Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Heartbreak

Heartbreaking and Horrifying. Those are the two words that kept floating through my head as the news from Boston came crashing in.

On Saturday I was pouting that I was not on my way to Boston, and then yesterday I was overwhelmingly grateful and relieved to be home with my family, and to know that my loved ones were not standing at that finish line.

My phone rang all day. Texts, emails, comments, and messages came pouring in from people wondering if I was in Boston, or just telling me they were relieved I was not. Since I was registered to run Boston this year, two local newspapers contacted me to see if I was ok. The outpouring of love and concern was powerful, and yet I did not know what to say to everyone. I was so very sad and scared for everyone in Boston - for those who died, those who lost loved ones, those who were injured, and those who were experiencing complete terror on a day that was supposed to be one of joy and celebration.  I felt shell-shocked. Horrified. Heartbroken.

Then a friend asked me a question. He asked if I would still race next month in Providence, and asked if what happened in Boston would change my race plans, goals, participation, and dedication to competing in marathons.

In a heartbeat I said, "No way. Not for a second. Fear will not keep me from doing what I love." It was the first real clear thought that I had since I heard about the explosions.

After a conversation with Josh (who was 100% wonderful, supportive, and encouraging and believes as I do, that we can't live in fear) I decided to make sure that my parents, who were planning on being in Providence with me on Mother's Day, still felt ok about going. My parents were in Boston with me last year, and have waited at many a finish line to cheer me on and support me.

I sent a text to my mom, asking if she and Daddy were still ok with being with me next month at the marathon, completing understanding if they had concerns. Her response came back in seconds -

"Heck yes."

Quickly followed by, "Try to stop us."

I do so very much love them.

Here's the thing - runners are an incredibly dedicated, motivated, passionate, united, supportive, and committed group of people. I love being a part of the running community - my running family. And I believe in my heart that the tragedy in Boston yesterday will only make our running community that much more dedicated, motivated, passionate, united, supportive, and committed. Our sport is one of heart, perseverance, and peace. We will rise above the hatred, violence, horror, and evil that attacked our community yesterday - and we will keep doing what we love.

Marathons are a celebration of the human spirit - you see people of all ages, sizes, and abilities pushing themselves to their limits. You see people cheering each other on, supporting each other, and encouraging each other. Some runners run to raise money for charities they are passionate about or in honor of friends or family members. A finish line at a marathon is filled with powerful emotions of accomplishment, joy, satisfaction, and triumph. I love the quote from the great Kathryn Switzer -

“If you are loosing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon”.

Yesterday, we as Americans and we as runners were attacked.  And yet even in the midst of the horror, the good in people - the heroes and the selfless - was so evident. There were people running towards the explosion to help the injured, runners running to hospitals to give blood, volunteers going way above and beyond what they had signed up to do, locals opening their homes and resources to the stranded - and a huge outpouring of love and support from the running community around the world.

So what can we do? We can cry. We can be ANGRY. We can be heartbroken. We can be afraid. I have prayed a great deal since yesterday afternoon. I know that I will always have a deep sadness when I think about that day, and will never, ever understand how or why someone could carry out such an attack. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are very much with everyone who was in Boston yesterday, and especially the victims.

And yet we also have to rise above. We have to rise above evil and hate and fear. We have to keep doing what we love. We have to still see all the good and hope in the world - on tragic, terrible days and in the regular every-days. We have to celebrate the heroes and the selfless. That's how we move forward, and not let the bad guys win.

 I choose to keep running. That's what runners do.

"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." - Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

"Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit." - Bernard Williams

"We run, not because we think it is doing us good, but because we enjoy it and cannot help ourselves...The more restricted our society and work become, the more necessary it will be to find some outlet for this craving for freedom. No one can say, 'You must not run faster than this, or jump higher than that.' The human spirit is indomitable."


Sir Roger Bannister

25 comments:

Amy Z said...

Great post. I went for a run yesterday afternoon after I could no longer watch the coverage. I have a half coming up next weekend and thought there is no way I feel I can put effort in and race it after this. Sure I can run it and it is not about living in fear (I NEVER worry about stuff like that), but more about how can I go out and put my heart into it when my heart is aching for all those in Boston. I think in a few days my perspective will change, but yesterday was tough...

JC said...

Perfect. Thank you :)

alyssahaws said...

You words were exactly what I needed to read today!

Murph said...

Very well said!

Washington Washburns said...

So glad your safe, thanks for the wonderful post.

Mark Matthews said...

There was a handful of people I wanted to hear from after this, and you were in that handful. Thanks for a great post. You're always inspiring.

Mallory said...

Well said. Looking forward to seeing you in Providence.

Arica said...

I really truly loved this.

Canuck Mom said...

So beautifully written friend. I agree. My family and I will never live in fear. If we did we would be letting the bad guys win.

Margaret said...

I share your horror. Although this event was on American soil-it was not only an attack on Americans. The coward(s)who perpetrated this attack chose an event in which America hosted the world. As a Canadian I was horrified to see in my morning paper one of those who had just finished the race at the time of the attack was a young woman who had attended 'library book club' with 2 of my daughters many years ago. Fortunately she was physically unhurt. I imagine I am not alone. That is to say people around the world today will be praying or just having their fingers crossed for people who they know to be runners.

Jody Britton said...

I am on track to run my first ever marathon in 3 weeks....I've been battling some serious fear about my ability to do it. After yesterday though, I shoved fear aside and said I CAN and I WILL do it in honor of all those in Boston. My mom called me yesterday to ask if I was still going to run...I said, "now more than ever, yes!!"

Annet said...

Such a good post. As always from you.

Kurt @ Becoming An Ironman said...

I love the spirit!! Both in you and your parents!!

"No way. Not for a second. Fear will not keep me from doing what I love."

HAHAHA. That's just what we do. You can't scare us because we run to overcome our fear.

Diana Martinez said...

LOVE your mom's response.

lindsay said...

i am so glad to learn you didn't go - so that you (and your family) are all safe. i love your spirit and your parents response - yes! runners don't quit!

Jen@runfortheboys said...

Beautiful post from my beautiful best friend. Love you.

Suz and Allan said...

Very well said Erin

Advocarerunner said...

Great post. So glad you are safe and sound.

coach dion said...

I'm not into big city marathons, but after this... I think I might just have to run Boston, to beat the Bomber!!!

I do race this weekend, So with runners all over the world we will beat the Bomber.

BumbersBumblings said...

So glad you weren't in Boston this year as well!!

I blogged about going out for a run the next day and how it inspired http://www.bumbersbumblings.com/2013/04/a-run-for-boston.html?m=1

Yolanda said...

Well said!

Christina Williams said...

Thank you :) And thank you for the words to me personally going into my marathon this weekend - to not let this tragedy steal all of the hard work I've done for my own marathon. I'm hoping to pick up a pin our marathon has said they are trying to make available for us to wear in memory of the Boson runners and victims. And then I will have to let it all go for 26.2 miles and run for me and my own goals. It's the most I can do, to continue being a runner in the running community and not let our spirit break.

Mommy Run Fast said...

I love your mom's response- heck yes, try to stop us! It's so great that you have that kind of support, and I completely agree with you that we cannot live in fear. Thanks for sharing your reflections!

Susan PD said...

See you in Providence. Our Emily won't be deterred either from running her first marathon there. You go, girl! (would love to see you at some point there!)

Raina said...

I am finally making my way to your very eloquent post. We share a lot of the same feelings, and reactions. I can't even imagine you being afraid of a bomb or a terrorist act at a race. That just does not fit your profile.
Your mom is dear :) I love that she said "Try and stop us!" ha! Very determined she is :)

Yes, we are sad for the loss and senselessness of it, but we are not going to be held back by it. Looking forward to your race in Providence. You will have a lot to run for.