Every now and then I receive an email from someone that makes my heart jump.
Usually it’s just a quick note, a confirmation from the BAA telling me I’m registered for the 2014 Boston Marathon. Or a reminder to update my address, a nudge to check which corral I will be in when I line up to race next month. Usually the emails hit my inbox just as I am thinking, no, I’m not going to run today. And usually I change my mind.
I’ve been waiting for the marathon for almost a year. But I’m approaching it differently than I have in the past. Last year, I had a running buddy who was faster than me, I did speed workouts, I hustled to debut at Boston under 3 hours. (I didn’t. Missed it by less than three minutes.) But this year I don’t really have a goal. I know I am not as strong as I was last year. I know I am not as fast. But I am running it anyway.
Because this year, it’s not really about my time. It’s not about seeing if I can finish. I know I can. I finish races. It’s about an obligation.
I haven’t really followed the court case of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, which is strange. I am a news junkie. I check at least ten different news outlets every day. And in the weeks that followed the bombing, I refreshed my news feeds constantly. During the manhunt in Cambridge I was glued to the police scanner for hours. And then he was found in the bottom of a boat and I haven’t thought about him a lot since.
What I do think about are the reasons I should run on the days I don’t want to. Like today. I think about how easy it is for me to put on my shoes and just go. My life was not dramatically altered afterward. I didn’t know anyone injured in the blasts. I don’t need to strap on a prosthetic foot every morning. I didn’t have to re-learn how to walk. And because I can run, I will run.
I don’t really know what I am expecting to feel when I board the bus in Boston Commons in five weeks. But I hope I am excited. I hope this year I turn to the person sitting beside me and make conversation. I hope that during the race I remember to touch hands with the spectators because that’s why they came. And I hope that when I cross the finish line, I hug my high school coaches who will be volunteering there again, find my family, grab my drop bag, and leave without a story.