Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A much-needed "recovery" run.....

Most of you use recovery runs to recover from a hard effort, or from a long run.....but after the events of yesterday, my needs were more of the mental/emotional/spiritual kind.  My spirit was crushed yesterday, and desperately needed to be restored.

As many of you already know, I started this blog in an effort to chronicle my training for the 2012 Boston Marathon.  I, like many others, will never qualify to run in my hometown marathon, but I was fortunate enough to be invited to be a part of a charity team (Melanoma Foundation of New England), so I guess you could say I snuck in through the back door.  There are those out there who look down on the charity runners, never taking into account the hard work we do to both train for the race AND reach the fundraising goals set by the BAA.  I'll never understand ANYONE who looks down on anyone else who runs a marathon, but people get a little nutty about Boston.  After all, it's probably on everyone's "bucket list" and seeing people run the race who didn't make a qualifying time.......but considering the fact that the charity runners don't take away spots held for those who actually qualify on time, I can't understand the enmity.  Considering the amounts raised for the various worthwhile charities who partner with the BAA, I can't see any negatives, but there are always going to be those who seek to diminish any of us who don't fit their preconceived profile/image of what a Boston runner should be.....

Naturally, I'd like to think that those people will keep their opinions to themselves now......

Barb, Ben and I made our way into the city to cheer on the runners at the beginning of the Newton hills...just past the fire station where you turn off of Route 16 and onto Commonwealth Avenue.  Those of you who've run Boston know that the marathon truly begins on those hills.....the 17+ miles before those hills are just an extended warmup.  We got down there early enough to see all the elites come by.....WOW.  They just seem to float by.......their amazing form hiding the effort.  Got a great shot of the woman from Portugal who was leading at the time.  After the elites, we stayed to cheer on all the runners that followed.  It was fascinating watching all the runners go by.......some of them seriously concentrating on the hills, while others were just enjoying being part of the most incredible parade in the world!  It was also interesting to watch the form of the runners change as the runners from Wave 1 gave way to those from Wave 2.....and then Wave 3.  Finally, my buddy Jose found me for a sweaty hug, and our day as spectators was done...

I left totally inspired to run......and a little bittersweet for not being a part of the parade.

We then went to lunch (at the always terrific Deluxe Town Diner in Watertown, MA) and then headed home.

I was driving west on the Mass Pike and noticed rather quickly that there seemed to be an unusually large number of State Police cars streaming into the city, lights blazing.  I remarked to Barb that "something is wrong".........how unfortunately right I was.

I can't even begin to put words to how I feel.......all I can say is that I'm so glad that none of my friends who were running were hurt....none of their family or friends were hurt, either, but clearly my city and our marathon will never be quite the same.  I don't know what to tell my son......he wasn't around for 9/11, but we've talked through that before.  Barb and I were newlyweds....only married for about 6 weeks at the time, and having to confront the randomness.  This is different.....the scale is obviously smaller, but it's OUR city......and the first bomb went off not far from where Barb and Ben were cheering for me when I was crying my eyes out as I was finishing the Marathon last year.

So this morning, I set out to run.....to clear my head.....to find or make some meaning of everything.  I knew that 2.62 wasn't going to be enough for me, so I intended to double it and go for 5.24 instead.  It was such a beautiful day here today.......seasonably warm....clear skies........perfect for running.  And while my running usually serves the purpose of providing me with much-needed clarity, I sit here now, hours later, no clearer about anything that I was previously.  I've read so many blogs already, and everyone is expressing their shock, sorrow, sadness, and confusion.

I have resolve.

I will never be able to run fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but I am determined to toe the line in Hopkinton next April......if for nothing more than to thumb my nose at those behind this cowardly attack.  They will not stop us, and they will not stop me.  I raised the money in 2012 and I will do it again.  To honor those who lost their lives.......to honor those who were injured.....to honor the first responders who turned towards the carnage and confusion when others would turn away.....that the determination to run a marathon cannot be defeated.

As you all know, I've been dealing with a nagging injury this year.  2013 has not unfolded the way I had hoped it would, but I'm not going to let it stop me.  I have a marathon to run in 6 weeks that I am clearly not going to be fully or completely prepared for, but I'm going to do it anyway.  I'm going to persevere, because THAT'S WHAT BOSTONIANS DO!!!!!!!    We will continue.....we will not be defeated......we will not cower......we will not be afraid........we will go on and we will rise again!

Boston 2014 will be a celebration of the human spirit......a celebration of the City of Boston......a celebration of all that is good and right with humanity........a celebration of runners and running........and the best damn parade around.

I'm going to do all I can to be out there next year......to feel that rush of emotions as I make that left turn onto Boylston Street........and there will be tears in my eyes again.  I've cried a lot over the last 24 hours......cried at the sight of the devastation......cried at the sight of the victims.........cried at yet another cherished civic tradition ruined by the actions of cowards......cried at another loss of our collective innocence and sense of security....well, I'm tired of crying.  The only action I can take is to take part.......my tears will be saved for the realization of a dream.

See you on Boylston Street next April!


  1. I'll be the first to donate Bill! One of the reasons I love our sport is because there is a place for everyone.

    Running always helps in some way. And writing does too. This blog forum has proven a great outlet - especially during a time like this.

    I wish you well and hope your son doesn't have to experience too many of these horrible events.

    1. thanks, Lisa....I remain hopeful for our collective futures. This storm will pass....

  2. Although we have never physically met, I can say I love you dearly as a fellow runner. I am so thankful you, your friends, and your family is ok. You were one of the first people I thought of. Keep movin' dear friend. This will not stop us!

    1. Thanks, Lady M.....your kind words mean so much...amazing how connected we can become to "strangers" through this shared passion! Love to you and yours, as well!

  3. Great post. I will donate.

    Body willing, I will be at Boston in 2016 as a qualifier as a 60 yr old. I hope to meet up with you then!

    Good luck in your race...remember you want to be marathoning for decades to come so don't overdo!

    Re: the injuries thing. there is always a way to fix these things...get the book Runners Anatomy and READ IT. I wish I had when I started running.

    I'm still messed up from the heinous crime . I'm heartened by the people that went into unknown danger to help the injured and I am determined to do the same if I'm ever in the same position.

    'Nuff said,


    1. thanks, Paul.....2016....I'll be there at age 53, probably bringing up the rear in Wave 3!

  4. I love this post. THank you for writing it. Sorry you had to write it.

    Resolve. I like it. I'll be cheering for you!

  5. Love to you and your family xx

    Explaining to my boys what had happened in Boston was awful and telling them I would still be running London and why was just as hard.
    No one wants to write these posts or news headlines and we should not live in fear.

    Boston is one of my favourite cities in the world and I wish the people in it all the love in the world to help you all heal xx

  6. Bill, thanks for coming out and cheering. The crowd support was second to none. Next year's race will be a huge event. Here's to your dream in 2014!

  7. What a beautiful post, Bill. I'm so thankful you and your family and friends weren't hurt. I did a lot of crying too. But that's right, they won't stop us!!

  8. Best wishes in raising the funds to run Boston next year. Thanks for pouring out your emotions on this post and is very well said. My hopes a prayers for you is that you will get over this injury for good, and some day, you WILL qualify for Boston, even if it kills you.