On Boston and Finish Lines and Still Running

How somewhat haunting for me that yesterday morning, while the very earliest runners were making their way through the earliest miles of the 117th Boston Marathon, I wrote that “I still run” despite some injuries, some time off, and some of my focus being pulled elsewhere.

Emily & I at the Goldy’s Run 5K Finish Party

Today “I still run” means something all together different.

Crossing the TC Marathon Finish Line

I either don’t have enough words or the right words to explain the way the explosions at Boston Marathon have tugged at me in the last day. Being a runner, whether you Boston Qualify (BQ) year after year, or never even break a 30 minute 5K, you become a member of the running community that loves and supports you wherever you are on your running journey. Some runners chase the elusive BQ time year after year, some have no interest. But everyone knows how much work it takes just to qualify. When runners excitedly gather at the start line in Hopkinton, many preparing to run the greatest day of their life, all of us send our own hearts, our own dreams and wishes, our love and respect, our well wishes for pleasant weather and pain-free running. Every runner is there.

My sister and I at the finish of the Muddy Buddy race.

Kat, another Twin Cities runner, who blogs at Tenaciously Yours, had a very moving post yesterday about The Finish Line. She shares pictures of her many finish lines with happy faces and posing with her “best humans.” And she writes:

The finish line that I know is filled with the faces of my family.  My friends.   The people who lift me up when I am down, the people who celebrate with me when I have finally reached the mountain’s high peak.

I have always said that I feel closest to faith, The Universe, nature, God– all those “larger than myself” things– when I run. I am most meditative and prayerful on a run. Nothing, absolutely nothing, broke me down and built me back up as a better person than training for and running a marathon. So, to me, a finish line feels so sacred. It is the tangible marker of a much greater and deeper journey than 26.2 miles.

Ragnar 2009 Team at the finish line.
Ragnar 2009 Team at the finish line.

I still run. We all still run. We run because we cannot keep ourselves from it. Because when the world gets confusing or stressful, running makes it right. We are most ourselves on those paths/roads/trails. This week, we run for Boston and for each other.

No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
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