Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Healing Thoughts

The events of yesterday keep replaying in my mind.  Not in some nightmare-ish form, fortunately, but tumbling around just the same.  It seems fitting for someone as wordy as I to find solace in writing them down. Please forgive my rambling…if you can’t follow.  This is therapy.

I was elated yesterday morning to be able to “watch” my friend Richard, from my desk at work more than 3,000 miles away, as he achieved his dream of completing the Boston Marathon.  Yes…I was working.  But, every half hour or so, I was able to look online at the “little blue man” on the Athlete Tracker map, and see that he was steadily progressing from Hopkinton, MA, toward his goal in Boston! 

Truthfully, “The Boston Marathon” is something most Americans have heard of, yet maybe have no real idea of what they’re really talking about.  Such was the case for me.  Until I pulled up the Athlete Tracker map, I had no idea that the ground he would cover was the ONLY East Coast ground I had ever set foot on.  (I spent a short amount of time in Framingham, more than 20 years ago.)  Anyway, it was fun to watch him cross the screen for 3 hours and 25 minutes.

Richard, like me, has taken the journey from severe obesity to athlete.  In fact, he is a role model for me…being quite a distance ahead of me in the game.  He has been an encourager, a realist (sharing the good, bad, and sometimes ugly), and a friend, though we have only met once in person.  I was so happy to be a “part” of his day…and I truly prayed for him throughout the day.

I had posted a congratulatory message on Facebook yesterday, and headed to lunch.  Upon my return, I saw a post regarding “bombs” going off at the finish line, and assumed it was some euphemism for the end-of-race feeling/celebration/etc.  Oh, how I wish.

Fortunately, just a couple of lines above that, I read that Richard was fine, and then Facebook lit up like crazy.  How interesting it is, in these times, that we get “news” as soon as it happens.  Sometimes that leads to chaos of misinformation, but other times – like yesterday – it helps to know that our loved ones can make contact immediately.  This was the case.  Not only was Richard fine, but I was able to confirm that some other acquaintances (Running Chicks in PDX, BariAthletes, etc.) had checked in.  

The other thing that impressed me was the solidarity that social media has been able to accomplish.  Stories of people offering rooms, meals, showers, transportation.  Rallying the running community to wear our race shirts today (ANY race shirt – participant, volunteer, or friend), as a sign of shared hope & love.  Offering up of prayers for those injured, affected, or just moved by the tragedy.

And, then a profound thought hit this morning (as I was putting on my Surf City Marathon shirt).  I no longer feel like an “imposter” in the running community.  Oh, I am FAR from any sort of BQ time.  (What is BQ?  Boston Qualifying time – which for a female my age would be a 3:15 marathon…FIVE hours shorter than my Surf City time!)  But, my heart was AT that marathon yesterday.  I felt the elation, the sweat, the tears, the joy, the heartache, and mostly the PRIDE of the global running community.  Because no matter my current level of fitness, I choose to be a part of this tribe of caring, supportive, determined folks who accept you right where you’re at.  And, who will continue to support ME as I live my fit dreams.

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