April 15, two years ago I was celebrating running my first marathon the day before. I started Marathon Monday watching the live stream of the Boston Marathon before indulging in a deep tissue massage. After nearly 6.5 hours on the course and the seemingly never ending drive from Dallas back home to Houston IMMEDIATELY following the race- I was really looking forward to the abuse that was sure to come in the next hours. I was just like every other first time marathoner, telling anyone who would listen that I ran a marathon, and not just a marathon but an ultra due to a misguided lead at the beginning. I ran 27.9 miles. I was so proud of myself, and my running partner. I just knew the entire world needed to hear our story. I reveled in agonizing bliss as the massage therapist worked her magic all over my beaten body. My mind was gloriously still and my muscles felt a kind of soft relaxation I’d never experienced before. As I was preparing to leave the massage room, I checked my phone and time suddenly seemed to stand still.
Bombs went off at the finish line.
It’s all over the news.
I was in complete disbelief. This can’t be happening. Everything that I’d spent the last hours praising now suddenly seemed so insignificant. My accomplishment was meaningless compared to what was happening in Boston. I spent the rest of the day in devastated disbelief. Staring at the images on the TV.
I’m not going to sit here and debate the ins and outs, the rights and wrongs, the fact is, marathoners, runners in any capacity are FAMILY. I felt personally violated. The anger and hurt that I felt turned into a silent resolve, a resolve to train even harder, run farther, faster and with the intent and mindset that terrorism in ANY form will not prevail against MY FAMILY. My family felt the same it seems. I did not see a decline in race registrations, I saw so many posts on social media that said what I felt. We were as one, one running community, one running family, ONE STRONG BOSTON.
I think every runner dreams of someday running Boston, and those events of April 15, 2012 made some want it that much more. To prove that NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING will stop a runner from reaching their goals. There isn’t an ugly act that can deter a runner from pushing, reaching, and earning that spot if that’s what they want! The running community came together that day in one united goal, to never be defeated.
Much like Kathrine Switzer, she refused to be defeated! If you haven’t read her story, you should know that prior to 1967 women were not permitted to run the Boston Marathon. She registered under the name K. V. Switzer and no one batted an eye….until race official Jock Semple spotted her and her now famous bib 261 and tried to physically remove her from the course. Even then social media was there to capture the moment and that moment made worldwide headlines.
Eventually the man who tried to kill Switzer’s dreams became instrumental in campaigning to allow all women to pursue their dream of running Boston.
Switzer’s legacy lives on in the hearts of all runners who know her story. It lives on in the Fearless collection by Skirt Sports. It is a simple, but meaningful reminder that FEARLESS IS BEAUTIFUL, FEARLESS IS STRONG!
To honor Boston and to honor Kathrine and her 261 Fearless race, I participated in a virtual race put on by Skirt Sports. I don’t believe that fearless means “without fear” I believe it means simply to Fear Less. If you can find that little place in your heart and soul that can Fear Less, you can do amazing things! The Skirt Sports Am-badass-adors were to run any distance we wanted in increments of 2.61 to show our resolve to be fearless in our running and in our lives. I decided to run 26.1 miles…on a treadmill…on a Friday night…after a long ass work week. I wanted to prove that my body was capable and my mind was willing to overcome all the voices that said I couldn’t. That said I was too tired, that said there were other things I could do…
I may not ever be fast enough to qualify to run Boston, but I’ll never stop trying!
Kathrine Switzer could’ve done other things too. She could have given up her bib. She could have walked off the course. She could have quit. BUT SHE DIDN’T. AND I WON’T EITHER!
In your life, dare to do things you think you can’t. Do things OTHERS think you can’t. PROVE THE DOUBTERS WRONG! Live YOUR life, tell YOUR story!!!
LIVE YOUR LIFE