Too Close to Home

I tend to stay silent in the face of tragedy. I believe if you don’t have anything to say, it’s best to not say anything. I didn’t have anything to say when dozens were senselessly slaughtered by madmen in Aurora and Newtown. I didn’t have anything to say when all the meteorological elements lined up to create a superstorm that decimated the East Coast. I didn’t have anything to say because all of those things were abstract. I could see loss, I could see pain, but I couldn’t understand it, so instead of attempting to conjure up sympathy for a situation I couldn’t comprehend, I respectfully kept my silence.

I can’t stay silent this time.

This time it’s my people, my community, my hobby, my passion, my livelihood.¬†This time it’s personal.

Like many of you, I had friends running Boston yesterday. I had coworkers at Boston yesterday. I have a colleague who crossed the 40K (Mile 24.85) at 2:44:29 p.m. running an 11:46 pace — the first bomb went off sometime between 2:45 and 2:50 p.m.

My people. My community. My hobby. My passion. My livelihood.

It’s personal.

The running community has been one of the best things that’s ever happened to me. The running community has given me connections, goals, stress relief. I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I would not be the person I am today in the city I’m in today if it weren’t for running. To have that community attacked–a community that celebrates the tenacity and determination of the human spirit, the incredible abilities of the human body, the amazing things a person can accomplish if he or she sets his or her mind to it–shakes me to the core.

Right before I graduated college, my fellow English majors and I gathered with our professors for a farewell dinner. During that dinner, we were charged with 10 things. The only thing I remember from that list was that we were never again allowed to use the phrase, “Words cannot describe…” because as English majors, our job was always to put words to a situation.

I try to live by that, but sometimes I can’t. Sometimes, there truly are not words to describe the mess of emotions I’m trying to process. And when that’s the case, I turn to the road. I put on my shoes and I run until I’m better, or at the very least until I’m a little more okay.

So that’s what I did yesterday, rain, wind, and unhealed shin splints be damned.


I can’t go 26.2 yet, so I did what I could: 2.62 miles. 2.62 miles for the runners, the spectators, the volunteers, the race officials, the first responders, the emergency workers.

2.62 miles for Boston.

Live Half Full

9 thoughts on “Too Close to Home

  1. Sometimes having no words for big news events is a great thing to do. I am glad that your coworker is okay. This attack in Boston is attack on the running community and the city if Boston. However we always rise from the ashes and become a stronger community. Hope your shin splits are healing.

  2. You put it very well. I’m a runner in Boston and I was also an English major. To not put my thoughts about MY community into words is impossible. I had to say something too.

    I agree that this is an attack on the commnuity of running that has brought me so much joy. I can’t even imagine the brokeness that the runners feel. The ones who had to stop and didn’t finish. The ones who are literally broken right now.

    All we can do is keep running, keep supporting, and build up the community we love so much.

  3. WOW my inner thoughts… it’s exactly how I felt and it’s like our running family has been attacked… I don’t understand how anyone could do it and nor do I want to, it’s horrible and it just makes me angry… Hope your shin splints get better quickly! I know all about them too…

  4. You put it really well. I am having trouble even processing it, I can’t seem to put to words why or how it hit home, but then I realize it is because it did hit home. Boston is my home and will always be my home

  5. Thank you for writing something and for heading out for a run yesterday. I want to do something at the Chicago Marathon for Boston. I’m not sure if it should be running for a charity, holding a fundraiser, or just raising awareness and showing everyone how strong the running community is. Let me know if you’re interested!

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