I ran 3.1 miles this morning.
It was a 5K that gave me my first taste of a finish line. I was exhausted and yet I was so proud. I'd actually done it when 8 weeks prior running for 60 seconds was almost impossible. The joy and accomplishment mixed with exhaustion is almost un-explainable to anyone who's not felt it. As the distance grows, so do the exhaustion and the accomplishment and the joy.
It was a 5K that showed me running is a different kind of sport. Sure, there are the elite runners who actually stand a chance at winning, but for the majority of the people out there on race day, it's about their individual race, their individual goal.
And the running community? When I ran my third 5K, I was barely making it at the end. There was less than a half-mile to go and I started to walk. Another runner, a lady I didn't know encouraged me and said "you're almost there, don't give up now" and that was all I needed to pick up the pace and run to the finish, with tears pouring from my eyes. Find me another sport where that happens, where it's more about encouraging one another than beating one another. If someone falls, or steps to the side you'll hear a continues refrain of "are you OKs?" as other runners pass, slowing down for a moment in case the reply is "no." I've seen it in every race I've ever run.
So today, knowing I didn't have the time for the full 6 miles my training called for, I knew exactly how far I would run - 3.1 miles. Because it was 3.1 miles that taught me about the running community and what a finish line is all about.
3.1 miles for Boston.
Because finish lines are places of accomplishment and joy, not what happened yesterday.