As I was watching the non-stop Boston Marathon bombing coverage on Monday night, someone came on the television talking about the different phases of how people would process the events of the day. First there was confusion, then there would be fear which would finally be followed by anger.
Yesterday I wrote about my confusion as to why one would attack long distance runners and an event like the Boston Marathon. Runners are a quirky, friendly lot; I just didn’t get it. Speaking with a fellow Bostonian later in the morning, I compared runners to the now extinct dodo bird and the manatee.
Dodo bird? you may ask? The slow moving manatee?
We, runners, are a relatively easy going group that fears almost nothing. We’ve got our issues to be sure. Who puts themselves through 26.2 miles of hell? And of course, we can be pretty obsessive too. Try talking to a marathoner for 15 minutes and I guarantee at some point they will mention running or training numbers or both. We’ve pushed ourselves to the point of collapse over and over again. One of our favorite posters is this:
…and then a lot of us go back and do it again and again and again.
So we really aren’t scared of a whole lot.
Our first thought when approached by a stranger is do they run. Just like the dodo bird or the manatee, the marathoner has no known natural enemies – man, woman, tall, short, skinny, not so skinny, white, black, yellow, brown, red, blue, purple, religious, non-religious, right or left, gay or straight, wealthy or poor, disabled or not, blond, brunette, ginger…we. don’t. care. We’re just happy if you want to join our band of runners. We welcome everyone.
But I have now gone through the confusion stage, flown past the fear stage and have landed square in the middle of the anger stage.
I am now pissed off.
This dodo is MAD!!!
I saw this on my friend Laura’s open letter to runners, non-runners and even the asshat (my name for the bomber).
I thought, yeah! We will get you MotherF***er!
During my run last night I could feel my anger bubbling over as I flew through a short 3-miler. Before getting home I knew what picture I was going to post for my daily Instagram #AutismStreaks entry. It was going to be my middle finger on my chest; a message to the asshat. A “take that Motherf***er!”
I was so friggin’ mad.
But then I took a breath. I was still mad. I was still angry. I still AM mad. I still AM angry. But I wasn’t going to let this guy win. So I post this instead:
Yes. Perseverance is what we marathoners do. We are patient. We are focused. We are relentless. We are calculating. We are like water in that we just. keep. coming.
It is who we are.
It is what we do.