Monday, April 15, 2013

Boston Marathon 2013

If you are my friend on Facebook or around me in Boston, you know that I was STOKED for the marathon this year. No, I was not running it. I have no clue that that will ever happen, but I was still going to be involved this year.

In January I signed up to be an official volunteer. I just wanted to be a part of this cool event, even if it meant handing out water, stuffing race bags, anything.

As race weekend approached I learned that there is an Expo the 3 days before the race. For date night, Justin even agreed to go with me. We had a great time scouring the booths, watching video clips, and just enjoying the atmosphere.

My shirt/souvenir from the expo. 
I decided to take the girls back the next day and they had more fun than Justin and I. The vendors like to give kids stuff. They scored cow bells, little tattoos, stickers, snacks, posters, all kinds of stuff. We left as it was getting crowded and I noticed that the finish line to the race was all set up. SWEET. We walked down to it and I let the girls run across it and explained as best I could what it was. They've been to my races before, so at least Emily understood. You could tell who the runners were because they had their "race bags" with them. Emily wanted to know why I didn't have a race bag. I decided the best answer was, "I have a baby in my belly, so I can't ran that race this time." After the finish line, we went to Sugary Heaven and I let the girls each pick out a piece of candy. Then we headed home.

Monday morning bright and early, my friend Jen picked me up (at 5 am) and we headed out to our volunteer spot: the starting area!!! (Not the official starting LINE- that was almost an entire mile away). Our job title was Clothing Check. Since the starting line is far away from the finish and most runners take buses out from Boston, they have personal belongings they want to get back at the finish line. There were 3 waves of 18 school buses for the runners to load their belongings onto. Each window of each bus was designated for a set of 50 runners' bibs numbers. Runners were responsible for finding their appropriate window and passing their bags through. We would make sure the bags were in the right spot and would be ready for pick up at the finish line.
I LOVED these giant signs all over. Eek! Made me think that someday I want to run this.... 

My "official" volunteer swag. 
My friend Jen and I after our shift.
I worked on the Wave 1 buses, which meant the elite runners. It was pretty fun to see their intensity. It was great to wish them well and yell, "Have a great race!" through the window. At this point in the day there was so much excited energy. The wave 2 and 3 runners just as much fun to be around, after all they were running the BOSTON MARATHON! Our shift ended and Jen and I headed home.
Jen and I on our empty bus- before the craziness.

Our bus! 
When I got home, I knew I wanted to go cheer runners on. Emily said she wanted to come, but Justin wasn't interested, so he and Lyla stayed home to take naps. Emily and I went and met up with some friends who have a great spot they go to every year. This particular year, they had a family member running, so it was exciting to cheer for her as she passed.

Justin and Lyla, enjoying their afternoon.
Emily ringing her cowbell for the incredible runners.
Believe it or not, Emily wasn't too excited about sitting on a sidewalk and ringing her cowbell for too long. Once our friends' cousin passed, so they packed up to go meet her at the finish line. Emily asked me if we were going to go as well, and without even thinking the words, "No. The finish line is too crazy for kids." came out of my mouth. We loaded up and went home. Didn't think twice about. (*this is the unusual part of the story for me. I'll get to that in a minute.) We got home and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. I woke up when I felt my phone buzzing and saw that my brother called. First instinct was to ignore and call him back when I was done sleeping, but answered anyways and he was calling to check on Emily and I. I didn't even believe him, when he told me there had been an explosion at the finish line (not that people joke about that kind of thing or anything). I started surfing the internet and not finding very much, when DUH! I live in Boston, all I have to do is turn on the tv. Sure enough, there was plenty of footage. I promptly called my friend who I'd just said goodbye to as she headed to the finish line and when she DIDN'T ANSWER, I didn't panic, but of course texted and was relieved to hear they were A-OK.

Wow. From this point on in the day, time flew by. By Emily and Lyla pointed out the finish line and that we had just been there. There, RIGHT BY one of the blasts was the candy store we were at. Emily saw a picture and said, "Wow, I'm glad we weren't there today." It was kind of a bizarre afternoon.

Since I'd been posting pictures on Facebook and Instagram all day, I recently so much lovin' from friends and family all over the country checking on Emily and I. I was so grateful to report that we were safe and sound on our couch. As a death count of 2 came in my heart sank. As I saw pictures of people severely injured my heart sank. As I thought of all of those runners this morning, I'd smiled at told them, "Have a great race!" or "Have a great day!!" I just thought, this day has turned out awful for them! There they were, walking aimlessly around the streets. There was no celebration, they couldn't find their families, some were on stretchers and in wheelchairs. It was unbelievable. I JUST saw them. They were just getting excited to run the BOSTON MARATHON! It was suppose to be an awesome day they could brag about forever.

**I was so impressed that within minutes, the women I go to church with had already sent out an email basically asking people to "check in." I am going to miss these women like I never thought possible.

Then, personally the saddest news as of yet came in. That was that one of the deaths was an 8 year old boy. I can't even go there. 8 years old means he was taken there by his family either to support someone they love, or his parents wanted to have him experience something really special. Both of those things my kids do. My girls come to my races and meet me at the finish line. I took Emily to this race today, so she could be a part of something incredible. Same as that little boys parents. I don't know.. I just can't go there really.


Anyways. I have not wanted to be overly dramatic about this horrible event or even go through "what if" scenarios, that clearly did not happen. I even felt a little guilty when I would read that people prayed for my family, I mean we were Safe. We were fine. There are hundreds of other people that aren't. HOWEVER, as I was decompressing tonight my mind was opened a little and I found a GIANT tender mercy.
Sharing a special afternoon of something I love with one of the people I love the most in the world. 

I love being IN THE ACTION. I want to be front row at fireworks shows, I want to eat at delicious restaurants, I want to experience things. Especially Boston things, since we are moving. On a normal day, I would have seriously considered taking Emily down to that finish line. We were three miles away, right by a train stop that was a straight shot there. No problem. Just me and Emily, no problem. I might have still decided that even though she wasn't really into it and I didn't want to drag her around, but it would have EATEN at me all afternoon that I was going to miss something exciting. The fact that none of that even went through my brain is really quite colossal. Would we have been front and center at one of the blasts? Probably not. Would I have exposed my daughter, my unborn daughter, and myself to possible danger and at least a scary image or 2? probably.

What started out as a fantastic beautiful day, ended in tragedy. I hope even those injured will be able to find some resemblance of peace in the next few days.

 Thank you Heavenly Father for proving to me AGAIN, that in a real "situation" you will relieve all anxiety and help me make good decisions and protect my family.



2 comments:

Heather said...

Wow! So cool that you got to be part of it and glad you're safe. AND yippee for three girls!

Rachel said...

Oh Allison, I'm so glad y'all are okay! Thanks for sharing about your day.