“Heather, you need to check the news wires, two bombs went off at the finish line at Boston,” Robb said.


I began calculating hours from the race start. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Four hours. This is when many friends — many runners, in fact — would be finishing. Wait, maybe it starts at 10 and it’s at 5 hours now…

I check MSN to get the news, then I Google “Boston Marathon 2013 start time.” 11 a.m. Shit.

I check Facebook to see if my running friends have posted finish times, then I text them: “Guys? U ok? Worried!”

I start searching the Boston Marathon’s runner tracking for finish times for the runners I know best; the ones I’ve run many miles with on Saturday mornings.

Mike’s in. Rachel’s in. But there’s no finish time for Jan, or Dave. Both would have been close and Mike would’ve been waiting for Jan to finish.

My phone buzzes. Mike: “We r ok.” Rachel: “OK. I don’t understand what’s wrong with people.”

I can breathe again.

Back to Facebook. Friends are posting updates to let everyone know who has heard from who.

By 5 p.m., thanks to social networking, email and text messaging, I know that all of the two dozen area runners are safe and accounted for.


At home, Dan has the news on. It’s a continuous loop of video and commentary and I watch about a 1/2 hour before I have to shut it off. I can’t watch it happen over and over and over again. The finish line looks just like so many we’ve crossed. These are our people, our community.

“Mom, I don’t want to go to Cleveland,” Kelly says.

We’re taking the girls with us this year. After I run the half, I’ll fetch the girls and bring them down to see Dan finish the marathon. I can’t wait for them to experience a big-city marathon finish with cowbells and signs and cheering spectators 8 deep lining the finisher’s chute.

You bet your ass we’re still going (they won’t stop us), but I wonder if it will be different now.  If the girls will be scared now. We can’t let that happen. Fear can’t win.


6:30 p.m. I’ve got to go. I’m meeting friends at the track for 4 x 1200s, part of my marathon training plan. I thought of canceling. For about 10 seconds.

We run so hard that we can’t talk. What is there to say anyway? Tonight, it’s enough just to be there, sharing the pain and growing stronger together.


About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”