It’s taken me a couple days to wrap my mind about everything I experienced that day. It’s also taken me a couple days to have the courage to write anything over here. But here it goes.
4/15/2013 – Patriots Day. Marathon Monday.
I had taken the day off work, and had a whole day planned out with a couple of friends. Early morning yoga. Brunch. Going to the finish line to watch a friend cross the marathon line. Lots of congrats. Bootcamp. Celebrations later.
The morning started off mostly as planned. Even though yoga ended up being cancelled, we strolled from Allston to Coolidge Corner for some Pete’s Coffee and brunch at Zaftigs (note to everyone: they open at 8am. We were the first ones there. It was lovely). We had a great brunch, ate a ton, laughed a lot and then decided to go to the Brookline Booksmith. There we laughed at self help books, checked out the new best sellers and looked at the random stuff that was being sold.
We went our separate ways.
I spent some time at my boyfriends house – cleaning, doing some laundry and writing my blog post for Compete Every Day. It was a blog post to remind people that no matter what happens in life, don’t forget to the love the ones around you. Check it out here: http://www.competeeveryday.com/2013/04/our-love/.
I then packed my boxing stuff, a couple of snacks and a water bottle and headed to Harvard to take the red line into the city. I wanted to make it by 2:30PM to see my friend cross the finish line.
Around 1:45 I got off at Park Street and started walking to Boylston. The sun was shining. I took some pictures of the flowers in the Garden. People were posing with their medals and wrapping their heat foils a little closer since the wind had started to pick up.
I finally made it the finish line at 2:10ish. I remember refreshing my phone, and looking up her number again. She hasn’t finished yet. I was outside of Marathon Sports, cheering people on as they crossed the famous finish line. I refreshed my phone again. Oh, it looks like she crossed. I texted her and told her where I was.
At 2:40PM, I received the text that most likely saved my life.
“Ah! I’m on the T! Didn’t have my phone. Will be at (Tavern in the Square) in an hour if you can stop by.”
I high fived a couple more people, and started to make my way to the Arlington T stop. As I was walking down the stairs to the station. We heard a loud boom. We could feel the ground shake, and the runner behind me fell onto me and we did a nice little tumble. We got up, paid our fare and started to wait for the train. We felt the next one almost immediately as we stopped moving.
Transit police were yelling at people to get out of the station. Everyone was trying to help marathoners up the stairs. No one knew what was going on. When we got up to the street – you could see the smoke. People were crying, sirens were wailing, the phones were down. No one knew what had just happened.
Then, we heard one guy say: “Someone blew up the finish line”.
The rest was like a dream. I had just been there. I started to walk back to the finish line, and was kindly told to walk towards the Common by a police officer. We got there, and they started telling us to go home. How? I don’t know, the T’s were closed. I was in the Boston Common. Home was either to Allston or to Somerville. I decided to walk into South Boston.
I called my friend, and asked if she could pick me up somewhere. Her fiance picked me up somewhere on A street, looking dazed. I was on autopilot. We deiced that I would go to bootcamp, to try to get back into a normal routine.
I cried. I punched the bag as hard as I could, and sweat and tears rolled down my face.
My boyfriend came to pick me up after. I didn’t want to take the train. But I wanted to be back in the city. I called my friend, and she was still at the bar – both of us wanted to see each other. So we parked the car, and walked into Allston. It was exactly what I needed. The mood was completly different from the year before – her first time running the Boston Marathon.
We were happy to see each other, and both clearly in shock of what happened. We watched press conferences, listened to people’s accounts of what happened. We all have our story. This is a day that we will all remember. The day when the sanctity of the finish line was compromised.
But it won’t be tarnished.
I ran 5 miles this morning. I cried. I am angry. I’m upset. But I will not be held down. You can try to shake us. You can try to scare us. But we will be right back at it. You can’t take the finish line away from us. You can’t take the love of those around us from us. We decide when we are finished. We chose to love. We chose to remember by running and helping, rather than running scared.
We are Boston Strong. You can never take that away from us.