Alternate Title: The Midnight Ride of Taylor!
That’s it then guys! 121st running of the Boston Marathon is over, and the best running day of the year is over. A day which I very nearly greeted with the dawn at the finish line. (Okay, I was asleep before dawn, but not by much!)
I’ve wanted to do the Midnight Ride since I moved back from New York in 2013. I know I’m far from being ready to run the marathon, but I wanted a way to participate in the culture surrounding the event. I also love that it’s a history joke.
As many of you know, the Boston marathon is always held on the closest Monday to Patriot’s Day, which is the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Along with hanging signal lanterns in Christchurch in the North End (more commonly known as Old North Church), three riders were sent by Joseph Warren to Concord to warn the provincial council that British troops were planning on seizing stores of weapons and arrest Patriot leaders. The three riders were Paul Revere, William Dawes, and Samuel Prescott, but Paul Revere is given sole credit in popular culture due to Longfellow’s poem ‘The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere’.
That being the shortest paragraph about history I’m capable of writing (particularly when it concerns Joseph Warren, who is a historical fav), but it clearly illustrates that this was the PERFECT event for me. It’s a combination of my two favorite things! History and physical activity! Though we weren’t anywhere near Paul Revere’s route.
So last night, at about 8:00, I had my brother drive me to South Station, dropped my bike with the volunteers where they loaded it onto a truck, and I returned to the station to await the 10:40 departure to Southborough. The train was. Packed. I’m sure there were some people who were just trying to take the commuter rail and completely taken by surprise by the hundreds and hundreds of cyclists packing the late night Sunday train.
We arrived in Southborough a little after midnight, got all the bikes redistributed and we were on our way! We were initially told not to stop at the start line in Hopkinton, but there were bathrooms and who could resist a couple starting line selfies?
People really went all out with the lights! It was fun. We also saw some unusual vehicle choices, including skateboards and unicycles. I was riding my beat up, hand-me-down mountain bike. I definitely did not feel cool enough to be out there. Also, probably could have been a teeny bit more physically prepared. Or a lot. Whatever.
But I made it back to Boston, and kept up with my group without much trouble. I never thought I’d be so happy to see Boston College. Or the Green Line. But coming after this:
BC was a very welcome sight. That little spike there is Heartbreak Hill, which is definitely a bit. Even though the one at the beginning, leading up to Hopkinton, was clearly harder and I had to stop to walk about halfway up, the second, coming after all those miles, was rough. I ended up stopping at the top for a breather/refuel before we started into the city and to appreciate the fact that 30,000 people would have to make it up that hill to make their marathon dreams come true.
The last six miles passed pretty quickly, though the traffic got a little hairy because most of the streets still weren’t closed. I crossed the finish line just after 3am, after 29.11 miles.
I was surprisingly not that tired yet, so I went to the pancake breakfast held by Boston Common Coffee. Yum!
I was planning on riding home afterward, but cycling is clearly not my strong suit and I don’t think I could have actually made it home without dying. So I ditched my bike at work and took an uber home. (I will have to ride it home tomorrow in rush hour, which I’m not looking forward to.)
(Also, I wonder what that uber driver thought of me? I probably did not smell great, being picked up at a dark church at 4:00 in the morning, wearing leggings, carrying a helmut, and falling asleep in the back of his car. He didn’t say anything. I probably wasn’t the weirdest person to request a ride that night.)
What a night! It was exhausting and I was a bit sore today but it was so much fun and, even though it’s practically nothing compared to the real marathon, it felt really good to take that left and get the Finish Line in sight. And I feel like I have a better context for the course now, so I could picture it better when I watched the coverage on TV today.
I set a recording but I ended up waking up in time to see the elites start around 9:30. (Also meaning I’m probably going to fall asleep at a very early hour tonight.) And that’s all I did today. Sit on the couch, watch a solid 6 hours of marathon coverage. Wasn’t a bad Monday. 😀
Despite my current exhaustion, I would 100% recommend the ridiculously awesome midnight ride. A lot of people thought I was crazy for staying up all night to bike the marathon route, but it was a lot of fun and I’m really proud of myself for making it 29 miles at 2am.
Thanks for reading! ’til next time!