I’m home from Cincinnati–a really great show! I do have a blog post with lots of pictures, but first things first: I, like many, am just sick and heartbroken over what happened in Boston yesterday, including the death of a precious eight-year-old boy.
I was out to lunch in Houston when the bombs went off, and thankfully, Rhianna Griffin, one of my coworkers texted me to let me know. I immediately called John to find out if all of the Boltons were ok, and it turns out my brother-in-law and nephew were downtown, catching the Red Sox game and the finish of the marathon. They heard the blast but were quickly escorted to Copley Plaza, which was secured and put into a state of lock down.
Patriot’s Day in Boston is incredibly special. As it is a state holiday in Massachusetts, it is a joyful day signifying the beginning of spring as the last of the snow has finally melted and the temps, at long last, rise. From Hopkinton and Heartbreak Hill to downtown…the streets are lined with thousands of people…with families, college students, and well-wishers, cheering the runners on with shouts of encouragement, live bands, water, orange wedges and high-fives. Simply put, it is a feel good day.
Coincidentally, I had planned a blog post later this week celebrating something that happened exactly 20 years ago: the first time I ran it.
In this above shot, I just finished the hardest leg (Heartbreak Hill), and I’m hearing the shouts of college friends as I pass my alma mater, Boston College. One of my roommates (on my right in this picture), Ann Boyle Nagel, spotted me at mile 19, and as the captain of the B.C. women’s crew team and an ROTC recruit (and hence in incredible shape), she ran the last seven miles by my side, encouraging me to keep going.
Five years later, John and I ran the Boston Marathon again, on behalf of Children’s Hospital to raise money. I was also a special needs teacher in Newton Public Schools, and this time when I ran up Heartbreak Hill (which is in Newton) many of my students were lined up on the side of the road, some in wheelchairs. My students had significant physical and mental disabilities, and as I passed them and their “Go Miss Pokey!” signs, I thought about the daily, lifelong struggles they face, and how running a mere 26.2 mile race wasn’t nearly as arduous a challenge. Thinking about that got me to the finish line. It kept me going.
My marathon days are long over, but I am eager to participate in the Boston Marathon again, next time as a spectator, encouraging others along.
I am simply sick about what happened yesterday…and to the numbskulls who did this, know this: you’ll never tamp the spirit of this incredible day. We, as runners and spectators, will keep cheering each other on. And we will keep going,