So many emotions swirling through my head yesterday and today, it's tough to sort them all out.
Heartbroken, sad, angry, and confused about why on earth someone would do something like this. And thankful - so, so thankful - that I was out of harm's way, and that my friends, who were standing in the exact spot where one of the bombs went off, were out of the area, as well.
Thankful also for the outpouring of concern and thoughts and messages from friends far and near, and from people who don't even know me personally, but knew that I was there, and checked to make sure I was ok.
And amidst the sadness, I am holding onto the joy and immense pride I felt all day yesterday - standing at the starting line, tears in my eyes, the realization of what I was about to do finally sinking in.
Elation at finally beginning to run, and more happy tears.
Disbelief as I ran the course and finally saw firsthand what everyone had described to me over and over again - the spectators lining nearly every inch of those 26.2 miles - every one of them cheering as if they knew you personally and honestly wanted to see you succeed. Every one of them seeming that they 'got it' - they knew what a big deal this was, and they were thrilled to be able to share it with you.
Utter joy as I saw a familiar face at the halfway point - joy that I'm very thankful was captured by that friend.
Exhaustion and determination as I fought my way through the hills of Newton, feeling like I was barely moving on some of them, and positively flying and passing people on others.
Tremendous relief as I reached the top of Heartbreak Hill, knowing that I had done it - I had conquered the toughest miles, and it was literally all downhill from here.
Tears threatening again as I made my way through the final few miles, getting closer and closer to the city, and to that finish line that has been on my mind for two years.
A sense of absolute amazement and wonder as I actually stepped across that line, knowing that not only had I just completed the Boston Marathon, but I had achieved my goal - a PR of 11 minutes, an 8:00 pace for 26.2 miles, and negative splits on a course on which it is notoriously difficult to 'run smart,' due to the downhill start and all the uphill miles at such a tough spot.
I had done it, and it felt tremendous.
I made my way through the finisher's chute, crying tears of happiness the whole way, and I met up with my friends, and it was one of the greatest moments of my life.
And then it all changed.
I'm still trying to process it all, and it still feels wrong to celebrate the day. But I also think it's necessary to remember the triumph and the joy that was present, because that's what enables us to persevere, and to not give in to the fear.
The Boston Marathon has always been much more than 'just a race,' but its significance has now been magnified tenfold. I will absolutely be back at Boston next year, and many of my friends will as well.
Nothing says triumph over adversity quite like the marathon. Fighting through the pain and the negative emotions to come through on the other side with your arms raised high in celebration.
The strength and courage and solidarity of the running community is further proof of that spirit - and it's a spirit that will not be diminished in the face of a cowardly, horrendous act such as this.
This is my Boston Marathon, and this is my triumph, and although it may be difficult to feel celebratory about it right now, I will celebrate, and I will recount my race day, and I will remember it as an amazing day, for so many reasons.
And I will wear my marathon shirt with even more pride than ever, because I am a runner, and I will not be stopped.