Today marks the one year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. One year since lives were lost and others forever changed. One year since the city of Boston changed in a multitude of ways.
I’ve thought a lot about what I wanted to say today. I’ve thought a lot about the experience I had, the emotions I’ve felt and continue to feel and how that day affected me. A huge part of me wanted to say nothing at all today but ultimately that doesn’t feel right. I’m sure there will be a lot of different point of views on the day and I think it’s important to remember that everyone will react and feel in their own way. In the end, there is no right or wrong feeling today. There is hope and strength, and grief and sadness and even anger. And whatever it is you may feel today, that’s how you feel and that’s ok.
I wasn’t physically harmed when the bombs went off but like so many others I was in the area and was affected in some way. In the months that followed the bombing I suffered from nightmares about bombs and death and terror threats. I’d wake up scared, with tears streaking my face. To this day I still panic if there are a lot of sirens and can immediately feel the fear creeping in. When you live in a city, there are a lot of sirens which means this happens more than I’d like it to. Most of all, I’ve struggled to find my own peace with the events. Reading the news, and seeing stories related to the marathon makes me sad and quite honestly is just too upsetting for me. Personally, I was dreading this day. For me, it brings up so much emotion and I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with it.
Perhaps what is most significant is how the events have impacted my relationship with running. When I ran the B.A.A. Half in October a bunch of fire trucks zoomed by with sirens blaring as I was approaching the finish line. Rather than enjoying the last quarter-mile I was panicking, and wondering what was going on. It’s with that feeling that I’ve shied away from races. I’m just not ready to toe the start line to a major marathon with 40,000 other people. I’m sure I will again, but right now I need more time. So many runners have found peace with the events through running. Countless runners have run races to raise money for the victims of the bombings- they’ve run 5k’s, 10k’s, half marathons, marathons and even across the country. It’s amazing to see how much they’ve accomplished, and how much money they’ve raised. But I’m not ready for that and as a result I feel a bit disconnected from the running community and I’m sure I’m not alone. A year ago, I never thought I’d be saying that. But it’s true. For me, running solo with my thoughts is what I’ve needed.
Beyond my own feelings and emotions, I’ve noticed how much kindness the world has shown our city and those affected. It makes me happy to see victims standing strong, running this race and experiencing genuine acts of kindness. I followed a dream wedding created for one couple thanks to The Knot, countless fundraisers to help pay medical bills, friendships of a lifetime created as a result and so much more. And while all the good does make me happy, another part of me feels sad. Sad that we have to see such kindness come out of such a horrible act.
It’s my hope that Marathon Monday will be a day of healing for this city. I hope that it’s our chance to take back the city, and return Marathon Monday to a day of community, hope, resiliency, strength and all the good a marathon stands for. I hope it’s a day for us to heal and move forward.
For today, I’ll be thinking of those we’ve lost, those harmed and honoring the strength of the city that I proudly call home.