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.
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.