What Happened.

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…”.
Efo at 26.0 IMG_4396

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.
BAA.org Finish Area

Weez and I hung out at the corner of Arlington and Boylston for another 30+ minutes with friends.
Efo and Weez after the finish of the Boston marathon
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.
Wobbling downstairs at the Arlington T station

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.

13 Comments Add yours

  1. Lisa says:

    Congratulations on a spectacular Boston Marathon! What an extra triumph for you, given your situation last year. It’s sadder than words can express that this has happened to our special race, but you’re so right when you say we’re a tough group of people. We’ll bounce back and I might just need to requalify for 2014 just to snub my nose at the cowards who tried to ruin it for us.

    Happy recovery :)

  2. Loved this. Big hugs to you girl. You deserved and owned that PR. Hold onto that feeling.

  3. Emma says:

    I was so so happy to read that you were okay. I had to run through my mental list of everyone who was there and the two of you were the first to pop into my head. You are right about runners, this has actually motivated me to try for Boston next year. Maybe I’ll see you there ;)

  4. Bear says:

    Bear wuz here. This pleases him on many levels.

  5. Jessica says:

    I’m so happy you came through unscathed. I’m so happy you ran a BQ and qualified for next year. Praying for those that were injured or lost loved ones!

  6. So glad you’re okay, and you ran an AWESOME time. If I can ever requalify for Boston maybe I should do it now, so I can run next year too and help everyone show that you can’t keep marathoners down!

  7. Jenny says:

    I’m so proud of you. And I’m so happy that you are safe. The emotions started to overwhelm me when we took off from Boston yesterday. As badly as I wanted to be home, I just didn’t want to leave Boston yet. Like you, I’m even more motivated to go back next year. And maybe this time we will get to share each other’s company.

  8. Kim says:

    Congrats to you on a well run race & PR! So glad to see you, your family & friends are all okay. I can only imagine what it was like in the immediate aftermath. The race, marathon, is someplace I have always felt safe, with my biggest concern being one of my children getting lost in a crowd of people (serious, but not what happened at Boston).

  9. the dawn says:

    Congrats on your amazing time! Your training has paid off!

    So overly sad about the black cloud that now hovers.

    Run on!

  10. Brennan says:

    Congrats on the BQ. The race this year and the one next year will be in your heart forever.

  11. Congrats on a stellar race. I love the photos of your bright and smiling face! I knew you had this in you! Job well done. I’m hoping (in time) you will write a recap and take us step by step on your incredible race. Proud of you!

  12. Holly KN says:

    Congrats on your PR and your re-BQ. Glad you and your friends made it out safely. And thank you for this post. Hope you are finding peace and healing in these subsequent days…

  13. Maggie says:

    Congratulations on a fantastic race and for re-qualifying. Run Boston next year as the proud runner you are! So glad you and Weez are ok.

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