Running a Marathon

I don't know what to say about today. I don't have any eloquent or useful insights.

Here's what I know: I ran about 314 miles training for my last marathon. Add in the 26.2 and that's 340-ish. Figuring a 10 minute mile that's 3400 minutes or 57ish hours or 2.3ish days. Which doesn't sound like much I guess. There are about 25,000 folks running the Boston Marathon this year. And while my mileage is low--especially by Boston standards--it would come to 7,850,000 total miles run in preparation for the race today. And that's lowballing it a lot I'm sure.

Folks at work asked me if I "knew anyone" at the race today. And I don't by name. But I know the folks in the middle (and further back) of the field. The folks who've gotten up stupid early to log stupid miles in the stupid rain when a perfectly good--and dry--bed is abandoned for the undertaking. I know the folks who went out with a plan to hold a steady pace only to give in to the excitement of the event and suffered for it later ("Next time," we tell ourselves, "I will stick to my plan.").

I'm thinking about the 80 year old I met at the Outer Banks Marathon in 2011. Roger ran his first mile at 60. His first marathon at 63. The day I ran with him he was completing marathon number 166. And showed no signs of slowing down. I wonder if he was in Boston today.

The closest I've come to Boston is Houston. I'm speaking in terms of the event's size and crowd and that sort of thing, not geography. I could hear the finish line area in Houston well before I could see it and it felt like the energy lifted me up and pulled me in to the finish. And I think about that joyfilled scene of people gathered to strive and strain and the roaring crowd standing and cheering as strangers pushed themselves to their limit and then pushed a little more...what manner of human would place a bomb in such a setting? It eludes me.

I am comforted and reassured by the courageous acts of folks at the scene. Those who charged into the chaos and horror to help strangers. The same animal that planted the bomb also reacted to its detonation in a way that astounds and humbles me. May I have the courage and conviction to do likewise should the need arise.

And in the meantime I will think on what I can do NOW. What can I press myself to do that makes a positive difference for others? Where may I confront despair with compassion and hope? Also, I will begin to train for my next race. Tonight my tears are for Boston, as are my prayers for mercy and peace.


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