Why the marathon?
Why the finish line?
I started running just over four years ago. I was obese and felt terrible. I had just started having seizures (though undiagnosed at that point and I had no idea what was wrong with me) and did not want to get any less healthy than I already was. Running wasn't about anything but the exercise and weight loss. It was calories in and calories out. I didn't even run outside for a long time.. it was all about running on the treadmill at the little fitness center at my apartment complex.
Then my mom suggested that we run the Fort4Fitness Half Marathon. I signed up with NO idea how much it was going to change my life. On September 26, 2009, I ran my first half marathon. After that, I was hooked. Three and a half years later and I've run numerous 5ks, a few 10ks, 16 half marathons, and 4 full marathons... and a number of other random distances, a mud run, and some race "challenges"- like the Tour de Pain and the Goofy Challenge.
Through running, I have come to find myself and become a stronger and more full person. Because of running, I've developed a stronger relationship with my mom. Through running, I've made connections with new and wonderful people. To be a runner is to belong to a wonderful community.
Yesterday was the first time in several years that I wasn't able to "watch" Boston. I had to work, but was still very excited about it- sneaking on my phone every so often to check on how the elite runners had done.
Right after I had taken my break, I was standing by the elevator talking to my friend, Kristen, when I got a notification on my phone. Someone had commented on my Facebook status (about Boston and it being a great day), saying that today was not a good day in Boston. I immediately read about what happened on Twitter and CNN. My heart broke.
I've never run Boston. I dream of qualifying and running, but it seems far off. I do relate to that final push before the end.. seeing the finish line, sprinting toward it.
To think of someone (some group, etc.) placing bombs in that area is horrible. It hits me in a place so close to my heart. The finish line of a marathon is one of the most jubilant and wonderful places that I have been. To think that this has happened to a community that I am a part of hurts. A lot. Runners and their spectators are the most wonderful, caring people.
Reports that some exhausted and drained runners ran to hospitals to donate blood show exactly the type of people that runners are.
I also love spectators. I don't think I could have completed my first marathon without knowing that my best friend was there at different mile markers waiting for me and that my mom was trying to find me throughout the different Disney parks. In Chicago last October, I ran with a Goofy Challenge shirt. Thousands of people yelled "Go Goofy" throughout the route. Those people who make signs and go stand and cheer for runners in CRAZY temperatures and weather are some of the best people out there. I have never spectated a race. It is one of the most selfless and giving things that people do.
I just wanted to share some marathon and spectator photos from my own running experiences.
I won't quit running because of this. I'll probably run more, train harder, and dream bigger. My heart is just a little broken right now.
I will show up in Chicago this October fitter and stronger than ever. Nobody can take away what running has given me.