I cannot believe how much has happened in the last week.
From waking up and lining up with Beth and Sheila at the ridiculously long bus line to Hopkinton at 6:45 am; crossing the start line with race-fueled adrenaline; swearing once again somewhere during miles 17-26 that I would NEVER ever even think of doing another marathon; taking a left on Boylston, spotting the finish line and mustering up every ounce of strength to get there; to finally finding Aaron after walking the long finisher chute and getting to the family reunion area.
From hearing first one then two explosions, seeing the first emergency vehicles rush en masse toward the finish line and knowing right then that something very bad had happened; hearing for the first time that two bombs went off at the finish line; walking aimlessly around downtown Boston trying to get a call to go through to my parents; attempting to get text messages out to let people know that, while we had no idea if we were in danger or not, that for right now at least, we were alive and uninjured; watching officers with assault rifles barricade themselves around public transportation stops; to walking 2 miles to our hotel.
From turning on the hotel TV and seeing video of the incident for the first time and crying uncontrollably yet unsuccessfully because I was too dehydrated to produce tears; hearing the details and feeling scared, sad, and angry; walking around the Freedom trail on Tuesday and running into armed guards at every single street corner; finally getting home on Wednesday night and still not feeling at ease; reliving the day over and over as concerned coworkers came by to give me big hugs, hearing that photos of the suspects had been released, waking up on Friday morning to completely shocking news that one suspect was dead and one was on the loose, to updating coverage on my desktop all day, to getting home from work, turning on the news right away and watching the drama unfold live; to watching the ending with the capture of the second suspect.
Not to mention, flooding in the Midwest, an explosion in West, TX that killed 14, and earthquakes in China (and I think Iran and Mexico).
As the Onion headline says, “Jesus, This Week.”
All last week, I felt like we were living under a cloud. Neither Aaron nor I could sleep, and I know I couldn’t watch anything aside from the news, I couldn’t sing in the car to the radio, and I couldn’t look at pictures of my marathon without feeling guilty about it.
I woke up Saturday feeling like a completely different person. It is amazing to me how even just knowing that these (excuse my language) assholes cannot do any more harm or hurt any more people has lifted such a huge weight off my chest. I have always felt, and I think the police have confirmed it based on the amount of weapons and bombs they’ve found, that this wasn’t the main event. It was a trial run. A test to see if they could pull it off and what they needed to improve. Knowing that the attacks they had planned will never happen has brought so much peace to me, and likely to many others who have been attempting to make sense of this event over the past week.
The last post was written at 1:00 am on Monday. I think I was so wrapped up in my personal experience, that it wasn’t even until Wednesday that I was able to start reading stories of the other people who were there. As much as the whole thing has shook me to my core, we were so very lucky. I had finished the race, I had my bag and my cell phone, and I had already reunited with Aaron. I cannot imagine going through all that actively worried if your family and friends were ok but not having any way to contact them, especially with the end-of-race marathon exhaustion. I saw far more people collapse toward the finish of this race than I did at Chicago, and I’m guessing that many runners didn’t get the medical attention they may have needed. One lady on the plane with us was across the street and her purse was part of the active crime scene, so she was without her wallet and ID. But everyone got through it, and I haven’t heard any complaints.
Because we all know that despite the inconvenience, and even the emotional distress that we will likely experience for a long time, we did not lose our lives, and we made it out safely without injury.
Also significant are the stories of those people who HELPED. People who pinched arteries with their fingers, people who ran to give blood after running a marathon, people who gathered displaced runners in their homes and fed them. Even people who lent out their cell phones so others could contact loved ones. More than anything, this event is a reminder that the good far outweighs the bad in this world.
I do want to again (and forever) tell you how much I completely appreciate all of the concern and support I’ve received over the last week. I know most readers of this blog are people who I only know through the internet. While I am very excited to have added Beth and Jon, Ellie + Family to the list of of “real life” friends last week, I am so grateful for this community of running bloggers. You have played such a huge part in my well-being this week, and I don’t know if you’ll ever know how much I appreciate it.
And I am working on that race recap.
While I was on the fence about running Boston 2014 even after crossing the finish line, I am positive now that I want to go back, if for no other reason, to “high-5” every kid and thank as many spectators as I can. I don’t know if the qualifying standards will be waived or how registration will be handled. I think it is absolutely fair to grant every runner who started but didn’t cross the finish line (about 4500-4700) an automatic entry. Most of these runners were charity runners who weren’t running for themselves but to raise money for other causes. And I know that maybe now my qualifying time might not get me in when every runner is doubling efforts to get there. But I hope to get the chance to run next year in honor of the spectators, and in honor of those heroes who rushed in to help.
AT 2:50 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (in a few minutes), there will be a moment of silence to remember the four lives that were lost. Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, and Lu Lingzi who were at the finish line, encouraging tired runners to give it one last push, and Sean Collier, the law enforcement officer who spent his life protecting others have been in my thoughts and prayers this week. I will remember them today, one week later, and for every race that I run for the reminder of my life.