Heart Racing

My heart has been sad since Monday.

And my brain oscillates between slow, thoughtful reflection and racing, paranoid anxiety.

The tragedy in Boston has shaken me the same way it has shaken most of America.

Nothing feels safe anymore.

Not large cities.

Not the movies.

Not schools.

Not races.

Naturally, the implications of the bombings during the marathon made me think about the runners, the families, the volunteers, the spectators, and the rescuers.

And as I mourned and reflected,  I thought about my own relationship with running.

I would like to say that I haven’t always been a runner.

But I have.

I used to run away from things all the time.

I ran away from everything I was afraid of.

I ran from things that made me feel anxious or uncomfortable.

I ran from relationships that got too close.

I ran from people that seemed too intimidating.

I ran from success because I was so afraid of failure.

I was a runner.

And I hated myself for it.

But then one day I laced up my sneakers and ran towards something.

Very, very, slowly.

It might even have been more of a brisk walk.

But I pushed forward.

Running has given me a gift that nothing else has.

Running has given me confidence.

It taught me that there will be good days and bad days but that I can survive them both.

It taught me that if I push too hard, I will get hurt, so I need to listen to my body.

It taught me that I can feel uncomfortable, that I can feel like I can’t breathe, that I can feel like my legs will give out, but that I can get through it.

It taught me that I will never be the best, but I can always do my best.

It taught me that when I feel like I can’t take one more step, to be grateful for legs and feet that can carry me forward.

It taught me that mental strength is far more important than physical strength.

It taught me to run towards my dreams instead of being afraid of them.

Everyone runs for different reasons.

Every person at the marathon on Monday was there to celebrate the sport of running.

And even while bombs were exploding and terror was ripping through the streets of Boston, people ran to help one another.

Are you running towards something?

Or are you running away?

Never let your fear decide your fate. 

*song lyric from AWOL nation 

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