Shannon Armitage, LMFT

Adult, Child, Couple, and Family Therapy in Seattle

The Finish Line is not the Finish

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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.

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