Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Strange Day in Boston

I was planning on this post being a super cheerful one, telling you all about my amazing time at Marathon Monday, which is usually the best day of the year at Lasell. It sucks that some coward had to ruin a day that celebrates the strength of the human spirit in order to hurt people. I love my city and I know we'll be strong through this tragedy.

Here's the events of yesterday, from my point of view.

I invited Rob to join me at Lasell, and we got on the road around 8:30. We got a sweet spot right on Washington Street (right after mile 17, and just before the dreaded hills of Newton) that we were pretty pumped about :P

We waited for about an hour before the first competitors came through. Seeing the wheelchair/mobility impaired athletes is so amazing. I can't imagine taking on the Boston course using just your arms! Very inspiring :) AND an American won the woman's division which is awesome!

One of the wheelchair-ers actually stopped right in front of Rob and I because his chain fell off of the gears. I don't really know much about fixing bikes, but I managed to get the chain back on and send him on his way. He was very appreciative!

Before long, the elite women ran by, and soon after them came the elite men. They roll into the 17 mile mark about an hour and 25 minutes after starting. Considering I run a half marathon in 2 hours, I can't fathom running that far that fast. Definitely people to look up to!

We also got to see the father/son team Dick & Rick Hoyt. If you haven't heard of them you should watch this video. Extremely moving and inspiring story. That's love right there!

Then finally, my favorite part, all of the regular people that just happen to all be my heroes. These are the people that I want to be running with one day, whenever that might be!

My good friend Jen's brother was running in the race, and when he ran by us she gave him a beer to drink. Some runners would refuse it, but he pulled right over and chugged that thing. Awesome.

I wanted to show my support as a spectator and make some signs for the race, because I know how entertaining they can be when you're running mile after mile. Lots of runners loved this first sign, and I even had a couple people (including a runner who stopped in the middle of the race!) ask me for a photo to share with their friends! It made me super happy that I made the crowd and runners smile! :)

And since I had to show my love of Game of Thrones publicly, I also made this sign. Not a lot of people got it (it was actually mostly the Lasell students that loved it and asked for pictures!) but those who did I knew I could be friends with. :P

Around 2pm we packed it up and headed onto campus for the party in the quad that goes on every year. Lasell College Radio puts on an outdoor concert and dining services offer food. I caught up with a lot of my friends, including my sophomore year roommate Sarah, my friend Katherine, and James, who I've known since freshman orientation. It was so good to see everyone, as it always is!

It was during this time where I got a Boston.com notification on my phone that two explosions went off by the Boston Marathon finish line. I was really confused about what it could be, but since it didn't give me any details, I wasn't too concerned and thought it might have been an electrical fluke or something. A few minutes later, however, I got multiple texts asking if I was alright. This triggered something in my mind to make me realize that something wasn't right. I asked those who were texting me to give me more details, and when I was told that people were dead and injured, I realized that I knew people who were at the finish line.

Three of the students that I work closely with had gone down to watch the runners cross the finish line. Rob and I were in contact with them all day, but as soon as we caught wind of the news, we couldn't get in touch with them. I was extremely worried, and hoped that services were just slow. I went into the Campus Center and the news was on the TV. Seeing that bomb go off freaked me out. I shut everything out except for those I was in communications with, trying to get a hold of these students to make sure they were safe.

We went an hour and a half without any word from them, which seemed like the longest hour and a half ever. My mind was going in every direction. I didn't want to leave Lasell until I got the word that they were safe, in case they needed someone who was close to the city to get them safely back to school. We got a hold of one of them, who informed us that they were all safe, just separated. I gave her instructions on how to get to me, if needed. 

Almost 2 hours after I heard the news of the explosion, I got the call informing me they were all together and safe, staying by a friend at Northeastern until they could get out of the city. The weight of the world finally lifted off my shoulders, and I knew that I had to get Rob and I out of the Boston area as soon as I could. We returned safely back to our apartments around 5:30.

I was talking for a long time about running the Boston Marathon in 2013. I trained myself up all summer long before I was informed that the minimum donation to run for a charity team is $4,000, a price that I would not be able to raise or afford in time. If I did end up running, based on my half marathon time, it would have put me in Copley right around the time of the explosions. It's so scary to think that.

I'm thankful that I'm safe and that the people I care about are all safe, but I'm pissed off and heartbroken that this had to happen to such an amazing day. To such an amazing city. Some stupid coward just had to hurt people in order to feel better about themselves. I really hope the person or people responsible for this are found and brought to justice. 

Boston is a strong city. We're not the people you want to push around. We will stand up for our people and come back even stronger than what we were before.

For those who were killed, injured, and otherwise affected, I'll be wearing race t-shirts and running all week in honor of you guys. You don't deserve to feel this pain. I'm running for Boston.

"To call this attack cowardly is an insult to cowards." -John Green

Because I'm not nearly as eloquent as this fellow, here's a video in which John Green, one of my personal heroes, discusses the silver lining of this sad situation.

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