It must have been my fourth time going through security/bag check. I was pretty much becoming a pro in getting around. After seeing the men break the tape and grabbing a quick bite to eat, I was ready to hold down the fort at a rainy finish line for the next few hours.
In order to get to the grandstands, you have to walk past the runners that have recently crossed the finish line. As glanced to my right as I was walking — and as if it was perfect timing — I saw a familiar face. I scream her name:
She looks exhausted, wet, and happy to be finished. She hears her name and looks around, but doesn’t see me. She keeps walking.
She hears me again and turns around quickly with a look of “who the eff is calling my name, I just ran a marathon.” She doesn’t see me again. Turns to keep walking.
This time I have repositioned myself and am directly in front of her waiving my hand like a frantic fool. She looks relieved to finally see who has been screaming at her. She is wet, tired, her arms are down and I’m not sure if it’s from exhaustion or disappointment. I hadn’t checked the tracker since before brunch. I snap a couple pics of the recent Boston finisher and say something along the lines of “how’d you do?”
In only the way that Michelle can do — she tells me that she had an amazing race, but it comes from a side of “finally” and as if she can’t believe what just happened. She is exhausted and overwhelmed. She may have dropped an F bomb somewhere in there, but she is pure joy combined with some shock, and happiness. She is telling me how she has been wanting THIS kind of race for so long, how she just ran and didn’t pay attention to her watch.
She is crying, I’m hugging her, the joy and relief is emitting from her like light and she almost has me in tears. Michelle is the kind of runner that you just root for. A mother of three boys, a combination of sweetness and “realness” in a tiny package with a Staten Island accent that comes out in certain words/phrases. The best.
We talk some more, snap a selfie, but she is standing in the cold post Boston glory and she needs to get warm. We say our goodbyes, I congratulate her for the 50th time and just like that she is gone.
The Day Before Boston
I’m a couple feet into the expo, and there is Michelle standing there with her phone out. Boston is crowded with runners and it is both extremely easy AND difficult to find anyone you know. Without coordinating, there she is: “I was just about to text you.”
Me and Michelle go back a few years. We met through blogging and social media and she was one of my early inspirations for blogging. It seems like we are always able to connect at races regardless of location: San Francisco, LA, Philadelphia, and now Boston. I half-joked over lunch that I may see her more than Sharpy who lives in my state.
After talking it out a bit, we decide to grab some food that is close to the expo. We end up across the street at Whiskey’s (a bar which also serves food). It was my suggestion and as it turns out, the place Michelle ate last time she ran Boston (and PR’d). At the time, it was just coincidence, a day later (and another Boston PR) maybe it was meant to be.
The reason I was there, my purpose
Michelle was the ONLY person I saw after she crossed the finish line. I snapped so many pictures of friends crossing the line, but by the time I made it out of the stands to where I could talk to them, they had already made it to the finisher’s area. She is also one of the few people that I DIDN’T see cross the finish line.
The timing of me seeing her was both random and perfect. Imagine that I had to walk back from grabbing food (decide to take my cake-pop to go), make it through security (again), and be at THAT exact place at the exact time. AND that Michelle had to have her best run ever for us both to be there at the same time. From PR food at a bar the day before, to perfect timing after a perfect run, I can’t help but think that I was in Boston to capture this MOMENT for her.
Read her full Boston recap here.
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A huge thank you to CLIF Bar for hosting an amazing weekend in Boston. It was my first time being there and a chance for me to experience all the wonder and inspiration that Marathon Monday and the entire weekend can give. It was the experience of a lifetime and I walked away with all the motivation to get myself back there.
In case you missed it, the other posts on my weekend in Boston: