On Sunday, April 14, I completed my first half-marathon, a huge physical challenge for myself, and one that was none too easy. Throughout the 2 hours and 17 minutes that I ran 13.1 miles, I felt many highs and many lows – and not just because of the ridiculous and plentiful hills in Central Park. There were times when my mind and body felt great, powerful, and speedy. And then there were times when my mind and body felt pained, exhausted, and weak. But when I finished the race, having run every step of the way, I felt an enormous sense of accomplishment. As a sprinter in high school, running a half-marathon was something I never imagined myself doing. As tired as I was, I remember crossing that finish line with a beam across my face.
The very next day, when I watched the news unfold of the bombings at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, my gut twisted and my heart ached – for the victims, the witnesses, the emergency personnel, the staff, the volunteers, the spectators, and the runners. These runners had set out that morning to accomplish a physical feat I can’t even fathom. They had set out to challenge themselves, to inspire others, to raise money for charity, to bring the world together through a shared passion. It makes me so angry that many runners weren’t able to finish, and that the spectators’ invaluable cheers were hushed in a moment of incomprehensible violence. But, I’m also inspired by the thousands of people who have continued to run this past week in honor of the ones who didn’t or couldn’t finish and the ones who will never run again.
While I’ll never fully understand the many “WHY”s I have surrounding this heinous act of violence, I will forever be thankful for my legs, my lungs, and for my ability to run, especially when my mind and body feel pained, exhausted, and weak. I pray this heightened perspective on running – just sheer gratitude for the privilege – will stay with me every time I run. #BostonStrong