Once I was dressed and loaded, Kenton and I dropped Judah off in my parent's hotel room. I hugged my mom and fist bumped my sleeping Dad and headed for the streets with Kenton.
My stomach was in knots the whole ride to Boston Common. I said few phrases to Kenton, one of them coming after a deep swallow.
"I have a feeling I'm going to get my ass handed to me on a plate today."
We laughed, but I meant it. I was nervous and scared.
Upon reaching the common, I stalled as long as I could before getting on the school bus. I had to tell Kenton goodbye. I didn't know when I'd see him again.
I walked through the gated area and found a bus that was still loading.
I walked on and found 1/2 of an empty seat. I squeezed in and made a light hearted comment to the man sitting next to me. "I guess we're all going to make quick friends today."
He didn't speak much English. My joke didn't translate. That was the last we talked the entire ride to Hopkinton. He yakked (in German perhaps?) to his friends in front of us the whole long, long ride.
The sun came up as we rode. I texted and tweeted from my phone along the way. The lady behind me commented that the ride alone seemed long, and lamented my same fears about having to run that distance back. I turned to her and let her know she was in good company.
We were nearly there when the highway sign read "Cape Code 69 Miles." DANG! We were far from the city. My seat mate pointed that sign out to his friends, too. In a thick accent he piped up "CAYYPE CAWD."
Before I knew it, I was leaving the warmth of the bus. We exited at Hopkinton High School and walked into the athlete's village. It was a beautiful but cold morning. All sun and very little wind.
The music was pumping, and the people were filing in. I was one of the first to arrive so the lines were short. I took advantage of one of the empty porta potties. I had 490 to choose from and I knew there were still plenty more buses coming full of runners.
I walked into the tent and decided I needed to set up in the sun, it was really chilly to be in the shade.
I grabbed just a little of the water and Gatorade and set up camp in the damp field. Not thinking ahead I had nothing to sit on. I grabbed an empty box, broke it down and set up camp. I laid on a box for over an hour trying to stay warm. I sent messages back and forth with Kenton, my Dad, and several friends. It was a great way to pass the time. At one point I sat up and realized the field was packed. While I was trying to relax, hundreds more people had piled in.
I got up to get some feeling back in my toes and attempt to wait in a now very long porta potty line.
I had about an hour and a half until my start, so I figured I had just enough time.
I did my business and then slowly started taking my layers off. I waited until I actually got to the baggage bus before I completely took all my warm-ups off. I left the village and watched all sorts of runners in their routines. Plenty of people were using the "illegal" facilities around trees. It was kind of awkward seeing people in all states of dress around me. I found my numbered bus, took off my last layer of warmth and handed my bag in through the window.
I kept one long sleeve tee on. I planned on ditching it and never seeing it again. I began to walk down the barricaded streets. I didn't really know where I was going, I just followed the herd. The crowd got thicker and the noise got louder the closer I got to the start. If it weren't for signs placed very high above the street, it would have just looked like a mob of people.
Kids were already outside their houses, cheering with their really really thick Boston accents.
I found my corral. By this point I was just squeezing through people. I weaseled my way into the back of the 8,000's. It was hard to tell the difference between the crowd, and the corrals. There was a singer singing and then a flyover. It all happened so fast. I was wedged so tight, that I think I pulled off my long sleeve shirt before the gun went off. There were shirts and gloves and bottles and all sorts of runner debris flying to the sides.
I took one last picture with my phone, loaded it to Twitter and Facebook. The man behind me commented on my "very up to date blogging" and I assured him that was my last update for a bit.
*The sights and sounds of my Road To Hopkinton*
The gun went off and I stood still. Over 8,000 people were in front of me and about 6,000 were behind me. Eventually we started moving, then jogging, and then running. I crossed a bright blue starting line and ran under several moving cameras. I heard roars of cheering. This was just the beginning of my very very long road to Boston.