I have this dream when I run. As I close in on the final miles, and my body gets tired, a small child seems to pop in my mind. As I race by, I see a beaming little face yelling, “Go Mommy!” and smiling happily, perched on their dad’s shoulders. It’s a visual I picked up at the Disney Princess Half marathon this year, as I watched little ones hold up signs to cheer on their moms. Running is more mental than physical, and as runners we all call on images to get us to the end, anything from a medal to a post-race beer. I do pray that my vision will one day be my future.
When you cross the finish line, you’re so inside your mind. You can’t believe that your body could do something so incredible, and that your mind willed you to do it. The pride, the accomplishment, and those sea of loved ones all come together in a moment that you never forget, whether it’s your first run or you’re a veteran.
Over the years, I’ve come to love running with the same passion that I love music and writing. And although I’ve used music and my words to express myself my entire life, running has taught me more about myself, as a woman, than I ever knew. As someone who has been sidelined by worry more times than a little, it has offered me clarity. For a half hour, or for 13 miles, it quiets my mind and gives me peace. I look forward to the easy miles, power through the harder ones, and feel incredibly powerful and even sexy when I come to a stop.
I can only imagine the horror experienced today in Boston. And I’m angry that a sport that’s built on camaraderie, the outlet where we can see the best in ourselves, has lost its innocence to something so heinous. I don’t want to worry every time I cross the finish line that an explosion will follow the cheers. I don’t want to think the athletes could lose the very limbs that helped them do something so extraordinary.
I don’t want to fear for that smiling child’s safety.
As reports fill the news, my initial reaction is to put running in the “unsafe” bin. But that would be the opposite of what running has taught me, and I won’t let that happen. All of my love, all of my prayers, and all of my miles are for those affected by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. It feels like there’s been a senseless attack on our special community.
I’ve learned that all the heart and guts we’ve gotten with every run beats louder and stronger than fear.