Another day that will be etched in the minds of millions of people worldwide. I remember this day just like I remembered Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Almost the same setups. I was at work, in the breakroom, getting coffee, then getting stopped by a coworker and being asked "did you hear what happened?" It was like, time froze in a moment, and once again, I was cold to the core. I reverted back to that same old thought I had back when 9/11 occured. In 1998, when I was a senior in high school, I had enlisted into the United States Marine Corps. Like most families, mine with me being the only son, and also being raised by a single mother, I was inevitably talked out of joining. One of my life's greatest regrets. Anyways, that thought reoccurred over and over the day of the "Boston Bombing". Can't change the past, but I can create a future. I'm still working on that.
As part of my future that I am creating, being a runner has definitely opened some avenues up for me. I've met so many new friends, developed a greater desire to be healthy, love life more, and even live happier. As the explosions first aired on the tv waves, I immediately fell to my knees and prayed for the safety of those who I knew were up there, and even prayed for protection and healing of those who were injured. After the news released the casualties, my heart sunk after the announcement of the young boy Martin Richard. An innocent 8 year old who's desire was for PEACE. I couldn't watch it anymore!! Feeling helpless, I decided to get on the bandwagon as many of my running friends did, and runners world wide did as well. To support Boston, we were challenged the next day on 4/16 to wear previous race finisher tees. I felt it fitting to wear my last marathon shirt I had earned after running the Cowtown Marathon. In my job environment, the attire is business casual Monday thru Thursday, then casual (jeans) on Friday's. Given that is was a Tuesday, I really didn't care who said this or who said that, I am a RUNNER. Like many runners, we stand up like soldiers for our brothers and sisters who suffered on the battlefield of each and every race. I'm gonna show my support whether you like it or not. Thankfully, that day, I met up with on the lab director's or one of the "gods" of the company I work for. He thought my shirt was a little too bright, but was humbled by the fact that I would wear it. After explaining to him about me running marathons, and showing my support for Boston, he excused it and if I was to have had any actions taken against me, I was to let him know. Good thing nothing happened.
Cowtown 2013. My second marathon. Not the time I wanted, but was the best experience I had in a race where I walked away a more mature runner. I love those kind of runs/races where I in fact learn something that I never learned in previous workouts. That day was epic for me
In regards to my job, I just so happened to come upon a whole week where all of the employees of the company got "appreciated". As a reward, we got to dress casual Monday - Friday as a way of being thanked for our hard work, etc.. What better time for me personally to show my love for Boston by wearing previous race shirts. In my running up to this point up until April 6 when I ran my last race, I was done 5 Half marathons, 2 Fulls, 2 10ks, 2 5ks, 2 20 milers (1 was a DNF), and 1 15k. 14 races up to date. This coming Sunday will be race #15, which will also be half marathon #6. I was thinking as I was wanting to show my love for Boston, since the bombing was a "first time" event to ever happen in this tradition of over 100 years (can't remember if this was 117 or 118. Sorry Boston runners), what were some of the "firsts" I did in many of my races. I had 5 to pick from to spread throughout the week. It's not like I had to choose carefully, but I wanted to commemorate the best way I could. Here are the days marked out:
Day 1. 2010 Dallas White Rock Half Marathon. This was my first race I ever ran. I had lost 45 lbs by then prior to running this race. After failing at the attempt to apply for the local PD I applied for, this was also a cheer up present for me. Although I was hurting at the end of the race, I had never felt more accomplished in my own life. I was hooked on this thing called running. Never looked back!
Day 2. 2011 Dallas White Rock Full Marathon. This was my first FULL 26.2 marathon I ever ran. That day left a mark in my life that I will never forget. Finished in just under 5 hours, and felt proud that I slugged the whole course in the cold, pouring, rain. The first of many "best days" in my running career. I had set a higher bar, and achieved higher limits for myself.
Day 3. 2011 Ft. Worth Runner's Club Labor Day Race, 15k. This was my second race that I ran in Ft. Worth, but first race I ran in minimalist footwear. Nothing special, but I had also set a PR that day. By then, I was falling in love with running 10ks, and was hitting 55 minute (average) times when I ran them. My dearest friend and honorary coach, Lynn had twisted my arm to run this race with her since it was her birthday. I took her up on it, because it was also my first "training" run/race I did to kick off training for the White Rock Marathon (Day 2 shirt). I thought, what's an extra 5k gonna hurt on top of what I normally run. Nailed 9.3 miles in 1:27:??. It was a great day for a race.
Day 4. 2012 Heels & Hills & Him 10k. This was the first race I placed in my AG (age group). This particular tee is given to those who do just that. That day was one of what I thought was a bad race. Although, I signed up for the 10k at the last minute, the course was mismarked and I ended up along with everyone else who ran the 10k, running 7.3 miles. There was in fact some walking I had done towards the end because I was mad that I didn't reach the PR time I wanted, but I was not about to quit. So, I crossed the line, shrugged it off, the usual.. Shortly afterwards, it was like sweet redemption as I heard my name being called out over the loud speaker say that I had come in 2nd place in the M 30-34 division. Bonus: The H&H&H has a "sister" race call Heels and Hills, that I in fact will be participating in as a pacer this coming weekend. Can't wait!!
and Day 5. 2013 Fairview Half Marathon. My first race I ran as a pacer. I've spent the last 3 years as a runner, reformed athlete, whatever you want to call it, trying to figure who I am. Not only on the race course, but in the race of life I live on a day to day basis. In my part time adventures as a Personal Trainer, I take great joy in seeing the improvements of people I meet and workout with. My one client has vastly improved by dropping so much weight, and even now becoming a runner for the first time in his life. **and he's over 50 years old** If he can do it, so can you!! I've always wanted to pay it forward outside the gym as a pacer, and was blessed to do so in this race. For 2 hours and 30 minutes, I did just that along with making new friends as well. It is such a reward and great feeling knowing you helped someone else reach a goal, that you forget about your own goals. Pay it Forward, friends... Pay it Forward!!
In the wake of this tragic event that happened almost a month ago, it still saddens me that there are selfish people in this world that would want to ruin a day like the day of the Boston Marathon. I always think to myself that someday, I am going to finish a marathon in the qualifying time I need in order to get a spot for this traditional race. Someday I will do that. I will remember my brothers and sisters that were wounded that day. Some of those runners had family members that will never be the same. Some of those runners may never be able to run again. A gift taken away from them at the hands of terror. We are runners, just life soldiers. We fight for one another.
Starting on May 15, exactly one month of this tragic event, I will begin a 90 run streak as my way of honoring those who were injured during the Boston Marathon. I as runner have one question to ask, "who's with me?"
See you out on the roads or trails.... Run for Boston..