I am going to try to put together a little post about my experience before, during, and after the race. I will not make this into a race report or anything like that. I will write one up if, and when it becomes appropriate but right now is not the time.
I arrived in Boston Saturday morning and I was immediately greeted by thousands and thousands of fellow runners. I took the train downtown, with the train full of runners and their family members. When I made it downtown I was amazed by how busy the area was. I assume Boston is always pretty busy but the sidewalks were almost can’t move busy. So needless to say that the town was taken over by the race! It was so cool to see all the runners from different countries and backgrounds and see how welcoming Boston was to everyone. Everyone was very nice, from what I encountered. Made my way to the expo then headed to the North End for some good ol pre race pizza (and gelato and canoli, oops!).
Race day comes and I am excited, nervous, anxious to race. I had my race plan nailed down and I was ready to execute it. The atmosphere during the race is one of a kind. The mix of fans and runners was simply amazing. I have run the Chicago Marathon 3 times and they have over a million spectators so I thought nothing could come close to that. Well after a few miles I knew I was wrong. Since Boston is a point to point course spectators from all the different towns come out in heaps to support. Little kids handing out orange slices, dixie cups of water, flavored ice pops. Then you get to Wellesley College and the noise they make is deafening. Then we make our way further down to Boston College where they are handing out adult beverages. Then the infamous Newton Hills await and they do not disappoint. Fans cover every step of each side of the street cheering. And lastly, the final few miles are covered by countless spectators which drive you to the finish no matter how much pain you are in. The final 600 meters down Boylston St. is so loud I literally said “wow”.
I finished the race with my best time yet by like 6 minutes. Legs felt terrible but was happy with my time. Made my way to get my bags then plopped down at a restaurant a bit further down from the finish to eat and relax. At the time I sat down the Red Sox were just winning on a walk off hit so everyone in the restaurant/bar was going nuts. I made my calls/texts to family and friends, tried to eat some then instead of watching at the finish for a bit I decided to just head to the airport early to sit there.
Well once I got to the airport I had all sorts of messages asking if I was ok. “Yeah, I’m fine, just a bit sore.” was my common response. It wasn’t until I checked Twitter that I figured out what happened. I was already still in disbelief about my race and how I should be happy but it hadn’t really hit me yet. Now I forgot about my race and was fixated on figuring out what happened, who was hurt, how it happened, and why this happened. I was also trying to comprehend the idea that if I had been a bit slower or I decided to stay and watch I could have been there when it happened and those are not happy thoughts. When I got on the plane I had even more messages from some people I hadn’t talked to in like 10 years. The news was also worse, more injured. Now a day after it still has not hit me exactly what happened and how close I am to all the runners and spectators who were out there. My thoughts go out to everyone impacted by the bombings. Right after the race I thought, “I cannot wait to come back and race here again” but I was not planning on doing it in 2014 but I think I am going to go back next year to show whoever did this that they will not win. We are a strong nation and runners are a rare breed. We will get through this! I am happily sitting here typing in my Boston race shirt which I will probably wear for a few days to show my support for everyone in Boston.
And I have to send HUGE thanks to everyone that reached out to my family, my friends, or me to see that I was safe after they all heard what happened at the race. The outpouring of support and thoughts is indescribable and those texts/tweets/calls/fb posts were about the only thing that put a smile to my face after I heard about the sickening tragedy.