Reflections of the Boston Bombing…A Timeline From That Day, April 15, 2013

I was going through my emails and files this morning, organizing and came across this timeline that my husband Jamie created following the aftermath of that dreadful day that we will never forget.  I wanted to put this someplace safe; my blog made the most sense.  I ran the race that day…Jamison was my support crew of one.  I had just lost my Dad to undiagnosed renal cancer the prior month and dealing with some pretty intense personal issues as well, so I was already an emotional wreck.  This certainly did not help.

Jamie was in the perfect and unfortunate spot to have been badly injured or killed that day…so was I as it turned out.  They say timing is everything.  In this case, it rung true.  While I ran a decent race (my second fastest full marathon in 8 years), I was slowed down significantly by a recent injury and had chosen to walk for a mile towards the end of the race when the pain became almost unbearable.  It’s a very good thing that a mile was all that I walked of the 26, because we were just minutes from being right in the thick of the bombing rather than a half a block away from it.  Here’s the timeline that Jamie wrote in the hours following the bombing to put everything into perspective:

6:00 am:   Got on subway (Lechmere Station) with Deb to Boston Commons so she could be transported to start line.
6:15 am:  Arrived at Boston Commons, left Deb so she could get on bus, I walked to finish line to find a spot to camp at.
6:30 am:  Got to finish line, no one was camping yet so I had ability to take any spot I wanted. Chose spot #1 because it was as close as I could get and still see the finish line.
6:45 am:  Wasn’t happy with the location due to the fact that the fence in this area was actually 4×5 scaffolding, and it was hard to take pictures over it. Plus I wasn’t sure if I was allowed to be there. At this time the country flags were not up yet.  I decided to walk a bit and see if I could find a store to buy a chair at.
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Jamie was originally sitting where the American flag is (site of bomb #1)

6:50 am:  As I was walking I noticed that just 100 ft away, at Exeter and Boylston St (spot #2 on map), that there was just the standard metal fence up, with a great view. I decided that would be my spot, and I continued on to find a chair.
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7:05 am:  Found chair at Walgreens just up the street, went back to #2, and sat down. There were a couple of people starting to do the same now, but I got my spot.
7:05 am – approx 12:00 pm:  Sat there just zoning out. Occasionally followed race on iPad.  Area gradually filled up. A trio of college girls sat to my right, and older couple to my left. The college girls told me I could use bathroom at Starbucks just up the street (spot #3).  I went several times, but not after runners started coming in at noon.
Noon:  After Kara Goucher finished, the college girls packed up and left. I watched all the runners come in and it started to get dizzy from seeing so many people run past.  The area filled up with people standing. I got crowded and couldn’t leave to pee for fear of losing my spot. So I held it.
2:31 pm:  Deb ran by and I took her pictures.  I decided I had to pee so bad I couldn’t wait, so I decided to walk back up to Starbucks to go.  (Jamie was following my progress and new when I’d be crossing the finish line)
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2:38 pm:  Got to Starbucks after fighting crowd.
2:42 pm:  Finally got to pee after waiting in a short line.
2:43 pm – 2:48 pm:  Walked to finish line to start the process of finding Deb.  Passed the area where the first bomb went off (spot #1, also the first place I sat) around 2:48.  Very crowded area.
2:50 pm:  Stopped at spot #4 to try and figure out how to get to family meeting area. Boylston st and Dartmouth St were fenced off for the finishers. As I was standing here the first bomb went off. I could feel the concussion but didn’t see anything. No smoke at this point. All the people standing around just looked at each other.  No panic. Heard no one screaming.  One person said maybe a canon, another thought an electrical transformer. I started walking up Dartmouth when I heard the second one. No one knew what was going on, and there was no panic.
2:50 pm – 3???:  Things gradually got chaotic as sirens started going off, lots of cops started running.  Cellphone wouldn’t work and couldn’t figure out how to get across Boylston. It was fenced off for blocks.  Heard people start to talk about a bombing.  Saw some people crying.  Got a text from Deb saying she was at bank on corner of St Charles and ?.  Finally got over there after another 20 minutes.
Walked perhaps an hour more back to hotel as subway had been closed.  Gradually it became clear from chatter that there was a bomb at finish. Ran into someone from hospital that said people were being bought in with missing limbs.
In spite of all that, everyone was extremely calm, leisurely walking out of Boston Commons.  It was very surreal and hasn’t really sunk in that if Deb had been 2 minutes slower, and had I done the same bathroom break, I would have been right on top of #1.
I guess it’s not my time, and we never know when it will be, so I need to live life in that manner.
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