Hey friends! Long time, eh? Well, it was just a little over a month ago that I was in Boston running the marathon and I am finally getting some time to share my experiences. A month sounds like a lot of time to process and plenty of time to write something but let me explain that month to you. It sort of went like this...
I went from...LA to Milwaukee
Milwaukee to LA
LA to Boston
Boston to St. Louis
St. Louis to Chicago
Chicago to Home
Oh...did I mention I'm on a plane back to Milwaukee right now?
Needless to say life has been a little crazy and I have remained VERY busy.
I was gone practically the entire month of April with only two days after the marathon to sort of "lock it up" as I like to call it. I had to refocus and put my professional face on as I was jumping right back into work.
Boston was my first marathon…EVER. There was excitement there was nerves and there was the overwhelming need in the pit of my stomach to just get it started. After training for seven months I was eager to get it over with. To just hit the pavement and go. It was time and I was ready.
I made it past the Wellesley College with the swarms of screaming girls vying for kisses (I gave high fives), past Newton and Heartbreak hill, past tons of drunken buffoons (my favorite) right near Fenway and the CITGO sign was welcoming me in. I was almost there and could practically visualize the finish line.
I was coming down Comm Ave about to reach Mass Ave when we came to a screeching halt. Everyone around me looked confused and a little lost. No one had a clue what was going on. All I could think about was how I was making such good time! How dare they stop me now!
It wasn’t until I heard a fellow runner on his phone say “there were explosions at the finish line” that I had any clue that there was the slightest hint of danger. Of all the places and events…here? How bad was it? Where was it? Has anyone been hurt? And most importantly...where is mom? She was going to meet me at the finish line and I was close. I immediately hopped on my phone again and tried to reach her. Nothing. I tried to call my brother in California to inform him I was okay. Nothing. By this time people around me had started crying and the sounds of sirens began to fill the air. I finally attempted to text my mom and it went through. When I saw the “entering text” bubble pop up on my iphone the tears started to roll down my face. My mom was responding. She was okay. I was okay.
I automatically went into action. Where was I? I was swimming in a sea of runners, how would she find me? 390 Commonwealth Avenue – dropped a pin and sent it her way. As I waited that is when the texts from friends and loved ones started coming in, too many to even try and respond. This is why I am so grateful for social media. I quickly went onto facebook and gave my status. “I’m okay. Mom is okay. I will update later”. Mom eventually arrived and we began to make our trek out of the city.
Now, after running for so long my body temp started to drop and I was FREEZING! It was in the 50’s and I was in a tank, spandex pants and standing in the shade of the buildings on Comm Ave. My body was tightening up, I was dehydrated and I just wanted to go home. Cabs were scarce, the T was shut down and so we hopped on the closest bus. In spurts the tears streamed down my face. I think at this point it was just tears of pure exhaustion. I had been training for this for so long and I was so tired and to be stopped so close to the finish was just not fair. That coupled with the fact that something so special had been taken away from not only me but from the thousands of individuals that were standing around me. It wasn’t until I got back to our hotel in Newton that I really understood what had happened. 3 were dead and many more were injured. I hugged my mom in the hotel room and just cried. I couldn’t help but think “What if”? What if I hadn’t gotten the cramps in my left calf that caused me to pull off and stretch after the Newton hills? What if I had been about ten minutes earlier? What if? What if? What if?
But thinking like that can drive someone crazy and it did that first day.
Now, as I think about it all a month later, I am now able to look at this experience as a whole and be thankful for some of the smaller moments. Focusing on the light amidst a dark tragedy. As I sit here (on this plane to Milwaukee) I am thankful for a lot.
I'm thankful for….
- - The people of Boston who lined the streets cheering me on. Those individuals that shouted “Go Kerry, you got this!” and the Bostonians who screamed at the top of their lungs “Go Liv-ah!” in support of the foundation I was running for.
- - I’m thankful for Tim. My Run for Research buddy who I met the morning of and got to hang out with in Athletes Village. It was my first year on a team full of Boston natives so thank you Tim for making me feel welcome. And good call on the port-o-potties!
- - I’m thankful for my mom. My angel. I kept telling her how grateful I was that she was not only safe but there with me. I'm thankful we were both safe.
- - I’m thankful I ran with my phone! Had I not…well that day would have been completely different I am sure.
- - I’m thankful for the older woman on the bus to Newton who handed me tissue when she saw me crying and said “I’m glad your okay”.
- - I’m thankful for all the officials from the city of Boston, the thousands of volunteers and those that lent a helping hand to those injured on Monday.
- - And finally, I’m thankful for those hundreds of people who from the very start of this journey have been supportive and caring in numerous ways. Those individuals that donated time, money and energy into this cause and my journey to Boston. You guys are a blessing and I don’t know how I could ever repay you.
I decided that there is one thing that cannot be taken away from me after this experience. I am a marathon runner. I trained like a marathon runner, I put in the time like a marathon runner and there was no way that I would not have crossed that finish line. No one can take away the months of training, the 25.5 miles I already ran or the feeling I got when people chanted my name as I ran by…those moments are mine forever.
The photos above were taken on Sunday at The American Liver Foundation's Run for Research team brunch. On the left is my amazing mother and on the right is my patient match Jill.
Thank you for everything friends. Wishing you all the best today, tomorrow and for days to come.
PS - The B.A.A. just announced they are allowing those that were not able to cross the finish line to be automatically accepted back next year. I have remained in contact with my team and they are aware of my continued interest and desire to return as well. Boston 2014 IS going to happen. I can just feel it.