That knot returned today -- the one I had in my stomach immediately after the Boston Marathon bombing.
The knot that held on for days, only slightly easing up after working a grueling shift in the newsroom covering a manhunt for the bomber.
That knot, over the months, has slowly faded, and in a way I've grown accustomed to the tightness in my gut. My knot has been a reminder of that day. Of the people hurt. Of the lives lost. Of the horrific, terrible scenes.
The knot has reminded me of every terrible thing I associate that day with: the long walk from Copley over the Mass Ave Bridge to Cambridge with a friend by my side -- the idle chit-chat we tried to carry on, while also trying to figure out exactly what we had just been through.
The day before the marathon bombing, I ran across the finish line, completing my first B.A.A. 5k ever. I made new friends that morning. I ran with two buddies of mine (one a former co-worker and one a current co-worker) whom I consider to be like brothers.
I was so excited to race that day, and I wound up putting up a personal best for my 5K pace.
I've run races since the marathon bombings, most recently the Run to Remember, which honored those officers who have fallen in the line of duty. There was a special tribute to Sean Collier, who was killed by the alleged bombers, with many runners donning a special bib for him.
My knot was especially tight that day, too. But during my run, I used that knot to propel me to run for those who couldn't. That knot did not ease up until I crossed the finish line. But it should be noted, that it never really went away.
Now, today, as I sit here staring at my bib from the B.A.A. for the 10K race on June 23, my knot is tighter than ever.
Maybe I will have this knot forever. All I know is that today I realized that no matter how #BostonStrong I feel, there will always be a part of me that aches, too.
The good news? Today, when I saw that B.A.A. bib in my mailbox there was another feeling that took up residence right beside that ever-present knot: Strength.
I will not win the B.A.A. 10K, but a part of me feels like maybe I already have.