In all honestly, I didn't think it would stick. I thought I'd try it out, confirm the hatred bred into me by torturous one-mile mandatory runs in high school gym class, and move on with my life. Yet here I am a year later, still pounding the pavement. And you know what? I don't hate it after all. I actually kinda, sorta, almost like it.
So, why in the world did I start running in the first place if I hated it so much? Because last year in 2012, I attended the Boston Marathon with my husband and two of our close friends. I was so moved and inspired by what I saw there that I needed to give it a try and see for myself. We watched the 2012 race from three different locations and took it all in, starting in Brookline, then hopping on the T and watching from mile 25, then finally making our way on foot to the finish line.
It was exciting to watch the elite runners speed past. But then came the families running together. The very young running alongside the very old. A father running and pushing his wheelchair-bound son. The groups of friends running for charity or in memory of a lost loved one. And the crowds – constantly cheering and rooting for complete strangers! I'd never seen anything like it. It was all so heavy and meaningful and overwhelming. Of course, it wasn't all smiles and rainbows; I witnessed tangible pain and sickness and struggle in the incredible record-breaking heat. But through it all, I could feel the energy pulsing through the city that day. And the triumphant expressions on people's faces as they neared the finish line – well, that was the closest I've ever been to witnessing that much undeniable, genuine human happiness at once. Huge smiles. Tears of joy.
I cannot even fathom or begin to process this year's horrific incident. I look at the images and they don't seem real to me. I can't reconcile the scene I witnessed just last year with the scenes on the news. It doesn't add up. Who would ever want to spoil something like this. How could this even be real? It doesn't make any sense. And it probably never will.
|We were supposed to go again this year, but I was unable to take a day off work.|
Runners are a community built on health, strength, determination and good will. It's a community I am very proud to be a part of. I will keep running and hopefully celebrate many more runiversaries. But now I'm running with a little more purpose. Running for those who lost their lives in Boston on Marathon Monday. For those who were injured. And for those who came so close, but didn't get to cross the finish line that day. I'm running for them.