.  They probably have a sense for their own kind, like dogs do.  The second American woman to finish had a baby just 6 months ago.  Show off.

I digress -- I also brought Emma Clare along for company, and convinced my sister, Stacy, that she had nothing better to do with her weekend than to fly from the opposite coast and gawk at really fit crazy people with me.  Unlike me, she has actually done a marathon before, however she said afterwards she was peeing blood -- another reason I'll never do one.  As if I needed another reason.  So, the night before the marathon, just when Ryan and the rest of the racers in our hotel were settling down for a little pre-race slumber (to dream about running, Gatorade stations, those shoes that look like bare feet with all the toes...) Emma Clare declared that she was having none of this sleep business, and proceeded to protest, loudly, anytime she was put down in her pack & play.  (For the uninitiated, the pack & play is like a small animal kennel with no top, that we took with us to avoid the requisite sketchy hotel crib that always seems to be lacking a regular crib sheet and instead has a giant queen size bed sheet wrapped multiple times around the sketchy mattress, rendering it a virtual death-trap.)  She didn't even care that the portable crib/dog kennel had a lovely Burberry-like dust ruffle.  She wasn't buying it.  We tried to ignore her, but, as she knew it would, it proved impossible.  Enter the Martyr Mom.  I snatched her up and, with a sigh, left the hotel room.  Now, it is an interesting thing to see what's going on in a mammoth hotel, pre-marathon, after 11PM.  While I would have thought that most racers would be sound asleep (minus those with contentious babies in their midst) it seems that a good number were also Celtics fans and decided that the hotel bar was the place to be.  You wouldn't think that so many rum & Cokes would be good for your race time, but I think you'd be wrong (or maybe you'd be right and I'm wrong....whatever).  Along with the Celtics fans watching a playoff game, the other late-night (and yes, I'm that old that I consider post-11PM to be 'late night') inhabitants of the Marriott were:

1.  The "Starbucks is closed, man!" man:  He lurks in the dark just outside the closed hotel "We Proudly Serve Starbucks" place.  He just sits.  No phone, no computer, nothing.  Just sitting.  Waiting for it to open, I guess.  Maybe nobody told him that it would be 8 more hours.  It probably doesn't matter because he had so much espresso before it closed, that he'll be awake that entire time.  Since he'll be first in line, I briefly consider giving him some money and having him grab me a Boston Starbucks mug.

2.  Gamer-dude:  At this point, you should know that I walked around the hotel and attached mall for a good 2 hours before returning to my room to try to get EC to sleep.  The entire time I was walking, gamer-dude was making use of the free Wi-fi to play computer games.  He was all alone (undoubtedly there was a reason for this -- maybe because he plays so many computer games?) and just sat, glued to the same spot, playing games.  No email.  No Facebook.  No brilliant blog.  Just games.  He never even looked up when I passed by him for the thousandth time.  Presumably he sees a lot of haggard hotel moms in his line of late-night leisure.

3.Really important security guard:  RISG wishes that he had followed his dream and become a police officer.  Instead, he is patrolling the Marriott, keeping the conference rooms safe from uber-fit partiers on the night before the Big Dance.  He kept giving me the eye, maybe thinking that underneath the baby blankets, I had a giant bottle of Jack and some Uno cards, and was looking to meet up with some other moms in the "Harvard Room."  I noticed that he had also helpfully cordoned off the motionless escalator, but not the stairs (?)

4.  The guy who pushes the loud floor-mopper/sweeper machine.  He chased me all over the mall.

I got to do a lot of window shopping in the deserted mall during my late-night jaunt.  I could have left Boston with a replica of Kate Middleton's engagement ring, for a mere $199.  I'm sure no one would have known the difference.  For a few hundred more, I could have purchased a pair of Jimmy Choo's which, although nice looking, don't really seem like theyre worth that much.  I think people just like saying the name.  It helps that it rhymes with "Shoes."  JC's has something called a "Double-Banded Bootie."  Doesn't that sound like an endangered bird?

Eventually I was too tired to continue, although EC showed no signs of weariness.  Perhaps she should have been training for a marathon.  I walked back to the room and tried to put her down again.  No dice.  I picked her up again and sat, in desperation, outside the bathroom, with tears streaming down my face.  Pitful scene, isn't it?  At that point, Ryan came over and offered to help.  It seems that he'd gotten some sleep and why should he need more than 2 hours of sleep just to run 26 miles?  We compromised and put her in bed with us where, promptly, I fell asleep.  I don't know what she did, but at least she did it quietly.

The next day we watched as our man, on very little sleep, placed 3021st out of over 23,000 runners.  While we waited amongst throngs of screaming people with clanging cowbells, Emma Clare drifted off to sleep.


  1. You're such a fantastic storyteller, Amy. And I love your humour. You need to write a book! And congratulations, to Ryan!

  2. * i'm pretty sure if you had gotten EC a pair of the double-banded booties, she would've fallen asleep. choo choo.

  3. Think of how much more of Boston life you got to see while Ryan and I wasted our time sleeping!