The Human Spirit

I haven’t wrote much about running lately. It’s because I was sick all of last week with laryngitis and took a week off to rest. I started running again on Monday, the minute I felt that scratchy feeling leave my throat and lungs.

I’ve stayed indoors to run the past three days. I ran 3 miles on the treadmill at the gym on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday- all with consistent times. Happy to say I haven’t lost the spring in my step, even after finishing a marathon a few weeks ago and then being hit with severe sickness.

I felt a sense of euphoria again; like all was right in the world (or my world at least)

I wasn’t ready to take it out on the pavement yet because I always get too excited when I run in Central Park once I see the herds of runners surrounding me. I didn’t want to overdue it. I stayed inside to ease back into the game.

I’ve noticed that as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more of a lone-runner. People always ask me to run with them and I tell them, “Yea, definitely!”, but it never happens because I always seem to keep to myself. I’ve said this many times before, but I value my running time as my alone time. My time to sort through my thoughts, relieve any stress, and be with myself.

However, I’ve learned that it’s somewhat unhealthy to be that way. Sometimes, you really need people.

This morning, we finally received the long-awaited July 2013 issue of Runner’s World.

The instant I saw the cover, my heart sank. This was the issue that was dedicated to the Boston Marathon bombings that took place on April 15th. The day that turned the running community and the entire world upside down.

It feels like so long ago, but when I flip through the pages, every word recalls the feelings I felt like it was just yesterday.

As I was reading the Editor’s letter from our Editor-In-Chief, David Willey, I found one quote from Michigan Race Director, Don Kern, that resonated throughout my mind and heart:

“If you’re trying to defeat the human spirit, marathon runners are the wrong group to target”

This holds true to me in every way possible, especially now that I can proudly call myself a marathoner.

Most people don’t understand why runners run.

It’s much more than just a work-out, or keeping yourself healthy and fit. Those are actually just bonuses. It’s much more than that.

It’s a mentality. A state of mind. An outlet.

Most importantly, it’s about community.

The human spirit is an amazing thing. It’s resilient. We can be beaten and torn, but not broken. Runners, amongst all other, have proven that after the Boston Marathon bombings. To be able to rise above all the tragedy that has happened and come together stronger than ever is the miracle of the human spirit.

Runners are determined, motivated, persistent and nothing can stand in the way of that. Not a bomb, nor anything else.

I’ve learned that a sense of community is really one of the biggest reasons for why I love running. As I stated earlier in this entry, once I get into Central Park to run, I always get too excited. I immediately feel inspired and uplifted, regardless of however I was feeling that day. It’s because I know they just get me. They get why I do this.

In running and in life, we need the feeling that there are people who are going through exactly what we are going through. We need that comfort. The Boston Marathon bombings was a wake up call to the world.

The human spirit cannot be broken.

“Even when our heart aches, we summon the strength that maybe we didn’t even know we had, and we carry on; we finish the race…On that toughest mile, just when we think that we’ve hit a wall, someone will be there to cheer us on and pick us up if we fall.” – President Barack Obama

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Mind over Matter

To say, “It’s been a long week” would be the understatement of the century. However, I can’t phrase it in any other way than to say that exact sentence. So, I’ll leave it at that.

Mondays are already a tough pill to swallow, but what had happened on this particular Monday in Boston was the toughest.

This week has been off-balance, uneasy, unsettling. Today couldn’t have come any slower.

I’m a very resilient person. I’m quick to recover and the ease at which I can completely repress memories always amazes me. I’ve gotten so good at it that I often get confused as to whether something actually happened or not. Ironically, I have a fantastic memory (in regards to the things I actually want to remember) I can’t tell if that’s a good thing or not though.

Remembering the past is detrimental to who we become in the future. I’m not saying that you’re supposed to dwell on the past, but to at least be aware and acknowledge what happened and hopefully pick up the pieces and begin to recover. This is how we create history. This is how we learn. This is how we grow.

For me, I could say I was directly affected by the events that occurred on Marathon Monday. My co-workers whom I work with day in and day out were there that day. My co-workers who were there were far more affected than I was. For them, it’s not going to be so easy to just acknowledge what happened and pick up the pieces and recover. For them, it could take weeks, months, years. It’s easy to erase a memory that is not your own. It’s easy to dismiss a tragic event that occurred in history because you weren’t there to watch it happen. It’s hard to forget when you were a witness.

My 1st of 2 back-to-back races is in 2 days. I’ll be running the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon and of course I’m excited, but I feel guilty being excited when there is still so much grief. It feels selfish to be happy right now when other people have been robbed of that emotion this week.

I hope and pray for the best when I run on Sunday. I hope and pray for happiness for those who are still suffering.

2 days and still counting…

#PrayForBoston

All day, I have been thinking of the words to describe how I feel about what happened yesterday at the Boston Marathon.

There are not enough words. There is no particular word. There are just emotions. Hundreds of emotions that are flowing through my veins.

I’ve never experienced a nationwide tragedy such as this that hit so close to home. Whenever I have seen acts of terrorism or violence on the news, I am saddened and I can feel for the victims, but never has it sunk so deep within my skin. I feel the pain in my bones.

The day that I got my job at Runner’s World Magazine was, hands down, one of the greatest days of my life. It was a milestone for me. I earned a position at my all-time favorite magazine. I earned it.

For most people, the Boston Marathon should have been a similar experience. This year, the 2013 Boston Marathon was one of the most tragic events in Running History. Two Explosions went off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, depriving approximately 6,000 of their chance to earn such a prestigious accomplishment. To a dream that many have been chasing for years.

Yesterday at work, I was blissfully unaware of the horror to come after many crossed the finish line. I was sitting in my boss’ office watching the end of the Women’s Marathon, cheering on American Marathoners, Shalane Flanagan and Kara Goucher, around 10AM. I felt the positive energy radiating from the computer screen. I wanted to be there. I felt like I was.

At 2:50PM, my world, along with thousands of others’, was turned upside down.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I couldn’t believe that someone would cause such chaos on a day that is so significant to millions of Americans.

It may never be understood as to why there are people in the world who just want to cause destruction. What must be understood, is that there needs to be a change. We, as a human race, need to strive to keep love and peace and hope alive even when it seems that all is lost.

In November of 2012, New York City was faced with Natural Disaster, Hurricane Sandy, which affected millions of lives and inevitably led to the cancellation of the New York City Marathon. This year, Boston was faced with a man-made disaster at the Boston Marathon.

As a Runner and an American, I have been deeply impacted by the tragedy of these events. My co-workers, my running community, my family at Runner’s World have been directly affected by what has happened and I’ve never had a deeper motivation to run on behalf of everyone else who was affected.

I had always thought that I was running for myself. For my health, for my pride, for my sanity. Now, I run for the hurt. The lost. The suffering.

When I run the Rutgers Unite Half Marathon in 5 days and then the Big Sur Marathon in 12 days, I promise that my heart will be with every runner, every family, every American who was affected.

#PrayForBoston

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Below is a link to stream live coverage through CBS:

http://boston.cbslocal.com/live-video/

No More Long Runs

First off, HAPPY MARATHON MONDAY! Today is the Boston Marathon and I’m sad to say that I’m not there to witness it, but fortunately, I’m able to stream Live Coverage

So, I ran my last long run of my Half Marathon/Marathon training this past Saturday. That’s it. No more long run Saturdays. Where did the time go?

At this point, I realize that there’s not much else I can do except think positive thoughts and cross my fingers in hopes that I don’t pass out at mile 20 (since I never even reached that distance in my training)

At least, my last one was successful. My legs felt strong and I felt fast. I’m not too sure if that’s a good thing or not, but at least my body isn’t in pain. A nice 8 miles kept my spirits high.

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It just all seems so surreal. Maybe I’m in denial that these races are actually happening, but I feel no sense of excitement or nervousness. I’m not anxious. I’m not ecstatic. I’m not over-filled with joy. I thought at this point, I would at least have sweaty palms. But instead, I’m simply acknowledging the fact that my training has come to an end and I just have to hope for the best.

The one thing that I can attest to is the lack of sleep I’ve been getting, which could be the one sure sign that I actually have emotions.

Every day last week, I slept no earlier than 2:30AM. I remain blissfully unaware as to what’s actually bothering me, especially since I can’t single out one lingering thought that’s even slightly related to my races. I’ve just been laying in bed, tossing and turning, my eyes refusing to shut. Every few minutes, I sit up and look around my pitch black room, then return to my original position.

I purchased a new book for the first time in a very long time. To be honest, I don’t read often and I’m not one to finish books all the way. I always reach the home stretch, just before you find out the good stuff, but then I just stop. Hopefully I finish this one. I figure it will take my mind off of whatever is hiding in my subconscious.

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(If you can’t read upside down, it’s “Invisible Monsters” by Chuck Palahniuk. This was probably not the most uplifting choice of books, but I read the first chapter and was intrigued)

Anyways, I’ll be taking it easy this week. I’ll get in some light running, but mostly relaxing, reading, and foam rolling.

It sounds like it’s going to be a good week.