I’m not feeling well. I traveled over the weekend, and it appears I’ve brought back some type of viral infection. At times my joints ache, and I’m overcome with fatigue. My body temperature swings wildly, often culminating in excessive sweating. This leads to a nearly unquenchable thirst and a persistently dry mouth. After doing some research online, it appears these symptoms can last for months, sometimes years depending on the severity. I’ve come down with a virus called the marathon. This virus is highly contagious, as over 30,000 people were displaying all the classic symptoms on Monday April 17th.
To be honest, I went to Boston this past weekend, with the expressed hope of catching the virus. In the weeks leading up to our trip, I could feel some of the symptoms beginning to appear, but I didn’t want just a mild case, I wanted to experience the marathon virus in all its full blown glory.
On Saturday the 15th, as my wife and I arrived in Boston, I began to see signs of the virus all around town. The Boston Athletic Association, possibly working in cahoots with the Centers for Disease Control had placed signs on trees and poles over a 26 mile swath of the city.
On Sunday the 16th, as my wife and I explored the city for our morning workout. I followed the viruses path from our studio apartment in Brookline out to the town of Newton. From there, I turned and explored the area where the virus has overwhelmed many a past victim. The area is called Heartbreak hill, and I could sense the strength of the virus exacting a psychological toll. Needing a diversion, I turned and explored the campus of Boston college, enjoying it beautiful stone buildings and listening joyously as I ran past a cathedral celebrating Easter morning.
Later that afternoon, my wife and I hoped to play tourist for a bit, and stay clear of the virus, hoping to ward off its compulsive symptoms of excessive exercise, and healthy eating. Those already infected were marked with special blue and yellow clothing adorned with the mark of the unicorn – carrier of the disease. We saw sick individuals on nearly every street, as we walked along the historic freedom trail. We stopped for lunch at an Italian eatery, and were seated next to a women who was fully experiencing everything the marathon virus had to offer. As I devoured a lobster roll, crab-cake, and shrimp brushetta, she consumed a light salad, clearly concerned about the next flair-up of symptoms.
There is no way to treat the symptoms, though running will suppress them for a bit. Armed with this knowledge, I set out Monday morning (Marathon Monday) is search of the famed Charles River path. As is often the case in a new city, I quickly became disoriented. Seeing a idle bus, I stopped to ask the driver for guidance, in a city of runners, its nice to receive simple instruction as opposed to “you can’t run there from here,” nonsense. I met the river via Market Street, and followed the path back towards the city. It soon became apparent that I wouldn’t be turning around to re-trace my steps, but rather would be creating a loop of some kind. I hadn’t really examined the map for this portion of the run, but I sauntered onward. After an hour of running, I accepted a bridge’s invitation to cross the highway and head back into the city. In these circumstances, luck tends to be on my side, and I quickly found the marathon course and was following Beacon Street back to my apartment.
Fortunately, another symptom of the marathon is hunger, so I consumed an egg sandwich, and was re-fueled for the day. We packed up, and set off on a stroll with our luggage. Our car was off on some side street, about a mile away, conveniently located to the south of the marathon route, allowing us to exit the city without the difficulty of roadblocks. Luggage stowed, we headed to mile 23 to watch the race, grabbing a burger from a sidewalk barbecue on the way. Soon, we were cheering as wheelchair racers rolled past, soon to be followed by the elite females, and then the elite males. Unfortunately, both the men’s and women’s athletes were already separated by this time. My wife attempted to get some pictures as I cheered wildly, inspired by athletes running 5 minute miles for hours on end!
Soon the course became a river of humanity, we tracked athletes online and searched the masses as they approached. At this time, I began practicing my math skills, as the online tracker gave the athletes position in kilometers, while the course was marked in miles, my mind was stimulated. We had about 10 athletes to track, and enjoyed seeing most of them. Sadly, my wife’s friend, who was the inspiration for the trip, snuck past, leaving us a bit bewildered, had I been converting kilometers wrong this whole time, and disappointed.
As we headed back to the car, and our drive home, I committed to completing this race in the future, a new goal was born.