I am overwhelmed and thankful for all of the prayers and well wishes having arrived home safely from the 2013 Boston Marathon with my family. The normal burden of grocery shopping, laundry and cooking homemade meals after vacation are now a welcome blessing and distraction. I finished at 4:07:30, just two minutes before the first bomb went off and I am so very grateful for every single 12o seconds. I am overcome with sorrow for the crowd of spectators I passed on the left just before the banner stretched across the finish line. Their cheering which carried me forward became a horrible silence after the first bomb went off and seemed like an eternity until the second explosion erupted followed by screaming, crying and the uncertainty of what next? I didn’t stop for the last water or Gatorade break – 120 seconds gained.
Some people ran towards the victims, I ran away and as I was ran I prayed my family didn’t come to watch me at the finish line. Locked in the corral exit lanes we moved forward for what seemed like far too slow for far too long. As volunteers encouraged us to stay calm, we cowered glancing up at the store fronts, praying for no more explosions. The corrals opened up to the medal table. Do I take a medal? The symbol of my bucket list achievement now seemed empty and tarnished, but I took it anyway. The food court area was eerily vacant, yet overflowed with food I’m certain, but for the life of me I can’t recall.
I called my husband with my first words being “Where are you”. When he responded in the hotel lobby, I sobbed. He tried several times to unsuccessfully make out what I was saying. “I can’t understand what you, you need to slow down and stop crying so I can help you. What’s going on? I really can’t hear you, can you just breathe a minute and help me out?” “They bombed the finish line” I repeated over and over again. “All of those people on the sidelines, the people who were behind me…” The news had yet to reach anywhere so I can only imagine the gravity of my husband finally processing those words, yet rendered helpless. “Can you get a cab? Just get a cab and get to the hotel. Are you Ok? Are you hurt?” My daughter said she was on her cell phone with her boyfriend at the time and texted him “Something’s gone really wrong.” That’s the last message anyone of us had before the phone lines jammed.
Policeman in golf carts raced by and sirens began to sound and I was thankful for the first time because it meant rescue teams were responding. The runners scattered to whatever side road held the path of least resistance. I had gotten lost in the beautiful brown stones the day before and was certain I was about to do so again but this time I didn’t care, I welcomed getting lost. It seemed as if every road I looked down black, unmarked police cars were converging towards downtown and again I was thankful, someone was going towards the victims. I flagged a cab driver and through tears asked him if he could get me to the hotel without going downtown. I made him tell me several times that the roads he was taking didn’t lead anywhere near downtown. He like my husband could barely understand me and asked why I was upset? It seemed like forever had passed and everyone should know.
The hotel doors that I had gone in and out of dozens of times after happily sightseeing, shopping and dining were a welcome sight. Stuck in traffic a block away, I had to stop myself from sprinting out of the taxi despite having just run a marathon. My family hugged me so tight and I thanked God we were together. My vacation email read ” I am crossing an item off my bucket list (running the Boston Marathon) and will be out of the office until Wednesday, April 17.” Back at work today, I received more hugs than I’ve received all year and again I am so very thankful because with each phone call, media post, email and hug, the healing for this runner has begun.