This morning I completed my last long run before my next race. This wasn't just any long run though and my next race will definitely not be just any race.
Yesterday - Monday, April 15 - I followed along on Twitter and the web with much of the rest of the running community as friends and fellow runners participated in the Boston Marathon and then watched in horror as the news came in of the explosions at the finish line. From the time I first learned of the tragedy until the time that I was able to confirm my friends were ok via Twitter only a minute or two had passed, but it certainly felt like time stood still. The rest of the day was like a fog.
I can't explain to non-runners what running has come to mean to me over the last year since I took it up again. In fact the tears are welling up in my eyes right now as I type this. It's about more than just the act of running - it's about the RUNNERS. It's about Malinda and Melissa, two mother runner Afghan Whigs fans who also happen to be fundraising machines in the fight against cancer. We've become the best of friends after meeting last year. It's about Sarah & Dimity who I was lucky enough to meet in Montclair last week, authors of the book Train Like a Mother and all around awesome people, to whom I give at least half the credit for getting me across my first 13.1 finish line. It's about the DOZENS of RUNNERS on Twitter who have inspired me to keep pushing on both in running and in life.
When I think of yesterday's attack, I think of each of them and each of their families. I think of my own son, friend, and cousin who waited for me at the finish line of my first half marathon in Miami Beach. I think of who will be waiting there for me at future races.
As I set out for my run early this morning, these are the things that were on my mind. I've never gone for a run before the sunrise, but there was something calming about my parents' neighborhood at that time. Then, as Teenage Wristband by the Twilight Singers came on my iPod and I thought back to the roadtrip I took with Malinda and Melissa for New Years, I gained some strength. We are runners. We are strong. That doesn't mean we won't mourn. That doesn't mean we won't be angry. It doesn't even mean that we won't from time to time come completely undone.
But we will push on.
As best we can, we will push on.
In 10 days, I will run my second half marathon in Washington, DC - the Nike Women's Half Marathon. I will run it with Malinda & Melissa, two of the most amazing women I know. We may for our own sanity have our families cheer us on from some spot other than the finish. We may look over our shoulders a few more times than normal. We will certainly do whatever we need to do to support Malinda, who was a spectator in Boston, cheering on her twin sister Leah (who finished shortly before the blasts). But in the end, we will run. Why? Because we are runners and it is what we do. We will be there for each other and we will push on to the finish.
Running has been so cathartic for me too. I will be the first to admit I have not found a love for running, but I have found a huge LOVE for the people who run, who I have "met" since starting to run (whether at a race or over long-distant Twitter miles to hopefully meet one day). I will be cheering you on via Twitter as you race the inaugural Nike Women's Half!ReplyDelete
Jill, I know exactly what you mean about your love for the people who run! I have "met" so many wonderful people (you included!) and it won't be long before I finally get to meet you in real life. The Wine & Dine Half isn't too far off thankfully! I'm going to add Hurricane to my playlist for this weekend - can't wait!Delete