Like many runners who weren't in Boston today, I spent a good chunk of my day thinking about the marathon. I was wishing I was there. I was able to watch chunks of the live coverage on the BAA website and check on the progress of people I knew who were running. The weather was amazing. My friend Lauren was, despite her recently busted up arm, keeping a great pace.
In the chaos of getting out of the house this morning, I left my cell phone home so I wasn't able to text Lauren my good wishes along the way. Instead, I sent her a series of emails that I knew she would get after the race. They went like this:
10:22 AM: Just watched your wave start… Didn’t see you but SO excited to know you are doing it RIGHT NOW!
10:58 AM: You ran your first 5K at 8:21. Wowza! I’m sure you are getting this eons after your finish. But you know, I am living it NOW!
11:23 AM: Way to go! Your 10K pace is great, too! 8:34 I hope you are enjoying it all and soaking up the adoration of the fans!!
11:45 AM: You are so totally rocking this race. Wish I was there! 8:32pace at 15K. You are so freaking amazing!
12:26 PM: Your half marathon time is fabulous! I am annoyed that I have to go work lunch duty and I can’t keep an eye on you! GO GO GO!
1:07 PM: You just passed 30K and I can totally feel your pain. (Well, not really, but I can imagine it!) You’ve got this. You are STRONG!
1:58 PM: Oh, baby. I can only imagine how you are feeling just this very second! I hope your systems are going strong and you are feeling the energy of the crowd. YOU ROCK and YOU ARE BADASS!
2:21 PM: Way to go, Lauren!! I can’t believe you finished the Boston-Freakin’-Marathon just weeks after a broken arm. So happy for you. Hope you are consuming copious amounts of delicious food and feeling wonderful about your blazing pace. Yaaaay team!
Obviously, all this seems trivial now. Just a half hour or so after I wrote that last message... and just FIVE minutes after Lauren left the finish area, all hell broke loose.
I learned about the tragic events just as we were pulling into karate around 4PM. Without my cell phone, I was stuck without a way to check in with Lauren and get updates. I caught pieces of the news from the AM station that was playing in the weight room of karate and it kept sounding worse and worse. And of course, it was.
When I got home I rushed to my phone to call Lauren. Of course, there was no cell service going in or out of Boston. Then I texted her and checked her FB page. Smart girl, she posted an "I'm okay" message.
Then I started reading all the Facebook posts about the marathon. Many of my friends and family wrote to me to say that even though they knew I wasn't there, they were thinking of me. My sister wrote on my wall: "More than thankful for Gabe today... xoxoxo." Huh? It took me a minute to get it.
She realized before I did that Gabe was probably the main reason I wasn't running the race today. The summer of 2011 I was on FIRE, running-wise. I was healthy, I was motivated. I was poised to PR in a fall marathon. I was going to qualify and run Boston. And, of course, my finish time would almost assuredly have been about the time of the explosions.
But then there was a night of an anniversary and maybe a bit more wine than is advisable.... And then there was Baby TOP - Totally On Purpose.
Of course, so many factors could have changed the events. I may not have ever qualified for Boston. If I did, I may have decided not to run. Or I may have run in 2012 (the year of 6 billion degree weather). But, with Baby TOP (Gabe), all that speedy, hardcore running went on hold. No qualify. No run. No being in harm's way.
Likewise, Lauren's broken arm may have saved her family from being hurt. They had originally planned to all make the trek to Boston for the race. Her husband and boy-girl 9-year-old twins would have been waiting for her at the finish line.
But, she broke her arm in February. Boston was off. The trip was cancelled. No husband and kids at the finish line.
And as we know, she rocked her recovery and made the trip to Boston anyway, but it was too late to make arrangements for the whole family to join her.
So, if you're ever not sure why things happen that disrupt your path, wait awhile. Maybe a few months. Or maybe 9 months + one year. And maybe you'll never know. But try to remember, there's certainly a reason.
I am wearing my marathon shirt to work tomorrow.