With the Boston Marathon only two months away a trio of Louisiana runners continue to train for the big day.
Last November Eyewitness News reporter Tania Dall introduced you to a couple from Baton Rouge and a Houma nurse. All three survived last year's terrorist attack. Now one runner is having second thoughts about returning.
Houma Runner Grapples With Terrorist Attack
"You can do it, you can do it, you can do it, it's your last hill! Its your last hill! Well, they lied because they had more hills after that," laughed Felicia Guidry reminiscing about running the Boston Marathon and making it up Heartbreak Hill.
The ascent is one of seven along the course rearing its ugly head 20-1/2 miles in. Guidry's conquered it but can't shake off what unfolded at the finish line last spring.
"What crossed my mind was, you know we could die right now. All, this sounds sad but all I could think of is it's going to hurt. It's going to hurt," said Guidry remembering that tragic day.
The Houma nurse was strapped in an ambulance with a broken arm when bombs rocked downtown Boston killing 3 people and maiming 264 others. Letters from the FBI appear in her mailbox from time to time updating her on the criminal investigation.
"Keep you updated and offer you help for post traumatic stuff and I would just read it and throw it away. I'm not a victim," said Guidry.
This dedicated runner continues to train hard because that's what she loves to do. The internal battle now isn't just about the 26-miles.
"I don't even want to go into the crowd. I don't know if my heart's not in it to race or if I'm scared. I'm not sure," said Guidry.
Baton Rouge Couple Tackling Races Before Boston
A pre-dawn and foggy start at this year's Rock n Roll Marathon for thousands of runners was coupled by New Orleans-style encouragement from Tulane's marching band along Saint Charles Avenue.
In the crowd were Leo Verde and Laure Stoma, who answered the early morning call to conquer the half marathon distance.
"It helped with the rain and a little bit of the fog - especially mile 5, it got a little cooler. But the first four or five miles was pretty hot," said Verde of the unusually humid weather.
The Baton Rouge couple are gearing up for a return to Boston knocking out 13-mile courses in different cities until Patriot's Day arrives.
"It eats me up everyday. We're going to take the finish line back," said Verde.
The duo also witnessed the mayhem and carnage unfold during the 2013 terrorist attack. Verde was approaching the finish line where Stouma was waiting with cheering spectators. They refuse to let those horrible memories slow them down.
"We ran New York and I didn't have any anxiety from Boston. I was with him. We ran the whole race together. That helped me a lot," said Stoma.
"I just can't wait to get on that plane and run that race and honor the people that perished and honor the people that got hurt," added Verde.
Will Guidry return to the finish line?
"I still run every day. Its like I'm training all the time for Boston," said Guidry.
Fueled by determination, pain, and sweat Guidry clocks in mile after mile for herself and those who lost lives and limbs.
She is forever changed by an attack that has given new meaning to the world's oldest annual marathon. The finish line this April looms as a haunting hurdle.
"Not put any people in that area. Put maybe some flowers or something like that. Some kind of tribute," said Guidry of how she would prefer to see the finish line left empty this year.
Doubt is also why Guidry canceled hotel reservations. But, she still has a plane ticket, racing number and Heartbreak Hill beckoning for her return.
"It is not going to be as lighthearted as it was back then. More somber but if I don't do it. I'm going to be so disappointed in myself," said Guidry.
Boston Marathon organizers now say some 36,000 runners will take part this year. That number is up by 9,000 because so many people wanted to race after the bombings.
Leo Verde and Laure Stoma are racing on behalf of the Liver Foundation. If you'd like to make a donation please CLICK HERE.
Guidry contacted Eyewitness News the day this story aired to say she has decided to go back to Boston for the race in April after all.