I can describe it as a cement-block hardening in my chest. It’s not that other tragedies don’t affect me viscerally. But sometimes, we feel certain events more intensely, without being able to explain why — and not wanting to explain it, not wanting to come off as unfeeling toward those starving in X country, toward bombings every day in Y country.
But, I think I’ve figured it out.
The end of a marathon — especially Boston — is a symbol of hope, accomplishment, and a life goal to so many people. Back in 2004, I was very involved in the running-marathons community, if only in my head. I ran a half-marathon in San Francisco. I’ve run 5Ks, 10Ks, have done those “add it up and it equals a marathon” runs.
I’ve been there: the planning, the effort, the excitement. The setting out of matching argyle socks to wear with a boyfriend when we ran our first 5k in Miami. Holding my best friend’s sweaty hand at the finish line of the San Francisco half-marathon. The way she slowed for me when my lungs tightened; the way I slowed for her when her stomach tightened. And the loosening, the ecstasy, the heart-with-wings feeling at the end.
I remember running the Bolder Boulder in my mountain home, what it represented for me to move my body in that way after a 90mph car accident. To claim a place as mine by pounding down its streets with thousands of people, all striving for the same thing, the energy of it, the flow forward.
And now, bombs. At the finish line. Humans, actually did that.
It sickens me. The cement block feeling returns.
My heart sends love to everyone in Boston, to everyone who flew there, to their beloveds. And, to the people who planted them — these pain bodies in the world are in all of us, and healing them on an individual level is where we can all start, until we get to a place where we can grow and heal through wisdom — not experience.