Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running the Boston Marathon - Reflections

There have been a few times I have wished to blog to you all.  With wonderful news about jogging strollers, great runs, or just to say hello.  This is not the post I envisioned writing yesterday at mile 26 where I had just run the last 8.2 Miles with my favorite running partner in the world.  This is not what  I expected to write as I sit here watching the news this morning....

Last year, I cheered on Robin at the Boston Marathon.  I was about 10 weeks pregnant, if that, and very sick.  Last year it was extremely hot - all runners struggled.  Aaron and I went to Mile 12, 18, and the finish as always.  I remember at 18 giving Robin a big hug and thinking that I would run with her next year.

This year, we planned to go to Mile 12 and Mile 18.  We were not going to the finish.  I was not going to run with Robin.  She was way to fast for this postpartum chick.  Aaron yesterday morning encouraged me to try a mile with Robin, Robin seconded, I was in.  The plan was to run a mile with her, if I could do that, and then run back to my baby and husband.  We joked that I would end up running to Boston.  Did I believe I would be in Boston yesterday?  No.  Was I?  Yes.

I was selfish.  I was greedy.  I do not know what I would have done if something had happened to my wonderful baby boy and husband.  I jumped in at Mile 18 with Robin and she told me she hurt.  She had lost her salt tablets, a much much needed part of her race plan, and thus her stomach her, her body hurt, and she could not take her nutrition.  But Robin is a strong runner.  She is the runner I aspire to be.  I knew I would not leave her. I knew she would eventually leave me but I would stay with her and we would run together as long as I could keep up and as we had so many times before I got pregnant and she got FAST.  We stopped at medical tents to get any type of salt possible.  I talked to Robin about anything I could, I screamed to the crowd and told them to scream for Robin - and they did.  She got blisters, her stomach cramped, she was in pain, but she was strong.  Strong as runners are. She dug deep, she moved past the pain, something only runners get. As we got close I asked her right or left on Hereford? She, as a true Boston runner, responded


And she took off running her race, leaving me in the dust.  We finished, well Robin finished in 3:44 or 2:05 p.m.  I will let her tell you more...

We made our way through the finish.  My job, take care of a runner who ran a marathon. I did not worry about much else.  When we found her husband and walked to a nearby hotel, I called my husband. He was so mad at me - as he should have been. I was selfish.  While I was helping a friend, I had left my family.  He told me they went home and I was on my own - he would not take my calls after that (I deserved it). We left the hotel a little while later and tried to go to the T.  They told us we could not.  We were confused.  We started to walk down Newbury, we heard a rumor someone died and shook it off as a tragic marathon injury.  We met a fellow friend and blogger Dani.  She was white.  She told us she just crossed the line and there was a manhole cover that exploded.  Her father was there.  Her phone was dead.  None of us believed it - we expected the worst.  She used Robin's phone and called her dad and then we waited with her.  Robin gave her food and her clothes.   We waited and knew terror had struck.

Meanwhile, I tried desperately to call my husband.  I kept imagining that he had actually come to the finish with the baby to surprise me.  That he was not home.  He would not answer.  I could not get through.  I tried, my husband, my brother, my father - the only cell numbers that I still sadly know by heart - no answer. It was so hard to get through.  Everyone was making calls.   Thankfully Aaron and baby were at home.  Aaron was so angry he had come home, took care of the baby, and watched Netflix. He thought my family was calling him because I was trying to get him to pick up so I could apologize. He had no idea. Finally, he saw the word explosion through a text and called.  I was never so happy for Aaron to be angry.  To have gone home.  To be safe

At this point,  as I had been called, we had already started walking West.  Aaron told us to keep walking to get across the bridge to Cambridge. I told him not to bring the baby, to leave the baby with our cousin and come pick us up.  We walked all the way to Central Square.  Robin had just run 26.2 miles and on we walked.  Robin handed over her space blankets to wandering runners.  We patted other runners on the back.  We saw runners looking dazed, I am sure we looked the same....All we knew was we wanted to get away from Boston as far away as we could and home to our babies...

Aaron picked us up, we drove home, I hugged my husband, I kissed my baby, I called my family.

When Robin has a bad day, she will tell you she runs a 4 hr marathon.  She would have been there.  She says if I have not pushed her, she would have been there. I say this not to be a hero, not to be cocky.  I say this to be thankful.  Thankful that I was selfish that I ran with her.  Thankful my husband was angry and took our baby home to safety. To know things happen for a reason, that Robin and I were meant to be friends, to be running partners, to be family.

My heart breaks today.  I will wear my running gear.  I will pray for families.  I will run again.

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