Thursday, April 18, 2013

Boston Marathon: After the Marathon

2:50 pm. Still in the changing tent. There was a boom. It sounded like a cannon, or a very heavy truck going over a bump. At first, I thought it might be part of Patriots' Day. I couldn't tell where it came from.

Then there was another boom. Everyone started looking at each other, thinking this isn't right. This can't be good.

No. It wasn't right and it wasn't good.

Someone, I can't remember if it was a volunteer or a runner or someone else, said people were running. A volunteer told us to get out of the tent and leave. And go where? What was going on? Where was it? Were we heading towards it or away from it? What if there was another boom?

For the next 20 minutes or so, I was mostly unaware of what had happened. My #1 priority was finding my husband. I talked to him again (I had a missed call from him, so I knew he was OK) and he was on his way to meet me. It was surprisingly unchaotic, although no one really knew what was going on. I certainly didn't. Maybe that's why, so far, I feel like it hasn't been that traumatic. I never panicked. I hadn't seen anything. So thankful for that.

My husband found me in the family meeting area and we tried to figure out what to do. I just wanted to get the hell out of Boston as soon as possible. He was hungry. Emergency vehicles started heading toward the finish area. Ambulances. Police. We started walking in the opposite direction. At some point, I posted to Facebook that we were OK and called my parents. I already had tons of messages on my phone.

We popped into a crowded bar, saw the news of Explosions in Boston, and quickly left to find some other place to eat. We ended up at a Thai place that was mostly empty. I knew I needed to eat, but the last thing I wanted to do was eat. I managed to have a couple bites of vegetables and a cup of hot tea. But my stomach, which had been unsettled in the last few miles, just couldn't take more than that.

We walked a few more blocks to South Station to take the commuter train home. I have never appreciated Rhode Island as much as I did that day.

I keep wondering what if?

What if I ran slower? What if I had gotten injured?

What if my ankle decided to hurt during the marathon and I was somewhere out on the course? This was a big calculated risk, even before I stepped over the start line.

What if the bombs went off earlier? I ran within yards of both bombs. I will never know if they were already there when I ran by. I will never know if I had seen the people who dropped those bombs.

What if something had happened to my husband? Because he was out watching me run a marathon?

What if I didn't have a missed call from my husband after the bombs went off, so that I knew he was OK? What if we hadn't easily met up?

What if I didn't have my phone, or my battery wasn't fully charged when I left in the morning?

What if there were more bombs?

What if I didn't know my way around Boston and knew exactly where I was? What if I didn't know that I could walk to South Station to catch the commuter train home, instead of Back Bay closer to the finishing area?

What if. Those questions don't have answers.

The "what if" questions almost don't matter. People often talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I was in the right places at the right times. For all the things that could have gone wrong, not one of them did. I am so grateful and thankful for that.

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