I walked the first half mile to the trail. "I'll run when I get there," I thought. Slowly, achingly, I took my first step and kept going. I headed up into the trail with the sun shining bright and the breeze cool on my skin.
I was moving slow. After a weekend full of over-indulging in delicious food and way too much dessert, I made the decision to fuel with only water today; no pre-run or during-run food. I wanted to kick-start my body back into utilizing fat for fuel and get back on track with my nutrition.
My legs were tight and heavy and begged for me to turn around and call it a day, try again tomorrow. As I kept moving, my thoughts drifted to the tragedy at the Boston Marathon. I had been glued to the TV and internet all evening, like most other households. Unimaginable, saddening photos kept surfacing throughout the day, the numbers of the injured kept rising, and the images of the bloodied streets were everywhere.
I read a report of a man caught in the explosion whose legs were lost, yet in shock, he continued to try and stand. I ran another mile for him, and another. I ran for the 8 year old boy who will never get the chance to run a marathon for himself, and for the family that will never see him try.
My legs slowly began to warm up. I ran for the volunteers, police, and first responders who jumped in without hesitation to help the wounded. I ran until I didn't feel my legs moving underneath me, only thoughts carrying me through the woods...
I thought about this sport. This sport that is so often thought of as an individual undertaking. Yes, it may be one person that makes the decision to train and attempt a race, but it is their family and friends that cheer them on and encourage them along the way.
Toeing the line of a race, anyone can hear the cheers of encouragement throughout the crowd and the sidelines. Moving down the road or trail, the curbs are peppered with signs and excited families of runners, each one motivating you with their shouts and cheers along the way. Running is a community sport--from the person timing the race, organizing the race, running the race, to the person shouting from the top of their lungs as heaps of tired runners shuffle by. We are all brought together by the run and excited to be a part of it. Although there are many who choose not to enter a race, they are no less a part of the running community than those who proudly wear the medals. We are all a part of this great community, and today we are all runners. We can all provide that little bit of encouragement and motivation along the way; we are all part of the everyday race, even when there is no finish line in sight.
I came home tired and dirty. It was a tough run, one I didn't want to do. I kept running for those that can't, those that may never be able to; I ran because I am proud to be a runner. I am proud to be part of such a wonderful community.
|Today we are all runners.|