When I planned my cross country trip I thought of all the bad things that could happen to us along the way. We could get into a car accident, we could fight endlessly, we could get kidnapped, we could get separated, or we could die. Never once did I think that tragedy could strike home.
My best friend, Brenna, is brave, determined, selfless and beautiful . After healing a torn ACL, she decided to accomplish a life long goal of hers – to run the Boston Marathon. She decided to run and raise money for a cause that is near and dear to her, The Special Olympics Massachusetts. She worked endlessly to raise $6,060. All along with training, attending graduate school and working a full-time job!
Yesterday, I was skiing at A-basin, which has terrible phone service, but I was still tracking Brenna’s pace via text alerts. She was killing it, with a steady pace around 9 minutes at 30k. After lunch we headed to the top of the mountain for another run. All of the sudden my phone was ringing like crazy. The service was terrible and it was blizzard like conditions, but after the phone rang for the 3rd time I knew something was up. I glanced at my phone and all I saw was text messages about the marathon and bombs. When I answered my friend Stacy said “are you watching the news?” Since I was skiing I had no clue what was taking place back home. ”Bombs went off at the finish line and Brenna was projected to finish at the same time!” Then the phone cut out… I tried for another 20 minutes to call her back and figure out what was happening, but didn’t have any luck.
I just couldn’t comprehend what was happening to the city I love, the Boston Marathon runners and my best friend. After racing to a lodge and calling another friend I found out she and her family were ok. We were lucky. Very lucky.
Over the past 30 hours I have been glued to social media and the news. Being so far from home makes it hard to feel connected. I have a feeling of helplessness. Innocent specators lost their lives and were injured just by cheering on their family and/or friends. While I was lucky, many people were not, and my thoughts and prayers will continue to be with them.
This morning I got to talk to Brenna. Turns out she was 1/2 mile from the finish line when Marathon workers started to cut off runners to the finish line. Her and a thousand other runners were held in a holding area for what seemed like forever. With her whole family waiting for her at the finish line, the panic began to set-in and she had to move. With no phone, no money and only running clothes on she found shelter in a strangers apartment. They let her use their phone, gave her a sweatshirt and offered her food and water. After a long three hours she was reunited with her family, friends and boyfriend later that evening.
Living in Boston for the past eight years I can tell you President Obama is right! We are a resilient town and will come together to be even stronger. The Boston Marathon is a tradition, a holiday, the start of spring, the start of Red Sox games and endless summer nights. I go every year and get inspired time after time by the runners.
There is despair in the air, but I have decided to try and focus on the positives of this horrific day. So many good things came and will continue to come from the Boston Marathon. Year after year people are selfless, putting their bodies through torture for the good of others. This year we saw the true beauty of Bostonians; with people offering their homes, food and cell phones. But most of all we saw first responders, policemen, firemen, nurses, doctors, volunteers and strangers rescuing one person after the next.
To Brenna, the runners, spectators, volunteers, first responders, policemen, firemen, nurses, doctors and strangers – thank you for making me proud to say “I AM FROM BOSTON.”