A blog about the amazing things teenagers do, about writing for teens, books for teens, and occasional forays into my world and the world of publishing.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Running for Boston

Boston, taken by my husband when he was a missionary there. 
copyright 2013 David Wolf  
In February of this year I turned 39. (I know, a real woman never reveals her age or her weight, but we're getting honest here. Don't hold your breath for the weight thing though.) One of the first things I thought of when I realized the big four-zero is looming was "I haven't run that marathon yet."

In years past, I've called myself a runner. I've ran 5ks and 10ks and I've even ran one half-marathon in what was as close to a monsoon as we get in Washington (pretty darn close).Unfortunately, its been a long time since I ran regularly. My too-often used excuse is/was, "I don't have time to train."

So, sealed with a Facebook promise, I decided this would be the year. That I WOULD run a marathon before I turned 40. Then, like too many times before I got busy.  There was the new para-educator sub job I was starting, there was the option book I had to finish, there was the "possibly really cool thing that's really exciting, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up about." (which BTW I have a conference call about today, so prayers and positive thoughts that way would be appreciated.) And then there's my house, my family, and my church kids, all vying for a piece of my time.

It was easy to let the marathon thing go. Again.

Then yesterday happened.

Boston is dear to my heart because I have friends there, because I visited there as a junior in high school and fell in love with the city (and the three guys
who got on the elevator in the hotel and referred to us as "ladies" but that's another story), and because my husband served a two-year mission for our church in Massachusetts and he lived for part of that time in downtown Boston.
I was also struck by the tragedy because I know two of the runners who participated in yesterday's race. They are parents to a couple of great boys who have been my son's friends and teammates. The mom has been my aerobics instructor and inspiration more than once. As soon as I heard the news about the bombing, I thought of them. I ran to Facebook to see what they had posted. They're both okay, they'd already finished the race, but they had watched the explosions from their hotel room.

What happened at the Boston Marathon was an absolute tragedy. No one's going to debate that, and no one is going to debate that we've had too many of those man-made absolute tragedies lately. While I looked at the shootings in Sandy Hook as a mother (and I still can barely think about that without crying) I look at the Boston Marathon bombing as a runner (and also as a mother because I can't ever separate that from who I am).

From a runner's perspective, someone took a moment of absolute triumph and turned it into a tragedy. That's hard to take and hard to comprehend. When I think of all those people who trained and trained and worked so hard to get to the Boston Marathon only to have the memory destroyed for them, I want to (and I do) cry. When I think of the spectators who stood by to witness and celebrate this triumph and became victims of this horrible event I cry some more.

But when I think of all the people who ran to help despite the danger and despite being fatigued and scared I want to (and I do) cry with joy.

The world is full of bad people who derive power and pleasure from other people's pain. Thankfully, most of us aren't like that. I believe that most of the world is still made up of people who work hard, and triumph (even in small things), and who are willing to rush in to help when someone is in need.

I believe the real message for our country and for the world is found in the people who ran yesterday, even if they couldn't finish the race, even if they didn't wear a runner's number, even if they did or didn't wear a first-responders uniform.

It's with that spirit that I ran today.

I don't have delusions that I will ever be a good enough runner to compete in something as prestigious as the Boston Marathon, but maybe if I work and train and complete my own marathon, in some small way I'll be standing up to the evil that happened yesterday. 
Me and my dear friend Christie, eight years ago, after running the half-marathon in the monsoon.

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