I’ve been thinking about the Boston Marathon tragedy, especially while running. Of course, there is no sense to be made out of senseless acts. But now I feel this kinship with runners everywhere who heard about, saw, or experienced the horrific events and wondered, “Why? Why the marathon?”
I know for me, running is a way to get out of my overly-busy head and into my under-used body. As a parent, it’s my chance to be alone with my thoughts and to have my body all to myself. I get to control my route, my speed, the music in my head. When I run, there is no Caspar Babypants, no cries of “Mom! Mom!” I’m alone with the sound of my footfalls and breath, surrounded by nature and weather.
When I run a race, I think of it as this rare treat: hours to myself to do nothing but run. I have no one’s needs to attend to but my own. When I finish the race, however, that’s when the real work begins. I go back to my work as a therapist, as a mother, a spouse, a sister, a daughter. When I re-enter, I hope to go forth better than when I started the race. I hope to re-enter with greater stores of patience, empathy, compassion,, humor, and forgiveness. I have found all of these things with running, as I suspect many of the Boston runners have, too. We runners know: the finish line may represent the end of the race–but also the beginning of a much longer course.