Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Peace. Love. Run: The 117th Boston Marathon


Because UMM qualified for the  Boston Marathon, I was able to tag along and live vicariously through all his glory. I fell in love with the city immediately upon seeing it. Normally not much of a tourist, here I eagerly took in the sights. Became knowledgeable of the history and had a true Boston experience staying on a houseboat.

Qualifying for the Boston Mary is a big deal. Many will try, few will actually have the experience. I feel very fortunate to have been a part of it. I did not run the marathon. I might never have the opportunity, but being involved with all the activities leading up to the marathon was a true honor.

I participated in the 5k event that was held on Sunday. It was the biggest 5k race I had ever run, and while no PR’s were to be had due to a crowded course, I simply just took it all in. Amazed at all the people running and feeding off their energy of positive vibes. We were all happy to be there. Running in Boston regardless of the distance.

And if UMM and I were not doing running related activities we would see runners everywhere! Sightseeing with their families, riding the T, drinking beer at a pub and eating cannoli. Amazing to turn a corner and all you see is runners. Yes Boston certainly holds the mecca for running!



All this leading up to the big day, where I dropped UMM off at the buses in Boston Common ready to take him away to the starting line. Wide eyed and smiling, he resembled a five year old about to start school for the very first time. I reminded him of his snacks and told him to make friends. I left him as he stepped on the bus, nervous like an excited parent.


On the course I stood with Paulette and Ann at the 17 mile marker and cheered on everyone that passed us. The spectators were excited, happy, and supportive. Like nothing I had witnessed before. When UMM passed by us, he stopped quickly to kiss me which made my heart melt. Sure he also kissed two Wellesley girls on the cheek before me, but that was all part of the experience. His Boston marathon experience.


I decided to avoid the finish line and wait for UMM at the family meeting place instead. The crowds were massive. Usually I am not one for crowds, but with everyone being in such high spirits, I didn’t seem to mind. When I finally connected to UMM. he was ecstatic, tired, sore. Did I mention sick? He ran the marathon sick. I mean it is Boston! Wouldn’t you? Regardless of how UMM felt, he wanted to take a nap and after celebrate his marathon achievement as well as our last night in Boston.


Celebration as you well know, was not to be had. Instead of cheers there were tears. There was panic for everyone I knew present and for those that I didn’t. There was chaos and fear. My heart broke for everyone; runners, spectators, families, volunteers, but especially those victims who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Wrong place? How could a finish line be the wrong place. Where thousands of runners crossed that line of victory as thousands of cheerleaders celebrated in their achievements.

Just days before, I had a horrible thought that later UMM shared with me he thought the very same. If someone wanted to create a scene, terrorize or be noticed, the Boston Marathon would certainly be a place to do it. Both him and I pushed the horrible thought out of our head as we both are positive people. We had no idea that our thoughts would become a reality.

A large number of runners were not able to cross the finish line. Some were but a half mile away if not closer. Of course the marathon would stop. Of course the injured were a first priority. It is understood and accepted. And while at this point a medal is of little significance, I can’t help but sympathize for all those left out on the course not able to cross the finish line. They worked just as hard to be there if not harder. Just as I write this blog, B.A.A submitted an announcement on Facebook - “..And we will soon announce a procedure to mail medals out as well.”
This made me happy to read as everyone out there deserves their medal regardless whether they were able to finish or not.  

The next day upon boarding a plane, we spoke with other runners and spectators describing the events that unfolded. Instead of congratulating each other on their victories, we were somber and confused. Detached however, was certainly not what we were! Bonded together, we were no longer strangers regardless if we knew their names. Out of the ugliness of the explosions, came beauty. And thus the running community became a stronger unit.

You don’t have to be a runner to be affected by this. It touched everyone in Boston, across the country, and globally. Runners, walkers, couch potatoes alike are all affected. I was deeply touched not only by how volunteers and others responded and rushed in to aid the injured victims, but also by the flood of texts, calls, messages, comments, and tweets UMM and I recieved making sure we were okay. It was nice to hear from friends and family. It was good to connect to those we have not heard from in quite some time.

It is heartbreaking to know that there are people out there that take joy in causing pain to others. It is comforting and inspiring to know, that yes through tragedy, love will prevail. And after all is said and done, I will continue to run. I will continue to cheer for my friends crossing the finish line. And I will live each moment as it is my last. This disgusting turn of events has not weakened my spirit but made it stronger.

Peace. Love. Run.


More Joyous moments from our visit to Boston -

Pre 5k event with fellow SFM Ambassadors  Paulette and Keith
Photo courtesy of Keith - The start of the 5k
Post 5k w/ Keith, Vinh, UMM and Paulette

Lewis Wharf where our houseboat was located
On Deck - Paulette and Ann enjoying beer and super yummy cannoli on our houseboat. Ahoy Mateys.
Found fellow SFM Ambassadors at the buses on marathon morning Celia and Susan
Hanging out w/ more SFM Ambassadors Chris, Emily, and Paulette