Absorbing the Boston Marathon attack


Boston Skyline

Boston Skyline (Photo credit: brentdanley)

How many of these posts will be written? You know, musings by runners and wanna be runners about the Boston Marathon tragedy, about finding parallels to the sport, about gleaning strength and a deeper meaning from the senseless violence?

I can’t help myself, in both writing and acknowledging that I am participating in something that is cliché. The whole process of healing after a national tragedy; the outrage; the outpouring of support; the attempt to make sense and find meaning; and the eventual sniping and “political discourse” to follow.We’ve had so many of the same discussions lately as a nation. At least it feels that way, especially in this accelerated media age. Maybe it has always been this way.

I spent hours monitoring the Internet and news sources to update the story as a website editor. I tried to reach out to runners, people I hardly know, who ran Boston for comment. I felt both compelled as a journalist and uncomfortable as a runner doing that.

Hours earlier I had been so proud to be able to tweet “Good luck to all the Boston Marathon qualifiers” on the company Twitter account. Yesterday I also wrote a post on the number of jerks who won’t share the road locally with runners that I planned to share today. (Boy, won’t they feel like shit now.) Twelve hours later, I’m just exhausted. I want to kick someone in the crotch. I wish all my day would have been was writing on the normal cops and robbers, homicide stuff we see on the local blotter. Yeah, no better a reflection on the worst of the nature of humanity, but not the blast furnace of coverage, images, and reaction either.

Actually, the white noise of daily violence may be sadder, but what’s worse, the numbness of cynicism in the daily parade of human behavior, or the occasional, spectacular explosion of horror that punctures the everyday (hence the need for coverage saturation and “understanding”)? I don’t think we’re actually very well equipped to honestly deal with either as human beings, and doubly so as Americans, where the story of unexpected violence is so much more spectacular because it does not happen with the same frequency as it seems to in other places in the world.

The story of the Boston Marathon attack is not over. Three dead so far, 11 in critical based on spotty reports. More analysis to be done by the experts. And I’ll be a little pissed over all of it, because yeah, there are patterns to the stories we all share about these events, and I’ll still be affected like everyone else and engaged in every little detail that is revealed. Maybe a little more so, because the community targeted and affected hits a little closer to home. But in the end what changes?

English: Gerard Cote winning the 1940 Boston m...

English: Gerard Cote winning the 1940 Boston marathon. Français : Gérard Côté, gagnant du marathon de Boston en 1940 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Boston Marathon. The race we all wish we could qualify for and run, knowing the talent and grit it takes to get there, scarred by two bombs at the finish line for no reason that will ever make sense to those of us just trying to get along in this world, to set goals, and to be the heroes of our own lives.

I don’t know what the overarching lesson, response or redemption to today’s senseless loss will be. If anything, my mind keeps turning back to what those running coaches say, you can train and prepare for the race, but you can’t control the circumstances of race day. You just have a plan and keep running.

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2 thoughts on “Absorbing the Boston Marathon attack

  1. Pingback: World Most Important Nationalities Revealed | Factgasm

  2. It’s a horrible thing that we had to witness this past Monday. I had already finished the race and was on my way back to the hotel when my friends started to text me whether I was safe. I spent the next several hours trying to understand how this could have happened. I have not written a post about my experience yet and am trying to collect my thoughts…

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