The person you’re not

Wednesday April 17th, 2013


I am home. Why do I feel like such a stranger here? Why am I seeing things so differently now? I feel out of place. Why is the norm to put on that brave face and pretend nothing happened? How do I be the strong person for my kids? How?
When you say my name, some form of the word run usually follows it. That is me now, the runner. It defines me and everything that I am and have striven to be. It has come naturally to me and has been the escape I have longed for, for such along time. If you are a runner then you know what its like to have a bad race, especially the first bad race. I had that at Boston, my FIRST EVER bad race. I have never wanted to quit something so bad and finish at the same time. I feel like I have failed everyone around me who was watching me from afar. I failed myself, I could have trained harder, I could have made sacrifices. I let so many of you down. It’s that deep down shame that covers you in a blanket of disgust.
Why keep on running? Why race if I’m only going to fall apart again? I have no answers for any of it. The fight I am having with myself to get over it is a losing one.
The embarrassment of having the bad race at Boston is even worse. I had to walk the last 5 miles and throwing up along the way. Having the crowds around you laughing, saying “run, you’re almost there”, “looking good”, drove the dagger in even further. Walking with your head down so you don’t make eye contact with the spectators who pity you is the only way you can make it through. This person is not me, I don’t race like this. How am I letting myself be so pathetic?
People keep saying, “you finished, that’s awesome”, my response is “whatever”. I want to lock all the memorabilia away never to lay eyes on it again. I didn’t deserve that medal, who am I fooling wearing that jacket?

If that’s not enough, you then add the tragedy that now plagues that day.  Because of my bad race performance I finished about 3 minutes before the first blast. I had “run” in the last 200 yards. If I hadn’t, I would have been right there. I was licking my wounds across the finish and was only yards away from the blast. Freezing cold and confused I knew what happened. I rushed to get my medal and my space blanket, and frantically began my search for roger. We had a meeting point about 2 blocks away. I was hysterical and the further you got away from the finish the less people knew what happened. I had no phone, no way to contact Roger, hoping he was at our meeting spot.
The fear was evident in my eyes the second he saw me. I literally fell into his arms mustering the words “bomb, and I was right there”. From that moment, my life changed.

Calling my daughter when I was back in the hotel was horrible. She hadn’t quite heard what happened and trying to explain it when you can’t even choke out words between your sobs is hard. To hear her cry and say you could have died breaks my heart. I wasn’t there to hug her or comfort her or try to convince her I was ok. Having her so far away.
How do you digest this? How do you put your life back together? How long is that fear going to be present? I am trying to dig deep to find those answers, I come up empty handed every time.
I know one thing. I will not stop running, I won’t let the person(s) who did this take that away from me.


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