I’m currently sitting on a train as I type this, headed from Roma to Venice for the second leg of our vacation. Grateful that I have this opportunity to spend some quality time with my husband and experience parts of the world that I know I’m lucky to be able to explore. However, as I sit on the train, my heart is heavy.
On Monday, I awoke in Rome, thinking about my friends who were running in the Boston Marathon. All of them were fellow Craic heads. I knew that while I was six hours ahead, they were all getting up in a few hours to start the race in Hopkington. Carleen, who’s been chronicling her ups and downs via an email blog and was about to become a 2-time Boston Marathoner…I remember meeting her when I was in Jarrod’s on-boarding class and she was training for her first marathon. She had stopped in to Craic at the tail end of her run and waited for Marc (her cat-loving husband) to pick her up. Karen, who is one of the best female runners at Craic. She does Craic’s run club at always gives the gents a run for their money on the running WoDs. Her mom, who looks like an older sister of Karen’s flew in from Colombia just to watch her daughter in the Boston Marathon. Jay, who is a fellow 6:30am guy. He’s the “old guy” of the group, usually kicking everyone’s ass in the workout. Hence, my putting “old guy” in quotes. He usually smokes all the young ones in the workouts. And finally Brian “Burger” – for the longest time, I thought that Berger was his last name and we called him “Burger” because of that. Turns out that in the 2012 Boston Marathon, he ran for the b.good foundation, and ran the entire race with a burger around his waist. He was doing the same thing this year and Jay was running with a burger around his waste as well. I am so proud of my friend’s hard work and dedication that got them up to the marathon and was sending them good thoughts from Italy.
After a nice breakfast at the hotel, we met up with one of my best friends, Katy, and her boyfriend, Aaron at the Colosseum. Just by coincidence, our Italian trips were overlapping for one full day in Rome and we opted to spend it together. We really had no set plans and spent much of the day wandering around the city, stopping occasionally for a beer or a snack. We walked to the Trastavere and weaved through the endless alleyways and did some sightseeing and more snacking. We ended the day eating a delicious meal at Sora Lella, a restaurant featured on Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover. Quite honestly, that day with Katy was the highlight of our trip and a time that I will hold dear forever.
Stuffed and exhausted from our day, we arrived back at the hotel and turned on the television. The only stations in Rome that are in English were news stations, so we tuned to CNN. What I saw on the television did not process in my head. Two bomb explosions in Boston. No wait, Niko said, looks like old footage from some other bombing that happened…Wait, is that the Prudential? We watched the television for a few more minutes. Yes, there was a bombing during the Boston Marathon. Casualties unknown. Definitely 2 dead, 45 injured (the number has since risen to 3 dead, 145+ injured, some critically). I immediately went on Facebook. My brain thought of all my friends back home – Carleen, Karen, Burger, Jay – and the countless others that were at the race cheering them on. They kept on replaying the explosion on the news and as I was in Facebook updates from friends and loved ones were streaming in. I was panicked. I texted and massaged everyone I could. Constantly refreshing my feed and watching the news. I texted Leila, knowing she had a huge posse with her of Craic heads, everyone was fine. Statuses were trickling in. All my friends and family were safe…but so saddened and heartbroken that a day that was supposed to be about personal triumph and happiness was marred by this act of terror.
But my friends and the city of Boston are full of resilient people. Many are running the last five miles of the Boston Marathon on Friday in tribute to those that were killed or injured…and to show the world that an act of terrorism like that cannot keep us down. I will still be in Italy at this time, but will be thinking of everyone back home. They are not letting the fear over take their lives. They are finishing the race on their own terms and for those that could not. As for me, I’m going to take everything I can in on these last few days in Italy. I am not going to let what happened ruin the rest of my trip. I’m going to relish every moment spending it in one of the most romantic cities in the world with my husband. On Friday we celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary and as my friend Kelli always told me, “Live once, live well.”
Sending mad love to all my friends and family back home.