Boston Marathon 2014: The Days Before

Kurt and I arrived in Boston late Saturday evening, checked into the hotel in Westborough where we stayed last year and then left to have dinner at a nearby Irish Pub. We opted for a variety of food and washed it down with their craft beer. It was perfect. Somehow, having at least arrived, I felt a wave of comfort. I knew this place. I knew the hotel. I knew the area. The familiarity was calming.

The next day, I awoke early with great intentions. It was Easter Sunday. A day for renewal. I had it in my head that we would get up, have a nice breakfast with a childhood friend and his wife, drive to one of my Blog Reader's churches where I would finally get to meet her and wish her luck on this year's race (she didn't get to finish it last year) and then head into the city for the running expo/packet-pickup.

As my kids would say: Epic fail.

In actuality, we spent a leisurely morning putzing around, didn't really eat breakfast (unless you count the part of a donut that I had bought from our favorite donut guy in Mars), and then headed into the city. I have very poor time-managment and planning skills. Even had someone given me the exact date and time of the resurrection and told me exactly where to be to witness it, I'd have missed it because I would probably want to stomp on more grapes to make extra wine for the after-party and then realize I needed to clean out the wine skins and while doing that see that the hut needed sweeping out and that the Bread still needed to be baked and then notice I was out of flour and so would have to go to the market and, where did I put my sandals again???…..you get my drift.

The Expo was huge and crowded. After picking up my bib number, we ran into a couple from Pittsburgh with their wheelchair bound daughter. Kurt was excited to see a family in both Pittsburgh and Stanford clothing so he stopped to chat. The husband had just completed a month long foot race in Alaska (think Iditarod without dogs.) He was inspirational. In the course of the conversation, Kurt lovingly tried to include their daughter by asking if she was also a runner. She graciously answered that no, she doesn't run. (Um, duh?!)  I refrained from kicking him as he fumbled to recover. But it kept me laughing, over and over again, the remainder of the day so I was grateful.

We entered the Expo, bought an overabundance of race paraphernalia, harassed the HokaOneOne sales guy (because this year they changed the shoes I run in and quite honestly, they stink and even though it wasn't his fault, I figured he could handle it and then he somehow sold me a different pair of shoes….good sales guy!), and then spent some time talking to a young man in the army who runs with a Christian organization. He gave me an orange bracelet that says Boston 2014 WhyDoYouRace.com. As we left the expo to find something to eat (I hear that helps when you are supposed to run a marathon the next day….) I had to admit, the bracelet asked a good question: Why do I race?

After eating our fill, it was back to the hotel for some rest and relaxation where we both pulled out our books. As I was reading I ran across a quote that struck me:

“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.” --Tagore

And it hit me that I had been so focused on my own anxiety and self that I had failed to see the joys in front of me: the delight and excitement of the runners,  the buzz in the city and the unusual peace and quiet Kurt and I had been enjoying. I vowed that after this race, I would make it a point to start helping others more, remembering service was joy. So when we happened to overhear a worried mother looking for a ride to Athlete's Village for her 23 year old daughter, it was a no brainer for us to offer to take her the next morning. It was as if we were in the right place at the right time (and totally eavesdropping) for a greater purpose, one that I truly hope sticks.

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