April 16, 2013

Why I'll be at the Boston Marathon in 2014

Anyone reading this blog paused when they heard the news about yesterday’s Boston Marathon explosions. I spent all afternoon searching for the people from my town to make sure they were OK. Not that my Facebook and Google searches would have made a difference at that point, but it was the only way I knew to cope with the news. I was so thankful for all of the friends and family who reached out to me to verify that I was/wasn’t there and expressed their concern and love.

One of the hardest parts of any tragedy for me is attempting to comprehend why anyone would be so evil. Why runners? We threaten no one. Most of us (or maybe just me) barely have enough upper body strength to win an arm wrestle with a toddler. The only answer that makes any sense at all is that some people are totally insane. I have never completely understood the insanity defense in any murder trial. If you murder someone on purpose, you are obviously insane, and if you murder more than one someone randomly but also on purpose, you are that much more insane.

So what do we do? How do we fight the insanity? Do we stop running? Do we hide? Do we remove ourselves from society? I talked to my older kids about the explosions yesterday, and they could see that I was visibly upset (crying) about it. I wasn’t sure whether or not to talk to the kids about it, but I knew because of my plans to run Boston in 2014 (and the random crying spells) that the subject would come up again and again that day and over the next year. After I told them the news, they asked one main question – the same one that I asked, why would someone do that? While there aren’t any answers to that question yet, I’ve come up with one piece of advice for my kids.

People do bad things that make us feel powerless, and the only way to get that power back from the bad people of the world is to put out an equal or greater amount of kindness, generosity, understanding, and love. My hope for them and for myself is that we can do so many small (or large) kind acts that we cancel out the evil acts that people spew onto the world.

Then I read this Mr. Rogers quote that one of my friends shared. 


I cried (again) when I read this and wished that I had shared it with my kids yesterday. Difficult circumstances aren't always caused by evil people. Natural disasters and accidents happen every day too, but each time we're faced with a trial, we have the ability to reach out and give what we know how to give.

The first thing that popped into my mind when I read "look for the helpers" was a picture that I saw yesterday of police officers jumping into action right after the first bomb went off. 

Source

Then I found this article that about the man who is on the ground in the above picture. After the blast going off five feet from him and knocking him to the ground, he got up and finished the race.

One of the first things I instinctively decided yesterday is that I could never take my family with me when I go to Boston, but after mulling it over a night, I'm not sure. I never questioned whether or not I would go and run, just that I didn't want to risk harming my family in pursuit of my dream.

Part of my natural instinct is to recoil when something bad happens and shield myself that way, but there is another instinct at work too -- the instinct to fight back. After talking to my husband, who pretty much told me that there was no way I was going to Boston without them, I changed my original stance. Maybe part of how we overcome evil in the world is by showing that we won't be forced into a corner of fear. We will get out and fight the good fight, even when we are scared. Plus, I am confident that next year will be a safer race because of this tragedy. Boston will increase all safety measures, no doubt about that.

So I think I'm going to take my cues from the guy who got knocked down by the blast and popped back up to finish the race. The bombings yesterday are obviously devastating to Boston and the running community as a whole, but one of my hopes is that we can shake off the fear and hurt and continue pursuing our dreams. If there's a spot open for me, I'm planning to run Boston in 2014, and my family is planning to be there to watch me cross the finish of my dream because they believe in me and love me.

But my other dream that is much bigger than Boston is that if we put all of our love and kindness and hope together we can stamp out fear and hate. After days like yesterday, that dream feels so far out of reach, but I know for sure that the only way for us to find happiness is to keep pushing along that path.

24 comments:

  1. My first instinct was also if and when I get the chance to run Boston (this makes me want to more than ever), I do not want my family there...or any large race. I know I have their support whether or not they are there physically. I still don't know, but I do know that I REFUSE to let fear run my life.

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  2. Such a wonderful post! After such a tragedy, it is hard to put into words our thoughts and feelings. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  3. Great post Yo Momma. I won't qualify for Boston anytime soon, but I have it in my heart to go and run in their honor one day.

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  4. Thanks for posting the link about the runner who fell immediately after the first blast. I'm so glad he is okay! And I also wondered what my thoughts would be if I was qualified to run Boston in 2014, would I actually go and run? My answer was a resounding yes!

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  5. Love this post. Love love love it.

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  6. I was just thinking this morning that after all these types of attacks, I shouldn't be surprised anymore. But then realized that I don't ever want to be in a place where I am not shocked when someone does something like this. I saw the video of that man over and over again and I love that he got back up and finished! Runner's are awesome!

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    1. So true--hopefully this type of violence will always shock us.

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    2. Ditto--these events have to keep their shock value.

      I was thinking how grateful I am to live in a country where this is still shocking. Even though acts of violence seem to be happening with more frequency (or at least we have quicker and more detailed access to hearing/seeing them), there are others who deal with heinous violence every day in their homes/cities/countries.

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  7. I totally agree with you! My son was pretty scared about what happened and does not want me to ever go to Boston, which is one of my big running goals. I think that next year will be a much safer race and you will run a safe race.

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  8. I will never be fast enough to qualify for Boston. In the weeks leading up to Marathon Monday, I started telling K I may consider running Boston as a charity runner. Then yesterday, I decided that I am going to do everything in my power to go to Boston in 2014 - as a volunteer and I hope I can get a spot as a volunteer at the finish line. (((Hugs))))

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  9. Wonderful post. I agree it is important to live without fear. Truth be told I could go out in the van today with my children and get in a large wreck. We never know and we are never prepared, but we must always continue to live each day. My daughter and I chatted about it, as she knows I am going to try to BQ in Toronto. She told me, after our conversation, that she would be there to cheer me on. We have chosen to put are focus on the heroes. Life is full of bad people. I, unfortunately, have seen this first hand in my job. When I worked in the PICU I would care for children who had been beaten to the point they will never walk or talk again......or babies who had been shaken to the point they were blind. I would come home and cry. My spirit was full of anger, but I realized that there were simply bad people out there and I had to be the big person to stand up and care for those who were hurt. The same goes for the heroes yesterday. They stood up and helped...........even though they did not know if more bombs were about to go off. They put their lives at risk to care for those who were injured. Today the nurses and doctors are in the hospitals caring for those people too and I know their emotions are heightened. It is hard to see those things first hand and not be angry. So I am putting my focus on them and the runners who were out there yesterday. I will not live in fear. Thank you for this lovely post.

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  10. I will be there with you!!! I think it is important that we not let fear change who we are! Wanna run it together??

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  11. i'll be cheering for you in 2014 from atl. don't think it's in my cards to qualify this year...but totally agree with you on hopes for a world of peace. it makes me scared to have children-not sure i want to raise anyone in this world we currently live in.

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  12. I knew you would be thinking about this, as am I. I'm not even a runner, but still, it makes me very sad. All that positive energy of the runners turned to this sadness. A friend of a friend's husband and 3 year old were waiting for her at the finish and were seriously injured. I hope you will run, and run safely, next year.

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  13. Going into the race yesterday, I already knew that I wanted to run Boston again in 2014. I finished minutes before the explosion, felt the blasts and saw the smoke. Unfortunately, I did not run a qualifying time yesterday, but I will try again at my next marathon in 6 weeks and hopefully be back in Boston for 2014. This will not keep me away.

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  14. Such a wonderful post. I can't imagine how I might feel if I knew I would be running Boston next year. You just never imagine having to worry about your friends and family at a race. They are there to worry about us and we are there to do what we love-run.

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  15. You have to run next year. You have to run and carry the hearts of all of those who won't ever make it there but want to stand with those who fell. My heart is so heavy for those who lost family and friends and limbs and a sense of security. Yet it also has made me so proud (and grateful) to be a runner and to be part of this community.

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  16. Excellent post. To quote my friend John Dean: "If you're trying to break our spirit, marathoners are the wrong people to mess with."

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  17. I will never run Boston because I am not fast enough well maybe when I am 80...but if I could run it I would do the same as you. I choose not to tell my kids yesterday and today my 8 yrs old told me he knew what happened .. School....of course....his only question was did people died and how many ... I answered but I did not tell him one was his age....I don't want my kids to fear races. It is a big part of our family life , they run the kids races and they come to my races. Good is better and bigger than evil...we have to hold on to that

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  18. You are amazing and this is a great post. I feel that next year's Boston will be a big celebration of the tenacity of spirit and this great running community.

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  19. Great post Lisa! I agree with Bean, next year's race will definitely be a celebration of the tenacity of the people of Boston. As someone who was there and witnessed / experience the generosity of other runners and locals, I think next years marathon will be extra special.

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  20. I immediately thought of you that day and many times since. I am grateful that you and your sweet family were not there to experience that tragic scene. I agree, we cannot cower in fear but must press forward with faith.

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  21. So, so well said. I am working towards my own BQ this summer. If I am invited to run Boston next year, I will be there. I will not let fear keep me from following my dreams. xoxo

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