Boston

There’s a reason why I’ve called my blog “Less Words, More Pictures”. I’m not a very eloquent or sophisticated writer. But I need to acknowledge what happened today, and that requires some writing. We’ve all already seen too many sad and horrific images through the news. So here goes…

It’s been 8 years since I was last in Boston.

From 2000 – 2004, I called this city my home while I studied at BU. I grew so frustrated with the city as an undergrad, with the early bar closings, and strict ID check policies, and cursed it for being so unfriendly to the under-21 crowd that wanted in on the nightlife.

But I also learned to love it so, so much. The history, the Charles River, Boston Commons, riding the T and trying to mimic the “Bahstun” accents of the conductors.

The Esplanade, where I first tried running outdoors after many stints on the treadmill at the BU gym.

Boston is where I first learned how to run. Where I first learned about how exhilarated you could feel after finding out that your body was capable of carrying you farther than you had thought possible. At that time, doing 2 or 3 miles was a huge accomplishment for me, but seeing other runners out there inspired me to keep chugging at it, no matter how slow or clumsy. I still remember running along the Charles, looking out across the water, thinking about how awesome it was to be living in this city.

I ran my first marathon this past November. After Sandy stopped by and changed some plans, off I went to Harrisburg, PA, instead. After years of “recreational” running, I decided to take it a step further (pun intended) and give the whole 26.2 a go.

It was hard and brutal, and boy, did I ever hit The Wall around mile 22. I finished slower than I wanted to…but I finished. And I sprinted the last little stretch like my life depended on it, the small crowd forming a cheering tunnel that made me forget all the pain and fatigue that had been weighing me down for those last few miles.

I didn’t know a single person in that crowd, but everyone cheered for each other like we were all friends and family. With the help of strangers, with their cheers and whoops, I crossed the finish line strong. (Never mind that as soon as I stopped running, I started limping as slow as molasses going uphill in January.)

Thank you, Boston, for sparking my interest in running. Thank you, Boston, for inspiring me to stop caring so much about how many calories I was burning on the elliptical, and instead, start focusing on keeping my body strong and healthy. Thank you, Boston, for helping me get to where I am now.

My heart goes out to all of those affected by today’s tragedy. An event that is meant to celebrate people’s strengths, skills, and accomplishments, was instead turned into a terrifying nightmare. Joy was turned into sorrow; elation into horror.

Runners and their supporters are a united bunch, a strong bunch. Just like the crowd in Boston today was cheering on the runners, we’ll be cheering you on, Boston. Through the pain, the heartbreak, the doubt, the darkness.

Just keep putting one foot in front of the other.

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