What an incredible journey. A blessing. A once in a life time opportunity. Sure, I might qualify again, but I don't know that I will be able to go back and actually run Boston again. This might have been it.
If so, it was as good as I could imagine. It was everything I had hoped for, and dreamed of. It was perfection for me.
Sure, I'm sunburned. My right tibia is so very angry. I'm physically exhausted. My legs hurt. I'm limping. My toes are a mangled mess. But my heart is so full of love for my chosen sport, my fellow athlete's, and the city of Boston. From the moment we landed, to the moment I boarded the plane out of Massachusetts, every single person was over the top nice to me.
(my sharpie name made a great "tattoo" in the sunburn)
Back home, the support and encouragement was overwhelming. Every time I logged into the internet or snuck a peek at Facebook, I was inundated with kind messages, posts and shout out's. It's like the entire universe was melded into one big love fest.
I wish it could last forever.
Tomorrow, Splenda will get up early and go back to work. I'll stumble around and work at the store wearing my official jacket and probably my medal too. Over the next few days, the excitement of the Boston Marathon will dwindle away and people's attention will turn elsewhere. Move forward.
Such is the nature of life.
But know this. These past four days are etched into my brain and heart so deeply that NOTHING will ever take it from me.
I Ran The Boston Marathon! No matter what ever happens in my life from here on out, I will always have that. Nothing and No one can ever take that away. I earned it. I ran it. I was successful.
I'm beyond grateful for all the friends and family who showed such incredible support. From real life friends to internet friends that I've ever had the chance to meet face to face, to friends in Boston who made the effort to come and meet me, and then cheer me on at a tough portion of the race, the outpouring of confidence in me was humbling.
I am the most blessed mother with three sons, their wives and granddaughters who were my biggest cheering squad. Who checked on me daily, skyped, and sent messages of love and encouragement. The minute I walked in my house and saw my love note I was reminded that I have the most amazing children. They far exceed any good I ever taught them. They are remarkable.
Most importantly I am thankful for my beloved Splenda Daddy. From the day I qualified, he has done everything in his power to get us out there. From registration, airfare, hotel rooms, cab rides, food, keepsakes..... he is ever there. Never does he question me, just counsels on injuries, advises on planning and then steps back and let's me go. I truly have the golden ticket of a husband. I feel bad for HIM that he wasn't able to get through the crowd and security to see me finish, but when I finally found him in the family meeting area, I thought my heart would burst.
So many tears have been shed over the past weekend. Tears of happiness, gratitude, humility and pride in myself, my fellow running friends and in the community of Boston and their resilience. I have never witnessed more heart and soul in a city than I did these past few days. It is inspiring and I hope to carry a little bit of it with me forever.
For now, thank you Boston. Thanks for being so kind, welcoming and letting me be a small part of your special Patriot's day. There will be a place for you in my heart and I will be forever #bostonstrong.
PS - I won't ever be a Red Sox fan. Just so we're clear here. I love you, your city, your people, your heart and soul. But I can't love the Red Sox. Ever.