Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I am a Runner.

Last Sunday was the Corvallis Half Marathon. I ran it for the second time and beat my previous time by nearly 13 minutes. It was an amazing day. I have never felt so proud of myself. I had every intention of writing about it on Monday after work.

However, rather than writing about my running story, I spent the evening glued to the TV as the Boston story unraveled. Boston. The town is already my second favorite city in America. I fell in love with it on a trip 18 years ago and would have gladly moved there had I ever been asked to. The Boston Marathon is the holy grail of all Marathons. Even those of us who never have a chance of ever running in it know the BQ for our age group. Just qualifying is amazing. Melinda and I refer to any hill in our runs as "heartbreak hill." It is legendary for good reason.  Every year I look forward to watching the amazing athletes. This year was no different.

Running is such a pure sport. It is one runner against another, but ultimately it is a race against oneself. Friends, family and the community came out for the Corvallis half. My favorite part of the day was watching Stafford and the kids show up on bikes at undisclosed locations to cheer us along the way. Madeleine with her big smile and two thumbs up every time I saw her gave me inspiration to push through when I didn't think I could. She was no different than those spectators at the finish line in Boston cheering their runners along too. The idea that she could have been in harms way cheering us on rocks me to my core.

As the news coverage came in, what struck me more than anything was the selfless acts of the community, the families, the runners who thought not of themselves but rather of each other as they rushed towards danger to help their fellow man. In the days following the attack, stories of heroes continue to dominate as the information available is sifted through and the pieces of the puzzle are put back together. Our nation mourns for those lost, injured and forever changed. The running community is a strong bunch by nature. We endure and we will continue to endure, standing together united in a love of a sport and the power of good to triumph over evil.

It is with this in mind that I honor Boston by proudly declaring, I am a runner. I celebrate what that means and believing that like a long and difficult run, we will all get through this together too.