I ran the 2013 Boston Marathon, the year of the bombing and this is how it changed me:
Belief – for those of you who don’t know or have not read my post about my experience, check it out. The entire race, something and someone was pushing me to keep moving. I was in a tough mental space, feeling unmotivated and wanting to walk almost every single mile despite the fact that I was running the Boston Marathon, something I had set out to do since I started my running journey. Every time I wanted and started to slow my pace, it was as if someone was right behind me encouraging me along. Pushing me like a parent does to gently usher their child forward. During the race, my grandparents were in my thoughts constantly; it is not uncommon for me to think of them in a brief sort of situation, it is uncommon for me to consistently have them in my thoughts and on my mind over and over again. I believe they were there that day, they were my angels flying above me with light hands on my back every time I went to slow my pace. I finished the race and the bombs went off approximately 19 minutes later.
Fear – the initial fear that this experience instilled inside of me was expected. What was unexpected was this deep routed fear that “something bad is going to happen to me.” This limiting belief that maybe it was my time that day and because I escaped death, it’s still coming for me. I felt extremely overwhelmed and borderline hysterical with this fear the day my daughter was born, I was fine (as was she) but the fear of imminent death unexpectedly hit me like a bus. Coping with this fear and limiting belief is a daily effort. I often find myself going back to my belief that if something bad is going to happen, I know my angels will be there immediately. This gives me some comfort.
Strength – I will be the first to admit that I may never run the Boston Marathon again but only a month after the 2013 race, I was running my next race. It was important for me to get back on the road with other runners to boost my confidence, resolve my fear and strengthen my awareness. It took just over a year to run another full marathon, but I did it.
Perspective- I heard recently the most simplistic shift of perspective: “life happened for me,” vs. “life happened to me.” I have to believe that this experience happened for me. I have to believe this experience happened for me, because if I don’t then I become the victim and will live in a constant state of ‘the world is against me.’ I still don’t know the exact reason that this experience happened for me, but I have some idea that it has to do with my beliefs, listening to my instinct and pushing through the challenge of discomfort.
We all have trauma in our lives. My trauma from this experience was nothing like the trauma of the people that were injured or died. But that’s the thing about it, to me the mere presence at the 2013 Boston Marathon and running it, knowing that it could have been me, is traumatic for me. I am grateful that I am here today to write this, to grow from this and to continue on – it will always be a moment in time where I know that someone was there gently ushering me along. It will always be the day I realized that no one’s actions will limit my dreams.