Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reflections from The Boston Marathon

First off this is not my race report. (If that's what your looking for please go here) I have got such an overwhelming amount of heartfelt messages and over the week I feel that I should tell my story about what happened after the race and how it has affected me.
Recap of Events
I finished the race in 2:52  and soon met up with my friend Julian Romero in the finishers coral. We stayed there for about 15 minutes  on Boylston St waiting for our friend Alex.  The weather was sunny but cold. I was still warm from running and my body was starting to seize up in cramps.  I saw a few friends come through and we shook hands, exchanged high fives, smiles, and congratulations. It was a joyous moment. (the kind found at the end of any race)

One of the things I don't like about Boston and most big marathons is that it is very difficult to walk back and watch others finish the race.  It is somthing I very much wanted to do  but you are channelled a few blocks  away from the finish  so that their is room for the thousands of other runners yet to cross.. 
(Something I became grateful for on this occasion.)
My core temperature was dropping it went from warm to to teeth chattering very fast.  Julian and I proceeded to go get our drop bags full of clothes Cell phone etc. Waiting for us block away inside assigned school busses. From their we went family/runner reunification section. about 1/4 mile away from the finish line
Soon after we found Alex's mom and  In came Alex with a big  hug for her.

 I had my cell phone and checked in on facebook to proclaim that I was not broken (meaning my injured foot had held up) .  My plan was to wait around for my friend Brad whom I expected to finish around 4:30. and then maybe go to a few post race parties to celebrate. When I went online someone had posted that Brad finished at 4 hours 2 mins.
(he had started about 10 mins after the official start)

All of a sudden I heard a really Loud "Boom"  and then a second one.  I wasn't close enough to blow out my eardrums  but it was loudest thing  I had heard in a long time.

My initial thought was "Bomb" and then I thought maybe a set of grandstands fell? (which would have been equally bad.) The most rational thought however was that something went ary  at a construction site?  Thats what I wanted believe (but it was Patriot day and there were wasn't any construction going on downtown.)

 I never saw any smoke because of the skyscrapers surrounding the area. I didn't feel in danger at the time, yet I decided to start walking away from the noise.  At this point nobody really knew what was going on?  The street was  packed with exhausted runners reuniting with their families.  Some people even shook off the noise as if nothing happened,  there was a lot of confusion with a bit of panic but no hysteria.

As I walked away eastward down St. james avenue  I passed a police officer who was listening to his radio.  About ten others had gathered around to find out what had just happened. His radio was going crazy but he didn't let on to us what was really going on (probably to avoid a panic).  In a way this made me think maybe it was nothing? But then came a flock of police officers running and screaming  towards me "Get out of the road, Get out of the Road".

A steady stream of gurneys followed by ambulances were now headed down the street towards the finish line. My heart rate spiked  "What the hell had just happened?"  It was a very scary surreal thing to see!

I texted my sister to get some info? (but news of the bombings was not yet reported by the press) Obviously there were injuries, but from where I was a few blocks away from  there was no communication as to what had just happened.  The sidewalk and streets were packed with people trying to find their loved ones.  Thousands of people were still out of the course.

I walked around rather aimlessly for a bit trying to find my friend Brad as word of mouth news of what had just transpired had just trickled in from person to person.  I thought about jumping on the first Subway I could on to anywhere but when I passed the station it was being shutdown.  Runners were being evacuated away from the finish line and then my my cell phone started buzzing non stop with calls and text messages

 Obviously what whatever happened was on the news and my friends and family were very worried.  I had just switched phones before going to Boston and did not switch phone books.  I tried to respond to everyone but it was overwhelming.  I still wasn't quite sure what was going on other than it was infact a bomb.    I was pretty sure Brad was safe along with another 10 or so friends but  there were probably 30 people I knew in the race?

As soon as I could tried to post online that myself and my friends were safe. (But it didn't go through)   Even though it was half truth I really didn't know the outcome for all my friends (They did end up being okay)  I didn't want people back home to be worried.  I little while later I was able to repost the message and never have I received so many likes on a status update.  

I walked by Boston Commons to the other side of Boylston ST. the streets were still packed sirens were blazing and nobody was celebrating.  I saw a mom who had just ran the race who was crying hysterically as she runited with her crying small child and husband.  Scenes like this were common and I don't want to imagine what it would have been like to be still out on the course wondering about the safety of family at the finish line or vice versa. 
(this street would normally be packed side to side with runners)
 I got a hold of Brad on the phone he was fine.  I turns out He finished the race about 100 yards in front of the 1st explosion.  He was very fortunate to be unscathed but seemed a bit shaken up.
By the time I found him, Brad  had found another friend of his who was gonna give us a ride out of town.  I'm not sure how much time had passed by now since the bombing Maybe it was an hour maybe it was two but as we walked to the car there was still a stream of ambulances as far as the eye could see waiting to get the finish line.

Brad's friend turned out to be a crazy aggressive driver which was a good think on this occasion.  The streets were still blocked for the marathon and the city was in chaos everywhere people were driving the wrong way down one way streets.  Barricades that would have probably been removed earlier in the day were left standing as police had more pressing concerns.  It took about three hours to get out of town and think we're lucky to get out that fast.


Well  It's been just over a week since that tragic day.   The reason I was back in  Boston again this year was not because I love the marathon or the course.  What I love most of are all the amazing people whom line the streets in support of  the runners.  They are the reason that the Boston marathon is special to me

 I feel horrible for the victims and their families.  My heart goes out to them and I am sure your does as well. I am not a religious person and although I don't think praying hurts I feel we need to do much more than that to help heal and to prevent tragedies like this in future

How can we help?

We can start by being more loving to one another. The way way to fight Terrorism is not with a gun?  It's with our hearts.
 We all have basically the same DNA, feelings and emotions and I whole heartedly have faith in humanity.  If you see someone sad give them hug. Maybe if we spent  more time loving strangers as brothers and sisters of humanity people wouldn't resort to such heinous acts of violence.
The bombings in Boston made me realize how much I am loved by friends and family.  It sucks that it took a catastrophe like this for me to acknowledge this.  Thank you so much for any kind words and your concerns about my safety.  I love for all of you and I will try my best to express my love through the actions I make in my everyday life

In an effort to aid the victims I have put my Medal from the Race up on Ebay.  With 100% of the proceeds going to Eastern Massachusetts Red Cross (I originally wanted to donate to The One Fund but Ebay would not allow it) .  If you are one of the thousand's of people that were stopped short of achieving their dreams at the Boston Marathon here's your chance to receive a medal that you deserve and help out some people out in the process.

UPDATE: 4/24 1 p.m.
 Ebay Cancelled my first auction saying I was trying to profit from Human tragedy? (Which couldn't be further from the truth!!!)  I called and defended my case and they said my auction was valid and should be reinstated in the next 24 hours. (they did no reinstate it! I listed it at $.99 and the last bid I saw was $635

I just put the medal up again hopefully ebay does not take it down.

In all honesty I would give my medal away to someone who wasn't allowed to finish but if it could even raise $20 for  The One Fund every little bit helps. So that being said I really don't know what to do.  I guess I just have to wait and see what happens.  If things fall through with ebay and you want my medal please email me maybe we work somthing out where you can show me you made a donation of say $500 or whatever you can afford and  I will mail it out to you.

If you want to find out more or donate money for relief
Please go here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the great post, Pat. I still can't wrap my head around last Monday (the whole week for that matter). I am glad to hear that you and your friends made it through the day all right.

    I am no longer on FB, so I haven't heard any more about your plan to run back to CA. Are you still doing it? If so, and you plan to swing through IL, I would like to try to run with you for a while.