Trying to Process What Happened in Boston

As we all know, I ran a half marathon on Saturday.

Ready to race

Getting ready to race.

A half marathon that I was having a lot of mixed feelings about, truth be told. I sat down a couple of times Sunday to write my recap of the race. But, I was having trouble finding the right words to describe it. “I’ll write it Monday, once my hips stop hurting,” I told myself. (Because, heaven knows, you can’t write when your hips hurt.)

And then …

Monday happened.

And, as a runner, a marathoner, I felt like someone attacked my family. Runners have come to be a huge part of my community, of who I’ve become. Some of my dearest friends and supporters are runners. As a group, they’ve changed my life. And those spectators? Cheering at the finish line? They’re the ones who pull us through. They’re the ones there at every single race, cheering our names, clapping their hands and bringing us home — whether they’re our family and friends or total strangers.

The unthinkable had happened.

I was in shock. I think, maybe, I’m still in shock.

To sit down and write a race recap for my own half marathon seems … I don’t know … silly. If I couldn’t find the right words before, I am now completely speechless. All I can think about when I try to write about my half marathon is when I ran across that finish line.

As a distance runner, when I see that finish line, something inside of me lets go. All the pain from the miles before, all the exhaustion of the months of training, all the worry about the race … they all just disappear. And a sense of happiness and pride and relief spreads through my body. I melt. And then, at the finish line, I see Mr. B’s smiling face chanting “Go, Kimi, go!” And my friends and family cheering me on — right under that clock that says “You did it; you’re here.” And it’s a feeling of pure and utter elation that takes over. Oh, yeah, and there’s love — knowing that my friends and family are there to celebrate that moment with me.

Mr. B and me on race day

My support crew — and my biggest cheerleader.

That finish-line memory was still fresh for me, is still so fresh for me. And that makes Monday’s tragedy even harder to comprehend and process.

All I can see in my head is those runners running toward their families and friends at the finish line in Boston — a smile on their faces because they’re there, they did it. For some, a lifelong dream just to be on that course. For others, a chance to do better than the year before. Weeks, months, years of sacrifice — for the runners and their families. And I see their friends and families — smiles on their faces, so proud and full of love for their runner. All that love, pride, joy and excitement.

Stolen.

To have all of that taken away in an instant. It’s heart breaking. And confusing. And … so many other things.

I couldn’t stop thinking about it, crying about it. Thankfully Mr. B was home. We watched some news. I cried. And then, we turned off the TV and left the apartment. I needed space; I needed air.

So, we went to pick up my race charm from Saturday’s race.

Saturday I ran for Pickle. Always for Pickle.

Saturday I ran for Pickle. Always for Pickle.

I expressed to Mr. B that I’m so sad that these types of things happen in the world. Added to a difficult hate-filled experience earlier in my day, it was a lot of hate and sadness for me to take in for one day. And I told him I’m scared about the world we’re bringing a precious, precious child into. As usual, Mr. B’s wisdom was just what I needed to hear:

“This is exactly why we do need to bring a child into this world; this world needs another kind person.”

And, so it is on this that I try to focus. Even amidst the horror and tragedy and hate, there is beauty and kindness. And givers. And sharers. And helpers.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me: ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'” ~Mr. Rogers

What’s more, there is always running. There will always be running.

There is always running.

There is always running.

Tonight I laced up my still-muddy-from-the-race shoes and ran. Well, as much as Pickle would let me. Not because it was on a training program. Not because I needed to burn some calories. Tonight I ran because I can. I ran because it is a gift. I ran because I had to.

I ran because that’s all I know to do right now.

Sans watch. Sans GPS. Just me and my thoughts. I have no idea how far I went, though I could hazard a guess, nor how long it took me. All I know is I ran.

(And walked a little, too. Pickle likes that better. We’re compromising.)

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92 Comments

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92 responses to “Trying to Process What Happened in Boston

  1. wendy warren

    It seems as though as the day(s) go on, I’m almost more emotional about this. A runner, I am not. But family, waiting at the finish line, I have been. I know the sense of excitement… electric. You can feel it! So I can imagine how hard this was for you and then to write about it. Well, I know that that part was good for you. But Don was right when he said that marathoners’ spirits are not to be defeated. I know you will go on and I know that you will continue to love all human beings, no matter their differences. Several have said since the Marathon and it has been said on many other horrible occasions-we must go on. To not go on, to be defeated would be to let “them” win. Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified,do not be discouraged…

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    • That’s the hardest part — picturing my family and friends there … me headed for my post-race hug and finding, instead, chaos and tragedy. Thankfully, the goodness of humankind continues to outshine the badness in times like this.

      Like

  2. Found your post through Freshly Pressed. Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

    Like

  3. People you meet while running become a part of you. Everyone who partakes in a race is someone to be proud of. Monday was such a senseless tragedy.

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  4. It is sad indeed what happened in Boston.Congratulations on running and glad you are safe. Love your awesome blue shoes!

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  5. Your comments about the spectators being what gets us through is the exact same thought that I couldn’t get past. They are the most uplifting, positive group of people you will ever encounter and it just makes me so sick that they would be targeted.

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    • The spectators, in my opinion, are what make the races. I’m not a “fast” runner. I’m a good middle-of-the-packer. So, having one person — any person — cheering for me makes all the difference. And that’s why this cuts so deep.

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  6. Thank you for sharing! I’m not a runner myself. I’m a walker (bad knees – can’t run anymore). However, running/doing marathons is such an awesome sport, and so often there are marathons for charity. And, now, it seems at least for a short time, these events have been tarnished. However, I think the first step in the healing process is sharing – getting those unwanted feelings of woe out there. I don’t think your original – happy thoughts you might’ve written about your own half marathon were silly. It just wasn’t the time to dock them in cyberspace, so to speak, and in the future, when this horrible event is farther in our rearview mirrors, there will be a time when talking about marathons doesn’t sting the way it does now. Take care and KEEP ON RUNNING…
    TB
    P.S. I also LOVE the blue shoes…

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  7. ardenrr

    Thanks for sharing — I’m hoping to take up running and have so many friends who run, whether it be in 5Ks, 10Ks, half-marathons, marathons, whatever! At a time when smiling seemed impossible, I couldn’t help myself when I saw all the support that runners were pouring out on Facebook; the comments that showed that this horrific incident would not take running away from them, that fear wouldn’t take over. It’s a strong community and the good will always prevail.

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  8. We did a little 5k at a zoo as a family last summer… (Blogged about it) and my thought was??? Would I do it again? Now with Monday? Man!!!! I have another reason to wonder if I would!!!!

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    • Sadly, events like what happened on Monday have the ability to taint even the most innocent of things — like sharing a healthy experience with your family. As for myself? I’m going to continue to run. In races and just for fun. But, I can certainly see why some people might be questioning it.

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  9. Hello fellow Michigan blogger, Your comments about how runners feel as we approach the finish line is exactly how I feel too, even though I just run measly 5Ks. In my area last night, there was a solidarity run where runners were invited to run at least a half mile together, for all those who were unable to finish Boston because the race was ended in tragedy. I wanted to go but could not as I’m currently sidelined with a trip and fall running injury.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and congratulations on your weight loss success and for being freshly pressed.
    Huffygirl

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    • Thanks so much for sharing, fellow Michigander. And thanks for your kind thoughts. I’m so proud of my running family for coming together and showing their support — in spirit and by lacing up their shoes and heading out for a run. (Oh, and there’s no such thing as a “measely 5k.” 🙂

      Like

  10. Boston was a tragedy. It may not seem like it but the world is a safer place in general now. The media tells us its not, espeicially in America so they buy more guns.
    I too like you worry about bringing a life into this world. Who knows, maybe your child will help bring peace to a destructive world.
    Thank you for your article.

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    • Thanks so much for sharing. We’re all blessed to live in a world where the good deeds and kindness rise to the surface during times of tragedy — when people truly do come together in love and support for each other.

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  11. congratulations on your feet! alas, it is tragic what happened.

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  12. Thank you, from Boston. This day is a state holiday. It is a tradition. The Red Sox play a game at 11:00 am and the spectators walk down to see the finish of the marathon. On Patriot’s Day, there is also the re-enactment of the Battle of Bunker Hill.
    This was not an attack on Boston, it is an attack on all of America. Blue state/red state; it doesn’t matter.
    I am so sick of lone wolf looney tune jerks trying to ruin days like this..
    Kudos to all the first responders and the excellent medical facilities of Boston.

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  13. “This is exactly why we do need to bring a child into this world; this world needs another kind person.” —LOVE that

    Such a great post. I am so sad for my home, the city of Boston. I am heartbroken for those affected by the horrific events and I am sad that the Boston marathon will never be the same…it will forever be tainted! You won’t be able to mention the marathon without thoughts of these traggic events surfacing. So sad

    Great post

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    • Thank you for reading. You’re right — my husband always knows exactly what to say. My heart aches for Boston and for all of those affected by this. It is certainly hard to believe that things like this can happen.

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  14. I liked your image of the runner approaching the finish line.

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  15. After Newtown, nothing surprises me anymore. It’s just so, so sad. We have to keep going, but never forgetting. My birthday is 9/11…that tragedy felt like yesterday.

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    • You’re right — it’s all so sad. And I find myself shocked by the amount of “badness” there is out there. Thankfully, as my husband (and Mr. Rogers) reminds me, there also is a large amount of goodness.

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  16. cvheerden

    Thank you. Thinking about you all.

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  17. erinorange

    This is lovely – I love the quote from Mr Rogers. I felt the same about running – I went out on Tuesday – there was something inside me that meant I had to, because I can.

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  18. napperscompanion

    Thanks for the story–amazing what running can do for a life, huh? Your enthusiasm is infectious.

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  19. Great blog! How did you get your quotes formatted that way?

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  20. As a runner myself, I can relate to your sentiments. To have someone take the joy out of something you and so many others love is heartbreaking. But the beauty and kindness is out there. Keep running!

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    • As much as I couldn’t pull myself away from the news on Monday, trying to absorb everything that was happening, I now can’t get enough of the stories of kindness and goodness that came out of that day, that continue to come out of that day.

      Like

  21. Thank you for writing this.

    Like

  22. Beautifully written. I came across your post through the Freshly Pressed tab and I am so glad I did. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  23. Reblogged this on SEVEN Hundred 50 and commented:
    For the Runners with strength and determination. For the ability to look beyond the hatred. And for the courage to run inspit of despite of. Very touching read.

    Like

  24. Corlis

    These people are trying to take our freedoms away. We no longer feels age going to a movie theater, going to a shopping mall or now sending our youngest children to school. Running is and always will be a solitude sport, now “they” are trying to take this freedom away from us. We cannot let them.

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  25. thegeekyg4mer

    Lovely post! My Sister runs marathons and I would hate to think of anything happening to her. If you little one is as compassionate as you and your husband there is hope for us all 🙂 x

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  26. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

    Like

  27. always keep running then. it’s a healthy habits. and old habits die hard

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  28. What a beautiful blog! All of life is a race, glad you are in it! This was a horrible and needless tragedy, but keep running your race. Those who were taken would have wanted it that way! Much love and light to you and have a blessed day!

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  29. Beautiful post, and a beautiful sentiment amidst a truly horrible incident. Thanks for sharing.

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  30. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and for the encouragement to always keep running, because we can, because it’s a gift.

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  31. What happened in Boston Marathon is really shocking.But it can never defeat the spirit of a Marathoner.A great post indeed,told from the depth of your heart.Thanks for sharing.

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  32. Wow. What a beautiful post. You are a great writer. And I agree about the exact reason why you need to bring a child(ren) into this world. We need good, kind people – givers, not takers. We need to fill the world up with goodness… One new soul at a time. Take care and keep running. All the best to you.

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  33. Thank you for sharing, and most importantly thank you for your positive and hopeful outlook. This is exactly what we all need to hear and know; that there is and always will be hope in the world, and that there are so many incredible people, such as yourself, who are working to make it a better place. As soon as we give up, the spiral downhill will be extremely difficult to stop, and we can’t let that happen. Change is possible. It is up to us to bring it about in our individual lives first, and from there, out into society.

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  34. evmamas

    Thoughts and Prayers for Boston! Thank you for posting.

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  35. This is beautiful. I saw this post on Freshly Pressed and you put your feelings into words so beautifully. My husband and I have been thinking of joining fun runs for a while. What happened in Boston is… I have no words for it. Thank you for sharing.

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  36. Siddharth Muzumdar

    Simply fantastic !!!

    Like

  37. Siddharth Muzumdar

    Reblogged this on An Odyssey of Camaraderie and commented:
    A fantastic article on a recent event

    Like

  38. Siddharth Muzumdar

    Reblogged this on An Odyssey of Camaraderie

    Like

  39. Heart moving reflection of our times.

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  40. Im new to WordPress, I signed up today, and I found your blog, as a runner myself having completed 2 half marathons and three 5K’s including one this weekend. Reading your words is exactly how I felt as I was learning the news, a coworker expressed that they felt as though our sport had been tainted. My only reply was I wont stop running and all I wanted to do was get on Active.com to sign up for the next race to run for those who can’t. So finding your blog and reading your words express my feelings is nice to see.

    Like

  41. sarajaneafshar

    Great post. All I can say is Go Kimi Go!

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  42. Keep running! Your on the right track……

    To process Boston is easier for some than others. You’ll do just fine!

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  43. I get you entirely. I’m a runner, a mother, a Boston spectator on Monday, and wife of a Boston runner on Monday. There is so much more to feel joy about in all those things than to feel sorrow about, but there is a lot of sorrow, no question. Thinking of you and all members of our running tribe. And welcome, very soon, to the tribe of MotherRunners too!

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  44. Go KimberlyJoy, go! Cheering you from the digital sidelines 🙂

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  45. http://norinesnotebook.wordpress.com/2013/04/16/cry-of-despair/
    A poem for Boston. I express here thoughts and emotions involved with trying to process what happened. I hope it brings you comfort.

    Like

  46. Pingback: Trying to Process What Happened in Boston with Pickle and Mr. Rogers | pattytmitchell

  47. As a little girl I adored Mr. Rogers; even when I was a little older and he wasn’t considered cool I loved him. Such softness, gentleness and patience was a bit foreign to me in my raucous Italian American family. But I never knew about this quote until now. It gave me chills, like he was watching this whole thing. I will always keep this quote in mind when trouble strikes because those helpers are the angels in us all.
    Beautiful post!
    Patty M .

    Like

  48. This is a great post – thank you.

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  49. DjeffreyUncensored

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful post. As simple as the quote from Mr. Rogers may be, it stand correct; and is very comforting.

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  50. My heart goes out to you. I live 25 miles north of Boston and watched as every horrific event unfolded. I had friends at the finish line who witnessed the bloody carnage. I was in the Labor and Delivery waiting room with my family as we awaited the arrival of our grandson. I kept asking my wife: “What kind of world is he being born into?” I realized that I cannot protect him from external incidents, but I can do my best to show and teach him love, compassion and kindness towards all living things. He was born when all hell was breaking out in Boston and my emotions were to say the least overwhelming. Holding my grandson Finn and looking at that beautiful innocent face I knew that the light had triumphed over the darkness. I quietly sat that day and meditated. I offered prayers to all the victims, runners and the angels that came to the rescue. We cannot let the darkness win, we must all run with the light! James S.

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  51. I once heard or read the phrase: “Bringing a child into this world is the most optimistic thing a person can do.” I try to remember that whenever I begin to question the world my children will someday venture into alone.

    Beautiful post.
    ~Shenoah

    http://www.momsasaurus.wordpress.com

    Like

  52. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You seriously took the words right out of my heart. 🙂 As a runner myself, the events in Boston hit hard. I had three friends (all in the same family) seriously injured in Boston. Not only that, but I have a 9 month old and said something very similar to my husband last week; “why on earth did we bring such a precious and innocent little one into such a horrible world.” He responded, wisely, “So that maybe he can bring a little good into it.”
    Ugh. That’s so so true.
    Blessings!
    Run into the light!
    Heather

    Like

  53. I found this through Freshly Pressed. I loved it! I always like hearing about people with passions! What was your motivation for running? The Boston Bombing was horrible news for us to and we are hundreds of miles away. Hearing about how rewarding getting to the finish line is makes my heart ache even worse for those who were involved. Thanks for the good read!

    Like

    • Hi! Thanks so much for reading. My motivation for running? That first time I ran? I was an avid walker, walking (and changing my eating habits) on the way to losing 100 pounds. But, then I went through a bad breakup and was spending most of my walks crying. I soon learned that I couldn’t possibly cry while I ran — I needed that air for breathing. So, one foot in front of another, and in addition to healing my body, running healed my soul.

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  54. I ran my first marathon on Sunday, less than a week after Boston. I wrote about my perspective as well – and I so connected with your comment about the experience being “stolen” (and not just the experience of the RACE – it’s not usually just about the race). All we can do is focus on the good, focus on the helpers and work on being one of those people who lives by example in those principles.

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  55. Great blog. It reminded me of a verse I often refer to when I don’t know what else to do:

    Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13 NIV)

    Sometimes when I feel like there is nothing else I can do, I remember that if nothing else I can just stand back up- sometimes over, and over, and over.

    You blog was encouraging. We all need to continue forward and not let evil win.

    Keep running, standing, helping….

    Like

  56. Pingback: Reflecting on the Boston Marathon Bombing | That's All Joy Wrote

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