Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Boston Strong!

Customized my running hat

Not sure where to begin.  Last week was....impossible to put into words, but just to list a few: awful, tough, emotional, horrific, sad, disturbing, scary, terrifying, painful, heavy, hard, overwhelming, intense, etc.  I felt stuck in the worst moment of time I have ever experienced.  I couldn't do anything. 

I went to my amazing acupuncturist Tuesday and she helped lift a weight off me of incredible stress and guilt. I still couldn't sleep.  Remembering the faces of all the runners I couldn't help and tortured with thoughts of people that were even closer to the explosions than I was.  My heart literally ached for everyone injured or killed.  My mind wandered and couldn't help but worry about the people I spoke with and tried to help.  Did they find their families?  Were they ok?  The little boy that went over the barricade to run with his dad to the finish minutes before the bombs, did he slow his father down enough to avoid harm?  All my friends were safe and accounted for, but the 'what ifs' started to roll around in my head.  It was a never-ending loop of worry and I was stuck in it.

Wednesday, my friend Moe and the Merrimack Valley Striders organized a group run/walk.  I made a sign for a photo to be shared with the greater running community in a show of support.  Someone asked me at work why I was going and I thought about it for a while and then responded.  Some people will go to church this week, some will go to candle light vigils, some people will spend more time with their family - runners RUN.  It is our therapy.  It is our memorial.  It is our coping mechanism.  I went with the intention of running, but I still didn't really feel like running.  I had no energy and I hadn't slept in two days.  So, I walked with a few people. 
Afterwards we all went to a nearby pub and traded stories over dinner and drinks and started the healing process.  I brought ribbon and safety pins and decided to make ribbons for people to wear.  In the BAA blue and yellow, while we ate and talked I cut and pinned.  As fast as I could make them people came over to the table and asked for a few more, and then a few more, and a few more.  I ran out of ribbon.  Those first few were special I used safety pins from races I've run to make them.  I bought more ribbon and pins to make more, but the first batch for the runners and volunteers have a small piece of my personal running history with them.  And they helped me personally start to heal.  I felt so helpless on Monday, this was my way of helping.  It's all I could think of to do and it seemed to work.

Thursday at work I tried to get some things done, but still struggled to focus.  They had a therapist on site for people to talk to.  She was there on Wednesday too, but every time I walked by the room was empty.  I finally found her and spent some time chatting with her.  She gave me a hand out about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (same one I could have printed from the website).  Mostly I just sat there and cried.  It had kept it together up til then and tried to be strong and tell people I was ok.  But I wasn't.  I wasn't even sure I'd ever be ok.  I was still in shock and unable to process what I had heard and knowing now what the noise was and the horror associated with it.  I couldn't function.  After talking with her I felt a little better, but really it was more helpful to talk with my running friends that actually understood why this attack was so personal to all of us.

After work I finally laced up my shoes and ran.  At first I felt like my legs were made of lead, but eventually I started thinking about all the runners that were stopped just short of finishing the marathon and I ran for them.  I thought about the people injured that may never walk or run again and I ran for them.  I thought about the angels now in heaven because of this awful event and I ran for them.  I did a little over 5 miles and and gave a nod to every other runner out there.  We can not be stopped.  We will keep running.  I had a ribbon on my hat and as I passed the construction on Memorial Drive and the State Trooper directing traffic, I took it off and handed it to him saying simply, "thank you!".

Friday morning I woke up and started getting ready for work, then I heard a text from my phone.  It was 4:15am, no one else wakes up as early as me.  It was a co-worker and she told me to turn on the news and stay home.  Everyone knows by now in more detail than we probably want or need what happened in and around Boston that day.  A massive manhunt that resulted in one suspect dead and one captured.  I sat on my couch shaking and crying for most of the day.  I made more ribbons until my finger tips were raw from being poked by the safety pins.  I had to get out and get away from the over stimulation of the media and constant images of the faces of pure evil. 

Since I live a little ways outside of Boston, my town was not on lockdown.  I went out for late lunch/early dinner with my Massachusetts Mom, Ann.  It was SO good to see her and just to get a much needed hug after the rough week it had been.  We walked around downtown Lowell and ate then went to this little wine and cheese shop nearby and just talked about life, not the bombings.  It was just the break I needed.

After dinner I went home and started following the news again.  I was listening to the state police scanner online and texting a few friends frantically.  All of us just hoping for it to end and for no one else to get hurt or killed.  FINALLY, I heard the greatest words ever "Supsect is in custody".  I think the entire state of Massachusetts and especially the town of Watertown collectively sighed and then cheered for law enforcement.  As soon as I knew everything was ok and the manhunt was over, I went to bed.  I slept so hard and didn't wake up until almost 8:00am the next morning.  I am usually up by 5 or 6am on weekends.  I needed it though.  It felt good to get some rest.

I spent the morning making more ribbons, drinking tea and mentally preparing for my fianl long run before my marathon next weekend.  I was planning to do 12-14 miles.  I went out and ran a solid 11 instead.  I felt really good the entire time and decided to be a little conservative and save it for the race.  Again I thought about my friends that couldn't finish the race, the people I saw in Kenmore Square, the people I helped, the people I couldn't help, the people still in the hospital, and the people no longer with us.  I ran for all of them and I am even more determined and motivated now to run strong for them all at Big Sur.

Sunday, I ran the Lowell Fire Fighters 5K with my friend and former co-worker/boss Jen.  I talked her into doing the race and she did a couch to 5K program to train for it.  It was her first 5K in 2 years and the last one was a walk.  I ran the whole thing by her rside trying to cheer her on without annoying the crap out of her.  I wanted her to finish strong but not so strong that she punched me afterwards.  hahaha  It was a great race and a great day for everyone to get together and run.  Again, runners doing what we do best.  Jen did great!  She kept a nice even pace for the whole race and she got herself a new personal record (PR).  I am so proud of her!!!!!  We celebrated after with the free beer.  :)

This week will go by fast.  I can finally focus and get ready for my race and think about the future instead of feeling stuck in the moment.  I saw a great person/healer/amazing human being, Jessica Locke, yesterday for some body work treatment to release some of the stress and trauma and get my body ready to perform. THANK YOU JESSICA!!!!! Today I go to acupuncture and tomorrow I go out for drinks with some new running friends, my Reach the Beach-MA team.  Oh and I got this in the mail yesterday from my friend Patty in New York and I will wear it Sunday when I run Big Sur:
I will run for Boston and I will show the world I AM BOSTON STRONG!!!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment