If I’d written and published this post when first I started on Sunday, it would be colored only with joy and excitement, pride and confidence. But how do you write a race recap after the horror of what happened at the Boston Marathon?
I’ve never run a marathon. (No, 3 half marathons don’t count even if the sum of the parts is more than 26.2 miles.) I’ve logged hours on my feet, developed blisters upon blisters and beloved calluses. In those hours I called upon anything and everything that would just get me through the pain of hills and speed sessions or tedium of long runs.
In running we talk a lot about reaching that something inside ourselves. A voice, a desire and tenacity. But I’ve found that there is something extrinsically linked to my running experiences. I melt into a deeper, freer fluid connection to everything around me. When I don’t fight this unity and instead absorb it – breathe it – in, 2, 3, out 2, 3 – I will gush about how good my run was and everything in my life will be brighter and shinier. My ability to show love will be on par with when I’ve had a few too many. You see, I’m not good at expressing affection AT ALL. I’m somewhat bubbly, yet quiet. Sedate, yet jovial. But I’m guarded. Why I’m like this, I don’t know. Why are any of us who we are? We just are.
Running has connected me back to myself. It’s connected me to my joy and lightness. It’s connected me to my deepest, unprocessed grief.
The spectators, most random, are part of that extrinsic motivation. They give you that push as if sending you a boost of energy from their chilled, sign-holding fingertips. Children high five you excitedly even though you are gross and sweaty and spitty and maybe wearing snot you didn’t quite rocket. Dogs sit patiently, and adorably, along the course offering a calming break from thinking about your pace or how many more miles you have to cover. Those dogs man, they are course therapy. I mean, think how great it feels to look at lolcats or YouTube videos? You get them IN REAL LIFE when racing. No need to sacrifice.
I will never understand what lives inside a person and makes them want to so badly to hurt others. To smother joy with a blanket of terror and grief.
But grief drives us. Running is therapy. Did they hope to destroy that? Did they just know there would be a lot of distracted people?
The odds of me running the Boston Marathon as anything other than a bandit are slim. I’m not a fast runner – not yet. I will be someday. I know I will. Still, to BQ I’d need to be able to run a 3:35 marathon. My best half time is one hour under this. Yikes.
Most of the people who were hurt in the bombings had probably already sacrificed for the sport. That makes my heart ache.
And now, my Rock the Parkway recap as told in pictures. It was a truly lovely run. My goal was just enjoying the course and the experience without focusing on time. I could have PR’d if I’d pushed in a few spots, but I finished the race with a smile and cheers for those left on the course. I even had energy to go home and do housework. NO nap was taken! I think I’ll line up with a pace group for my next half marathon and see what I’ve got.