Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Strength of the Human "Race"

As a runner, you believe that your sport is inherently safe. Certainly, even when you are road running and considering whether that car making a left turn is going to see you at the last possible moment or trail running  and dodging tree roots and slippery rocks on a single trail at the top of ravine where there is nowhere to go but down.  Those are the known risks you take when you decide to put on your sneakers and leave the safety of your home. Those are variables we respect and measure against our desire to run.

What no one expects is the unexpected.

I was sickened, shocked, and actually speechless for some time yesterday after hearing and then watching the events at the Boston Marathon. Those most directly affected by the bombings were not the runners themselves but family, friends, and fans of the sport. They were lined up cheering on the runners towards the end of the marathon.  I don’t believe the runners were the targets. I believe the crowds were. This wasn’t the Boston Marathon under attack. It simply served as a target event where people freely mill about and no one has to go through gates or security protocols.

As I continued to watch footage of the immediate aftermath of the bombings I did remark about two things. First, it was perhaps divine intervention that medical personnel were so close to the victims. At no other point in the marathon would there be so many emergency medical staff in one area at one time. I’m quite sure that had an immediate effect on the possible death toll.

Second, the ratio of people who darted from the area to those who ran to victims was nearly even. Along with emergency services, I watched race volunteers, who were merely out to support runners for a road race, race themselves toward the injured.  This action alone refueled my faith in humanity.  While social media spewed hatred, contempt, and unintelligent drivel, people were providing aid and care. It is most likely that there were more people helping than those who perpetuated the crime. In essence, the good truly outweighed the bad.

Running is still about freedom; putting on shoes and heading out to wherever a road or trail can take you. That has not changed. I still believe that my chances of being hurt or worse at a marathon, by an act of violence, are as slim as getting on a plane. The difference of course, is that I take that risk into consideration whenever I board a plane.  The potential of a bomb or worse at a marathon is simply another risk factor to take into consideration now. Is it right? No. But we still get on planes, take subways, rebuild high rise buildings, shop at malls, and essentially get on with our lives.

The human “race” has been and always will be one of good versus evil and I still believe in the innate good of mankind.  Hatred is taught and learned by those who know no better. It infiltrates the weak and is acquired by the cowardly. By focusing on the good, we, as human beings, will continue to move forward in a positive way. This is one race we are destined to win.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Spring! Where? You just missed it....

Normally as the weather improves and I spend more time outside running, the updates on my running blog become more frequent. The fact that it is April and I haven't blogged since January should tell you something.

Of course, I know I'm preaching to the choir about the weather but I can't keep going to the gym to work out on a treadmill. Right now, the only appeal it has is that I can catch up on my soaps. If I'm there for two hours, I can take in General Hospital and Y&R.  But I'm dying for the trails. I need to be surrounded by trees (whether there are leaves or not), feel the ground under my feet (or mud as the case may be), and cringe about an upcoming hill (son-of-a-beep hill is steeper than I remember!).

The fact is that I'm rather unmotivated right now; which is strange for me this time of year.  I know the weather is part of the reason but it's also the silly little things that add up to a lot. And of course the worse part is that I've got my first twenty-four hour race in two weeks and I'm not even close to where I want to be, with training, for it! One of those vicious circles of I-need-to-train-for-the-event- but-I-won't-be-where-I-want-to-be-for-it-so-why-bother. 

So what is a girl to do? I've decided that I need to schedule running into my day. I've never needed to do that before. Generally, I'd find a block of time, during the day or at night, that worked and just get my gear on and go. For some reason that isn't working right now so I need to set time aside. I never wanted training to feel like training. I'd just go for a run. I'm never worried about placing in a race so I haven't bothered attempting tempo running or fartleks, I just run. I'm concerned though that once training becomes "work" or something I have to do, I'll be even less motivated.

I love running. I love the freedom it gives me. I love the strength I feel. I love knowing I'm setting my spirit free. I need to find that feeling again. I need the weather to clear up, the sun to shine bright, and the air to feel just a bit warmer. And I need a trail.

And if that doesn't work, perhaps someone could run in front of me with a wireless computer so I catch up on my soaps!