It’s midnight and I’m sitting at the keyboard, sweaty and chilly. I just got in from a four-mile run. An hour earlier my friend Chris (who writes Valley News now) emailed and said she’d just added another three miles to our week’s tally. That brought us up to 20.3 miles.
Six more to go.
Last Wednesday we were both still horror stricken at what happened at the finish line in Boston. We were trying to think of ways we could honor the runners and others who were injured or killed, and all their grieving loved ones.
We thought about signing up for a marathon, or even a half-marathon. We still might.
But that night I went to the YMCA for my workout and saw a sign that said people were pledging to run 26.2 miles, the length of a marathon, by the end of the week, in solidarity with the victims.
There was no way we were going to log that many miles apiece in half a week, but we agreed to rack them up as a team by Monday night, one week after the bombing.
Not that two women completing a marathon-distance run hundreds of miles away from Boston can in any way undo any of the hurt done that day.
That’s the horror of it; no matter how bad we feel, there’s so little we can do.
I can’t stop thinking about the athletes who lost the use of their legs that day. It’s as if someone bombed the Grammys in such a way that dozens of musicians lost the use of their hands.
These were people who made the most of what they had. You can’t just plunk down an entry fee to get into the Boston Marathon. You have to qualify. These runners were very serious. They were wrapping up a marathon in a little more than four hours, a very respectable 10-minute-mile pace. For many, it could only be true that their identities revolved around running.
They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone, but these people did.
There were many god-awful tragedies that day, the worst of which no doubt was the death of an eight-year-old boy.
In a world in which terrorism has become a go-to means of expressing political or religious grievances, the two young men who appear to have placed those bombs on that route managed to perpetrate a uniquely horrible crime.
They hurt people in the cruelest ways possible; killing a family’s little boy and two others who will be loved and missed, and stripping others of abilities that had given their lives shape and meaning.
I hope, as I did during the nationwide holding of candlelight vigils in the wake of Sandy Hook, that at least those affected are comforted in some way to hear of all the expressions of sorrow and empathy from around the country and the world.
I know that some of those runners are local; there were three runners from Snohomish, and to the pride of the entire Pacific Northwest, the 78-year-old man knocked down by the blast whose instantly iconic picture will grace the cover of Sports Illustrated, and who got up and completed the marathon, is Biill Iffrig from Lake Stevens.
I hope those runners, undoubtedly shaken and with their tremendous accomplishment marked by such horror, are gaining some solace from their communities, including ours.
I tend to want good to come of these things somehow. It’s a natural response to tragedy. It’s difficult to see how good can come of this one.
But if anything, I hope that it reminds me of how lucky I am to be able, and that my body and health are not to be taken for granted. I hope it reminds me to make the most of what I have.
Tomorrow, Chris and I will complete our run. Having done it reinforces how hard it must be to run 26.2 miles in a single day.
My heart is with those who could, and did, and never will again.