Boston Marathon: The Expo and Day Before

by Joanne on April 19, 2011

Second of three posts leading up to the 115th Boston Marathon.

We woke up early Sunday, April 17th.  Swim suits on, we were going take advantage of the Olympic size pool while Sue and Sam went to church. 

As I was sticking my toe in the cool water, trying to decide if I really wanted to get wet and cold at 7 am, a gentleman approached and asked if he could share my lane.  It was my “out”.  I said I wasn’t that thrilled about getting in anyway so “please. take the lane”.   I asked if he swam competitively.  This led to a 15 minute narrative about how he used to swim, had to have an extensive operation, almost committed suicide, recovered, the pain and agony both he AND his family went through, and he just started swimming again, ”JUST 2 days ago”.   My ears were worn out.  I decided to get into the pool…QUICK!

After only a few laps, my hamstring made it’s existence known so it was time for me to stop, read, and watch Ted.

By 8:15 we were enjoying a wonderful breakfast.  Upon entering the restaurant I made a request to the hostess:  “I’m going to ask you for something that is really strange”.  She looked a little skeptical.  “Can you have the kitchen microwave this sweet potato?”  I handed her a large, raw sweet potato. She looked relieved and said “Sure!  I’ve been asked for a lot stranger things than that!”.   I really wouldn’t want to know. 

The hotel offered a full buffet but I stuck to half a plate of fruit, oatmeal with raisins, and nibbled at 1/4 of a bagel.   We were feeling satisfied and I had my potato to snack in hand for the afternoon.  The sweet potato is a great source of potassium and natural carbohydrates as well as satisfying any sweet craving you have. 

While at breakfast, we spoke to the couple next to us.  The young man had run Boston before and gave us some great tips on the Expo.  The gal he was with was a spectator and told Ted where to strategically watch the Marathon and how to meet up with me afterwards.  They also said the Expo was well within walking distance, only 1 1/2 miles. 

It was windy but not too cold.  We walked from the hotel to the Expo enjoying the scenery along the way.  The MIT rowing team were practicing.  There was  a lot going on along the Charles River.


Both Ted and I expected the Expo to be HUGE.  It was big with a lot to offer but not as spread out and large as some we have been too.


Getting in, getting my bib number, my goody  bag, it was all too easy! 

As we went around the Expo, from booth to booth, there was the latest and greatest in food, clothing, and electronics.  We grabbed a lot of freebies.

After walking around for 2 hours.  It was time for some coffee and to take a load off the feet which were getting sore.

Starbucks was calling.  It was over a good cup of coffee that we spoke to some wonderful people about the marathon. 

First, the young college girl from Lawrence, Kansas.  She flew in alone and was staying with a family found on the internet.  There is an organization associated with the marathon (I’m assuming) that hooked her up with a place to stay while in Boston.  Brave, brave girl to run the Boston Marathon for the first time, alone, staying with people you don’t know.  I couldn’t. I wouldn’t.

Second, a couple sat down from Ottawa.  The wife would be running Boston for the 11th time.  The husband, it was his 6th time.  They both enjoyed running marathons when going on vacation as well as competing against each other in triathlons.  Very friendly people and a wealth of information regarding the “BIG RACE” on Monday.

After a decent cup of coffee and the WHOLE sweet potato, we met up with Sue and Sam  at about 12:45.  We wanted to check out the finish line and take a few photos as well as walk to the family meeting area so all of us would know where to go on Monday after the race.


We chose the letter “W” on St. James Street to be our destination on Monday.  At this point, we were really becoming comfortable with the organization of the entire marathon process.

We did a little shopping. Ted and I are venturing into the “barefoot” running zone with the latest and greatest Five Finger Vibrams


I was really surprised Ted wanted to try this.  I’m not completely sold on it and will never go out running with completely naked feet. Both of us are curious as to whether running in the most minimal of foot protection will help our form and our aches and pains. 

Lunch at Legal Seafood (AWESOME!).  Sue and Sam shopped in the Prudential Center Mall while Ted and I had the best lunch.  We both enjoyed skewered shrimp over rice with steamed broccoli. I didn’t have the melted cheese on mine and I also enjoyed brown rice instead of Jasmine rice.  Probably ate too much broccoli but it was so fresh, unadulterated with butter, and so good.

The couple next to us were from Australia, totally exhausted and running the race the next day.  I loved listening to their accents. They had run quite a number of marathons from Australia, Paris, Chicago…she said “It never gets any easier”.  Bummer!

We took a taxi back to the hotel.  My feet were aching and Ted wanted to swim.  He swam and I read my marathon course tips and motivations.

Dinner at Durgin-Park Faneuil Hall Market Place

A 6:30 reservation, we were able to get right in.  I told my three cohorts it was a formal restaurant. Whoops! It was fun and casual.  Great food!  The waitress took a shine to Sam and started calling him “smiley”. 

More cornbread, a little drier and less sweet than the previous night. 


A good salad with oil and vinegar, feta on the side.


The dinners were brought out one by one.  I was the last to be served my seafood over linguine and in too much of a hurry to eat. No picture.

I customized my dish as follows:  Plain linguine with 2 to 3 each of fresh scallops, clams and mussels.  Marinara sauce on the side.  I topped it all with grated ParmesanBland. No butter. Not a lot of sauce. My standard pre-race dinner. No wine either.  Sad smile

We stopped to see a street performer in Faneuil Hall Market Place.  Every vendor and shop was closed.  It was just after 8 pm. 

We took a cab back to the hotel and noticed how beautiful the moon lit city was: 


A big full moon, the Citgo Sign I would be looking for Monday afternoon and the lights of the city reflecting off the water.

The moon of hope, shining bright.  I was ready. 

Don’t you just love city lights at night?

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