Heartbroken.

That’s the only word to describe what I’m feeling right now in the wake of the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Just…heartbroken.

All of my friends who were running, cheering or volunteering are accounted for and safe, even the ones who were very close to the explosions. And for that I am extremely thankful. I pray for all involved and their families. I cannot imagine a day of joy and celebration of life and accomplishment turning so quickly into a day of terror – or I could not until now.

I first heard the news as I was getting ready to enter the subway to go to my part-time job, and there was no way I could just stay where I was. That was honestly the longest 45 or so minutes of my life so far, wanting desperately to know what was going on and if my friends were ok and having no way to know because of the lack of cell service.

Well, I guess angry is also a word I can use right now.

Heartbroken and angry.

While I came to it later in my life – indeed I’m less than three years old as a runner – running has become one of my safe places. One of my havens. Something I can go to when I’m stressed, sad, happy…just my overall place of release. And it feels like someone violated it today, even if I wasn’t running. For someone to commit an act of such horror at such an icon of running…it makes me angry.

But it’s not going to stop me. Just like the creep who followed me on the subway last summer didn’t stop me. Just like the random attacks in the parks where I run haven’t stopped me. I’m currently registered for two half marathons, two 10Ks, one 5-miler, and two full marathons, and I fully intend to run every one of them and celebrate every moment while carrying the victims of today’s horror in my heart. I know they wouldn’t want us to stop running – if we stop, the perpetrator of this disgusting act wins.

The running community is strong and we will rise. This will not stop us.

I know I’ll be searching tomorrow for some new clothes, and I plan to run the Rock’n’Roll Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville in Boston blue and yellow. And I would love for others to join me – whether they’re running Nashville or anywhere else. I would love to see a sea of yellow and blue in all the races going on in the next few weeks as a tribute and as a sign of the strength of our community.

So yes, I’m determined and I will run on. But I’m also still confused and heartbroken at everything. Because I work part-time at the Disney Store, I had to put on a happy face, and I did. I didn’t want to draw attention to myself on the subway, and so I held it together pretty well there. But as soon as I walked into my building, I was finally able to release the sobs I’ve been holding in all day. And I turned to one of my other safe havens – music.

When I saw the recent revival of Godspell, I was struck by a song that was in the movie but not the original Broadway production. At the time it struck me as eerie how it plays in a post-9/11 world, how apropos it seemed. And that’s where I went tonight on my way home. I simply put it on repeat. And I offer it here via youtube…

We runners CAN build and indeed ARE a beautiful city. We are strong, and we will rise. This will not stop us!

Everyone involved is in my heart and my prayers right now and will remain there. I will be wearing a race shirt tomorrow and yellow and blue in Nashville. And I will dedicate every step of that race to the victims of this horrific event.

I may be slow, but I am a runner.

I will run on, and step by step, my heart will heal.

Step by step, the running community will heal. We will rise!

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