I thought this morning I’d wake up with a smile on my face instead of tears. It’s just now really hitting me that yesterday happened.
Yesterday was a day I’d been dreaming about since I started running. I’d trained since December for this race. You all knew that. I worked my ass off. The Boston Marathon is the Holy Grail for runners and I was so excited for have that experience of running toward that Citgo sign, a right on Hereford and a left on Boylston. I felt confident and trained enough to finish. I wanted it so, so, so bad. (I am trying to get through this without crying but it’s just going to be impossible.)
The first part of my race was going really well. I saw a familiar face at mile 10 with my friend Dyan and I was just so happy to see her!! Thank you for coming to support me, Dyan. You have been such an inspiration to me!
I ran the first half about a minute slower than my personal best, on a tough course, so I was happy with that. My sister surprised me at mile 13 at Wellesley Library and I was SO HAPPY to see her face!
I’d been having some stomach issues starting around mile 10, I will spare you the details but I was pretty uncomfortable, so I stopped to talk to my sister for a little bit, stole an orange from her and kept chugging along.
Then…Wellesley College. Wellesley College was the closest I will ever be to feeling like a rock star. Those girls just scream and scream and scream for you and it is the most amazing feeling ever. I’d do the race over and over and over again just for that!! It was so uplifting. It really helped me push through that mile and those girls were amazing.
As I was running through there, one of the girls pointed at me after seeing my Dana Farber singlet and goes, “YOU are amazing because Dana Farber saved my dad’s life.” It made me run a little faster, a little further, even though my stomach was killing me.
At mile 16, a woman in a red jacket saw that I was walking and came up to me with her hands full and and just said: “What do you need? I have vaseline, gummy bears, etc etc etc” And I thanked her but said none of those things could help my problems, haha, laughed a little and rubbed my stomach. She said, “I know what you’re going through. I’ve been there. You’re going to finish strong. Thank you for doing this.” It brought both of us to tears. I hugged her and thanked her and continued on. Thank you, lady in the red jacket. YOU are the spirit of the Boston Marathon and you will never know how much you meant to me at that moment.
Fast forward to mile 18. I start seeing cop cars, motor cycles and ambulances RUSH down Commonwealth Avenue. I just thought, wow, someone is having a bad race. It’s totally normal to have people injured or passing out at the finish line, especially Boston, so I continued and nobody said anything to me or the 25 or so people in my view at the time. I had heard reports there was an explosion at the finish line but didn’t know how bad it was. I thought, things explode sometimes, right? I was still going to finish!
I got to about mile 20 – right in front of Heartbreak Hill Running Company in Newton – when a cop pulled up to a bunch of us and told us the race was over and to walk down a side street where they were gathering people. It was chaos and confusion. Nobody knew what was going on or how bad it was. We got cold fast and the BAA volunteers in the area brought over heat sheets and water. And we waited and waited and waited. I borrowed a phone to text my mom, because I wasn’t running with mine. They bussed us over to BC Law School, which is where I had my friend Teresa pick me up.
This is just so unreal and upsetting. I get that my life is more important than a finisher medal. I don’t even have words to describe how I’m feeling really. Heartbroken. People died, people lost their limbs on what is supposed to be that happiest day in a runner’s life. It’s horrifying.
It’s an emotional thing for me. This is my hometown race. My marathon. I trained for this one day for four months and someone took it from me. Finish lines are supposed to be places of bliss, not violence.
I was thinking…what am I going to do with my 2013 Boston Marathon jacket? Then I decided I am going to wear it proudly, because if I don’t, terrorists win.
You tried to take my marathon from me but I am going to take it back.
I have to finish. When my body has recovered from this 20-miler and when Copley Square is no longer a crime scene, I am going to run the last 6.2 miles. I have to. Until I finish, my dream is unfulfilled. It doesn’t have to come with a medal or the screaming crowds of people. I just need to cross that finish line. I came to that conclusion after crying this morning. It’s hitting me hard. I just want to finish. For everyone who couldn’t, for everyone who did but didn’t make it out of Copley, for those who were hurt. I need to finish.