Sunday, June 23, 2013

Still Boston Strong

Sunday morning was the Boston Marathon BAA 10K, a race that Andrew and I signed up for in the weeks immediately after this year's Boston Marathon.  We knew it was going to be a special event, and the day - and the BAA and the city of Boston - didn't disappoint.
We started with a warm-up run UP Beacon Hill
Past the State House, marked by support for tonight's Boston Bruins Stanley Cup game 
On the Boston Common, the start and finish of the race, we met up with fellow MCC colleague and E Streeter Gina Spaziani.  Not sure if she was hanging around the Boston Police cruiser or the porta-potties behind us. 
The theme of the day, which could be found on tee-shirts, posters, and announcements all along the course, was, of course, Boston Strong. 
In the starting chute, waiting to start, Andrew and I, along with 5,400 other runners, get ready 
Here's who's in front of us 
And here's who's in back.  Yikes! 
Not a Supermoon, but a SuperSun bearing down on us and Old Glory at the start 
And they're off!  Andrew was quick to leave his old man in his dust 
Heading inbound from Boston University, back toward Kenmore Square 
Afterwards, Andrew enjoys the spoils of the post-race feed.  Here, he gets to the core of his post-race apple. 
Endurance?  Yeah, we've got that 
Afterwards, we bumped into Greater Lowell running legend Kara Haas, who once again, cleaned the clocks of most runners in the race.  She's super-human, and a super person, to boot! 
Finally, before we headed home, Andrew and I decided to stop by the spot where we were at 2:50 p.m. on Monday, April 15, the day of this year's Boston Marathon - Copley Plaza, just a few hundreds yards from the marathon finish line.  It was my first trip to this tribute, and the first time I got to go back with the man who had been standing next to me when that fateful first bomb exploded behind us that afternoon.  Andrew decided to leave something at the memorial, which is being taken down tomorrow - his bib number from the BAA 10K. 
I added mine alongside his. 
Really, it was a pretty moving experience.  Put quite a bit into perspective.  It actually seems like a type of hallowed ground to us now. 
Andrew added another piece of running gear, our Annie's Army tee-shirt, in honor of Jackie's sister Annie, who indirectly helped save Jackie and Heather from harm that afternoon because they changed their normal finish line viewing location from where they normally stand - the site of the first explosion - in order to be able to visit her at the hospital. 
A staggering amoung of baseball hats fill the memorial 
And really, one of the most powerful displays at the memorial were the hundreds of pairs of running sneakers tied to one another along the metal stanchions.
All in all, a incredibly reaffirming day.  Reminded us of how lucky we are to run, and how proud we are to be part of the worldwide assemblage of people who enjoy running and appreciate the options afforded us to run free in New England.
A fabulous race in which to participate, and an unforgettable experience with my son.
More than two months later, the city still stands Boston Strong.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bush League

This weekend was the Middlesex Community College Celebrity Forum 2013, this year featuring Former First Lady Laura Bush, being interviewed by her daughter Jenna Bush Hager, and there were E Streeters in the House, the White House, that is, for this event!
First up, were two of the most beautiful ladies in the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, Heather and Courtney!
Middlesex has had a hefty roster of guests in the 15 years of the college's premier fund-raiser, and I've been honored to be a part of the picture, working behind the scenes with my colleagues at MCC to help put together a top-notch event.
This year's guests travelled with a Secret Service contingent because of their White House credentials.  Trust me, the lug to the right in this pic is NOT Secret Service.  Secret Squirrel, maybe.
MCC Prez Carole Cowan presented new mom Jenna with a custom-made onesie for her newborn, Margaret Laura "Mila" Hager, courtesy of Mike Kuenzler and  our buds over at All Sports Heroes in Lowell.
A couple of family line-ups from the photo line, as well as several members of the MCC crew and the extended E Streeters family
After the show, Mrs. Bush and Mrs. Hager said their goodbyes to President Cowan, once again, under the watchful eye of Secret Squirrel
Back out on the LMA floor, it was time for some candids, courtesy of photographer Kevin Harkins, of
First up, my beautiful family, looking terrific as always, and once again making me proud as all heck.
Also looking dapper in the crowd was the Spence clan
The Lowell Police Academy staff was in the House, too, not just taking in the show, but lending a hand with the security plan for the night.  Thanks also to all the other folks from LPD for their great work, as always!
In a surreal moment of the night, this jamoke got to take his picture in front of the stage's bookcase, which just-so-happened to feature a couple of books penned by someone familiar to readers of this blog.
Great job by President Cowan, who stopped by to thank the family for joining the evening
This guy here, Dennis Malvers, is the brains behind the night, paying attention to details that most normal mortals wouldn't even think of during the span of a normal week.  He's a workhorse for this event, and it shows year-in and year-out.
And finally, the guests are gone, the desserts are being served, the show's over, so take a bow everyone, that's all folks!

Friday, June 14, 2013

An Impressive Lineup

Father-son night at the Red Sox game, and it turned out to be a star-sutdded one at that.  Emphasis on stud.  Took Andrew in for a night game, and after a quick visit to see Annie over at Brigham and Women's it was off to Yawkey Way for the main event - a sausage sub for Andrew, natch, not the baseball game.
So there we were, Andrew had been craving a sausage all day, so we stopped at El Tiante's to grab one, and lo and behold, who was there, but the main man himself.  Of course, as readers of this blog know, I couldn't resist, so I had Andrew pose with the Sox legend. (Note the foot-long Cuban cigar in his shirt pocket.)
As we walked away, to put age in perspective, Andrew said, why did you want me to take my picture with the cashier?  He had no idea who the Sox legend of the 1970s was, though he would soon see Luis Tiant on the jumbotron as part of a Red Sox history montage.  But I thought it was still nice of Andrew to have posed so happily with who he thought was a vendor.
And for the record, Andrew got his sausage sub.  Me, I went with the Cuban sandwich.
Inside fabled Fenway, great seats await.
The son and the skyline
And since there's ALWAYS a Lowell connection, who do I bump into but my friend, former Lowell PD Captain and current Fitchburg Police Chief Bob DeMoura.  Don't be surprised so see his name popping up elsewere in the near future.
Time to head out of Fenway, so we can get home to watch the Bruins game
But not before one more stop, and yet another reunion of friends.
 Time for a quick hello with Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, and retired State Police Lt. Robert Long, who would end up being the first witness to testify in the state's case against accused mobster James "Whitey" Bulger 
To REALLY make us feel old, the three of us had worked on some of the same cases, albeit from different perspectives more than 25 YEARS AGO!.  Ugh.
Still, great times, great friends, great father-son night, great baseball.
Yep, life ain't just good, it's great.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Covered Me

A great weekend interrupted by a hellacious two-hour run.  That's pretty much how the E Streeters described the ungodly-hot Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Queechee, Vermont this year.
Shades of last year's Boston Marathon temperatures, though truthfully, there wasn't a heck of a lot of shade to accompany the 86 degree temps at the race start.
Here we are, with Andrew proudly representing the Boston Police Department, me, Mickey Mouse.
Somewhere in this crush of humanity are Tommy and Sean.  They'd quickly move up their pole position. 
At Suicide Six, the Felonious Five 
And they're off!  Andrew laughs at Sean's early attempt to keep pace 
The view from the middle of the pack 
Father-son foot race. Within moments, we'd split up, not to see one another for another two hours.  Guess which one of us made his move? 
This is the guy everyone should have been watching out for.  Mountains do indeed, do funny things to a man.  Like make him run like a madman. 
Clearly, it was the performance-enhancing tunes being piped into his head that helped Barry barrel his way to this finish line. 
Despite my obvious pleas for help or water or something, Ann and Jill just simply stood by and snapped pictures, knowing there was a blog to be written.
A ghastly picture, I know, but it was one of the only documented points in the race where I could show the famed covered bridges from whence the race gets its name.  That's not sweat covering my face, it's the glow of a runner's high. 
Sean waving to his wife, Andrew talking smack because he's beating Sean
Running through the village, Barry is hitting his stride
And yes, another torturous headshot, but this one highlights the breathtaking scenery we ran alongside.  Either that or it was the 13 miles that were breathtaking.  One or the other.
Finally, at the finish line, Sean and Tommy are penned in their corral, while the medal winners were kept outside the gated area. 
Hours after Barry, Andrew and I were hitting the pool, Tommy and Sean held court, clearly, rehydrating after a brutal day at the races.
Thanks again, to Ann and Jill for being out there to support us throughout the course.  Thanks also to the musicians who popped up at different points of the winding 13 miles to provide a soundtrack.
No thanks to the blistering heat.  I thought the mountains were supposed to be cool!