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Boston keeps running

Posted by Matt Pepin, BostonGlobe.com Staff  April 25, 2013 10:04 AM

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100chrissyhoran.jpg Chrissy Horan is one of five Boston Marathon entrants testing Polar personal training gear and blogging about it for Boston.com
Prior to this year's Boston Marathon, I had thought about several angles that a post-marathon blog post might take based on the outcome of the race. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined the events that took place.

It has taken me a while to put this post together. I have sat down at my computer several times, sometimes staring blankly, sometimes writing pages only to delete it all and sometimes quickly closing my laptop as tears well up in my eyes.

To be honest, the race is still kind of a blur. When asked how I ran, my response has been, “Fast enough.” I was receiving my medal when the first bomb went off. My parents and boyfriend, Brian, were on Boylston Street, having just walked past both bomb sites to meet me. All four of us were safe and uninjured.

300chrissy.jpgEveryone in Boston that day, as well as anyone who has ever visited Boston, or knows someone who once visited Massachusetts, or is a human being with an ounce of compassion, felt the impact of those bombs. For those who were on or near Boylston Street, running or spectating, those moments, the images and the emotions, will be etched in our memories forever. Those further away, whether on the course or across state lines, will always remember how and when they heard about the day’s tragic events.

Processing the events has not been easy and has taken some time for me. I felt unsettled all, with routines from work, to eating and sleeping just a bit out of whack. Tons of questions filled my mind; “Who would do this?” “Am I safe?” “What if I had walked through those last three water stops?”

Yet at the same time, I recognize how fortunate I am. My thoughts and prayers go out to those who were closer, both physically and emotionally. Like many others impacted by the bombing, I am at times torn between needing to heal and feeling badly that I am still occasionally shaken, when others have suffered so much worse.

There still are occasionally spontaneous tears, though more often they are caused by moments of compassion instead of pain. (Damn you, Bruins and Red Sox for your incredible national anthems and tributes!)

But Boston, and the rest of the world will keep on running. Extending many miles past those run in any race, running fosters a community that has no borders.

To show their resolve, several friends who were stopped before the end of the race have chosen to complete their remaining distances. With legs still sore, they have often chosen to run in the same clothes they ran in last Monday, with their bib pinned on.

Races around the world carried on last week, taking time to honor the victims of the bombing and its heroes. Running clubs across the state have held group runs, many local groups relocating and changing their routes when their regular meeting spots became part of the crime scene. Friends from the Somerville Road Runners held a fundraiser and vigil and raised over $5,000 Monday night.

A running pal from San Diego ran side by side with Meb Kelfezighi at his local running store at a tribute run. And I’m sure similar runs occurred in cities across the country, though maybe without Meb.

Running groups across this area have come together to organize a tribute run. Scheduled for May 11, 26 days after the marathon, #onerun is an amazingly collaborative effort that I think will revive peoples’ spirits and hopefully help the businesses in the Back Bay as well.

I went for my first run last Sunday. It was slow. It hurt. And after, my quads felt worse than they did the Saturday before. But I was also so glad to be outside and running on that beautiful afternoon. My physical recovery seems oddly similar to the emotional recovery also taking place.

On Wednesday, with Boylston Street open for the first time, I walked through Copley Square and got on the T at the Copley stop to head to work. While I was prepared for a wave of emotion as I passed the memorial, now moved to Copley Square, I couldn’t help but feel a little more at ease. Buses drove down the street again and people walked to work at their previously closed office buildings. I bumped into three running friends on the street corner and felt some comfort in hearing them talk about upcoming group runs. The events of Marathon Monday are in no way forgotten, but the city carries on. Boston keeps running.

When the “what-ifs” and “coulda beens” do sneak up on me, I try to focus on what did happen and what I should be grateful for. I focus on the phenomenal acts of kindness that have flooded this city and neighboring communities this past week. And for those who were less fortunate than me, I focus on how I can now help.

One thing that has not been shaken is my resolve to keep running. It’s just what I do. And I promise that you will see me back on Boylston Street on 2014.

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Look for updates, news, analysis and commentary from the following.
  • Steve Silva, Boston.com senior producer, two-time Boston Marathon sub-four hour runner.
  • Ty Velde is a 16-time Boston qualifier who's completed 12 consecutive Boston Marathons and 25 marathons overall. Ty is now training for his 13th Boston run and will provide training tips for those who train solo and outside, no matter what temperature it is.
  • Rich 'Shifter' Horgan is a 19-time Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge team member who runs in honor of his father, who died of colon cancer. He will provide updates on local running events with a focus on the charitable organizations that provide Boston Marathon entries for their organization's fund raising purposes

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