The Magic of The Internet.April 1, 2014 at 11:41 am | Posted in And I ran (I ran so far away), Choosing Happiness., Mindful., My life | 6 Comments
I don’t talk a lot about last year’s Boston Marathon, with the exception of the posts I put up last year after it all went down. As you could tell from those posts, I was deeply, deeply affected by it all. Knowing that it EASILY could have been Charlie and Lucky at that finish line, injured, terrified, while I was doing something I love to do? Families of marathoners already make sacrifices – Charlie and Lucky do lots of errands for me in the hours when I’m gone doing my long runs and speedwork sessions.
And so, I hold strongly: I could never forgive myself if something happened to my son or husband because of me.
Not surprisingly, this year’s marathon coverage started early, with in depth reports about the events of the day, the manhunt, the changes to the marathon this year, the profiling of the victims and what they plan on doing this year. And it’s brought up a lot of the same kind of feelings from last year, reminding me of the ever present fact.
I could lose the two people in my life who mean the most to me. Nothing in this life is safe.
I record my workouts on a website called Dailymile. It’s kind of like Facebook, except everyone who is online is an athlete of some kind. Over the years, I’ve connected with a number of other runners and follow their training. I have met a few local people at meet ups: women who have completed Ironman triathlons, ultramarathoners, marathoners, new runners who just got started, cyclists, yogis, etc.
One of those runners, a woman I will call Dallas, signed up to run two stages, totaling 19.5 miles, of the One Run for Boston a couple of weeks ago, before a calf injury flared up. (As an aside, if you’ve never heard of the One Run for Boston: you should check the link out. It’s a relay from California to Boston, as created by two amazing people from England. All funds raised go to the One Fund, which has actually paid real money to the victims of the bombing. It’s just amazing.)
Anyway, Dallas ran a test 5 mile run the Wednesday before her stages and realized she wasn’t sure she’d be able to do the whole thing. So she went on Dailymile asked for people who might be interested in flying to Texas, then roadtripping with she and her sister to Oklahoma to run with her.
The mileage happened to dovetail perfectly with my training – this weekend I had a 20 mile run on the schedule. And interestingly, I was registered for a 20 mile race that Sunday, but was feeling pretty uninspired. Marathon training this winter has been HARD, weather-wise. More wind and cold rain were in the forecast for Sunday’s race.
I felt like a roadtrip to run in sunny Oklahoma would maybe put the spark back in my own marathon training. Another girl (who I will call Oregon) volunteered too.
I had never met either one of them before the weekend, but they seemed like such great people and I was all for the adventure.
So that’s how I found myself on a plane on Friday morning, heading to into Texas. I met up with Oregon at the airport and Dallas picked us up from there. We all drove to Chickasha, OK for the evening, had a good dinner, and settled into our hotel room for the night.
After a quick half mile warmup, our stage started at 6:45 in the morning. It was dark and chilly, but we were running right into the sunrise, and you could feel the promise of sun and warmth. The route we were running – a 9 and 10.5 mile leg which followed SH 152 from Chickasha to Minco, OK – was a series of hills. It’s funny, because I had this idea that Oklahoma would be more like Kansas – pancake flat, with a road that stretched as far as we could see. I was wrong! The part of Oklahoma we ran was NOT AT ALL FLAT. For most of our 19.5 miles, it was one hill after another.
But still, a great run. Along the way we saw red rocks and valleys, lots of cows and windmills, a couple of dogs that tried to herd us into their cow pasture, and lots of drivers who didn’t want to yield. In fact, one woman called the Oklahoma state police because “there were three high school girls running in the middle of 152!” Which gave us a huge laugh – the three of us are most definitely MANY years out of high school.
And we met such great people: the woman who owned the convenience store at the end of stage 147, who wanted a picture with us, who told us she was proud of us; a former Marine from St. Louis who was running one of the group stages that night and was too excited to wait. And of course, the founders – the amazing people from England who started this all.
When we finished the second stage, literally moments after telling Oregon and Dallas I barely cried in front of my husband… I lost it. I sobbed. For my running club friend, yes. But for me, too.
It’s too much sometimes, to think about. We went through so much suffering to bring Lucky home, and the idea I could lose him because I’m doing something I love… it’s just too much to process.
I swear, runners are amazing people. Because we ALL exchanged hugs – real hugs, real comfort – and tears. And, too: the amazement that we could play a small part in a this huge undertaking.
And then it was time to drive back to Texas, so I could catch my flight back home. Within 4 hours of finishing this amazing run, I was back on a plane, heading to my family.I don’t really believe in fate, or that all things happen for a reason.
But I also love how the weekend worked out. It was my reminder from the universe: we are all connected… and all drops cause ripples.