I feel a little ambivalent while writing this post. On the one hand, I know that what I'm feeling is genuine, but on the other hand, I can't help that one of those feelings is a sense that they are so insignificant in comparison to the experience of others that they aren't worth typing. But I just want to go ahead and get it out there.
Since I began losing weight, and even in previous attempts, counting my steps has always been a simple way to establish a baseline of activity that had no real limitations as far as when and where I could do it. I have paced the length of my living room countless times, sometimes while knitting, to reach the magic number of steps at the end of a given day.
As fitness became a pursuit in and of itself outside of the means to weight loss, I took my steps to more interesting ground, from nature walks like the one I recently took at Enchanted Rock, to road race 5Ks like last year's Moonlight Margarita Run which I celebrated completion of with a cupcake. I've run in nearly half a dozen 5Ks, and I've always enjoyed them. There's a sense of accomplishment and camaraderie even when you participate alone, running alongside others and passing cheering spectators. Both push me to run a little farther, a little faster.
I had been thinking about the Boston Marathon since Monday morning, when I found out that my boss' boss was running in it (he's fine, by the way). I was thinking about how cool it would be to run in a marathon, much less one like Boston, London, or New York. Running down Congress, passing the Paramount Theater and with the Capitol building in the background is pretty cool, but those cities would be amazing. I was also thinking about what kind of training I might need to do to be able to get to a half marathon first.
The news broke for me when the hashtag bubbled up on Twitter, prompting me to click on some news links and turn the radio on. My reactions included the same concern, horror, and inability to understand what motivates someone to do something like that which I expect most people felt. But I also felt a particular twinge of empathy for these people who I admired for this particular effort, with whom I felt a bond, tenuous but existing. A moment of accomplishment and pride was taken from them and replaced with fear, danger, and sadness. It's not fair. But then, it never is.
My connection to the world of runners is one mostly of admiration and aspiration. And this may be the least important takeaway from yesterday possible, but it motivated me to make myself more of a runner. It makes me want to join another 5K sooner rather than later. And the next time I lace up my shoes, it's going to be one more thing that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other.