gratitude-a-thon day 1029: 26.2

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I went to the Marathon on Monday, just like I’ve done for the past 38 years. I guess maybe I’ve missed a few, in fact, I was in Miami with my daughter during the horrific marathon bombing, (which you can read about here and here and here, too) but mostly, I’ve been cheering from the sidelines during at least 35 of them. I have seen it from Park Drive and Beacon, the finish line when I lived on Newbury, Heartbreak Hill, and more recently Washington Square in Brookline. I’ve cheered for friends and acquaintances as they’ve made the trek. I’ve clapped until my hands hurt, and watched until I was nauseous.

Sometimes the weather is cold, so good for the runners, but bad for the spectators, and sometimes it’s hot, which nobody really loves. This year was warmer than ideal, but really nice. I brought my sister, who, despite living in the Boston area for a long time now, had never been! We didn’t stay long, because she was having some pain from a recent surgery. But even though I have been on the sidelines so many times, I still marvel at the guts and athleticism it takes to keep putting one foot after another for 26.2 miles. I always wanted to run this thing, but my running days ended after college, when I found out I had a herniated disc in my low back and had to put away my sneakers. I cherish this event for its soul (and sole). Every year it has stories of hope and help and heart. And whether you’re running or watching, everybody is part of the great tradition that is Boston, baby.

Grateful this historical and iconic race went off without a hitch, a backpack or a misstep. I will always love that dirty water.

 

gratitude-a-thon day 373: Why this year’s Boston Marathon kicked some serious ass

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I’m a day late, but the absolute awesomosity of the Boston Marathon hasn’t left me yet (and yesterday I couldn’t write because I left for Miami at 6:00 a.m.), so here are five things that made this year’s Boston Marathon one of the best days of the year (or any year).

1. There were 36,000 runners (my friend Dan being one of them, who cruised to the end like he was taking a run in the park on a Saturday morning), more than a million spectators, and if you were part of either group (or just watching on tv) you could see that there is so much more good than there is bad in the world.

2. The weather Gods convened and said, “Yes, this day’s weather will be beautiful whether you are fleet of foot, or sitting on your gluteus maximus drinking a cold one.”

3. I saw runners with cameras on their hats, three sets of bunny ears, six tutus, one pink mohawk wig, a man with two blade legs, a man with no hands, a kid on crutches, numerous flag holders from numerous countries, hundreds of “Boston Strong” shirts, and hundreds more with the names of those lost in last year’s bombings emblazoned on their shirts, a blind runner, a disabled runner running with a guide, thousands of charity entrants, moms and daughters, fathers and sons, friends and for the last time Dick and Rick Hoyt. And every one of these people, I realized, had a story. It was emotional.

4. Spectators were excited and supportive and downright nice to each other. There was no jockeying for positions or snarky “get outta my way” looks on the sidelines. We were partners in bringing back the finish line.

5. There was one arrest for disorderly conduct. This thing went off without a hitch. It was everything that last year’s marathon wasn’t. It was resilience, athletic beauty (Rita Jeptoo beat the course record and Meb Keflezighi from San Diego placed first), grit, joy, and a polite fuck you to the ugliness that ground this city to a halt on April 15, 2013. We’re back. From heartbreak hill to Copley Square. This city is back up and running.

gratitude-a-thon day 358: Run, Dan, Run!

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Here’s my friend Dan. He’ll be running for the first time. If you see him, give him an extra clap!

Today is for candy and ham and friends (happy Easter), but tomorrow is the Boston marathon for those of you who don’t know (and you must live in an ancient civilization if you don’t know, because this thing has been on every newsstand, news show and news app there is).  Shouting it out to my friend Dan who is running for the first time. He’s raising money for our town’s teen center. I’m sort of crazy thrilled, for him. I’ve always wanted to run Boston, been a little obsessed with Boston,  but my back, which started giving me trouble senior year of college, gave me a thumbs down, so it’s really fun to experience a friend do it. He has been having a ball with the whole thing. Last year he was signed up to run,  but then promptly broke his ankle. So, this year, he and his rehabbed ankle went out and trained and boom, tomorrow he will be killing heartbreak hill.  He even made it onto the cover of Sports Illustrated this week. GO, DAN!

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Dan is in the lower left corner. Pretty cool to make it to the cover of S.I.

And speaking of the marathon, Mark Fucarile, the bombing survivor who was the last to leave the hospital got married this week. At Fenway Park, no less. Way to go. Gratitude for so much happy.

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Homerun!