Things lost and things gained in Boston

**Note: This is a non-food post.

The following is a summary of my stream of consciousness since the events of Marathon Monday in Boston. I grew up in a suburb of Boston, until my family moved away when I was 15. I was able to run the Boston Marathon in 2009. (Written before the events of Friday).

I’m so glad I got my chance to run the marathon pre-2013. Before this happened. I’m sad for those people who never got to the finish line They were going to make it, worked so hard for their moment, and events, actually pure evil, got in the way. Who knows if they will make it back again. I’m sure the organizers will let them come back, but not everyone can afford it when coming from out of town. In the future, there will be kids who don’t get to come watch mom or dad. Whether they will realize it or not, some will dismiss bringing the family because it’s obvious the marathon could be a target again. Kids will miss the chance to catch a game at Fenway, visit the duckling statues in Boston Common, and see Paul Revere’s house, Old North Church, and Old Ironsides.

I’m grateful I made it a point to enjoy my day there, running in Boston so many years after we moved away. I carried a disposable camera, made mental notes of the things I saw and experienced. I remember the biker bar with “Highway to Hell” blasting, the Twizzlers handed to me, the chalkboard giving the current Red Sox score, the turn under the bridge as we entered the Back Bay, and aiming for that darned Citgo sign. Oh, and after all those years of watching Heartbreak Hill, it was actually way less steep than I expected. But the downhills–worse–as noted by my trashed quads and slow performance that day. So many iconic sights I had only seen on TV. Will it ever be the same for the others? Will they look forward to meeting their family at the finish line without any worries for safety?

My younger son was only 9 the year they waited at the finish on Boylston, close to that poor little guy’s age, the boy who is no longer with us. My sons had adorable first communion pictures too…

I’m profoundly bothered by the events of Monday. Of course I mourn the injuries and passings of innocent bystanders. But it’s more. The great marathon, really the only one I knew about as a kid. We watched it every year on TV, who wouldn’t? The drama of Rosie Ruiz (she took the T and acted as if she had won the women’s race!), Boston Billy, Joan Benoit, and world records. Patriot’s Day was a day off and a day to marvel at this amazing event that came to our town. We didn’t go to see it live, heck, we were not a running family. But I believe there had to be a reason I joined the high school track team out of the blue. The only thing I can figure is my spark came from my fascination for the Boston Marathon. Running has been a part of my life for so long and so has this marathon. I celebrate the joy and the inspiration it has brought into my life. I mourn that it is now changed forever.

P.S. Now that the perpetrators have been found, and the city came together in dramatic fashion, I have no doubt the marathon will come back stronger than ever in 2014. But changed too. Writing this piece was therapeutic for me last week.

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