After another stressful week last week, we headed out of town for a much-needed getaway. Although we weren’t gone for a long period of time, we were blessed with an enjoyable and relaxing trip! I’ll put up a post about our trip within the near future so that all of you can see that there’s more to my life than running and showing off Butters more fervently than most parents show off their kids.
Many of you who know me in real life know that I have a love-hate relationship with my phone. While I enjoy being able to make last-minute fantasy football lineup changes after church on Sunday (contrary to popular belief, I don’t do it during the service itself!) and am grateful to be able to access email at all times, I absolutely hate talking on the phone, especially when it involves matters that can be dealt with via text or email. Nevertheless, I never put my phone on silent unless I’m at the movies. Why not? I’m my mom’s only son, and I want to be there for her if she needs to reach me in an emergency.
However, one of the reasons for going on this getaway was so that Sheila could escape work-related stress, so after her phone happily died 10 minutes after we were out of town, I decided to put mine on silent for the duration of the weekend. We work at the same organization and our jobs often intersect, and I wanted to make sure that she was kept unaware of anything that occurred at work while we were on our getaway. Although I did periodically check my phone, I didn’t spend much time on it at all.
Of course, this meant that I didn’t find out about the tragedy in Boston until I got home and was beginning to prepare for the 7 mile training run on the books for the week.
Ordinarily, my first reaction when I hear about mass shootings or terrorist attacks is one of sorrow and dismay.
This was different. When I heard about this attack, I was instantly incensed. As a runner, I have the utmost appreciation the hard work that each and every one of those runners invested throughout their lives to qualify for one of the most prestigious and storied marathons in America. I know runners who train incredibly hard and give their all who have tried to qualify for Boston but who have been unable to do so. Those who are there most likely looked forward to April 15th for months or even years.
I just couldn’t bear the idea that someone would be so cruel and callous as to want to render all of the hard work, blood, sweat, tears, aches, and pains invested by the thousands of runners completely moot with a terrorist attack that targeted completely innocent people. What did they do to deserve this? What did the spectators do to deserve this? Terrorists often strike on American soil because they have problems with America’s wealth, military power, or government, but the Boston Marathon is not related to any of that at all. Why, then? Thinking about the pain of the dashed dreams of thousands of runners, as well as the physical pain suffered by far too many innocent individuals, made my blood boil.
Part of me began to think irrationally and began to wonder if a subsequent attack was going to occur later that evening, and I began to consider skipping my run as it was already dark.
Eventually, I calmed down. Reading many of the thoughtful tweets posted by many of you helped me gain perspective on the situation. I thought about all of the people who didn’t finish the marathon and how they would have given anything to be able to finish out their last few miles. I thought about all of those who perished or suffered severe injuries and may never run again and how they wouldn’t want their injuries and lives to be lost in vain.
I laced up my sneakers and headed out for seven extremely satisfying and rewarding miles. I started off on a nice, easy pace and maintained it pretty well throughout the entire run. Although my phone had major problems with streaming music throughout the run (most likely due to the high traffic on the networks related to the Boston tragedy) and I had a particularly scary moment in which I landed awkwardly on a curb and thought that I hurt my foot, I quickly put these small annoyances into perspective as I thought about the thousands of runners who carry the memories of Monday with them for their entire lives.
I didn’t set any records for speed on Monday, but I did take several steps towards standing up in the face of fear and darkness and I was able to honor the memory of the fallen and injured in my own small way.
If you’re a runner, I hope you do something to honor our brothers and sisters in Boston over the course of the week. For those of you who live in Cleveland who are looking to honor those in Boston by running with others, there is a great event called the Silent Saturday Run taking place this Saturday morning in downtown Cleveland. I won’t be able to attend because I’ll be running the Kinsman KTown 5K, but I urge you to attend if you feel moved to do so. The strength, resiliency, and positivity that exemplifies the best aspects of the running community has really shone through over these past few days, and I would imagine that Saturday’s event will be a very cathartic and inspirational time of fellowship, running, and remembrance.