After the Boston Marathon bombings, I am so thankful that all of my friends who competed are safe. A lot has been going through my head the past couple of days, and I just wanted to take some time to express the gratitude I have for all that running has given me and the wonderful community that I am a part of.
“Only if someone is chasing me!” If you run, you’ve heard it. We are oddballs. Most people don’t see the allure in an activity that hurts, humbles, and forces us to confront our weaknesses. Maybe we are being chased. Some people lace up as a way to outrun who they were: heavy, unhealthy, defeated, sad. The early steps are torture, but the prospect of remaining still is much worse. Others hear the naysayers, the taunting laughter, the no you can’ts and you never wills. They push ahead to leave it behind. Some embrace the physical pain to eclipse emotional agony, however momentarily. Frustrations are trampled beneath every footfall.
As the body adapts, horizons expand. We go father and faster than we ever thought possible. We struggle with ourselves, we push the bounds of our potential. Some goals are surpassed, others are never realized, yet in reaching, we grow. We are not who we were. There is toughness and strength. While the prizes go to the swift, the rewards are reaped by the steady. Talent makes you fast; tenacity takes you far. We become the chasers.
We learn that we aren’t alone. Others give us a glimpse of what’s possible. Competition spurs us to be our best. Encouraging words offered after a bad run, accomplishments celebrated, knowing smiles exchanged as our battered bodies hobble about: we understand each other. Whether you’ve been running for days or decades, you belong.
I am grateful to count myself among the crazies, the strivers, the lopers. We pause and reflect. We lick our wounds, but ultimately, we are those who move forward. Come and join the chase.