I caught a few words on NPR yesterday afternoon just after M Bug came home on his bus. We were working on his school work and I usually turn NPR down low because sometimes the news can frighten the kids but I heard them say ‘we will be updating and reporting on this all evening...’ ‘Tragedy again’, I thought and for a moment I thought no I refuse to look but then I did. I have honestly not stopped crying since I opened my phone to CCN and say the story. Boston. A Marathon. My heart dropped into my feet and I was stunned and saddened. At this event. At the one we all talk about. The one we say we would all like to try to experience one day or to shoot for to qualify for, one day.
I started running again nine months after Missy was born and I have never looked back. It has carried me through so much these five years.
I have run countless 5ks, a 10K, a 4 miles trail race, a half dozen half marathons and one marathon since I started to run again in 2009.
If I was running Boston in the same time I ran the Louisville marathon I would have been right at that spot, at that exact point where explosion one went off. I finished that race in 4:22 and some change.
The videos of the explosion and ensuing chaos are literally heart stopping. I have stood there after a race to cheer people I do not know on. I have had my FAMILY standing there at the end of the race cheering me on. My ALMOST EIGHT YEAR OLD and my FOUR YEAR old and my sweet husband and I cannot even fathom this happening to them let alone others whom I do not know.
I literally love to run but what I love about running is not just the fitness, endurance, and solitude I need and get from the sport but the community involved with running. Every race I go to I meet new people. Runners are giving. They cheer for those they do not know. They want to share stories and experiences. They offer up solutions to problems and when pressed training tips. It is exciting for every person who runs from the person who finishes first with the fastest times to the very last person who runs across that finish line who has never run before or tackled something difficult to get them across that line.
Big races or small, the end is a mix of excitement, euphoria, happy desperation, exhaustion, and confusion. Where are my friends and family? Oh a water? Yes please. A medal why of course that was hard work and thank you! A sandwich, a granola bar, and a banana – I would not pass any of you up as I have been eating gummy bears for miles and miles and now! REAL LIVE FOOD! Sometimes a beer ticket or a winter hat. Odds and ends that make the end of each race a fun, happy, or silly memory. Runners with their odd attire, blindingly bright shoes, shorts that are sometimes too short, head bands (80s anyone), ear buds, some times a tutu (on a man!?) or an Elvis pushing a jog stroller with a boom box playing music. We are a strange crew made up people of all shapes and forms. Lawyers, doctors, workers, trainers, physician freaking recruiters… you name it we can all do it and we are all a little strange for being runners. This is a compliment of course!
This past half marathon, I ran with one ear bud in, one out. I was so glad I did. I never noticed that my headphones hang down and make a funny scrapping sound on my bib so I tucked the wires away in my shirt. Then I listened to the sounds of feet patting on the ground, birds chirping, cheers from people who do not know me but are just there to be of good cheer, heavy breathing, cars passing, thank you’s being offered up to volunteers and policemen a like. The scrape of bibs even without the head phones hanging down! I was enthralled with the noise of it all and in the midst of it all I realized something. This was my place, my happy, grateful, far away from the anxiety and depression that I normally do battle with place.
This one hit “my community”, my little happy running world. I never thought about the throngs of runners milling about for a race as a scary place. Nerve wracking. Exciting. Even smelly. But not scary. Not for me or my family. Yesterday changed my view point. It made me even more determined to run more and be stronger and more dedicated. I will not allow an act like this to determine our sport’s fate.
My heart goes out to everyone who was in Boston yesterday. I am sending healing thoughts and prayers to all of the runners who raced yesterday. I pray that we can heal together at the next race, and the next one and the next…