It was decided that runners everywhere should don their race shirts in honor and respect for Boston, the marathon, runners, spectators and families. So far no one has mentioned anything to me about it, so either they A) live under a rock B) aren't runners and just don't get it C) this race shirt looks dang cute and no one even suspects I didn't get it from Nordstrom.
Yeah yeah...it's mirror image...don't know how to fix that....
I decided to wear the shirt from my first marathon, Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon in April 2010. I can't believe it's been 18 years since the OKC bombing on April 19, 1995. I remember exactly where I was, Mr. Hula's Physiology class...how could I forget Mr. Hula? And the way he used to write on the chalk board....**ahem**...anyway...News spread quickly around the school that there had been a bomb in Oklahoma City. At first I laughed. I have always felt so horrible for laughing....felt like such a jerk actually. But really, a bomb? In Oklahoma City? It sounded so absurd. Absolutely insain. Not possible...but then the librarian brought the TV out to the student center and we all gathered around. Shocked. In complete disbelief. Then came the news that there was a day care in the bottom floor of the building. Every working mother's dream, to have their child downstairs while they work, became their absolute worst nightmare....I felt sick.
The days and weeks to come were a blur. So many people came to OKC from all over the country. I remember seeing lines and lines of emergency vehicles, Red Cross Volunteers, National Guardsmen...And a photo seen HERE (you may not want to look) has been a fixture in my brian for so many years.
I don't know why I ramble on about this...but I guess just to say I chose the OKC Memorial Marathon for a reason. Even before I started running after college I imagined myself running that marathon. In 2004 my husband at the time ran the relay. Inside I was seething with jealousy. I wanted to run....fast-forward to 2008. I started running. First small races, local 5k's, 10k's then my first 12k the day before LB's dad left for Iraq.
It was then that I decided I would run one race a month until he came home. The small races became half marathons...and I ended up running 12 races in 11 months. I didn't stop. In fact I ran more...I began to see that running was so much more than just running. It was my sanity. It made me a better person.
2009 was a tough year, but I had no idea what would come in the following few years. End of 2009 I lost a pregnancy, then came 2010. I nearly divorced, endured another deployment and the loss of friends, found out my dad had cancer...the blows kept coming! Was this life? Was this how it is, how it was going to be for the next 80 years? Such extreme ups and downs? People actually enjoy this life? That is where my head was...once I recovered from my ectopic pregnancy I was cleared to run in February 2010. So I ran...
I had been saving my first marathon for the OKC Marathon. I had wanted to do Portland in 2009, the inaugural Seattle Rock n Roll in 2009. But my heart wanted OKC. So in Feb 2010 I registered for OKC one night while eating ice cream watching Biggest Loser (or at least that is how I remember it). It became real...I downloaded Hal Higdon's Novice 1 Marathon Training Plan and I stuck to that plan like glue. The next three months of training were amazing and life-changing.
During that marathon I felt like I would never become tired. Truth be told I wish I had run faster, that was my BQ race. I was scared of the wall that never really appeared, I ran conservatively because I was told it would be there. The people lining the streets of this race were so supportive. I remember at mile 23 seeing a fireman in all his gear running. Trust me, tearing up and getting a lump in your throat at mile 23 is NOT a good idea. I had an immediate flash of the photo I referred to earlier and nearly tossed my proverbial cookies....The entire race I read Bible scriptures on the backs of shirts. I read names along the way of those who we were commemorating, I was touched.
I had done it. I finished that marathon in 4:09 and some change. My dad, my LB and my TFF were there....like always and I could not explain the surreal experience I had just had. It was like four hours of complete meditation. I would give anything to experience that again.
Anyway, I have no idea how to wrap up this sap-fest of a post. I don't pretend to know what it was like in Boston yesterday. But I do know how it feels to see your city under attack....and I know that during times of tragedy there is also so much good...just like Mr. Roger's mom told us:
“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” ― Fred Rogers
So that is what I will do....I will look for the good, for those who help...