Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Each time I started writing over the past week, the words didn’t seem right and I deleted each post, waiting. Waiting until I could come up with the right words, or could properly identify what I was feeling, or could do justice to the chaos that has taken place in my home town over the past week.

One week. Seven days. It feels like yesterday and long ago, at the same time. It is mind boggling. I still don’t have the words — I’m sure it will take time, like when I waited almost three years to write about September 11 or my post reflecting on Sandy just recently, four months later.

In the meantime, I watched a lot of CNN, refreshed Boston.com over and over, and without planning it, ran just a touch more than 26.2 over the past seven days.

On Wednesday night I laced up my new, limited edition Boston Kinvaras and took off for 6 miles. Nik picked me up at the 6-mile mark because the sun had set and it was really dark and when I got in the car he remarked, “I could see your shoes coming as I drove down the street!” They glow in the dark.

Our team practice was cancelled as a result of the lock-down Saturday morning, so that afternoon, after a couple of beers and hot dogs to celebrate my sister’s birthday (her favorite and total early-spring grilling weather), I slogged through 4 pathetic miles, feeling terrible.

During my sister’s birthday festivities, her boyfriend, Chris, who ran the marathon last Monday, volunteered to help me out with my long run on Sunday morning. With 16 miles on my schedule, I decided to run two 8-mile loops, with Chris joining in for the second go around.

Since here in Boston we are already a pretty proud crew, further steeped in solidarity as a result of this tragedy, I rocked my 2008 Boston Marathon shirt for my run Sunday morning. The weather was beautiful and cool and my run started well. About three miles in I chatted a little bit with a man who was doing his morning miles, as well. He told me a little bit about his running club and how he used to do long runs starting in Weymouth and running to Hull, where his wife would pick him up. He was friendly and I’ve never had someone just run up and start chatting on a run since moving to the ‘burbs. It feels pretty safe to say that everyone has been feeling part of the Boston Strong community.

Soon after my new friend peeled off to head home, my foot fell asleep, followed a little while later by the entire lower part of my leg. This has been a weird and on-going thing. I wondered if it might be linked to hydration, so I checked in the windows of a few bars and restaurants I passed by for a glass of water, but none were open. Then, the Thai Bodyworks window had a sign in the window — Open 7 Days, 10 AM – 6 PM. Score! I popped in and asked if she had a water cooler or sink where I could get a glass of water. She said the water wasn’t hooked up, but pulled a new bottle of water from her purse and gave it to me. People are kind. Feeling grateful, I was on my way.

It turns out the loop was 8.5 miles, so I was already cranky about the fact that I’d be running 17 miles instead of 16 by the time Chris and I headed out for the second go around. Thank goodness for his company.

The miles 8.5 to 17 were way more entertaining and fun than the first bunch, and therapeutic to reflect on all of the insanity that has taken place over the past week. It was good to hear about Chris’ first marathon experience (a doozy, to be sure), lessons learned, highlights, and goals. All of that was good, in addition to the fact that without him it’s entirely likely that I would have been shuffling instead of jogging, or debatably, running.

The most powerful moment was coming through town when a car drove by with its windows open and the driver called out, “Boston strong!” To be honest, I wasn’t sure what he had said at first, but it makes me smile to remember nonetheless.

I saw a tweet over the weekend, after Suspect 2 had been captured and there seemed to be palpable relief across the city. I’ve heard it can take 10 or 15 years to feel like a real Bostonian, they wrote. These days it only takes a week. That certainly feels real to me. For now, I’ll keep running, reflecting, and taking notes, and we will remain one Boston. Boston Strong.