Running to Remember – A Tribute to the Victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing
Today was a good day.
It feels strange to say that, because good days since Monday, April 15, 2013, have been few and far between. I’ve had good moments, sure…but my overall attitude, my overall emotional state was rocked…perhaps even shattered when those bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon. I wasn’t there. But my heart and soul was. And every image burned itself into my heart. I cried…a lot. I felt down. Depressed. Angry. Sad. I felt lost. I felt hopeless. I felt helpless. I’ve witnessed quite a few life-changing events in my life, but this one rocked me hard. This one…hit me right in the chest.
Because…I am a runner.
So, when my friend Nikky asked on her Facebook page if someone wanted to pace her while she went on her last long run before she began her taper for the Kentucky Derby Mini Marathon coming up in a week…I volunteered. It’s not often I get to go running with others. There is my fun run group on Monday, of course, but…most times I’m on my own there too. So, I jumped on the chance to join her for her 10 mile run. She was worried that she would be too slow…but I told her it was her job to set the pace…and I would go with it. I never mind running with people. And if it means I slow my pace down, I’m more than happy to do it.
So often runners focus on their pace, their time. I am one of these runners. I always am looking to better myself. And so often I forget the joy of just going out for a slow, easy run. It’s amazing what you see, what you feel, what you notice that you might have missed…
Then, on Thursday, it occurred to me that Nikky and I could do something very special on our 10 miler. We could run…for Boston. I pitched the idea at her, and she was totally for it. Dedicating her long run to a cause…and we’d do it together. I printed up some race bibs for us to wear, to make it official, and eagerly anticipated our run on Saturday afternoon.
I went out on Saturday morning for an easy 5 miler on my own…a warm-up if you will. And after grabbing a bite to eat at Jason’s Deli (My pre-race lunch was a gluten-free peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Don’t mock…runners love peanut butter!), I headed to our rendezvous spot, ready to help her do her long run.
We met up at the YMCA and had Cathy get us pinned up (she’s an expert after all). After that, Cathy went off to grocery shop and Nikky and I headed to the park where we would start our run. We stretched (she is SO flexible!) and then walked up to the road to get started. I reassured her that I was more than happy to take her pace and she told me it was okay to push her a little now and then. So, with that understanding, I let her start us off…up a hill.
We had so much fun. The miles flew by as we ran around a route she runs often enough. And we did it wearing our special race bibs, throwing our hands up in the air. Running for Boston. It felt good to add a cause to purpose for being out on the roads. The race bibs just sort of made it feel more official. It felt good. We kept our conversations on the light side…speaking of happy things. We’d talk about Boston…but mostly of the relief that just last night the second suspect was taken into custody…alive. And how we hoped that justice would be played out. We talked of races, ones we’ve run, ones that we would like to run. We talked about our families. We talked about people we know who run. We talked about our local running stores. We would throw our hands up in the air when cars drove by, saying, “We’re running for Boston!” And we never stopped. It was refreshing. It was, honestly, just what I needed.
Ten miles, with hills at the start, hills in the middle, and more hills at the end. She really had this planned out. The best part was, she did an amazing job on her run. We hit 10 miles and I hugged her and congratulated her. She is amazing and she’s going to do a great job on her run next weekend. I can tell. And with crowd support down there, oh…I have a feeling she’ll do better than she even expects. The important thing is to pace herself. I am so proud of her. She rocked it. She knew when to push and when to let up. She was determined not to get injured before this race this year…and I am so glad she listened to her body. Those last two miles, though, she gave it her all. Yeah…very proud of her.
Proudly wearing our race bibs…we headed to The Comfy Cow for celebratory ice cream. We talked some more about anything and everything. And finally, we parted ways.
Today’s run was so cleansing. It was something we both felt we needed to do. She had the reason and we both had the time. Dedicating today’s run to Boston was so heartfelt. We both were affected by what happened. Anyone who is a runner or was a runner or even just knows runners was affected by the events in Boston on Monday. But with every step we took today, we put in miles for the victims of those senseless bombings. Miles for a good cause. Miles to remember. Miles that we shared…with Boston in our hearts and proudly displayed on our tech shirts. This was Nikky’s run…but she and I made it so much more.
This wasn’t just a training run. That was what got us out there. This was a run for remembrance. This was a run for healing. We accomplished it. And we did it together. One foot in front of the other. The road rose up to meet us…and we left our heartache and tears behind as we climbed our first hill together…and lifted up Boston.
Thank you, Nikky, for this amazing experience. We may have only been two people…but we carried the whole of the Boston Marathon with us. Boston Strong!