Our Marathon

Boston.  It’s not just the capital of Massachusetts.  For New Englanders, Boston is “our” city.  It’s the home of the Red Sox, the Bruins, the Celtics–“our” sports teams.  When we want a bit of the city life, we drive down or take a train to Boston.  It is New England’s capital.  And the Boston Marathon?  That, in fact,  is everyone’s marathon.  It’s the one runners strive to get into, no matter where they live.  It’s a lifelong dream for many runners to finally qualify and be one of the 36,000 to actually be in THE Boston Marathon.

We all know what happened last year. I held my son in my lap and wept, as we watched the news that night.  Since I began running just 3 1/2 years ago, I’ve felt a kinship with other runners, no matter they’re age or speed.  We’ve all had good runs, good races, bad runs and bad races. We know what it’s like to get up before dawn to train and we’ve all felt pain doing something we love. It’s all kind of weird and all really good.

After the bombings, I wondered what I could do to help.  I donated to OneFund but was there something else? How can I show my support for this race and these people? I knew I wouldn’t be in Boston for the next race (it’s the day after my son’s birthday, and being in such a huge crowd is not his kind of fun).  Then my friend, Jean, posted a link about the Boston Marathon World Run on her Facebook wall.  I’ve been thinking about it for a few weeks, but since I haven’t been able to run much lately, I didn’t think I could do it.  Then I re-read the description a little better.  Just run or walk a mile or two or 26.2 in the days and weeks leading up to April 21, or even on that day.   It’s just to celebrate movement and making a commitment to our fitness goals.  It’s a way to be part of this community of runners who have achieved incredible things to be there, and to show our support for those that were injured last April and for the families of those that died.

I think it’s also a way for everyone to be a New Englander for a day.   We’re a bit of an odd bunch, but really good people, too.  Some of us will shake your hand and immediately welcome you into our family, and others will barely look at you if you weren’t born here.   Some of us love to eat lobster (“lobstah”), others love to hate it.  Some embrace our accent, others deny it.  But I dare say that a majority of us have a fierce pride about where we live, probably even more so if we were born here.  If we can somehow be a part of the 118th Boston Marathon, I think many of us will do it.

And no matter where you live, or if you like to run or walk or bike, I hope you will find a way to be a part of this marathon, too.  It’s not just about a race this year. It’s about being part of the *human* race and realizing that we’re all in this together.  Let’s do the best that we can and try to at least be decent to one another.   At least for one day.

And if you want–you can even borrow my accent for the day, too. 🙂


I’m not sure if I’ll be running on Monday, but I will be wearing my new calf sleeves.

What to say to my little boy….

Typically when I have a day off, I do not listen to the radio or watch television.  After seeing a few cryptic Facebook posts about the Boston Marathon, I decided to make an exception.  I first went to CNN’s website to find out exactly what happened, then turned on the television.

I told my son that I wanted to watch the news for a few minutes before I helped him get ready for his evening shower.  Together, we watched the sports segment on our local news. It showed many of the runners at the beginning of the race.  “So many runners!” my son exclaimed.  “Are you in that race, Mom?”  I said no and explained that the race happened today in Boston.  (We went to Boston last fall so he has some kind of familiarity with it, although not a lot.)

When the national news came on, I asked my son to sit on my good leg—I just wanted to keep him close.  We watched for a few minutes, heard the basic facts, saw so many horrific images in just those 180 seconds we watched.  My son repeated nearly everything he heard….”there were three bombs….two went off….dozens of people hurt…body parts everywhere…”   The only question he asked was why.  Neither my husband nor I had an answer.  We just said we didn’t know.

In those three minutes of television, I squeezed my son and tried, unsuccessfully, not to cry.  He told me I shouldn’t watch anymore.  I agreed and we headed to the bathroom to get him get cleaned up and ready for bed.  On the way, my nearly 6-year-old little boy takes his right arm out of his sleeve and says, “I was in a race and lost my arm.”  I didn’t know what to say, so I just let him ramble and pretend play while he slowly got undressed.

Once Bri was in the shower, I  stayed in the bathroom while he talked to me. “Is the news still on, Mom?”  I told him it would be over by the time he got out of the shower.  “I never want to watch the news again!” he shouted.

For the last hour before bedtime, we didn’t talk about the race or the bombing or the news. Instead we focused on reading books, sounding out new words, and Briar wondered if he would catch a glimpse of the tooth fairy tonight as she placed something beneath his pillow.  I can only hope that my boy will have no recollection tomorrow of a race with bombs and bleeding people, but tonight will have sweet dreams of  fairies or flying cupcakes or walking on the moon.

Let him have these dreams for a little longer.

As a parent, I often feel completely inadequate and continue to make mistakes every single day. Perhaps letting him watch the news tonight was one of them.  I just hope I am fortunate enough to have many more years with my son to try and get it right.