Running to Remember

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I am a runner.
I've sensed the sheer elation that comes from forcing my limbs to cross the finish line after 26.2 grueling miles. The relief, the joy, the wonder. It's all so indescribable until you've taken the 26.2-mile journey yourself--until you've triumphed over something few people are crazy enough to ever venture.

I am runner. 
When I picture their haggard bodies crossing that finish line with one final burst of determination, when I envision their tears of joy and pain as they neared the end, when I imagine their thoughts "Almost there, almost there," when I think of the hundreds of innocent bystanders cheering on the Olympians, the moms, the lifelong friends, the siblings, the marathoners . . .

My world seems to close in on me for a moment. Everything goes dark. And I'm left wondering, like everyone else, why.

I am a runner.
Running for me is freedom. It's safety. It's the friend who always loves you back. It's the mother who's caring arms are always there to carry you. It's the empowerment of putting one foot in front of the other, gloriously abandoning that stupid voice in your head that keeps telling you to quit.

And yesterday, yesterday's tragedy violated that. It stripped the running community of our sense of security and accomplishment. This cruel, broken world completely leveled us. And we're all, runner or not, trying to understand.

I am a runner.
In less than two weeks, when I find my corral at the Oklahoma City Memorial marathon, I'm going to stand tall. I'm going to be silent for 170 seconds for those innocent lives lost in the bombing 18 years ago in OKC. And yesterday in the bombing at Boston.

I'm going to run because I never want to live in a place of fear. I'm going to run to show the bombers that they didn't win. I'm going to run to prove that the running community is just that, a community. We band together. We hurt together. We stick together, mile after stinking mile. We bleed together. And we race together.

I am a runner, and I'm going to run to remember.




37 comments:

Tamara said...

Yes. All yes.

Katie said...

Beautifully written. I have tears in my eyes. Good luck.

delcers said...

Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Sarah said...

I love this! We need to stand up for ourselves and our nation. We cannot let fear run our lives (even though I just posted how I am worrying constantly about things like this). Great reminder that we need to take back our lives and try to live without fear.

Lindsay said...

I love this post! My husband signed up for a run just before I heard the news of Boston yesterday and I was admittedly up all night in fear and anxiety about it. But you're right, we can't live in fear. <3

P!nky said...

Amen sister.

Living in fear is how they win, you standing strong is how we beat them.

:)

Becca Moss said...

Beautiful post!

Erika said...

This is beautiful, Jena. So beautiful.

Mariah Rickard said...

That was beautiful. It brought tears to my eyes.

Kalen said...

I too will be standing tall in 3 weeks for my half marathon. They can't get us down!

Emily said...

LOVE this Jena. Although I've only run a couple half marathons (someday it'll be a full), I know that feeling of crossing the finish line after complete something you didn't think you could push your body to do. I think that sense of satisfaction and accomplishment was definitely robbed. I don't think I'll ever run another race without thinking of Boston as I approach the finish line.

Thanks for posting this.

Katelyn said...

I actually cried reading this post. Beautiful, Jena.

- Katelyn

Maxine said...

WE ARE RUNNERS! Love the way this is written.

Ashley said...

Great attitude!!

carrieburke said...

Such a beautiful post!

- Carrie

Jodi said...

Good for you! Keep on running. As a Bostonian I hope people will be brave and still participate in races. We can't let "them" stop us. Best wishes for a safe run in OK city!

Amanda said...

Very well said. I am finding some sense of peace in all these running posts today.

Allison said...

Amen sister. This is so well written!!!

Ashley from The Kitchen-Sink Chronicles said...

We should never let fear fuel our lives... run on, run on!

Lauren said...

You are so right! Keep up what makes you happy! God is in control!

Becky said...

I feel like you wrote down exactly what has been in my head since yesterday. Thank you and well done !!

Anonymous said...

This is exactly what I am feeling right now. Prayers with those in Boston.

LeeAnn Hilker said...

Wow. That was so beautiful. I am running in the Chicago Marathon in October and will not run in fear. Praying for everyone how has been affected by this devastating tragedy. Thank you for writing this.

Faith Ann said...

What a great post. Made me a little emotional. As a runner, I felt the same, robbed of my security in running. I'll be running a half in two weeks and I know I'll be thinking and praying for the lives that were forever changed in Boston. You go girl, someday I hope I can run a full. :)

Lins - Domesticated Working Woman said...

As a runner, I wrote something very similar the other day. It's like you can't figure out the words to say, but you can't say nothing. For me, running is where I feel closest to God - my most spiritual "church" if you will. To know that that was ripped away from so many is such a hard thing for me to conceive. I'm praying for all those involved, our nation, and for you and your next race!

Ashley said...

It's so sad to me that, like you, so many people run to escape the world and to feel safe...and then this happens.

You're doing the Stride4Stride? I just found the website and will donate money later tonight!

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Denise Lopatka said...

beautiful post jenna. xox

Andrea @ Love is... said...

This brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful post Jena.

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Jess @ Blonde Meets World said...

Good luck in your race, and thank you so much for posting this and for STILL running.
As a Bostonian, I'm heartbroken. Absolutely heartbroken... but we will keep going. I don't know how, and I'm having trouble with it, but I know we will. And I will be there, at the finish line, cheering on the runner in 2014.

Holly said...

Amen.

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Sarah Smith said...

Good luck in your race and great blog post. My husband and I just moved to Boston after getting married and were on our way to the finish line at 2:50 last monday. Our hearts broke for the victims in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Love your blog!

Morgan said...

I love this Jena.