We often define ourselves by where we were during monumental, often catastrophic, events. People ask, “Where were you during 9/11?” “Where were you during Hurricane Katrina?” It’s a way for us to bond and share our mutual experiences, our grief, our pain surrounding these events that impacted so many of our lives. And, I think it’s a way for us to heal.
Today marks one year since the horrific Boston bombing. I remember explicitly where I was during that event. I had just come off training and running the Little Rock Marathon in March. I was in a running funk, as I always get after a marathon race. My heart hadn’t really been in my runs and they were few and far between. My mom was in town visiting over the weekend and she had decided to stay a little longer. I had taken the day off and we were having a great day playing with my son and starting a few new sewing projects. It was the early afternoon and Mom sat down at the bar to check her phone and briefly check the news. I’ll never forget her words,
“There’s been a bomb at the Boston Marathon!?”
I was in shock. I couldn’t process it. What? Surely this was a hoax. Surely this was just a small gas main or a car backfiring or something…surely. I ran into the living room and turned the television on and saw the horrifying events emerge before me. I checked my twitter feed and it was full of news, updates, shock and awe on what had just happened. At that point, we really didn’t even know. WHAT HAD JUST HAPPENED?
Even though I really didn’t know anyone running personally, I knew people who had run it in the past. I knew people who knew people that were running it. I knew runners on my twitter feed who were running it. Our running family had been attacked. Targeted. Hurt. I could not hold back the tears and emotions watching the chaos and pain unfold. (Even writing this I’m having a difficult time).
As the awfulness played out over the next few days, something else surfaced: unbreakable runner solidarity. People began running and posting their runs for Boston. I saw love and support being displayed from all over the world. People were organizing 5k races to raise money for the victims. Group runs were being organized where they were taking donations. T-shirts were being printed and sold to benefit One Fund Boston.
I had to do something. I had to get out of my funk. I had to RUN. The above picture is of me and my son a few days after. We ran 2.62 miles virtually with Moms Run This Town. It was such an emotional run but I ran for the runners, the families, the friends, the spectators and for me.
This year I plan to join a group run with our local running store Varsity Sports on Monday morning to remember, to share, to heal. And then I plan to cheer on the amazing runners who have trained so hard to run Boston 2014. I encourage you to find a group, run with a friend or even run solo. Run. Remember. Heal.
The runner spirit cannot be broken.