One year ago today, I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon. The one marathon that everyone will remember whether they were there or not. The one marathon that I want to forget in some ways but will forever be imprinted in my mind. The one day that caused the running community, the city of Boston, and the country be united and rebound even stronger than before.
I had been training all winter for my first Boston Marathon. I was dealing with a nagging glute/piriformis and hamstring injury all winter, but I was bound and determined to still run the race. How could I not? My sister (a.k.a. my clone) was also running it. We had been planning this race for months, chatting on the phone daily about our training runs, and the only race I wanted so badly to qualify for.
We spent the days leading up to the marathon taking in the sights of Boston, waiting in line over an hour to getting a poster sign by Kara Goucher and Shalane Flanagan, and just enjoying the pure excitement given off by everyone there for the marathon.
The morning of the marathon, Kristy, my sister, and I left the place we were staying to head to the bus pick-up location at 4:00 a.m. We were literally the first ones to arrive at the pick-up location at 4:30 a.m. which would then shuttle us to the start of the race. Kristy and I hung out, talked about our goals for the race, and shared in the excitement of just being at the Boston Marathon.
At Athlete’s Village, we found a spot to sit and wait until they called our wave (two of three) to the start. While we waited, we people-watched and tried to stay warm. I was shivering in the temps of the 40s and being wishy-washy about what to wear for the race. During our time there, a lady came up to us and asked us if she could pray with us. We are both Christians, but it is a little strange even for us when a complete stranger asks to pray with us. But we wanted to be nice, so we said yes. She prayed for a good race for us and safety for everyone. Oh the irony.
During our second time in line for the bathrooms, they called our wave. We both still really wanted to use the bathroom before we had to head to the start, so we stayed in line. We also did not realize just how far Athlete’s Village was from the start line. I’m sure it was a good mile that we jogged to get to the start. We didn’t make it in time for our wave, so we had to wait until they let the third wave start. It is crazy to think that if we had started with the second wave, we most likely would have been much further away from the bombs that went off.
The race itself was a lot of fun. I often consciously thought, “I am running the Boston Marathon!” I tried to soak up the whole race even though I suffered pretty early on. I knew with the lack of training I was able to do, it would be a tough race, but I was happy that I was able to finish in 3:44. You can read my full recap here.
It was such a joyous celebration at the finish—people were cheering wildly even though I was probably the 15,xxx runner to cross the finish line. I can vividly still recall how my body felt, the thoughts going through my head, and the details about the day. But when those bombs went off, I only head and saw a slight glimpse of the impact they had on that day. As I was walking to meet my family in our pre-designated location, my mind had the hardest time comprehending what had just happened. I heard, what I thought, were just rumors of bombs and people being injured. I didn’t think these things could be real because why would someone want to ruin such a joyous occasion. It wasn’t until we got back to the place we were staying nearly 4 hours later, I saw the pandemonium that occurred that day. You can read more details about my experience here.
I will forever be grateful that my family (mom, dad, aunt, sister, and husband) remained safe during this event. I was the farthest away at 3 blocks and everyone else was within a block of one of the bombs and in much more potential harm than myself. They had walked past the finish line minutes before the bombs went off.
I wore my Boston shirt to work yesterday. (I didn’t work today.) No one asked me what my time was or how I felt during the race. Whenever someone finds out I ran the marathon, they want to know if I finished and if I will be running again this year. Unfortunately I will not be running this year, but I want to more than ever now. (We chose to go to Maui over Boston.) However, I will be thinking about and praying for those runners as they run the same course I did and stand strong for what we endured last year.