It was our privilege last week to attend our daughter, Heather’s, participation in the 121st Boston Marathon. For months we eagerly (and rather proudly) looked forward to this world-class event for which our daughter had qualified in another marathon the previous fall. If possible, it wasn’t something we were going to miss.
So we made arrangements and found ourselves in Boston even before Heather and her husband, Josh, her daughter, Chloe, and their son, Roan, arrived. On the day before the race, (after Heather arrived) which was Easter Sunday, we toured a bit of the down-town area where the race would come to an end. We walked to the convention centre from our hotel to pick up various essentials for the race — her identification banner number, a special tee-shirt momento, and other information about the race. It was quite a long walk for all of us in temperatures that were warmer than usual — about 57 degrees F.
On the day of our departure from Edmonton, a couple of days earlier, it was quite cold and snowy there. I had been working quite strenuously until the time of our drive to Edmonton and likely was a little physically exhausted. During the flight from Edmonton to Boston, I developed a bit of a cough and was beginning to lose a bit of altitude physically. But we pressed on. There were things we wanted to do before the others arrived including a walking tour and a Red Sox baseball game on Saturday.
On the morning that we left our daughter’s home in Edmonton to go the airport for the flight to Boston, the temple on Carolyn’s glasses broke. We managed to Crazy Glue the parts back together in a makeshift sort of way. As for me, adding to the frustration of that morning, I discovered that I had left an essential cosmetic tool back in Prince George — my shaver. Because I wasn’t feeling real well on the morning of the walking tour, in Boston, we forfeited that event. Instead we drove around in our car rental to try and find a shopping centre in order to purchase the essentials we had left behind. But the GPS we had taken along didn’t seem to be working, and we spent a lot of precious time simply trying to find our way back to the hotel which was actually within walking distance of the shopping area.
We did get back in time to prepare for the Red Sox baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays at 4:00 pm. Instead of taking the car, which would have cost a lot to park even some distance from the stadium, we took a taxi. I had been very happy to surprise Carolyn with some tickets for the game. But when we looked at the tickets we realized that they were only for standing reservations. But, Carolyn being the avid fan she is, didn’t complain, partly because the tickets were in a good spot just above 1st base. We enjoyed the game, but when we got back I realized I had left my prescription sun glasses in the taxi-cab!
Heather and the rest arrived that evening, but I wasn’t feeling that well, so Carolyn enjoyed a supper out with them, while I slept. I was feeling pretty exhausted after the walk on Sunday so also went to bed a little earlier that day. I wanted to be ready for the observation of the race the next day.
We left later in the morning on the day of the race to try and see Heather run past an observation area. To get there, we had to take several different trains, the last being long and arduous simply because of all the people who were on the train for the same reason. It was standing-room only, without air-conditioning. After awhile, with the swaying of the train, the lurching and stuffiness, I was beginning to feel a bit weak. I felt like I needed to get off before fainting. But, alas, it was too late. I did faint, and managed to get off at the next stop. Josh called 911 and paramedics quickly came to my aid — recommending a quick trip to the hospital by ambulance to ensure I didn’t have a serious injury.
So the race we so much wanted to see, ended up happening without us. For love and support, Carolyn accompanied me to the hospital and waited while they conducted various tests. (One doctor thought she was my daughter!) Finally, we were able to get back on the train to go back to the hotel. We wanted to meet Heather after the completion of her race. Though she found the race gruelling because of the terrain and the weather, she was still able to complete it in 3 hours, 58 minutes and 34 seconds.
We had checked out of the hotel earlier because of plans to meet our friends in New Jersey that night — a four-hour drive from Boston. After sharing in a few minutes of celebration with Heather and Josh, Chloe and Roan, and some of their other friends, we left the hotel around 6 pm, arriving in Hamburg, NJ, about 11:00 pm or so. I was looking forward to a much-needed rest for a couple of days. We enjoyed the visit a lot but then we had to begin thinking about the long journey back to Boston, to Toronto, Edmonton, and then Prince George.
The drive to Boston went well enough. Our GPS had been re-formatted — thanks to our friends — and was now working perfectly again. But air-travel from Boston was delayed for a couple of hours meaning we also missed our connection in Toronto. In Toronto, it looked like we were ready to fly at a later time, until it was announced that our flight was cancelled. Thankfully, we were able to get on to another flight some hours later, and gratefully arriving in Edmonton to the welcome hugs of our daughter around 2:00 am. We slept in and had a leisurely, delicious breakfast at the Little Brick restaurant not far from their home. Before leaving, we even got to see the children at their school.
Again, in our haste to get on the road, we left a few essentials at the house in Edmonton. But we carried on arriving home in Prince George about 7:30 pm on Friday. The journey from New Jersey to Prince George, with the stop in Edmonton, had taken just over 36 hours. Saturday, we tried to recover — especially me, because I was scheduled to speak at Timbers Church on Sunday morning. (I had considered cancelling but was encouraged in some devotional reading from Psalm 116 that I’d be okay.)
The marathon that we had so much looked forward to seeing, eluded us. And we ended up experiencing our own marathon because of all that seemed to go wrong, and of the endurance it required. It was good to see that God’s grace is sufficient for all that was needed in our own Boston marathon!