It’s a somber time as we, runners and Americans, reflect the dual bombings at the Boston Marathon on April 15th. Mine is not a story that personally witnessed the smoke, nor the heard the explosions. While I had excitedly shared the privilege of running the Boston Marathon on Monday, I was one of the fortunate ones. I was able to finish my race. I am somberly thankful. I am wordlessly sad.
I came through the finish in 3:24 (a proud PR) after running past Weez and friends vibrantly cheering me on at the Trader Joe’s a few blocks away from the finish line. I ran past the flags and remember thinking, “how cool, those must represent the different countries racing here today…”.
I was pretty slow moving once I happily crossed the line and it took me a long time to make it through the finish area. The volunteers were so lovely: offering wheelchairs and shoulders to lean against as I wobbled along. I finally made my way to my drop-bag, and met Weez at Berkeley and Boylston.
Weez and I hung out at the corner of Arlington and Boylston for another 30+ minutes with friends.
It was so great to see Sarah and her husband, and share the excitement of post-Boston in those initial moments. At about 2:45PM (~5 minutes prior to the explosions), we hugged goodbye and Weez and I made our way into the Arlington T station. He laughed at my pathetic attempt to walk downstairs.
I took out my phone to share the news of my finish, but saw a “breaking news, explosions at finish line” headline instead. I was shell-shocked. I silently showed the screen to Weez. We must have stepped into the subway minutes (seconds?) before the explosions.
The train stopped for 15+ minutes and for a few quiet minutes no one knew what was going on. Word calmly spread on the T and no one panicked. We shared smart phones to watch video reports and contact loved ones via social media since phone calls weren’t going through.
The hours that followed were chaotic, but my older sister is a role model for teaching me the importance of remaining calm and nonemotional in times of crisis. We informed our family and friends that we were OK; we made sure all our runner and spectator friends were OK; we took care of immediate needs. Social media is incredible and I can’t imagine having gone through those hours without it.
The gravity of the event has since sunk in and I silently wept on our flight back to Colorado last night.
I can’t believe this happened. I can’t believe this happened at the Boston Marathon. My heart is broken for the spectators who encouraged me along those sidelines whose lives are injured or lost. I think back to the faces of the volunteers at the finish line who helped me hobble along. I worry about my Hopkington bus-buddy who told me he aimed for a 4-hr marathon.
But as Sam reminded me a day later, I ran a BQ (sub 3:35:00). I re-qualified to come back to run Boston next year. To experience the magic that will never change about the Boston Marathon. No one can ruin something this special, this traditional, this full of spirit. Runners are a tough group of people, and we’re just going to keep on running.