Amy and Danielle: Mom Ink


Reflections on Boston

The marathon was on my mind even before the tragic events unfolded

I am using this space today not as a small business expert, but rather to write about something very personal and meaningful to me: the Boston Marathon.

Having run the storied race two times, I always think of the Boston Marathon at this time of year. This year, however, it has been on my mind more than usual, even before the tragic events of April 15th. 

I recently reconnected with an old friend, an extremely accomplished athlete who writes a beautiful blog about running. Having run Boston with my late mom, my friend Lynn knows how special this race is to me, and in preparing for Boston this year, she asked me to write about my experience with the race.
As any runner knows, training for a marathon is intense; but training for Boston is epic. For starters, not just anyone can run Boston. You need to run a qualifying time at another marathon before you can even step onto the start line. It’s also a particularly challenging course, with its route winding 26.2 miles through the hills between Hopkinton and downtown Boston. Finally, as the world’s oldest annual marathon, the race boasts an unrivaled 117-year old history. Essentially, Boston is the apex of distance running.
The marathon—or any high level sport for that matter—is amazing to me. I am compelled by the notion of deliberately choosing to push ourselves, just to see how fast, or hard, or long we can go.

But it also makes you feel vulnerable. I work hard to train for races, but when it comes down to it, it’s entirely up to me to perform. It’s just me and my sports bra and shorts and a pair of running shoes. When I race, I am literally almost naked. 

I guess this is why I’m heartsick about Boston. I keep thinking about the vulnerability of the runners out there on the course, having pushed their bodies to the limit only to run into the face of tragedy. They were without their cell phones, clothing, or families. I’m sickened that the bombs hurt these vulnerable people and their supporters lining the streets.

Of course I was devastated by Newtown. And Aurora. And Columbine. And Oklahoma City. But I have this distinctly unshakable feeling about the events in Boston. Maybe we need a direct connection to an event to feel it mostly deeply. Because for me, there is something about knowing that I was there, on the very same ground where the bombings took place, that has me badly rattled.

My friend Lynn raced Boston yesterday and is blessedly safe. She crossed the finish line mere minutes before the bombs.

Marathoning pushes people to the limits, and shows us all what we are capable of. I’m heartbroken that the bombings also showed us what some other people are capable of, in the worst imaginable way.