All the words have been spoken and all the emotions have been felt. There isn't much new to be said about what happened at the Boston Marathon yesterday. I felt sick the moment I heard about the bombs, and it escalated with each terrifying video and every horrifying image.
I found out rather quickly that my friends and teammates in Boston were safe and sound, but so many people weren't. Their lives were literally torn apart. I can't get the images out of my mind. The blood-soaked sidewalks, the mangled limbs. The screaming from the live footage is such a terrible sound, and I just want to believe it's not real. Fake blood. Artificial injuries. Actors.
How are people supposed to remove those images and sounds and moments from their memory? How do those innocent people recover? Is it even possible? It hardly seems fair.
The people who received the brunt of the attack were spectators. Moms, brothers, sons, dads, sisters, friends. A runner's support system. Those are the people who help make the marathon worth it. I think of my parents, who never miss a big race. I imagine seeing their excitement and feeling their pride. They have been my light in every single race they've spectated. And some asshole extinguished the light in Boston yesterday. It's unimaginable. A runner's dream to run the Boston Marathon turned into anguish and fear and despair, wondering whether family members were safely waiting at the triage center that used to be a finish line.
To hate whoever did this isn't enough. Nothing will be enough, really. The running community is a family, and this tragedy hit too close to home for so many. Those are my people. Our people. But as the day progressed, my Twitter and Facebook feeds began to fill with camaraderie. #RunForBoston became a tag across the internet. Runners throughout the country hit the pavement last night in honor of shattered lives. Runners did what runners do in solidarity and support -- they ran. I ran last night, wearing a shirt that says "Run Forever" on the back. But now we know forever isn't real.
This attack may have burnt up the hopes of hundreds yesterday, but it lit a fire in the hearts of just as many.
This morning I registered for a November marathon, which goes against everything I've already said and felt this year. But that was before I felt this -- sadness, motivation, anger, resilience. Runners are resilient, and in our own way we're going to help our collective broken spirit get back on its feet. We'll run for Boston, we'll run for the injured, we'll run for those who died, we'll run for those who didn't make it to the finish line yesterday, and we'll run for those who will never have a chance to start.
My crossing of the marathon finish line later this year won't make a bit of difference to the people in Boston. But I can do my small part in my small corner of Wisconsin to honor them for 26.2 miles, a distance so familiar to me, and a distance I so often take for granted.
No one can live forever and no one can run forever, but we can live right now and run while we can. It's been said probably hundreds of times already, but it doesn't make it any less true: when you mess with one runner, you mess with them all.
We love you, Boston.