Boston Strong

It has been one week since the attacks at the Boston Marathon and it has been amazing to see the way the country and running community has come out to support one another, hold events and work to track down those responsible.  It has been emotional watching it all and reflecting on the happenings – not because I was there or ever have been, but because of how hard I fought to earn my qualification this year.

Since I didn’t qualify until March, I wasn’t eligible to run Boston this year – in September I will be able to register for the 2014 marathon (if I’m lucky enough to get in before it sells out).  But, with the recent qualification, I paid a lot of attention to the event this year – I knew people going and eagerly followed their updates – each one getting me more excited about running it next year.

Then, the unthinkable happened.  I then (once again) marveled at how everything happens for a reason.  Last year I had the goal of getting my Boston Qualification during the LA Marathon.  I was feeling confident and healthy, did everything I was suppose to leading up to the race. The morning of, I physically fell apart.  There was no reason for it and mentally I kept fighting until my body wouldn’t do any more.  I walked away heartbroken – not knowing where I had gone wrong.  I now know I just wasn’t supposed to be in Boston this year. Thankfully, all of our Arizona runners were okay and made it home safely.  We will all be there in full force next year!

Throughout the past week, people all over the world have been running in honor of Boston. As a measure of solidarity, running shops and groups gathered together last evening for a unified Boston Strong run.  Unfortunately, life got in the way of me making it out to one of ours in time so I took my dog out for a run when I got home.  We did 4.09 miles in honor of the race clock time when the first bomb exploded.  This was the first run I have done with my Garmin since the Phoenix Marathon … Yes, that was over 7 weeks ago! I’ve been in a slump and it’s good to be back!

Over the past week I have been thinking about how much I have learned from my running buddies and what I have seen our running community accomplish.  With that, there are a few things I would like to say to the people responsible for the attacks …
I don’t know who you are and because of your actions, I don’t care to. From your actions, I do know one thing – while you may think you know us, you really know little (if anything at all).  See, if you knew who you were attacking, you would know:
We are mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. We are brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We are friends, confidants and sole mates. We are family and we are united.
We are your teachers, police officers, firefighters, your military.  We are CEOs, actors, news anchors, chefs, lawyers and accountants.  We come from all walks of life and represent all industries. We may not know one another – we don’t need to. We may have nothing else in common – that’s okay. We are all part of the running community which means we are one and will go into battle with and for our fellow community members.
For some, this is our livelihood.  For others, it is a once in a lifetime experience.  No matter where we are on the spectrum, our community and events are important to us all. When our community, an individual or an event is challenged, we won’t go out without a fight. Even if we get knocked down, we come back stronger than ever.
See, we have battled cancer and won. We have been told we would never walk again, now we run. We have lost limbs, organs, senses and people we care deeply about. We have faced adversity and shown it we can be more stubborn and persistent than it could ever dare to be. So, you don’t scare us. We live life to the fullest and know that even if it is taken away, we have no regrets and we have people in our lives who will make sure our spirit lives on. The harder, more painful, more unlikely an obstacle is to overcome – the better. All those obstacles make us stronger and we love it.
We face challenges with fierce enthusiasm. We band together for a cause. We thrive on having a reason to fight, a reason to run, a reason to push through the pain and finish victorious.
You wanted to create fear – instead you created a stronger desire within us. You wanted to crush our spirits – instead you fueled our fire.
You have obviously never experienced the exhilaration and triumph of overcoming physical challenges, mental battles, fatigue, naysayers, illnesses and injuries. You must not know what it is like to push your body past what you ever thought possible and cross a finish line with thousands of people cheering.  For that, I feel sorry for you because nothing comes close to the feeling of running down the chute to the finish line.  Even explosions at our side won’t stop us from getting to the finish and celebrating our accomplishments … yes, the feeling is that good and nothing you do will ever take that away.  Nothing you do will diminish our successes.  Nothing you do with ever crush our spirits. And, we don’t plan on stopping!
When you learn to live for yourself and find your own happiness – you find out who you really are and love everything about you … we are at that point in our lives and no one can change us. You have no power over us.  We won’t stop being runners, we won’t stop competing, we won’t stop succeeding, we won’t stop celebrating.  It’s who we are and what we love most about ourselves.

I am so proud to be part of the running community and am extremely grateful for the amazing people I have in my life.  A huge thank you to everyone who has come into my life – even if for just a brief moment – you are all very special to me!  Never stop setting goals, working hard and believing in yourself!

-Mindy


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