Some thoughts following the Boston Marathon

It is hard, impossible really, to make sense of what happened yesterday. I am still in a state of shock, knowing how close I was to it all, and how many friends and family were in the area.

It was such a clash of emotions – from the amazing high of passing the 25-mile mark, less than a mile to go, to the confusion, panic, and terror of hearing the explosions, seeing the police block the course, and trying to contact friends and family. I was thankful to be with five of my friends who were running the last stretch with me – but none of us knew exactly what had happened, the extent of the casualties, or whether there were more bombs in the area.

We were stopped about a half-mile from the finish line. Police barricaded the street while ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars rushed to the scene. We waited around for awhile, trying to get some more information. The scene was hectic to say the least. People were crying and shaking as they were trying to contact loved one’s. Cell service was down, and it took awhile to contact everyone. Soon after, police told us to leave the streets – there were erroneous reports of another bomb in Kenmore Square and even at BC.

I’m obviously disappointed that I was not able to complete the Marathon. But, more importantly, I’m glad that I had slowed up over the last few miles and was safe from harm – if I was five or ten minutes faster, I would have been right at the finish line when the bombs went off.

I will say this – the first 25 miles of the Boston Marathon were amazing. Fans packed the course for the whole run, each town with a different feel – the awesome start in Hopkinton, the screaming girls of Wellesley, the craziness at BC. And then, there were the signs:

You’re almost there! Actually no, you’re not

Today is the only acceptable day to poop your pants

You’ve trained for this longer than the Kardashians were married

My body was hurting, but I was inspired by the kindness of strangers and all the people handing out orange slices and water bottles and candy bars along the course.

In Boston, Patriot’s Day is the best day of the year. It’s a celebration of the city, the history, and the thousands of runners that partake in the Marathon. Classes are cancelled and students line the streets for hours. When I first cheered on the runners at BC during my freshman year, I knew that this was something that I wanted to do – to play a small part in the day’s long history.

After the events unfolded, I was contacted by so many people – college friends, high school friends, family members, people I hadn’t talked to in years. I even got a few messages from phone numbers I didn’t recognize (what do you do in that situation? Do you ask them who they are, or do you just pretend you know who it is?). It means a lot to me that so many people reached out – I am sorry that it took so long to respond to the messages, but cell service was down for obvious reasons. And I’m also thankful that my friends and parents were around as we heard about what happened and left the course. It would have been a difficult situation to deal with alone.

I don’t think I have processed everything quite yet. My emotions are still in a whirlwind. To have been so close to the attacks and to see the panic and tears of the people in the street – it’s just awful. But I am confident that the city will respond with strength and courage – people tend to show their best in the days and weeks following a disaster like this.

In the meantime, I’m going to go take some Advil.

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