I was watching the race live online. Then I stepped out of my office for an hour to grab lunch.
My friend Kerri ran Boston for her third year in a row, and I spent part of my morning tracking her status online until I left the office. When I got back to my office and got news of what happened, I immediately thought of Kerri. I checked her status and saw that she had crossed the finish, and then checked her Facebook page. She hadn’t updated, but a friend had posted on her account. She didn’t have her phone with her, but she was safe. I was relieved. Later, as she posted a status update (as did her boyfriend), I learned that had she run a mere 10 minutes slower, she likely would’ve been crossing the finish around that time.
When I learned she was okay, my thoughts then turned to all of my other friends in Boston, all of whom are fortunately safe.
Then, my thoughts turned to the rest of the runners at yesterday’s marathon, particularly when I saw a video of the finish line as the bombs went off.
I began thinking about how those runners felt to be approaching the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Of all the races, this is the race.
I thought back to how I felt when I approached the finish line of the marathon I did in Las Vegas. Throughout the second half of that marathon, I was physically and mentally struggling to finish. So many times, I wanted it to be over. My hips and knees screamed at me. My mind told me I couldn’t finish. But with each mile marker that I passed, came new hope and a strong realization that I would finish. So when I crossed the 26-mile marker, I was ecstatic. I was emotionally drained from the race and hitting walls. I was in a fog. I was relieved and excited and in awe of myself. And as I crossed the finish line, those feelings all disappeared. The cheering crowd took over, my feet shuffled over the finish line and all that was left was the realization that I had just run 26.2 miles. I finished a marathon.
So thinking back on all of this, I just imagined all of those feelings coupled with the confusion, disorientation, and panic that any runner (or spectator) felt yesterday. I imagined how it would feel to be approaching that finish line, with all the positive feelings of knowing you were about to finish, but the feeling of being so exhausted that you simply just wanted–no, needed–to finish, only to hear explosions going off around you, screams piercing the air, and the steps of spectators running away from the finish line, which just moments before represented the months of training, the miles logged, the anxiety leading up to the race, the fatigue and mental breakdowns, and the reward for getting through all of it.
And that’s just it. I can’t think about it or clearly imagine it, because all I can do is associate the completion of a race to something positive, especially when it comes to races like Boston.
It’s unreal. And though I’ve tried to put my feelings and thoughts into words, I can’t. Once again, there are no words. I don’t know what to think or what to say. And I hate that the Boston Marathon will forever be marred by what happened, and that yesterday, which should’ve been a day to celebrate achievements and money raised for charities and PRs, will instead be a day of tragedy.