A weight has been lifted -- one I never knew I was carrying. My legs cry in pain every time I move, but my heart is lighter. The Boston Marathon hurt me last year. But that same great race made me stronger and gave me back my finish line. And with it, a new PR of 3:42:34.
I'm not what you typically imagine when you envision a runner. I'm not tall and slender with long legs, and you were more likely to see me running late to a dinner reservation than to see me running in the park near my apartment.
No one in her right mind wants to run, walk, or in any way support breast cancer. We run against it. We run to empower the people who have been afflicted and are at risk of being afflicted in the future. We do not run to promote it or to encourage a culture of disease.
Miami has become my home as I have lived here longer than any other place since leaving home in 1990, aged 18 to join the British Diplomatic Service. Since then I have moved 21 times in 24 years in pursuit of Her Majesty's interests.
My running actually looked a lot like walking to those who saw me struggle down the road during the first few months. However, the thing that helped me get on track was having a plan and sticking to it.
The only solace we can find is in each other, in the men and women who acted selflessly to rush forward to help the wounded, in the onlookers who saw that marathon runners were without their cell phones or clothes and helped them find what they needed for comfort.
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.
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.
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.