I’m a runner. I’ve run in rain, sleet, snow, wind, humidity, and sunshine. I’ve run when my body aches and I’ve run when I’m feeling on top of the world. I’ve run to clear my head, run to strengthen my body, and I’ve run just to run.
I’ve also run two marathons, pushing my body to its furthest limits, feeling as if I couldn’t go on and making it through by sheer determination, hydration, and the crowds of friends and strangers cheering me on.
But I’ve never run in fear. And I’ve never run for my life.
So I can’t wrap my head around the events in Boston on Monday. What possesses someone or someones to bring fear, terror, and tragedy to an event surrounded by all things good is beyond me. But, I suppose, that was the point.
My friends who are runners have been posting on social media outlets about going on their run today in honor of those who never finished, and I’ll be doing the same. But perhaps it’s the inherent narcissism of human beings that allows us to take this tragedy and make it about us as individuals, as well as a society at large.
And maybe that’s what makes it bearable. Maybe that’s what makes it less obtuse.
Or maybe it’s because it IS about all of us.
It’s about the runners who stopped to help their fellow marathoners and those cheering them to the finish line. It’s about the spectators who carried people to safety. It’s about the police, fire fighters, and first responders who ran towards the chaos while most people were running from it.
And it’s also about the guy in the middle of Iowa today who goes for a run because he can. It’s about the doctors and nurses around the country who are reminded of why they get up and go to work each day. It’s about the thousands of people around the world who are gearing up to train for the New York City marathon in the coming months. And it’s about the people who take pause in the face of new-found fear before getting out there to cheer loved ones towards the finish line.
It’s also about getting out there anyway, because that’s what we do.
However, while watching the events of yesterday’s tragedy unfold on the news this morning, I found myself standing in the middle of my apartment, crying. But I couldn’t figure out what I was crying about.
I mean, everyone I know and love is safe, both in Boston and thousands of miles away. And I watched footage and heard stories all day yesterday from the scene and felt complete and utter compassion for those having to endure this nightmare in real time, but was able to take myself out of it; it wasn’t about me.
So why now? Why, nearly 24 hours later, am I standing in my living room with tears streaming down my face?
Because it’s about all of us. And it’s about getting out there anyway, because that’s what we do.