Together

hot chocolate 2011

In light of all that has happened over the past few days, running has taken on a whole new meaning. My training and my purpose for running the Chicago marathon was to raise money for lung cancer research through LUNGevity Foundation while honoring the most influential person in my young life, my grandmother. We called her yiya (Greek for grandma). Yi for short.

That reason was big enough for me to attempt what seemed (and still feels to be) the impossible. Running 26 miles and 385 yards all at one time and before the race shuts down. (I need to finish.)  It seems so big to me still. Yet, on Monday, tens of thousands of runners lined up and attempted to do the same in Boston. The turn of events was tragic, but the outpour of support, help, and unity has been incredible. It makes me proud to be a runner. And to attempt the same distance race.

When chatting with a friend on Monday night, she asked me if I still wanted to run the marathon in October now that everything has changed. Immediately I responded, “it makes me want to do it even more.”  I refuse to be scared or threatened in my own home town, on the streets I grew up on, by some unknown – I don’t know what else to call it but – evil. I will run with even more determination and resolve than before. Together, runners, family, Chicagoans, we are so much bigger than this.

Yesterday and today again, the nods and smiles I exchange with other runners reassures me that we’re together in this. There’s a newfound or maybe just renewed camaraderie that I find comforting. I had another painfully slow run today, but kept going regardless of the aches and pains. Simply knowing there are runners all over the world feeling what I feel inside, and experiencing the same aches and pains throughout their journeys, makes me feel like I belong. Like I’m a part of something bigger than just myself. So what more could I ask for.

Photo is of the 2011 Hot Chocolate Race in Chicago. Coincidentally, I ran it with the same friend who asked me if I would still run the Chicago marathon.


Eventually

meditation

There will be a lot of media coverage, analysis, speculation, and chatter as we start to understand who, what, why, and how it all happened in Boston. Detonating two bombs at the finish line of a marathon is an insane act. When senseless tragedies like this happen, I have to wonder if some people just happened to be born without a soul.

In the book Journey of Souls, author Michael Newton talks about the process of a soul entering a human being’s body in utero. He says, “the soul will touch and join… with the impressionable, developing brain of a baby.” (p.266)  So what if the soul changes his mind and decides he doesn’t want to be joined after all and abandons the baby? Or if it’s possible for it simply not to take and that soul returns to heaven or finds another baby thereby leaving the original baby human of course, but soulless. If that’s the case, it would explain some of this and help me understand that some humans among us are simply soulless, and they cause the rest of us to search for meaning on earth.

Ah, but that would be the easy way out. The harsher, and more likely, reality requires us to understand why someone with a soul, a higher self, a purpose, finds himself carrying out such heinous acts of hate and violence.  That’s where I get lost. It makes me angry and sad, but soon I realize I’m no better if I give in to those feelings. Instead I let them go and wonder how we as a society, as a human race, have failed him. With so much still to ponder, I take a deep breath, sit down and close my eyes. I begin to watch my breathing and meditation sets in. That’s when I know that everything is going to be okay. Eventually.

Prayers, love, and healing to all those in Boston and affected by this tragedy.


Panhandle run

Image of Panhandle

Today I did my “long run,” which was a little over five miles through the panhandle. The path had a good balance of sun and shade, a few ups and downs but mostly flat. I’m a dreadfully slow runner and worry that I may not finish the marathon before it shuts down. That happened to a friend of mine and she didn’t medal. She’s still just as amazing for completing it, I only hope I can finish. Today I was passed by families on bicycles, hipsters on skateboards, and  all shapes and sizes of runners. I didn’t pass a soul, excluding the slumbering bums nestled in random areas throughout the park.
My sinuses are still ever-present, knocking around in my skull and painfully pressing on my teeth and cheekbones. I hope my speed improves with my health. Sunglasses, yes, I need those too. My eyes are still a bit watery and sting after running for an hour.
All in all, today was a good running day. No unexpected pain, just the usual. No equipment or apparel malfunctions and the weather cooperated with just a little wind here and there. I think the two days off also helped me recover strong. And thanks to amazon.com, I just received my copy of Running with the Mind of Meditation by Sakyong Mipham. Feels like this is shaping up to be a great week.
Good luck to all of the Boston Marathoners tomorrow.