This morning I was up at 3 courtesy of some hungry puppies. I tried to go back to sleep but found it impossible my mind was racing so rather than fight it I gave in. I got up and dressed and headed out the door for a run. The cold, dark morning air hit me smack in the face like a strong wake up call. I had decided to run alone and when I run alone in the dark I do not listen to music. The sound of the birds chirping was my music.
I ran until my head cleared a bit, my heart was reminded of why I love to run and the sun began to rise. The sense of being alone on a run but part of a larger tribe filled my soul.
I thought about all that had taken place in the last 24 hours. My good wishes and good luck posts to friends running Boston. My computer checks of finish times. My first knowledge of an explosion at the finish line. The frantic checks to see if friends were ok and all that followed. It brought me back to other, similar, events. Days that changed not only me but our country.
Last night after dinner the conversation turned to the events of the day. My 10 year old son asked, "Mom, are you still going to run the marathon this year?"
I hesitated, not out of fear, but uncertainty of how he would respond. I must have hesitated for a moment too long as he then said, "I think you should. And I want to go watch you....as long as daddy is there too."(Daddy is a Chicago Police Officer)
"Really? You think I should? You are not afraid?"
"Nope. Bad things happen everywhere. If we stop doing fun stuff then the bad guys win. Daddy doesn't let the bad guys win, so why should we?"
"Where did you hear that?"
"Some guy on TV but he is right. We can't let the bad guys win."
The subject changed as the Hawks game came on but I was left with a feeling of great pride. I have a wise son.
He got me to thinking. We can't let the bad guys win.
I am a runner. I am a racer. I am part of a tribe of dedicated, caring, generous people like no other. Runners are a unique and special breed.
As runners we know the there is no "phoning it in". We must do the work. Not every run is fun nor great. Lots of runs suck. But it is those hard, craptastic, "suck it up buttercup" runs that allow us to grow, develop and appreciate the great runs. We know that without the bad days, we could not enjoy the good days. We know that each run makes us stronger and ready for the next challenge. We know that each footfall and every mile lead us closer to the finish line and make us more appreciative of the the medals.
I will never qualify for Boston. It is not even a pipe dream for me. I am slower that a herd of turtles going uphill in a snowstorm. I am in awe of those that are fast enough to toe that blue and yellow line. I live vicariously though them. I relish in their triumphs. I hope to one day volunteer for that race and cheer those speed demons. To those that did finish...Wow! Impressive! To those that trained and did not get to cross that finish line...you are alive to run another race. That is a victory sweeter than any finish line or medal. The events in Boston will make us better, stronger runners and racers. We will all run with renewed purpose.
Running and racing may never be the same. As a race organizer I wonder how this will change our sport. As a coach of Girts on the Run I wonder if this will make parents more hesitant to allow girls to participate in this life changing program. As a spectator, I wonder how this will change how I watch racers and how people watch me. As a runner I wonder how this will change the races I run.
As I showered and dressed, I put on my trusty Girls on the Run shirt and first hard earned Chicago Marathon jacket. I will wear both proudly to honor those runners and spectators who were injured or lost their lives and as a sign that I am a member of a very special tribe. I know that I will spend the day answering questions from my students and others that know I run as to how I feel about the events in Boston. I will answer with my prayer of the day...Always remember, Never forget and Don't let the Bad Guys win.
Forward is a pace. Peace.