Yesterday, at 2:20 PM, I crossed the finish line of the Boston Marathon. As a volunteer placed the finisher's medal around my neck, I started crying tears of complete joy. The race was brutal. There were many times I felt like walking or completely giving up. But, I didn't. I kept running and finished the Boston Marathon in 3:59:54. Crossing that finish line meant so much to me, just like it meant so much to the thousands of runners and spectators who kept spirits high for those 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston.
Thirty minutes after crossing the finish line, my family and I were standing on the corner of Stuart St. and Dartmouth St. We had just met up and were walking back to our car. BOOM. What was that? BOOM. Something wasn't right. We looked to the sky. No smoke. Car bomb? But there were no cars. Electrical failure? But, we all knew that that was not the case. Sirens wailed and emergency vehicles rushed down Dartmouth Street. We didn't know what to do. Nobody knew exactly what had happened. The tall buildings shielded us from seeing the explosions.
I am fortunate to have crossed the finish line and to have met my family before this tragedy took place. But, I am constantly plagued by the what-ifs. What if I had stopped and walked? What if I had started in Wave 3? When I finished the race, I ran right past the site of the bomb. My family was right there, in the stands. What if it had been us. I don't like thinking about it.
My heart goes out to all those injured. My prayers are with the people of Boston, my fellow runners, and with the spectators, all of whom made the Boston Marathon one of the most amazing experiences of my life.
Today, I’m wearing my marathon jacket. Every time I wear this jacket, I will remember the events of April 15, 2013. I wear it to commemorate the lives ruined and lost. I wear it as a testament to human strength. Let us never forget the 117th Boston Marathon and let us move forward together, resilient, and vigilant.