I’ve been doing a lot of “what if” thinking in the last few days. It’s not helpful. So I’m going to start off with what didn’t happen on Monday, and what did.
I didn’t qualify for or run the race. My mother and my boyfriend didn’t come to watch it. I didn’t have to wonder where they were or whether they were okay. I didn’t see the explosions, or the aftermath, in person.
I did hear the explosions from the press room, which was in a hotel a block or two away. (As my friend Peter Vigneron put it in his piece for Competitor.com, “The bombs sounded like bombs.”) I did spend the next four to five hours on lockdown there, with the local news coverage on the big screens showing the same horrifying footage over and over and over again.
I did cry in front of my coworkers. I did feel sick, scared, angry. I did fear for my own safety. I did long to be home, or, at the very least, not in Boston.
A few of my colleagues did see the explosions, or the aftermath, in person. Everyone I know who was in Boston did escape physically unscathed, aside from some postrace soreness in those who ran.
I did work for 15 hours on Monday and until mid-afternoon yesterday—with a short break to shower and cry some more—then I drove home in a rental car and got home around 11. I did come into work this morning, where we’re continuing to cover the running angle of this story.
So, that’s what happened. But what happens now?
Worrying about the future is as useless as considering the “what ifs.” But I can’t help it. How will this change marathoning? How will this change how I think about marathoning? How will this change how I think about life?
I’ve been too busy working to really process this. I’ve had a few good sobfests, but apparently not enough of them, as the tears keep coming back. I suspect, as this sinks in and begins to feel more real, it will only become harder to take. I worry about the people I know who were on Boylston, who did see, hear, and feel what happened firsthand.
I have a new respect for journalists who work in war zones—I never thought it would be an easy job, but since I’m this upset from hearing two too-far-away-to-hurt-me explosions, I can’t imagine living and working under those conditions daily. I jump every time the mail cart rumbles by, a door slams, a coworker starts talking a little too suddenly and too loud.
I’m so grateful to be able to be here, on the other side of this horrific event, in one piece. And I’m so grateful all my family, friends, and coworkers are here with me.
I got the best, longest hug of my life when I got home late last night. I had a wonderful, sunny lunchtime run with a coworker who was running down Boylston on the way to her 10th Boston finish when the bombs went off. And, as much as I’m tired of working, I’m thrilled to be here, knowing where I could have been if things had gone differently.