Pilk’s Points: Sweating Blue and Yellow

Photo: Competitor.com

If there was ever a time to run, it truly is now.

I remember the feeling. You step up to the start line, into your corral and onto the course, and you slowly breathe. Your coach always told you to breathe. It calms your mind and body and prepares you for the next 13.1 miles. Your stomach sits on your feet, and your heart is jetting out of your chest. You close your eyes and focus on something—anything—other than the commotion around you. You remember the training, the long runs, the short ones, the tears from missing one, the celebration from finishing one, the final run, the cheat snack, the wise words from your coach and the encouraging words from your run bud. Then the white noise and mental thoughts of failure clear—with narrowing vision, all you see is your finish line. You wiggle your fingers and bounce lightly on your toes because that’s what the pros do. You’re ready for this.

That was before April 15.

I wasn’t ready for Bill Iffrig’s image to fuel post-run tears. I wasn’t prepared for lost limbs to clutter my long-run thoughts. I wasn’t ready to see such cowardice acts violate a sport I’ve held so dear for 14 years. I wasn’t prepared for the iconic marathon to morph into a horrific crime scene in mere seconds. And I will never be prepared for the loss of those three beautiful lives.

As I digest the various articles on the fate of the accused bomber—I refuse to say his name—I reflect back to that innocent time, pre-April  15, where I collected inner calmness through simple meditative corral rituals. That calmness is now lost—what lingers is a new determination and new promise to always honor Boston and beauty of running.

1.      Run for the ever-growing camaraderie—the unspoken bond every runner shares and understands. If ever there was a time to run, it truly is now.

2.      Run with a purpose—never let anyone take that from you.

3.      Run for the redefined—not lost—purity of the sport. The innocence may be gone, but running still sweats honest and simple intentions. Nothing complicates that.

4.      Run for the ones we lost and the ones who lost. Honor those lives and broken hearts through your sweat and stride.

5.      Run for Boylston Street, which will always bleed blue and yellow.

Running is a uniquely empathetic sport—if nothing else, Boston reminded a nation of that tried-and-true fact. Whether you stood on the sidelines of Boylson St., cheering for a loved one; watched from California, dreaming of 2014; ran the race, basking in your 2013 BQ success with every mile; assisted in saving lives on a Monday afternoon, calming others surrounded by the blast; or walked into the horror-struck office kitchen, awaiting a response from your onsite coworkers currently on lockdown, we all felt the same jolting feeling and asked the same question—what do we do now?

Just run.

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