With a Heavy Heart

by - Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I think it was the contrasting scenes on Boylston Street that got me the most.

Early yesterday afternoon, I was watching the live stream of the race, cheering for Shalane Flanagan to drop the hammer and somehow pull herself into third place. I watched as Flanagan crossed the finish line in 4th place, fist pumping to the crowd of spectators.

I watched Kara Goucher finish minutes later. The first words out of her mouth after crossing the line, "How did Shalane do?"

I watched hordes of regular runners celebrate in Hopkinton as they crossed the start line, ready to run their own 26.2 miles to Boylston Street.

And then a few hours later, I saw Boylston Street in shambles. Blood everywhere, medics trying to help wounded people. No more smiles and cheers and fist pumps from happy finishers.

My heart dropped. I was shocked and sad.

In a daze, I reached for my phone to text Susan to make sure she was OK. I felt a bit of relief when she said she was, but I still couldn't really process what happened.

Boston is the holy grail of marathons. Runners put in hours of blood, sweat and tears, training their hearts out to qualify for the privilege to run Boston. Running Boston is the celebration of months and sometimes years of hard work. Making that final turn on Boylston Street and running toward the finish line should be nothing less than a moment of extreme pride and euphoria.

And yesterday, that was shattered.

My heart aches for what happened in Boston, for the families and friends of those who lost loved ones and for those who were injured in the evil and senseless bombing. My heart aches for what should be a happy day of celebration being shattered by some cruel person.

As a runner, I may never get the privilege to run Boston -- I'm nowhere near fast enough to qualify. But I watch every year without fail. Every year I have tons of friends running the race.

And I think that's why out of all the horrible tragedies that have rocked our country in the last year or so this one hits so close to home. It feels like a personal attack on my friends and my family.

I realize I am writing and publishing this post on the anniversary of the horrible shootings at Virginia Tech, and I think that makes the whole thing hurt even more.

I can't process all the senseless killings, all the bombings and the shootings.

I've been trying to focus on the tiny bit of silver lining in this whole thing. That because it was a race, medical personnel were already on the scene. First responders could act almost immediately. Who knows how many lives that could saved.

But despite that bit of good, my heart still aches.

[caption id="attachment_2742" align="alignnone" width="500"]I am a runner and my heart is in Boston today Saw this on Twitter and thought it summed things up well[/caption]

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  1. I still can't believe it. It's one of those things that seems like it doesn't compute... Earlier in the day I was sad my husband decided not to run this year. I agree - it feels personal somehow.

  2. We're all sharing the same sorrow today. wear a race shirt to show your support. I had several friends out there too that were all ok.

  3. There is some comfort in the collective grief. Everyone is going through the same emotions.

  4. Thanks for your text...it was so scary. I was there and I still can't believe it.