Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston – it’s still personal.

As we remember the tragedy that struck a year ago today at the Boston Marathon, I took a few minutes this morning to reread what I wrote about it then and think about what’s changed for me since…

I assumed that I’d always have some fear for friends, family and even strangers who give up their time, sleep and a small fortune in poster board to cheer us on in races…  Indeed, I do worry for their safety, and I’m more appreciative than ever for their ongoing support.

My soon to be 12-year-old son, Leo, still worries about me… though the beauty and wonder of his particular age has caused the patina of fear to wear away some and seeing me return unscathed from a number of races seems to have eased his young mind quite a bit.

Last year, I speculated that I’d never again take my own relatively healthy limbs for granted…  Though I’m not always happy with their performance, yes, I value the use of my legs each and every day.

And yes, I have approached every. single. finish line. of the past year with my mind full of the victims of last year’s event.  My heart continues to squeeze hard through every last step of every race as I wish and hope that somehow, in some way, some of my strength will magically leave my body to help them.

What I hadn’t anticipated a year ago was how much more attentive I’d become not just in races, but in all public places.  I find myself acutely aware of things in my view that don’t look “right” – a person who stands out in a crowd for no reason I can articulate, an unattended backpack on a park bench, the parting of a theme park crowd for no apparent reason… I wouldn’t say I’m living in fear, but I sure am aware of my surroundings in a way I never was before.

I also never anticipated how incredibly connected I'd feel to the running community.  We're a tough, competitive bunch, we runners, but we have our tender spots and it's been amazing to see how we all pull together to support one another and protect our sport.  I am so very, very proud to be part of that.

Yes, a year later, Boston is still very much personal, and I suspect it always will be.  On this day, I join the worldwide running community in mourning the losses of that terrible day. 


…come April 21, I will watch with so many others as we runners take back the Boston Marathon and return it to an event that celebrates the magnificence of human strength and endurance.  In the end, no matter where we are, we are all #BostonStrong.

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