Saturday, April 27, 2013

The process of processing.

It has been 12 days since my body and soul journeyed from Hopkinton to Boston - it feels like it was yesterday, but it also feel like lifetimes ago. 

Yesterday, I finished reading "26 Miles to Boston," by Michael Connelly. I had high hopes of finishing the book before I ran the marathon, but it wasn't in the cards given my crazy life lately.  So, last week, I set out to finishing what I started.  As I read, I ran through the miles with the author - reliving the sights I saw, some were the same as he saw 17 years ago (he ran the marathon in the 100th anniversary year), commiserating with him at certain "pain points" on the course.

It has been 12 days, and while my body is healed, my soul is still a work in progress. 

It has been 20 and a half days since my Papa died. One of the last things he told me was how proud of me he was that I was running "the B.A.A. marathon." He said, "You're going to run, and you'll do your best.  Your best is good enough for me."  Papa wasn't a runner, but his heart was always in sports, just as much as us grandkids playing those sports.  He appreciated sports - for the sportsmanship, perseverance, and dedication.  I know he was proud of me for what I accomplished on marathon day. 

I have been overwhelmed with people being proud of me, congratulating me, asking about my story, where I was, how far I got, and the big question: Did I finish?  When I say no, I was around mile 25.5 when the officials told us to stop, their immediate response is, "oh, but you finished. You would have. You deserve the medal."  And I know I would have finished. I had enough gas in the tank to get myself there.  But I didn't have the chance. 

"Too close to home."  Too close is my best friend having stood right where one explosion happened, but needing to nourish herself and the little life inside her, they went to grab some lunch.  Too close is my friend's mom, positioned on Boylston Street to cheer her daughter to the finish, when explosions happen to her left and right.  Too close is a friend who completed 2 Boston Marathons and whose job it is to guard that evil kid in the federal medical facility. Too close is being 0.7 miles from the finish line....that silly line of paint in front of the Boston Public Library....that line which millions may dream of crossing, yet a relatively small population can actually state with pride that they have done that. 

That's why I feel lost...still... like an unresolved minor chord, just ........hanging....... My major resolution hasn't come.  People who don't run or weren't there don't get it.  And I don't mean that maliciously, just as they don't mean their comments and reassurance maliciously.  That painted line on Boylston Street is the Holy Grail of running.  And I didn't get that.  I don't want anyone to think for a minute that I am diminishing what happened that day.  People died, lost limbs, and their lives will never be the same.  My heart breaks for those who were injured, and those who saw the chaos up close. 

One of the last paragraphs in Michael Connelly's book really sums it up.

"Twenty-six miles and 385 yards.  The start in Hopkinton seems as through it took place weeks ago. The runners lived each yard one at a time. As each step was completed, it became a distant memory while each yard in front seemed to stretch farther away. The cold, the heat, the rain, the snow, the traffic, the spilled beers, the car fumes - all for this euphoric feeling of crossing a simple line. The runs in the morning, at lunch, in the dark, past the chasing dogs, the puddle-splashing cars, the cars that pull out onto the crosswalk, the cars that played chicken with you - all for this euphoric feeling of crossing a simple line.

Of course it's not a simple line. It's a mental and physical barrier that, when conquered, offers a feeling of exaltation that is incomparable." 

One of many reasons why I will run next year.

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