April 25, 2013

On Boston

It's taken me a long time to decide how I would blog about our Boston trip. My heart aches for those who were deeply affected by the tragedy that occurred at the marathon, and my intention is not to gloss over that at all. I just truly loved every minute of my time in Boston, and I want to share what a blessing this awesome city was to us. It's really long, but I'm not sorry.

Friday, April 12th
Several years ago we made a deal with our great friends Caleb and Laurie that if Tim qualified for the Boston Marathon we would all fly out together for the race. It was so exciting for the day to finally come! After landing at Boston-Logan at 1AM and listening to this song a couple of times, we picked up our rental car- Kiki the Kia- and headed to our hotel. We had originally hoped to stay right in downtown Boston, but some friends of ours were amazingly kind to offer a discount at a hotel in Marlborough, which was about 30 miles outside of the city. It ended up being a huge blessing!

Saturday, April 13th
First stop on this day was the marathon starting line in Hopkinton.

It was such a cute little place with lots of marathon pride.

A kind police officer even stopped traffic for anyone who wanted to grab a photo behind the starting line. So nice!

Tim likes to drive through the course before a race so he can get a good feel for what the run will be like. For Laurie and me it meant 26.2 miles of drooling over shaker shingles and colonial architecture. It was a beautiful drive and a great tour of eastern Massachusetts. Once downtown, we went with Tim to pick up his race packet and check out the runner's expo. He lucked out that this year's marathon colors were Liberty blue!

Later we stopped at a spectator's assistance tent that was passing out maps of the course and subway system. We shared with a lady there that we were hoping to get some good photos of Tim runnings at one or two different stops along the course. She looked at us a little confused and reminded us that there would be a million people in Boston on Monday. "Like literally, one million people," she clarified, just in case we thought that was a hyperbole. She kindly helped us look at all the maps and recommended the we ditch the idea of seeing him during the race (which is a straight line) and just drive downtown early in the morning with the hopes of catching a good seat near the finish line. We were starting to wonder if our ambitions were a little naive, but we didn't give up hope right away.

We planned to drive by Fenway on the way back to the hotel, but Boston is not exactly the easiest city to navigate so we ended up in Cambridge saying hello to Harvard University. It was quaint, and lively, and kind of made me wish I was a genius so I could have gone to college there. I don't have a picture of anything in Cambridge, so here's a photo of an awesome church we passed somewhere in between. 

Sunday, April 14th
Sightseeing day! We bought tickets for a Boston trolley tour and it was the best decision we could have made. We got to see tons of toursity things, and learned even more things about the history of Boston because our trolley driver was awesome. We visited Paul Revere's home...

...and the Old North church. I suggested renting Segways and riding through the streets yelling "The British are coming!" but no one else was down.

One if by land, two if by sea.

We saw lots of other really old stuff, which is always awesome...

...and finally got a close-up view of the Green Monster.

Back at the hotel, we decided to go against the previous day's advice and spent the rest of the evening scheming up a way to watch the marathon from several different locations. During our drive through the course we had taken mental note of a few stops that seemed like good places to watch. We spent probably 2 hours pouring over Google Maps and subway routes until we had come up with what we hoped was a solid Tim Fritson groupie game plan: catching him at miles 6, 16, and 25.

Monday, April 15th
We dropped Tim off at the starting line bright and early on the most beautiful morning!

Hoping to beat the mad rush of people, we made a break for it as soon as possible and arrived at our first stop- Framingham. Thankfully we got there just in time...

Apparently we didn't get the memo that Framingham sleeps in for this thing, so we just chilled on the sidewalk for the next 2.75 hours. The people did eventually fill the whole street though, and the atmosphere was one of the coolest experiences I will never forget. Running sports are weirdly emotional for me, so I had that going on, plus the added anxiety that my husband would be passing by in a matter of minutes and what if I didn't get a picture?! Not to mention the race started out with the incredible wheelchair athletes, including the inspiring father-son duo Team Hoyt. (If you don't recognize the name, you must watch this video. Like, now now now.)

I kept my sunglasses on for most of the portion of the race because I was silently weeping like a baby. I would probably watch this race every year for the rest of my life if I could- the anticipation, and encouragement, and joy were just remarkable.

We watched Tim pass successfully just after mile 6 and jetted back to the car as soon as we saw the back of that Liberty jersey. Next stop- Newton. I'm so thankful Caleb and Laurie came on this trip, because they did the driving AND navigating while I just sat in the back seat trying not to throw up from all of the nerves. Thanks guys! We made it to our second destination without a hitch. The streets were definitely line with people this time, but everyone was so nice to let us cut in front to watch Tim run by. 

I'm not sure why that girl is running in jeans and an XXL t-shirt.
We left our car in Newton and hopped on a very crowded subway headed for downtown. The haters said it couldn't be done, but we saw him for the THIRD time after mile 25 (sorry, no picture of that one) and floated on the euphoric Boston Marathon spectator's cloud of excitement to meet up with him after the finish. He did something only 35% of Boston runners do and re-qualified for the race next year! So proud of him!

The unfortunately gross photo you probably saw on the news.
We were nearly back to our hotel when we heard about the bombings at the finish line. It was such a punch in the gut to see this spectacular atmosphere and iconic experience become marred by violence and heartbreak. But my time in Boston taught me that this city is strong, and kind, and resolute. I know without a doubt that next year's marathon will prove this to be true!

P.S- The extent of my photography knowledge stops at Instagram, but Laurie took some amazing photos of our time in Boston. Check them out on her blog here!

P.P.S- For a runner's perspective on the Boston Marathon, check out Tim's blog here!

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