Over the past three months, as the training has gotten tougher and the runs have gotten longer, I’ve spent a lot of time visualizing what it will feel like as I approach the finish line of my first marathon. Will I feel strong and proud, with my arms raised in victory formation? Will I feel tired and sore, limping my way across in grim determination? Will I smile? Will I cry?
Never once in those moments of dreaming could I have imagined something like the nightmare that occurred at yesterday’s Boston Marathon.
Runners are used to experiencing discomfort, and even sometimes pain. We embrace it willingly in our quest to run faster or longer or to prove that we can overcome the voice in our head telling us to stop. But our type of hurt is self-inflicted and temporary, a stark contrast to the events of yesterday. It is hard to wrap your head around the fact that someone intentionally turned an area of celebration into a crime scene.
My heart, of course, goes out first and foremost to the individuals that were injured and the families that lost loved ones. Their loss is by far the greatest. But I am also sad for the runners. There are those that spent so much time and effort training to qualify for, and then actually run, one of the world’s most prestigious marathons, only to be stopped short of the finish line. And there are those that did finish, but who will forever have a shadow of grief cast over their Boston Marathon experience.
As a human being, I am affected by the stories of suffering and loss in Boston. As a runner, it resonates even more deeply. I feel a connection to it, and with my own marathon less than three weeks away, it has been far too easy for my mind to swirl with “what if” thoughts.
The question lies before us: What do we do now? We could allow ourselves to get weighed down by the pain and suffering, until we give up and quit. Or we could reach inside and find the determination to continue. I choose to rely on the support of my friends and family, to cling to my faith, and to finish what I’ve started.
Please join with the rest of the running community as we keep moving forward, just like we always do … One foot in front of the other.