In less than 36 hours I will be boarding a plane to attend a conference on hate studies. While there, I will be sitting as an "expert" panelist (with four of my amazing colleagues), presenting a paper which we wrote about the ins and outs of why terrorism works.
Right now, I am sitting in my living room, completely unable to pull myself away from the news... clearly I am going into media overload, constantly being bombarded by the images from the explosions that happened less than 5 hours ago at the finish line at the Boston Marathon. These explosions haven't officially been classified as a terrorist act, and my verdict is still out because we don't really have enough evidence yet to determine whether there were ideological or political motives behind the attack. I feel in my heart that it will be classified as terrorism (domestic or international), but that is neither here, nor there.
I guess I just needed an outlet to get my feelings out there, and that is why I am writing tonight.
And those feelings are: that I'm not handling this well. My worlds are colliding.
I look at terrorism day and night. I analyze it from a million different perspectives. And over time, that shit just gets into my brain.
I run as an escape. I run to get away from the terrorism and the pain I look at day in, and day out. I run to process and stay sane when faced with hatred, and bombs, and war, and fighting.
As a New Englander (and we all know that New Englanders are honorary Bostonians), I grew up seeing the coverage of the Boston Marathon. Even as a young child, before I had even put on a pair of running shoes, I knew about Patriot Day, and the importance of the Marathon to the local community.
As an adult, I recognize that I could never run the Boston Marathon. I'm not fast enough to qualify. I'm not strong enough for the hills. I'd love that opportunity, but it is so hard to get in... I'd hate to take the space away from the runners who are fast enough and strong enough.
Besides, I've never run more than 14 miles at a time.
But what I have run is a number of half marathons.
The distance between the second bomb blast and the finish line was just over a tenth of a mile. And having run 13.1 miles, I can tell you that when you enter that final stretch, you are running off of pure adrenaline and endorphins. You are absolutely exhausted and excited at the same time.
So to watch these video clips and hear stories of not only first responders and law enforcement, but ALSO RUNNERS jumping into the fray to break down the barricades and apply tourniquets, it brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat.
In the past, I have been really hesitant to call myself a runner.
Today, I know I am a runner. And an event that 27,000 of my friends whom I haven't yet met were attacked, in a city that might as well have been my own.
Today, I have a heavy heart.