DALLAS — Stacey Yervasi and Bernadette Valles returned home to North Texas Tuesday morning from what was supposed to be one of sport's greatest events.
Their suitcases, packed with clothes and souvenirs from the Boston Marathon, sit untouched in the living room.
They arrived in Boston on Friday to give themselves enough time to settle into the race weekend.
"Tons of pictures, and dinner, laughing... someone's birthday," Yervasi laughed.
She was running her tenth marathon and her second Boston Marathon.
But neither woman was prepared for what happened on Monday afternoon.
"I ducked and definitely had an extreme reaction to it, because it was so loud and sudden," Yervasi said, describing the first of two explosions near the finish line.
The initial blast was triggered exactly four hours, nine minutes and 43 seconds after the race started.
Yervasi had just crossed the line at 4:08:15, a minute-and-a-half earlier.
"If I had walked for even 30 seconds I could've been farther back enough to be nearer where it happened," she said.
She was walking through the chute being handed water, a towel, and her medal. Valles was on the train from Boston College waiting to meet up with her. She received news of the explosions through a phone call.
"It gives you a sense of really... you just feel hot... you get overwhelmed by feeling, emotion," Valles said. "My friend's face was in shock."
Valles said she received 85 text messages in the next 20 minutes from friends and family members.
"I saw a woman yank her child out of the stroller, and they were running," Yervasi recalled.
The women found each other in the chaos and the friends shared an emotional moment in hugs and kisses.
"It should never end like that," Yervasi said. "That accomplishment should not be robbed."
She hasn't decided whether she will run in the Boston Marathon next year.