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.
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.
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.