Boston 1991
When I left Africa for the USA I had two running dreams: to run Boston, and to live and run in Boulder. I went to work on the first in 1990 while living in Winston-Salem. Aided and abetted by Judith, her
husband Phil, and the TCTC (Twin Cities Track Club), we began seriously in the winter of 1990.

With the arrogance born of a 2:40 best, and 15 sub-3 marathons in an unbroken streak since 1984, I thought I would easily run 3:10 off
2 long runs. The Charlotte marathon early in 1991 would do fine..
Of course, I received the lesson in humility that the marathon never
tires of handing out: 20 miles in 2:18, finish in 3:30, staggering
and muttering dazed imprecations. Time to fall back and regroup.
The old knee injury that woke up during this ill-judged run didn't
make training any easier. So many dull hours ploughing up and down
in the pool, staring at the black lines on the bottom, gave me plenty
of time to consider my sins of omission.

Early in the year, we went up to the Blue Ridge parkway in the mountains for a training run. Nothing daunted by the ice that made the road up to the parkway impassable, we parked on the verge and clawed our way up. Our faith was rewarded with an inch of fresh dry snow on the parkway, and no ice. We ran for 14 miles in absolute solitude, the Appalachians rolling by us, no sound but the creaking of winter trees, deer tracks in the snow the only signs of life. My knee held up, and running marathons began to seem like a good idea again.

Last chance to qualify for all 3 of us, at the Smoky Mountains marathon in Townsend, Tennessee. This was a wonderful small-town marathon, in cool sunny conditions. Very carefully, I reached halfway in 1:29, then cut loose at 20 miles to finish in 2:57. Judith and Phil both qualified as well. By golly we were on our way. A test 10k two weeks before Boston came in at 35:20. Too slow to realistically attempt a PR, so I decided with some relief on simply running a decent time, rather than pushing to the limit.

We stayed with friends in Concord, in a centuries-old house with a view of Poet's Hill. I lay awake thinking of history, sleeping lightly and
starting up once an hour convinced that I'd missed the start.. no
it's only 2:15 am..

Temperature in the 40's, supposedly ideal, but colder than I liked.
Chilled, waiting for the start, huddled in among the other bodies. The
seeding worked beautifully, after 2 miles I was comfortably running on goal pace. Then the whole 26 miles was an unmitigated pleasure. The Wellesley girls brought me through halfway with a silly smirk on my face, Heartbreak Hill was just a blur of applause. I slowed down on the last mile because I wanted the experience to last longer. The
immense roar from the crowd on that mile left me feeling like a hero
running to a triumph, coming home in glory.