Yesterday’s Boston Marathon was not the experience the runners, the fans, or the city deserved. I went to bed last night thinking that the death toll was astonishingly low given the crowds. This morning, I was relieved to see that the death toll had not multiplied but saddened to see that the number of injuries reported had. This morning CNN is reporting 154 injured. Three dead and 154 injured that we know of so far.
I echo my friend Sarah’s sentiment, “What kind of monster blows up a marathon?”
Right now, I’m nowhere near fast enough to qualify for Boston and had never seriously considered the possibility that I might be able to run it one day. I may have even referred to someone I used to date, who was very cute and very fast, as “my ticket to Boston” a time or two, intended in humor but reflecting a core belief I held that Boston was not within my reach. Even yesterday, as countless friends called to make sure I wasn’t in Boston, I repeated the words, “Oh no, I’m not fast enough for Boston” again and again.
The qualifying time for a woman my age is 3 hours and 45 minutes. I have yet to break a 5 hour marathon. Out of reach? No. Not as long as I’m alive.
I’ve been running really well lately and cut twenty-four minutes off my marathon time between February and March of this year. I ran the Austin Marathon in 5:43 and the Barcelona Marathon in 5:19. I aim to break five hours later this year, as I have two more marathons scheduled for 2013. If I can continue to improve and break four hours at any point in my 40s, then I can run Boston. It’s a lofty goal, perhaps even a little absurd, but my mind keeps going to my favorite Einstein saying, “If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it.”
This morning, my friend Sarah also said, “I ran this morning. What else can we do?”
I don’t know how to respond to yesterday’s events. My anger, my sadness, my fear – those emotions are of no use to me or anyone else right now. But I can choose to run. And in honor of the people who were killed and hurt in Boston and because I respect that race and love the town, I choose to run towards Boston.