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Mourning, and healing, through running

Posted by Elizabeth Comeau  April 18, 2013 07:39 AM

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Today I ran for the first time since covering the marathon.

It was also the first time I cried. Really cried.


On weekday mornings I run on the treadmill because I don't like running in the dark in the early morning alone (for safety reasons).

He runs next to me nearly every morning. I have never introduced myself, but I've also seen him at a few races.

As I cried quiet, silent tears, my treadmill buddy reached over and put his hand on my shoulder for a second.

Why? I've come to the conclusion he did it because that is what runners do: We help each other to keep going even when we think we can't. I still don't know his name, but we're no longer strangers.

I ran to the playlist I had made for my B.A.A. 5K run. I don't know if it is because my emotions are raw and so close to the surface, or if it is because my run today allowed me to let go for the first time.

Mile 1 was to the song: "Safe and Sound" by Capital Cities.
You could be my luck
Even if the sky is falling down
I know that we'll be safe and sound

It was on my playlist for the race Sunday because my toddler is obsessed with it. It makes him jiggle and bop his head and twirl around like no other song right now.

Mile 2 and "Can't hold us" by Mackelmore & Ryan Lewis helped slow the tears. All at once I wanted to either finish my run or run more -- I wasn't sure which. But I knew I had to keep going.

And then we go back, this is the moment
Tonight is the night, we'll fight till it's over
So we put our hands up like the ceiling can't hold us
Like the ceiling can't hold us

Usually this song only makes it on to my playlist when I'm doing speedwork (because of the driving, steady beat). Today, I actually listened to the words. With each stride to this song I just felt like I was getting stronger.

Mile 3 (the last of my run today) was to "Diamonds" by Rihanna.
So shine bright, tonight you and I
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky
Eye to eye, so alive
We’re beautiful like diamonds in the sky

This song makes it on to every playlist I create because it makes me think of a friend who started running at the same time I did and how much we both have changed and how far we both have come.

It will take a while before I feel "normal" again. But I know that. And I'm not ignoring it. You shouldn't either.

Talk to someone: Friends, family, a professional. Read our chat with a grief counselor from yesterday. Do whatever you need to do.

I needed to cry on the treadmill.

My next run is Saturday. Who is coming with me?

Staying fit is an important part of staying healthy. This blog will offer exercise tips from experts as well as share the personal journeys of Globe staff members committed to fitness. No matter your age or energy level, we invite you to join in and share your own story. How do you find time to work out? What are your daily challenges? Let us know and read along -- and together, we can all get moving.


Elizabeth Comeau is a social media marketing manager at She will be blogging about her personal fitness journey and using a device called a FitBit to track her weekly goals and progress (see below). Follow her journey and share your own. Read more about Elizabeth and this blog.

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