When the two idiot brothers detonated pressure cooker bombs at the Boston Marathon finish line in 2013, I was watching the news coverage and tracking two runners from my office. My sister and brother-in-law were running; my sister hadn’t yet crossed the finish line. My parents were there with my nieces and nephew to cheer them on. Within a couple of minutes of the blasts, someone posted a picture of the mayhem on twitter, taken from a window about 10 stories above the street. All I could see was blood in the streets of Boston.
In the end, all of my family members were safe and unharmed, if a bit shaken.
I resolved – almost immediately – that I would remember those who hadn’t been so lucky by continuing to run; I would continue to train for distance races, continue to learn from what has been my lifelong sport.
I know a lot of runners have mantras to help them during those tough, long runs. I have had many. The only one I have needed since the 2013 Boston Marathon has been this: Because I CAN. (Why am I running in this heat/rain/humidity/blizzard? Because I CAN. Why did I sign up for such a loooong race? Because I CAN. Why should I keep running? Because I CAN.
It really used to be so easy for me to find reasons not to run, even though I love it. The momentum of sitting still and being comfortable is a strong force to overcome. Because I CAN (and lots of others can’t – and someday I might not be able to anymore) has been the strongest and most effective running motivator I have ever encountered. I intend to hang on to it as long as I CAN.