Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Untitled (on purpose)

I sit and write this post while so many thoughts and emotions swirling through my mind.  Yesterday began as probably the biggest day of my life - I was running the Boston Marathon. I had trained hard, rode the roller coaster of emotions that come with training for a marathon (that you don't realize until you actually do it), had to say goodbye to my grandfather the week before, and now I was ready to run.  I had Papa's hankie in my shorts pocket. He was with me...keeping an eye on me.

I walked down the street to meet up with Christine and Tedy's Team.  And I not only got to meet Tedy Bruschi, but I got a hug from him too! Yes, it was awesome. 

Christine, our new BFF Tedy, and Amanda
We all walked down the street to join the rest of the masses heading toward the corrals.  After a bit of jostling with the race "hall monitors" we were in our corral and ready to go. We walked-sort of jogged across the start line and began our journey to Boston.  Little did we know what a journey it would be.

After a quick potty stop and wardrobe adjustment (for me) in Ashland, we came upon my colleague Donna in front of her house.  It was awesome to see an excited, supportive face so early on. :) 

We trotted along, checking off the miles and towns as we went along.  I saw my aunt Kathy and her friend Janet in Natick.  As we approached Natick center, I knew I had a cheering section here - all my MSB people!  I saw Sally holding a neon green sign, Andrea manning the camera, and many other familiar faces.  Soon after, I saw my cousins - Maria, Lindsey, and Lukasz.  They were lucky enough to get a big, sweaty hug from yours truly.  I'm sure they were pleased. :P  Natick was a big spot for fans, as we saw Kristen and the boys next (aka, the biggest NF contingent ever!). 

I enjoyed the flats of Natick into Wellesley, although by now I was struggling.  Things hurt - my legs, hips, and this nagging cramp in my side that just would not go away.  It was getting warmer too. 

Soon came Wellesley and the "scream tunnel" at the college.  What an experience.  Those girls are amazing. I got a much needed boost there.  We were looking forward to seeing Amy at the mile 14 water stop.  As soon as she saw us we got a thrilled shriek and a huge hug!!

Onward - past the MSB Wellesley branch - thanks to Brian and Kelsey for the sign!!  And then Kesha around mile 15.  Next, we knew "our guys" were going to be at Newton-Wellesley Hospital.  Honestly, by now, even though I was ready to be done with running, the time had passed rather quickly.  We went up and over 128/95 and down the small hill until the hospital was in sight.  Then we saw Dad and Derek - so excited to see us - both wielding their cameras!

Then we saw Fred and Catherine and paused for a photo shoot with them.  And we continued on toward "the hills."  Taking the corner onto Comm Ave, I felt it.  My body was talking - no, yelling at - to me.  I was struggling.  I knew Jo would be at the top of Heartbreak, if I could only make it.  I kept chugging. I had to.  We saw Jo, Ro, and Steve around mile 21 (I think...) and Ro kept screaming, "Run for me, Keeps!"  See, Ro always runs Boston, and this year she withdrew because of a nagging injury.  I was so excited to see her there.  To pay homage to her, I demanded ice cream. ;)

I remember saying, "I've never been so happy to see BC in my life."  And then I finally felt ok. I felt like I could do this.  Up until then, I had this nagging self doubt: Could I, really?  I couldn't find my pace, I didn't settle in, I didn't feel comfortable....but now, after cresting that hill, I knew I could do this. 

Descending into the city from Eagle territory, the mood changed a bit. More spectators and police were on their cell phones.  People seemed on edge.  There were still plenty of cheering fans...but something was....off...

I had written my name on the front of my shirt the night before, so I had become accustomed to 22+ miles of "Go Amanda!" "You're doing great, Amanda!"....so when I heard a voice yell, "Go Amanda Cancellieri!" I turned quickly...it was Suzanna, my brother's friend from Holy Cross, and amazing photographer!!  It was such a great surprise!  Thanks Suz!

On we went...Chris still feeling good, me, well, I was alternating between walking and running.... I knew it would come to this, but I was hoping I would feel better.  My mentality was that I would rather make the decision to walk, rather than my body making the choice for me.  And that's where I was.  Another couple miles ticked by, and between 23 and 24, the sirens started... police motorcycles, unmarked cars, and I'm sure a few off duty officers sped by us... At the 40k electronic checkpoint, they were already starting to pull the wires up off the street.  Race officials and volunteers had a cautious look of panic on their faces.  Something was up. 

Making it past mile 25, past Fenway and Kenmore, onto Comm Ave., people were stopping.  People were saying to stop running...that it was over... the marathon was done. We would not be able to finish.  There were two explosions near the finish line on Boylston St.  I had less than a mile to go.....less than a mile...


  1. I can't even begin to imagine the experience of training so hard, to finish so extraordinarily close. But I remember saying "congrats on running!" at Dayna's fundraiser and you saying something along the lines of you hadn't run yet - sounding almost skeptical of your ability. I have no doubt you were going to cross. I knew you would. Congratulations on such an amazing feat and for raising money to help others. ~ Becky R.

    1. Thank you for the kind words, Becky. It was quite an emotional journey, beginning with the training... I was struggling with some self-doubt at that time, but I worked through it. One way or another, I'm going to finish next year. :)