I come from Rhode Island. A part of the country where "Marathon Monday" is a holiday. I remember being a little kid home from school where my brother and sister and I would imitate the runners in our neighborhood. We'd set up a tray with cups of water, running by and grabbing a drink while on the go. I come from a family of runners. My mom completely a marathon in 2004, a feat that I am still insanely proud of her for. I remember cheering for her on the sidelines of races from an early age on. Whether they are 5Ks, half marathons, marathons, cross country meets, or anything. There is something so emotional and inspiring about watching and cheering for individuals competing and challenging themselves in the most basic and instinctual form of exercise from the beginning of time.
There really isn't anything that I can write eloquently enough to explain how I feel about what happened at the Boston Marathon today. People have been posting pictures, sharing thoughts, and sending messages throughout social media all afternoon and I think there are some things we all feel and can come together on.
We hope our loved ones are okay.
Our thoughts and prayers are with victims, families, first responders, and all those affected today. The city of Boston is in our hearts.
This was a devastating act on what is supposed to be a celebratory day.
And, wow, how incredibly amazing and thankful for the first responders and those who ran towards the bombs to help, rather than away. You people are truly angels on earth.
I don't mean to trivialize any of these feelings as I am fully right there with you. I feel all these things and additionally, as much as I hate to admit it, seeing what happened today does put a little bit of fear into my heart and into my soul that may never come out. I feel that way when students are murdered at their own school. When movie-goers are put under attack. When airplanes crash into buildings where people are just starting their workdays. These are all acts of terror in their own way, no matter if the assailants are defined as "terrorists" or not. These events make me scared, they make me sad, and they make me angry.
My own challenge of endurance is coming up in less than two weeks. A week from Saturday I will run my first half marathon. Tonight as I get ready for bed, I cannot stop thinking of not only the victims and those injured but also of all the runners today and all the spectators. The runners who trained for, looked forward to, counted down the days until, and eagerly anticipated today's race intensely for months. Those who were still on the course, were diverted, and unable to finish in the glory that they should have. The people who's dreams were broken and goals thrown away because of this devastating act. I'm thinking of the spectators who, like me, have been watching and been inspired by this race for years. Everyone who is inspired by the Boston Marathon and the feat of human endurance that is, a marathon, is a victim today.
I often define myself as "attempting to be a runner." When people call me a runner, I correct them, or I laugh and say, "I wouldn't go that far. I try." Well, today, I not only feel like a New Englander, a Bostonian, a celebrator of Marathon Monday, but also like a runner. I am a part of this community of crazy people. I am a runner.
And every bit of anger, of sadness, of confusion, and yes, even of fear, I will be putting into the next two weeks of training and into my half marathon on April 27th. I'm so sorry for all the pain people are feeling right now, and incredibly touched by the outpouring of support from around the world. All my love is being sent to Boston and the families and friends of those affected today. Please don't give up.