Today was not just another Tuesday. It started at 5am when I woke up to the news on TV live from the Boston Marathon finish line. As the news anchors reviewed today’s planned ceremonies for the first anniversary of the 2013 marathon events, I knew today would be special.
As I arrived at Genzyme’s Allston facility for our last Tuesday morning run before the marathon, I quickly dropped off my bags and started my run over to the Starbucks in Central Square (the team’s regular meeting spot) for a 6am start. Today we had planned doing a special tribute run while wearing Boston themed clothing. As 6am rolled around someone commented that today was the best attended Tuesday morning run yet. We asked a random customer at Starbucks to take our customary pre-run picture (shown below), and then we were off heading down Mass Ave. towards the river.
It was less than a minute after taking a left onto Memorial Drive that we ran into a professional camera setup with two men, one holding a microphone, staring straight at us. As we approached them, one came forward and explained that they were from Runner’s World [Magazine] and that they’re covering Boston for the anniversary. Instantly, everyone realized someone had to step up for the team and do the interview, and hesitancy set in. No one wants to be surprised in front of a camera at just after 6 in the morning… Naturally, it was Jessi who stepped up. As she joked about how she’s “always in the middle of every picture”, with a “Boston Strong” t-shirt on and full of energy, the camera men gravitated towards her. As he handed the mic over, everyone else backed up behind Jessi and she went to work. The interview was quick – just a few questions, but she did great (see below link for full clip). Jessi described our team’s mission and stated that despite the events of last year, the team is the strongest it’s ever been this year: a theme that resonates all over Boston this year.
I finished up the run back at the Allston plant, quickly showered, grabbed some breakfast with a fellow teammate, and got back to my desk to start work. It wasn’t too long when I remembered that today was our final “marathon prep” conference call. After calling in, we quickly got to discussing all the details of this weekend and the big day – the patient partner team dinner on Saturday, breakfast on Monday, marathon day logistics, pacing info, typical anxieties to expect, hydration/nutrition plans, etc. – all very good and useful, especially for me being a first-time marathoner. Just hearing all of it made the day seem even more real and excitement rose. As lunchtime rolled around we headed up to the café where there was streaming of the start of the ceremonies being held at the Hynes Convention Center. It was hard to catch everything that was happening with the ceremonies, so I decided that would catch up on them later on in the afternoon and I’m glad I did.
Vice President Joe Biden’s speech capped off all the day’s events and speeches very fittingly I thought. His admiration for the city of Boston, its people, and the survivors of the bombing events is incredible. While admitting that he’s not a Boston sports fan (and getting a good laugh from the crowd after his “I love you guys” line), he was clearly fired-up – describing how proud he is of ordinary Bostonians doing extraordinary things, inspiring the world. But it was at the very end of the Vice President’s speech that meant the most to me: “We own the finish line!” he roared…and that’s exactly what I, my teammates, and the 36,000 other runners will do next Monday.
So as today, a special Tuesday, comes to an end, we remember last year and continue to grow stronger, Boston Strong, as we anxiously count down the final days to what is guaranteed to be one of – if not the – most memorable day of my life so far.