I wore my 2010 Boston jacket to work on Marathon Monday because I was thinking about everyone who was running the race. And truth be told, as I watched the elite races unfold and excitedly checked my phone for updates on all of my GBTC teammates between patients, watching as several friends ran incredible races, I was a little jealous that I wasn't racing. I texted my friend Joy - "Uh oh, I think I might want to do another marathon!" I was caught up in the excitement, even though I wasn't actually there for the first time in 4 years. I couldn't have guessed that all of that excitement would be transformed into sadness and anger by the end of the day, and that the jacket that I had put on that morning in solidarity with the marathoners would take on a whole new meaning.
There's so much I could have written over the past couple of weeks, and saying it now would really only be repeating things that have already been said. My personal favorite piece is this one: http://www.logicoflongdistance.com/2013/04/a-bomb-is-opposite-of-marathon.html. But I can tell you that when I walked into the waiting room to get my next patient and saw those headlines, those images on CNN, I felt like I had been absolutely punched in the gut. Many people have spoken about how runners, as a community, have really felt the effects of these events very personally, as we are such a tight knit community and the marathon is such a joyous celebration of that. I was right on board with those sentiments, but there was another reason that I think I was hit harder by all of this than I have been by any other atrocity that has taken place in my lifetime. And that's because in that moment, I realized that Boston is my home. You never imagine that something so horrifying could happen somewhere that you live - in a race you've run, where friends have stood to cheer for you, on a street you walk down every week to get to track practice. And seeing those familiar places turned into a warzone was horrifying. My heart ached for the families, the victims, the runners who didn't get to finish and those who saw their achievements overshadowed by people who seem to believe that by causing chaos that they will prove some kind of point. And as many have said, Boston has clearly shown that we are stronger than that.
I had planned a trip back to visit Andrew last weekend long before these events occurred, and the shock of waking up to head to the airport Friday morning and seeing BU Alert texts about "manhunt", "shootings", and "lockdown" was beyond anything I've ever experienced before. On my flight, every TV was tuned to the news. I was lucky enough to catch a cab and was able to get to my apartment - the streets were a ghost town, even though it was the first truly beautiful spring day of the year. I don't think I have ever been happier to see Andrew in my life as when I walked through that door. It felt like a movie, watching the drama unfold as we "sheltered in place". And then, when it was all over, the elation, pride, and joy that I felt for the city that I've come to know as home was beyond compare.
I posted to facebook that night that "in the end, most people are AMAZING." And through all of this, the tragedy, the sorrow, the utter insanity of the entire thing - the beautiful, the good, and the strong are what have risen above. And I'm absolutely honored to be able to live, to run, and to love in a city filled with so much strength and love. I'm proud to call Boston my home.
Johnny Kelly statue in the Newton Hills, 4/21/13