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Why I'll never stop running.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I had this blog in mind. I wanted to tell you about my weekend. I wanted to tell you about how sore I was/am from the weekend. I wanted to tell you about my date with my husband and I wanted to tell you about how that date came to a shocking end with images of violence and terror being flashed across the t.v. screen in the restaurant. I wanted to tell you so many things. But, I think I'll just tell you about this.

I'll tell you about how every single race I've ever gone to has been a positive and strengthening experience. Not just muscular strength, but emotional strength. I'll tell you about how empowering it is to watch a bunch of people all get together to do something they've been working for and how it feels to accomplish it. How it doesn't matter if it is kids running a 1k or adults of any age running a 5k or a 10k or a half marathon or more. I want to tell you how it feels to watch someone cross an imaginary line or step on a very physical and solid mat and experience that moment of "I did it"!!

It isn't something I can describe well. Go to a race, even if you have never run one step. Go to a race, any race, it doesn't matter if the field of participants is 5,000 or 5, go and watch. Watch the faces and see how accomplishing this thing changes a person's face. It. Is. MAGICAL.

Magical. Magic was sprinkled all over my first 5k, it's what Disney does best, sprinkle pixie dust on something and make it magical. I thought maybe the next one wouldn't be as magical without the pixie dust. I was wrong. The magic doesn't come from pixie dust, it comes from PEOPLE.

From people who thought "I don't know if I can, but I'm going to try." Or, "I've done it already, can I do it better?" The magic comes from the people.

Runners are magic people. They take sweat and turn it into glitter. They take pain and turn it into triumph. They take injury and turn it into personal lessons about overcoming trials and coming back the best they can be. Yeah, runners are magic.

I sat in that restaurant on Monday afternoon with tears in my eyes and tried to explain to my husband why this disaster affected me so much and simply didn't have the words. "It's wrong." "Races are safe." That was about the extent of how I could express myself inside the restaurant on Monday afternoon. 9/11 tore at my heart like nothing ever had. Newtown made me run to school to get my kids and give them a kiss and hug. This one left me temporarily at a loss. Someone tried to steal our magic. Someone tried to kill the unicorn.

As the day wore on and I watched FB and the internet and thought about the evil person who tried to kill the unicorn and succeeded in killing and injuring so many I knew there was only one course of action.

Keep running and all my running friends agreed. The best answer to this bastard was to keep running. We didn't stop. We won't stop. We won't let the unicorn, or Tinkerbell, or any other source of magic die. We will keep running, we will clap until our hands bleed, because pain doesn't stop a runner. It makes us try harder.

We will proudly wear our race shirts and we will run for 2.62 miles, or 4.15 miles or 26.2 minutes or for those who can 26.2 miles. We will raise money, like we do for so many other charities and during other moments of crisis. We will band together and run. I WILL keep running. I WILL keep going to organized races and all of us will be more vigilant and more helpful and more aware and we WILL race and finish and go on. Runners do not quit and I will not quit.

I am PROUD to call myself a runner on this day after. I am PROUD to belong to this group of people with strong hearts. I am PROUD to be a part of a country that is always able to stop the petty bickering and band together as a family when we are injured.

I am a runner and I will not stop running. Despite being sore and having shin splints I put in the distance this morning. I ran some, walked a lot and then raced as far as I could with the thought that this section was for "them". For the innocent who were there to support the magic. For those who create the magic and those who suffered the ultimate loss. It wasn't much. It wasn't a marathon, but it was my effort at sending a little magic to help heal the unicorn. I think it did more to heal me, but magic works like that sometimes.
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