I'm sure everyone is upset and touched by the Boston Marathon tragedy, I was very shocked and saddened when I heard about it. I wasn't paying any attention to the news and when my husband asked if I had heard about the Boston, and for some reason this is how horrible tragedies are always relayed to me - on the phone by him, with him saying.."Oh by the way, did you hear about?" with my saying "WHAT WHAT WHAT?" It all started with 9/11 and still continues.
I haven't been in a lot of races, but I can't convey enough the feeling of safety as well as encouragement by others that I've felt when I have been running in one. Why wouldn't anyone? There is every kind of first responder everywhere, along with medic tents, volunteers, people lined up cheering and watching you, runners beside you, behind you (believe it or not, I'm not the last one! Hard to believe, I know. :) ), in front of you, places to grab water as you run by, it's always been an incredibly friendly, safe feeling where it feels great to be with people who share the pain and joy of doing the same thing you do and also those who support you. Strangers talk to each other about anything and everything, it's like a lot of things - you know you each share something and feel a bond. It's a WONDERFUL feeling, so motivating to get out there the next time to run. Whether competitive or not, the feeling of camaraderie, although yes, people like my husband are way too competitive and take it waaaay too seriously, it still is a very warm and friendly environment that I enjoy. Sure, I've seen some over-competitive running snob type people, but those are rare and, well, they are there determined to not go away without winning and....they usually do win. : )
So when I heard about the bombing, maybe my reaction was different than others, I don't know. Of COURSE I'm horrified for the victims, angry at whoever did this, so sad for the families, I really, really hope they catch this person or people QUICKLY and justice is served as fast as possible, I mean I hope all that happens FAST!!! It can't happen fast enough, and I don't think justice could be harsh enough, no way.
But it makes me mad that this little vacuum of feeling complete safety with achievement was ruined that day. To qualify for the Boston, and how long it may have taken some of them and all the races they had to go through to prove their qualifying time? As soon as I read that it had gone off at the 4 hour mark I knew that would be the busiest time because I've seen what the qualifying times are to enter. So I read later that yes, it was a very busy time, because that is when the "slow-paced, recreational runners would have been crossing the line". Are you kidding me? Okay, maybe those people don't run professionally and make a living from it, but slow paced, seriously? I think 26.2 miles in 4 hours averages out to around 6.5 miles an hour unless my math is way off, and I'm horrible at math. Considering it is a marathon, that is quite a fast pace, but of course, they did qualify for the Boston Marathon! I just felt like the writer was putting them down for crossing the line around 4 hours, seriously? "slow paced recreational runners"? Suddenly if you aren't an Olympian, even though you qualify for the Boston, you just "run for fun" and I guess on a whim one day enter the Boston Marathon? Um, no. People work very, very hard to get there, I've seen people freak out over their finishing time at a race because it was a few seconds off from qualifying for the Boston - very, very good runners.
And then I read that authorities were stopping people at Mile 25 from completing the race after the bomb(s) went off. Why wait until they were 1.2 miles from finishing? Oh my gosh, if I had run 25 miles and only had a little over a mile left and was stopped after all the work to get there, going all that way, had just a mile left, well sure, my life is more important, but why Mile 25? Why not get in a golf cart or whatever and stop them anywhere - everywhere they were? Weren't they concerned about their safely no matter WHERE they were on the course? Why let them keep running Miles 22, 23, 24 if that's where they were?
I'm not saying in a disaster all decisions are perfect and well thought through. I just feel so horrible for those people that worked so hard to get there, and this little bubble that has now been burst by some freak who wants who knows what this time.
I will race again in my own shorter races, and I'm sure, like everything else, security will be everywhere, maybe we'll have to start taking off our running shoes and go through some metal detector before getting on the start line and lace them back up, who knows what domino effect this will have.
It was just so innocent, harmless and fun before. People all worked so hard towards a goal - and everyone had their own personal goals. Mine is so different than my husbands. People I would talk to had goals so different than mine. It was all very unique, and that was a common question, "What made you decide to start running?" because there was always a reason you hadn't considered and it could be a very interesting story, and then...maybe their reason to run would then become another reason you decided to run as well.
I asked my doctor when I could start running after my surgery. His answer? "You can start elliptical exercise about four weeks afterwards." That wasn't my question, I don't even have an elliptical machine nor membership to a gym - I just walk out my front door, so I didn't say anything and considered repeating myself, but knew he had heard exactly what I said. I sat there thinking about it for a bit of uncomfortable silence until he finally said "you can run in about six to eight weeks after surgery". Will I be lacing up my shoes on Day 1 of Week 7? Probably not. I only get one chance to completely heal properly. If I screw it up, I can never get that chance back and people have had horrible complications for the rest of their lives from not letting themselves heal properly. I've gone several months without running and then gone out and run 3 miles. It's hard, I have to force myself the whole way not to stop and walk, but it's really a mental thing. Even if I'm running at almost a walking pace, but I'm still running, that's all it takes. The next time I run, in my mind I'm thinking, "I know I can run the whole thing, I just did it last time", and it's all good, it's not nearly as hard. It's all mental, totally, at least for me. I know others are physically blessed, I happen to live with one who swears he is not and has done the research and work and blah blah blah, and sure, I wouldn't want someone to tell me I don't work hard, I'm just naturally gifted when yes, it is very hard work, and I'm proud of his achievements and his medals, but seriously, there are people who ran all through high school and college with coaches and then he picks it up five or six years ago and blows them all away. I would say...that's natural talent, and that's what I have to live with and try not to compare myself with or get down on myself about. I used to be really good at things, really good. I don't know what happened.