“Whatever you are doing, I need to be doing, too” I remember my friend and co-worker, Adam telling me a few years back.
I had finally decided to get back in shape after having my son, and had taken up running as my exercise of choice.
No longer able to find 7 other people to wake up with me at 4 am to row on the Charles River, I traded my oars for running shoes and a jogging stroller.
Adam and I had both been fit – really fit – at one point in our lives. He had run track, and I’d done every other sport out there – rowing, figure skating, ropes course, rock climbing, field hockey, tennis… my activities were numerous and varied.
We’d been at Boston.com about the same period of time – he was the dude I called when I was first hired and working the night shift when things broke and none of my nightshift friends or I could figure out what the hell went wrong.
At the time, I was the new kid on the shift, so I often drew the short straw and wound up calling tech support – and many times, Adam drew the short straw in having to answer my calls at midnight, 1 or 2 a.m.
As much as I know he hated getting those phone calls, he quickly learned that I didn’t call just for the sake of calling – I would only call when things were broken beyond my capabilities to repair them.
“I tried this, this, this, and THIS, and none of that worked,” I’d relay to him over the phone.
“And when I just tried this, I got THIS as an error message I’ve never seen before.”
He learned quickly that I was determined to try to do things myself before I hauled anyone in for help.
And, because he’s the same way, he appreciated it.
This year, after taking a new job nearly a year ago and not working together, we got to spend 26.2 miles together to run the Boston Marathon for charity.
This year, whether he knew it or not, I needed his help again even though HE was the one running his first ever marathon – not to mention his first ever Boston.
This year has been rough.
New job. New training. New personal challenges. New… everything.
My running was rough, ugly around the edges, and training away from home without the pull of friends or my charity teammates was exceptionally difficult.
Plus, every time I thought about running Boston, my mind would wander back to 2013 when all of our lives changed with those bomb blasts.
Last year I ran Boston just to prove I could.
This year I ran Boston to enjoy it.
Every single photo taken of me during the race, I’ve got a huge smile on my face despite the fact that I was freezing cold and soaking wet.
And every single photo, you can see my buddy Adam (even if it’s just a foot in the frame sometimes).
This was my race to come home.
I left new friends and family in Hopkinton.
I hugged teammates and danced on the course in Newton.
I high-fived tons of kids who were the same age as my son.
I got completely teary-eyed coming into the city and seeing the Citgo sign, which, when I was a student at Simmons College the girls and I would joke was the only reliable landmark to get us home if we were lost, saying “all points lead to the Citgo sign.”
I hugged friends at various mile-markers, and was humbled seeing my buddies covered head to toe in rain gear screaming out “go, Elizabeth.”
I had someone waiting to see me finish and cross that line who had no doubt I would finish no matter how long it took me, who made sure I was warm, and who knew exactly what my training schedule had looked like and how hard those miles were for me for so many reasons.
I hugged my friends who were volunteering for the BAA handing out medals, food, and the best damn hugs and foil blankets a girl could hope for after a very cold race.
And I ran across the finish line with a friend who has been quietly supporting me since I started to work with him all those years ago.
That is what Boston is about.
Thank you all for helping me through every step.
There’s no place like home.