Life in the Fast Lane


Triumph Beyond The Finish Line

By 9:58 AM , , , , , , , , , , ,

One year ago, I loathed running with all of my being: hated huffing and puffing; hated the burning sensation in my thighs; hated having to stop to catch my breath; hated the strain on my calves; hated the feeling of pounding the pavement with every step I took.

One year later, I've come to a point where I really enjoy it. I like knowing that I've come this far — an asthmatic who will always deal with a left foot injury — and that I can still go farther. I'm 1.5K away from reaching 10K; I never imagined this would be possible and I've never been more excited.

So I can only imagine how marathoners feel, especially when initial thoughts of signing up for a marathon surface: the excitement, the trepidation, the doubts, the self-encouragement, the motivation, the will to conquer.

Photo taken from here.

Then I imagine how they must feel when they train — some for months, some for years: the heaving in their lungs, the burning sensations in their legs, the chafing of skin on their feet, the dryness in their throats, the steady stream of sweat — all fading when they think of that finish line, that elusive finisher's medal.

Then I imagine the whirlwind of thoughts and emotions come D-Day: the mild panic while double checking if all energy bars and drinks are at hand, the self pep talks, the adrenaline-pumping playlists, the encouragement from family and friends, and again, the sight of that finish line five or six hours later, followed by the glorious feeling of a finisher's medal against one's chest.

Basically, I take all my feelings and thoughts before taking off for my own shorter distance races, and imagine them magnified a thousandfold for marathoners.

And I imagine that this was what everyone was feeling hours ago before gunstart at the Boston Marathon: the buzz of excitement, the nervous chatter, the pats on the back, the high-fives. 

But what I can't imagine is how it could have ended in tragedy. 

Photo taken from CNN.

Hours ago, at the finish line of the Boston Marathon, two bombs went off leaving more than a hundred runners and bystanders severely injured with three dead (one of them was an eight-year-old). As of minutes ago, there were reports that ten amputations had already taken place.

Photo taken from Reuters.

Many of these runners ran in memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting. And now, they've lost a leg. Or both. Or their lives altogether.

I don't get it. I really don't.

How can people do such terrible, cruel things to fellow humans? I know it's incredibly na├»ve to wonder if we've really gone this low, but really — have we?

Have we really gone to a place where other human beings, other lives, have no value anymore?

Have we really gone to a place where, instead of celebrating people's personal successes and journeys, we have to cry over such acts of selfishness and senselessness?

Photo taken from Dailymail.

Then we see some light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. 

We hear of some runners who, after having crossed the finish line, continued to run towards the nearest hospital to donate blood.

We hear of other runners who volunteered to help out at the scene.

We hear of websites crashing as a result of endless donations.

We hear of other runners who are more determined than ever to sign up for next year's race; who have promised to keep on running in memory of this tragedy.

There's no stopping marathoners from reaching their goals and being better than who they were yesterday. 

Nothing. Not even tragedies.

I believe that all of their blood, sweat, and tears to get to this day weren't for naught.

I believe that their drive to cross the finish line will also be what will drive them to get over this senseless tragedy.

Photo taken from Competitor.

I believe that apart from the acts of triumph that we rejoice over at the finish line, we'll see greater acts of triumph of the human spirit as a result of all this.

My prayers and my heart go out to the victims (and their families) of the explosions. This one's for you.

Much love,
A Runner-in-Training from the Philippines

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