Those of you that know me know that I express how I’m feeling through my blog entries, and I’ve tried a few times to sit down and get my thoughts out about this past week. After reading a blog from my teammate and friend, Bill early this morning I think I’m finally ready to try and get my thoughts out.
Over the last six months I have put so much of my time and energy into training and fundraising. I’ve worked hard to try an accomplish something I knew would be difficult, completing 3 marathons in a 43 day period. When I wrote about my Boston Marathon experience I thought I’d be writing about how if felt to be 1 marathon away from achieving this goal, but that seems so minimal now.
Last Monday started unlike any other marathon experience for me. I had gotten a good night sleep, I was calm, and I knew I was going to have a good race. LA had put me in such a good spot and really gave me confidence that I had been lacking in previous races. I met my team early in Hopkinton and tried to find a quiet spot to rest before the race. I joked with teammates, took photos, and had a couple of good conversations with Tedy. The moment that stands out the most to me though was just before we set off to the starting line we gathered for a moment of silent reflection. When we were done, Tedy asked God to bless the team and watch over us.
As for the race itself, it didn’t go as planned. Originally I was going to run with my friend Bethany, but after some confusion in the corrals at the beginning I was unable to find her. I was able to start and run the first 6 miles of the race with my friend Matt, and had planned on sticking with him. Then, something came over me and I got into what some would call “the zone.” Seeing my family along the course pumped me up, as always, especially at the second stop. Paige was more enthusiastic than I had ever seen her, and all their cheers and support pushed me forward with even more strength and determination. I felt strong and best of all I was having fun. As I reached mile 25 I knew they’d be there cheering me on down Boylston and I was already thinking about the fist pumps and show I’d put on for them. After all, I am an attention whore. A half a mile later my race ended.
Fast forward to yesterday. I was at a benefit in
to raise money for the victims of the bombing put on by my good friend Meghan, owner of Alainn, where I was interviewed by a radio station. The first question I was asked, “What did you see out there?” I saw humanity at its best. From the moment I learned about the bombs, to the moment I write this and forward. Monday was a game changer for me. There is evil in this world, but it’s not the majority. In the past whenever someone asked me where I was from and I told them Massachusetts I would always add, but I think I’m really from the south at heart because I’m not an asshole. I am ashamed of ever saying that. For most of my life I’ve failed to recognize the passion and pride that’s embedded in those actions. Watertown
Runners, spectators, police officers, marathon volunteers, friends, family, and strangers all game together. Those of us that had stopped running were getting the chills, a lot of us were dehydrated, and almost all of us were worried about someone that was waiting for us on Boylston. Immediately people started running out of their homes offering bottles of water, food, trash bags to stay warm, clothing, and cell phones for us to get in touch with our loved ones. A hug went a long way. I was fortunate enough to meet up with friends shortly after. One of my friends, Tyson, gave me his jacket to stay warm (I’ll need to have that dry cleaned). Tyson is a Framingham Police Officer. Next time I see him he’s getting more than his jacket back. He’s getting a display of man love like he’s never experienced before.
There are so many things I could talk about from Monday. What I will say is that before I really knew what had occurred I had already heard from my family and friends that I knew were at the finish line. The four most important women in my life (my wife, daughter, mother, and sister) were directly across the street from the second explosion, but I had already heard they were physically okay. I had heard from my friend Zack, the coordinator for Tedy’s Team, that everyone at the Lenox was also unharmed. After two and a half hours I finally was able to reunite with my family. When I saw them from across the street I ran faster than I had at any point of my marathon run, nothing hurt, nothing else mattered.
The short prayer before Monday’s run keeps sticking with me. I started going back to church (New England Chapel) a few months ago. Although I still have a lot of questions about my faith, I couldn’t have picked a better time to start looking for guidance. There were a lot of members of the church at the finish line and together we can all help each other through the challenges of moving forward.
My biggest challenge through all this is that I do not understand exactly what my family is experiencing. Slowly I’m hearing about Monday through the eyes of my 3 year old. More and more she’s been asking us questions about what the scary thing was at Daddy’s race and what the bad guy’s name is that scared her. It breaks my heart to know that at such a young age she experienced terror and evil first hand, but at the same time I know this is my opportunity as a father to guide her and teach her this isn’t the true way of the world. Katie and I have had to reassure her that she and her family are safe now and that the “bad man” has been caught. We’ve been very honest with her letting her know that sometimes people try to scare other people, but remind her of all the people she saw rushing to help. I’m thankful she’s asking questions and I think this will allow her to quickly get over any fears she has from Monday. The biggest comfort I have is knowing that Paige was immediately in the arms of her mother, and I know there’s no place she feels safer.
There are so many other thoughts and feeling going through me head, that I know I’ll need to get out. There’s guilt. I felt so undeserving when I went to pick up my medal, not because I didn’t finish, but because it didn’t seem important. There’s disgust. I hear people angry and upset wanting to torture the last living suspect. I know these men did a horrible thing, and they should be punished, but it’s difficult to hear radio personalities, co-workers, friends, family talk about how they’d want to see it done. There’s fear. What’s going to happen the next time I run? Could this happen again? Finally there’s love and gratefulness. The outpouring of emotion and support from co-workers, family, friends, and complete strangers has been amazing. Every embrace, hand shake, text, e-mail, facebook message reminds me of the good in the world and how much my family and I mean to so many people. Those I haven’t seen since Monday, I cannot wait to see to hug and appreciate you for what you mean to me.
On Thursday I leave for
Big Sur to run the last of my 3 marathons. As I run I want to think about Meghan’s benefit and how she immediately brought a community together to raise money for the victims. I want to think about all the people that selflessly rushed to help the injured. I want to think about the first responders and all of their families. I want to think about the victims and their recovery. I want to think about Tedy’s Team and all our efforts to raise money to fight stroke. I want to think about my next race.
Katie is staying home with Paige, but I’ll be there with my team. One thing Katie has continued to say over the last week is that she doesn’t want Monday to ruin what’s become such an important part of our life, Tedy’s Team & the Boston Marathon. I cannot wait to cross the finish line on Sunday, and when I do someone better be there with Katie and Paige to give them a giant hug for me.