Even before I officially qualified and got a number to run Boston, I've come to the Expo every year for the past nine years! Nothing beats squirming your way through the way over-crowded show room floor for bite size freebies and hyper-marked-up Boston Marathon gear! Damn right I'll do it again next year!
Fil, Rachel, and myself left Lowell around 10AM, hoping to get down there, get our number, get some gear, grab some grub, and get back home for the Phil Riley Memorial run. Wishful thinking.
The weather was crummy and the driving was worse. Traffic was light, but it was painful once we got into Boston proper. Instead of trying to find parking and all of us walking over to the center, I decided to just drop off Rachel and Fil at the Hynes, and let them pick up the bib numbers, and wander about while I battle the locals for parking. I've done it all before, and I wanted Fil to get the full experience of price gouging without feeling rushed.
I drove around for 15 minutes before I found a metered spot about a 10 minute walk from the expo. It doesn't get much better than this in Boston.
My phone decided to crap out on me before I got back to the expo on foot, so there was no way I could get in touch with Rachel and Fil by phone to coordinate a meetup inside the packed gathering. Rachel didn't have her phone on her and I never bothered to remember Fil's phone number (I don't even know my own number!), so borrowing a stranger's phone was also out of the question. I was running out of luck and patience quickly. As everybody knows, there's hot and then there's Marathon Expo hot. Temps outside were in the mid 40's, while temps inside the congested aisles were close to double that!
Fortunately, I remembered that Fil wanted to buy everything in sight since this was going to be his first Boston. With Rachel next to him, there was no doubt they were looking at clothing and that was exactly where I managed to find the two amigos, creidt cards still unswiped. Phew!
I (as in my credit card) managed to leave the checkout area relatively unscathed, with only the purchase of this year's marathon jacket. FYI, the one year that I didn't buy an official marathon jacket (2007) I was unable to finish the entire race.
We stuffed every article of clothing we had brought, and bought, into the yellow BAA bags, nearly ripping them in the process. Too bad Jessica C. had to learn this lesson the hard way...by giving her bag to Fil!
Speaking of GLRR members, I only managed to run into three other GLRR members, but Fil and Rachel had better luck, running also into Jessica and Scott.
We left shortly after checking out a couple of the vendors and grabbing some practical freebies (like those mountain climbing clips that, engraved on them, warn you not to use them for climbing!). Before reaching the exit we came across the Sam Adams Beer booth (beer at a runner's convention? Go Figure!). They were handing out some coupons for their special pint glasses, but it could only be redeemed at their gift shop/brewery. The address on the coupon indicated that they were located somewhere in Boston...
...and off we went, to the last place I thought I'd be today, the Sam Adams Brewery! According to my GPS, they were located only 3 miles away! When in Boston...
When we got over there, after cutting through some seedy looking neighborhoods, we could barely find any parking, and there was a line out the door for the brewery tour! Apparently, everybody else was cashing in on the coupons too.
We waited in line for about 10 minutes, and then another 10 minutes once we got inside. In the end all three of us got the very special, and very cool, pint glasses (valued at 8 bucks a pop!). It was actually a lot of fun getting there, being there, and getting the heck out of there.
We didn't get back to Lowell until about 2PM, so there was nothing left to do but plan our required run for the day. Fil came up with the brilliant idea to start today's run at 11:30PM, finish around 11:55PM, take a 5 minute break, and then start the next day's required run at 12:01AM! Genuis! This would have given us a full Sunday to rest up for Boston.
When reality finally set in, there was no effin' way I was going to put in a 10K at midnight, around Hudson, NH, let alone Lowell, MA! I wanted to be alive for Boston 2010!
Fil eventually put in his run in Hudson around 5PM, and I at 6PM around Lowell.
This was all before the Bruins pulled of a nice win, the Sox completed their suspended game from last night (lost), started their regularly scheduled game (lost, again), and the Celtics winning their first playoff game! Is this heaven?
I've decided to give my Boston number to Homer Simpson:
(Homer staring up at Heart Break, or is that Heaven?)