For the past few months I’ve known that I’m at a good point in my life to run a full marathon. I enjoy running. I can run long distances without complaining. I get sore and I have to ice my legs occasionally but I have very few pains or injuries otherwise. I also have the time to train and the motivation. What else could possibly need to fall in place?
I thought about running a marathon again this last weekend. I realized suddenly that I will be 26 years old this next year. I immediately saw that as a sign that this would have to be the year that I do it. The numbers match. It must mean it has to happen. I told my coworkers about this on Monday morning. I told them I needed to run a mile for every year of my life. All at once. They didn’t try to talk me out of it. But they also thought I was a little crazy.
And then Monday afternoon happened. Should explosions at a marathon be a sign? Should an attack involving my favorite sport cause me to give it up? Should blood on pavement at a finish line stop me from wanting to cross?
Maybe I was too young when September 11 happened. As a middle schooler in the Midwest, I had never seen the World Trade Center or even heard of it. It was hard to grasp what it meant for those buildings to collapse. But I can easily see the faces of the spectators at a road race. My mom has been in that crowd. My coworkers have been there. I’ve seen my boyfriend standing at the finish line. I can see myself behind the running bib and in those running shoes. It is very real to me. Was it as devastating as September 11? While it’s easy to suggest comparisons between the two attacks, I don’t think anyone can argue that the Boston explosions were as destructive as the attacks on New York and DC eleven years ago.
Regardless, it hit close to home. Even if no one had been injured or killed in the explosions, it would still be difficult to process and understand. Why would someone do that? Someone attacked an event that is the Superbowl of running. It is the World Series. The World Cup. It is the Boston Marathon. It is a running event that will forever in the future have a sadness associated with it. It is the sadness I felt while watching Dark Knight Rises in the theaters after the Aurora shootings. The sadness at my elementary school after Columbine. The sadness of seeing a giant hole in the ground while visiting Lower Manhattan after 9-11. It is a sadness that I never wanted to associate with running.
I can’t imagine what those who were affected by the tragedy are going through. My thoughts and prayers are with the injured and with the families of those who lost their lives. As for me, my dream of someday running a marathon will not go away. If anything, now I can say I’m running with a purpose. I’m running for Boston.