Michael Rose, a student at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy, and Alison Gray, a human resources consultant from Cambridge, are running the marathon again this year.
"Don't tell my physical therapist," said Gray, who sported blue physio tape on both ankles as a palliative for tendinitis. She held a to-go coffee cup with lipstick on the rim and a smartphone playlist stopped at the Boston anthem "Dirty Water."
"I kept running by this spot every few days to see if the new finish line was here yet," Rose said, laughing at the detour he imposed on himself.
Their light mood turned quickly as they talked about Monday's race.
Gray burst into tears as she described her high spirits at last year's start in Hopkinton -- her first after 10 years of dreaming. "I remember thinking, 'It doesn't get better than this,'" she said.
Rose, who is raising money for Boston Children's Hospital, said he trains with the thought of alleviating the suffering of his 9-year-old "patient partner."
Gray looked at him and nodded. "There's no way you can walk away from this marathon."
On Arlington Street, Boston Center for Adult Education executive director Susie Brown has opened the doors for the end of the second week of "Bled for Boston," portraits of people with marathon-related tattoos by photographer Christopher Padgett, an instructor at the center. Brown doesn't have a tattoo herself, but she finds the gallery of body art lining the halls of the building "healing" and said others have too.
"This is a group of runners, survivors, first responders and the general public expressing themselves, and to me, the message is 'We'll never forget,'" she said. "They've chosen to do that with permanent ink on their bodies."
The idea originated when local tattoo shops promoted Boston-themed designs and channeled the profits to the One Fund benefiting bombing survivors. More than 70 people posed for Padgett.
Each tattoo is striking in its own way. There is a heart covering much of eastern Massachusetts on the wrist of a pub manager in a downtown hotel whose establishment became an evidence room after the bombings. There is a design incorporating the latitude and longitude of the Boston Light lighthouse chosen by a sailor who knew slain MIT police officer Sean Collier. There are nurses who commissioned their R.N. insignia in full color. There are renditions of the famous Citgo sign and the Boston skyline and, often, there is a date: 4-15-13.
Brown said she was especially moved by an elaborate crest on the calf of a Boston police officer who was a block from the explosions. It features a shield, a sneaker, the Red Sox "B" and the words: "First Responders / We Run Toward Danger."
"This fits our mission to create and discuss and learn from each other," Brown said of the exhibit. "We are really proud to share this with the city."
It was standing room only in O'Keeffe Auditorium at Massachusetts General Hospital for a panel discussion on lessons learned from the medical response to the extraordinary demands of last year's marathon.
Former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino sat to one side of a table where doctors and administrators spoke to staff members in a session that was part review, part thanks and motivational.