Running for Boston

Since the tragedy in Boston, I’ve been keeping up on the news, following the recovery efforts, and generally staying informed. What’s been most inspiring to me is the amazing outpouring of support for the One Fund Boston and the Boston Strong/Run for Boston campaigns. All across the country (and the internet), runners are coming together to support the citizens of Boston, law enforcement, and our running brothers and sisters who were impacted by the tragedy. I have heard so many stories of runners who have been inspired to donate, run, and speak out to support our community.

Never one to pass up an opportunity to run in support of others, I immediately sought out opportunities to lend support to the various causes. Immediately after the tragedy, I wore my races shirts in support of the running community. The Tuesday after the tragedy, I led my usual Lululemon Run Club run and our little group ran 4.09 miles, the last few moment in silence for Boston.

Boston tribute

Early this week, I had a work obligation that took me to another state. With a group of non-runners, I was worried that no one would understand my desire to observe a minute of silence at 2:50pm (right in the middle of a meeting).  When everyone immediately agreed to my request, it hit me. The Boston bombing was about more than just running and its impact is far-reaching. My non-running colleagues wanted to hear about my experience and learn about the running community. To them, all runners are Boston marathoners. I love being a part of my strong running community and being a Boston marathoner at heart.

I was far away from my running home and my community’s efforts to gather a group and run for Boston on Monday night. Undeterred, on Monday I set out on my own private run for Boston. I left my hotel room and ran 4 miles in silence with Boston on my mind. I’ve donated to the One Fund for Boston and bought my BAA tribute shirts. Today, and every day, we are a strong running community. We are Boston Strong. I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a runner.

A Sad Day in Boston

Yesterday, Patriots’ Day 2013, a running friend and I had the honor of being spectators at the Boston Marathon. We started the day bright and early, driving to Riverside and then riding the T into Newton. We were super excited, runners heading to our holy land. Our plan was to walk out to the course in Newton, around mile 20, to view the race. We were delighted to find that we emerged from the T just past mile 20, at the foot of Heartbreak Hill. We had plenty of time before the elite athletes were expected to arrive, so we walked around and took pictures.

Top of Heartbreak Hill

Our excitement only grew as the race updates indicated that the lead runners were getting closer and closer. Before long, the lead group was in front of us. It was amazing to be so close to the elite athletes I admire.

Elite Women at Boston

The women’s and men’s leader groups passed by, and then came the rush of sub-elites and “normal people”. It was thrilling. I loved cheering for the runners and seeing their joy as they came up and over Heartbreak Hill. I sent my mom this picture, and the message “I want to do this one day”.

Boston Mile 20

We watched for hours, cheering and ringing our bells. Back at the T station, we began getting text messages. Friends and family were worried, asking if we were safe, ok, and not near the finish line. We had no idea what had happened. I immediately got on social media to find out what had happened. I was horrified. Explosions at the finish line had killed some, hurt hundreds, and ruined what, for many people, was an amazing, empowering, and beautiful day.

In the midst of great achievement and euphoria, there was all this horror and suffering. It was so incongruous that it was difficult to understand. Today, I still don’t understand how something so terrible could happen at an event that is truly about the power of the human spirit. And today, none of the wonderful moments are quite as wonderful. All of my beautiful memories are tarnished by the sadness of what has happened.

But Boston is strong and resilient. Runners are strong and resilient. We will not be defeated. We are united. We are Boston. And, one day, I will run Boston. I’m Boston-bound with 4.09 miles tonight in honor of those who were harmed by this senseless tragedy.

Mini Race Recap: Hartford 1/4 Marathon

The Greater Hartford Quarter Marathon, hosted by the Hartford Track Club and benefitting Blazeman Foundation for ALS, was a great race. With wonderful weather, a big group of friends, and a beautiful course, it was just about perfect.

The race course is a two-loop course run around the paved trails in the MDC Reservoir in West Hartford. It’s a gorgeous course. The first couple (and middle couple since it’s a loop) miles have a number of what we New Englanders call “rollers”, gradual hills that make for a smooth up and down experience.

About 2 (and 4.5) miles into the race, the course comes around a bend, giving runners a picturesque view of the runners ahead as they pass beyond a lake and around a curve. It was gorgeous. The sun was shining on the water and the birds were chirping. Beautiful! The course was extremely well marked, with accurate mile signs and sand markings noting the course direction. It would be difficult to go the wrong way given that the course is a well-planned loop on paved trails. A runner would have to work hard to get lost in this one. The wooded views were magnificent and the lakes, ponds, and reservoir areas were the picture of New England beauty.

Quarter Marathon 2013

To check out the pictures from the event, head on over to the event’s Facebook page.

Details for Rachel’s outfit, above: Lululemon Pace Crops in black/frond, Lululemon Rise and Shine Pullover in frond, Lululemon Speed Demon Run Hat (best hat ever, by the way – it has a short, curvy brim that keeps sun out of your eyes from the side!), and Brooks Pure Flow shoes

Randomness

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Not for lack of ideas, but for lack of time, energy, motivation…I don’t know what. Things have been a little extra crazy at work, but that isn’t it. I was sick for a while, but that isn’t it, either. I think that it’s one of those perfect storm situations – everything was a little off for a while, making my schedule a mess and throwing off my usual flow. But, I’m back, and hopefully more organized. So, here’s a little post about what I’ve been thinking about lately.

Did you see this amazing Running Times article? In “An Elite State of Mind”, David Alm writes about what he learned from his foray into the ranks of elite runners. While running as an elite is something I can only dream about, the ideas David presents really resonated with me. I loved it so much I read it three times. In a row. David says there are four keys to an elite attitude: 1) Don’t treat training runs or race times as indications of your self-worth, 2) Value every runner’s efforts, success and potential, 3) Don’t beat yourself up in training or in evaluating your workouts and racing, and 4) Recognize that your running ability is a result of many factors, not just how serious you are or how hard you push. It was two and four that really got me. Every runner deserves recognition for her efforts, success, and potential, with the recognition that any success is the result of a combination of factors. Too often, at the slower end of the spectrum, I see runners devalue other runners for any number of ridiculous reasons. So often, it’s because of speed. Now that I’m in the mid-pack, I’ve written about my thoughts on back of the pack life. It isn’t always friendly. Why does this happen? As runners, we should build each other up, support each other, and value each other. Speed isn’t the most important thing, nor is your training log, your PRs, or any other marker of running “success”. What’s important is how running makes you feel. If you love it, and I love it, that’s enough for me.

Want to be inspired by the power of running to give back to a community? Check out the write ups (here and here for good ones) of the Hartford Marathon Foundation’s Sandy Hook Run for the Families 5k. The inaugural event raised over $40,000 for charities associated with the Newtown shooting tragedy. What’s even more wonderful than the huge response and the fundraising was the spirit of the race. Thousands of runners and spectators, all wearing green, holding hands, running together, and being with the families of the Newtown tragedy in spirit. It was a great event, and one that made me proud to be a runner.

Sandy Hook Run