I was a bit nervous as we were getting ready to start, but I told myself, “Stay calm, take one mile at a time, and to use your head.” As soon as the gun went off and I crossed the starting line, I told myself the same exact quote over and over again so my nerves won’t act up. After crossing the first few miles, I felt pretty good and kept my rhythm going. I even told myself to be patient; this wasn’t a sprint, this was a marathon.
After getting over all the hills at Mile 20, I had about a 10K to go left in the race. I asked myself, do I make a move, and my brain told me not yet. My legs began feeling tired the next three miles and my mile splits were slowing down a bit. By the time I hit mile 23, I told myself I only have a 5K left, and that is when my brain and I agreed to make a move and pick up the speed. Even though the legs were about ready to give out on me, the cheers from the crowds gave me motivation to run harder and stronger in the last three miles. By the time I reached the final turn and saw the finish line, I started to sprint and finish as fast as I could. I finished with a time of 2:44:21, which is a new PR for me, and I found out I was ranked 448th overall.
After finishing, I met up with my folks and we went back to the Sheraton Hotel, about a half mile away from where we were staying. Afterwards, my folks went to the Prudential Mall to look around as I stayed in the hotel room to get an ice bath and freshen up. About 30-45 minutes later, I heard the door open and was surprised to hear them back early. A minute later, I heard the television being turned on, and that’s when I heard what happened down near the finish line.
I asked my folks what was happening and they told me there were explosions down near the finish line. At first I thought this was some sort of a joke, but it wasn’t. As soon as I finished freshening up, I immediately went straight to the television to see this, and I was in complete shock. I then went straight to my phone and tried to call family and friends back in Fort Wayne, Indiana, but the phone lines were down in Boston.
I had texts/voicemails from friends, some crying, asking if I was okay. Luckily, I was able to get service and started calling and texting people back as quickly as I could. Luckily, my sister called my folks and we told her we were okay and safe. I immediately told her to tell everyone we are okay by calling people, texting, and posting something on Facebook to report we are okay. After talking with her, my phone was already blowing up with text messages. I even had phone calls from different television and radio stations back in Indiana, asking me what happened. My folks let me have time for myself to take these calls.
After a few calls, I saw the aftermath on television being replayed over and over again. I then heard the first victim was an 8-year old boy. At that point I totally lost it. I cried for several minutes, thinking to myself this could have been me or anyone in my family. I started to think of my niece, who was also eight, and my nephew who was 10 at the time. I saw myself in the mirror crying and my sadness switched to anger. My reflection showed that anger and I quietly started letting my anger out by punching a few pillows and even the bed, until I got tired. I prayed to God asking Him why this is happening.
After I cooled off and regained composure, I continued to take more phone call interviews, and was able to text/call a couple of my friends who also ran it to make sure they were okay, which they were, Thank you God. As I finished up with all the interviews, my folks asked if I want to go for a walk around the mall with them. I agreed, I needed it. I didn’t wear my medal throughout our time in Boston, because even though I finished and earned it, there were about 7,500 other people who weren’t able to finish due to what happened.
On our last day in Boston, I was anxious to leave and go back home. As my folks and I packed up and headed straight to the airport, I kept the medal in my new Boston Marathon jacket. When we arrived at the airport and waited for our flight, I bought the Boston Globe and read all the articles about what happened that Monday, as well as the results on how many finished. By the time we boarded our plane and took off , I then took out my medal and put it around my neck. To me, after hearing what happened, it didn’t seem right to wear it until we were out of Boston. I wanted to be respectful of all the victims, which is why I did that.
The biggest question for so many was “will I run it again?” After a few months of thinking it over, I knew I had to because I knew it will become even bigger and better in 2014. My folks, a friend of ours, and I went this year, we even got the same hotel. This year’s Boston was a bit more nerve-racking for me, because for so many, there were always those “what if” questions. Many were concerned if something like that was going to happen again, plus there was tight security throughout the marathon, expo, and throughout the entire city.
After reaching the 5K point, I quickly tried to get back in pace mode because I didn’t want to pay as we reach the halfway point and/or the second half. I had another sub 1:20 pace at the half, so I was right on target. The second half was tougher this year for me; not just because of the sun being out and getting warmer, but I knew I took off fast in the beginning. Therefore, I told myself to forget a PR, run your race, and finish Boston Strong, because this race is for all the people. I did get sunburnt and was a bit dehydrated, but the cheering of the crowds again helped me pull through to finish hard. Even though my legs and body were tired, I told myself over and over to finish “Boston Strong.” I repeated that over in my head, one mile at a time. When I reached the last turn to head to the finish line, I tried my best to pick up the speed as much as my legs and body would allow as they were ready to give out on me. I finished with a time of 2:48:55 and finished 865th overall, almost matching my bib number. In addition, Boston 2014 was my 29th marathon overall, and I was 29 years old when I ran it.
|Photo Op with Bill Rodgers and the BOSTONlog.com staff|
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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