Thank you for so many messages expressing concern. My phone did not stop chiming with texts and calls once word got out about the bombings. Ted and I were very fortunate to be two blocks away from the situation. The bombs were loud, the ground shook but we did not see what happened. It wasn’t until we made our way back to the hotel that we encountered runners who were not allowed to finish the race desperately looking for a way to connect with family and friends. Some just wanted their drop bags to retrieve clothing for warmth. These runners were taken from the course and did not have the thermal wrap provided upon finishing.
It was windy and cool in the city. Runners who had reached almost 26.2 miles were in the midst of confusion without phones to connect and without clothing for warmth. No food, no water, no warmth. The initial impact of this bombing was so pronounced in so many ways from the taking of lives to the need for warmth and reassurance that loved ones were ok.
So where do I start? How do I recap a race that was a good run for me but ended so tragically for so many? All the little details I enjoy remembering and noting in this blog are so insignificant now.
There was the usual crowd, strangers connecting but with one goal in common: to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
At 10:40 am the starting pistol went off for wave 3. I was in corral one so my decent down the hill was immediate. The crowd wasn’t tight for very long. I was moving faster than I should have but knew it was harder to hold back during those initial miles than to just let my body roll with the hills. When it feels good, do it, right? Not in the case of the route from Hopkinton to Boston. I overheard someone say the pace was 8 min/mile, I knew that was well beyond my potential so I had to rein it in especially since the little hill poppers were getting to me so early in the race.
The course seemed exceedingly loud this year. Not only the Wellesley College section but a stretch before and after. As deafening as it was, it was good for runners as we made our tiring and in some cases, painful climbs up the hills.
I crossed the finish line in 3:46:16, 30 minutes before the bombs went off.
It takes a while once crossing the finish to get to the family meet area. You walk through medical personnel and get water, Gatorade, then your blanket, Power Bars, banana, finally your medal then a bag of edible goodies. You still have to make your way to the bag drop buses for your personal items. It was windy and cool. I was feeling ok so held off stopping to put on more clothes and change shoes, just wanting to get to Ted and then back to the hotel. I made my way to the letter “W” where I knew Ted would be waiting. I’m SO glad I didn’t stop to get anything from my bag. There was so little time but no one knew what horrific end to the marathon was about to take place.
As Ted approached me in the meeting area, the first bomb went off. We looked at each other and said “that’s not right”. Then the second bomb went off and the entire street stopped dead in it’s tracks. Silence. It was like a freeze frame in a movie. No one knew anything at that point. We heard a loud bang, followed by a second, the ground shook but we couldn’t see anything. Everyone went back to reuniting with loved ones and taking pictures – as usual.
It seemed like quite some time before the sirens were heard. We were making our way to the hotel and then saw the panic on faces. Something tragic had happened and someone said it was a bomb. One lady stopped us to ask how she could get to the baggage buses because all runners had been diverted, couldn’t finish. At 8:30 pm in the evening there would be approximately 2500 bags still not picked up. Those runners who had run almost 26.2 miles had no warm clothing. Some of them had given everything they had in the race and now there was no place to go. Confusion. Some could not even get back to their hotels because roads were blocked, two hotels were evacuated.
This usually festive day had ended in disaster. There were no smiling faces. There was panic. People who had their cell phones couldn’t use them. Cellular use had been cut off to prevent the detonation of any potential existing bombs. No celebrations. We were instructed to either stay home, go back to our hotels and stay there, keep off the streets if possible so law enforcement could do their job.
Ted and I were in our hotel room by 3:20 pm. We watched the events unfold on TV and it wasn’t until 6 pm that we tried to get outside the hotel. As warned on television, the city was on lock down. We went back to the room and ate what I had collected from the marathon. Still, it was more than many people had, still outside, still stranded. The media were announcing a phone number to call to locate loved ones but there was no cellular service in the city AND if those loved ones were without their bag, they were also without their phone. It seemed futile.
At 7:30 pm the hotel opened up a restaurant offering a free buffet to guests. It wasn’t until about 9 pm that we were seated and able to eat. There were no complaints simply gratitude to be in the position we were in: very fortunate considering those wounded, missing, or dead.
The city was still under heavy surveillance when we left Tuesday morning. FBI, military, and police were in the hotels, streets, hospitals.
Among all this disaster and horror, there were good things happening. People were offering their homes for folk without a place to go. A spare bed, a couch, food. Understand that there were many runners who couldn’t get back to their hotel rooms. They couldn’t leave the city. They were either out on the course being diverted or they had finished and were searching for loved ones. Another fortunate event in this tragedy was that the medical tent right after the finish line which normally is set up for cramped or injured runners became a triage tent for blast victims. The medical personal and volunteers ran TOWARD the blasts to help people instead of running away. Reaction time was quick. The quick treatment for critically wounded saved lives, saved victims from bleeding to death. Unfortunately we grieve for 3 lost lives. There were approximately 143 injured and, because of the horrific scene, many more in shock and emotional upset from witnessing such an event.
I have so much to be grateful for but my thoughts turn to those suffering loss and pain this week. My anger climaxes when thinking of the person or people who do such things and for what?! I hope someone is caught for this act of terror.
I’m not sure what future Boston Marathons will be like. Things WILL change.
In the aftermath:
My next marathon is May 5th, The Flying Pig. They are already taking action because of the situation in Boston.
The 2013 117th Boston Marathon. It’s not the way we want to remember it.
#PrayForBoston and donate to the Red Cross
FIND MISSING PEOPLE
Mayor’s Hotline – Call (617) 635-4500
Google Person Finder – http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions/
American Red Cross “Safe And Well” –
If you have any information about this attack, please use the TIPS hotline – 1-800-494-TIPS