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Boston: The Redemption

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Boston Finish Line

 

 

AcceptedSome of you may not know how I qualified for both 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathons, so I’ll start there.  In 2011, after an attempt to qualify at Marathon to Marathon in October, I failed.  However, I FINALLY broke the 4:00 mark and ran a 3:58.  As crazy as it sounds, for me, that was the best thing that could have happened.  I have been running 4:00 marathons since the beginning, but never seeing a 3 at the beginning.  Once I broke it, I felt a new sense of why I was still trying to qualify.  Luckily, I met Gary Anderson and in just 8 short weeks, I got a 25 minute Personal Record at the crazy cold and wet White Rock Marathon in 2011.  My time was only 1:30 faster than my qualifying time so I wasn’t positive I would get in.  So, I kept training for the next marathon that would happen at Steamtown in October 2012.  I found out in September of 2012 that I got into Boston 2013, but I figured with all the training, I should go ahead and try again.  I did.  This time 2:30 minutes faster than my qualifying time.  I was pretty sure I was secure for 2014 also.

After my first trip to Boston in 2013 to run my first Boston Marathon and vacation for a week afterwards, my normal world went on when I got home.  You see, I chose to ignore what happened.  I think I just made myself believe I wasn’t part of something so horrible.  As a matter of fast, for one year and a week, I didn’t read or even listen to anything that had to do with the bombings, the families or the city.  I didn’t even talk to my friend Gail (who vacationed with me afterwards) about it once we returned home.  I didn’t look at the pictures after I posted them to Facebook while still in Boston.  Nothing.

SI Cover

 

Fast forward to the week of the 2014 Boston Marathon.  I started getting emails from friends of stories from the anniversary of the bombings.  People telling me they were thinking about me.  The week before the race, I was sitting at the Ford Dealership getting my car serviced and saw a Sports Illustrated magazine with a Boston Marathon cover.  I picked it up and started reading.  I wasn’t sure that I really wanted to go much further than that article though.

The weekend before the race came and I started packing and headed to the airport that Saturday.  I realized something wasn’t quite right when TSA Peanut Buttertook my peanut butter away and I started crying.  I started crying, yet again, at the gate when the attendant took my suitcase saying it was too large to fit in the overhead bin.  This time uncontrollably.  I realized that maybe I’d never let myself deal with 2013.  The final straw was when I got to Boston, took at taxi to the same hotel I stayed at in 2013, and walked into the lobby.  All of the emotions, the phone calls, the texts, the fear, and the rage came rushing back.

That night, I went back to the emails my friends had sent and started reading and looking at the pictures from 2013.  How the city came together for such a tragic event unfolded right in front of me.  All of the sudden, I felt privileged to be there again.  I was adamant about going to the finish line super early Sunday morning to get pictures and deal with my emotions.  Luckily I have good friends that got up at 5:30 and went down there with me.  It was really good for me.

 

Race day started out great!  I ran with the first timer, Jamye, so I was able to show her how to do race day morning just right.  Only because I was shown in 2013 by a very nice man from California.  He was so nice to let me tag along.  I wanted to be able to share that with someone else and I did.

Jamye Jamye and I ran the entire race together.  There were several notable things.  1) The crowd support was unbelievable…I felt like a professional runner the entire race.

2) We saw Rick and Dick Hoyt running their very last Boston Marathon!

Team Hoyt

3) About mile 14, 4 helicopters flew over and that fear came rushing back.  I still don’t know what that was all about.

4) At mile 18, I saw a sign that read, “Run for you, finish for them.”  Out of the all of the signs, why that one?!  Breakdown number 1 happened and I even made Jamye cry on that one.

06.2014 Blog Boston Photo

5) Close to the finish line where the 2nd bomb went off, I saw a runner veer over to the left and kneel down as if he was praying.  Breakdown number 2 occurred and continued through my finish.

6) Even with all of the emotions and people, Jamye still qualified for Boston 2015!

Medal

 It was a grand experience and I’m so glad I went back to get my closure.  On Tuesday, we visited the museum in the Boston Public Library with the exhibit from the 2013 Marathon.  That was emotional too but I felt different that day.  Like I accepted that I was part of it and it’s okay.

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