My three days that followed the Boston Marathon
Not surprisingly, I was more affected by the Boston bombing than I initially thought.
I took the AMTRAK home Monday night with my teammate, Michelle and other New Yorkers heading back to the safety of home. She and I kept to ourselves, catching up with social media and email. I could see the news feeds from her screen while I created my blog entry, trying to recall details that were still fresh in my mind. Rachel stayed in Boston so that she could leave for her conference 2 days later in NH. (She was able to take the AMTRAK before it was affected by the city-wide lockdown.)
Once home, I stayed up into the wee hours, unable to go to sleep. Partly because Rachel and I are rarely apart, but mostly because I was experiencing a different kind of “wired”. I avoided news feeds and tried to stay away from social media that focussed on the bombing. Instead, I tried to unwind with random movies in an attempt to succumb to the exhaustion that was slowly building. I finally went to bed around 4 am that first night.
DAY 1 | Tuesday
After about 3 hours of restless sleep, I tried to work, but spent more time watching shows that I neither cared about nor can remember. The hours flew by until I noticed that I had barely left the couch and was still in my pajamas. The apartment floor was starting to gather collections of my personal effects and I was not cognizant of how the situation must have looked. I fell asleep somewhere around 3 in the morning and like the night before, didn’t bother moving to the bedroom or changing clothes. I did brush my teeth, but getting the floss from our main bathroom was too much effort.
DAY 2 | Wednesday
I knew that I didn’t want Rachel to see me this way and knew that I would tidy up the apartment prior to her return on Thursday night, but it was now Wednesday morning and I was functioning on very little sleep. After having already eaten all the fresh produce in the apartment, I had turned to the pantry and had begun eating peanut butter by the spoonfuls throughout the day and night.
I share this because I was in a bad space. I was emotionally in pain and didn’t want to interact with anyone, especially anyone that would ask me too many questions about Boston or worse, having to hear opinions and 2nd hand stories from people who were not even there. I don’t quite understand why some people are so distraught and it’s hard to be around it right now. Our club dedicated the weekly fun run to Boston. I initially wanted to attend, but when it came time, I just couldn’t do it. I had already written the blog and people had already read it. My proximity to the finish line was out there and I wasn’t ready to manage my feelings around the topic.
DAY 3 | Thursday
After struggling to fall asleep around 2 am, I woke up about 4 hours later feeling a bit energized and wanting to run. I changed into a sports bra and running shirt, but kept my 2 day old pajama pants on. True story. I strapped on my Nathan bladder pack and quickly scanned my pants to make sure they at least looked relatively clean. I headed straight for the North Woods and spent a nice time running around in circles among the school groups, tourists, dog walking owners and the homeless. I headed out to the bridle path and pretty much kept to myself, wearing one of Rachel’s running hats low on my brow to help conceal my face. I really didn’t want to interact with anyone I knew.
I had packed some reusable totes in my pack to carry home some produce. Bravo was pretty empty and when I went to check out, the cashier and the bagger were pouring over photos of the Boston carnage in the free newspaper. Knowing that they had difficulties understanding me (one spoke very little English and one was deaf), I told them that I was there.
I told them that I was very close to the 2nd bomb and that if I hadn’t gotten lucky with a nice big spot right on the fence, around the corner from the finishing stretch, I would have been where the 2nd bomb went off because that is where I was heading.
I cried on the way home because for the first time in 3 days and from my own mouth, I was hearing facts about the bombing as they related directly to me. It wasn’t just about being angry that some A-Holes fucked with the therapeutic nature of our sport or sad for the deaths and significant injuries. I was shaken in a way that only comes when you realize that being in the right place at the wrong time was somehow just meant to be.
Thanks to Cesar and his PR connections, I got a call from a reporter wanting to come to my apartment to interview me. Based on the preliminary questions over the phone, it sounded like PTSD was her angle. I waivered about it only briefly before agreeing to be a part of her story. I told her how I hadn’t been out of the house for three days, hadn’t been sleeping and yes, I actually admitted to her that although it had now been 5 or 6 hours since my run, I still hadn’t showered because I had been feeling down following my trip to Bravo.
I never showered AND cleaned the apartment so fast, throwing piles of clothes on the bed knowing that the mess would be concealed behind a closed bedroom door, but also knowing that I would have to do something with that pile before Rachel returned home a few hours later.