I have had a lot of people ask me about my experience at the Boston Marathon. I thought this would be a good place to share what I experienced. I’ve started this post about 20 times not sure how to express all the emotions I felt on that day. I apologize for it being lengthy but I tried to account for everything that happened as much as possible.
The morning of I was just excited to be able to run the Boston Marathon. I also was very excited for that afternoon when I would be done. I only had 5 weeks to train, but they were intense and running had taken over my life. We took a shuttle up to the starting area in Hopkinton. There were thousands of people all with different stories waiting to run the famous 26.2 miles. As we walked to the start line there was a sea of people. The first 5 or so miles it was so packed it was hard to get to a comfortable pace and often would have to stop suddenly from being cut off because of all the runners. The crowd from the very beginning was amazing. The streets were lined with spectators the entire time. They made signs, passed out food, and even would cheer personally for those that had written their names on their shirts. It was amazing to feel so much love and support from complete strangers. The miles just flew by as I was just trying to take in the whole experience. It was hard to comprehend that I was really running the Boston Marathon.
My mom was waiting for me at mile 6 to cheer me and Alex on. Alex passed me soon after and I figured I would just see him at the finish line. I was excited that I only had 20 more miles to go and I was feeling great. Around mile 20 I was hearing some people around me saying they were tired and their legs hurt. I still was feeling really good. It was hard to believe 20 miles had passed so quickly. Besides and upset stomach I had never felt so good during 20 miles. The crowd made it impossible to think about anything else but enjoying the race. At about mile 23 I got really bad leg cramps. I would have to stop and shake them out and stretch a little bit this was very frustrating since I had trained so much. I was getting so excited to get to the finish. I was excited to feel that adrenaline from knowing that I pushed myself further than my body wanted to go and to know that I accomplished something that I had only dreamed about.
I saw the sign that meant I had one mile left. I started to try to just run through the pain. I also thought I saw Alex just ahead of me. If I pushed it I would be able to finish with him. The weather was bitter cold at this point. I no longer was aware of the crowd. I just was trying to stay in the race mentally. I was ready to be done. I then heard two loud explosions. Soon after, just around the corner from the finish line, I was stopped by a police officer and was told that the race was stopped for some explosions at the finish line. I was able to borrow a phone and get a hold of my mom. She had not made it to the finish line yet and was fine I told her I would meet her at the family meeting area. I then began to panic about Alex’s safety thinking he was just ahead of me and that would put him at the finish line. An hour passed as they just held us there in the street. I was trying not to freak out but I was tired, cold, scared and didn’t really understand what was happening. They finally diverted us about a mile away and I knew I just had to make it there to see my mom and Alex should also be there.
As I turned the corner and I didn’t see anyone familiar at our meeting place. That’s when I broke down. I was scared and alone and didn’t know if everyone was OK. I wish I could put into words all the feelings I felt. I still really wasn’t sure what was happening all I know that there was an explosion and that there were cops everywhere. I knew everyone at home knew more than I did. I had no phone, money, and did not know my way around Boston. I had never felt so alone and lost to what I should be doing in the situation. For 30 minutes I just sat and waited and prayed that I would find my mom and Alex. When Alex did show up it we just embraced each other grateful the other one was safe.I have never felt so relieved and happy to see a familiar face.
We then were able to get a hold of my mom at an impromptu phone boot AT&T has put up. As we sat and waited for her a volunteer stopped and gave us water and crackers. Even in his distress he was helping anyone he could. We walked with my mom for about a mile to get to where the car was parked. It was surreal being in such a big city that now was empty except for those that still had not found loved ones and cops.
Back at the hotel the whole day seemed like it had never happened. I had completely forgotten about the marathon portion of it. I felt a very wide variety of feelings. I was angry I didn’t get to finish the race I had dreamed about (as selfish as that might sound). I was sad for those that were injured or killed. I was disgusted that someone would take an event as that was about love, inspiration and unity and make it about fear and sadness. I was scared that I had been so close to a bombing. These things were only suppose to happen on TV in places far away, but I was there and I was a part of it and it all seemed unreal. I was also very grateful that I and everyone I knew was safe. That we were able to find each other and go back to our hotel. It was hard to fall asleep as the truth of what happened was beginning to sink in.
I was amazed how well the race was put on and how great the city of Boston was in such a scary time. There were so many people offering phones, food and clothing to help those runners. A great reminder that even though there are some really terrible people most people are good. I am also so grateful for all the love and concern I received from all of my friends and family.