Betsy's Corner- Spring 2014

As May approaches and I realize that almost half the year is over, I am amazed so much can happen so quickly in life.  This spring, in particular, taught us how fragile life can be.

Our son, Chris, began working with us in December as part of our Track Shack Events staff.  Jon and he attended a conference in February.  It was to be their first “ business bonding” time and they were looking forward to that time together in California.  Instead their time there was spent with family as our nephew’s two and half year fight with lung cancer ended.  God certainly planned that trip…Jon and Chris were an integral part of Tony’s last few days. 

Two weeks after Tony’s funeral, Jon was attempting to get in a little extra training for the Boston Marathon.  It was in our hotel room there last year,  after learning that the explosions we heard and felt 32 stories high were attacks on our sport and friends,  Jon promised he would be back in 2014.  Well, some of his runs didn’t feel quite right and Jon, like most runners, knows his body.  Of course, after the emotional and ever so sad time we had with Tony, we both assumed it was stress and exhaustion.  The cardiologist, who cares for Jon because of his incredibly high, heredity based, cholesterol, decided to do a heart cauterization procedure to rule out any blockages in his arteries.   An hour can change a life.  

Our dear Tony’s life ended on February 13, and Jon’s new lease of life began March 14th.  A stent has opened up the flow of his LAD artery, one that was between 80 and 90% blocked.  Three days later the doctor said running was okay and encouraged Jon to continue as planned and run Boston.  Amazing. 

Up we went to Boston, a different town this year.  From the people in the elevators of the hotel to the people in the viewing area at the finish and certainly every runner, there was a look, a feeling of kindness…strangers were talking, encouraging one another.  Even in the grocery store the clerks were chatting and so helpful.   Easter Sunday was a beautiful day in Boston; we went for a short run before church and noticed huge lines at every church. Even Park Street Church where we go each year was so crowded we sat in the basement watching the service above us on a screen.

On race day it seemed every runner was picking up their pace as they neared the finish, to cross that line stronger than ever…many, more than I witnessed ever before, were trying so hard they stumbled, and I watched as other runners reached out to them…everyone was helping and looking out for each other.  The crowds weren’t as loud as usual, but they were there, having to wait in long security lines to get there.  They were encouraging but pensive, maybe.  There was definitely a different feel at the finish. But when Meb ran by and waved to the crowd knowing he’d win and be the first American to win in 31 years, oh wow…the crowds were ecstatic!  It was really fun for me to know that Greg Meyer was waiting for him at the finish to congratulate him.  Greg won in 1983 and we’ve had his picture of that win in our Track Shack bathroom since :) ( He actually wrote  on the picture with his autograph, “don’t put this in the bathroom”)

I was tracking Jon the whole time.  He and our friend Tara Gidus were running together.  Neither had done the mileage they needed for a marathon but they helped  each other for 26 miles.  That what friends are for :), I was so happy to see Jon near the finish; wearing his royal blue Track Shack shirt, he was on the big screen before turning onto Bolyston Street.  He looked tired and relieved to be done as he passed me just before the finish; I was relieved as well.  Jon held true to his promise to return to Boston after last year’s bombings although it had been just a month since he had the stent done.  Jon ran 3:49, his new “stent” PR.  As we walked back to the hotel it was reminiscent of last year.  We were both thinking of entering our hotel room and how it felt last year.  That was the exact moment of the first explosion…Thankfully this was the new Boston, the strong and kind Boston. 

We are ready to embrace the second half of 2014.  We are so fortunate to have each other and to work around friends and family in the sport of running.  Thanks for being part of that.  

See you on the roads!


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