Empower a girl, change the world…

“And your arm felt nice wrapped ’round my shoulder.
And I had a feeling that I belonged. I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone.” – t.c

Every girl deserves a chance to be someone regardless of her family’s financial means or life situation. That’s why I’m dedicating all of my training runs for the Providence Half Marathon as part of the SoleMates 2018 Team to helping provide disadvantaged girls access to a transformative program that will help them build confidence and give them the life skills they need to succeed. Join me in honor of Women’s History Month and help turn today’s girls into the women who will make history tomorrow. Every gift big or small makes a difference!

Learn more about GOTRI-RI.



Runcation Destination: NYC!

Last weekend my friends I ran the Brooklyn Rock n Roll half marathon.  We could have picked a race closer to home, but we’d heard good things about this one and well, if we’re being perfectly honest, we’re more about the party that happens after than the actual running part of the race, so making a weekend of it was too hard to resist.

Runcations are perfect because you get in a really good workout, you feel really proud of yourself and amazed at what your body can do when you insist on it, and then you go out and indulge for the entire rest of the weekend and not feel bad about it. The afterglow of personal glory lasts for at least 24 hours and you can use your caloric deficit to hit the town running (figuratively speaking, of course, because obviously, you do more than enough running at the race). Plus you can button your skinny jeans! Always a good way to start the night.

Anyway, the Rock n Roll series happens all over the country, and though there were many tempting options we chose Brooklyn because we could drive there and because we all love NYC. Usually, when we go it’s all fun and no run so even though we make a habit of hanging out there whenever we can, this trip was something new for us. I’ll tell you about it in pictures:

We hit the road at around 1:00 after a frantic morning of trying to fit eight hours of work into four. No time for lunch. Good thing Tina brought the Skinny Pop.
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Oh yes we did, obviously.
Have you ever tried to drive to the Javits Center at rush hour? Let’s just say it’s not a good idea. Plus there’s nowhere to park. We made it to the expo to pick up our race bibs with like 30 minutes spare. My friends weren’t sweating it, but I was having a heart attack.
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Hudson Yards is pretty amazing. We got to take a nice long look at it as we sat in gridlocked traffic.
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Hi there, New Yorker. Thanks for perfecting the art of the 19-page article.
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We finally made our way to the Upper East Side, where we were staying with a friend (a lovely, tolerant friend who doesn’t mind when you invade her space with way too much shit for 2 days). This restaurant on 2nd Ave is a gold standard if you like German food, but don’t worry we didn’t eat there (brats+running=bad)
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We went to The Penrose instead. They have good beer (carbo loading!!) and we had fun watching the after-work pickup scene in action.
We had quite an adventure getting to the start from Marisa’s apartment because we had the misfortune of picking the one cab driver in Manhattan who had no idea how to get to Brooklyn. How is that even possible? And why didn’t we just get an Uber?  But, no worries- we made it with plenty of time to take this all-important before pic. Thumbs UP!
We’re here…now let’s run.
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This is the only picture I took during the race, and I think it was an accident.
13.1 DONE! Let’s share this moment with everyone on our social media feeds! We usually keep our shirts on for our selfies, but clearly, others have different ideas.
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It was only a Mich Ultra, but it was beautiful.
We look like badasses don’t we? Also, I’m happy to note that I remembered to put on deodorant.
We hung out with Tina’s crazy friend who flies all over the country to run Rock n Roll Halfs with 30 other crazy people. They flew to NY Friday night, ran Brooklyn, chugged a few beers and then hopped on a plane bound for Denver where they were going to run another half on Sunday morning. As I said, they are crazy.  I would say “goals” but this actually would never be a goal of mine.
Though that medal is pretty sweet.
That’s the Hollis Brown Band behind us. They were really good and they have gigs all over so you don’t actually have to run 13.1 to hear them play.
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After the after party we hobbled out of Prospect Park and headed over to wander (slowly) up and down 5th Ave in Park Slope. We found this place for lunch (Gristmill), which had really great food and the people were so nice. Like really, really nice.
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How can you say no to farm fresh gelato that’s as good as nature?
Actually, I did say no because what I really wanted was some caffeine. Kos Kaffee had just what I was looking for- excellent coffee and super nice people. Again with the nice people. Is that a thing in Brooklyn?
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I really appreciated the fact that the only pumpkin anything in here was an actual pumpkin. I’m so tired of the pumpkin spice craze.
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After we relaxed for a hot minute back at Marisa’s it was time to hit the town again. Amy went to see a friend and Tina and I drank cocktails at a rooftop bar.
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We take our cocktailing very seriously.
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Next up dinner: Is it sad that we care more about the ambiance than the food? We settled on Zia Maria in Chelsea. It was pretty, and the food was good too- so win, win.
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It’s too bad that we don’t have any fun together…
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After dinner, we decided to go study Millenials in their natural habitat so we went to The Biergarten at the Standard.
When in Rome…or a Biergarten.  When we first arrived we thought we had the stamina to last all night, but alas, this boot was the end. Come to find out, we’re not as young as we used to be.
Sunday morning we needed to head out early, but luckily we had enough time for coffee.
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Mellow Yellow Coffee and Vibes– honestly could there be a better place for a rainy Sunday morning hang when you’re sore, a tiny bit hung over and not really ready for your 4 hour drive?
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One thing I LOVE about races is the camaraderie and good spirits you share with fellow runners. We met a lot of really great people and were reminded time and time again over the weekend that there is still so much good in the world. We just need to channel that and work together to preserve and protect it.  Does that mean we need another RnR run? I think, yes! Where will we go next? Well, stay tuned…


1980 training miles, 48 Saturday mornings, 8 pairs of running shoes, endless packets of gu, and countless loads of laundry later..

GetAttachmentI finally crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon!  My race did NOT go as planned.  But if I’ve learned anything along the way it’s that you cannot plan everything out.  You have to go with the flow.
I was feeling so great in the days leading up to the race. Even though I knew I’d under trained (a month long illness in March really set me back mile wise) I thought I’d have a good race. A strong one. I loved the anticipation of and preparation for it. Marc’s cousin, Marisa (who was soooo good with our kids last year when everything happened at the finish line) was running this year too, so she came up on Saturday. We had a great time with her that night, and even more fun at the expo on Sunday. I love the expo! The kids love the expo – well at least they love all the free samples!  We strolled down to the finish line like we had the previous two years for a photo op, but this year I refused to step on it. This time I figured I’d leave that for the next day.
On Monday Marc left early with Marisa so she could catch a Wave 2 bus. I followed later after I’d dropped the kids at our friends house. We met up on the Common and loaded ourselves into the bus, along with Marc’s Samaritans teammates. The bus ride out was fun, but the traffic was crazy. I was starting to worry that we wouldn’t arrive on time but of course we did. We had just enough time in Athletes Village to stretch, grab some last minute food and head to the start.
The weather was warm, the sun was strong. I decided right from the beginning to take it easy. I thought I’d go out slow, take in the sights and sounds and save my energy for when I’d really need it. So Marc and I ran together for a little while which was nice, but his long strides can’t keep him at my pace for long. We agreed to meet at the finish. Running slower was a good way to experience the race- at first. I high fived so many little kids, and I think I read every single sign held along the way, or posted on other runners backs. They were so inspirational! I followed one woman whose shirt was telling me “you can do this!!” for a while. I thought YES I can do this! I AM doing this! It was great.
I loved running though Ashland and Framingham. I loved the little kids and the bikers partying on the sidelines. I loved the energy from the crowd. I was feeling happy. I couldn’t stop smiling. I felt GOOD. It felt great to see my friend Eric at Mile 11. I was thrilled to see other friends just before the scream tunnel at Wellesley College. I had fun in the scream tunnel… maybe a little too much fun. I think I high fived and woo-hoooed a bit too enthusiastically because right after that I started to think, wow I am tired. I can’t catch my breath. But my body still felt good. Legs were ok. I adjusted my breathing and my pace, and kept going. But it was starting to feel tough. I couldn’t tell if I was thirsty or if I’d had too much to drink. My stomach was woozy. When I saw my kids and Kathy and Kate at mile 16 I had to stop for a few minutes. It seemed like a good idea to hang out there for a while. In all honesty, right then all I really wanted to do was hop in the car with them and go home. But that pit stop rallied me a bit and I kept going. I was feeling good again when I saw Tina in Lower Falls and Justin at Newton Wellesley Hospital. Seeing them made me happy, and running happy always helps.
I’ve always hated that stretch in Newton before you make the turn. I think it’s the anticipation of what’s to come. The dread of the hills. This year I felt ok. I had a second wind. But then all of a sudden both my quads seized up. I have never felt such a sudden sharp pain like that. It literally dropped me to my knees for a few seconds and I thought- what the hell was that? But I got up and kind of jogged through it. But it kept happening. From mile 18 through mile 26 it would subside when I walked, then happen again when I started to run. It was really awful. The pain was breathtaking. I thought about going to a medical tent, but I didn’t want to waste the time. I only wanted to get to the finish. I knew I’d be walking most of it, but I wanted to keep moving. Get to the goal.
A few years ago (when I ran Providence instead of Boston) I never would have allowed myself to walk. Never would have considered it no matter what. Even last year I refused to walk. A few times last year I let myself walk through water stops but never out on the course. This year I didn’t have a choice. But it wasn’t so bad. I got to talk to other runners. I got a lot of encouragement from the crowd. Little kids offered me oranges (and they never tasted so good!). I stopped worrying about my time. I just wanted to make it.
Anyway, I made my slow progress up Heartbreak Hill and then limped, walked and sometimes ran my way through Brookline. When I hit the 40K mark I knew I was going to have to rally. My new goal was to run from the spot I’d been stopped at last year to the finish without any walking, no matter what my quads were doing. So that’s what I did. At the Mass Ave underpass I picked up my pace. My legs were screaming at me! My lungs were bursting from the effort, my eyes were tearing from the pain, but I was running. I made the turn onto Hereford and my heart just swelled! The crowds were insane!!! The noise was deafening!! I turned onto Boylston and forgot all about my legs. The cheering was incredible!! The spectators were joyous!! I thought about last year. I thought about my husband and how close he was to everything last year and how happy he must have been when he was on Boylston this year. I thought about Lingzi Lu, Martin Richard, Crystal Campbell and Sean Collier… I thought about all the people that were there last year and all the people that came back this year. The brave victims who are still struggling to heal because of what happened at the very spot I was passing. And then I saw my friend Mindy- my running partner, the person who sacrificed Saturdays and endured long, bitterly cold and snowy miles with me to help me get here. She was standing right where she had been last year, because she needed to do that. And I thought THIS is what it’s all about. It doesn’t matter that my pace was way off, that my legs were on fire, that it wasn’t my best race. I was finishing something that needed to be finished. For me, but also for so many others. The yellow and blue line was getting closer and closer. And I thought- we are all still here. We have done this. We have taken back our race. And then I was done. I crossed. After three years of trying, after obstacles both small and large, after everything that had happened between when I first set the goal and that very moment, I did it. It was done. Finished.

#weruntogether: the end

iageYesterday I ran the slowest and most painful race I’ve ever run (recap here). But it was also the best, most fun, and most rewarding one I’ve ever experienced. It was Boston, and I ran all 26.2 miles of it. Finally.

Crossing the finish line never felt so sweet. When my feet hit that rubber strip yesterday I was overcome with the emotion of the moment. The relief of it. It wasn’t because my legs were screaming at me to stop, stop, stop. It wasn’t because my lungs didn’t seem capable of sucking in enough air to keep me breathing. It wasn’t because my toes ached and my shoulders throbbed. It wasn’t because my head buzzed and my eyes were watering. It wasn’t because I was so damned tired. No.

Why did I feel so relieved? Because all along the way to that end point the enormous and boisterous crowds were still there. The inspirational signs were still there. The runners were still there. The guys with the bullhorns were still there. The girls in Wellesley were still there. The kids hands held out for high-fives were still there. The mile markers were still there. The beer swilling BC kids were still there. The BAA volunteers were still there. The strangers calling my name, encouraging me to go on were still there. My husband was still there (somewhere up ahead running his own good race). My friends and my kids were still there to cheer me on in Natick, in Wellesley, in Newton, in Boston. The noise, the energy, the smells and the sounds of the race were ALL still there. It was exactly the same as last year’s race, and the race the year before that and the year before that. But there was something more this year. There was a renewed sense of community, a heighted sense of camaraderie, a strengthened sense of pride, and a certain new diligence for safety. It felt like everyone was looking out for everyone. And it felt like YES- we faced something terrible, but we’re back and we’re better for it because we are getting through it together. It was such a relief to me to be a part of that and to know that we really did take our race back. It felt the same. It felt like the Boston Marathon.

Crossing that finish line represented so much more than I ever thought it could or needed to. When I first set out to run Boston it was only to achieve a very personal goal. Something that I wanted to do for me. But over time it became clear that it could never be just about me. Because I am not a solitary planet. I am a small part of a much bigger universe. And nothing in that universe can be controlled. I realized that no amount of planning can really prepare you for the big race. During these past years so much has happened in my life, in my training, and in the world that I never could have imagined or wished for. Bad things happen every day to good people. But evil never wins. Because those good people fight back and they fight with their hearts. And they fight together. After all that we went through as a running community, a city, a country we aren’t broken. We came out, we took our day back and we finished the race. We truly are Boston Strong.

Closing In


I haven’t written much about the Boston Marathon lately, but don’t be fooled.  It doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind.  In fact for the last four months it’s been at the top of my mind almost every day.  Because once again I’m training to go the distance, run 26.2 miles and cross that finish line on Boylston St.  Only this time it’s different.  I can no longer say with certainty that I am actually going to see that blue and yellow stripe under my tired, aching, blistering feet.  Way back in November of 2011 when I decided that running the marathon for Boston Children’s Hospital would be a good thing I had no doubt whatsoever that I would make it.  I’m not a fast runner, but I’m solid and the distance didn’t scare me.  I wasn’t out to set any records, just check off a bucket list item and help an organization dear to me.

Little did I know then that there would be so many obstacles in the way.  Freakishly hot weather, acts of terrorism, those thoughts did not cross my mind as I filled out the paperwork to apply for the BCH team that first year.  I thought, ok I’ll train, I’ll raise the money.  I’ll do this one step at a time.  And I did that.  The first year my training was great- mild weather, no injuries, no illness, just steady progress toward a goal.  I felt good, great, confident.  Right up until about 24 hours before the race when the BAA started sending out alarming emails about the dangers of first time runners participating in the marathon.  What? Not run?  Impossible.  I’d put in so much time.  But alas, my fear won out and I didn’t even cross the start that year, let alone the finish.  You can read about that here.

Ok, so there’s always NEXT YEAR right?  Right.  I had a number, I was in.  I signed up with BCH again, because I figured I might as well raise money for a good cause if I was going to put in all the effort again.  I trained.  I trained through a few minor injuries and a lot of snow, but I did it.  Logged all the miles I could and I was ready on April 15.  I will never forget the feeling of accomplishment I had as I lined up in my corral in Hopkinton.  I made it! It was really happening!  Me, running the Boston Marathon.  The marathon of all marathons.  And to boot it was a perfect running day- crisp, sunny, beautiful.  Until it wasn’t.  You can read about that here.

After the marathon bombings my husband and I were shaken to the core.  This wasn’t something we saw on the news or heard about second hand.  We were THERE.  It happened to us.  It is still incredible to me that this our reality.  I never in my life imagined being part of something so horrible.  There are still so many emotions tied to that day- grief for the victims and their loved ones, survivor guilt, fear of a repeat act (somewhere, anywhere) and the realization that bad things can happen. Do happen. Right in front of you.  We can no longer look at the world entirely through rose colored glasses. And anger.  Lots of anger that two cowardly, ridiculous, evil people could wreak so much havoc on so many lives.

That’s what drives me to finish the race.  I WILL finish the race this year. I will finish it because I am strong and healthy and able. I will finish it for Lingzi Lu, for Martin Richard and for Krystle Campbell. I will finish for all those whose lives were forever changed that day. I will finish because so many of them are still struggling, and will continue to struggle for a long time. I will finish because I love Boston and all that it represents to me (family, home, love, life). It might not be a pretty race for me.  Training this year has been a constant test of my dedication.  I’ve run through sub zero temps, a polar vortex, mountains of snow, ice, hail, driving rain, the flu, an upper respiratory virus that would not go away and a nagging, lingering ache in my foot from last years injury. But I am determined to make those last two turns- right on Hereford, left on Boylston. I could be crawling by the end. But- on April 21: I. Will. Finish. The. Race.

Running In The Family

IMG_2906There’s something to be said for forcing your own interests and opinions on your kids.  Don’t get me wrong- I don’t expect mine to be exactly like me.  In fact, they are already showing signs of being very, very, verrryyy different than me.  For example, my son talks to everyone and everything.  We’re down in Marion right now, the small seaside town where we spend most of July.  We go to the beach every day- regardless of the weather (unless it’s absolutely downpouring- I draw the line at getting drenched) and he is always searching out friends and successfully wiggling his way into whatever game his new buds are playing.  When there are no kids to play with, he’ll settle for crabs.  He likes to talk to crabs.   Also empty clam shells, seaglass, periwinkles and rocks.  The kid loves to talk.  He doesn’t really care who’s listening.  And my daughter.. well she just finished two weeks of camp, at which she managed to make a jillion new friends, star in a play and amaze her camp counselor with her wide and varied and constant ability to converse about anything.  Yep, she’s a talker too.   Me – not so much.  I get tounge tied in big crowds.  Heck who am I kidding.  I could get overshawdowed in a crowd of two.  The spotlight is NOT my thing.  But my kids.  Oh yeah.  Little stars.

Before the marathon they had little interest in running.  They let us drag them to a few road races, and they even participated in a race or two themselves, but let’s just say it wasn’t pretty.  My daughter crossed the finish line of a one mile Turkey Trot FUN run in tears.  She didn’t like the feeling of breathing too hard. And she was sweaty! My God.. the horror. My son happily ran but I don’t think he had any idea he was participating in a race.  He was running and bobbing his head to some internal tune and stopping to scratch a knee or pick some grass at every opportunity.  It was the longest 1/2 mile in fun run history.

But everything that happened at the marathon has strengthened my and my husbands interest in running.  So, we run more races and we talk about running now more than ever.  They can’t help but be affected by this. They seem at least slightly more interested. So, when we saw that the town of Marion sponsors a weekly running program for kids under 14 we jumped on the chance to get our kids involved. We didn’t ask them if they wanted to do it. We told them they were going to do it and we braced ourselves for the usual pushback. But it didn’t happen. They were actually game to try!

They’ve participated in two races so far. C surprised herself the first time out by running the mile in 9:15. She had set a goal of 10 minutes for herself and she was thrilled that she beat it. She vowed to run a 9 minute mile the second race, and be under 8 minutes by the end of the summer. This week she cut her time to 9:10 and learned about the importance of pacing and training (she opted NOT to heed our advice to run during the week between races) and came out of the second race more determined than ever to meet her goal. I don’t think G quite gets it yet.. he still runs with that head bob thing (what IS he listening to inside that big noggin of his??!!) and he more meanders than races the course, but he does seem to enjoy it and he finished both times without stopping. And he loves pinning that number on his shirt. You can see the pride on his face when it’s secure and he’s ready to go.

I love standing on the sidelines almost as much as running races. I love the individual determination, the commraderie among the runners, the sounds of chatter among the runners and cheers from the crowd, the continuous blur of legs and the splash of water cups hitting the ground. Being a part of a race as a spectator or a runner is always a heartwarming experience for me. But no race I’ve run or watched has ever produced the feeling I got when I saw my daughter round the last corner of her first race. Pride!! So much pride! But also an understanding. I got it. I got her. She saw me cheering for her and she smiled and she picked up her pace and she ran as fast as her legs would take her. She ran with all her heart. It made me happy to think I knew exactly how she felt at that moment. These days I don’t often know WHAT she’s thinking- her moods are fast and furious and she probably doesn’t understand them enough to explain them to me even if she wanted to, which she mostly doesn’t. She’s growing up and changing fast and we’re at odds more and more. It’s magic to think that we might be starting something that can keep us connected as a family even as we all continue to persue our individual interests. We have something that we can all share. That’s pretty cool.


My Garmin watch is stopped at 25.74 miles.  That’s how far I made it in this year’s Boston Marathon.  Another year, another blog post about how the race didn’t turn out as expected. But this time it’s far more devastating and heart wrenching than I could ever imagine last year, when all I was doing was moaning about the crazy hot weather.

I was having a decent run- a good first half, then a little bit of trouble just before the hills in Newton.  But I rallied in Brookline and once I passed the “1 mile to go”  sign I knew that I had this one in the bag.  I was just soaking in all the sights and sounds that make this marathon so special- the screaming crowds, the cowbells, the kids offering water and candy and popsicles, the mass of other runners all sharing the same road but striving for their own individual goals. It was exhilerating and exhausting and I was loving it. But I was thrilled to be less than 1o minutes from finishing. I was psyched about seeing my loved ones and meeting up with my husband. Dreaming of a nice cold beer and my flip flops. I picked up the pace because I could see the turn onto Hereford.. the final stretch.

And then, unbelievably, everyone in front of me just stopped running.  It was like a solid wall of people suddenly materializing out of nowhere.  We were all confused and frustrated. What the hell? Then we heard someone say that they were stopping the race and that there was no finish line. Right then my heart sank. They don’t just stop the marathon- not unless it’s for something big. And then we heard the sirens and saw the helicopters.  Right after that the news started spreading that an explosion had happened near the finish line.  I immediately thought of my husband, who I knew was about 20 minutes ahead of me, and my parents who I knew were in the bleachers at the finish line. Everything sort of seemed to go sideways. I worried about where my kids and cousin were and about other dear friends I knew were going to be at the finish.  I grabbed for my phone – grateful that I’d stored in my hydration belt at the last minute- and started frantically dialing my husband, my parents, my friends and the cousin my kids were with, and when I couldn’t reach anyone, I started to panic.  Those were the worst minutes of my life.

I was the only one near me that had a phone so I let as many people as I could make calls- and no one could reach anyone.   People started freaking out.  We were all just leaving messages and hoping to connect with a live voice. We didn’t know what to do or what to believe- we heard a million different things. Finally my cousin called, and then thankfully my husband.  They were safe and thought my parents were too because they heard no one had been hurt in the bleachers.  It helped a little to know that they all were safe, but I needed to see them to truly believe it.  I needed real arms around me and their beautiful faces in front of mine.

So many minutes passed and still no one knew what to do.  We were all still standing where we’d stopped running.  No one really made a move to leave.  I was dying to meet up with my family so even though I wasn’t sure I should,  I ducked around the barricades and started walking.  I was cold, nervous, tired, sore, sick to my stomach and anxious to see for myself that my family & friends were unharmed.  I knew it would take a while for everyone to make their way to our designated meeting area (it was total chaos- so many people on the streets and cops trying to direct everyone away from Boylston St and the surrounding area) so I thought I would first head to the Westin where my bag was stored with the Boston Children’s Hospital team but I got half way there and decided it was too much.  I kind of just stopped walking.  The sight of so many ambulances lined up and so many police cars screaming by paralyzed me.  Some wonderful woman touched my shoulder and asked if I wanted her sweatshirt.  She had finished the race and had her bag and said she had an extra one, so she took the sweatshirt off her back and gave it to me, even though I tried to protest.  She also gave me a big hug and let me cry.  We cried together for a few minutes and then parted ways.  I wish I knew who she was because I would love to thank her for that moment of kindness.  It really helped.

A short time later I was finally reunited with my family at the Hilton where we had planned to meet. There were many runners and people looking for runners milling around the lobby.  The staff was amazing- bringing water, bananas, cookies, things to entertain the kids with.  They really went above and beyond to help everyone.  I hope they know how much it meant, how comforting they were in a time of high stress.

It wasn’t until after we got home and the kids were in bed that I learned just how much worse it could have been for us.  My husband didn’t want to talk about it when they could hear, so he was vague about where he had been when everything happened, but when they were safely asleep he shared his story. He had just passed mile 26 and had moved over from the left side of the road to the center in anticipation of crossing the finish line.  He saw the first explosion ahead and thought at first it was fireworks or a canon of some sort..but he knew that wasn’t quite right.  Though his memory is quite foggy he believes he stopped running or maybe started running back and then seconds later the second bomb exploded just yards from where he was- directly to his left and just slightly behind him. Fire, debris and smoke literally feet from his heels. He immediately jumped the barricade on the right hand side and ran down past Lord and Taylor where he spent a bit of time with another runner trying to figure out what was going on. He eventually made his way to the baggage claim and his phone.   He was able to reach all of us and assemble a plan to get everyone together and home safely.  His ability to remain collected and rational in such a chaotic and terrifying time awes me. He held it together for all of us, though inside his head he must surely have been frantic. I know how confused I was, and I was much more removed from it than he was. The fact that he, my parents, two of my closest friends, and my infant godson, his beloved brother and dad were all in the same block that two bombs exploded on was- and is – mind boggling and frightening. I cannot believe how lucky we are.

We are beyond fortunate that none of us were harmed.  Being so close to an act of terror is surreal.  People always say you never think it will happen to you and it’s true.  Even when it’s happening it doesn’t feel like it’s real.  But it is real, it has happened and regardless of how close we came to losing so much we are safe. We are together today and we are safe.  We will eventually overcome our feelings of grief, fear, terror and anxiety.  But we are heartbroken for the victims, survivors and families who were not as lucky. We will forever be changed by our experience and by what happened to them.  We will live with their pain in our hearts always.  So many lives have been forever altered by a senseless, random act of evil.

I cannot stop thinking about how the day unfolded.  It began as a beautiful day meant to celebrate the strength of the human spirit- triumph over challenge, perserverance, hope, and joy.  There was a shining sun, a glorious blue sky, cool brisk air.  It was hour after hour of being moved by the sheer dedication, determination and drive of runners I encountered all along the course.  It was overflowing with good will and humor from the enthusiastic crowds that lined the route en masse from Hopkinton to Boston.  And all of that, all that joy, all that glory and celebration of spirit ended with a devastating, unfathomable, sickeningly evil act.  And for what?  What reason? What cause? What message could whoever is responsible for this possibly be trying to send?  I will never understand.  Never.


So.. I finally ran 26.2!  It wasn’t Boston, it wasn’t 90 degrees, there weren’t any crowds, there was no fanfare.  But it was a good race.  The weather was beautiful, the course was just challenging enough, my body felt ready and my mind was focused on getting the job done.

I ran it in 4 hours 19 minutes and 25 seconds.  The first 13 miles flew by.  I had my music pumped up, I took water only when I felt a little thirsty, I had a gel or two.  I didn’t think too much about my time, I just kept a steady, easy pace.  I had fun speculating about the other runners.  Since Providence is so close to Boston, I figured there would be some other runners there who had deferred, not finished or not liked their time for Boston.  I was right- I met 4 of them at the start line alone!  I ran close to a mother/daughter team and imagined how nice it would be if my daughter and I could do something like that together 10 years from now.  I saw young kids, older people, groups running for charity (a few others from my own Children’s Hospital Boston team!) – people from all walks of life out there striving for one common goal.  It was nice.

I finished the first half in just under 2 hours, which is on par with how fast I’ve run before. I had a brief fantasy of running a negative split, which was a nice thought but not at all realistic for a first timer like me!  But I felt really good at that point, so why not fantasize just a little bit? But, the second half was tougher- especially around mile 22 when my legs began to feel like rubber.  Luckily my husband’s cousin jumped in and ran with me for a while.  She really kept me going.  It was nice having company and having someone cheering me on, especially during a race like that where there were no spectators to help motivate me. Right around mile 24 I was ready to be done.  I couldn’t imagine running two more miles on legs that felt like they were on fire.  So, I just concentrated on the fact that at least my breathing was good, and I hadn’t had any stomach issues. Marisa talked me through it, and it helped. But still, the last mile was almost unbearable.  Seeing my husband right near the finish line gave me the extra boost I needed to go those last few hundred yards, despite the fact that my legs were screaming at me to stop, stop, stop. If he hadn’t been there I might have walked over that finish line.  But I didn’t.  I ran it all.

I wasn’t looking for speed, just a benchmark that I could use for future races- namely the big one next April, that I am still determined to participate in.  Now I know what works for me and what doesn’t and that will go a long way in helping me train and run a successful and maybe even faster marathon next year.

It’s funny.  All throughout my training I sort of had the mindset that I just needed to train this one time; that I only needed this one marathon.  I never intended to actually like it!  But I did!  The run itself was a fantastic experience (of course I am only saying that now that it’s over).  I’m surprised.  I’ve been running for many years, but always kept my distances short- 5ks, 10ks, a few half marathons.  And it’s even been a full year or two since I’ve run any sort of organized race.  The marathon was supposed to be a one time deal.

But now I find myself already thinking of what I can do next.  When can I race again? Where? How far could I go? How fast can I be?  How much more can I push myself?  Maybe small personal achievements in life are what drive us to work harder.  Maybe they help us be happier people too. Personal accomplishment is a wonderful ego booster.  Hmmm.. maybe I can turn this into a teaching lesson for the kids.  Not that they need it, at 4 and 8 they are already way more confident in themselves than I’ll ever be.  But I admire that about them, and think it should be nurtured.   I think I’ll have to remember that next time a Saturday morning soccer game seems to drag on forever, or a twilight softball match means suffering through two gazillion mosquito bites.  If they are out there trying hard to be better, to meet some sort of personal goal, I will be there beside them – cheering them on no matter what.