I think like a lot of people, it's taken me a couple of days to digest the mess in Boston. I didn't originally think I wanted to blog about it, but as the hours go by, I go from shock and grief to anger and defiance. So I am going to add yet another voice to the countless people speaking out in the online community. Someday I'll look back at this blog for all of the things that happen, 365 days a year, and I don't want to forget how I felt and what I thought when some jerk decided to use an American tradition for his (or her) own selfish, twisted purposes.
I'm heartbroken for the families who lost a loved one.
I'm heartbroken for those irreparably injured, and for their friends and families who will now have the burden of helping them find their way forward with a life forever altered.
I'm heartbroken for the winners of the 117th Boston Marathon. Their day of victory in the long and grand tradition of America's oldest and most prestigious 26.2 mile race was stolen from them.
I'm heartbroken for the runners who had already crossed the finish line. A day of celebration, joy and personal victory will now forever be a day that they remember as one of tragedy.
And especially, especially, I'm heartbroken for the runners who didn't make it to the finish line.
I do not in any way mean that the biggest tragedy, the worst calamity, was in not finishing the race. Nothing can supersede the loss of life, the loss of limbs, the loss of a sense of security that we all once again face. But for runners who would have been crossing the finish line after that moment frozen in time - 4:09 - those are the runners who are just like me.
Those are the runners who run for the joy of running. They run because they can. They run to lose weight; to cope with stress; to hold on to youth; to spend time with friends; to enjoy sunrises and sunsets and conversations over the miles and the solitude of a run to just finally have no more thoughts to think.
Qualifying for Boston was very probably one of their greatest athletic achievements. It was an achievement that took energy and effort; it took time away from their loved ones to log mileage on the road, on the trail, on the track, on the treadmill. It was an achievement that took personal sacrifice. It was an achievement that came with no small amount of physical pain, and probably injury for many of them.
And because some jerk - some nut job - some vicious person - decided to try and make a statement with violence, these runners' victory of getting to the start line in Boston will never be rounded out by the euphoria of getting to the finish line.
So yes, I'm heartbroken. But I'm also angry.
I qualified for Boston, and with any luck, my qualifying time will be fast enough to get me into Boston 2014. Yes, I am still going to run it. Because if anything is true about marathoners, it's that adversity, pain and difficulty are what we deal with every time we go for a long run, every time we step up to a start line.
It will take much more than a coward with a twisted vendetta to make me and my running friends live in fear of the race.