Just Different

I didn’t solemnize this day with a moment of silence. I chose to honor the day with a hard, fast run. I am not even going to put a qualifier on that sentence like, “fast for me” or “relatively speaking”. I ran the exact same route I ran on 4.15.13, and just like a year ago today, I was inspired by Boston. One year ago, I posted the run to my DailyMile account, happy with a fast run on a cool cloudy day, thinking of Boston and wondering about the two American women elites that I was cheering for were doing. Today, I posted a run to my account, with similar themes, fast run, cool and cloudy, and it was all about Boston.

Just different.

It’s one year later and everything is a little different, except the route. It’s a familiar 5k route that tracks north and west of my office through the City before coming straight east back on Main Street to my front door.

How I think of Boston is different. Last year, for me, it was all about Shalane and Kara, the hype, their rivalry, their friendship, and their potential to win. This year, I think of the non-elites, the spectators, the first responders, and the hallowed ground that is a finish line of a race.

How I think of running is different. Before Boston, it was my time. My headspace. My freedom from my desk. My adrenaline rush. My solitude. This year, I recognize that I am a part of something that is the opposite of solitude. I am part of a community. Meg’s Miles reinforced that for me. Being a part of something greater than myself is a very gratifying feeling, but it comes with a personal sense of responsibility. I have to DO something when the community is assaulted like at Boston or when Meg Menzies was killed. You have to give back; I donated to the Boston One Fund and I donated money to Meg’s family. And I ran; however meaningless it might seem in the face of terror and death, those miles mattered to me and to the running community.

How I think of spectators is very different. Before Boston, I never gave much thought to the random strangers standing alongside a race route, cheering, clapping, ringing cow bells, holding clever signs. Now I thank them as I run. No one would have ever thought that cheering on runners in a race could be a potential risk to life and limb. Boston changed that, too.

Boston isn’t on my “Bucket List” or anything. I am not training to earn my “BQ” and I don’t feel it is something I will ever want to go chase down. But I don’t think any distance runner out there doesn’t feel that there is something special about Boston.

A pair of angry extremists tried to take away the magic of Boston. They left a mark, to be sure, but if their goal was to scare us all into submissive hiding, they utterly and completely failed.

Boston is too Strong for that.

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