'Just in a haze'

The runner’s universe is one marked by hours, minutes and seconds, but time stood still for Lisa Kresky-Griffin just after she crossed the finish line last year.

In the finishers’ chute with a friend, collecting their belongings, the jolts came in succession.

“Everybody jumped. Everybody flinched,” she recalled.

Officials quickly began asking runners to make room for incoming ambulances.

She and her friend immediately left for their nearby hotel, where she watched the carnage unfold on televison. She was grateful that she and her husband, Jeff, had decided in the morning to meet farther up Boylston, away from the finish.

She turned on her phone to call her husband, and a text from Jeff sprung up: He’d changed plans after they parted pre-race. He’d wait for her near the finish after all.

“Everything got quiet and fuzzy, and a bubble just came over me. People were coming in, shocked and crying in their tinfoil blankets, and I heard nothing.” She tried to call and text him without success.

“I just ... I was just in a haze,” Kresky-Griffin said, pausing to find the words. “I don’t remember a lot of what was going on. I just remember: ‘I need to find my husband.’

“He was there ... everything we saw the day before was there, and it was very scary.”

Kresky-Griffin doesn’t remember how much time elapsed before she finally reached her husband. He hadn’t been at the finish after all, but down the street about 60 feet away when the second bomb exploded.

“I’m grateful to God that we were OK, that our (LifeTime) teammates were OK,” she said, her voice lined with emotion. “I’m devastated for the people that were killed and their families, and all the victims that were injured. ... It weighs heavy on my heart and I know it does a lot of other people that were there.”

Kresky-Griffin’s husband flew out ahead the next morning. Wearing their Boston jackets and finishers medals, she and some running friends made their way back to Boylston Street and its “eerie calm.”

“I needed to pay my respects to people, to take it all in and really understand what had happened really, because we were whisked away after the race ... and watched everything unfold on TV like everyone else.”

'This is their day'

Supporting Boston was on Kresky-Griffin’s mind weeks ahead of Monday’s race. “We’re going to do our best to make it right,” she said. “We can’t fix what’s been done, we can’t change that, but we can stand strong together and unite as one.”

Kresky-Griffin still feels overwhelmed at times, trying to comprehend all that occurred. Nevertheless, she is excited to be back.

“The people of Boston deserve to have a day to shine. This is their day. For all the victims and the families, I run for them. I know I’ll be thinking of them every step of the way.”