I had to wait a few days to write this post. I needed to process my thoughts about what happened in Boston this past Monday. I still don’t think I have the right words to express myself so instead I’m just going to write from my heart.
My stomach dropped when my coworker came to my classroom to tell me that there had been 2 explosions at the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon. As a runner, I look forward to Marathon Monday and had DVRed it to watch when I got home. I stayed off social media all day so I wouldn’t see any results from the race, and I was excited to watch the elites and dream about someday running there myself.
Even though I knew about the explosions, I didn’t fully realize the extent of the situation until I got home and turned on the news. It was then that it hit me and I started feeling a variety of emotions.
The running community is like a tight knit family. There’s a special bond and closeness that I feel with other runners when I see them on the road or at a race. I didn’t know anyone running the race this year and I don’t live in Boston, but I felt personally attacked by this seemingly random act of violence and terrorism. I felt so devastated about the lives that were lost and people that were injured. I was heartbroken for the people in Boston whose city was under attack. I felt sad for the people that had trained hard to qualify and run such a prestigious race, and then had that amazing feeling of joy and accomplishment stolen from them at the end of their marathon.
After my sadness I felt fear. I could not stop thinking about how this could have been any race. It could have happened anywhere. It could have been me crossing the finish line. Even more upsetting, it could have been Kevin and the baby at the finish line waiting for me. Just typing that brings me to tears. A friend of mine asked me how I felt about everything that had happened, and if I was going to continue having them come to my races. When she asked me that I immediately started crying. I don’t know the answer to that question. It scares me to death to think about it.
Finally I felt anger. Intense anger. I had so many questions running through my mind. Why did they do this? How can they do this? Who are these people and what gives them the right to try to put this fear into us as Americans and runners? Why do they feel they should have power over peoples’ lives? Why should they be able to rob us of the joy and accomplishment that comes from training and running races? I was, and still am, angry at the people responsible and the whole situation.
Next weekend I will be running the Nike Women’s Half in DC. I would be lying if I said I’m not a little anxious and scared about it. But I refuse to let this senseless act of violence keep me from doing what I love. Runners are a special group of people. Emily from Daily Garnish wrote a great post about 10 Lessons My Child Can Learn from the Running Community. I love every word of what she wrote. It’s all true. We are determined. We don’t give up. We are motivated. We are supportive towards others. We are passionate and fight for what we want. We know how to push through the hard times. We will keep running without fear.
There is some positive in the middle of all of this violence. There is a feeling of pride among Americans and for the first time in a long while, we are united toward a common cause. Another positive was how many people selflessly came to help. I am thankful that during such a horrific tragedy, the best of humanity was also on display, thanks to all the first responders, runners, and spectators that came to help those who were injured. The police officers and the bomb squad that worked tirelessly over the last 5 days to find the bombers, protect the people of Boston, and put themselves into dangerous situations are true heroes.
As I type this I’m watching CNN and seeing that they captured the second bomber. I truly hope this means that it’s over. It’s time to start the healing process and begin to move on from this horrible, tragic nightmare.
I hope to be able to run the Boston Marathon someday. When I do I will run with pride and honor, and for all those who aren’t able to due to what happened on April 15, 2013.