I was working from home on Monday. My husband was home too, because he hurt his knee at a soccer game and couldn't walk (MRI today, discuss options with the orthopedist on Friday). I wondered vaguely around noon how the Boston Marathon went. I never really watched much of it in person, despite attending undergrad at Boston College, which is right along the race route, and living there for around four years after law school. One year we took our son (then an only child) to the Red Sox game the afternoon of the race. For some reason I know longer remember, we got off the T near Copley, and walked to Fenway. Part of our walk was along the end of the race route, and my son clapped for all of the runners. I never went to work on Marathon Monday (a/k/a/ Patriot's Day), preferring to avoid the mess of traffic on the T. I remember you'd see people all around town that day though, wrapped in the mylar blankets you get at the finish line, finisher's medals around their necks, and pride on their faces.
In February, we went to Austin to cheer my husband on in his first marathon. The kids and I made posters the night before, and plotted where we would try to get to see him; we wanted to go to at least 4 places, we made it to 4 1/2. My husband was worried the kids would be bored; they weren't. The only real complaints from them were when we were waiting for a Starbucks to open at 6 a.m. My oldest son was worried we would be late, and miss his dad running by. We found a parking spot right along the route, around mile 4, and waited, and waited, and waited. I had downloaded the Marathon's app, which would notify us when my husband reached the 5k marker so we could keep a sharper lookout. The kids drank their hot cocoa, ate their pastries, and cheered wildly when we saw the first runners. They held their posters up, and cheered and clapped for everyone running by. When they saw their dad, they were ecstatic. After he ran by, we packed the car up, and headed to our next spot. We repeated this for four stops, always managing to find a parking spot within a block walk of the race, finding other spectators to cheer and yell with, and people to laugh at the zombie poster my older son made to "scare" the runners into going faster.
The 1/2 stop was the finish line. I'd read the marathon map incorrectly, and managed to end up on the inside of the race route, when I'd wanted to stay on the outside. That meant that instead of a relatively quick run down 1-35 to downtown, I had to wind my way by the University of Texas campus, and try to find parking downtown. I ended up parking about 4 blocks from the finish line, and we all ran as fast as my 4 year old's legs could carry him. When we were half a block away, we got a "Finished!" text from my husband. In that instant, I was so incredibly happy for and proud of him, and so disappointed that we missed it.
There's never a good place for a bomb to explode. Having one explode at the end of a popular marathon route seems so especially painful to me right now, because of how easily I can see it be my family, or the family or friends of any of the runners I know. The happiness, pride, and energy that surround a marathon seem so purely good, and someone tried to destroy that. It makes me want to run a marathon in defiance, but then I don't even know what that even means. The person who did this doesn't know me, won't know if I run to spite him, so does it matter? I think I still want to do it. But I'll also donate money to the relief funds, and keep on donating blood every 8 weeks, and try to remember to not just look for the helpers, but be a helper.