It was ten years ago now that I ran my first marathon. I began training to run the marathon because of the loss of control I felt from having multiple seizures a day. I once seized mid-stride and landed in a pile on the concrete. I kept running.
Four weeks before the race, I was diagnosed with a stress fracture in my leg. I ran under water.
I ran the whole 26.2 miles by myself in a sea of other people with even more gripping stories. I saw a firefighter running in full uniform in solidarity with firefighters who died September 11. There was the man with the prosthetic leg for running that stood out so strongly in my mind. I had thought I had a lot to overcome. And I had. The marathon gave me the control I needed to feel and made me feel strong. It made me healthier and a better writer. It marked the beginning of health changes I'm glad I made.
When I crossed the finish line, I cried. It still makes me tear up to think of now. I took the first beer someone passed me and bawled. It was a huge accomplishment and the endorphins and the sea of successful goals I was swimming in was glorious. It was worth every Saturday morning I hadn't wanted to get up. It was worth feeling silly walking in a pool.
The more I read about Boston, the more angry I am that someone took this away from runners. The thought that some of these runners lost more than their finish line, that they lost limbs, is more than I can bare. And I can't even touch the sadness of the death of a child.
The finish line of the marathon was the single most pointed triumph of my life. I cannot fathom the tragedy of losing a limb just shy of that success.
Next year, I'm certain there will be volunteers from around the country there to support the race. I'm sure doctors and paramedics will volunteer and that mental health professionals will offer services to those in need. I'm certain there will be a finish line and that beautiful legs and costumes and joy will cross it. I'm also certain that one of these victims will run Boston next year with a prosthesis and the profound triumph of the human spirit will shock the socks off of me again. But tonight, I'm deeply sad for the losses of the day.