It's 5:56 a.m.
I can't sleep.
Yesterday morning at this time I was nervously gulping down some oatmeal & double checking my official B.A.A. drop bag to make sure I had all my gear. I was anxious to get on the road for the short trip to the bus boarding spot to Hopkinton.
Yesterday was a day that I had dreamed about for a long time.
And it was amazing. It went perfectly. The experience was every single thing I had hoped for and more. Even down to a race run exactly as planned.
And then some bastard(s) took that away. They took it away from me. From every other runner who has worked so hard to get to this place. From the amazing people of Boston. From every spectator, fan, loved one, friend whose excitement tracking their runner's progress turned to horror and worry yesterday as the events unfolded.
My heart feels a little bit broken today.
I accomplished a huge goal yesterday but how can I rejoice in that when people are dead. How can I possibly thrill in the mental replay of it all when people lay in the hospital fighting for their lives. When people, too many to count at this point, have lost limbs.
Its hard to reconcile the ultimate highs that I felt yesterday with the fear and devastation that followed. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. I knew that after the marathon there would be a let down factor after so many months of training and planning. I just never figured that it would play out like this.
Yesterday I was standing in the family meet-up spot designated for racers with the last name X. Our group of 8 had no single letter in common in all of our last names so we decided for race day we would be the Xanakes family. This spot is a little over a block from the finish. The group had just reunited. Together. All of us. We were preparing to head for the T station when a blast rocked us. Silence fell. Then another blast. And more silence. Slowly people began to shake their heads in confusion and fall back into conversation. It was, after all, Patriot's Day and we figured maybe there was a cannon blast at Fenway Park, or something similar, to commemorate the day. I told my friend that surely if it was something bad we would hear sirens. And then the first ambulance came blazing down the crowded street with emergency responders yelling at us to get out of the way. And then another ambulance. Still we stood, confused, frozen. And then the police began running down the street yelling for us to get out. To run.
Run? We had nothing left. We were physically, mentally and emotionally depleted. We didn't even know which direction we were supposed to run in. The sirens and emergency responders were coming non-stop. All telling us to go. To go fast. Our husbands guided us as best they could. My one friend, barely able to walk, because she had injured her Achilles so much during her marathon. We had no idea what had happened. As we walked we saw a crowd spilling onto the sidewalk at a crowded cafe. Everyone inside glued to the news on the television. We peered in the windows and saw the first footage of the complete horror that had taken place just around a corner from where we had been. A spot that less than an hour before had been a place of triumphant, mind-blowing joy.
Rumors were rampant that there were more bombs. The buses were no where to be found. The T stations had closed down. Taxis were crammed full of people. We ended up walking about 4 miles until finally we found a T stop that had reopened. Should we get on it? We knew that during a terror attack getting onto public transportation might not be the best option but what else were our choices. We knew we could possibly walk the rest of the way back to Cambridge if we had to but we. were. so. tired. We decided to chance it. I had an overwhelming peace knowing that the Lord knew my days before I ever drew my first breathe. Those days on this earth would be no more, or less, than what He had set out for me.
It was an uneventful, if quiet, ride back to Cambridge. We got back to our house and sat numbly trying to process. We almost cancelled our dinner reservations but decided that we really needed to go. Staying home would do nothing but give the bad guys win again - to let them steal another piece of our joy. We went. We ate and we drank. We laughed. We also remembered. How blessed we were to be safe. To be enjoying one another's company.
I laid in bed last night and felt so deeply the disappointment and grief that so very many of my brother and sister runners and race fans were left with after yesterday. And I woke up with it heavy on me today. And I knew that I will NOT let them beat me. We will rise above. Next year the 118th Boston Marathon will be run. And I guarantee it will be even more meaningful then any year previous. Because the people of Boston are some amazing people. And I know that they will not let the bad guys win either.