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2013-52 Week 15a – Boston

I probably should have started doing this earlier in the year, but the tonal shifts that were going to be required dealing with the events of the last week were just going to be too gigantic to put all of the topics into one blog post, so I’ll be posting a couple times this week and differentiating them by letter suffix and subtitle. The first topic I am going to be writing in is both the most recent and the most tragic, and also the closest to home, so I need to process it here. I’m certain by now that most of you have heard of the horrific act of terrorism that struck yesterday’s (4/15/13) Boston Marathon, and as of yet no coward has come forward to claim credit for their malicious handiwork.

If you click on the running tag at the bottom of this post you will find, at this point in time, 87 blog posts that have to do with the subject, including one of my earliest posts on this site, Joy, Pain, and Mortality or “Why I Run”. Written weeks before the beginning of my Lost Year, I wish I had reminded myself of the content sooner, and am thankful that it has held up and seems even more true in this tough time. As I mentioned in the post, the vast majority of my miles I run alone, but I run them for the privilege of being able to run with others when it matters. I am exceedingly grateful for the timing of my next run that matters, as this weekend I will be participating in my fourth Ragnar Relay SoCal, and it already promises to be both a remembrance and a celebration.

What to say about the events of yesterday, though? The perpetrator has yet to be caught at this time, but I can’t for the life of me fathom what their goal and purpose was. I believe whoever did this is a domestic terrorist, as the scale (two smaller bombs), locale (the end of the Boston Marathon isn’t the Super Bowl), and timing (fatalities would have been greatly increased had the bombs gone off even an hour earlier) all point to low organization and skill. Not that it makes it any less tragic, and hopefully everything will be solved soon enough, but this strikes me as an attack of opportunity rather than meticulous, globe-spanning super terror cells. Unfortunately that only scratches the surface of the who, how, and why questions, but it does little good to speculate on those things now.

Thank God that the horrific actions of one can be ameliorated by the actions of so, so many. The finish line of the Boston Marathon has to be one of the most photographed and recorded locations on Earth, and every picture and video showed the same thing: an initial blast, the crowd fleeing, and then an immediate counter-rush of all the people heading in to help. There was no certainty that those were the only two blasts coming, that this was not the start of a larger scale event, but that didn’t matter to the heroes on that street, the first responders who immediately took control and started the difficult task of bringing order to chaos. I have seen a quote from Mr. Rogers circulated widely in the past day, and it was one that Jess first exposed me to several tragedies ago:

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of “disaster,” I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.

Though I am over three thousand miles away, I just want to offer my sincerest thanks and appreciation to all the people who were there, bravely and selflessly helping regardless of their role.

Speaking of distance, the internet has brought communities of all types together in a way that was just not possible in the past, but now requires us to find a new type of coping mechanism that wasn’t required before. The community of runners, volunteers, and family and friends has always been a tight knit one, as it takes a special kind of person to go out and run, or hand those same runners some water, or just go out and cheer for someone running by for a few seconds out of several hours. Jess put it best (though sadly I can only paraphrase at the moment), saying that she loves the finish line of a marathon because it is such a positive and uplifting place, where everyone is cheering and happy for complete strangers, and that someone tarnishing and targeting that place is terrible. Considering the status of Boston as the American marathoner’s Mecca, it is unlikely that anyone in our community does not know of someone directly affected by this tragedy. In fact, I have no doubt that this will cause our community to become oven closer. Already our Ragnar team is looking for ways to show our support, and we will hardly be the only event in the country this coming week.

But what of the day after? Those of you that know me understand that I do not think much in the morning outside of my predefined routine. One of my traditions is to wear red on Tuesdays (because CSUN is the Matadors and one time I saw a flyer for “Mata-Tuesday” which told me to wear red, and it just sort of stuck), and so it makes for an easy outfit selection when I’m not thinking in the mornings. Of course, on the way into school Jess mentioned that she saw people posting about wearing their marathon medals in honor of the people at the Boston Marathon, and when I got in I found people talking about wearing their shirts today. I decided I needed to go home and change at lunch, but not before stopping at Lidz in the mall to pick up a personal token that I’m going to wear through the end of Ragnar. This is my first and, hopefully, only #selfie but I didn’t have anyone around to take the pictures for me, as Gatsby was less than cooperative, apologies.


In the grand scheme of things, this may be an extremely small gesture, but it is one that I feel is important. Many small gestures can add up to a larger one, and encourage larger activities themselves. If you don’t know what to do, start with that small thing. I know for sure that I didn’t know what to do yesterday or this morning, but I decided that I wanted people to know that I wasn’t going to ignore this tragedy and that it touched me and those I care about deeply. I decided to buy a black Boston baseball cap, to represent my mourning. I had a choice at the store, however, and decided against the all-black model, instead choosing the one with a white outline around the logo, to represent the hope provided by all those heroes this situation forged. That’s why I’ll be wearing this hat through Ragnar.


Thank you for accompanying me on my journey while I processed such a senseless act. As more information becomes available, I’m certain I might address this again, but it feels good to have worked things out a little bit. Hopefully I helped you a little too in the process. I’ll have some details up from the weekend before all this went down hopefully tomorrow, because Jess and I had a great time on a little getaway trip.

Weight: 226 Loss: 4 lbs – Running Yearly Mileage: 184.2 miles (+6 miles) Last year-to-date: 101.2 miles – Words-to-date: 26961 (+1306)

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