Life After Boston

After this great epic adventure, I have landed back in the world of the mundane. I find it odd that thousands of people no longer line the streets to cheer for me. It’s a tough adjustment. Please allow me to fill you in on a little of what’s gone down since the 118th running of the Boston Marathon.

The Rest of Race Day

We left off the last blog post with Matt, Jay, and me finishing the 2014 Boston marathon. I bent over in an attempt to catch my breath when the photographers snapped this photo. In my opinion, this picture is just a little too much like the photo that spawned the JITFO movement:

Eerily reminiscent of the 2012 now famous JITFO pic.

Eerily reminiscent of the 2012 now famous JITFO pic.

I was wiped. Kaput. Finito. I sucked at the air like a newly caught fish that some fisherman cruelly threw to the dock. As we walked down the finishing chute, I started to get a little dizzy, and as I have been known to say, felt a little “passie outie” – the fuzzy blackness, complete with stars, started to creep past my peripheral vision. Those of you that have passed out before know that if these two black bands of darkness, which start at both far sides of your vision, meet in the middle, you will lose consciousness. I fought to prevent this from happening.

I told Matt and Jay, “Guys, I’m a little dizzy, feeling like I could pass out. Keep an eye on me.” I didn’t make it this far only to pass out face first on the pavement in Copley Square – I valiantly shook it off.

Volunteers handed each of us a finisher’s medal and thanked us for running the race. “Thank YOU!”, I said. After all, they were the ones standing in the sun all day and touching people’s sweaty necks and faces! Not a lot of praise being handed out for that job, but I was grateful.

Then a photographer snapped this pic:

From left to right: Matt, me, and Jay. 2 former residents of Wilmore and a future resident of West Blvd. with Boston Marathon finishers medals.

From left to right: Matt, me, and Jay. Two former residents of Wilmore and one future resident of West Blvd. with three Boston Marathon finishers medals and one PARTY fanny pack.

Someone put the awesome space blankets around our shoulders and we continued down the chute which was starting to feel nearly as long as the race itself. Someone else handed me a pear and a protein drink and it seemed like a good idea to consume both. My stomach disagreed.

I was a little sad when the companions who had accompanied me for the last three and a half hours departed. But my love should have been finishing her own epic race shortly so I set off to park it at the agreed upon meeting place, a tree near the baggage tents.

The race had dumped me into Boston Common from a different angle than I had anticipated and the hard running for some 3.5 hours had left me quite long-run loopy, a state I’m sure some of my fellow distance runners out there are familiar with. But I somehow managed to find the baggage tents, claim my bag, and eventually I even located the meeting place tree.

I took the towel from my bag and used it to wipe away the sweat, or rather the salt mines that had now formed on nearly every inch of my exposed skin – I felt like I was a victim of a drive-by from the little Morton Salt girl (aka a slug’s worst nightmare). I plopped down and leaned against the tree and watched and listened as thousands of recent finishers milled about the common.

After maybe thirty minutes or so, I started to worry a little, but when I feebly attempted to do the math, I realized Laura wasn’t late yet. And then right on queue, she walked up. We laughed as we recounted how both of us had narrowly missed re-qualifying (that’s how you know it was Boston – there would have been no laughing about this at any other race).

I started to get up when my left quad cramped. Then my left calf joined it. Then the hamstring. Suddenly, I was in agony – I glanced down and watched while the various chords of muscle in my left leg all knotted around, this way and that – it was like watching a bunch of snakes trying to wrestle under my skin. The pain was excruciating and no matter where I moved or what I tried to stretch, any movement just seemed to trigger new cramping. I got nauseous and now, in addition to trying to fight off cramping, I struggled to avoid vomiting. I couldn’t stand up.

Laura took off and found some medical personnel who loaded me onto a golf cart and hauled me off to the medical tent. Two times running the Boston marathon, two times in the medical tent.

The EMTs in the tent were compassionate and professional. As I continued to try to fight off the cramps, the doctor came over and recommended I get some salt in me. He handed me a little bag of trail mix and I ate some. Uh-oh. I told Laura, “That was a bad idea” and shoved the bag at her as I turned away while my stomach decided to empty itself of all contents. Ah, deja vu, you cruel Boston jester. I puked and puked until there was nothing left to puke. And then I felt oddly better. Laura, never losing her sense of humor, called her nephew over to help her stage this funny photo op at my expense:

Laura's nephew helps her poke fun at her boyfriend's tragic condition. If you're wondering why I'm wearing jeans, it's because I left the only sweats I had in Hopkinton.

Laura’s nephew helps her poke fun at her boyfriend’s tragic condition. If you’re wondering why I’m wearing jeans, it’s because I left the only sweats I had in Hopkinton.

I kid around but Laura was a trooper through all of this – she wasn’t exactly feeling chipper herself after running a marathon of her own, and yet she sat by my side for well over an hour as we waited out the cramps and nausea.

My blood pressure, frighteningly low when I entered the tent, gradually climbed back into the normal range. And eventually, I felt well enough to make the quarter mile walk back to our condo. We recruited Laura’s brother-in-law Jason to walk with us, ostensibly to catch me if I were to start to go down.

But I didn’t. I made it back without incident. We spent the next few hours hydrating and watching a recording of the race. It was incredible to see Meb drop the world’s best and to become the first American since Greg Meyer in 1983 to win Boston.

After drinking water and seltzer and Vitamin Water for a couple of hours, I felt like a new man. We headed to the post-race party at Fenway where we claimed our free Sam Adams 26.2 Brew and hung out with some of the Charlotte fast kids – Matt, Adam Mayes, John Compton, Mike Mitchell, and David Brinkley. I made some joke like “Raise your hand if you beat your personal course record by over an hour and a half”, raised my hand, and got a chuckle from the gang. In their defense, they had quite a head start on us in the alcohol drinking department, so maybe the beer helped make the lame joke seem almost funny.

We wanted to go to the other post-race party at the House of Blues, but the line stretched about a quarter of a mile out the door. Forget that. Instead, we hit a nearby bar where I didn’t feel the least bit guilty when I ordered, and subsequently rapidly consumed upon their arrival, some dozen buffalo wings. Wen and Brad showed up, as did Dan Matena and others, so we had a good time hanging out until we were so exhausted that we had to go back to crash. Hard.

I slept like the dead that night. The next day, we took the world famous Duck Tour around Boston with Laura and her sister’s family – it was a grand time.

That night, we hit the Hong Kong Boston bar with the Crockfords, where we enjoyed the hilarious karaoke, and where we fought off the waitress’ desperate attempts to coax us into singing. Apparently, her claim to fame is that she is the first person in history who wanted to run the Boston Marathon to train for Tough Mudder. Until she found out about that pesky little qualifying business, that is.

This photo was taken by a woman who claimed she wanted to use the Boston Marathon to train for Tough Mudder. Um. Okay?

This photo was taken by a woman who claimed she wanted to use the Boston Marathon to train for Tough Mudder. Um. Okay?

And that’s it. Now I’m back on the Death Star doing whatever it is they pay me to do. Sigh. If anyone would like to hire a lame amateur writing hack to tarnish the reputation of your publication, please let me know. Have running shoes. Will travel.

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