The Boston Marathon Tragedy

Sign

We keep having these tragedies. These awful, terrible occurrences that stop everyone in their tracks, scare us and make us reconsider everything.

This one hit especially close to home for me. Not just because someone I was very close to was there, and not just because I would have been there myself, like right there, were it not for recent occurrences, but because of the unique circumstances surrounding this event. Unlike the September 11th attacks, which were terrifying because they occurred on a normal day when people were in their routine of going to work and school and it was so unexpected; this tragedy was especially sad because of the extraordinary circumstances.

I’ve had the pleasure of being in Boston for six Boston Marathon’s and Patriot’s Days. And it is always a wonderful and special day there. Throughout the city, residents and visitors take their children to the baseball game, to local museums and walk along the water enjoying the holiday that is unique to their state. On Boylston St., spectators line the sidewalks to watch their loved ones or strangers cross the finish line, and the entire city just feels good and happy. It’s an event that represents, in my opinion, some of the best human qualities: determination, training, dedication and going after a goal that for many of us would be nearly impossible. Just being around this energy makes you feel motivated and excited about life’s possibilities, or at least it always did for me. The atmosphere at the finish line is truly intoxicating. So, to hear that such a catastrophic event happened there, when people are tracking their runners on their phone, checking each passing face to see if it’s the person they are there for, and mentally planning how to best celebrate the accomplishment, is so heartbreaking.

Of course, I speak from the perspective of a spectator, which is what I was for the years I was there. I can only imagine how violated and unsure a Boston Marathon veteran who has participated in the marathon and been a part of the exuberance I’ve witnessed feels.

I hope that all of those of us who were so struck by this event and who still have it at the forefront of our thoughts days later, can use it as a wakeup call to live every day with purpose and importance and to cherish every moment.

Runners

2012 finishers

Crowd

Crowd in 2011

Finish Line

2011 finish line

Church

Church in 2009

Kelsey and me

With my friend Kelsey, who went to school in Boston, in 2010

You can see my posts about my trips to Boston here and here. (I can’t believe I didn’t blog more about my visits.)

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Heat Wave in Boston

For the past 6 years, Luke has run the Boston Marathon in April, and I’ve accompanied him on the trip for five of those years. We always have a great time, and have many traditions and routines that we always seem to follow when visiting.

This year was odd in that we didn’t fly together. I waited a few weeks longer to book my ticket, and by then seats on his flight were very expensive. So I opted to fly separately, and by flying JetBlue, I saved over $900. The only downside to this was that I took the red eye Friday night and a late evening flight back on Tuesday, so I ended up being alone in Boston for about 16 hours total. I used this time for a gorgeous walk around the city, shopping and catching up on sleep lost on the red eye, but it definitely felt weird to be in Boston without Luke, because I’ve only ever been there with him.

When he arrived, we started our usual rounds of the city, and had a great time. We got to eat and drink everywhere we had planned on, try a few new places and we walked the city more than we have previous years.

The only disappointing aspect of the trip was the day of the marathon. This year marked the first time it’s ever been warm in Boston when we’ve been there. Usually it’s cold and jacket-required weather, which coming from Colorado is what Luke trains in. This year, however, it was downright hot. On Marathon Monday it was 92 degrees, which is uncomfortable to be in, let alone run a marathon in. Despite hating the heat and not knowing how to hydrate for a marathon, Luke finished and didn’t suffer any health issues, unlike a lot of people I saw coming across the finish. That afternoon and evening we followed our normal post-race traditions, despite the extreme heat and suitcases full of warm clothing.

One of my favorite things about visiting Boston is that I know I will be back again, so I feel like I can relax and take things in more slowly, unlike certain trips when it’s unknown when/if I will be back.

Marathon swag bag becomes race day supply pack

Hanging out in the Public Garden before Luke’s flight

Beautiful flowers along Boylston St., post shopping spree