I usually stay away from political subjects when I post (which I seldom do now) but today my heart is aching and full at the same time. My mind is a flood of emotions and I'm not sure what to do other than just write them out.
I'm a runner. I've been a runner since the fall of 2009. I was diagnosed with Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma in August of 2009 and I had to do something so in a rather long, round-about story I found Team in Training and ran my first half marathon in May of 2010; twelve days after my first chemo treatment. I then ran my first full marathon in October of 2010; six weeks after my last chemo treatment. I've since run countless 5K, 10K, a dozen or so half marathons, three Ragnar Relays and I'm training for my six full marathon.
The emotions that flood you as you see the finish line are indescribable. You are so beat from the physical and mental challenge of the distance and yet you are so high from the finishing of the distance that tears just have to come pouring out. I know the feeling of getting to mile 17: "I just need to keep going; it's less than ten miles.", mile 22:: "Oh, Heavens! Not another hill?" mile 24: "Only two and some change. I can do it! Even on my hands and knees!" then to see the sign for mile 26: "Who decided there needed to be a POINT TWO!?!" and across the finish line: "I'm never going to do that again, but wait, where do I sign up for next year," as they hang a finisher's medal around your neck and you are limping off to the medical tent.
In 2013, on a beautiful April day, two terrorist destroyed the hopes and dreams and hundreds of training miles of all runners around the world. I remember listening to the news and just thinking, "What? How? All those runners?"
Today the surviving terrorist was found guilty on all 30 counts! Seventeen of those counts carry the possibility of the death penalty. Somehow this doesn't give me relief. I've toed the line in a few marathons or other races since 2013, and I've looked around, but I refuse to let them ruined my racing career. I will continue to race.
I race for myself. I race for my family. I race for Boston. I race for Kystle Campbell. I race for Sean Collier. I race for Lingzi Lu and I race for young Martin Richard. I race for all racers who can't race.
Do I wish this terrorist to get the death penalty? I'm not a huge proponent of the death penalty. I've only really wished it on a few people in my entire life. One such person was Westley Allan Dodd. He lived in my home town and molested and killed little children. He lived not too far from my house, my brothers went to school with him and I remember him at "my" playground. He was creepy. He killed little children and for that....
Do I wish this terrorist to get the death penalty? Yes. Just like Dodd left a uncomfortable stamp on my childhood, this terrorist has put a uncomfortable stamp on my adult life. It isn't uncommon for me to look around when in crowds now for back packs on the ground. I hesitate to ask my husband to cheer me along the course of a race. The Boston Bombing has left a mark on my running soul.
I have never not crossed the finish line, but I have cut short a training run. I know it doesn't compare to cutting short a marathon, so I do not know what those runners must have felt being told they could not finish. I know I've thought about pulling out at mile 20, mile 22, but come mile 23 or mile 24, I think, "I can tough it out. It's almost done." All those runner thought the same thing but yet, they never finished. Then to find out why.
I started running because of a pain in my back. I kept running because there was nothing I could do for my cancer but run and be healthy (and raise funds). I continue to run because it is a stress release. I run because it is my alone time. I run because I have great friends who run with me. (What said on the run, stays on the run). I run because it is self therapy. I run because it is group therapy. I run because I can spend an hour communing with my God. I run because it is freeing. I run because I can. I run because I'm strong. I run because others can't. I run because I'm BOSTON STRONG!