Running is Cheaper Than Therapy: We Are a Family

I interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to talk about the horrific events that occurred this week at the Boston Marathon. It has been a heart wrenching week while every American sits glued to their TV’s and internet. Watching the explosions over and over. Seeing the faces of the innocent victims. Trying to wrap our minds around the what happened and struggling with how to make sense of so much violence and hatred.

BBut it has been particularly difficult for us runners. We are community. A family. We understand each other. The perseverance . The dedication. The pain. We appreciate the craziness that is the sport/addiction of running.  How could something like this happen to us? All of us have been to races. We have felt the positive energy. Felt the excitement. We have brought our friends and families to cheer us on.  It could have been any one of us…or even worse, it could have been them.

This is my greatest struggle as I come to terms with this tragedy. As I mentioned in a previous blog, having my children at the finish line for the first time at a race was one of the greatest moments I’ve ever had. To see their little faces light up with pride. And high-five their little hands as they cheer “run mommy!” is a feeling like no other. I want my children to be proud of me. I want them to learn that they can do anything the put their minds to. I want them to see fitness as something that can be fun and shared as a family. And I want them to feel the positive energy that flows like water at a running event.

So, I can’t help but wonder, what if it had been them? What if it had been my children who were critically injured or killed while watching me? How does a parent survive that guilt? Guilt is something I live with daily anyway. I feel guilty that my kids have to grow up with divorced parents (not that I had any say in that whatsoever but….) I feel guilty that I have to work full time and can’t be more involved at their schools. And I feel guilty when I run. It may sound silly, but if you ask most mothers of young children, I’d bet most would admit to feeling guilty for doing things for themselves. When I go out for run on a Saturday morning, I feel guilty for not spending that time with them. They will ask me not to go and I will assure them I won’t be gone long. I justify it to myself by saying that running makes me a better mother. It relieves my stress, making me more emotionally capable of being a mom. I convince myself that it keeps me fit so that I can keep up with the busy lifestyle that we live. But really, running is just for me. And it makes me feel guilty.

So how does a parent, who likely already feels guilty about the time he has taken away from his family to train for a marathon, then deal with the grief and guilt he feels that his family has been killed and/or critically injured as a result of watching him reach his goal? I don’t have the answer, I really am asking here. My heart goes out to Mr. Richards. He was exposing his family to what is supposed to be a positive, inspiring and uplifting event.  I must believe that little 8 year old Martin Richards died with his heart full of pride for his dad. That he was filled with the positive energy that you can only get from watching a running event in one of the best cities in the world. And that he knew his dad loved him so much, that it was his little face he wanted to see at the finish line. I must believe he died a very happy little boy who knew he was loved.

As an American, I am deeply sad and extremely angry. But as a runner, I am motivated. Motivated to overcome this tragedy. There is no room for fear in our sport. We are a community. We are family. And we do not give up. This tragedy is uniting runners everywhere as we struggle to cope with our sadness. We are coming together to raise money for the victims. We are giving blood to Red Cross. We are wearing our racing shirts to work to symbolize running pride and support for those who have been hurt.  We are a family. I will not allow what happened at the Boston Marathon change the way I feel about our sport. Or scare me away from participating.  I will continue to enter races. I will continue to bring my children to cheer me on.  And who knows, I may even train for the Boston Marathon….

(Ok, that last part is lie…)

Take care of yourselves. Hug the people you love.

And when all else fails, go for a run…

 

About Josie RunnerGirl:Josie is a mom of two. In between working full time and being a mom, she enjoys running, friends, beer and good food. Usually in that order.
She will be contributing to a series of blogs entitled “Running is Cheaper Than Therapy”.

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