When I first started running I often said that I’d run the Boston Marathon when my age and time converged. I felt that it wasn’t as big of a deal to run and often scoffed at those who were seemingly “obsessed” with qualifying. I even wrote a post that I took down because it offended a few folks. And rightfully so. Who was I to belittle someone else’s dream?
Fast forward to a couple of years later when my running times got faster and I got stronger. Running the Boston Marathon didn’t seem so far out of reach. I started thinking that I could possibly qualify without waiting for that time and age to converge. I started thinking about it more and more. I am not sure when this lust to run Boston hit me, but like so many, it did.
On Monday morning I awoke to thoughts of Boston. I had hopes that all of my running buddies would run well and come back with stories to further fuel my fire. I love cheering them on and watching the winners. The stories of Heartbreak Hill and that Citgo sign that everyone talks about always gives me goosebumps. And I say this with the sheepish grin that I once used to smirk at these people who talked about Boston with such admiration. I didn’t know any better. It didn’t make much sense to me until I realized that the entire city basically shuts down to watch this sport that has given so many of us so much.
As I hopped on twitter to see the latest news and tell my twitter buddy Adam he did great, I started seeing really strange tweets about explosions and 50 to 60 folks being down and needing CPR. At first I thought it was a prank. And then the new outlets broke the story in full force. I prayed it was some sort of gas leak or some other accident. It was no accident. This was intentional. It was another attack on Americans. My Americans. My runners. My friends.
As much as I was affected by September 11, this attack stung me even more. Both events are horrifying and beyond belief. How could someone harm so many innocent lives? And yet, this attack in Boston, hit me much closer. These are runners and spectators I know. This could have been me. This could have been many, many of my friends. These are friends I consider family. This was almost too much for me to bear.
I almost didn’t write this post because I don’t think I can say anything that hasn’t already been said. But, for what it’s worth, I’m a writer and I need to get this out.
Whoever did this is scum of the earth and doesn’t understand the resiliency of the American people. This person also clearly doesn’t understand the resiliency of athletes.
If I never wanted to run the Boston Marathon, this act probably would have changed that for me. I don’t believe we can hide away from these events. We can’t cower in the corner and stop living our lives. I realized that after 9/11, after my dad was killed, and now, again, after the Boston Marathon of 2013, life goes on. It must go on. We pick ourselves up and stare that hate in the eye and keep moving forward. We keep running. We keep loving each other and we chase our dreams.
To that girl of my past who didn’t understand the dream of the Boston Marathon, I get it now. I get it now more than ever. I will never forget the lives lost and forever changed on 4.15.13 and even if I never make it to Boston I know that I must keep trying, just to show whoever did this that I’m not afraid to keep living and doing what I love. No one can take that from me.