even up to when i woke up this morning at 8:30 i was still thinking about biking into boston to meet up with julie to watch the marathon. but the ominous overcast outside and the fact that a major downpour was forecasted in a matter of hours finally made me decide to take the subway instead. i texted julie with my plan change. after a shower and a tea egg for breakfast, i left the house by 9:30, changing to some warmer layers of jacket once i realized how cold it was outside (temperature in the 40's). everything was fine until we got to park street, then there was the crush of people trying to get close to copley square and its vicinity to watch the race. i arrived in kenmore square by 10:40. there was a bit of security, as bags had to get checked as you exited the subway into the barricaded area (they attached a purple inspected sticker by mine fine off soon afterwards).
i packed just my everyday 18-200mm walking-around lens, with the goal of traveling light. i did think about bringing the 70-300mm lens as well, but i didn't like the idea of changing lenses in the wet, slippery rain, and the 70-300mm is purely a telephoto lens, incapable of capturing anything closer than a 3 ft distance.
we were meeting at the mile 25 mark on the route along beacon street, on a bridge over the mass turnpike and across the highway from fenway park. i'd never seen the race from here so was looking forward to the new scenery (normally i watch it from heartbreak hill, mile 20 in newton). while kenmore square was growing increasingly crowded, there was hardly anyone at this location, especially on the other side of the route, where that stretch of beacon street was entirely closed to traffic.
* the crowds were weird: a combination of seasoned marathon cheerers (with signs and folding chairs and the ubiquitous cowbells), local college students (high density of colleges and universities in the area), red sox fans (coming out of the stadium), and a high degree of people wearing what can only be described as "patriotic" wear (a lot of american flags draped everywhere, maybe because today is patriot's day, local massachusetts holiday in honor of paul revere's ride and the battle of lexington, but also because this marathon has become a symbol of american resiliency following the 2013 bombings). one thing that did surprise me was nobody sporting any 4-20 related marijuana outfits, either spectator or runner.
since i had some time, i walked down as far as park drive, searching for a way to get onto the other side of beacon street. i saw boston police commissioner william b. evans patrolling the route with a bodyguard. we exchanged hi's. he's on television a lot in regards to his role with the marathon bombing trial, and is quite a character, with his lanky build and his boston accent. he seemed to be well-liked within the department, as cops after cops greeted him as he made his way down the route. i got a chance to see the wheelchair divisions crawl up and across the bridge towards boston.
i walked back to the bridge right when julie texted me she was at beacon and maitland, arriving via hubway. she'd also invited another friend as well, who seemed to be back in kenmore square, on the other side of the beacon-commonwealth.
* mile 25 is a good spot, with the boston skyline as a backdrop. a bit windy and raw on the bridge, but warmer further down away. there were also strategically placed port-a-potties for bathroom breaks.
* i didn't realize this, but for the elite runners they have special tables set up at the 25 mile mark for them to pick up their own drinks. it didn't look like they were drinking water; i guess for the final mile, they take a hit of something (energy gel?) that will give them a quick burst of speed for the home stretch.
* after the elite runners went by it began to rain. imperceptible at first, until i realized by jacket exterior was soaked and saw julie and her friend's jackets covered in rain. fortunately i brought my umbrella, which i'd open and close depending on whether or not it was raining. it was never a downpour, but a soft and cold rain that made me wish i was back at home, dry and warm.
* julie got interviewed by a reporter from WBZ 1030 radio, the second time she's been in the media spotlight (she was on the news this past winter for crosscountry skiing in the streets of jamaica plain after a snowstorm).
* there seemed to be a red sox game because we could see and hear the crowd across the turnpike at fenway park. but it must've been delayed or cancelled once it began raining. later i'd find out the game was called after 7 innings with a red sox victory.
* security continued: bomb sniffing dogs combed through the area, and a police officer told julie that she couldn't leave her backpack on the ground but had to carry it at all times.
* chris ran right past us without either of us realizing it. julie only found out because his RFID tag said he was already past kenmore square. so she left to meet him at copley (via hubway), while i left soon afterwards (cold and wet anyway, not worth sticking around any longer) and grabbed the green line from kenmore square. train leaving the station was surprisingly empty, but as we passed copley station (which was closed today), i starting seeing marathon runners sporting those post-race mylar jackets.
* all that standing around really tired me out because i decided to take a nap around 5:30 and didn't wake up until 9:00. i made another simple vegetarian salad for dinner (red leaf lettuce, scallions, celery, onions, chickpeas), this time with some italian dressing. the rain continued, and seemed to be falling even heavier in the evening.