Cyndi Mendez-Karr finished the Boston marathon in 3 hours, 26 minutes.
About 45 minutes later, the bombs went off near the finish line.
The McAllen runner and her husband Humberto could hear the blasts from their hotel room just blocks away.
"I just got lucky that my wife finished earlier," Humberto. "Other people are just wandering the streets trying to meet up with their family members who are running."
Three people died from the explosions.
Another 130 were injured.
Humberto says all they could do was watch as the chaos unfolded because their hotel was under lockdown.
"They're saying that they put some explosive devices in some trash cans near the finish line and right in front of the grand stands," he said.
Humberto was on those stands as he waited to greet his wife.
Images he snapped with his camera showed the area before the attack.
He never imagined with all the security in place that terrorists could strike.
"There's plenty of police officers all over the place, he said. "I'm just amazed that it happened. There was like a police officer every 20 feet and on both sides of the street. It TMs just devastating you know. It's a great race. It's the most prestigious race in the world. And with it being Patriot's Day today, it's all about celebrating this day as runners."
The Karr family says there's no celebration, only sadness.
They can't wait to see their children ages 16 and 11 back home in the Rio Grande Valley.
Their daughter Jaci tweeted how thankful she was to hear her parents were unharmed.
"Thank God my parents are okay," she wrote. "I don't think I've ever appreciated a phone call with my parents anymore," the 16 -year-old said in a later tweet.
Their parents are scheduled to fly into McAllen on Tuesday around 2pm.