Saturday April 17th

Arrived at Boston's Logan Airport at 12:30 pm somewhat worse for wear following a pretty bumpy flight and took the shuttle to the Sheraton. Also on the shuttle were several others sporting a variety of new running shoes and athletic apparel. "Obviously you're all here for our marathon," said a distinctly sedentary-looking driver rather nasally."So they really do talk like Cliff Clavern," I thought. The other passengers and I gave him the collective nervous nod and spent the rest of the journey clinging to our seats as this maniac behind the wheel attempted to break the world land speed record through the crowded streets of downtown Boston. Long stints of horn-blowing aimed at lost tourists who threatened his record time were punctuated every so often with waves to fellow bus drivers and colourful comments yelled out of the window. My favourite of these by far was "Get back to Connecticut!"

Survived the shuttle ride, checked in, and set off for the Hynes Convention Centre, which was attached to the hotel, in order to get my race packet and scout out the expo. What a zoo!

Stood in line and got my race packet. Stood in line and waved my race packet over an electronic mat so that my enclosed computer chip would be "activated." Worried that my chip had not been activated but was reassured by a "chip volunteer." Stood in line and picked up my race t- shirt. Got a tad annoyed when one of the "t-shirt volunteers" offered the unsolicited opinion that I would need an extra-large. Crawled around the expo for half an hour looking for cheap shoes. Gave up fighting the crowds and hurried off to buy a spot of lunch in the connected mall. Very tempted by the fish and chips which looked pretty authentic to this Englishman, but decided it might not be such a good idea and went with the turkey sandwich instead. Spent the next hour walking around the mall rather aimlessly and realised that there was obviously a competition in progress to see who could wear the most garments with "the Boston Marathon" plastered all over them. Decided that I was far above all this childishness while scurrying back to the expo to buy my outrageously overpriced "official 1999 Boston Marathon jacket."

Spent the evening making my 34-item race day checklist, watching an appalling version of "The Man in the Iron Mask" on telly, and eating a shepherds pie I had picked up in the mall earlier which was decidedly long on potato and short on shepherds. Turned in at 9:30 pm and didn't sleep a wink.