It’s hard to explain to people who’ve never lived here, but the Boston Marathon is a BIG DEAL. Sure, everyone knows about last year’s bombing, so they know we want to support our runners more than ever this year, but it was a really BIG DEAL before that, too.
When I was a kid, many years we’d stand along the route and cheer on the runners. I knew they were doing something BIG, but I didn’t understand how BIG it was until I got a bit older. As an adult, I cheered on the strangers and often people I knew, too. I haven’t gone every year, especially since I didn’t always live in Boston, but I’ve gone most years that I’ve been in town.
Last year I skipped the marathon because I just didn’t have the energy. I was sad to miss it, but I didn’t feel like I had a choice. It was just too much. And so I was at my parents’ house when I got a phone call from a relative who wanted to talk about the bombing that we hadn’t even heard about yet. We spent hours glued to the tv, calling and texting everyone we knew who might be at the finish line.
But this year is different. I’m by no means “healthy,” or even back to where I was just a few years ago. Still, I think I could manage to watch for just a little bit. The thing is, I can’t be sure, and so I didn’t make plans with friends to go watch it, and going alone is boring, but I might do it anyway. There are new security restrictions because of last year, so I’m thinking about how I could avoid bringing a backpack. My meds fit in my purse, I can carry water bottles in a plastic bag, maybe I can bring lunch in disposable containers…. I’m planning and plotting, trying to figure out how it could work. I need to protect myself from the sun, stay warm, drink lots of water, and eat a healthy lunch. And I need to make sure I don’t expend too much energy in getting to and from the spot I’ll watch from (whereever that may be.)
So this year, like so many others in the past, I’m hoping to watch at least a bit of the Boston Marathon. I just hope I can do it without wearing myself down too much.
For those who are wondering, I did end up spending about 45 minutes at the marathon. Some of that was sitting, some was standing. I would have liked to be there a bit longer, but overall I think it was about right. My one mistake was clapping when I cheered the runners – I always forget just how painful clapping is!