I don’t know what my problem was this morning. I procrastinated for an extra 15 minutes before I finally left my apartment and started my run. Why? Because I was nervous to attempt today’s 18 miler alone.
I am very well aware that I have been spoiled training for my last 6 Boston Marathons with the Run to End Alzheimer’s team. I never have to think about when or how I’ll get water throughout my run. And time passes so much quicker with a few running buddies to swap stories with each week. But with most of the team running the half marathons in Hyannis or Hampton this weekend, there was no organized team run this Saturday.
I did run 15 miles by myself on a treadmill last weekend. But that was different. There was no ice for me to slip on. My water bottle was stashed nicely in the cut out on the “dashboard.” And if something happened at Mile 8, I was not stranded miles from home; I could simply get off the treadmill.
But I eventually made it out the door. My boyfriend offered to meet me at around Mile 8, which would be right near Boston College and bring me some water to relieve one of my worries. I had something to look forward to (almost) midway through my run, and my hydration concerns resolved, so it was time to go.
My first 3.5 miles from home to the corner of Washington Street and Comm Ave in Newton were a little dicey. Poorly shoveled sidewalks kept me in the on the roads and led to several tight squeezes between snow banks and oncoming traffic.
But as soon as I turned the corner up the first of the Comm Ave hills, I felt silly I ever worried about running alone today.
The carriage road was painted with neon clothed runners and charity team logos like the Marathon Coalition and Dreamfar. In the miles between the Newton firehouse and Cleveland Circle, I shared hellos, hugs or high fives with at least 10 running friends.
But even among those I had never met before, there was a sense of community, of a Boston running community, present along the marathon course today. Early in my run, while the roads were still a bit icy, runners would shout to those behind them to look out for slick spots. Runners coming towards me several times warned me of upcoming slippery patches they had just passed.
Runners were not the only ones out this morning either. Volunteers staffed water stops all along Comm Ave to help keep runners hydrated. Staff from the running store True Runner were out pouring water and Gatorade for runners.
The Newton Firefighters offered water and laughs as I struggled through the middle of today’s run. Even when these guys are not handing out water, the restroom and water fountain inside is a regular stop for many runners. I should seriously bake these guys cookies or something to say thank you for the number of times I’ve stopped there.
And the Heartbreak Hill Running Company’s Heartbreak Bill was a photo favorite for many runners stopped at the traffic light at Centre Street.
I don’t know why I was so concerned to start. Today’s weather didn’t hurt the turnout, but for the next 8 weeks, the marathon course will be full of runners. As I told a friend after my run, it’s that time of year again. For residents of Comm Ave, it might mean pulling out of their driveways takes a bit longer these next few weekends. But for Boston runners, it’s one of the best parts of having the marathon in our own backyard. Even on a solo run, you don’t have to run alone.
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