Boston. It hurts. A lot.
I’m still trying to wrap my head around yesterday’s bombing. I am a runner. I run for lots of reasons, but the one thing that keeps me honest about my running is racing. If I don’t train, I can’t race. I’m not fast. I don’t actually race anyone else besides me. But there’s something about a running event. Running with people. Entering your corral, standing with the strangers who will be your friends, by your side for the next however many miles of your life. You will share your journey with them. And you’ve all worked hard to be able to share that journey.
And the spectators. Standing on the side of the road, cheering you on. The high-five stations. The “worst parade ever” guys. The people handing out whiskey in the middle of that hill from hell.
Your family. Getting up with you to support you. Cabbing, busing, subway-ing around the city, racing you to the next milestone to give you a high five as you go by. Waiting at the finish line. Screaming as loud as they can as you cross. Hugging you despite your smell and moist-ness.
I cry at starting lines. Or, rather, I choke back tears in fear of looking ridiculous while weeping uncontrollably. I cry out of fear. I cry out of pride. I cry because I know that running a race is being part of something special. Something phenomenal. Something great.
I cry at finish lines. I don’t choke back those tears. I cry. Because I finished. Because I never thought I could. Because I worked hard. Because I was a part of that something special. I cry because when you’re by yourself, 10 miles can seem grueling and impossible. But when you’re racing, 13 miles in, you’re not ready to be done (ok, maybe you are, but not like that angry fuck-the-world finished you get after a particularly rough, long training run.) I cry because even as a teenager, I couldn’t run a mile. I cry because I am happy. I cry because I feel alive.
I run so I can race. I train so I can race. I work hard so that I can get up obnoxiously early, fight traffic, wait in line at portapotties, stuff my pockets full of Immodium and disgusting sugar-gels so I can race. And my family endures it because it’s important to me. Actually, my husband is the one who endures. My kids look forward to every single “running party” and wish we could do them every day. Because I taught them that to race is to love life.
Yesterday was an attack on all that. As well as an attack on a city I love… enough to name my kid “Moose Fenway”. And on my friends. And on so many things.
And I want answers. I need answers. I can’t understand who would do this. Why would someone do this? What does it mean for my next race? My son just started racing. What does it mean for his and other kids’ futures as runners? Today he doesn’t understand. He just knows that bad guys hurt some runners at the Boston Marathon. But he says he’s not scared, and he’s running his next race, a week and a half from now, without a grown up. Because, he says, “It’s gonna be okay, Mama.”
He’s right. It is gonna be okay. But it isn’t going to be the same.
And right now, it all just hurts.
What’s on your mind about Boston? Are your loved ones safe? Are you coping?
ETA: jonn below commented that if you are now looking for a place to donate, you can go to http://onefundboston.org/
Photo credit: Lisa Poole, AP
The Afternoon Inquisition (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Skepchick community. Look for it to appear Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3pm ET.