Motivation Monday: Boston


My  younger brother and I are both runners. Throughout the past several years, we've taken turns inspiring each other to take on running endeavors: I got him to run his first half marathon, he encouraged me to run my first full marathon. With the distance between us (him in Boston, me in San Diego), it has become a given that visiting each other will likely occur around a racing event that we can run together. I hope and imagine it will be that way for as long as we're able to run.

Mike texted me only seconds after I heard about the bombing to let me know that he and his girlfriend and friends were all safe and far from the explosions. Thankfully, he reached out before phone lines were jammed and so quickly that I didn't have time to let my imagination run wild. Still, the stories coming in from Boston made it sound as if the threat was not over and it was unnervingly reminiscent of when my mother was radio silent in NYC on 9/11 and I felt helpless to confirm the safety of the people closest to me.

In fact, helplessness is by far the overwhelming sensation that I've combated since yesterday. I've been following the reactions of people on social media and monitoring the details through news outlets and the more I become saturated in the story, the more helpless I feel. Helpless to distinguish fact from fiction. Helpless to correct the inaccuracies and ignorance of the blame game. Helpless to offer any consolation. Helpless to even put my own emotions into words. So yesterday I did the only thing I could think to do: I ran.

For the first time during marathon training, for the first time in years, I ran without my cell phone, without music, without a GPS. Without noise or distraction. I ran for an hour around San Diego, gray and quiet in the hours just before 5pm. And as I ran, I thought about all of it. About the victims. About the pain and the guilt of runners whose supporters were injured or killed trying to cheer them on. About the families and friends who hadn't heard from a loved one yet, who still had to hope their way through the silence. About these elite runners who had trained for months for this race, who had trained for years to qualify, only to have this momentous achievement made so very ugly. About the brave individuals who ran towards the explosion to help. About the people of Boston who, like New York and other cities before them, will now live in the aftermath of a city whose vulnerabilities were exposed. About who could do such a thing.

As a country, the cries for change have been deafening. Aurora, Sandy Hook. Evil continues to exist, as it has from the beginning of time, and tragedies both natural and man-made continue to test our beliefs about purpose and faith in humanity. People who crave safety are fighting people who crave freedom and the middle ground is a distant place, encased in fog. But Boston is tough. And runners are resilient. And if there is one thing that running teaches a person, it is that you have to keep moving forward, you have to fight through the pain, you have to work hard to get to your destination. If that's not motivation, I don't know what is.

4/8/13 - 4/14/13 Health and Fitness Stats:
  • ran 3 days for a total of 21 miles