April 15, 2013


So, Boston.

You know what happened by now. And I don't really have anything to say that resembles a revelation. But I need a catharsis, and this venue has often been that for me. 

First of all, I should say that no one I knew was hurt. That's great, and I'm very happy that it's the case. 

But people I don't know were hurt, and that's tragic. It's a tragedy that feels inappropriately intimate to me, someone from Kansas, with only a few acquaintances attending the event. I feel bad and I feel bad that I feel bad, as if I haven't really earned it, like I'm some tragedy seeking bandwagon jumper. 

I normally avoid news outlets in the wake of things like this. I find the coverage - and indulging in it - to be voyeuristic. I don't need to see weeping children outside of a school that was just attacked, not for one second. 

But I read about this for several hours, then drove to the gym, and watched CNN for two more hours on the treadmill. I saw the explosion and the percussion of the barricades a thousand times, watched as the 78-year-old in the orange jersey fell down. 

I watched while I was running, but mostly, I watched because I was running. I watched because running has saved me from things, and given me things. For better or worse, I am what I am right now because of it. 

Running matters to me. And so, runners matter to me. 

It's a kinship and extended family that makes the sport what it is. It's a community that unites over shared effort - not just on race day, but the grind it takes to get there. And Boston exemplifies that grind like no other event. Simply put: To race it, you have to qualify. It's the people's olympics, the bar the non-elites aim to clear. These are everyday people with superhuman endurance and work ethic, hidden under a common exterior. You don't see the thousands of miles in their legs, logged before or after their full time job, the energy they devote to something most can't understand. 

And so, among those who do understand, there's something. 

These are people I will never meet, and yet with whom I share a mode of expression, of indulgence, of obsession. If nothing else, we have the miles in common.

And so I watched, while logging those miles. It felt entirely appropriate and anything but. 

But this is not about me or my various neurosis. It's about Boston, and more than that. It's about a community of people who unite in their solitary pavement pounding, every day, whenever the hell they can find the time. It's about those that support them too, who cheer from the sidewalks, forgive the 5 AM alarm clocks, the brown rice again for dinner. I know so many people like this, and I know that there are so many more than I could ever know.

But I also know that there were people like that in Boston today. And those people don't deserve the images they'll carry for the rest of their life, the scars, the lost limbs, or the lost loved ones.  

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