I woke up Monday morning, April 15th with a feeling of joy and elation. Yesterday was the 117th running of the Boston marathon and although I was not able to attend as I had planned, as a runner, it was a still a big deal for me. As I dressed for work, I proudly put on my blue shirt and golden tie in support of the event, and headed off to work. My excitement for the race to begin could hardly be contained as I checked my computer several times in the minutes before the gun finally went off. Between periods I checked in on the runners to see where they were, how they were doing, and their split times. The elites had finished right around the time I was eating lunch, and to me, now the real joy began, as thousands of ‘regular people’ began to make their way to the finish line. The finish line of an endurance event is one of the greatest and most uplifting places there is. Hundreds of people wh you don’t know and who don’t know you cheering you on in awe of your accomplishment. The feeling is completely surreal.
My work day ended and as I was changing to go out to baseball practice, I heard on sports radio that there had een two explosions near the finish line of the race. I thought to myself there must be some kind of mistake in reporting. There can not possibly have been an explosion near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, one of the most prestegious marathons in the world. As the time ticked slowly by, I was receiving more and more updates via twitter and the radio that two explosive devices had indeed been detonated near the finish line of the marathon, and that many people were injured, some seriously.
I was not able to get much more information at that time as I had to conduct baseball practice for my 7th and 8th grade team. Practice went as well as it could have with my mind wandering elsewhere with concern for all of those injured. As I drove home, I spoke with both of my parents who gave me some more of the details of this tragic event. I learned that at least two individuals lost their lives, and that there were several people who had lost limbs in this incident.
I was planning to do a swim workout when I got home, but I just couldn’t. My mind and my spirit was not up to the task. I could not focus on anything else besides getting home, turning on the news to see for myself what happened. Watching the news, I felt as though this was a personal attack on my own family. As an endurance athlete, there is some type of special bond you share with other endurance athletes. You are in some ways a family with the same dreams and goals, and seeing such an attack was disheartening. I was sickened by the images I saw. Blood stained streets. Debris scattered everywhere. People lying injured. Complete chaos. I could not at first register what I was seeing. The place I had seen only hours ago on live feeds which had been so full of excitement and life was now what to me looked like a war zone.
As I watched footage being played, I noticed that as these explosions went off, several people when charging toward the carnage to see if they could help in any way. This, to me was the most uplifting part of the day. Seeing emergency workers, armed forces, and plain clothes civilians doing everything they could to assist the injured in any way that they can. Runners continuing after having ran 26.2 miles to the first hospital they could find to donate blood. Citizens of Boston and the surrounding towns posting rooms and beds available for anyone who would be put out that day/night. Offering hot showers and food to the runners. I think Patton Oswalt said it best yesterday in a statement he made. To paraphrase, he said that no matter what happens, the good people will always far outnumber the senseless people who perpetrate these senseless acts of violence. We clearly saw that yesterday.
It had been my plan for weeks and months to use a sick day at work and attend this event with Amy, where we likely would have been standing somewhere on that street cheering for the runners who had spent months training to complete one of the most famous and prestigious marathons. Sadly, something came up and we were unable to attend yesterday, which actually may have turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
As I woke up today, those same colors which I had worn yesterday with excitement, I today wear in mourning and sadness. To show my sympathy for those affected by this tragedy, and also to show that no matter what occurs, we will not be held down. My first thought this morning was that I want to run the Boston Marathon next year. I want to be there in the first running after this senseless attack. Wear blue and yellow to honor those who lost their lives yesterday. Amy and I will somehow find a way to be a part of next year’s race. We will not let senseless violence change our way of life.