This is what a runner’s finishing area is supposed to look like. Joy. Relief. Smiles. Embraces. This is exactly what I had the privilege of experiencing three years ago after completing the Portland Marathon. Three hours and 35 minutes (with a torn calve muscle I later discovered) spent pounding the pavement in a non-stop downpour made all worthwhile after seeing my family dance with joy behind the barricades enveloping us runners down the final stretch.
Fast forward to yesterday. Holy shit. The horrendous atrocities awaiting the Boston finishers, their families, friends, supporters, volunteers, hit as close to home as any heinous attack possibly could. You see, I qualified for Boston. Registered. Had a bib and info packet. No, it wouldn’t have been this year (I qualified to run the 2011 race, and never did due to a calve that refused to heal in time). But my imagination ran wild with yesterday’s news.
I imagined my leg being blown off. My papa, boyfriend, niece, all those who would have gladly dropped everything in their lives to follow me there, hitting the pavement in a heap of blood.
We see tragic events on the news on almost daily. But when we see one that could have easily involved ‘us’, it takes on an entirely new meaning. It’s no longer about ‘them’.
If anything can come of this tragic event for me, it’s to remember that I am ‘them’. And this coulda been ‘me’. And to send endless prayers of love, healing, and hope for all those affected by acts of violence.