I'm just finally finding time to sit down and put my thoughts on Monday's tragedy to (metaphorical) paper.
Needless to say, this week has been different than any other, and I've been finding myself pretty distracted: Refreshing my twitter news feed constantly, always reloading CNN.com, finding tedious tasks pointless, and definitely looking at it all with a new perspective.
4 minutes are what put us between the second bomb on Boylston, and the point before the underpass where we were finally stopped. That means if I didn't stop to pose for CM's picture, if T hadn't hugged her mother at the foot of heartbreak, or if CS hadn't kissed her courageous police man in Autobahn Circle, there's a high probability that that's exactly where we would've been.
The "what if" game...
It can't be avoided after events like Monday's. After I run through the list of my "what ifs" (and they go on: What if my parents were standing in the same spot they had on Boylston the first time I ran the Boston Marathon? What if CM had been able to get on that first train in Cleaveland Circle and had been waiting for me at the finish line?...) I start to think of those families that are playing the what if game in the exact opposite way I am: For the Richard's family - What if he hadn't run the race this year at all? For Krystle Campbell - what if she had just been standing somewhere a little further away? For the BU Grad Student - What if she had chosen an entirely different country to visit? What if, what if, what if...
My heart is broken for them. For their families. For all of those who are injured physically and mentally. For those who will be healing from the scars of April 15, 2013 for years to come. A senseless act of violence on such a beautiful and perfect day.
It was no more than 2 hours before the bombing that I said to CS and T, the two first-timers I was running with, that Marathon Monday is such an amazing day for Boston. A day where people come together to celebrate as a community the millions of dollars raised for some of the most important causes in the world: Cancer research, homelessness, for the perseverance of the human spirit.
My heart is broken for the loss and pain, for the fact that my first timers were robbed of that life-changing experience of taking that left turn onto Boylston, seeing those blue and yellow letters, and knowing amazing feeling of crossing that finish-line after months of training. After the physical and mental test of the past 26.2 miles. A test that teaches you so much about yourself and about life.
I am angered and saddened, but even more than that I am determined and inspired. I am inspired by the acts of kindness of the runners who continued to MGH and were turned away because so much blood had already been given for the victims. I am inspired by my amazing friends who rescued us at BU opened their homes and arms for those who couldn't get home right away. I am determined, as are CS and T who have already signed up for their next marathon in just a month, and VM for her half. I am determined to run Boston again.
At first I said, "I might be too scared to ever run this race again," to go down Boylston Street and to see that finish line. But then I think, the 118th Boston Marathon will surely be the biggest yet, because Boston and America won't let those terrorists win. We cannot let hate drive out what so much love has come to accomplish. So remind me again, when I need it most, in late March of next year - when I'm hating the blisters and cramps and long runs dodging snow piles: This time it's for those who can't.