I did a 4 mile tempo run. I, like every other runner, was thinking about Boston. I am more determined now than ever to get myself signed up and be at the starting line in Hopkinton next year.
Running is a solitary sport. That is probably what attracts me to it. I like to be out there on my own. I'm not a group runner. I don't enjoy chatting. I am surrounded by children all day who like to chat, laugh, yell, shout bang, stomp, etc. When I run, it's quiet. I can think. Or not.
Running in a race is a group effort. That is what attracts me to it. You are among peers. Everyone has the same goal. You feed off of each other's energy. You draft behind someone. You pace with someone. You compete with someone. In a large race, you and the elite runners are starting in the same place and ending in the same place, covering the same distance. This does not happen in any other sport.
Running in a marathon is not a 4 hour race. It is an event that started at least four months prior to race day. You have run anywhere from 25 to 70 miles per week, 5 or 6 days a week, for months. You wake up early to get your run in. You brave the night streets if you couldn't get out there earlier. You miss a child's soccer game. You skip church. You plan your days around your long runs. This is a commitment only fellow marathoners and their families can relate to.
Running is not violent. I mean look at us. We're usually scrawny. Some of us look like you could knock us over with a sneeze. We have shiny clothes and lots of gadgets. Talk about nerds. You want to hurt runners? You don't need a bomb. Stand at the 4 mile marker in a 10k and tell everyone there's only one more mile left. I mean, that's it! I guarantee you'll devastate the majority of the field.
Bombs. Bioweapons. Airplanes. Grow some balls. Choose the difficult road. Choose tolerance, compromise, forgiveness, compassion, peace. This is the road that will lead you to the ultimate glory, if that's what you are looking for. This is the road that will earn you respect. This is the only road. And after a while, you'll find that you're not alone. There are runners on that road too. It hasn't been easy for them either. They, too want to reach that finish line, get the medal, maybe a free beer, and maybe a little recognition for their efforts. This is the only road.