We Are All Boston Marathoners

heart of shoes worn by Boston marathon runners

Boston Magazine Cover, April 25, 2013

“We are all Boston Marathoners.” “Run strong, Boston strong.” “Own every mile – for Boston.” “Walk if you have to, but finish for Boston.” These were some of the signs held by spectators, pinned to shirts, written in Sharpie on calves around me on the course.

I started this post on May 13, 2013, after finishing the Cox Providence Marathon. The whole race was like a love story to the Boston Marathon, which had been shattered by bombings less than a month before. The night of April 15th, after being stopped 25+ miles into the Boston Marathon, I registered for Providence to get some sense of closure. Now, as I train for Boston 2014, I realize I am not…quite…there.

My first clue came during October’s Tufts 10K, when I made the turn from Mass Ave. onto Commonwealth Avenue and broke down sobbing.  Luckily, in a race surrounded by 6,000 other women, there was no shortage of hugs and Kleenex to carry me past the intersection with Hereford St (the turn to the Marathon finish line). After the 10K, when I started building my base mileage, I noticed that I was having trouble getting out the door for the activity that I usually count on to maintain equilibrium when juggling work and family.

I take some comfort in learning that my reactions aren’t that unusual for those impacted by the bombings, that many folks still feel dread as they approach a finish line, or see military personnel on a race course.  Nevertheless, for me, training this winter will have to be at least as much mental as physical, beginning with processing the grief and guilt that I still feel, and then visualizing approaching the finish line without fear.

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