Weird Shaky Legs

April 17, 2013

So I was there, and it was pretty awful. Kind of still in shock, actually. I have this weird tingly feeling all through my legs that just won't go away.

When I finally got home, my husband was all, "You need to go for a run. Go. Get out. You'll feel better." Finally, I said, "Shut up and stop telling me what to do." Then I sat on the couch and ate an Almond Joy.

Today I finally had the umph to check my cell phone--18 voice mails and 90 texts.

So yeah--I'm talking about The Boston Marathon. This year I was a watcher, not a runner.

I went down to Boston on marathon morning with my friend Brianne. We went to watch her husband Seth run the race. I've got to say, that since Christmas, Brianne's been more patient than St. Benedict--putting up with a husband who's been pulling doubles, running 100 miles a week, and eating nothing but kale, oatmeal and ice cubes.

As a sidenote, it's so SO strange being friends with these two. On one hand, I'm like, "Dude, Brianne, let him run. Running's so awesome and you should do it, too." And then on the other hand, I'm all, "Hey you. DoucheBag. Stay the eff home and eat some frigging pizza with your wife."

Clearly a complicated dynamic for a girl like me.

So. Anyway. Brianne took two-year-old Abe down to the race, and I took James. Honestly? We had a pretty great day for a while:

Brianne and Abe at mile 25.5

James playing his Nintendo DS while the
greatest female runners in the world pass by.

James playing his Nintendo DS while the
greatest male runners in the world pass by.

Spotting his family

After a 2:48 marathon PR

 Seth managed a hu-uge marathon PR, and I was feeling wicked happy for the whole family. Seth did what he wanted to do, Brianne could stop being a running widow for a little while, and Abe could just keep being cute about the every stinking thing he does.

I snapped this picture in the lobby of The Marriot at Copley Square right when they all found each other. Then we went up to Seth's room so he could grab a shower and Brianne and I could eat a ginormous canoli from The North End.

Yeah. Still thinking about it.

When we got up to the 17th floor, the room was packed with all kinds of ridiculous runners who put up times like 2:22 and 2:30. Clearly, I felt slow and fat and happy because I had a canoli in my mouth and they just had 6-pack abs. I could see the finish line from where I was sitting, so I just chewed, swallowed, and daydreamed that it would be me out there next year.

After Seth got out of the shower, we headed down to get some lunch before Brianne and I left to get back home. We're pretty major Maine girls, and Maine girls aren't widely known for doing particularly well in large, chaotic crowds. We like a more provincial life, so just as soon as we ate too many onion rings, we were ready to split for the Great North Woods.

We got to the lobby of the restaurant (about 1,000 feet from the finish line), and the place was a total and complete madhouse. It was wall-to-wall packed with runners and families and people who just love food. We found out that it'd only be a 25 minute wait for a table, so we decided to stay put.

And then, I saw something that I'll never ever EVER forget.

Next to the restaurant, in a mall kind of place, people were straight up flooding out of the building. There was a huge set of stairs, and everyone was just running for it. Brianne and I looked at each other, and we had no idea what was happening, or what to do. None. We both thought there was a gunman mowing people down, and we weren't sure if we were safer inside or outside. Somehow, for some reason, we ended up outside.

When we got outside, I was feeling ready to get shot. I took James, tucked him into the corner of a building and stood in front of him to block him from whatever was about to happen.

He was behind me being a fresh little 8 year old (OW Mom! You bumped my he-ead! Why would you push me like that?! Mo-ove!), and I was taking it all in. I wasn't praying, my heart wasn't racing, I wasn't crying--I just stood there, figuring out our next move. People were running in every direction. Everyone seemed to be checking their phone, trying to make sense of whatever the hell was going on. Some people were yelling things like, Bombs! and Explosives! and Get out!

We decided we'd get to our car and get out of Boston as fast as we possibly could. While we were trying to get our bearings so we could get to the parking garage, I called Jared to see if he knew what was happening. He had no idea. Couldn't find anything on-line either. We hung up, and right then, a Boston Police car skidded up next to us. The cop jumped out, left the door of his cruiser wide open and he hauled ass toward the explosions.

After that, the rescue vehicles started pouring in. Ambulances  fire trucks, police cars--they were parking completely haphazardly all through the streets. At that point, we knew we weren't finding the car. Not a chance. So we headed in the other direction

My phone rang and it was my sister--she lives in Quincy, just South of Boston. She was super panicked and kind of screamed, "WHERE ARE YOU?!" I told her we were in Copley Square and she told us to run. Just run. Bombs were going off in Copley Square. So we should run.

I looked at Brianne--who hates to run, Seth--who'd just run 26 miles, James--my pretty whiny 8 year old, and Abe in the jogging stroller. I said, "Guys, we need to run." So we did.

We ran until we hit Symphony Hall and no one even thought about complaining.

Once we got to Symphony Hall, the chaos was dwindling, so we walked for a while. While we were walking (we didn't know to where--just that we were walking away), a lost runner, still in her foil cape thing, came up to us looking for Coolidge Corner. We had no idea. We just couldn't help.

The rest of the group sat down on a bench, while I ran around, scouting the best route to get out of the city. Seth and James were talking, and according to Brianne, it went like this:

Seth: Well this'll be a good story to tell your friends.
James: If I live that long.

It felt like there were helicopters everywhere, flying really really low. We walked past the Museum of Fine Art, past a park with people playing basketball, and past a church with the letter X in it's name.

Finally we got to an intersection that I thought my sister might recognize. We saw a sign for Simmons College, a Sign for Emmanuel College and a street sign that said Fenway. We sat down, stayed put, and waited until Katy could get to us and bring us back to her house.

I never imagined I could be so happy to squeeze 6 people and a BOB stroller into a tiny PT Cruiser.

We took the back roads to Katy's house, where we were fortunate enough to see a hooker with historically huge hair. Then we stopped at Panera around 5:30. Brianne couldn't eat, James hadn't eaten since 6:50 in the morning, and Seth hadn't eaten since he finished his race at 12:45. I ordered the spinach power salad, which, I should note, has fare more fried onions than you'd ever expect.

When we got to Katy's we made a plan. Brianne and I were gonna rent a car to get home (we REALLY wanted to go home), and Seth was gonna head back into the city to try to get the car from the garage in Copley Square.

Katy dropped him off on the outskirts and he made it back into the city, but that car was going nowhere. He had to sneak into the hotel through the service entrance, where they were communicating with guests by slipping paper notes under their doors--super old school. The bar was closed and so were all the restaurants. There was a buffet set up with a 3 hour wait, so Seth didn't eat because seriouslywhoneedsfoodafteramarathon?

Brianne and I found out that car rental places close at 6, so we weren't going anywhere either.

James and I slept together in my nephew's room, and when my head hit the pillow in his tiny Ikea bed, I finally started to cry. A lot.

James asked me why this all happened, and I told him that I wasn't sure. Sometimes we don't know why people do the things they do. He thought it was probably someone who realllly wanted to qualify for the marathon, but just couldn't make the cut. Maybe all of his friends were making fun of him because he's so slow, and he wanted to ruin it for everyone else who was fast enough to get in.

That's one theory, I guess.

Seth was able to spring the car around 7 in the morning. He picked us all up, and drove straight home without a whole lot of stopping. We did stop at a Dunkin' Donuts in Kittery, and I just wanted to stand up and demand, "Does anyone in here know what just happened to us?" But I didn't.

We got home around 1, and I slept most of the day. Found subs for my night classes, and literally hid under the covers. Jared built a wall in our basement and boiled down some sap to make maple syrup--a good Maine boy.

I went to work today, and during a break, Brianne came by. We sat on a bench by the river for an hour, and talked about bombs, and facebook, and mass shootings, and stupid running. We also talked about cream cheese and bagels. Life goes on, I guess. For us at least.

People are great. My friend with 7 kids took the time to bake me a chocolate lava cake, and so many people stopped by work just to hug me, and kiss my cheeks, and see me with their own eyes.

Thankfully, I'll be fine. James'll be fine. Seth and Brianne and Abe will be fine. But for now, my legs still have that weird tingly feeling that won't go away.


Mindy said...

Tears are running down my face... I'm just so glad you guys are okay, and so sad for those who aren't, and so sad for what you went through. Thinking of Katy telling you to run! and you not even knowing where it was safe to run... it's just all too much.

Keli said...

I haven't popped in forever, and I was glad to see you are "physically" okay. Mentally? Meh, different story, right? My heart goes out to you and your little ones having to endure that, but I'm so glad you are all as okay as you can be coming out on the other side of that madness. Keep it up, you make me laugh.

Amy said...

Terrifying moment to be a part of...So glad you are all safe. (side note: I TOTALLY agree about the fried onions on the power spinach salad!? I was like wtf!?). Go eat more of the chocolate lava cake.

Mel said...

Oh geez Amy, If I could send you hugs through the computer I would because I'm crying again. I've never been so worried about people I never "met" as I was when I knew that you were there, you who send me bras in the mail, you who inspire me. I am so thankful that you are okay.

kristen said...

I'm glad you're all ok Amy. I hope that sharing it helps that tingly feeling in your legs get a little less tingly.

Anonymous said...

Oh Amy! I'm so sorry that you, your son and your friends had to experience such horror. :-( I've been following your blog since you lived in Texas, probably 2006 or so and being a Boston girl myself who also lived in Maine, I have enjoyed your humor, love, trials and tribulations. If I could give you a hug I would. So happy to hear your safe.

Mrs Furious said...

Oh, Amy! Thank you for posting. I've been thinking about you ever since I heard about the bombings and wondered if you were there. I am so glad that you and James are okay. I don't know if you have thought of this... but after the tornado I had my girls see a therapist (mine... convenient to always have a therapist on hand... and I always do) two times each over the course of the following month just to catch any potential anxiety stuff. Helped put my mind at ease about how traumatic it was for them. I hope you both are able to find a way to move forward. James' line: "If I live that long" Classic. Made me bust out a pretty good laugh. I'm thinking of you. I am so happy to hear you are home.

Pam @ said...

I'm so thankful that you are okay. Like Mel said up there, I didn't know it was possible to be as worried about people I've never met as I was when I heard this news. I'm STILL worried. About the lasting effects. It's hard to just shake that shit off and keep going. So much love to you.

Team O'Connor said...

I was wondering if you were there. You were the only person that I could think of that I might know(*) there. That is crazy and I'm so glad you're okay and home safely. That's a very traumatic experience so make sure you don't underestimate the effect it can have and don't feel bad about any feelings you have from it. I know you're tough though ;) I have a crap ton of free reading material regarding that stuff so let me know if you need anything. Take care!

*We've never actually met but I've imagined hanging out so that's kind of just turned into legit memories...not weird...not at all :)

Hannah Q. Parris said...

A lot of my friends here in Boulder were there. Thankfully they, and you, are ok. Just being a part of the running community (and the humanity community) is making it hard for me to process, so I can't imagine what it would feel like to have been in the heart of it. Prayers for continued healing.

Helen said...

So glad you are safe...I've read your blog for years and have been wondering if you were running that day. Hope you feel better everyday.

Marc and Megan said...

I wish I lived close enough that I could make you a lava cake and kiss your cheeks. I'm so sorry for what you experienced and what you're now having to experience after the fact. It's so awful and too hard to even try to imagine. You have been in my prayers and will continue to be. Hang in there. If you need a getaway, the calming countryside around here is very renewing... you have a standing open invitation. Come, be my guest. Love you lots!

Karen said...

Amazing to think there are a million stories just like yours. We had a regular customer come into our office yesterday saying "I have to tell you about our miracle". Her son and grandson were standing exactly where the bomb went off, and one minute before it exploded, the grandson had whined enough that the dad agreed to go find them some hotdogs. One minute between them and mayhem. Amazing.

Brad and Rebecca said...

I was so relieved to hear your and James and your friends were safe! How scary! Thinking of you all...

Heather said...

So glad you're ok. Wonderfully written post. I hope you're able to heal and process in the coming weeks.

Amanda @ Click. The Good News said...

Crazy, scary story! So glad that you are all safe & I can't even imagine the emotional & psychological trauma from being there. Just watching all of it in the news disturbed me greatly.

Prens said...

So glad you are safe...I've read your blog for years and have been wondering if you were running that day. Hope you feel better everyday.

James Kartan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
merlin said...

Love your picks
didi decorating

Anonymous said...

The information in this blog is extremely useful for the people. payday loan in dallas

Team O'Connor said...

I still blog...can you start again? I miss your dialogue and also want to feel like less of a loser for still blogging. Thanks! Carrie
PS Also, one day we will meet. Maybe I can lure you to NC by promising a full day of helicopter touring and other military related fun. I can't take you up in a Black Hawk, but I sure as hell can let your kids climb all over one and take cool pics like they're flying it :)