Tuesday, April 29, 2014

2014 Boston Marathon. Kilts, Kisses and Beer. How I ran a 2:45 in sandals with a smile and zero speed work.

Why do I run Boston?

When the L.A. the marathon rolls around those not in the running community tend to bitch and moan  about their Sunday morning being ruined by 10 minutes added to their drive to church or starbucks.
To me the L.A. marathon is nothing special. It's fun, overpriced and owned by a rich jerk who I won't give my money to.

  Unlike the LA. Marathon the Boston Marathon is held on a Monday which happens to be a local holiday commemorating the battles of Lexington and Concord (I bet you didn't expect to learn somthing form this blog) 
How does the city celebrate?

They line up along the streets, this year ONE MILLION STRONG and cheer on the runners with passion like I have never seen in fans of any other race.

Time to pack
Th last 3 races I had worn a Sport kilt in I had won and the last two times I laced up these Luna Venados I set course records.
(Use Sweeney14 to save 10% at Sportkilt.com)
New England isn't exactly known for their produce so I thought I better bring a few avocados as well.

After a red eye to Boston I took the train to Worcester to stay with my friend Heather and her family.
Why don't we start the adventure right here.
Cemeteries seem to be everywhere in Mass.   When ever I go for a run with other people they always  wanna run way faster than me.  I was tired and searched in vain for a Sweeney tombstone to rest my head and soul.
Did I mention there was snow on the ground?  BRRR!

Heather is great host not only did she fill belly with great food ale she also took me the beach in Rhode Island in search of babes?
I've never been to Rhode Island before I wonder what it will be like?
All the babes must have just left. Perhaps I scared them away?
Either that or they froze to death!
Maybe not the beach paradise I was hoping for but still pretty specacular.

Saturday Morning I took the train back to Boston
I stepped off the train at fenway on my way to meeting up with fellow Mas Loco James. and then it was off to the expo for packet pick up
Look how cool we are are?
I finally got a chance to meet Michael Wardian.  This dude would end up getting 3rd place in the masters Division 2:23 and then win the Big Sur marathon 6 days later. Well done dude!

After the expo we decided to walk over to the Commons.
Walking passed the finish line was a surreal experience.  I was about a 1/4 mile away from that spot when the bombs went off last year. If I think about last year I have conflicting emotions.  Part of me gets  very sad thinking about senseless taking of lives while part me remembers the outpour of love and concerns about my safety that' friends and family shared with me when this tragedy happened.
My thoughts from last year
It was a strange vibe being there and not a place I really wanted to hang out at, so we continued on our journey.
Boston Commons.
 It was pretty out but it was also pretty cold.
(what a wimpy southern Californian I am)
I look slightly less shabby than last year

After feasting on an Indian buffet lunch we were off to meet some other  Mas Loco's for drinks at an Irish pub.
Non Vegan Beer  (oh well) I'm loving that fish bladder they use in the filtration.  Even though I have a tattoo of a satyr drinking a Guinness  on my right calf I hadn't had one in years. It was fun night (maybe next time I'll remember to take pictures of my friend's and not just my beer.) I ended up crashing on the floor of James's room.

 It was now Sunday the day before the race and  while James and his wife went off to explore Cambridge I went back to the expo in search of free beer before moving on to a new home.
How on Earth am I gonna finish this giant pour?
Posing with Post.  
This is the dude who started the whole vibram fivefinger phenomena with the aid of Barefoot Ted.  He didn't know me but he knew of me.  Good to meet you Tony and good luck with your new shoe company "Topo"

 I didn't plan on staying in Boston the night before the race but because of safety precautions drop bags would not be driven from the starting line to the finish line (well that sucks)  This meant if I wanted to have my cell phone or warm clothes after the race I would have to leave them at the finish line beforehand.
Lucky for me and boy was I lucky my good friends the Miller's offered me a couch bed in one of the most historically awesome hotels in all of Boston.
Life is good!
View from inside  the clock
I decided to check out the observation deck  This was the first time I ever used one of them fancy binoculars and it didn't even cost a quarter.
They said a pair of Peregrine falcons nest at the top of this building.  I didn't see any but what I did see was the end of the line for the pre-race dinner. It wasn't somthing I necessarily planned on going to but since I was so close I might as well.
After waiting in line for about thirty minutes I was finally to the front. Then all of sudden they shut things down right in front of me? At first I was a little perturbed, then after about 10 minutes out popped the Mayor of Boston, Bill Rodgers, and the head of the Boston Marathon.  Each of them gave a short pep talk and then told us they were going to serve us dinner.
 (my bad timing turned out to be good timing after all)
It was pretty cool getting to meet the mayor. I told him the story of how I for years I thought of Boston Red Sox fans as the most annoying fans in all of sports. Then after running the marathon for the first time 3 years ago.  I had received so much love from those same people on the sidelines that my opinion immediately changed and that I even found myself cheering for the Red Sox the next Day at Fenway Park.

In case you're wondering who has that title of most annoying now it's 3 way overlapping tie  between Dodger, Laker and USC fans.
 (says the Angels, Clippers and UCLA fan)
It was also great to see Bill Rodgers again.  I told him how much I enjoyed his book and how much I liked getting to know his brother last year.  Bill had remembered the conversation we had 2 years ago about the Copper Canyons and wished me luck in the race.

One nice thing about the Boston Marathon is that it starts at 10:30 a.m. This meant I might actually get some sleep and I was in bed by 10.pm.

Race Day
The day got off to an auspicious start. Looking out the window of my hotel the air  was tainted by black smoke?  Thankfully it turned out to be a random truck fire. I was out the door walking over to the the Commons for bus pick to the starting line by 6:15.
I bought this fancy Soleus time piece for the race only $7.99 it has stop watch that would tells both hours and minutes (cutting edge technology I tell you)  It might be the only piece of running gear I have purchased in the last few years.  I didn't know it was gonna be so pink though. Whatever perhaps it will put me more in touch with my feminine side.
 (says the dude about to race in skirt, i mean kilt)

After sitting around the athletes village for what seemed like hours It was finally time to walk down to the starting line.
On my way I passed this sign.  
Free Beer!
It took a few steps for that to register and the next thing I know I 'm walking down to the starting line drinking a can of Miller lite.
(Had they handed me a cigar I would have taken that as well but I was kind of thankful that they did'nt)

Before I get to the race Let me tell you about all the speed work and training  I did in preparation for the marathon.
Zip, Zero Nada.
I pretty much never train on roads or trails for that matter.
My left achilles is still pretty screwed up which wouldn't be too much of a factor during the race since it is mostly down hill.  I'm not sure if I have done even one training run this year where I intentionally ran faster than a 10 minute mile. I've ran a little faster than that in races but in training my average pace is easily over 12 minutes per mile (Soft Sand Beach Running)
Now here I was hoping to Average twice that speed.
(Kid's don't try this at home!)

Last year Boston was the only Marathon I ran and I finished in a whoop dee doo 2:52. Because of that I had a rather high number and was begrudgingly relegated to wave 1 coral 2.

Goals for the race.
I figured I could improve upon last years time.  My plan was to go out fast and take advantage of the downhills. Get some Kisses from Wellesley girls high five some kids and smile as much as possible. Had I really been concerned about my time I wouldn't have been wearing a kilt. I wasn't here to suffer I was here to have fun.

Nothing to it but to do it!
The start off the race for me was very slow (I shouldn't be complaining because it could always be worse) Were going downhill and the pack I am stuck in the middle of  runners who want to run a 6:15 mile? I was hoping for more like 5:15. You see the runners at Boston are a lot smarter than I am. (That's not saying much).  Theses dudes actually care about running a negative split. As for me If my body wants to go fast I'm gonna go fast and if it fails on me  later in the race so be it.

I hit the 5k mark at 19:05, even at that slow pace I was passing people and the crowd started to thin out. The people on the side lines were amazing and I did my best to give as many highfives out as possible, often running across the street out of the pack reaching down to greet small solitary hand.
I was having fun and my speed was starting pick up a little bit.  I hit the 10 mile mark at almost exactly one hour flat.  Which is right where I wanted to be. By this point I had probably given a few hundred high fives and the race was going great. 

The Sport Kilt I was wearing was slowing me down but was oh so worth wearing.  During the race I received countess smiles, maybe 1,000 words of encouragement "Go Kilt Guy!, Nice Kilt Sir! I Love Kilts!" and even three requests from distinguished young ladies to Lift my kilt. 
(Drawing from 2012 but still works)
I was almost to mile 12 which meant time for kisses from beautiful college girls of Wellesley.  Part of me thinks don't stop you're in a race? 
That part of me is and Idiot and I'm not gonna listen to him!!!
How often are the streets lined with girls begging for kisses?  That kind of opportunity only happens once or twice a month and I'm not gonna pass it up.

First up was a cute brunette, much like one in the drawing whom I gave a quick peck on the cheek.
Girl 2 
cute blond wearing a ton of lipstick this time she gave me a peck on the cheek.  You can still see some of her lipstick in this pic taken a couple hours later after the race.

And finally kiss three came from a girl holding a sign "Kiss Me I'm from California."  I gently wrapped my hand around the back of her head and pulled her in for a loving embrace that made me forget I was in a race if fact it's making me blush just thinking about it.

I was having fun my body was holding up relatively well. and I hit the halfway point in 1:19 slower than I would prefered but I like I said before I wasn't here to suffer.

The second half of the race my pace would definitely slow down a bit. Don't get me wrong I was working hard but I was staying within myself. I heard a few "Go Pat Go's" and yells of  "SWEENEY" from both strangers and friends.

Most of the comments  though were directed in admiration to the Sport Kilt.  However my favorite thing I heard was this one girl when she saw my Luna's.
she said in disbelief
She said it a second time in any even more astonished voice before telling her friend.
"That dude is F*#king wearing sandals."

Besides kissing the Wellesley girls I had another tradition I wanted to uphold.  Both of the last 2 years I had grabbed beer from some frat dudes while climbing Heartbreak hill.  I was looking forward to it but to my my dismay they were nowhere to be found this year.
On the plus side I was moving pretty good and the hill wasn't much work. It wasn't until the final few miles that I really had to work hard.   Because I can't really use my left achilles efficiently I had no spring in my stride from that side of my body and became a little jealous of the runners of runners in maximalist shoes. 
Marathons trash my body more than other type of race. I may have still been smiling but I was gritting my teeth at the same time.
I came in down the homestretch cruising along in no hurry in an official time of
650th place.
When I entered the finishers coral people were hunched over in total agony.  I was happy to not be running any more.  Overall I felt pretty good. Not that I wouldn't feel it later but looking around i was moving better than anyone else I could see.  

If you go to Marathonfoto and see the complete set of pics they took of me at the race nearly everyone one of them I'm smiling in.  That makes me happy and proud of the race I ran ass well as very thankful to the people of Boston who put that smile on my face!

My Luna Venado sandals and my Thirty48 calf sleeves  (Code Pat15 will save you 15%) worked great to help me perform and my Sport Kilt  (Sweeney14 saves you 10%) working equally great to help keep my attitude where it needed to be.
Eventually my buddy James finished the race.
"Good job buddy, Let's go have some beers"
James had a flight to catch so we had to drink fast.
While at the pub I overheard a girl at the next table over talking about how she saw a dude running in Sandals.
10 minutes later James had bailed and I had a group of new friends.
Now it was time to go drink beers with the Miller's. Michael Miller is very loving dude sometimes he is a bit too loving :)
Flashback to Mexico 2012
Who am I kidding.  Kimberly and Michael Miller are two of my favorite people and I am very thankful for them taking good care of me. Some times you gotta take what you can get.
The next day it was off to the the train station for one more trip to Worcester 
There I noticed I was on the front page of the newspaper.  Not really, more like page 17.
Before I forget congrats to Meb on the win.  I root for him to win every race.  He's a classy dude and I'm really happy for him.

How do I relax the day after a marathon?
Welcome to the Purgatory chasm.  Nothing like a nice hike through hell to loosen up your legs.

Well this post is kind of coming to abrupt end. so I will end it with some
thank yous.

Thank you to the  Heather Wiatrowski for treating me like part of the family.
Thank you to James Moore for being a better person than I expect (ha ha) and great drinking buddy.
Thank you to the Miller's for your generosity and kindness.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the People of Boston for all the love and support you continue to give to myself and all the other runners,  I am humbled by each and every one of your cheers. 
Stay strong!

Bonus time
Thank you to the people Worcester  for commissioning this rather peculiar statue

Double Bonus

I think I'm in love.
The end

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