The date was Monday April 15th 2013, and it started off like any other day. I woke up, headed to class and had the Boston Marathon webpage pulled up on my phone. I knew a couple people running in the event and wanted to track them throughout the day. One of my buddies finished up in the 2:50:00 range while the other came in just over 3 hours. Once my friends crossed the line, I returned my full attention to classroom activities and turned off my phone. As class got out I thought I’d call my coach who is also good friends with one of the runners. I got in contact with him and with a eerie tone in his voice said “have you seen the explosions? Turn on your T.V… I have to go man, I’ll call you later“. I immediately turned on the T.V. and was glued to it until I fell asleep.
Bombings take place quite often in today’s day and age. However, you don’t expect it to take place in the United States and you absolutely don’t expect it to take place at a marathon. As I watched in horror, the event struck me all too close as my family has been along the finishing chute in racing events. As I laid there in bed, wondering what I could do, the only thought that came to mind was to run. I figured that the run had to be something special as this situation was like nothing I’d ever seen. That night I decided I’d run the full distance these fans went to watch. I’d run 26.2 miles for the victims of Boston.
I woke up on Tuesday April 17th and put on my shoes. I packed a backpack with water and 3 cliff bars and looked out the window. I saw that in the lovely city of Denver, it had decided to snow 6 inches the night before. To be honest, I briefly thought about calling off the run. I then looked in the mirror, became disgusted with myself, and headed out the door.
At the 3 mile mark I had accepted it would be a long day as my longest run in the past 2 months was an 8 mile run. By mile 6 I had leg fatigue already setting in. At mile 9 I was questioning if I wanted to do an 18 mile run and then another 8.2 at night. I made it to mile 15 and was 1 mile away from home, I took one step in the opposite direction and was off for another 11. By mile 20 my legs shared the pain only duplicated in my Ironman Triathlon. Mile 23 saw a lot of walking with miles 24 and 25 being brutally slow jogs. I finally crossed my finish line at mile 26.2 and stood there for a couple minutes to recover. I walked home the final .25 miles and thought back on my run, the victims, and what running means to me.
There were many thoughts that passed through my mind during the run.
Thought #1: Each time my legs felt fatigued I kept returning to the same mantra. “When your legs get tired, run with your heart“. How selfish could I really be to stop running at mile 3, 6, 15, or 20? There were victims that lost not only their limbs, but also their lives. No matter how bad something hurts, we most always remember how fortunate we are for the opportunities we have day in and day out.
Thought #2: Runners are a family. While we all go home to different settings or work in different fields, we all share the same hobby and love. Its the love of stepping out the door and not knowing what you will find. Sometimes you will find blissful sunsets which release your runner’s high. Other times you will struggle brutally and be left walking back home. No matter the outcome, we are each better for having gone through this journey.
Thought #3: While the bombings are awful and make me sick to my stomach, there is still change for the better that happened because of them. While out on my run I was greeted by many motorist with waves and honks followed by thumbs up. My pride during this run was something I can’t put into words. It showed me that no matter your name, age, sex or affiliation, we are all runners….and we are all one.
I set out on this run trying to bring attention to the victims of the Boston bombings. I can only hope that my running has inspired others to get out and run. With that being said, this run left me a changed person. While I set out to help, I myself was given something. These victims without even knowing it brought our community together and showed me that it is not about times or distances… But rather, its about being able to take that first step out the door and experience the open world and all it has to offer.
Live life to the fullest, get out the door, and Run Real.