Tuesday, April 16, 2013

April 15 2013

This morning I totes ran 10 miles and my pace was great, and it included two hill sprints...

Yeah, no.

I'm also writing about Boston today.

I know, just what you needed...another heartfelt outpouring even though everything has already been said, including--literally--"everything has already been said."

Sigh.

The day started out so well. I was excitedly tracking over a dozen friends, most of whom I have grown to call friends because of blogging.

The moment I found out (sitting on the toilet peeing--yeah I do that--my heart flipped as I read desperate pleas on Facebook for friends in Boston to post they were okay), it felt like it had always been written in the cards. Of course a marathon would be attacked. Of course the “greatest” marathon in the United States (or anywhere?) would be attacked. Of course a place where the celebration of being alive and active and full of physical sensory overload and cheering and pride would be attacked. Terrible people who want to make people hurt know exactly where to hit.

Since everything HAS been said, I want to say just three short things to three groups of people.

To every person who has ever spectated a race for a friend, a loved one, or just for fun. Thank you, and you rock. You are the support system for each of us who has ever run a race; you drop us off at 6:00 a.m.; you beeline around town to cheer for mere seconds; you make those mere seconds last for miles.

To all you internet chatterheads. Thank you, and you also rock (this time). Responses to tragedies online can vary from annoying to false to self-absorbed to moving, but in this event, I felt cradled each time I found myself online reading other people say what I couldn’t find the words to say, and I felt that I was not alone in my grief and runner pride and spectator love. The internet is okay on this one, even with all the exaggerations (please, most people except for cops/medics were running away, as they had a perfect right to do; and 99.9% of the marathoners were not trying to donate their blood).

To everyone who ran Boston yesterday: You rock. I am proud and excited for what each of you accomplished.

I'm so sorry that you had to see, or hear, or experience what you did.  It must have been terrifying.

I want to tell you that in celebration of running, and in celebration of the Boston marathon, and in celebration of the spectators, I hope you may be able to allow yourself to find some joy in the earlier part of the day. I’m sure many would say it is insensitive to care anymore about your Boston performance. But why? Everyone is on the runners’ side this time. This isn’t Hurricane Sandy where runners became the target of the struggle to grasp the unfairness. You can still be proud that you ran and (if you were able to) finished, especially on behalf of those of us who have never run Boston (yet), and who will never know what it was like to run Boston when it was innocent. It was the last time that you or anyone will cross the finish line at Boston with it just being, “Boston.” Instead of “Boston…never forget.”

And I’m sorry that so many of you didn’t even get to finish. It’s okay to be sorry about that. Of course it doesn't compare to losing a limb or a life, but it is a sad situation indeed. I understand that many years went into that single day for many of you.

I want you to know that when you are ready, I hope you remember the happiness in the first half of April 15, 2013, and hope that you share your racing experience. The thousands of people cheering out on the sidelines, including your family and friends, too many of who are now severely injured or worse, were there to help you soar during that marathon. I, for one, would like to hear about the part where you soared.

Hopefully Facebook isn't lying about this one.  Early in the day on April 15, 2013. The good part.

I am planning to break my cheap rule to not spend hard-earned traveling money on a marathon, and I am planning to break through my fear of super-marathons crowds, so that I can (hopefully) run the Boston marathon in 2014. I recognize that it is a privilege to be able to try and enter, and to be a part of something so big next year.

And now, for some words from Patton Oswalt.

(Just kidding. Who knew he was the spokesperson in defense of the Boston Marathon and the good nature of humanity? Oh, Patton Oswalt.).

21 comments:

  1. You always make me laugh. Loved this post and who DOESN'T read on the toilet? ;)

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  2. Good job on saying things that most other blogs haven't said yet (including my own lame attempt). I agree - I really do hope the good parts come out eventually -- e.g., the pre-race shenanigans, Shalane and Kara sightings, the race recaps, and how well the Americans did yesterday.

    Oh, and if you didn't end with Patton Oswalt, you should've finished with Mr. Rogers.

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  3. Agree with jen above. I also wanted runners to know that it is ok to feel disappointed that you didn't finish or joyous that you did. The terrorist(s) are bent on stealing that joy - so it is OK to be angry that they did. But also, by celebrating the personal triumphs and victories we are taking back some of that joy that was stolen.
    I had never even heard of Mr. Oswalt before yesterday. Also never heard of a pressure cooker IED. There are just some things one should never have to find out about.

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  4. Good post as always. Though I did hear that so much blood was donated that they had to turn away runners from donating. That shows what runners are all about right there.

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  5. Great post as usual. I can't believe how fast the community came together. Not just the running community, but nonrunners and everyone in general. I hope you do run Boston next year and travel to the east coast. :-)

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  6. Maybe it's my hormones talking, but I cried when I read this. Okay maybe the proposal picture didn't help. In any case, I also felt for the runners who wouldn't get to celebrate or the ones who couldn't finish. I would gladly listen to their marathon stories.

    I live near mile 22/23 of the course. I went out to watch near my place for the past two years, and I can say with certainty that (in my opinion) Marathon Monday is the best day ever to be in Boston. Everyone, and I mean everyone, comes out to cheer. It makes my heart swell three sizes. And to think someone wanted to ruin that? It makes me so angry. But as good ol' Patton said, the good people will always outnumber the bad - as we can see from the enormous response after. I don't know if it's in the cards for me to run a marathon again - I'd sworn them off - but perhaps I'll try again.

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  8. It's kind of a terrible idea to donate blood immediately after running a marathon... Is it wrong that that's the first thing I thought of when I heard all the donation stuff?

    It freaked me out to the very core. But as a runner and a spectator - it definitely won't stop me. And maybe I'll see you in Boston next year - we were likely planning on going (my husband as a runner, me as a spectator). So in the words of not Patton Oswald but Jian Gomeshi (every Canadian's radio crush) - we gather, we dig deep, and we run.

    As usual - thank you for the post.

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    1. You're not the only one -- I also thought it was a bad idea to be donating blood after a marathon (both for the donor AND for the blood bank). It's the thought that counts, I guess... and it doesn't seem like any harm came from it.

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  9. Hi friend. I appreciate every word you put together. I feel your compassion & empathy in this post & it's very appreciated. Thank you for writing this!

    When all this occured I was in total dis-belief, shock. My husband was sitting on those stands 20mins before the 1st explosion. We left 10mins before it all happened. I'm so thankful that our kids weren't with us. I feel like if they were my husband would've made sure they were comfortable & stayed in those stands a little longer. I'm happy & relieved that none of my friends or memebers of their familes were harmed. I hurt for the ones that weren't able to cross the finish line & have their moment. I'm really hoping that they find the person(s) that did this!!

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  10. This is a great post and really captures how I feel about the events. I think it's important to not focus on the tragedy alone but let people know that they can still be proud of what they accomplished.

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  11. I was telling a coworker this morning that I am normally not the kind of person who feels as though I have been personally attacked when a tragedy happens that doesn't directly affect me. Like, I will feel sad and angry but it's more of a general sadness and anger. But what happened in Boston affected me on this really personal level, and most runners I've talked to feel the same way. I've loved reading the things other runners have written about this because it helps me feel less weird about the fact that I am actually grieving over this thing that is truthfully only affecting me in an abstract way.

    So thanks for writing this.

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  12. Thanks for this. Monday was my first Boston Marathon. I ran a PR, but it seems like a hollow victory. I'm trying to focus on the good parts earlier in the day, though it all seems surreal. I live in Boston so I'll reiterate what everyone on the news is saying: we're tough and we're stubborn and we'll get through this. It's an amazing race and I hope you'll enjoy it next year even with the crowd.

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  13. i feel like this was very well put, so thank you for sharing you thoughts.

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  14. Thanks, Caitlin. I actually thought about you on Monday - hoping you weren't there racing, and hoping that none of your friends were injured. Only having run one myself, I can't really call myself a runner, but to think, someone wanted to ruin that incredible moment/accomplishment/tradition for so many others is heartbreaking. It's terrible and such an act of cowardice. Whatever nut job(s) did this will hopefully be horrified to find that as a result, marathons (including Boston) will become more celebrated than ever. I have a feeling Boston will have to turn away more potential entrants than ever next year - hopefully you will not be one of them and will be able to run it as a celebration of the tragic losses.

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  15. What a great post about such a tragic day.

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  16. Not only a talented runner but a fabulous writter. I'm glad you a breaking your rule about running huge races. I hope you make it to the starting line next year.

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  17. Thanks for this post. I finished a few minutes before the first explosion, and I don't want to forget about the excitement leading up to the race and the hours spent on the race course. The spectators were awesome, and even though I didn't have the fastest race of my life, I had a great time just enjoying the run. I refuse to let go of that joy. Everything was surreal from the start of the weekend to going back to work on Tuesday and fielding questions from all my co-workers. I know Boston will be strong.

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  18. Grim, isn't it. My only comfort is how the amazing running community has rallied and risen up in the face of all this. Honoured to be a runner this week.

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  19. I really enjoyed your post, and the fact that you somehow found fresh points to make despite everything having been said. Thanks for having the guts to say what I was thinking: the people who didn't get to finish still have the right to be disappointed that they didn't get to finish. Sure, it's a disappointment of a much smaller magnitude, but it's still a big disappointment.

    I also liked what you said about running Boston before or after it lost it's innocence. For whatever reason, what that reminded me of was going to Mardi Gras before or after Katrina. If you haven't been before, you'll never really know what it was like.

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