No words

There really aren’t any. I don’t know why I am even trying.

I was a block away when the first bomb went off, walking toward it down Boylston. I was right by that Copley Square T station and that CVS. I had finished about 15 minutes prior. Having checked no bag (and therefore having no phone), I was bee-lining it back to my friends’ place, which was on Boylston, about three blocks short of the finish line.

Moments later, the second bomb went off. I found out later that this was actually right in front of our friends’ apartment, and (as I also learned later) about five feet from where my husband had been standing ten minutes earlier.

Having no phone, I wandered around with my space blanket asking random people if I could use theirs to call and text my husband. Of course, they obliged, but anything running through the cell towers was crap. I did this for about 45 minutes in a state of escalating panic until I some (very nice) person asked if I wanted to come in to their apartment and use their internet. Facebook to the rescue.

An hour or so later, we were finally able to find one another. I have never been so glad to see anyone in my life. I told my story of being a block away and seeing/smelling it and just knowing that that was what it was. He told his story of being in an apartment directly above it and having windows broken and smoke filling the area and police evacuation.


This was way too close of a call. I’m still a little rattled.

As of right now, we are stranded, but safe/comfortable in another friends’ home. The place where we were staying (which is where our luggage, my phone, and my ID are) is currently part of an active crime scene, so I’m not sure when we’ll be able to get back in. Maybe we’ll get back home tomorrow, but who knows.

Thanks so much for all of your comments and support.

The race itself was fine; I ran pretty easy and finished in 4:07. Good weather and great course and all of that. But none of that actually matters.

I just…feel so lucky right now. If I’d walked a little faster post-race, I’d have been in the blast zone. If I’d run a little slower, both me and my husband would have been in danger, as he was watching for me right next to the site of the second bomb. And if that bomb had been a little stronger, it could have blown our friends’ home to bits, along with the 20 or so people inside. We are all very, very lucky.

My heart goes out to all of the victims and their families tonight. This is all so awful.

81 responses to “No words

  1. I am so glad to hear you are safe. I only know you in the blogosphere, but you were the only one I “knew” running and I was hoping for the best. Thank you for the update. This all totally sucks.

    • When it happened I thought of you and a few other friends I knew were running it. Like you said, there’s no words. Glad you are ok.

  2. I am so saddened by what happened, I know the world are shocked by this terrible terrorist attack, but I think it is only truly the running community that really understand the extent of the damage caused.

    Keep running xxx

  3. So glad to hear you and those with you are safe!

  4. of course I thought of you immediately. 4:07? Didn’t the bomb go off at 4:09? Thinking of all involved..

  5. Wow, we were so close to each other. I finished at 4:01 and was so scared and confused when everything happened. I am not from Boston and had no idea where I was going once they start directing people away.

    Thank goodness you, your friends and your husband were/are safe. This is a crazy world we live in. So sad that this happened.

  6. So glad that you & your husband are safe!

  7. Shelby, I’m so glad you and your husband are safe. I’ve been reading your blog for a while and was worried your finish time was around the time the bombs went off. Absolutely awful what happened.

  8. Glad you are OK! How incredibly scary. I can’t even imagine. Make sure you take care of yourself.

  9. Thanks for letting us know you and your husband are safe. I couldn’t stop reading the news yesterday and felt so upset and sick about them. Take care and stay safe.

  10. For some reason, I assumed you were long gone from the area. My heart is beating a little faster just reading this. I am so relieved, and hope you get home safe soon.

  11. I’m so glad you and Drew are safe. Way too scary and sad. Thinking of you guys.

  12. So glad you are safe. After tracking you and seeing your time – I knew immediately you were in the thick of it all.

  13. I thought of you immediately and went to check your bib number. When I saw that you finished, I somehow thought it meant you had been done for an hour or so before it went off.
    I’m so sorry that you were so near this. I feel terrible for everyone involved.
    This attack feels so personal to me, even though I’ve never run that race. I know what a finish line feels like. The videos made my stomach turn.
    But I’m glad you and your husband and friends are ok. I hope you can get home soon.

  14. so glad you guys are safe. Such an awful, awful thing.

  15. I’m so glad you’re okay! I had been watching your time and knew it was close to the blast. So scary.

  16. So happy to see this post this morning as my mind went to you right when I heard what happened.

  17. Thinking of you guys. What a horrible thing, it’s difficult to process even being so far away, I can’t imgaine what you must be feeling. Take care.

  18. Prayers for y’all. I am so glad to hear you are ALL safe. Take care, Shelby

  19. I was checking on you all day Shelby! I saw that you had finished a couple minutes prior but I had no idea that your husband was so close to the site. I’m so glad you, your husband and your friends are OK. It’s just a shock that I can’t even put in to words. I am so SO glad that you are OK!

  20. Relieved to hear you & Drew are ok. When I looked up your bib number I knew you’d finished right around the time of the explosions. So sad that this wonderful celebration day turned into this. You are right — no words. Take care Shelby, and stay strong Boston.

  21. So glad to hear that you guys are OK, and I’m so, so, sorry that you had to be a part of this. Take care of yourselves. Give yourself time to process it all. I hope you are able to make it home soon. ((hugs))

  22. I watched with disbelief from the other side of the world and thought of you immediately. So pleased to hear you and yours are all ok. I’ve seen so much footage and news and try as I might, I just don’t understand why…… my heart goes out to all those impacted from this senseless and brutal act. Take care Shelby.

  23. I can only imagine what you must be feeling right now. I’m so glad you’re okay, and I hope that you can get home soon. Take care of yourself. <3

  24. How scary. So glad you are both OK, as are all your friends.

  25. So glad you’re both safe. I was thinking this morning about the runners trying to find their families afterwards and not knowing if they were at the finish line when the bomb went off. So scary.

  26. I cannot even fathom what you and your dear ones went through. <3

  27. Been thinking about you. So glad you are okay. Stay safe.

  28. Love from DC! We are so happy you both are alright and so sorry you had to experience that. Let us know if you need a place in the middle to crash. Give my love to Drew.

  29. Thoughts and prayers. I knew from your prior posts that you were targeting a slower run this year and when I saw the time on the clock I immediately thought of you. Glad to hear you are safe.

  30. Wow. So glad to hear that you, Drew and friends are okay. I was spam-refreshing Facebook etc for updates. So sorry…terrifying…

  31. Holy shit Shelby. I feel rattled just reading this; I can’t even imagine how you and Drew feel. I also tracked your race, but, for some reason I thought you had been done for a long time when I saw the news of the bombs. I’m so glad you’re ok. I agree – no words. I hope you make it home safely soon.

  32. Chills. I was so relieved to hear you were safe and later to hear Drew was okay. I can’t imagine what you must be feeling this morning. I’m glad those nice folks took y’all in and that you are safe at a friends place. Big hugs!

  33. Out of everyone I knew out there I was really concerned about you because I knew approximately where you were staying and figured you’d finish around that time. I also had no idea you were bag less – I was following you on facebook and letting people who asked me on twitter know you were okay though.

    Fuck :(

  34. Wow. I’m so relieved that you and your husband and friends are OK. Stay safe and take care of each other.

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  36. So glad to hear you’re safe. I hope that you’ll be able to get your things and go home sooner rather than later.

  37. So glad to hear that you’re okay, such a scary day. I was spectating and had just left the finish area to get on the T when it happened. Nuts.

    I know you don’t know me, but I’m a fan of the blog and live in the city, so if you guys need *anything* please feel free to email me!

  38. Jesus, Shel. I am so grateful you guys are OK. I had no idea you were such close calls.

    I’m so sorry. I don’t know what else to say. I wish I could hug you. xo

  39. So glad you, your husband and your friends are all right! I can’t imagine witnessing the horror firsthand. Take care of each other.

    Congrats on finishing! I know it seems trivial, but you worked hard to get there and that shouldn’t get lost in the shuffle.

  40. Shelby, I texted J. to say I was glad he wasn’t running the marathon this year and he said you and Drew were there, but safe. I immediately called your mom to see how she was. I’m glad you and Drew were not hurt, nor your friends, and hope you’ll make it home soon.

  41. Glad to hear you are safe. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be there. So terribly sad…

  42. So glad you, Drew and your friends are okay. That must have been so scary and surreal.

  43. I’m a long-time lurker, and had been following your finish time because I’m a huge creeper. I didn’t know I could be so worried about someone I’ve never met. I’m so happy everyone in your group managed to move from the area enough to not be seriously injured.

    Thank goodness for the kindness of strangers. A friend of mine couldn’t use her cell phone either and someone let her into their restaurant to use the wifi.

  44. Wow, you and Drew are very lucky. Thank god you’re ok. Thanks for sharing your story.

  45. Another long-time creeper here who was freaking out about your safety. So glad you and your husband are safe. Your blog has brought me a lot of joy and laughter and inspiration the past few years. Hope you keep on running.

  46. I was so relieved when I read on Facebook that you were OK.

  47. Really thankful that you and your loved ones are okay.

  48. Thank you for posting. I have been a loyal, if unengaged and lazy, reader for a long, long time, and even though we don’t know each other I was terrified for you. I was on the other side of the Square when it happened and I’m still having trouble processing. I’m from Boston and this was my first time running after years of spectating. You’re right – no words.

  49. Another occasional reader here who thought of you yesterday – thanks for the update.

  50. I’m so glad you are ok. Such a horrific and tragic event and my heart hurts for everyone who was there yesterday. Please take some time to rest and relax and have some time with the family.
    We heart you!

  51. So so glad you guys are safe. I can’t even imagine. Thank you for posting <3

  52. Horrifying. I am glad you and your husband are safe and well.

  53. So grateful that you two are OK.

  54. So so happy that you are safe and together.

  55. I’ve never felt such a pit in my stomach looking up a runner’s time as when I looked yours up. I’m so glad you and your friends are safe and am sickened there are many who are not.

  56. I’m so glad you both were okay. Thanks for writing such a great piece. I was thinking of you yesterday amidst the chaos of Boylston Street. It was truly an unreal and horrific experience.

  57. I’m so glad that you and your husband and friends are safe. I was thinking about you yesterday and sending prayers. Continuing to pray for everyone who was there…my heart just aches.

  58. I had a lump in my throat reading this. So so glad you are OK.

  59. As a total stranger, but blog reader, I was wondering about you yesterday. So glad you are safe.

  60. So relieved to see you guys made it back home to ATL…maybe now the huge lump that has been stuck in my throat for the last 24 hours will start to melt.
    Love you!

  61. So glad to hear you, your husband and friends are all safe. I’m a long time reader of your blog and thought of you immediately when I heard the news yesterday. I’m sure the next days and weeks will be difficult, please take care of yourself.

  62. I was so relieved to read this. Glad you are safe (if rattled). It’s been an incredibly hard story to watch unfold.

  63. Thank you for posting – so glad you are all okay! As soon as I heard I immediately bib/name stalked everyone I knew running and was glad to see you’d at least crossed the finish line. Take care of yourself and take some time with friends/family.

    Also, congrats on a solid race – the bombings were a horrible thing but up until then you had a good day and a good race, don’t forget that!

  64. Shelby, (longtime reader first time commenter), I’m delurking to say I’m so glad you guys are safe. I live right over the bridge in Cambridge and had so many friends working/spectating/running in that area, it was so nerve racking to not know where everyone was and if everyone was safe. Though I only “know” you through your blog, you were one of the people on my mental check list of people I wanted to make sure were OK. Thinking of you and your friends/family, take care of yourself and each other.

  65. So awful. I’m glad you’re okay

  66. It is a sign of what an amazing person you are, Shelby, that you’ve touched so many people’s lives…whether you meant to or not. I’m lucky enough to have known you IRL, but even still, I learn from you and about you on your blog. You’ve opened yourself up to people, and to see the comments that are a mix of clearly IRL and on-line relationships (like your mom and the lurkers who have come out from hiding)…you have made such a vivid impression on all of us. Thank you for that. And thank goodness you and Drew are safe!

  67. So glad you and your husband are alright.

  68. Glad to hear from you. Being in India, I was only really ‘knew’ three people running – two guys from here, and you.

  69. I have chills reading this. And I can’t really find the words, except to say that I’m so glad you both are safe. Thank you for posting.

  70. Shelby,

    I am an old classmate of your Dad and Mom (I was an aqua maid with your Mom in high school). I just wanted to tell you how happy I am that you are safe and well as well as your husband and friends. What a frightening experience for you and for those who love you and are close to you. I appreciate your telling of the story and sharing your concern for those who were injured or killed by the blasts. You have a great heart. I appreciate your wisdom and beauty. All my best,

    P.S. I can’t tell you how much you remind me of your mother when I knew her. Uncanny!

    Carl Bozeman

  71. So happy to hear you and your family is safe. I hope you can get home soon to your kitties and snuggle. I know that is the first thing I did after work Monday.

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  73. I am so glad you are safe. I searched your results just to make sure you had finished and were ok. Its a sad way to end our first Boston marathon experiences. This marathon mattered so much to me and in an instant, it was the fursthest thing from my mind. All I can think about are all the innocent lives lost and all the innocent lives forever changed by horrible injuries. :-(

  74. I’m so happy to hear that you and you’re husband are okay. Thank God.

  75. Please ignore my use of “you’re” instead of “your” above–chalk it up to fried nerves.

  76. Joining the crowds of “glad you’re okay.” Seriously. Man. Glad you’re okay.

  77. Same. Delurking to say glad you’re safe.

  78. You were on my mind all day Monday. I’m so so sad you had to experience this. Please be well.

  79. OMG. I have no words either for what you almost experienced. Yours is one of the more disturbing accounts from “people I know.” :( :( :( Glad you are ok!!!

  80. Their are no more words to say to you for what you have experienced. Just so happy that angels were watching over both of you on that day. Do take the time necessary to process it all and hopefully that will allow you to heal. I talk to Anna once a week, but never mentioned any of this to her and she has said nothing either. So, I am glad she did not have to worry about it. She likes living with Dan and Oriene, but gets lonesome. You might give her a call….she would love that. Hugs to you and Drew. Barbara Ellis