Sunday, April 21, 2013

Running Reflections - Boston

I know I wrote about my Boston experience more quickly than others.  I understand.  People cope and reflect in different ways.  For me, it is talking or writing about it, that is just who I am.  Thus I hope you do not mind if I reflect some more after this week writing, blogging,....and of course running helps....

This morning I set out on my 7 mile run (equipped now as always with my cellphone and my Road ID).  The goal was to run to Aaron's Temple softball game and meet him and Lee there.  I knew this run was going to be different for me.  Last night, I put on my Ipod a portion of my marathon playlist those songs that speak to me, that motivate me, that heal me.  This morning I considered just listening to a book on tape, but I could not.  I knew I needed this run to reflect, to be proud, to be strong (p.s. I know "Boston Proud, Boston Strong" is sort of maybe cliche but it is just so true that you just have to love it).

Post Run Smiles

Mile 1 -  Songs - Eye of the Tiger, We're Not Gonna Take It
I felt strong, I felt relieved, I felt sad, I felt proud.  I did not feel scared. As others have said and felt in the past week, this week's events have hit home for me in a way that no other tragedy has.  I lived in NJ on September 11th.  I remember it vibablly, I remember the atrocity.   It was awful, but it was not like this.  This was different.  I was there, I thought my family was there, I had friends there.  As the week has gone on, I have come to the realization of how close we were.  How we did not even realize the full effect of what was going on only a block away; how if one thing had changed we would have been crossing that line at the same time, the wrong time.  This was an attack on my home, my friends, my family, my sport....

Mile 1 8:42....

Mile 2 - Songs - Lean on Me, Don't Stop Me Now
I have never more proud to be a runner.  To sport the half marathon shirt I was running in.  To be running down the street was enough to make me proud.  To show that terror won't stop me, won't stop us.  Do not mess with runners, do not mess with Boston.  Do not mess with my people, my family.

Mile 2 8:48...

Mile 3 - Songs - Shut up and Let Me Go, Shippin Up to Boston
Hitting my trail, thinking of Robin and I running last Monday - those last 8.2 miles.  Remembering how much I love racing, love running.  Thinking of how much I want to continue it - for the friends, for the fun, for the family for the love of the game...

Mile 3: 8:37

Mile 4: Songs - I wanna go, I've Had the Time of My Life
Seeing other runners on the trail, nodding to everyone; things seems as they always have except today you make the extra effort to say hello to your fellow runner to offer your congratulations.  I think of all my friends who I know through "real life" and through blogging and all their friends and family who ran last week and remember.  I think of those who ran towards the mayhem; my physical therapist, who like so many others, was a block away, who was held back but said NO he was going in to help.  I feel guilty that I was not one of those people, that I ran away.  That all I could think of was to make sure I could confirm my family was safe and in that moment it meant calling as many times as I could to hear Aaron's voice (probably 100s) and to run away.  But I do not judge myself or others.  We want safety, we need safety.   I am so thankful that I live in Boston, that I live in a world where there are good people, that people are safe, and that they caught them. So many of us, however, are only starting to heal and have a long way to go physically and mentally - we will move through it together, as always

Mile 4: 8:45

Mile 5 & 6: One Way or Another, The Edge of Glory
The hard part now, lots of hills, too many hills.  Thinking again of last week of Newton Hills, Heartbreak Hill.  No, I did not run the whole marathon.  Yes I was running "fresh" that day but if I can do that, if we can get through that (and I don't just mean the marathon...) we, I can do this.  I will push. I will finish.

Mile 5 & 6: 8:47, 8:55

Mile 7:  Born in the USA, Give Me Everything, Que Sera Sera
Back on the street, watching all the people getting ready for church walking with their families - happy.  I can do this.  Feeling proud, feeling strong.

Mile 7: 8:32

At the end, I was at a softball field just in time to meet my family for a day of family softball where the dads play and the moms, babies, and puppies cheer on and have social hour.  It was a wonderful morning. It was happy, it was normal.  The run was fast and strong for me.  The fastest since giving birth to Lee.  The morning, the people, the run, the other runners it all gives me hope, it gives me confidence, it gives me faith, and it gives me strength.  Boston will survive.   We will go on.  We will keep on running.

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.