gratitude

I can't even begin to express my appreciation for everyone who has tweeted at, emailed, Facebooked, blogged about and texted/called me this week. My heart is filled with love, and it seems my eyes are constantly flowing on the edge of tears.
I've seen a lot of kindness this week. In the wake of such destruction, I have been the recipient of incredible kindness. I didn't get to make it to mile 26 of my gratitude list: the good times. In honor of that un-run 26th mile, I'd like to dedicate this blog post to the things I'm grateful for in the wake of Monday's tragedy.

Many thanks to the amazing couple from my Dana-Farber team who talked me through marathon morning and allowed me to be obnoxiously excited. The same couple who I ran into on Tuesday while I picked up my bag and medal, and who told me they were thinking of me all Monday because they knew it was my first marathon and were worried about me. You two have inspired me to not let this ruin my marathoning experience. I hope we get to meet again.

Many thanks to my morning busmate. You see, I was supposed to get on the bus at 7am. But being the eager beaver that I am, I got to the Boston Commons just after 6am, when they were loading the qualifying runners onto the buses. I was shuttled onto a bus; no one checked my bib number, and ended up seated next to a kind man who was celebrating 10 years since running his last Boston Marathon. I hope you had a good celebration and ran a good race. That you and your children were safe. That you one day get to run that race with your son. Thank you for not scoffing me for running with the charity program, for understanding my need to do this. For talking me through my jitters and for also allowing me to be obnoxiously excited. That bus ride could have been incredibly nerve-wracking. You made it relaxing. Fun. I smiled constantly.

Many thanks to my friend Jen, who jumped in and ran my last two miles with me, keeping me company and letting me cry. For letting me know that she thought I was an inspiration. For holding my hand and helping me call my family. I don't remember much of the end of my race. I think that between hitting the wall and the news slowly trickling in, I blacked out a bit. For the life of me, I can't remember a lot of the last two miles. But I remember Jen. And I remember feeling safe. Thank you for making sure I didn't freeze, and that my mylar blanket was always covering me. For telling me I looked pretty. For making things better and for helping me get home. And thank you to Kevin, for coming to pick us up. You are a stand-up guy, and I'm proud to call you my friend.

Many thanks to the man in Fenway who ran across the street to hand me a Powerade when I thought I was going to fall over. And to the woman on St. Mary's Street by Commonwealth Avenue who later gave me her bags of Cheese-Its because she heard me say I was hungry as I sat on the curb and cried and dry-heaved. Thank you to the woman who offered to let Jen and me come into her apartment to have a drink of water and warm up. To the woman who offered to drive us home. To everyone who stopped and asked if I was ok. And who thanked me for running.

Many thanks to the man at mile 17 who told me to run hard for Dena. You reminded me why I was doing this. You, dear sir, made me burst into tears and push through those punishing Newton hills. To everyone along the course who cheered for me, Dana-Farber and just girls running the marathon. You made the first two-thirds of my marathon amazing. You made it The Greatest Day.

Many thanks to my family for supporting everything about this endeavor. For understanding my nerves, pushing me and for giving me the strength I needed to run 25 miles.

And the biggest thanks to Craig. For deciding to stay home to watch me run by our house instead of going downtown. For bringing my friends to our home to see me. For telling me to keep running when you saw me, because you knew that's all I wanted to do. You knew I'd be stopped somewhere, but you wanted me to make it as far as I could, because you knew I worked for this. Thank you for letting me cry this week, for letting me be angry, letting me feel sad. For telling me you're proud of me, and that I am a marathoner. For loving me. Always.

As I stood just before the 25th mile marker on Monday, I looked up and saw the Citgo sign. And I felt so defeated. I felt like I had been robbed of something I worked hard for. I still feel robbed. But I will run my marathon. I will cross the finish line and I will be a marathoner. I will do it for Boston. For Dena. For Dana-Farber. Because I committed to running 26.2 miles. I told people I would do this. And I will.

I will be a marathoner.

20 comments:

  1. yes, yes you will.

    and know i'm going to dry my eyes.

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  2. you ARE a marathoner. i am so proud of you!

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  3. So basically, I'm in a puddle of tears over here. A GINORMOUS PUDDLE OF TEARS.

    You will do it and I will be cheering for you screaming "YOU ARE AMAZING!!!!!!"

    Xo.

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  4. This made me tear up. You are so strong, and I'm so proud of you.

    I'm keeping you and your neighbors in my thoughts today. Stay safe!

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  5. i am so proud of you! you worked so hard for monday and when you do it again you will kill it. and it will be the most satisfying day of your life.

    stay safe.

    i agree with christin. you are a marathoner.

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  6. I'm crying. Sobbing actually. You will finish that marathon, and I am so so so proud of you and grateful to call you my friend <3

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  7. Have to agree with others who have said this: You ARE a marathoner. And you are such an inspiration. <3

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  8. I'm in awe of you and am so happy to hear that you're making it through all of this surrounded by people who love and support you. Much love, dear.

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  9. You are a marathoner, and the best, sweestest one I know.

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  10. I can't even imagine the mix of emotions you've had this week, but thank you for sharing this moving words! You are such an inspiration, and I'm so happy that you've felt loved and supported because you deserve it! You and your city are in my prayers :)

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  11. you. you are amazing. what a beautiful, strong post. i am crying and i love you.

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  12. I'm so glad you're okay love. Can't wait to see you dominate the race next year.

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  13. I read this while at work which was a bad idea. So many tears. Thank you, thank you, thank you for writing these beautiful and amazing words. Thank you for inspiring me. Just thank you.

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  14. You are already a marathoner! Don't let those assholes steal that from you. The energy we all put into grieving makes up for that last mile. Anyways, I'm so glad you are safe, Alex. We were in Israel when it happened, but it's been totally surreal coming home to this.

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  15. I love this post. Thank you for sharing it. What I love about it is that it focuses on all the good- and not just the good that happened because of what happened, but the good that would have happened anyway. It's a good reminder that people are kind and compassionate not just in the face of adversity. I am so glad you are ok and getting better by the day.

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  16. You are every bit a marathoner as someone who has run dozens. It is not that you didn't get to finish - but had the strength to even begin xoxo

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  17. What a beautifully written post. I am glad that you and your loved ones are all safe. The strength you had to run and carry on makes you a marathoner. You accomplished something amazing and you shouldn't let that be taken away from you.

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  18. This is so wonderfully written. I can't imagine the emotions that must have gone through you that day. So much love to you- you should be so proud of what you achieved. You certainly are a marathoner. xx

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  19. I am very behind on my blog reading but I just wanted to remind you that YOU ARE AWESOME!

    http://lachapstickfanatique.blogspot.com

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  20. This is amazing, heartbreaking, and inspiring all at the same time. Thank you for sharing such a unique experience, and here's lots of good thoughts and wishes from a fellow a former long distance runner. Everyone has a different reason for running a marathon, especially Boston. I could only dream of running that fast to be able to qualify. I hope you continue to run more races and inspire others. -Jessica L

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Oh, herro there.

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