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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Back from Boston - brrr what a freezer!

We've just returned from a few days in Boston, US, where John ran the Boston Marathon. It was his 15th marathon and #8 in the "tick box" list of top 10 marathons. Just Chicago and Amsterdam left!

The weather was dreadful the whole time. Dire warnings had been issued for marathon Monday (Patriot's Day). Record levels of rainfall were expected. Icy winds. Runners were warned to dress up and how to avoid hypothermia. John left for the buses to take the runners to the start, a long way out from Boston, at six in the morning. It was raining then, and the runners got cold and wet waiting. Once the race was underway, the rain more or less stopped and the wind was not too bad. With temperatures around 50 fahrenhait, it was better for running than hot weather.

John came in at less than a minute outside his personal best, which for the weather conditions was very good: even the elite runners all finished up to six minutes slower than normal. He was very pleased with his run: all the training with the Orion Harriers the past year had paid off and he didn't struggle at Heartbreak Hill or hit the wall.

The photo I took of him in the park, overlooking the swan boats, was after the marathon as we wearily walked back to the hotel. By then it was very cold, which you can see from his face and "apparel." It's quite wearisome for me even though I don't run. I usually try to whiz around the town on the underground, wherever we are, to try to take pictures, but this time because most of the marathon was outside of Boston, and because of the weather, I went to the finish with other spectators whose partners were in the sports party with us. I shot some camcorder footage of John finishing but I'm no Pedro Almodovar so heaven knows what it will be like.

As for Boston itself, we did a "duck tour" (John is pictured driving the duck along the river) and a two hour trolley bus ride, and inevitable shopping. Boston has history and they seem proud of it. I was very taken with the gas lights that stand in the Beacon Hill area. I tried to take some pictures at night but the slow exposure was a disaster. Fortunately I was able to buy some decent pictures so I can use them to make a scrapbook page.

Food-wise, it's never a gourmet's delight on a marathon weekend because of the relentless carb stacking. But we did find a gem of a restaurant, Antonio's, not far from our hotel in Cambridge Street near Government Centre. It was small but very lively and busy, filled with locals, and mega decibels of conversational shouting. The pasta dinner, organised free of charge for the runners with partners paying $20, was a bit of a washout. In freezing temperatures and rain we were herded into the adjacent big top to queue, and as you would expect for mass catering, the pasta was fairly solid and congealed. I'm putting my foot down on pasta dinners, feasts, whatever they want to call them. From now on we're going to a civilised restaurant like Antonio's! After the marathon, we went to an Irish pub, Kinsale, and a jolly time was had with plenty of steaks and Guinness. My steak was the equivalent of £10 but far better than the £28 steak I had in Smiths of Smithfield.

Next stop is Amsterdam - John has already signed up for that one in October. Right now, glad to be back in blighty to enjoy some of the nice weather. Ironic to think that the Rotterdam marathon was abandoned because of the heat while Boston's marathon was shivering in the rain and wind!

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