I remember the first time I used running as a tonic to sooth my tattered nerves. It was the mid-80’s and I had one of those company politics revelations. I was young and naive and had been thrown under the bus by a coworker. He was an account executive for whom I provided technical support on a major proposal. The details are unimportant.
Walking into the house after a long drive home that day, my wife immediately saw the strain and stress in my face. I told her I couldn’t talk about it yet and needed a run to cool off. Going for a run hadn’t really been in my mind until I walked in the door. It seemed he right release of the pent up energy storming through my body. I donned my shorts and T-shirt and headed out for something like a three-miler. Three miles was a long run for me back then. When I returned home I was in a better place and was able to have a conversation about what happened.
Since that day I have logged many running miles of meditation, stress relief and healing. I’ve been through lots of changes and running has kept me in a state to handle the good and the bad. Regardless of the reason, each run feels like a celebration. Not the New Years kind. The quiet kind that brings a smile to your face because you feel at better in your own skin.
Wednesday, April 17th, was one of those healing days. Two days before something evil happened at the Boston Marathon. As a runner who has completed 3 marathons, this senseless act hit me on many levels. To me running, like music, is a universal language. Man ran to survive. Running contributed to the development of our brains, arts and sciences. It makes us what we are. (I wrote a blog about it – www.jlgrunr.com). In races we compete, but we care for each other at the same time.
I headed out on a beautiful spring day, intending another a familiar 3 miler. It didn’t take long for my feet to lead me to a local trail. Some days you just follow because your feet know where to go. There were no cars parked at the trailhead and I knew I would be the only person out there. Feeling the earth, rocks and roots beneath my feet got me smiling. The air was in the upper 50’s, cool and crisp. The tall trees showing signs of budding after a strange mix of winter weather.
It was just what I needed to get centered.
The trail winds uphill for a while and then turns down toward a small stream where I usually turn around. I took a moment to stop and enjoy the scenery. Sweat rolled down my forehead and I pulled my top layer up to wipe my brow.
Like a lot of runners, I have my kit folded and ready to go, so I don’t think much, just grab what I need and go.The base layer shirt I had on is one I like because it fits snug and has a comfortable cotton feel. I didn’t know how appropriate it was until I looked down.
I flashed on why I was so thankful to be a citizen of this country. My politics tend to the liberal side of moderate, but I have close friends and family who represent a broad spectrum of political belief. That is very cool because accepting differences is what keeps us great as a country. I am grateful for the freedoms of speech and religion we are granted in our constitution (meaning we need to continually prove worthy of them) and in the culture of inclusion in which we are raised.
Evil can not dampen our freedom. If anything it makes us want to be more belligerent in our quest for equality and mutual respect.
Last October I ran the Hartford Marathon in 3:37 and change. It is a qualifying time for the 2014 Boston Marathon. I plan to submit my entry as soon as the Boston Athletic Association opens registration in September. Screw evil. I am a runner.