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Boston: Why I needed to be there

Where to begin? There seems like a lot to tell, well, simply because I haven’t been blogging in quite some time. But, we will stick to Boston, and how I got there.

I ran Boston first in 2012. It was the first time that I had qualified to run the marathon. It had been a life dream ever since I had started running marathons. OK, well maybe not at first. At first, it was probably, "I'll never get there, so why try?", but as the years passed and the marathons added up, the dream was built... and in 2011, I achieved it. I ran a marathon fast enough to qualify - so in 2012... I went!

 I brought the whole family along, thinking that I might never qualify, let alone be able to run it, again. That year it was a HOT race and while I didn’t have the best (running) time, I had the best experience! With family and friends around me, it couldn't be beat! (If you really are so inclined, you can read about it here.) Anyways, I was there, did that – and, even with my less-than-stellar race time, I didn’t have the need to go back.While Boston is an amazing race, it is far away, expensive, not a kid-friendly town, etc. etc. so I was over joyed to have that be my one Boston experience. One I would treasure forever (and still do). But I didn't have the need to go back.

Until last year.

After the bombing last year, even with no close friends in the race, I was deeply affected. I know part of it had to do with the fact that I had been there the year before. That I had spent so much time at the finish line, both before and during the race.
The kids racing to the finish the day before!

And that my family, my WHOLE family, had been at the finish line – directly across from where the 2nd bomb was placed – on race day. We were precisely 1 year and about 20 minutes off from being directly affected by the bomb. I can’t tellyou the number of times “what if it had been that year?” had gone through my head.
Vantage point of my family on race day
Just hanging out waiting for me at mile 26.
But then it turned into more than that. As the events unfolded, the feelings of resentment, the feeling of violation for what the terrorists had done, swelled. What they did to everyone, the people of Boston, our country, our community, the fear they installed, etc.

This is one of my favorite bits on Boston after the bombing.
To me, he exercises the use of humor with such a strong message that rings true that it really hits home. While Colbert talks about the people of Boston, it was more than that - it was the people of this country.

I couldn't put into words why I was feeling, and have continued to feel, the way I do but as one of my friends stated, "It was such a direct threat on my way of life." And it is true.

I needed to do something. And I realized what the terrorists wanted was us to lay down. To be afraid. To not come back. So... that was the one thing I could do, the one way I could ‘fight’ the terrorists is to go back. To not be afraid. To say you cannot take away MY freedom. It sounds so silly, but at the same time, it is what was ringing true through my body.

That (and a qualifying time achieved at the Dallas Marathon) is how I ended up here in Boston this year.

I didn’t do it because it is an awesome race. (Which it is.)
I didn't do it because I needed to redeem my time.
I didn't need it to "say" I did Boston.
I didn't do it because I thought I might never qualify again.

I did it because the terrorists didn't want me to.
I did it for the people who can't.
I did it for the people from Hopkington to Boston who line the race route every year. To give them someone to cheer for. To show them that we aren't running scared.
I did it to face fear - and show others how easy it is to do the same.
I did it to stand up for our freedom that we have as Americans. To not let that be taken away from us.

I often feel like I do very little for this country for what I get back.

For me, THIS was the one way I COULD give back.