Wednesday, April 24, 2013

25.5 miles closer to a cure: Part 3 - Unfinished


Part 1 - Marathon Monday
Part 2 - We Need to Stop Running

The Boston Marathon was finished. 

And yet I felt so unfinished. 

We walked into our hotel room, immediately removed our running shoes and then slowly walked down the hall to Ryan's parent's room. As they opened the door for us, we saw Kate and Leah, wearing their Boston Baked Team Leah Bean shirts, grinning at us. We held them tight and I said another prayer of gratitude that my family was safe and sound. I am so grateful for LaMar and Lynnette and the great care they took of Kate and Leah that day.

Over the next few hours, Ryan and I saw on the TV what LaMar, Lynnette and our girls had experienced firsthand. The explosions were enormous and the images I saw on screen were horrifying. The VIP passes given to us the day before had most likely saved their lives. They were on the front row of the west end of the bleachers on the corner of Boylston and Exeter, just 50 yards from where the first bomb went off. We have found pictures from the news where we can see LaMar in his red coat in the chaotic aftermath. 

The events that happened that afternoon are something I won't soon forget. And the last thing I would ever want to do is make light of a very grave situation. Some lives were lost. Others were forever altered. People will be dealing with the aftermath of these explosions physically and mentally for a long time. And yet as I look back on the past week, realizing that we saw the very worst of humanity in those acts, I also know that I saw the very best of humanity. I saw an entire city pull together. I saw strangers embracing, comforting, helping. I saw them offering their food, phones and homes to passersby. And so, just after this horrendous act, after witnessing so much bad, I witnessed a lot of good. 

And it was so, so good. 

I was never able to cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon. Many people have asked how I feel about that. And to answer honestly: I'm mad. I really, truly am just mad at those cowards. I was mad at them before they had faces and names and I'm mad at them now. I, along with thousands of other runners, trained for months. I ran in negative temperatures. I grew icicles on my eyelashes. I ran up hills and down hills and up hills and down hills. I stretched and iced and rolled and rested. And I ran and I ran and I ran and I ran. I didn't do all of that to run the first 25.5 miles of a marathon. I did it to run the final 0.7. To cross the finish line.

I did it to make those final two turns onto Hereford and Boylston streets and to see the face of my six year old daughter sitting in the bleachers cheering for me.

And that is a sight that was stolen from me. So I'm mad. 

But I also know that I did it to raise much needed funds for Rett syndrome research. I did it for Leah. I did it for everyone who struggles with Rett syndrome every day of their lives. I ran because they can't. And in that, I was successful. 

I'm not sure what will happen now. If I get the opportunity to run next year, I will take it. Because I didn't train to almost finish the Boston Marathon. Just like researchers aren't spending their lives almost finding a cure. Just like Leah isn't spending her days being almost awesome.

I will do it. And so will they. And she already is.

I'm just not finished yet...

23 comments:

Amy said...

I can't stop the tears . So many emotions wrapped up in this experience. All I can say is that I can relate to those feelings of madness, though mine was directed at Mother Nature. But I can't relate to the feeling of terror you felt, not knowing if the girls were ok. And for that my heart goes out to you. No mother should have to experience that feeling. I can't say it enough - I'm so grateful you're all ok. I, too, said prayers of hope for your safety, and gratitude when I found out you were ok. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

Ryan and Emily said...

Just beautiful!! You are amazing!! I'm so glad you are all safe!

Shannon said...

love those two sweet, smiling faces of Leah and Kate. Love that your family is safe. LOVE your resolve. Love you guys.

lis said...

Crying my eyes out. I am so so grateful you are all safe but I am mad too, that you couldn't finish. But the important part is you ran for Leah. Because Leah rocks. Running a marathon can bring out raw emotion because its so intense, but you and Ryan and Leah run a marathon every day. Love you guys.

Jen said...

I'm trying not to cry, but WOW. Maren, I love your writing and journaling and, especially, for a day as intense as this was for you. What an accomplishment and a story to tell your girls for years to come -- that you were there in Boston on that day, that you ran for them, that they were safe, that the world is good. Thanks for sharing!

mandacody said...

You, your family, & especially Leah: AMAZING! I am constantly in awe of everything you accomplish & go through & this is yet another example of it. Cried through the whole story, which surprised me. I expected to cry at the end, but I didn't expect to cry throughout the amazingly uplifting beginning & middle. So glad your girls & Ryan's parents & both you & Ryan were safe on that terrible afternoon. Here's to next year's race (hopefully) & to a cure for Leah Bean!

robin marie said...

I was thinking about you so much that day. What an amazing story. I'm so glad your family is safe!

Amelia said...

I can't imagine the process of trying to get all of this down on paper...or whatever...but I am so glad you did. This whole thing was even more real to me because i knew you were there and it was scary. I am SOOO glad your family got thos VIP tickets. Angels in heaven were certainly watching over you all. I am really mad and really sorry you didn't get to finish the race too. Like you said, you trained for this, so long and so hard and so cold! And all right after having a baby. SUPER WOMAN! And I am really happy that you have so many friends and family and strangers cheering you on. I love that you reported mostly about the best in humanity coming out. This world has a lot of bad, but still has tremendous amounts of good. Thanks so much for sharing and for being so amazing in so many ways. Can I be like you someday? :) Go Team Leah Bean! We love Little Leah and Miss Kate. And you guys too! Sending lots of Canadian Love your way!

Emily said...

I've been anxiously waiting for this and though I can't claim to know you well...darn AK and its distance from friend get togethers in UT!...you and yours have been in my thoughts SO much before and after this happened. I silently cheered for you through your training posts and Facebook feed, I felt jitters for you as you announced your departure to boston that Friday night, I thought about you as I ran a whoopteedoo 5k the Saturday before and As I figured out how to track your progress as you headed out on actual race day, and my stomach sank as NPRs background noise in my house that day said something that didn't even begin to make sense-explosions as the finish line? I don't know what that means I thought...and then I sat glued to the TV, radio, and Facebook for the rest of the day (and a good portion of the week to be honest) and stared at the still running but going nowhere runner on the website. I was sad for you and boston, frustrated for you and all those runners...how could they steal that moment away from you all?...and mostly I was grateful when you announced you were safe and so were your girls. All this is to say that I've been incredibly moved and inspired and humbled by you and always, always, always by your Leah! Your posts were perfect and honest and wonderful! Go Team Leah Bean...tell her there were and are fans all the way in the great white north! I now I'll end my mini novella ;)

Liz Igoe said...

even if the pregnancy hormones weren't here i would still be balling. maren you are a true inspiration to everyone you meet and I am so glad that we got to cheer you on. You will be back and you will run it again, i know you will. We are all so proud of you and love you! we are team leah bean for life and wear our shirts proudly.

Melanie Reynolds said...

Maren, this is Wendi Bohn's mom, Melanie. I have been and continue to be so touched by you and your sweet little girl. I have held Leah in my arms as we listened to a Primary lesson, felt the prayer that her teacher, Mary Billings, helped her say, looked into sweet eyes that understand and communicate so much more than I can comprehend. I am blessed to have been able to meet you and know your story. As I sat here in Utah, watching this horrible event unfold, I thought of you and Team Leah Bean, hoping you all were OK. Wendi assured me that you were there, but not harmed, at least not physically. Thank you for your words her. You, your husband, Kate, and Leah are inspiring and amazing. May you be blessed for how you live your lives.

Colleen said...

So glad you shared your story...it was written beautifully! I said a prayer for your family, knowing they had to be at the finish to cheer you guys on. You'll go back next year, cross the finish and get to see little Leah Bean's smiling face.
It looks like Leah is wearing some wrist/hand braces. Where did you find them? Somebody told me yoga gloves may serve the same purpose but didn't know if I could get them small enough for Emmy's hands.

Linda said...

Maren...you and your sweet Leah were the first thing I thought of when I heard about the bombings! I was so grateful for Kelly's FB post letting us know your family was OK! You are amazing and your support of your daughter is an inspiration to me! Thanks for sharing your story! Go Team Leah Bean!

maryirene said...

i don't know how to word my thoughts right, so i'll just say, i am so grateful you are safe. so overwhelmed at all that has happened. so grateful for you noticing the good people and reminding us they are there.
thank you for your words and your courage. we love you all.
mi

Lant Family said...

I love reading about your experience! I think you put everything down wonderfully! I am glad to hear the good experiences because we didn't get to see that much focus on that on the T.V. . I can imagine that you are mad! I would be too, especially Ryan, his first marathon! Ia, so glad you guys and your family are all safe!

Hannah said...

what a scary experience. so glad you guys are okay. i am so impressed with all the work you guys must have put in to running that race....leah and kate are so lucky to have you guys!

Shayla Taylor said...

Thank you for sharing this story with us maren. you are an amazing writer. I am so glad you are safe and I love everything you said. You are awesome. :-)

Kim said...

Mare,
This made my cry. Thank you for writing it. You are such an inspiration! I'm so glad Leah and Kate and Ryan's parents are fine. You are amazing!

Josh and Juli said...

Even though I don't know you personally, I knew you and Ryan were running this marathon and you two were one of the first thoughts I had when I heard about it, too. Thankfully, I am fb friends with some of your friends, who had said you were both safe. I can't imagine what you all went through that day, but I'm glad you are all okay. And I think the only way any of us can get through something this horrible is to look for the good. And thankfully, there was plenty of that.

Marcy said...

What an amazing story, Maren. Thank you for taking the time to write it all out and share it with us. I cannot imagine what it must have felt like that day, with the confusion and worry about your girls... I am so glad everyone you know was safe. And I agree with everyone else here, you are an inspiration.

The Maughan's said...

I am so glad you wrote this! I was engulfed in every word. We are so glad you and your sweet family are safe. Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us!

Jessica M said...

Your story is so amazing. I read each word, thrilling for your physical accomplishments, cheering for your purpose, and feeling the heartbreak as months of training came to such a halt. I am so so glad that your family was OK.

miss diddly said...


i am crying. That is just too incredible. I am so so glad you and all your family is okay. My heart skipped a beat for you all when I saw the news.love you.