My “To Do” list is huge, but I can’t focus. I’m a runner. Some might say I’m a jogger. I love the sun on my face, the fresh air (even when I’m gasping for it) and the other runners. I love standing in the corral (the one close to the back) and waiting to cross the Start Line with all those people. I am still amazed every time I cross a Finish Line. The greatest thing about running is the community. I have never been involved in something where people embrace perfect strangers.
I decided I was going to lose weight and run the Shamrock Shuffle for my 40th birthday. It wasn’t easy and it sure wasn’t pretty. But 75 pounds later and with lots of encouragement, I crossed my first Finish Line. My race shirt had “Eat that 40!” on my back. I was “high fived” and encouraged all over the course by strangers. You see, runners embrace the weak. Two weeks ago I ran the Shuffle again for the 3rd time; I admit I have taken a couple of months off, so it was tough. As I was coming over the last bridge I let out a choice word of frustration. Right in front of me this older man turned around and said “Come on, I’m 77 years old, if I can do it you can do it. Move your @$$!” and smiled. “Yes Sir” was my reaction and it got me over the finish line. I still jump on the pad. I love feeling part of something bigger than me. Three years ago I couldn’t have run to my car.
I run on the trail by my house and it’s the same group every Saturday. We aren’t running together, but we really are. We greet, encourage and are happy to see each other. I don’t know their names and I probably wouldn’t recognize them in real clothes. But they are my community. When I ran for first time since the snow cleared, we were all back and waving. My friend Theresa says I’m the greeter with all my hello’s and good mornings. It was hard to be motivated without them over the winter. Nothing feels better than a smile across from you and a runner’s nod. It means “I know this sucks and it’s hard, but doesn’t it feel good when we are done? So keep going my friend. I’m with you!”
All over the internet are runners groups and today we are all wearing race shirts. We unite in solidarity with those that ran in Boston and those hurt while waiting to encourage people as they crossed the Finish Line. Whoever did this, just know you can’t break a runner’s spirit. The fast, the slow, young, old, trying to be in shape and the marathoner, we are all one community. This sucks and it’s hard but we will cross another Finish Line together!
My thoughts and prayers to go out to all those in Boston!