I had just begun folding some clothes in front of the television when I received the CNN news alert on my phone.
“What the hell?” I said aloud, grimacing. I immediately turned on the news.
I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Before I became a “runner”, I knew nothing about the Boston Marathon. But really, it only takes one half marathon and a subscription to Runner’s World to understand that Boston is the Superbowl of marathons. Boston qualifiers are elite, every-man/woman athletes, having run a BQ-approved marathon in a certain time frame.
I’ll probably never get there. But a girl can dream.
It’s hard for me to put into words why I find this so devastating, besides the obvious carnage and loss of life. I grieve with Boston because I know this feeling. I’ve lived through terror and I understand. I ignored my babies yesterday afternoon as I was furiously updating my Twitter feed, looking at photos; hearing stories of bravery; listening to tales of kind strangers offering displaced runners a warm home and something to drink. Once, over 11 years ago, I had to rely on the kindness of strangers too.
I also know how apt it is to describe this as an act of terrorism. Because terrorism is designed to do just this: to seep into our consciousness and make us deeply afraid. And though I will continue to run races and improve my time and someday perhaps qualify for Boston, I know that I will near the finish line now with equal parts elation and fear.
The finish line, which represents every platitude and cliche we can conjure. It means everything. The culmination of months of training, of refusing to quit. The miles and miles of endurance, of pushing and overcoming limits. That feeling of euphoria that lingers. The thought: if I can do this, I can do anything. At my last, positively grueling half, I was practically crawling to the line, muffling sobs. Then I saw my family there, at the spot where the bombs exploded in Boston, cheering and jumping up and down and waving homemade signs. To think of the happiness turned to horror in seconds.
It makes me so fucking angry I am shaking right now. That even if we put on a brave face – and we will, this I know – that trepidation will be there.
I’m so fucking angry that they have taken the finish line from us.