Thursday, April 19, 2012

Traveling with the Team

I have a glimpse of what it would be like to travel with an athletic team. Not a group easily recognizable by 90% of Americans, but maybe a team locally known but somewhat recognizable by a wider subset of people.

The security line on the way to Boston was filled with people wearing five-fingered shoes, carrying workout backpacks with gels stuck in the outside pockets, studying the latest weather forecast for Monday in Boston. Which got worse every day, by the way. But more on that later.

One piece of luggage took longer than the others to get through the security screening. Lindsey and I stood there and patiently waited and waited for it to come through, and finally the TSA agent, who was looking at the contents of the bag on his screen, looked and us and said, "What are you doing with cowbells in your luggage?" He smiled as he let the luggage finally slide all the way out to where we could reach it.

We had a layover in Chicago, and nearly everyone on our flight to Chicago had a final destination of Boston. We ran into other people from Wayne's running club who also had layovers in Chicago....but were not on either of our flights. The airport was filled with people wearing blue and yellow finisher jerseys from prior years, or with the orange and black gear from the 2012 marathon.

Reverse this on the way back.

Everyone's big event is complete. Even more orange and black or blue and yellow is seen throughout the airport. From the security line to the shuttle bus to the people sitting in the terminal, anybody would come up to someone else wearing the colors. The camaraderie was incredible.

"How'd your run go?"

"Congratulations on your run."

"How was the heat?"

Oh yeah, back to that.

The week before we left for Boston the forecast for race day was a high of 78. Unseasonably warm, but doable.
Crowd shot of runners and spectators at mile 17.
A few days later it was adjusted to a high of 82. Then 84. Then eventually 87. Only on Monday, of course, it was going to be a bit cooler the day before AND after actual race day.

Wayne's hopes of running a fast race went out the window. He adjusted his plans, wisely, to simply enjoying the experience and stay hydrated.

Wayne at mile 17, grabbing some coconut water and ice.
He completed the race in 4:04, his slowest marathon ever. It was 84 degrees at the start and 89 degrees at the finish. But he finished on his feet and was able to function later in the day, which was more than others could say.

Wayne said that some of the best help on the course came from the spectators. For much of tbe race the runners are going through small towns, running right in front of people's houses. They were setting their sprinklers out to spray the runners, handing out oranges or popsicles or beers. (Not that the beer would help hydrate runners, but at least you wouldn't CARE you were in the med tent.) Where we were standing at mile 17, homeowners had pulled out their garbage and recycling cans for everyone to pitch into.

It was fantastic to be a part of something so big, even if from the sideline.

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