There’s been a lot written recently about what happened last April 15th. Everyone has their own memories from that day. These are mine:
I remember running down Boylston, blowing kisses to every police officer I saw.
I remember standing by the buses 10 minutes later, seeing the expression change on the face of the officer in front of me as the second bomb went off.
I remember stopping breathing when I found out Chris had been on Boylston, and that no one had heard from him yet.
Most of the rest is a blur. If I tried, I might be able to remember more. But what I don’t have to remember, because it has been a part of my life every day since, is what came next.
Tuesday morning I remembered that I’d seen my former teammate Sean Biggins cheering on Boylston just before the finish and texted him from an ice bath. I didn’t know him very well (we didn’t ice-bath text on a regular basis), but he responded right away, saying how worried he’d been about me and how glad he was to hear from me. Wednesday my mentees crowded onto my couch, eating pizza off paper plates and huddling as close to each other as possible. Thursday I met Biggins and some of my other long-time teammates out – we told our stories, we reassured ourselves that yes, we were there, we were okay, everyone had made it. Friday, from inside our locked houses, we did it again.
There was a lot of sadness in our gatherings those first few days. But eventually the sadness faded away, and the love that had been there right alongside it grew. The relationships I leaned on in that first week – the teammates who had been there, the ones who hadn’t, the friends in other cities who called every day to check in on me – have been the source of more comfort, joy, and laughter over the past year than I could have imagined. Biggins has become one of my closest friends. The runners I mentored are absolute anchors in my life, as integral a part of it as if I’d known them for years. And because of you, our amazing, bursting-at-the-seams team has raised over $1 million for charity.
Everyone has their own memories from the marathon last year, and everyone has their own reasons for running this one. For some, it’s to take back a finish line they were kept from crossing. For others, it’s to reclaim the spirit of the Boston Marathon. For me, it’s to celebrate the incredible strength, generosity, and love that flooded through a shattered city on April 16th and hasn’t let up since.
Last year after the marathon, I wrote about the card my friend Anna sent me the day before the race. I still think about it, and what she wrote, nearly every day:
“Run tough. Run strong. Run beautiful.”
On Monday, I know that we will.