On Finish Lines, Fears & Faith
Like the rest of the world, I was stunned to hear about the Boston Bombings.
Why, why, why? I asked myself.
Only after checking in with all of my friends and their families to ensure that they were safe and sound did I start letting it all settle in and reading the coverage.
I was struck by the fact that these bombs were intentionally placed to hurt not only civilians, but specifically those crossing the finish line of the marathon and their supporters.
The finish line.
The finish line is place upon which these athletes had had their eyes and hearts focused for the months–and maybe even years–preceding that moment. Finish lines are a place for celebration, smiles, unity and tears of joy.
My friend Rose and I about to cross the finish line of a 570-mile bike ride. Words cannot express the positive energy and happiness of this day…
Instead, the finish line of the Boston Marathon had become a place of chaos, fear and even death.
As gal who is just two weeks away from crossing her first triathlon finish line, my heart and deepest empathies went out to those injured in the bombings, especially those who had just finished their race.
My Team in Training Coach Douglas Li wrote our team an email that moved me to tears shortly afterwards:
What unfolded in Boston is something we will never forget. For those of us who have crossed many finish lines, we all remember our first and we hold the significant ones like that first marathon/triathlon in a very special place. Personally, I can recall more vivid details about my first marathon in Chicago in 2006, than I can from my college graduation. And that’s true for most people I’ve come across: finish lines are right up there with “My first kid being born” or “our wedding day”. Finish lines mean different things to different people, but they are all associated with some of the happiest moments in our lives.
For those of you that are just a few weeks or a couple months away from your first finish line, I urge you to think of everything you’ve done to get yourself to this point. Think of all the friends you’ve made along the way, acknowledge the sacrifices made by friends and family who haven’t seen you. and most importantly, reflect on how much you’ve grown. The finish line is a mixed bag of emotions; you might smile, you might cry (do this long enough and I promise you’ll do both). What I hope you realize in crossing that finish line is that sport mimics life. It was never about the finish line in the first place. What it IS about is facing your fears, befriending people that you may not have otherwise, and experiencing something pure. A finish line is one of the rare things you can’t just go pick up at your convenience on Sunday afternoon. It must be earned.
Coach Doug opened the email with an amazing quote from Kathrine Switzer, the First Woman to Run the Boston Marathon:
“If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon.”
While we caught a glimpse of the darkest side of humanity, the days since have shown us some of the best: community, love and support. Next week I’ll be participating in a 3-mile “To Boston With Love” run along the San Francisco Embarcadero in an effort to keep the stream of positivity flowing. If you’re interested, shoot me and email and I’ll send you the deets. Or you can simply join us at AT&T Park at the Willie Mays statue at 6:30pm.
Sending my continues thoughts, prayers and sympathies to Boston…