One foot after another, for miles on end. Not many of us run in this age of technology and global urbanization, but running is written into our DNA, and what happened in Boston will not destroy the marathon spirit.
The Boston marathon is not easy, and it has hence become a testament to athletic prowess for anyone who finishes. But, moreover, it's a testament to New England and the folks who facilitate the massive sporting entity running through their streets and front lawns every year.
Still reeling from Monday's tragedy, I ran last night to Central Park. It was full of runners. We were all feeling the pain differently. But we all came to Central Park to feel it together. It's always easier as a team.
I am not here to speculate on what happened at the finish line, instead I am here to share what I know of the special bond that exists between runners, those who cheer them on, and the clear display of heroism that is found in both.
Some of us may feel helpless in the midst of these tragedies, especially if we are far away or can't physically help another. If you are one of these people and are wondering what it is you can do to help, praying and sending healing energy are viable options.
As people, we do things sometimes that are not, strictly speaking, necessary. We do things. We rise to challenges. Though we are not all capable of the heroism of our first responders, we can all find something great within ourselves.
So next week or next month, marathoners from London to New York will run for themselves, for each other, for the victims of this tragedy and for the human spirit. Why do people run marathons? Because they can. No matter what.
People, runners and non-runners alike, can take much more than we think we can. We can go on even when our legs are throbbing and our hearts are broken. This horrific day of events will not falter the stamina of America's collective courage. We will only finish stronger.
Two years ago, same time of year, I was making behavior-shifting pacts with myself. I know it was this time of year because it was a few weeks before I was to run the Boston Marathon and I was not ready despite my training. Frankly I would never be ready.
Our gratefulness for everything that St. Jude had done for us could not be understated. That is why, when we heard that the hospital is the primary benefitting charity for the St. Jude Country Music Marathon, we felt like we had found an opportunity to give back.
Maybe it's because running is so quantifiable, but most runners I know love "magic bullets." We want to improve -- it's why we run in the first place -- and we'll typically try anything (within reason) that might help us run more miles or faster times.
And thats when it hit me, how brilliant this was. Most of us are content taking subways, buses, and jets to get from point A to point B as fast as possible. I was going to spend nearly four hours ending up in the exact same place as I started.
Running is happiness, mixed with a tinge of triumph and maybe a pinch of defiance. It's my recipe for energy and inspiration. It's what gets me started and keeps me going in the morning and in my life.