Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Monday, Bloody Monday

Today I woke up. It's my short run day - an easy 5 or 6 miles. I should have been excited about the perfect spring weather, the sunshine, 2 cups of my favorite coffee, nature making its move before the run, and thinking about my next race.

Instead, as I got dressed, I watched the news, the horror, the images of the sidewalk I have been on dozens of times, and the Boston Marathon finish line strewn with bomb blast debris.

Yesterday started out perfectly. My wife and our 9-year-old got up and walked the mile down to the race route. We are at the 10K checkpoint (Mile 6.1 of 26.2). There we cheered and clapped for thousands of runners as we waited to high-five our friends (whose names will be changed).

My little one sat on my shoulders and my wife by my side. "What color is John wearing?" She asked.

"He's wearing a red shirt with white lettering and dark blue shorts; I saw them in the picture he posted on Facebook. And the ladies are wearing purple. And the Mark is wearing a dark blue Running Club tank-top."

My cell phone buzzed with a text message. Mandy was killing it. 44 minutes to the 10K checkpoint. She pulled over to the ropes for a quick high-5.

10 minutes later the next buzz and John showed up with a huge grin. "55 minutes," I shouted and high-fived him. It was his first Boston Marathon. Then Mark came through. "1 hour buddy, you are on pace for a personal best!" Another high-5 and off he ran. We waited another 5 or so minutes and Kendra shouted from the middle of the road, "Hey David!"

"Good luck!" I yelled as I waved.

We started our trek back home through the throngs of cheering Bostonians amidst the balloons and clanging cowbells. Then we stopped for lunch with a view of the race route.

All the way home we talked about the crazy costumes, funny t-shirts, and how fun it was to see our friends among 23,000 others - plus the hundreds of bandits running without numbers. If I didn't have to get back to work, I would have been one of them.

I sat at my home desk posting the checkpoint times of my friends to Facebook as they made the 1/2 marathon and 30K check points. I got my last one at 1:47. John had made the 30K checkpoint at 3:04:04. The others had past it a few minutes earlier.

I was expecting to get more updates around 2:47. Mandy had already finished in 3:30. The others were all on pace for a finish in about 4 hours.


I was checking the BAA website and no finish times were recorded. They must be overloaded, I thought. Then I noticed some one posted something on MFP about bombs going off at the Boston Marathon finish line. I Googled it and got the first news stories and 1 photo. I scanned it looking for signs of my friends. I saw the Mandy had LIKED a Facebook post and I messaged her to see if John was alright.

No answer.

I texted the guys on my phone and left posts on their Facebook pages: "Just let me know you are OK."

No answer.

At 3:42 I heard John was OK. Later I heard those from the purple team were all accounted for. Thank God. It took until early evening until Mark returned my text. He was safe in his Boston hotel.

For those of you who run, you know what the camaraderie between them is like. These are my friends. We run together when we can, we encourage each other, and we support each others fund raising efforts. And we see each other at other functions too.

How do I process all this? Today I am angry, tearful, thankful, and as I write this, determined. I dedicated my morning run to thinking and praying for those 3 race fans that died as a result of the evil that a very small group of humans seem relentless about perpetrating on others.

As an American, I have a response. As a Christian, I have a response. As a husband, parent and the protector of my family, I have a response.

My heart goes out to those who lost loved ones, those who have lost limbs, to those who are scared, and to those who just freakin' care about their fellow man and are saddened by this act of violence.

As a runner, I also have a response. I am going to run. The first chance I get, I am going to run in downtown Boston. I am going to remember, and I am going to pray. I am going to be sad for those who worked so hard, only to be robbed of the victory of finishing the greatest race on earth: The Boston Marathon.

Go run or pray, or hug your kid, or call a friend, or do something nice for someone. Please.
From the original blog post on MyFitnessPal.com.

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