No matter how you heard about the event at Copley Square this Monday, if you're a runner, you undoubtedly felt nothing but heartache and pain - that your most supportive community and family had been attacked. That is exactly how I felt trying to comprehend the situation from afar. Confusion, disbelief, and pure sadness for those affected in Boston. Being on twitter at 11:50am, following the accomplishment of where months of training leads to, and yet that joy and celebration disappeared. A sudden light switched off and everything went dark. Over 50 tweets almost simultaneously within two seconds read the same message. Hundreds of tweets folllowed, some with questions and others with live footage leaving those outside Boston to feel the scare and panic of what was happening.
I know I can speak for many saying that my physical presence was in a different city, simply viewing tweets and commentary of destruction and chaos through thin air. But my heart and identity as a runner felt completely present in the fright that blanketed over thousands in Boston.
Without getting into further details how that day played out, I think there is a bigger picture that is shedding a positive light on such a dark and painful story. It's only been a few days since the event took place, but even being on twitter the last few days has been uplifting in so many ways. Crowds of runners all around the country are gathering in group runs to commemorate and honor not only the victims, but the passion and dedication each of those individuals put into their running careers. Running communities, families, businesses, and random meet-ups are taking action to find strength together and it's leading to amazing mobilization for a faster recovery.
While the swell of emotions from Monday will hardly be forgotten, I decided to take these positive vibes and try to run with it.
The best thing I knew to do was to treat Tuesday's run as a gift.
I ran around Lake Union and was positively overwhelmed by the sense of belonging and unity that came from every runner I passed, many of whom wore Boston Marathon shirts and gave me a smiling nod, like a secret code of a larger community. I was a bobbing sea of emotions the entire way. Vibrantly smiling at times from the gorgeous weather. Being rushed with frustration and questions of why bad things happen to good people. Feeling my eyes flood with water passing silly things that reminded me of Boston. And stopping to breathe to just be in the moment.
Taking this day and reflecting on the positives is a lot easier for me than those directly affected. Our running communities all around the world are such a strong force when put together that I have no doubt if we keep spirits high, there is no measure or maximum for donations, relief funds, and ultimate recovery that can be reached. I'm overly anxious to see and read about where everyone will #RunForBoston this week and next. The blogs, recaps, and stories I have been reading are touching my heart and motivating me to continually help in all ways I can.
At the end of the day and after all that's happened this week, I feel appreciative and blessed to have the simple ability to run - and more importantly to know that the 20 plus runners I felt directly connected to, women and men who put their soul into training for Boston this year, are safe and all returning home. Its puts things into perspective, helping me recognize each time I step out my door it's a given gift that makes me stronger and allows me to put my best self forward. A gift that may not always be there, but also one that fills me up a small percentage each day propelling me to to go out and create peace in a complicated world.
If you're in Seattle, don't miss the run this coming Monday 4/22. Oiselle and many others will be meeting at Super Jock 'N Jill, all details listed here.