What the world needs now

For Boston

I’m having a hard time finding what it is I want to say.

I started Running when I was ten years old. I capitalize the R because anyone in my family will tell you that I have been running since the moment I started to walk.

My formal training didn’t start until the summer after grade five when my dad would take me out with him on short routes on Saturday mornings.

I absolutely loved this time we spent together.

Those minutes, hours, kilometers, miles, defined by an intimate ease, a shared love. Moving our legs in unison, marking our way in the world with nothing but a simple stride.

Sometimes we talked, sometimes we didn’t.

We’d run the length of Jericho beach, past the old concession stands, and the gleaming, gorgeous, newly erected “Beach Cafés.”

We’d watch the gulls swoop and glide overhead, listen to the roar of the surf, hear the shrill trill of an approaching bicycle bell.

Our sun-baked skin, glistening in the heat.

Our quiet breath, constant.

Arriving home my skin would smell of sweat, and sunscreen, and the sea salt air, and my shoes would crunch underfoot, coated with a golden sand.

I would stand exhausted in the middle of the entranceway, feeling the remains of the run course throughout my legs, my arms.

With each pump of my heart: around, and around.

Around again.

Seeing what has happened today in Boston has struck a chord inside of me and – I just don’t know.

I don’t know as a human being.

As a sister. As a wife. As a daughter. As a friend. As a runner.

I just don’t know.

I have run so many races.

I have loved each experience so much that I’ve always found it hard to properly communicate what it means for me to participate in these events.

They are camaraderie.

They are fearlessness.

They are grit.

They are endurance.

They are excitement, and heartbreak, and exhaustion, and triumph.

They are love.

They are human beings getting together and doing something that they love.

Together.

Running may be a predominantly solitary sport, but come race day, those other runners are your peers.

They are your friends.

They are your support, your energy, your kick, your drive.

They encourage you, they test you, they make you run harder, and faster, and longer, and better.

They make you better than you ever thought possible.

And for someone to see this, and decide that they are going to take this away – that they are going destroy a peaceful event that serves as a support and conduit for all these amazing traits of humanity – well, it breaks my heart.

And I see these pictures everywhere and I cry.

But I also know that nothing can come from my tears.

So I think about how one day I will have a child.

And I will teach them to be a kind-hearted, open, supportive, loving person.

And I will take them running with me.

37 thoughts on “For Boston

  1. Sweet, Beautiful thoughts. This is a sad moment for us runners but even more painful to accept, is the world we live in with so many tragedies such as this latest incident, to run a marathon is a moment of accomplishment and only to have it end like this. It’s beyond words :(

  2. Very nice. I used to run with my dad around a park as well. I was just talking with another blogger about sometimes feeling bad fro bringing kids into this world, but we agreed that if we raise our kids right and others do as well, then our own kids can make this a better world.

  3. This is an absolutely beautiful piece V. Absolutely brilliant. I’d like to posting on my face book and the cathedral’s face book. It is wonderful.

    Sent from my iPad

  4. I thought of you when I heard the news. I wondered how you’d react. I knew it would be sincere. That it is also heartbreakingly and beautifully poetic? I was not surprised at all. Thank you.

  5. I got to this via javaj240. Someone elsewhere pointed out that good guys will always outnumber bad guys. It’s no consolation, but it is at least a positive thought amid the carnage.

  6. Vanessa, I thought of you right away when I saw the news last night! Your piece is brilliantly written and will strike a chord in so many whether they are runners or not! I am sharing this on my Facebook page!

  7. “destroy a peaceful event that serves as a support and conduit for all these amazing traits of humanity” – well said. I’m not a runner but just being a normal human is enough to feel the emotions of the innocent people and families that became victims. I’m a dad. I suspect that probably adds to my connected feeling. Your post was shared on G+ today and I followed the link. I read post from another female runner on this today. Her blog is The Original Bean.
    http://theoriginalbean.blogspot.com/2013/04/so-boston-happened.html

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving such a lovely note. I definitely believe being a father adds another completely indescribable reaction to this event. I wish that no one should ever have to go through something so terrible. I visited the Original Beans blog – great, wise words. x

  8. I read this the day you posted it, and it is until now that I have been able to muster up the words. It is still hard for me to read or see any of the pictures from Boston. I love to run, and can’t imagine why someone would do this. But thank you, thank you for this beautifully written post.

  9. Vanessa, I just now found you, through this shared tragedy. I am not a runner. I am a human being. Your words are so beautiful and describe perfectly the confusion and loss we all are feeling and have no words to describe. Thank you for this.

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