|Before the start at Athlete's Village . . . bubbling with joy and optimism. Must we now redefine "it"?|
We got word out to our friends and family; we retrieved our material possessions. Our inspiring amputee runner will receive a finisher's medal, despite having to stop at the 25.5-mile mark, because the course just turned into a fretful sea of humanity, with the police telling us what NOT to do, but not otherwise giving any clear instructions.
The whole experience has been on the edge of overwhelming. There are some obvious reasons for that (I was there; I live an hour from Boston; runners/marathoners are my "community"; etc.), and some less obvious ones.
Innocence has become a precious commodity in our modern world. Loss of any of that precious innocence compounds the very tragedy which takes our innocence. A vicious cycle.
Every day I think about the Boston Marathon. About how things could have been different for me. How they SHOULD have been different for the three people who were killed. How April 15, 2013 has permanently and indelibly scarred the 200 victims, and so many more of us. How the attack and subsequent police investigation brought out some of the very best qualities in all of us. How sad it is that the inspiration towards selflessness, caring, charity and love abates all-too-quickly. And about much, much more.
Yet, I'm going to stay away from much of that: theodicy; existential angst; political grandstanding; the seemingly insatiable need for contextualizing the inexplicable. Oh, and the media.
Thank you, Boston Marathon, for everything you have given me, fellow participants, the "local" community, the running world, and the countless people who normally don't give a whit about running yet find themselves moved by an event that brings together 25,000+ people seeking to challenge themselves, motivate others, help charities and otherwise simply choose to live in a way that honors the gift which is our limited time on this planet.
One more thing: Boston has also led me to rethink my relationship with running, including (especially?) the marathon distance. More on that to follow in the days ahead.