"I finished! I finished!" I screamed frantically.
I looked around. I had an IV in my arm and medics were tending to me. A man asked me if I knew where I was, and suddenly it all hit me. I was in the medical tent at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.
So many thoughts raced through my head:
How did I get here?
Where is Mark?
Where are my parents?
Did they know I was in bad shape?
Why did my back hurt so bad?
Where is my medal?
I could barely speak. I was slurring my words as I told the medic once again that I really did finish, and I needed my medal.
I looked at my phone...over 30 unread texts. I thought to myself "oh no. They all saw me." I was embarrassed.
I had hyped the Boston Marathon for months. I had friends and family on the course watching and even some tracking online at home. I was embarrassed that they had witnessed my collapse. I wondered who had seen me struggling on the course. I hoped my friends didn't see. I really hoped the cute Harvard boy that I met on Friday night hadn't seen. I wondered if anyone knew where I was.
All these thoughts raced through my head but only five words could come out my mouth as the medic continued to question me. "I finished. I did it," I said.
He smiled and told me I was going to be ok. Little did I know this was only the start.
After receiving fluids in the med tent I met with my parents, family and friends at Harpoon Brewery. It was supposed to be a celebration for my friend Kerry and I. For the two of us, we looked at it as the pregame before we hit the Boston bars with our friends. In reality, it couldn't have been more different.
I could barely walk in the door, but as soon as my friends and family saw me, they began to chant my name, greeting me with hugs. I drank water and enjoyed the time with everyone until I told my mom I was in too much pain and needed to go.
Shortly after we got back to the hotel I was in so much pain that I told my mom I needed to go to the hospital. An ambulance took me to Tufts Medical Center where I was admitted. I found out the reason my body shut down was because during the race, my colon had become so swollen that blood and oxygen could not get to that area.
I later found out that the colon pain was also the reason my back had hurt so bad.
Had we waited a few more hours, I wouldn't have a colon anymore. I was very lucky.
After spending three days in the hospital I learned a lot about my body, met a lot of incredible nurses and learned that it's going to be awhile until I'm back to "normal."
I had some time to reflect upon the race. People keep asking me: "Do you think you'll ever run another marathon?" The answer is yes I will. I'll run many more. I'll even run Boston again.
Running is a part of who I am. Running is a lot like life. When speaking of running, Arthur Black once said, "You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought."
To me, Monday's race was a lot like life. There were some highs and lows. I thought I was done, but then I found a little more. When I couldn't go any further those around me helped me.
Although it was painful, it was truly a beautiful thing. I was three miles away from the finish wondering how I was going to make it another step when a complete stranger named Mark, from Little Rock Arkansas, grabbed my arm and told me that he was going to make sure I finished. And he did. We did. We did it together, hand in hand as the city of Boston cheered us on.
While my road to recovery is a long one, I will never forget this past week in Boston. I could not be more thankful to have been apart of something much bigger than myself.
To the city of Boston, my friends, family and the strangers who helped me during the race, thank you.
#MarathonMeg will be back but this time she'll be #BostonStrong