15 April 2013

The Finish Line

This post was going to be about my awesome runner friend Brad. Not only did he run the Boston Marathon today, but he set a new marathon PR of sub-2:50. Awesome, yes? All weekend I had been thinking about him - he was probably soaking up the pre-race atmosphere (there are few pre-race atmosphere's that can match those of Boston), hopefully eating a big pasta dinner somewhere in the North End, picking up his race bib at the expo as well as a few other items, like a Boston jacket, to mark the occasion of this important race - the marathon of marathons. I'd been following his training on his blog and knew that he had worked really hard to fill up the old training barn with hay. This winter wasn't a super kind one here in DC (compared to how our winters normally are), so I know Brad did much of his running in the cold, dark, blustery, rainy/sleety weather. He dialed in his nutrition, gave up crap foods, went to bed early, sacrificed some of his social life, all in the name of becoming the best runner he could be for one of the best marathons on earth - Boston. And he did it in impressive fashion, setting a six-minute PR! I was tracking him and checking his progress every 20 minutes; and just like clockwork, the tracker showed he had ticked off another 5k during that time. It took all my self control not to cheer aloud when I saw his finishing time, knowing how elated he had to have been feeling seeing all of his hard work pay off, and having it all come to fruition at a race that is near and dear to his heart.

It is that feeling of elation, of accomplishment, of running towards the finish line and seeing that clock display a time that even you didn't think was possible - it's those things that every runner chases. I wasn't up in Boston spectating or racing today and fortunately everyone that I knew who was up there is safe. I can't speak as someone who was directly affected by today's events at the Boston Marathon finish line. And thus my sadness is much more superficial than those who experienced true trauma and loss - and I absolutely don't want this blog post to take away from that. As someone who races and sees these events as a celebration of accomplishments and an opportunity for camaraderie, it is unfathomable to me that anyone would even consider harming racers and the spectators that support them. The finish line is supposed to be safe. The finish line is where you reunite with your family, your friends - those who made your training possible and your accomplishments a reality. The finish line is meant to be magic - where you watch the gamut of emotions play across the faces of those racing - happiness, joy, grit, determination - the very core of all that is good. I adore the finish line. I feel so much love at the finish line, whether I'm racing or spectating. The finish line is the best part. Brad, and all the other runners from today's marathon, should be eating cannolis from Mike's Pastries in the North End in celebration of their accomplishments. They should be trading stories with other runners about how amazing it felt to run down Boylston Street. They should be feeling happy disbelief when they think of their finish time. It's sad that all of those feelings, those experiences, the finish line, were ruined today.


bradleyd3 said...

So very sad.

You stated it very well (I, on the other hand used a lot of cuss words to get my feelings out).

Glad your friend is safe!

Jennifer N. said...

As someone who will likely never run a marathon but does run 5Ks and aspires for more, I'm now afraid to have my kids watching from the finish line where i had previously hoped to inspire them to stay active and chase their dreams. This is so upsetting. Thanks for your words.

Jackie said...

Superbly stated, Caroline. I keep repeating to non-runner friends that the finish line is the most joyful place you can imagine.

onthebusrunning said...

Caroline, so humbled and grateful for this space in your blog. I only wish that the second half of it had come true. Still trying to piece together the emotions that go from elation, to guilt, to sadness. Such a surreal day. You captured the essence of Boston so well. Thank you!