Tuesday, April 16, 2013

We run on

Five years ago, my brother ran his first Boston Marathon and I was certain he was a total lunatic.  Why would anyone want to run 26.2 miles?  Why would anyone want to train so hard they lose toenails, get up at 4AM to run in all kinds of weather, or haul his whole family to Boston (what's so great about Boston?) ??  The whole prospect seemed absurd.  His 2008 marathon was a wreck.  He cramped, Heartbreak Hill nearly killed his dreams of finishing, yet he did.  He wasn't in good shape when he crossed, but he finished.  Even if he never understands what that race meant to me, I can tell you now, The 2008 Boston Marathon helped change my life.  Four months after that, I started my own journey to run (and have complete 4 marathons since then).  He ran it again in 2010 (in 2:42), his wife ran it in 2011, and he was registered to run it a third time yesterday.  Matt is super fast, I mean freaky fast, and wouldn't have been anywhere near the finish line when the bombs went off, but my family would have been there.  For once, I'm actually glad he is so busy; it kept him safe and sound at home yesterday when so many others were not.

I was getting ready to teach a voice lesson when I got a text that read, "Explosions at Boston Marathon".  I thought it was random and that Eric must have typed something wrong.  It reminded me of 9/11 when my friend left a message on my answering machine that The WTC had collapsed; I thought it couldn't possibly be true.  Then I turned on the TV.   A flood of emotions came over me, not only as a human but as a marathoner.  Who would do this?  Why? What purpose could it serve? 

And then the other stuff hit me.  I'm a slow runner.  Had I been there, Eric would have been at the Finish Line as he has been for so many other races of mine, waiting to cheer for me and take my picture.  He will be at my future races, maybe one of the last spectators waiting for their less than speedy people.  My mind started racing.  How will this change my next race in DC?  It will, inevitably.  There is no way races simply go on as they have before, thinking nobody would harm us.  The prospect of toeing the next line was terrifying for a few minutes; my next race is spitting distance from NASA.  Will I ever cross another finish line and not wonder what could happen?  We need an emergency plan, a meetup spot should the worst occur, or simply one of our phones die.  We need to plan for the worst, even though it probably won't be needed.

As I talked through things with another student of mine who will be running MCM with his entire family this Fall, we came to the conclusion that we will train.  We will go on about the business of running because that's what we do.  What happened in Boston is vile and heartbreaking.  The stories I've read from runners I follow are scary, brave, inspiring and full of tenacity.  We runners, this community of people from EVERY walk of life, in EVERY shape and size, band together for causes.  We raise MILLIONS of dollars for various charity organizations, we stand united as runners because whether or not you've ever been to Boston, no matter the distance you run or the speed, you run and you are a runner. 

Eric will be joined on May 5th by my parents who are flying down from Ohio to watch their daughter attempt her first 70.3 distance Triathlon. She's the same daughter who, 5 years ago, didn't "get" the marathon thing.  She does now with all her heart and soul; she loves it and lives for it.

Regardless of such an act of terror, the people who support us as runners, will still be there smiling and cheering us on when cross the line, but yesterday will never be far from their minds.  It may never be far from any runner's mind who ever crosses another finish line.  We may always wonder, but will not let that fear keep us from doing what we love. 

We run on.  


  1. Exactly...WE RUN ON! A powerful thought, and an ever more powerful mantra!

  2. I never contemplated running a marathon, but in light of what happened in Boston, I want to run as a form of revenge. How dare you take an event that requires such discipline and dedication...that some people train for months to do and at times have to push beyond any mental barriers to do what use to be thought impossible...how dare you take such an event and make a mockery of it by doing such an unspeakable act. No, you will not win. We will RUN ON and those who can, will run for those who can't no more!