Every year, it gets to me. Every year, the local Boston Marathon coverage on WBZ Channel 4 brings me to tears. The disabled runners, the charity runners, the elite runners, the veterans, the formerly addicted…Who knows year to year what story of triumph over hardship will turn on the waterworks? This year, it was several.
The Marine that lost his leg in Afghanistan, and ran the entire race with an American flag inscribed with messages from his platoon.
The post-race interview with 3rd place women’s finisher, 25-year-old Jordan Hasay, who broke down talking about the death of her mother in November.
The short clip on Facebook of my trail running buddy Shane bounding down Boylston Street, grinning ear to ear, narrated by his ecstatic sister recording the moment.
The picture of my friend Tanya hugging her husband Ronnie at the finish line after he completed yet another Boston Marathon and fundraising round for the Flutie Foundation in honor of their child, a nine year old boy with autism.
The day was poignant for another reason. April 17th was my daughter’s third birthday. Three years ago in 2014 it fell on a Thursday and I was incredibly relieved to go into labor four days before Marathon Monday. The peach monster came into the world in plenty of time to get in and out of Beth Israel – located a couple blocks from the marathon course – before the crowds, media, and public safety officials descended on the Hub. We watched the marathon coverage from the safety of our living room, in between naps and feedings. She may not not have realized it but we both cried watching the tributes to the bombing victims together.
I have mom-guilt for passing on a third birthday party for her. No one deserves a fabulous third birthday party more than her, but it was Easter weekend, and we just wrapped up an 80th birthday bonanza for my Mom last week. My husband’s grandfather in Maine died and his family is flying back east. The big reason is that I am far too preoccupied with the major orthopedic surgery I’m having Wednesday April 19th (three years to the day we took my daughter home from the hospital) to pull off a party for my pre-schooler.
These very good reasons didn’t prevent the anxious and negative thoughts from whizzing around in my head as I puttered around on Monday, one eye on the marathon, one eye on my daughter, one eye on my work email (one too many eyes, I know, but that’s mom life).
A story that caught one of those eyes, though, gave me a better perspective on my decision to “get the rod” so to speak, and offers some hope for the future. It’s the story of Ann Tucci, a local woman who made it as far as Hereford St. in 2013 before the bombs went off on Boylston Street. Shortly afterwards in a completely unrelated event she was hit by a car while in a crosswalk, and her leg was shattered. A rod was inserted where
her tibia used to be, from the knee to ankle. She was in a back brace and boot when she got the email from the BAA offering admission in the 2014 marathon to the runners prevented from completing the race. She accepted, and in less than a year, she went from shattered tibia and spinal injuries to completing the Boston Marathon. She’s run it in the subsequent years, too, raising money for Brigham and Women’s Hospital. It’s a testament to her resolve, and demonstrates a commitment to her personal health and well-being. Way to go, Anne Tucci. You rock.
Here’s one last look at these stems, pre-rod. They did they best the could under the circumstances. They carried me up and down mountains, all over Europe, down the aisle on my wedding day, through two pregnancies, over 3 and a half marathon courses, and countless half marathon courses. I could go on. Sure. But. It’s getting harder every year. The pain is harder to ignore and manage.
I like goals. I can set lots of recovery goals. Let’s roll the dice and see what happens. I think this will be good.