My heart hurts. My eyes have swelled with tears many times. My brain has been in intense overdrive. What happened at the finish line of the Boston Marathon yesterday has got me spinning a million different ways. For a good portion of the late morning and early afternoon, I was proudly rooting for several people I knew who were running in the Boston Marathon, particularly my coach, Sam. I was sharing with the kids why I was staring at my laptop at their art tables while they worked on their projects. I was explaining that 23,000+ people were running from that little start line to the finish line. I was showing them on the globe in my room where Boston was in comparison to where we were. I was explaining that this is such an important race. I was telling them that I dreamed of running in this race someday. They all believe I am the fastest. That I win every race I run. That I am the best runner ever. Most of them have never met an avid runner, much less one that has run as many races or miles as I have. To them, I am the hero. I can’t break their hearts and tell them any different. They helped me cheer on the little blue and pink runners as they made their way from one mileage marker to the next as they worked on their art projects. They kept asking if anyone had won yet. I tried to explain that someone had finished hours ago, but that my runner friends were still going. They wanted them all to win. They wanted them all to do well. We cheered so excitedly and jumped up and down as each one crossed the finish line! “They won! They won!” the kids exclaimed! I was beyond thrilled for my friends running in Boston. I was and still am super proud of my coach, Sam, for maintaining a consistent pace throughout the entire race and for finishing in an incredible time!
As I packed up, and started to make the drive home, I got word that there had been an explosion at the Boston Marathon finish line. My phone started to buzz with messages via text, phone, and facebook. I instantly searched the headlines, and quickly sent a text to the people I knew, including my coach, to check to make sure they were ok, and had not been in harm’s way. My heart pounded as minutes passed before I heard word from anyone. As the responses trickled in, I breathed a little easier, but tears welled in my eyes for those that I was reading were critically injured, and being carted away to the local hospitals. I started getting frantic messages to see if I had heard from Sam. Finally, I did, and thankfully, he was ok and out of harm’s way with his wife. I was overwhelmed with the amount of personal messages from friends and family near and far who were making sure I was ok. They know I run big races, and some had heard me talking about Boston. Many know it’s a bucket list dream for me, and some mistakenly thought I was there. My heart is warmed to think so many reached out to me in this horrific time. I encouraged them all to reach out to others, to pray for the safety of the runners, their friends, and families who were in Boston. I posted what I could on Facebook to share what I knew with the world, so that everyone was updated, and prayers of any kind were being said around the world. It’s so hard to handle a situation like this when you cannot physically be there to help. To do whatever needs to be done. I feel like my hands are still tied as I sit here and type. I want to help. I only hope my voice can be heard amongst the other runners. We are a strong community. We will not let this deter us from standing up for what is right.
Words, as easy as they sometimes are to say, are hard to come by in situations like this. Boston is the golden race. The race that nearly every runner strives to run. It takes incredible devotion, determination, perseverance, rigorous training, endurance, fine-tuned nutrition, and skill to qualify for Boston. It is not just a “Oh, I’ll sign up for that race when I feel like it, and go run it” kind of race. You EARN Boston. My heart goes out to those runners who successfully crossed the finish line, to those who made it there and were frightened, hurt, or turned away, and to those who were diverted to another road to be protected from a scene that I can only imagine. I just want to hug you all, and let you know I care.
I am a runner. I have run since I was very young. I will continue to run until the big man upstairs stops me. I run short distances. I run long distances. I run fast. I run slow. I run alone. I run with my dog, Murphy. I run with friends. I run with a running group. I have run with strangers. It does not matter where you come from or who you are when you are running. Runners connect. Runners understand what it takes to put one foot in front of the other to keep going. Those who know runners, are friends with runners, are family of runners, love runners, and or are crazy enough to marry runners understand the time, devotion, constant struggles, triumphs, victories, and records that happen to and for runners. Runners support other runners. New. Old. Fast. Slow. Strong. Injured. Weak. Sick. Our running community is stronger than the arrogant asses that decided it would be a good idea to set off explosions at the biggest race in the U.S. We stand strong by showing our support via social media, via communication in person, over the phone, online, by wearing our race shirts today, by hugging those important to us. We will continue to run. We will continue to crowd the start and finish lines of every race. We will not back down. Once a runner, always a runner. TRY and keep me from getting to run the BOSTON MARATHON someday, you jerks. TRY ME. I will stand strong with my fellow runners. I will PROUDLY wear my running race shirts to show my support for Boston. AND I will be running 26.2 miles with many other runners this Sunday to show that I will not back down. You cannot instill fear in me. Our running community is united, strong, and has a LOUD voice. We will run. For Boston, for other runners, for those we’ve lost, to prove we are still here. So again, I dare you to try me because Murphy and I just ran 2.62 miles to honor Boston, and we are NOT afraid to run again.
ONCE A RUNNER, ALWAYS A RUNNER.
LIVE. LOVE. RUN. PASSIONATELY.
BOSTON 4.15.13 ALWAYS IN MY HEART