The view from my hotel room. Yeah, it IS gorgeous. Don't let that sunshine fool you though, today was downright chilly!
We got up early and took a cab to the nearest LDS chapel we could find. I was amazed at how many people were there! I figured there would be a crowd because of the marathoner's but the chapel was packed, the over flow was filled and the cultural hall was crammed to capacity all the way back to the stage. We found two seats at the very back, in the corner, and luckily - it happened to be right next to the friends that we had planned on meeting! What luck!
As the meeting started, it became obvious that this wasn't an ordinary Sacrament meeting. Instead, to my dismay, we discovered that we were in Stake Conference. WHA?!?! It's Easter and I wanted to do the best thing possible and that was to take the Sacrament. They don't have the Sacrament in Stake Conference. As we watched more and more people come in, look around, find nowhere to sit and end up standing we started to debate whether or not we should stay. I felt bad that we were taking seats from people who LIVED there and were there for THEIR stake conference.
We got as far as about half way through before the guilt was too much. We wandered out, met up with our friends. As we left the building, I was amazed at how many people were there. They were sitting on the floor in the foyer, in each of the rooms that they could broadcast the sound to, and even stairwells, and the gym floor. I was impressed by the level of commitment that the members of the church here in Boston have.
We caught a cab back to Andrea's hotel for brunch. A great morning, great food and a beautiful view!
From there Splenda Daddy and I took another cab back down to Copley Square. Knowing that the Utah runners were going to gather at about 4 for a group picture, it didn't make sense to go back to our hotel and then another cab back downtown. Since there is plenty to do in Copley Square, we managed to wander a bit, and then find a place to sit in the sun.
As I sat there, I was trying to save the battery on my phone and stay off of social media. Which meant then I was left with my own thoughts.
Here it was Easter and while it didn't initially feel like a different day, in my heart I was wrapped in emotion. Thinking of tomorrow. Laying out my final strategy. Plotting on how I would treat my injury to get through all 26 miles. Remembering what it feels like to run 26 miles and telling myself I was up for the pain. Thinking of last year's marathon and now - here I am in the exact same spot as others were when their lives were changed forever.
As we made our way to the finish line for the group meet up - I saw a memorial that I hadn't seen yesterday. Lump in my throat, we got near the painted finish and then stopped. No matter what, I wasn't going to cross it. I didn't know exactly where the Utah group was meeting but if it was on the other side of that line, I wasn't going. Nope.
The breeze kicked up and it was now getting downright cold! Luckily, I found Andrea, and one by one, we found Utah people and then with a text here and there found the entire group. A film maker has been following some Utah runners making a documentary and they were there filming and doing interviews. Andrea I tagged teamed it
and then our large group (as many Utah runners as we could get) gathered in for a pic.
Look at us!
We are representing our state well! In fact, I think I heard someone say we are sending the most runners per capita. Nice work UTAH!
By the time the group picture was done, I was frozen to the bone. Still in my church clothes, no jacket (can't wear it yet, I haven't earned it), Splenda Daddy and I headed for back inside the mall and dinner at California Pizza Kitchen. A safe place, with food my stomach knows and nothing new before race day.
The rest of our evening has been spent back in the hotel, skyping with the kids back home, relaxing, and trying to get my nerves to settle down. In thinking over this Easter Sunday, a couple of thoughts come to mind. It wasn't what I had pictured in my mind. I REALLY wanted to take the Sacrament. I wanted it to be meaningful on this particular Sunday. I didn't want myself to get disappointed about it, so instead I thought back to all the people at the church. Literally sprawled wherever they could find a spot. Willing to sit uncomfortably on the hard floor or to stand for two hours. All in the name of their faith and dedication to worshipping God. They sacrificed.
Every day, I can do the same. Not sit on the floor at church, but instead be ready to serve whenever, whomever, and wherever I can. As I people watched in the mall at Copley Square, I thought of all the different faces I was seeing. Wondering where they were going, why they were here at this time. Were they running the marathon? Were they going to watch and support? Are they locals that will be honoring their city tomorrow?
I was asked the question in the interview if I "felt Boston Strong". I had to think about it for a minute. If you had asked me that yesterday, I would have had to say no. But today. Today after spending some time reflecting, watching and thinking about what tomorrow is going to bring, I have to say yes. I feel strong. Is it Boston strong or is it strength in the Lord knowing that He has blessed me to do the things that I love to do?
I DO know that no matter how things shake out tomorrow, I will enjoy the experience and appreciate every step, of every mile. I will love every spectator, every volunteer and every fellow runner. As I write this, my phone just dinged with a text from a runner bestie at home. His words: "My heart will soar with you as you fly over hallowed ground tomorrow. Prayers for strength, stamina and for you to enjoy all the race has to offer."
And that my friends, articulates the love of Easter and of Jesus Christ. Life is just a big marathon with all of us running along at whatever speed we can, but most importantly, loving one another and encouraging each other along the way.
Here's to honoring that hallowed ground tomorrow.