Wednesday, April 24, 2013

The Spectators

I've struggled with whether or not I would write this blog post.  I didn't know if having only run a couple of long races at close to a 14 minute mile qualified me as having enough knowledge to make any comments regarding the events of April 15, 2013.  Why should I, piddly racer of 6 races in a stretch of 3 years have any opinion in regards to what happened in Boston?  I've not been a runner my entire life, never gone farther than 15 miles, never been a tough mudder, never lettered in track and field.  I've never been seen as the athletic type.  My bottom half of my body makes up 90% of my body weight.  I have varicose veins, bad knees, plantar fascitis, and by all measurements am overweight.  Yeah, I'm not the typical runner.  Just some recent examples:

Me, coming out of the castle at the 2013 Princess Half Marathon.  KTTape all over my knee

Me, at the McLeod Health 10K in March.  I earned a PR for the 10K.  And finished 3rd to last.

Post memorial training run for Boston.

Yeah, I'm not your typical, skinny kneed, 0% body fat runner.  But I get out there.  I give 100%.  Most days are lonely affairs when I'm training.  It's me, the road, and LeCrae.  Sometimes it's so cold, I see my breath with every step.  Sometimes it's so hot I'm suffocating.  I still run, knowing that a race is forthcoming.

I know when the race comes, that there will be people lining the streets of the race with signs telling me,
"I'm proud of you, too, random stranger" or
“Run Like an Angry Kenyan” or
"I'm sure this seemed like a good idea three months ago"

People I've never met, and probably will never see again, are cheering me on, regardless of whether they know me or not, no matter my weight, no matter my smelly sweat.

On Monday, April 15, 2013, the attacks on the Boston Marathon were not on the runners as much as those friends of mine that I will never in most cases know:  the spectators.  People there to soak up the fun, cheer on friends, and stick around for family had their lives changed irrevocably for no other reason than they were there.  Mass chaos and confusion were wrought on people who make mine and most runners' training worthwhile.  I've heard on a podcast that the race is the party to celebrate all of the training you've done.  The spectators are the partygoers.  And not just any partygoers, but the ones who do everything from cheer you on to call a cab when you've just pushed yourself too far.  

So, am I angry about what happened?  Darned tootin.  I'm angry for the three lives lost on that day.  I'm angry for the people who lost limbs.  People who will never have the chance I have in the future to run their own races.

As I move towards my next half marathon on Sunday, my prayers are not only for the safety of myself and my fellow runners, but of the friends out there who I may never know. . the spectators.

And for those friends, most of whom I will never know, thank you for picking me up on my way to the finish line:

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NIV 
Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work; If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

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