My thoughts: 2013 Boston Marathon

I am about to post a race report for Iron Man 70.3 California (Oceanside) that I raced on March 31. I’ll start off by explaining why it’s delayed, will cover how fun it was to race in SoCal with my friends, talk about eating GU gels, and ultimately, how happy I was to finish successfully and with a competitive time. There will be some pictures to accompany a positive reflection and a bright outlook for the rest of the season. You’ll probably stop reading after “The Swim.”

As a proud member of the endurance community, I wanted to express some of my thoughts following the horrific events that occurred at yesterday’s Boston Marathon.

There are 27,000 runners that won’t be able to write a race report like what I described above. They will not be able to remember yesterday as a day that, surely in almost every case, was a day they realized a dream: running Boston. Triathlon has Kona, golf has the Masters, but I’m not sure either can compare to what Boston means to runners. How could taking a GU at mile 16 to hold off your bonk seem significant, considering what happened yesterday? The lens of perspective zooms wider.

I went from texting a dear friend if his legs were OK after running an awesome time while injured, to texting him to ensure he and his husband were OK – like, alive, OK.  How messed up is that?

We can never truly understand why these things happen. Sure, the dots become easier to connect when American Capitalism, or a school where one was bullied, or the mall after a significant life event are subjected to evil, but we never fully grasp just why the answer is destruction and violence. Yesterday is no different but, you know, it may even be more difficult to digest.

A marathon – or any other endurance event – is a display of humanity at it’s finest. I’m convinced of this. The hours, sweat, tears, sacrifices that go into training for such a feat becomes common ground for participants no matter their race, beliefs or creed.

Look over to the guy or gal next to you only to seem him pushing, pushing, and at that moment, you know exactly what they’re feeling.

Get a cheer from someone on the side of the road that says, “Go Runners!” and you get an indescribable boost. Not, “Go Steve!” or “Go Jane!” – “Go Runners.” You, and Steve, and Jane.

Tens of thousands come together to celebrate pushing through preconceived personal limitations. Every person that rolls by on every mile of road represents what we’re capable of physically and mentally, and every person cheering represents how capable we are of supporting each other, even those that we don’t know.

It’s all positive and it’s all within our reach. Every last bit of it.

And you know when this was most apparent? When those who felt they could not run another step after crossing the finish line ran to help others. When those on the sidelines who showed selfless support during the race, did the same during the chaos. If ever those responsible wanted to instill fear and hopelessness, they chose the wrong place.

Why am I writing this?

First of all, out of respect and solidarity to those who lost their lives, were injured or in any way adversely effected. I can only hope folks reaching out like this can help in your healing process.

For the rest of us, it can be easy to feel a range of emotions, from fear, to sadness, to anger, to hostility. I wanted to bottle up and hold onto the positivity and hope that was at the Boston Marathon that day, both before and after disaster struck. I want to put that positivity and hope out there for all as an alternative response to fear and anger.

If you’re like many Americans who, tragedy after tragedy, lose faith in humanity, lace up your shoes or make up a sign and go to a race. Let’s show this world just how much we love each other.

Martin Richard

What he said. RIP, Martin.

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