#PrayforBoston

Two days later the sights and sounds of the afternoon continue to play in my head. I wasn’t going to write a post devoted to the tragedy but because I can’t think clearly about anything else I’ve changed my mind. A close friend who was with me at the time of the incident described what I am feeling so eloquently when she said the next day “I thought that I could just carry on as usual, but as soon as I sat down at the computer, my emotions finally caught up to me and am having trouble focusing on doing even little tasks…”

What I didn’t mention in my last post was that the perfect Marathon Monday plan that I crafted with Meagan and Terry involved a stop at the Elite Tent at the finish in the afternoon. Terry was stationed there and I was going to say goodbye before I left town. After catching all of our friends in the final stretch of the race I parted ways with Meagan and ran back inside to shower and get my things together. At that point it was 2pm and I wasn’t quite sure if I had enough time to make it over to Terry. We had discussed leaving the apartment at 3:15 to give us plenty of time to make our 4:30 bus back to NYC. I wanted to say goodbye to Terry but had spent a good chunk of time with him over the course of the weekend. While cheering in Wellesley one of Terry’s athletes (running alongside Carly) threw their arm sleeves over my way. I scooped them up to return later. Thinking back it must have been the arm sleeves that tipped the scales. The finish line of a marathon on a normal day is insane so I knew finding Terry would be a challenge but I hadn’t run a marathon that day. Returning the sleeves was the least I could do! I gave Terry I call and he suggested we meet by his car at Newbury and Berkeley instead of at the finish. I walked down to our meeting spot, arriving right around 2:30. I chatted with Terry and Carly for a bit at that spot before Carly left to drive home. I needed to head back to where I was staying at intersection of Hereford and Commonwealth and Terry fatefully decided to walk me back. We parted ways at the apartment between 2:45 and 2:50. I had only been back inside a minute or two when we heard the two explosions and saw the smoke. I just assumed it was a Patriot’s Day cannon or a celebratory race firework. It is not uncommon to have fireworks at races although they usually mark the start. Moments after the second explosion we witnessed the scene captured in the photo below . A stopped race was something I had never seen before. It was then that we knew something was seriously wrong. Cell service was spotty but Terry had received and responded to my text with the photo and an alert. Because he had walked me back to the apartment, he hadn’t been in the finish area at the time of the explosions. Moments later police officers started running down Commonwealth Ave. in the direction of the finish line. A fleet of motorcycles followed soon after. Fans started streaming from all of the side streets towards Commonwealth and Massachusetts Avenues, directed by the police to head to Cambridge. We looked at each other and jumped into action like robots. By then it was 3:10 and the original plan was to leave at 3:15 for our 4:30 bus. The T was shut down and it was pure chaos outside with people everywhere. We assumed we would miss our bus but thought it was worth a shot. We dashed down the stairs of the apartment and booked it over the Mass. Ave bridge to Cambridge to attempt to catch a cab to South Station. We waited on three different streets for maybe 15 minutes without any luck. Just when we had given up hope an empty cab pulled up! We jumped in and via a roundabout route made it to a very deserted South Station with 15 minutes to spare. We anxiously stood in line at our gate hearing reports of a possible evacuation of the station or cancellation of our bus. Things didn’t look so promising when the driver came over and told us that “customer service would be with us shortly.” Minutes later we boarded and left the but still wondered if we would actually get out of the city. I don’t think our hearts stopped racing until the Massachusetts border…

We were so lucky on Monday. So many things could have happened differently. It is hard to not think about all the what ifs. I am still in shock and can’t stop thinking about the fact that most of those injured were fans and not runners. I know that I would be nothing without mine and this incident will remind me of that every time I step to the starting line.

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