“For most of us today, Boston was personal. It is personal.” This, perhaps, sums up the sentiments millions of people have over the tragedy in Boston.
You do not have to be a Bostonian to make it personal to you.
April 15, 2013, I had just returned from my lunch break while working in the ER. It was a Monday, thus, it was chaotic. On my lunch break, I had just viewed over the news how Shalane and Kara ranked 4th and 6th places, respectively. Nothing, however, prepared me for what my coworker would tell me. “Did you hear? There’s bombing in the Boston Marathon,” as she went on to talk a little of how there were “mangled bodies…”
In an instinct, I asked her to watch over our area, as I walked fast to our lounge and exactly saw just that on TV. Spiels from news anchors circulated on how 2 explosions took place. It was hazy at that point. It was a bit of a blur. It was yet to be known whether it was an accident cause by a gas pipe and the like.
But who would not think of the unthinkable? The probability, perhaps, of 2 explosions at one of the most-watched sports event is just too high that one can only think this was an act of terrorism.
At that point, all I could think of are a couple of individuals I know who were either running or watching the marathon. These people, however, I know not personally, but with whom, somehow, I have made connections with through the social media. I call them either by the tag “Instagram-“ or “Facebook-“ friends. But these are people I know— and I feared for them at the time.
And then I feared for people, everyone, who were hurt… much like how everyone feared for people in Boylston Street that day.
It was unthinkable.
I finished worked at 1915 that day and went for my run in the West Side Highway. It is in these moments of silence when your mind starts to work.
You wonder and you ponder. And since that day, I have not stopped thinking about who is or are behind the monstrosity. How could have one committed such convoluted, twisted prank? And how one could have done it in a gathering for a sport that is not even elitist, not even one patronized by the rich alone or by capitalists or by sport icons who have profited millions through their craft.
Since then, each of my time outside work, most of it, has been spent watching CNN or listening to 1010 WINS, monitoring the events in Boston. I would sometimes find myself hold back tears.
Because this is how it is.
I am a new runner… an older person, who just found the love of running through a simple twist of fate. I now consider myself as belonging to a family of runners, having a husband with several marathons and claiming his Ultras.
And running fosters a quasi-, unspoken community of individuals.
There is a spirit that exists among runners.
This, I found when I subscribed to Instagram and actually found a huge group of new friends that I connect with from New Jersey to Michigan to Florida to California to Scotland to Spain to the border of Syria. It is a community. IT is a family.
And an attack such as this is not just an attack against a beautiful community like Boston. It is a pain experienced by those who love running. It is an impalement of an imaginary dagger to the dream of many.
Because this is how it is again.
Boston is hard. Boston Marathon is for the fast. For the fast that when I received text messages and phone calls Monday, asking me if was safe and if I was in Boston, I could only laugh because there is NO WAY I would be in Boston to run that day. Even, perhaps, never.
(For those who do not understand, Boston has time qualifications. It may be “elitist” only for the fact that if you are not running for charity, you need to be among the 10% of the running population, who can move one foot after the other fast enough. You have to have a pretty darn efficient VO2 max.)
Thus, Boston Marathon is a dream. It is a dream for runners who cannot run fast. It is a dream for men and women who can only build up on endurance and not on speed—like me. It is a dream for my husband, who is optimistic to run Boston next year through another marathon in May, where he will need to improve his time via 3 minutes. It is a dream for many, whose only option to get it is through raising funds for charity.
Because Boston Marathon is hard.
So this attack in Boston? It is personal. It is personal because anyone running a marathon—regardless of location—devoted time, sweat, effort, social life, and everything else imaginable in an attempt to cross the finish line. It is months of training that can only be rewarded by the sight of that clock that tells you your finish time.
This attack in Boston? It is an assault to the families who watch from the sidelines… from the finish line. It is punch to the face to the husbands and wives and children and friends who needed to miss a runner at a family gathering or soccer training or drinks after work because he or she had to run a tempo or do fartleks or do long runs.
It is personal. Yes, it is personal.
For some, the bombings may only be viewed as an attack against a beautiful Massachusetts town.
But for a large, unquantifiable community, whose members get out of their beds before the sun rises or skip family dinners to hit the roads, it is a big blow. It is an incursion.
Yet this will not stop this community.
As in the words of the President today: We will run again. You will run again.