Sorry for taking so long to get the new post written. Writing this post has been difficult. Since returning from Boston, I’ve been busy processing our experience there. Suffice to say my family and I are fine.
When I look at the picture above so many emotions are happening in my head. Happy thoughts of the day of going to the expo and watching my husband buy his Boston jacket and my kids being able to walk over the finish line.
Of course, I also have dark thoughts of "what if" we were standing waiting for my husband to cross the finish line and it was our family that was injured or killed from the blast. This is what I have been going through the last few days. People are encouraging runners and others to wear their Boston gear and be proud but I cannot cover up how I am really feeling and the emotions inside of me.
I went out to Boston with my three children and husband. My husband qualified for Boston last year and I was so excited for him because it was going to be his first Boston Marathon. We were both signed up and we had plane tickets for the whole family. We were staying in the town of Quincy 10 miles south of Boston at a friend’s house near the beach. As planned, it was going to be a great family vacation.
Because of some communication glitches with my coach over the past several months (I’ll be covering that situation in a future post) my training wasn’t where I wanted plus, I’ve been suffering from some hip and foot issues. Consequently, I had developed several alternate plans for my own race and I decided I would just wait and see how I felt and make my decision when the date got closer.
Traveling to Boston went very smoothly. When we arrived at the house it was so beautiful and just half a block from the ocean. Friday, the day we arrived, it rained all day, which was OK because we got a lot of errands done. On Saturday we went to the expo and my husband got his official Boston Marathon jacket. I really enjoyed seeing him experience the Boston hoopla for the first time. The picture above was right after we left the expo and were heading out to Salty Dog restaurant for lunch which has New England seafood. We walked around and saw Boston. When we were back in Quincy I really enjoyed running along the ocean with my daughter and husband in the afternoon.
Sunday was nice in the morning but the weather changed a little and it got very cold so we decided to go back to the city and visit the USS Constitution Museum and go on the tour of the boats, which my 9-year-old son really enjoyed. The museum was very interactive and great for all ages. We decided to eat dinner at home and relax that evening.
This whole time I kept trying to decide what to do. I decided a few months ago not to run with the woman's elite start, which has a start time of 9:30. I was going to do this so I could finish first and then have the opportunity to go back and get the kids so we could go to the finish line and see my husband finish the race. I did not want to run alone so I decided against it. Another option was to not run at all and just go down and watch the runners at the finish line with the kids. Third option was to run the marathon and if at the halfway point I felt my hip I would stop and take the train back to Boston. Finally I decided for the last option. I was excited to experience the morning at the athlete village with Chris (my husband) and to run with my friend (running partner) Paul.
Monday morning went very smoothly. Took the Red line to Park Street and the busses we ready and waiting for us. It was 6:05. We got right on the busses. On the way to the start we came up with a plan on where to meet up. We would meet at a restaurant across from the Boston Common. The plan was to wait at that location until 2:30 p.m. at the latest. (Chris was planning on running between 3:30 and 4 hours for the marathon.) If we did not meet up then we decided to take the red line home and meet at the house where the kids were spending their time with our 14-year-old daughter babysitting.
When the bus dropped us at the athletes’ village in Hopkinton we found a spot in the sun and waited around for the start. I met up with my friend Paul.
At 9:15 we made our way to the start. I was ready. I was going to see what I could do. I wanted to keep my pace between 6:20 and 6:30. First miles were right on 6:30 then 6:20, 6:10, 6:09, 6:10. Then at mile 10 I could feel discomfort in my right hip. It was not a sharp pain but I knew it was not 100%. Last year after Boston I injured my knee and was out for 6 weeks. I really did not want to risk that for this marathon because the trials window does not open till Aug and training for that is more important. I decided to run to the halfway point and stop. I pulled off the course and started walking and talking with people in the crowd. I noticed I did not go over the timing mat. I quickly ran back on the course and went over it. I ended up running under 1:23 for the half.
I quickly went over to the train to get back to Boston. I met a guy named Kevin who is also from Chicago. He really helped me. I was upset about having to only run half of the race. He felt I had done the right thing and avoided injury. I was also mentally not ready for this race because of the situation with my old coach and training.
I got back to Boston and went back to the busses to retrieve my bag. It was 1:30 p.m. so I knew I had to get back to the restaurant to meet Chris. I waited at our meeting spot. I tried to track Chris using my phone and I saw that he was on track for a 4-hour marathon. I thought, "Maybe I could go to the finish and see him." I saw my friend Paul and he said to stick with the plan. It was now 2:30 so I headed to the train. I got on the red line and proceeded to send a text to the kids to let them know that I was on the train and would be home soon. As I got off the train and started to walk back to the house my husband came to pick me up. It turned out he took the train right before me and did not see me standing at our meeting spot. We walked in the door and Chris noticed his phone was beeping. He picked it up and he was getting text messages "Are you ok? Where are you? Are you safe? " We were so confused. We turned on the television and saw what happened. It was shocking. I started to cry. Then the kids started to cry. We hugged and kept on watching. I did not have a computer or internet at the house so all I could do was to text and ask if my friends were OK.
After about two hours of watching the news we decided we needed to get something to eat. I was getting worried about the kids and what they were feeling and thinking. We went to a restaurant and had dinner. Dinner with the entire family helped a little bit. A few glasses of wine also helped. We went to bed early that night and knew we would see what was happening in the morning.
We determined that our 2 p.m. flight was on time and because I just didn’t feel comfortable taking the red line, we took a taxi to the airport. The whole mood at the airport was subdued. There wasn’t the excitement I’ve experienced my other times in Boston. While there were plenty of folks wearing marathon shirts and jackets, there were few smiles to be seen. When we arrived at the gate a reporter from Chicago’s CBS-TV station asked us about our experiences but we declined to be interviewed on camera because we just didn’t feel right about it.
Normally, this is where our story would have ended… we would have boarded the plane and flown home to Chicago but that was not to be. Since we were traveling on American Airlines and their entire fleet was grounded because of a computer system malfunction, we rented a car and headed out on the 16-hour drive home to Chicago.
But even pulling into our driveway was not the end of the story. We arrived home on Wednesday evening to severe rainstorms and to top things off; we awoke on Thursday to a flooded basement!
While I am very happy to have my family home and safe, I am still recovering from the events in Boston. Sleep and getting back to normal have not come easily to the family and me. In time, I’m sure that we will all make sense of what we have experienced and be better for it. In the meantime the kids are back in school, Chris is back at work and I’m back training. Life goes on.