Tuesday, April 16, 2013


Sunny, not quite 50 degrees... it was a perfect day for a marathon.

Not just for the runners, but for the spectators, too.

All along the course, on either side, behind fencing and banners, for 26.2 miles, are the loved ones, those who have cheered and supported their friends, spouses, siblings, fathers and moms for months, from the first step out the door for the first training run, to the glorious finish.

These spectators make the trip to the marathon not to participate, but to show their love, a few seconds at a time, at as many points along the course as they can. They shuttle themselves, maybe some kids, and sometimes motivational and/or hilarious poster board signs, from spot to spot, and wait for a glimpse of their runner, anxious, worried for them, worried they might have missed them, worried they won't see them go by, worried the picture will be out of focus.

What they don't worry about is what is in the trash can behind them.

The finish of any marathon is a place of broad sweaty smiles, arms raised in triumph, and tears of relief and happiness for accomplishing life-long goals. Those last few moments, when you know you'll finish, when you can relax and let it soak in, are precious because they require tremendous effort, and they come at a high personal price.

The greatest of all marathon finishes is the trip down Boylston.

This most sacred site of our sport was desecrated yesterday.

Our beautiful, loving, supportive running community was violated.

People who came to cheer and support and love were horribly injured, and murdered.

I've found myself trying to erase these facts, as if it were a story I'd written and now want desperately to change.

But this is our reality, now.

The reality is that we share this planet and time with a very small number of hideous people. But for every hideous cowardly asshole out there, there are a thousand wonderful, brave, selfless people who run into the chaos to help the innocent.

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon is the only running goal I've set for myself and yet to achieve. Honestly, after many failed attempts, I'd given up trying.

Today, I want to run Boston more than ever. I want to run down Boylston to honor those who responded with no regard to their own safety, to remember those who were taken and injured, and to reclaim that ground for us, the runners, and for those who support us and love us.

Good running,

Friday, April 12, 2013

Running to Reality

As I wait for my body to heal, I haven't been doing much running lately.

Almost none.

Aside from the usual frustration of not being able to do what I love as much as I want to*, I've felt a different, new, strange craving.

In my job I spend nearly all day looking at a screen, clicking, reading, and typing. The vast majority of communication in our office happens through email and instant messaging, even between people who sit just a few feet from each other.

Most of my meetings are conducted over the web, looking at slides, not people.

Even my kids send me text messages because talking is too much of a hassle. [Picking up their phone, which is pretty much always within 12 inches of them, and touching a spot on the screen labeled "Dad", and reaching me no matter where in the world I am, and using actual words to ask me for money is somehow less convenient than typing an impersonal request for funds.]

This week I found myself thumbing through the one carbon-based physical copy of the newspaper in the break room at work instead of visiting the same paper's website.

I stepped back a bit, figuratively, and realized that I've been spending way too much time interfacing, dealing with people and things virtually, living in a constant state of time shift. I've been feeling disconnected, displaced, detached from the real world.

I've understood for a long time that my regular outside runs were good for my health, my mind, and my soul. But now I know that they also keep me in touch with my reality.

The smells and the sights, the dust and the bugs, the footfalls and the breathes, the sun and the wind and the occasional rain or snow, are like a reset button that realign me with my place and time.

That strange craving I've had is for a feeling of being solidly grounded, a need to be connected to, and a part of, my world.

Email and my iPhone just aren't cutting it. I need a good run.

Good running,

*I imagine this frustration would seem ridiculous if not completely foreign to people who worry about how they will feed their children each day.