I don’t feel right about posting like normal today. Happy, pretty things are a wonderful thing and necessary in times of sadness…but not today. Let’s all just send blessings and positivity up to Boston.
I haven’t talked about this on here before, and this is a much heavier post than I’ve ever written, but I feel compelled to put it out there. I ran two marathons. My first here in Atlanta in March of 2010 and New York in November of the same year. Marathons are hard – both races I ran brought me to tears, from the pain coursing through my body of nonstop running for hours on end and the mental difficulty of pushing myself forward, forward, forward. Marathons, for me at least, are very emotional and I felt lots of things while I was training, while I was running the race, while I was crossing the finish line and after it was all said and done. Emotions like fear are normal – fear of not pacing correctly, going out too strong and burning out too fast, making for a grueling time hoping to just finish. Or fear of not dodging all those thousands of people properly and getting injured somehow. Or fear of not having enough willpower and strength to endure the 26.2 miles – though that is one idea you just can’t allow your mind to entertain or you could be done for.
Never in my wildest nightmares though, could I have imagined being scared for my life while bombs went off around the happiest and most joyful part of the entire race – the finish line. When I was running, all I wanted was to get closer and closer to the finish line – passing mile marker 20 already so exhausted and knowing another hour is still ahead (but then thinking “what’s 6 measly miles? I can do this.”), then passing mile 21, 22, 23, 24, mile 25, and then GLORIOUSLY mile 26, feeling so close and emotional to just get to the finish line, just push on, it’s almost over, you’ve almost done it, you’ll be so happy in just two more minutes, just get to the finish line – and then finally crossing that finish line feeling immense joy, physical pain and so much relief. It’s a wonderful feeling.
I cannot fathom though, one of those emotions being fear for my life, or fear for my supportive, bystanding family’s lives, because the celebration had just turned in to a terrorizing bombing. The bombs went off just before the 4:00 mark so I wouldn’t have been close enough to witness the actual bombing (I finished 4:46 my first and 4:35 my second), but I try to imagine how scary it must have been for those similar to my pace. Being diverted and possibly not understanding why, then finding out why and being terrified for family members waiting at the finish line – then not being able to get to the baggage check to find out if they’re okay (the runners have bags they can check with their cell phones and money stashed inside so they don’t have to carry those things with them). Trying to navigate the chaos to find loved ones, while your body is already so exhausted and now just running on adrenaline, and so frightened for the people that have inevitably been hurt or worse, praying they weren’t at the wrong place at the wrong time…it’s just so heartbreaking. So senseless and monstrous that the words just don’t come when I try to articulate my feelings.
While we wait to hear news of who did this and why, I keep putting myself in those runners footsteps because I can relate. But the runners were mostly spared – it’s the innocent bystanders, so loyally cheering on and supporting the marathoners that were the victims and the ones who suffered the most…the ones my heart aches for. I have no way to relate and I hope to never be able to – so instead I’m just sad, sorry, and hoping peace can find it’s way to them.
Sending love to Boston.