Monday, April 21, 2014

The Magic of Marathon Monday | Boston Marathon 2014

In honor of the Boston Marathon, today's post is a change from my usual blog post. I hope you will join me in remembering and honoring the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings.


Last year at this time, I was living in Boston. Actually, I was living in Cambridge, just a quick walk over the BU Bridge from Boston. A walk that I made frequently, often stopping to take in the breathtaking view of the Boston skyline, or to watch the rowers on the Charles. But there is one walk over that bridge that I will never forget.

Last year, on Marathon Monday, my husband and I walked over that bridge, from Boston back to Cambridge, among a crowd of spectators, all talking in hushed tones. As we walked across the bridge, I sent text messages to my family to let them know that we were okay, even though I didn't really understand why they might be worried about us.

As a spectator at mile 25, I had no idea what was going on. We didn't hear an explosion. Nobody panicked. Runners were still running. Spectators were still cheering. The police calmly told the marathon spectators to "clear out, it's time to go." We didn't listen to them at first, wanting to see our friend run by. We noticed more runners talking on their cell phones. We overheard the word "explosion." The number of ambulances driving toward the finish line kept increasing. My phone was vibrating with Facebook alerts. When our friend passed by us a few minutes later, we cheered her on and she gave us a big smile. Then we made our way back across the bridge with scores of other spectators, all walking to safety, away from Boston.

When we got home, we turned on the news and couldn't believe what we were seeing. The images on the screen didn't match up to the calm scene we had just experienced at mile 25. I looked out the window and saw a beautiful spring day. I looked back at the screen and saw absolute horror. I couldn't understand how all of this could be happening just miles away from where I was sitting and watching it unfold.

The remainder of the week was spent keeping an eye on the news, while trying to settle back into regular routines. Life was going on, but there were signs everywhere of what had happened. Posters, memorials, and a strong military and police presence throughout the city. Everyone was talking about the terrible events. There was a heightened sense of fear and unknown, but there was also an amazing amount of resiliency and strength coming from the city of Boston.

I was lucky enough to be on the periphery of all of the events that took place last April. One mile from the finish line; two miles from the MIT campus where Officer Collier was shot; less than one mile from the suspects' apartment, and safe inside my own apartment as the city went on lock down. Sirens were a constant reminder that week of the tragic events and uncertainty outside.

Today it is Marathon Monday once again in Boston. It is a magical day along the race course. The crowd of runners at the starting line. The screaming girls at Wellesley College. The first glimpse of the Citgo sign. Even Heartbreak Hill carries a bit of magic. And oh, the finish line. There is nothing more magical than crossing the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I've been lucky enough to experience the magic of the finish line as both a runner and as a spectator, and believe me, there is no other running experience like the Boston Marathon.

 I was blessed to call Boston my home, if only for a short time, but Boston, and the Boston Marathon, will always hold a special place in my heart. Today I will watch the marathon updates from my here in California. I will anxiously await text message alerts as my friends who are running the race hit the 10k, half-marathon, 30k, and yes, even the finish line. Because this year, everyone will finish. And today, the city of Boston, along with thousands of runners and spectators, will reclaim the magic that is unlike any other. The magic that takes place at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.


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