The city: I really couldn't have imagined how race-focused the city was in the days leading up to the race. The entire city of Boston felt consumed by the marathon. The energy was really incredible. Every storefront, business, and restaurant had a sign or something to support the runners. There were daffodils everywhere.
The interview: When Mom and Auntie Allie were picking up their bibs at the expo, there was a news crew filming runners. Both Mom and Auntie were interviewed and Auntie Allie's statements ended up on the local broadcast on Saturday morning!
The camaraderie: Like the city's businesses, the residents and visitors all seemed there for one reason - The Boston Marathon. On Saturday morning, Adam and I took a stroll around the city including the Public Garden and Boston Common. It was a beautiful sunny day and it was great to get some fresh air and see the city. While in the Public Garden, we passed many runners - both running and just strolling. One couple who was running stopped and asked us to take their photo. The man was wearing a Boston Marathon shirt so I immediately asked if they were running. They told us that the man was running while the woman spectated (not sure if they were husband and wife or not so I don't want to assume). I told them we were doing the same for my Mom and Aunt. We chatted about the race and then parted ways, but not before they snapped a photo of us. It was a neat moment.
The unthinkable: When we returned from dinner on Saturday night, I beelined it back to see Mom. When I found her curled up in bed shivering and drinking ginger ale, I knew something was really wrong. I had simply assumed her nerves had gotten the best of her and she wanted to relax by herself. I told her to focus on staying hydrated and she'd be ok. A few minutes later, I heard her vomit in my grandmother's bathroom. I muttered some curse words and stepped outside. Then I started crying. Sobbing really. I simply couldn't believe this was happening. Not to Mom. She worked too hard for this. I texted a few friends for support. No one could believe it. Once we got Mom into my Aunt's car to make the trek back to Boston, I didn't really feel like socializing. I hung around with my cousin and her boyfriend knowing I don't see them much but my mind was constantly on Mom's health. I didn't really sleep much Saturday night. I simply wished and prayed for a miracle.
The final prep: The night before the race, I wanted to FaceTime with Mom. I hoped to chat with her and put her at ease a bit. I could tell from her voice and facial expressions that she was nervous. And honestly, I was too but I did my best to be positive and upbeat. That night, I organized my spectating gear at least 100 times. I was SO nervous. Race morning, I traded text messages with Mom to encourage her and then the photos started coming...Mom and Auntie were off to the buses to tackle their big race! A few hours later, we suited up in our rain gear to head out to watch.
|Sadly, my sign melted in the rain and didn't make it until they came by!|
The cheerleader: As the elite men came through while we were watching in Wellesley, there was an elite woman who was running just ahead of them who was swept up into their pack. She cheered furiously for Ritz and Meb. I couldn't believe it. I had never witnessed an elite runner cheer like that. It gave me chills. And I was amazed that I eventually learned this was Carla McAllister after I posted the photo on Instagram and someone recognized her.
|Carla is at the front in blue|
|We spent about 4 hours out in the rain but I didn't care one bit!|
The joy: When we saw Mom and Auntie at mile 13.8-ish in Wellesley, I thought my heart might jump out of my chest. I was screaming and waving wildly...kind of like my life depended on it. They both stopped for quick hugs and kept on running. Adam and I ran alongside them for a moment...me just to chat with them and him to get a picture. We had some snacks for them and I wanted to be sure they didn't need anything. They declined the bagel and English Muffin. I even offered Mom one of the pre-made sandwiches I had in a bag for our own lunch (we think that's what made her sick on Saturday). She laughed and firmly declined. As long as she was smiling, she was doing pretty good, I told myself. And in an instant, they were gone.
|Running by the Mobil station where we always used to gas up my parents'|
station wagon when we left my grandparents home
The moment: Adam and I were driving to the airport as Mom and Auntie Allie finished the final miles of the race. Dad called me and was a little choked up, telling me he had seen them at mile 25 and they were "running it in." My heart swelled. They would finish. Together. Adam and I were navigating closed roadways all over the place so the journey to the airport was far from simple (read: pretty tense). Megan was texting me updates every minute or so and then I realized I could watch the live feed on my phone. "Right on Hereford" she told me. "They just turned on Boylston." My eyes glued to my tiny cell phone screen, I was frantically searching the crowd for a blue and white jacket. I saw the notification pop up that they had finished but never saw them. I was disappointed. I had missed them. But alas, the live feed was delayed and a minute or two later, I saw them. Arms raised, they crossed the finish line. "They did it," I whispered with tears brimming in my eyes. I'm not sure if I've ever been more excited for someone to finish a race. I immediately sent Mom a bazillion text messages knowing it would be a while before I heard from her.
|Strong, determined sisters!!!|